Get to know our new President, Brad Borst

 

Tell us about your connection to wilderness.

BB: My connection to wilderness and wild places began in my childhood growing up in the Pacific Northwest. My family liked to go camping, and we would often go to the ocean or nearby national parks. I was thrilled every time we packed up our International Travelall with gear, knowing I’d have an opportunity to immerse myself in nature for a few days. Later in life, after moving to Montana for school and work, I embraced the myriad of public lands to hike, climb, camp, snowshoe and hunt. One of my fondest memories is a weeklong hike I took into the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness with my wife Jill. The trip included beautiful snow-capped mountains, wading thigh-deep across icy rivers, a face-to-face encounter a grizzly sow and cub, summiting remote peaks and waiting out a spectacular summer lightening storm under an ancient ponderosa pine tree. The solitude, lack of human presence and majesty of untrammeled nature was truly magical.

 

 

Rainbow Over the South Fork of the Flathead River (photo by Josh Whitmore)

What are some of your favorite Wilderness Areas?

BB:  This is a tough question...all wilderness areas are important to me. If I had to pick only one, it would be the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana (photo). Not only because of its size and remoteness, it is home to grizzly and black bears, wolves, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and other charismatic species.

 

What wilderness values are most important to you?

BB:  I believe it is our duty to preserve our remaining wild places for future generations. I want to make sure that they have a chance to experience the splendor of wilderness as a source of clean water, clean air, quiet solitude and safe haven for threatened and endangered species.

 

What is it about wilderness that inspires you?

BB:  Wilderness Areas represent a vanishing landscape in our country, and the people that work tirelessly to protect them inspires me to do my part. I have met countless personal heroes that quietly work at the local, regional and national level to protect our wild places. I am truly inspired by their commitment and what they are doing collectively to designate wilderness and remove existing threats.

 

Why do you support the Wilderness Land Trust?

BB:  Because it is a smart, focused, and tenacious organization with a history of getting the job done. As a result, it is a smart investment for anyone who cares about protecting America's designated Wilderness areas and landscapes for future designation.

 

When you think of The Wilderness Land Trust, what key words or phrases come to your mind?

BB:  Passionate. Respectful. Results Oriented. The Trust has a reputation for building working relationships with landowners as well as agency officials. They know that when they come to us, we work for an outcome that will be positive for all involved. There is an integrity, and genuine interest, in people working together to achieve the mission of the Trust.

 

What are the greatest challenges The Trust faces today?

BB: We have come a long way in the first 25 years of the Wilderness Land Trust. Over half of the inholdings in the Lower 48 have been turned over to public ownership in an effort to make a designated Wilderness Area whole. But, there are still roughly 180,000 acres of inholdings threatening the integrity of federal designated Wilderness. Each project takes time and resources to complete, and one of the biggest challenges to our work is having the financial capacity to react quickly when a landowner is ready and willing to sell.

 

What can people who Beargrass in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, Montana (photo by Jim Murphy)care about wilderness do to help?

BB: People who care about wilderness can devote their time and passion as volunteers. They can make their voices heard when public officials are making decisions about the future of public lands. They can lend their expertise as members of a non-profit Board. And certainly their generous financial support helps ensure organizations like The Wilderness Land Trust have the ability to continue doing highly impactful, meaningful work.

 

What outcome do you hope to achieve for WLT?

BB: This year, the Trust celebrates its 25th year. I'd like to build on all that has been achieved - nearly 50,000 acres of formerly private land is now part of designated Wilderness Areas across the West. There are a lot of acres left to go, and the staff and Board of The Wilderness Land Trust will continue to work tirelessly to acquire the remaining inholdings. We welcome the support of anyone who views our work as a means to fulfilling their hopes and aspirations for protecting our wild places.

 

Do you have questions for Brad? He would love to hear from you and can be reached at brad@wildernesslandtrust.org.

 

A Letter from Jean Hocker, WLT Board Chair

 

Letter from Reid Haughey

 

 

 

 

 

 

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