Online Messenger #253
In late May, after my graduation from the University of Colorado Law School, I moved to Hailey with my wife Courtney and our two dogs, Hawk and Raji, to embark on an exciting and fruitful career with WWP.
Throughout my life as a hiker, camper, fly-fisherman, and upland bird hunter, I have been haunted by the environmental impacts of grazing. No other harmful use of the public lands is more pervasive or under-addressed. From an acreage perspective, grazing overshadows all other uses of the western public lands — by a long shot, as you all know. I like to imagine the public lands as one human body constantly encountering threats to its health. Mining, oil and gas development, timber, and roads represent localized, easily visible broken bones and rashes; grazing represents a slowly spreading disease, methodically destroying the whole organism.
I grew up in Bozeman, Montana where my love of nature began. I went out to the East Coast for college but came to my senses quickly and returned to the West afterwards, forever. I then lived in Oregon for about three years and Colorado for the past ten. Throughout these years, I have spent significant time exploring out-of-the-way places, particularly in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Oregon.
In my professional life, I have always committed myself to work that improves the world. My two main jobs before law school were at a nonprofit and at a public school. Those jobs sufficiently paid the rent and supported my habits outside of work – playing music and spending time outdoors. During the past ten years, I completed three music CDs: solo classical guitar, string quartet compositions, and a country album. This is one of my favorite tracks from the country album. I composed this tune, and performed acoustic guitar, lead guitar, pedal steel guitar, and vocals on this recording.
Eventually, I decided to pursue a career where I could influence decision-making in accordance with my values, with protecting public lands from grazing as my ultimate aim. When I applied to law school, I wrote my application essay about my hope to use my law degree to eliminate grazing from public lands. During my first year of law school, I persuaded Mark Squillace and Joe Feller to advise me on my first public comment, a comment to the Forest Service regarding the Draft Planning Rule’s failure to sufficiently address grazing. As an intern at WildEarth Guardians, I submitted public comments on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest failure to consider impacts to the Mexican Gray Wolf in its grazing allotment decisions. During my final year at the University of Colorado Law School, I benefitted from the guidance of Charles Wilkinson in my continued study of public land law.
As Public Lands Director, and later as Executive Director, I will continue WWP’s unrivaled work on grazing in the West. I look forward to strategizing around agency grazing decisions and policy, generally advocating for the removal of livestock from public lands, and supporting Carter Hedberg’s impressive fundraising campaign. I will also endeavor to improve legislation and national policy regarding grazing.
Yours in the Removal of Livestock from Public Lands,
Public Lands Director