Public Lands – A lot to be thankful for!

This Thanksgiving holiday season gives me another opportunity to pause and appreciate the vast public lands that are adjacent to the area I live in, near Pocatello, Idaho. The very livelihood of my family is derived from my job as a BLM Minerals Manager regulating phosphate mining on public lands in southeast Idaho.

These lands contain large deposits of valuable minerals that are recovered to produce fertilizer and phosphorus based chemicals. This development, part of BLM’s multiple-use mission, is an important basis of our American standard of living and contributes to healthy economies. Mineral development and processing provides employment and livelihood for hundreds of employees and their families.  

In my free time, I feel fortunate to be able to take frequent trail runs, bicycle rides, camping trips and participate in a multitude of outdoor activities that the mountainous public lands above my home afford. The recreational activities offered by the public lands have been an important part of our family’s time spent together. Now our kids are grown and gone, but I continue to spend time acquainting my grandchildren with public lands and the special activities and experiences that they offer.  

-Jeff Cundick, Minerals Manager in the Pocatello Field Office


What do you want to be when you grow up?

This is a question most people have been asked at least once but I wanted to share an excerpt from a letter I wrote in 6th grade to my future self.

I received this letter in the mail when I graduated from high school. In it I state that my goals are to go through college and become an archaeologist or a paleontologist. Archaeologists look at artifacts and sites to investigate how people lived in the past while paleontologists look at animals, including dinosaurs, and plant fossils to study life in the geologic past. My interest in becoming a paleontologist was just a phase, but my interest in becoming an archaeologist stuck with me throughout the years.

I am happy to say I achieved my 6th grade goals when I received my master’s degree and became a BLM Field Office Archaeologist here in Pocatello, Idaho. My spelling might not have been great, but at least I knew what I wanted in life even from a young age. I’m thankful my teacher had us do this assignment because it is fun to look back!

Wishing everyone a fun school year!

-Amy Lapp



Arachnophobia: The fear of spiders. It’s also the name of a 1990 movie about killer spiders. After I saw this movie in the theaters as a kid I made sure to do a thorough spider check before I would dare enter the shower!

What’s really cool is that, just last year, a new species of spider was discovered on BLM land in Oregon!  The last two photos are of the Trogloraptor marchingtoni – learn about this cool new spider at 

-Amy Lapp.  First photo by Mike Kuyper,  bottom photos by Joel Ledford, California Academy of the Sciences.