Sustaining the New West II: Bold Visions, Inspiring Actions Presentations

We are pleased to share with all of you the presentations of our speakers from the June 5th Sustaining the New West Conference. Please cite these sources appropriately if you use any of the information in your work. To view the PDFs, scroll over the image and click the arrows to navigate the pages of each speaker’s presentation.


Big Sky or Big Sprawl? Regional Growth Trends and Their Impacts-Dr. Dave Theobald, Conservation Science Partners


An Alternative Vision::

Restoring Reverence for Our Homeland- Josiah Black Eagle Pinkham, Nez Perce Nation


Creating Sustainable and Equitable Communities- Cindy Riegel, Teton County ID Commission


Stewarding Healthy Working Landscapes- Denny Iverson, Iverson Ranch and the Blackfoot Challenge

*Please contact Denny directly for a copy of his notes for his presentation*


Conserving the Ecological Integrity of Wildlands- Dr. Aerin Jacob, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative


Guideposts for the Future::

Affordable Housing to Living with Wildlife: Sustainability in a Mountain Town- John Borrowman, Mayor of Canmore, Alberta


Drought Contingency Planning in the Colorado River Basin: Thinking Outside the Box- Lain Leoniak, Colorado Department of Law


The Amskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet) Approach to Agriculture, Climate Change, and Conservation-Loren Bird Rattler, Blackfeet Nation Agricultural Resource Management Plan Team


Planning for Sustainability on a Regional Scale- Devin Middlebrook, Tahoe Basin Regional Planning Agency


Keeping Oregon Livable and Lovable: The Oregon Planning Experience- Robert Liberty, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University

Josiah Blackeagle Pinkham, Ethnographer and Storyteller, Nez Perce Tribe

Josiah Blackeagle Pinkham is Nez Perce or Nimiipuu. He resides on the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho. His Nez Perce name is Tipyelehne Cimuuxcimux and it is commonly translated as Blackeagle. Josiah’s father, Allen Pinkham Sr., is a Nez Perce and Josiah’s mother, Shirley Mosqueda, is a Yakama. There are many figures in his family that would be known by historians. Some of them are Red Grizzly Bear, elder Chief Joseph, and John Pinkham who fought in the Nez Perce War of 1877 as a young man.

Originally the Nez Perce occupied southeastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, the central area of the northern Pan Handle of Idaho and western Montana. Today the reservation is near Lewiston, Idaho, where the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho meet. There are high mountains, lots of forested areas, beautiful rivers and valleys.

Josiah is an Ethnographer, which involves cultural research and documentation. He graduated with honors from Lewis and Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho with a degree in Native American Studies and Psychology.

He shares storytelling, history, culture, very early oral traditions that were learned from elders, and stories that were documented a long time ago. Josiah often shares the Nez Perce creation story as well as numerous coyote stories. Some stories are about family history and the Nez Perce War. He also knows first contact stories of the Nez Perce with white people. He likes to give a variety of backgrounds of past and present life, and where the Nez Perce will be in the future. He is knowledgeable about Nimiipuu material culture and cultural and arts and crafts. When giving presentations, Josiah brings many items of material culture such as craftwork, beadwork, isaaptakay, or parfleches, which were used to carry food, clothing, tools, etc. A lot of the items he or his family made or were inherited from his people. He also discusses the history of some tribal dances and songs, and occasionally sings songs as a part of his presentation. One cultural practice he has learned about from his elders is the Qiloowawya. It is a ceremony that was held when the Nez Perce were sending people off to Buffalo country, battle or a long journey. He also discusses issues regarding the environment, health, tribal government, tribal politics.

Josiah has given presentations to groups of all ages and backgrounds. The groups include young children, college students, tour groups, elder hostel programs, museums, and interpretive centers. His talks have taken him all over the northwest in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, as well as several trips to Europe for cultural exchanges.

Robert Liberty, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions and Urban Sustainability Accelerator, Portland State University

Robert Liberty has 37 years of experience with the implementation, refinement, enforcement and defense of Oregon’s statewide land use planning laws.  As a staff attorney at 1000 Friends of Oregon he won Oregon Supreme Court precedents significantly strengthening the application of laws to protect, forest, range and farmland and to prevent rural sprawl, as well as affirming citizens’ roles in decision making. He also provided organizing support to local land use advocacy organizations and organized research evaluating the performance of the Oregon planning program as well as groups in other Western states. He conceived of the integrated land use and transportation planning analysis that resulted in the substitution of rezoning for the construction of a 15-mile bypass freeway.  Subsequently he served as Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, as a county land use hearings officer, as Senior Counsel to Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer and was elected to the Metro Council, the Portland regional government in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008. His interests during this period have focused on reforming transportation decision making and urban housing regulation.  Since 2013 he has directed programs at Portland State University to assist the Portland region and areas outside of Oregon to implement various sustainability goals.  He is just completing a project assisting California with the implementation of a new law focused on reducing driving and promoting infill.   He has been a speaker and adviser on sustainable plan and plan implementation across the US and in China, Mexico, Canada and New Zealand.

Devin Middlebrook, Sustainability Program Coordinator, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

Devin Middlebrook was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, California. He is the sustainability program coordinator for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. In his role, Devin leads implementation of the Lake Tahoe Sustainable Communities Program to bring climate change mitigation and adaptation to the region. Much of this work revolves around land use planning, transportation, renewable energy, outdoor recreation, and community engagement. Devin is also an elected councilmember in the City of South Lake Tahoe. As a councilmember, Devin advocates for the environment, economic development, equity and social justice, and innovation in government. Devin earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and sustainability from California State University, Chico and went on to receive his MBA from California State University, Sacramento. Growing up in Tahoe gave Devin an appreciation for the outdoors and the passion to ensure future generations have the same experience.

o Web Links-

Loren BirdRattler, Project Manager, Blackfeet Nation’s Agriculture Resource Management Plan (ARMP)

Loren BirdRattler currently serves as the Project Manager for the development of the Blackfeet Nation’s Agriculture Resource Management Plan (ARMP), a plan that will create policy in agriculture, land, conservation, holistic management practices, water resource management, as well as agriculture and livestock regulation for both the Blackfeet Tribe and the United States governments.

Loren has more than twenty years of public and private sector experience in organizational development, strategic planning, policy development, project management, and civic engagement. He is a former National Field Director for the Native Vote Initiative for the National Congress of American Indians, a Public Program Specialist for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, both in Washington, DC. He was also a program manager for the United States Department of Defenses’ Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program based in Arlington, VA for Keres Consulting. He has also served as the inaugural Executive Director for two non-profits, Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote both based in Billings, MT.

Loren has received the President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness from the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at the Arizona State University and has been a guest lecturer for the Kennedy School of Government and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard. Most recently, Loren has presented at the National Forum for Large Landscape Conservation and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations, both on indigenous approaches to natural and agriculture resource management, conservation and climate adaptation.

Loren grew up on his family’s ranch forty miles south of Browning on the traditional homelands of the Blackfeet Nation.
Web Links

Lain Leoniak, Assistant Attorney General, Colorado Department of Law

Lain Leoniak has been working in Western water for eighteen years. She is licensed to practice law in Colorado and Montana. Lain started her career as a Water Referee in the State of Colorado adjudicating water rights for the Colorado River. Lain was formerly the Water Conservation Specialist and Water Resources Manager for the City of Bozeman where she developed and implemented the city’s water conservation program and developed the city’s drought management plan. Lain currently serves as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Colorado working on federal and interstate matters related to the Colorado River.

Todd Wilkinson, Writer and Founder, Mountain Journal

Todd Wilkinson, Writer and Founder of Mountain Journal and one of our conference speakers sat down with Future West’s Director Dennis Glick for a recent interview. Dennis shared his thoughts on the Conference as well as the broader socioeconomic and environmental issues facing this region. Read more about how our work and upcoming conference will look to address the questions: How can communities, working landscapes, and wildlands save their essence during booms, and how do others prevent themselves from being blown away?

Todd Wilkinson is an American journalist and author proudly trained in the old-school tradition of asking tough questions and pressing for honest answers. He is the founder of Mountain Journal. Since he began as a violent crime reporter with the legendary City News Bureau of Chicago, Wilkinson’s work has appeared in a wide variety of national publications, ranging from National Geographic and Christian Science Monitor to The Washington Post and many others (on topics of environment, art, culture and business) in-between.

He is author of several books, including the critically-acclaimed Science Under Siege: The Politicians’ War on Nature and Truthand more recently, Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet and Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek: An Intimate Portrait of 399, the Most Famous Bear of Greater Yellowstone that features 150 photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen. The latter won a High Plains Book Award. Recently, his longstanding syndicated column, “The New West,” was named best column in the country by the National Newspaper Association for small market newspapers.

Wilkinson lives in Bozeman, Montana and has had assignments taking him around the world, but foremost he loves writing about, and exploring

Mayor John Borrowman, Town of Canmore, Alberta

John Borrowman and his wife Lynn have been active members of the Canmore community since they first moved to the Bow Valley in 1975. They raised their three children in Canmore and are dedicated to doing what they can to foster a healthy and balanced community.

Although John’s time outside of the mayor’s job is limited, he continues to be an active business member of the community, owning the pottery studio ‘of Cabbages and Kings’ which was first opened in 1991 and is now managed by his eldest daughter. John made his living as a potter for over 40 years. He also owned and operated two commercial art galleries over a 15-year period.

John was first elected to Town Council in 2004 and then again in 2010. In 2012 John was elected as Mayor and has been serving his community in this capacity for the past 7 years.

While serving as Councilor, John sat on several boards including the Canmore Community Housing Corporation, the Bow Valley Regional Housing Authority, the Canmore Economic Development Authority and Canmore Business & Tourism; to name a few. As the mayor, John sits on the board of the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley. This is a non-profit charitable society dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity of the Bow Valley for the well-being of the ecosystem and those who live there, through education, research and outreach. WildSmart is a program of the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley, under which the Wildsmart committee operates a proactive conservation strategy that encourages efforts by communities to reduce negative human-wildlife interactions.

John takes great pride in working with the Town of Canmore’s Council, Administration team and residents to help shape the future of the beautiful mountain town.
o Web Links-

Dr. Aerin Jacob, Conservation Scientist, Yellowstone To Yukon Conservation Initiative

Dr. Aerin Jacob is a conservation scientist at the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y). She conducts and communicates applied research to inform conservation, natural resources management, and environment-related legislation and policy. She serves on the boards of Society for Conservation Biology North America and Tides Canada, held Liber Ero and Wilburforce Fellowships, and is active in science-policy issues including species at risk, conservation planning, impact assessment, and climate change. Aerin received the 2019 Early Career Conservationist Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. She earned a BSc from the University of British Columbia and a PhD from McGill University, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Victoria.

Learn More about Dr. Jacob’s Work and Follow Her Online:
– Twitter: @Aerin_J and @Y2Y_Initiative
– Facebook:
– Instagram:

Denny Iverson, Rancher & Logger, Iverson Ranch & The Blackfoot Challenge

Denny Iverson is a rancher/logger in the Blackfoot valley of Western Montana. A native of Minnesota, Denny followed his parents to Mt. in 1975 to help run the ranch in Potomac Mt. Some 25 years ago he got involved with a fledgling NGO called the Blackfoot Challenge and has been a Board member for the last 20+ years. He still ranches with his brother and now the next generation from both sides of the family are coming home to roost. Denny and his brother have taken a proactive approach to ranching in a changing landscape for years and continue to look (with the help of the kids ) for ways to adapt. He also sits on the Board of Five Valleys Land Trust where he takes an active role in shaping the future of that organization as it looks to meet the needs of western Montana beyond just land protection. He recently joined the Board of Heart of the Rockies as well as a representative of the land trust community. As a board member for the Challenge, he has served on the ex. committee, conservation strategies committee, wildlife committee and most recently is chairing the fund development committee. His wife asks him all the time if he will ever learn to say no to an opportunity to volunteer!


Cindy Riegel, County Commissioner, Teton County, Idaho

We are pleased to announce that Cindy Riegel, County Commissioner, Teton County, Idaho will be presenting at our Sustaining the New West II: Bold Visions, Inspiring Actions Conference on June 5th. Her presentation: Creating Sustainable and Equitable Communities will help illustrate a vision for the future of our human communities in the Northern Rockies.

Cindy Riegel landed in the Tetons in 1992 and worked for many years as an outdoor educator, field biologist, and environmental consultant throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. During that time, she noticed the difference between communities that prioritize the people who live in them and communities that cater to outside interests. That’s what inspired her to get involved in planning for growth and prosperity in her own community. Starting as a citizen volunteer for comprehensive planning 2001, she progressed to a seat on the Teton County Planning and Zoning Commission in 2008, and was elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 2014. She currently serves as Board Chair.

Cindy is passionate about local food, farming, and agricultural landscapes. She led the effort to hire a community food systems specialist for the University of Idaho Extension office in Teton County and is a founding member of the Teton Food and Farm Coalition. She also serves as the Board Chair of Full Circle Education, a non-profit that supports healthy communities through farm-based education. Cindy still enjoys exploring the far reaches of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with her husband and their three children (ages 15, 12 and 8).


Dr. Dave Theobald, PhD Scientist, Conservation Science Partners

Dr. Dave Theobald is a geographer, conservation biologist, and landscape ecologist who specializes in assessing the effects of land use change on wildlife habitat and biodiversity at local to national to global scales. For over 20 years, he has collaborated on landscape assessments and interdisciplinary projects, including resource assessments, inventories of protected lands, connectivity and permeability studies, and analyses of proposed policy changes on natural resource sustainability. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. from the Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder, and his M.A. from Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara. Recent projects he has led include leading an natural resource condition assessment of Rocky Mountain National Park, analyzing trade-offs in the effects of proposed planning policies on the sustainability of Ouray County, directing the inventory of open space and protected lands in Colorado (COMaP), developing national forecasts of development patterns that are consistent with climate change scenarios (called Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios), and identifying movement through natural landscapes at continental scales.

A long-time member of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), Dave currently serves on the board of directors for SCB’s North American section. He is active with the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow program and is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, & Conservation Biology at Colorado State University.

Learn More about Dr. Theobald and his work-


Sustaining the New West II: Bold Visions, Inspiring Actions Agenda


Take Your Seat At The Table October 25th!

Gallatin County, where Future West is located, is growing and changing, which brings challenges to our communities and citizens –  and also presents us with an opportunity to shape our future.  On October 25th thousands of Gallatin County residents will come together in small groups to break bread or share a cup of coffee to discuss how to collaboratively build and maintain strong, safe, and dynamic communities. 

This imaginative public square, called A Seat at the Table, is an initiative of Future West and the Bozeman Area Community Foundation. It is designed to generate new ideas, inspire bold solutions, and cultivate relationships for the betterment of communities county-wide.

A Seat at the Table is a simple concept – a county-wide conversation that is hosted by community members like you on one day. On Thursday, October 25, 2018, neighbors will come together and talk about their concerns, ideas, and hopes for the future of Gallatin County. This information will inform current efforts to plan for future growth in our communities and the county.

A Seat at the Table and all of of Future West’s initiatives in the Northern Rockies are based on the belief that successful communities have something in common – they make it possible for a wide variety of citizens to engage in identifying community challenges and solutions.
If you love your Northern Rockies community, our wide-open spaces, and our abundant wildlands and wildlife, please consider donating to Future West to enable us to continue to advance our community-based conservation goals.

Want to have your voice heard? Join us October 25th:

Future West Donor Salon: Steve Fuller, Yellowstone Winterkeeper

On Thursday May 24th, Future West was honored to host internationally acclaimed photographer and writer Steven Fuller. His breathtaking photographs and powerful words bear witness to his passion for our planet’s wild places, but also reveal that his heart is firmly planted in Yellowstone – where he has served as Winterkeeper for the past 45 years. You may have seen him and his work on Mountain Journal, in National Geographic, on the evening news, or featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

Attendees came out to Bozeman’s Story Mansion in the evening to meet Steve Fuller in person, where he shared a beautiful slideshow from his tenure as Winterkeeper in Yellowstone National Park. Narrating his time in the Park, with a journey across the seasons and spanning decades of birth and rebirth, we were fortunate to hear Steve’s retelling of his experiences, alongside captivating imagery. Thank you to all who came out to our event and for your generous support of Future West. You all truly made the evening a wonderful success.

Northern Rockies Successful Communities Initiative

Future West is excited to share with you a hot off the computer visual concept paper we created for our new Successful Communities initiative (link here: Successful Communities Wireframe). We recently convened a gathering of individuals who had participated in the “Successful Communities Process” — a series of community visioning sessions held around the region in the early 1990s. Participating communities were in transition from resource extraction based economies to amenity “New West” economies. It seemed to the group that the timing could be right to re-engage these same communities and others that are once again struggling with issues related to too much growth, or not enough.

Scroll though the site’s visuals to get a sense of how we will facilitate a new round of Successful Community Dialogues. Let us know what you think! After hosting our “Sustaining the New West: Conservation Challenges – Conservation Opportunities” conference in December, we believe that now more than ever, a regional 21st Century Successful Communities initiative is needed and wanted.

Sustaining the New West: Speaker Presentations

As promised, below are the presentations of our speakers from the November 29th Sustaining the New West Conference. We are delighted to share their work with you. As with any source, please cite appropriately if you use any of the information in your work. To view the PDFs, scroll over the image and click the arrows to navigate the pages of each speaker’s presentation.

Sustaining the New West: Conservation Challenges – Conservation Opportunities


Defining the New West – Todd Wilkinson, Mountain Journal

Key Note: Managing Growth in the New West – Ralph Becker, Former Mayor of Salt Lake City

Session 1: Growth Trends

Setting The Stage: Growth Trends in the Northern Rockies – Dr. Ray Rasker, Headwaters Economics

Growth at the Local Level – Randy Carpenter, Future West

Outdoor Recreation and Public Lands – Kathy Rinaldi and Brooke Regan, Greater Yellowstone Coalition

Session 2: Growth Implications

Water, or a Lack Thereof, in the New West – Laura Ziemer, Trout Unlimited

Sprawling Wildlife into Wildlife Habitat – Dr. Andy Hansen, Montana State University

Our Playground is Their Home: Recreation and Wildlife – Dr. Sarah Reed, Wildlife Conservation Society

The Elephant in the Room: Climate Change – Dr. Steve Running, University of Montana

Session 3: Opportunities

Fostering Sustainability at the Community Level – Skye Schell, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance

Bringing Towns and Counties Together to Plan for the Future – Chad Phillips, Routt County Planning Department

Building Drought Resilience in the Upper Missouri Watershed – Ann Schwend, Montana Department of Natural Resources

Creating Safe Wildlife Passage Across Wyoming’s Highways – Chris Colligan, Greater Yellowstone Coalition

Reconciling Conflicts Between Recreationists and Wildlife – Morgan Valliant, Missoula Parks and Open Space Department

Morgan Valliant, Conservation Lands Manager, Missoula Parks and Open Space Department

I have lived in Western Montana and North Idaho for over 20 years. During this time, I earned an B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Montana and an M.S. degree in Botany, with an emphasis in Plant Community Ecology, from Washington State University. In Western Montana, I’ve worked a variety of jobs including researching novel habitat restoration techniques, organizing local landowners groups for invasive species management, ecological consulting on private property, and whitewater raft guiding. For the past decade I’ve have served as the Conservation Lands Manager for the City of Missoula. Missoula’s Conservation Lands Program is responsible for management of all natural, cultural and recreational resources on over 4200 ac. of City-owned public natural areas. Across the Intermountain West, public appetite for recreation is seemingly insatiable and managing natural areas adjacent to communities known for outdoor-recreation can be difficult. Balancing human-caused impacts with habitat conservation in Missoula involves strong partnerships, planning, education, and good-old fashioned elbow grease. My presentation will focus on lessons learned while managing high-use public Open Space and will highlight several projects Missoula is undertaking to curb recreational impacts on Conservation Lands

Website- Missoula’s Conservation Lands Management Plan

Mt. Jumbo’s Forest Management Plan on Critical Elk Winter Range

2015 Inventory and Condition Assessment of Trail Systems on Missoula’s Conservation Lands


Ann Schwend, Water Planner at Montana Department of Natural Resources, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Ann’s circuitous career path includes plant research, landscape restoration, land use and natural resource planning. She also spent many years as a CD supervisor and watershed coordinator in the beautiful Ruby Valley. Since 2008 she has worked as a water resource planner for MT DNRC in the Upper Missouri and Clark Fork Basins. She is currently leading the state’s efforts to build drought resilience in the Missouri Headwaters Basin as part of the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP). She is passionate about working with communities to bring science and people together to solve local resource challenges and building the connections to improve watershed resilience across broad landscapes.


Chris Colligan, Wildlife Program Coordinator, Greater Yellowstone Coalition

Chris Colligan is GYC’s Wildlife Program Coordinator, based out of Jackson. Currently, efforts around grizzly bear connectivity issues, conflict reduction and protecting core habitat are the focus of Chris’ position. Chris enjoys finding on-the-ground solutions for that prevent wildlife from being killed on our roadways and solving conflicts that increase social tolerance for species like grizzly bears and wolves.

Prior to the GYC, Chris worked on another contentious issue for Wyoming as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Brucellosis Information and Education Specialist in Jackson. Chris grew up near Grand Rapids, Michigan and attended Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management and minored in Public Relations. He worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey, shortly after college, researching hunter opinions and attitudes towards wildlife management. Chris left the Midwest for the recreational opportunities available in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Here he pursues his outdoor interests, which include hiking, hunting, fly-fishing, snowboarding and wildlife watching.


Chad Phillips, Routt County Planning Director, Steamboat Springs, CO

Chad Phillips A.I.C.P., has 35 years of experience in various fields of land use, including US
Army cartographer/terrain analyst, mining reclamation specialist, and, most recently, public
sector planner.  In 1998, he was hired as a senior planner for Routt County, Colorado and, since
2007, proudly serves as the director of planning. Chad considers the Routt County Planning
Department an ideal place to work because of the community’s goals to blend limited/managed
development with preservation of the natural environment and maintenance of the area’s
western rural character.  Although his official title is “planner,” Chad sees himself as more of a
preservationist who uses land use plans and zoning and subdivision regulations as tools. 
Chad says his eight minute commute to work is filled with gratitude while gazing at the
Steamboat Ski mountain and Flat Tops Wilderness.  His priority is to spend quality time with his
wife and two children. Any remaining free time involves skiing, fishing, softball, disc golf,
coaching youth baseball, and building home speakers.


Skye Schell, Executive Director, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance

Skye Schell is a Jackson resident with a decade of experience in conservation. Before serving as Executive Director, Skye led the Alliance’s Civic Engagement program and Conservation Leadership Institute for three years, building a powerful base of community and political support for conservation.

Skye’s love for wildlife and wild places began as a child learning about nature, fishing, and hunting from his parents and grandparents and in the Boy Scouts. Growing up in Virginia and Texas, he watched the devastation of unchecked suburban and commercial sprawl destroy nearby forests and wildlife, and is dedicated to fighting against a similar fate for Jackson Hole.

Skye attended college at Rice University in Houston and worked as a backpacking guide at the Boy Scouts’ Philmont high adventure base in northern New Mexico where he fell in love with the Rockies. He then worked in human services and housing back East: refugee resettlement in Virginia, advocacy in a soup kitchen, and finding permanent homes for people living on the streets of New York City.

Before coming to the Alliance, Skye spent six years working for two land trusts in Washington. He led community engagement projects with Tribes and rural communities on the Olympic Peninsula, smart growth policy advocacy to protect farmland in the suburbs, and community-based projects like new community gardens with refugee families. In this work, and by volunteering on political campaigns, Skye gained a wide range of experience in both developing good conservation policy and building the necessary community support to pass it.

Skye served on the board of the Teton County Housing Authority and is a board member of housing advocacy group ShelterJH. When he isn’t at the Alliance, he can be found hiking, hunting, running, skiing, climbing, fishing, and enjoying our wild places with his dog Luna.


Dr. Steven W. Running, Emeritus Regents Professor, Running Emeritus Director, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group Dept. of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, University of Montana

Steven W. Running received his Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from Colorado State University, and has been with the University of Montana, Missoula since 1979, where he is a University Regents Professor of Global Ecology. His primary research interest is the development of global and regional ecosystem biogeochemical models integrating remote sensing with bioclimatology and terrestrial ecology. He is the Land Team Leader for the NASA Earth Observing System, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, and is responsible for the EOS global terrestrial net primary production and evapotranspiration datasets. He has published more than 300 scientific articles and two books. He was a co-Lead Chapter Author for the 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment. He currently Chairs the NASA Earth Science Subcommittee, and is a member of the NASA Science Advisory Council. Dr. Running was a chapter Lead Author for the 4th Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Dr. Running is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, has been designated a Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information, and in 2014 was designated one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” in Geosciences. He has been honored with the E.O.Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award, and received the W.T.Pecora award for lifetime achievement in Earth remote sensing from NASA and U.S.Geological Survey. In the popular press, his essay in 2007, “The 5 Stages of Climate Grief” has been widely quoted.


Website: Colorado State University

Dr. Sarah Reed, Director of Applied Conservation Sciences for the Americas Program, Wildlife Conservation Society

Dr. Sarah Reed is the Director of Applied Conservation Science for the Americas Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society. In this role, she supports WCS field staff to connect science to conservation action, ensuring that our conservation strategies have a robust scientific foundation and that our research is translated effectively to measurable conservation outcomes. Sarah is also an Affiliate Faculty member in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, where she leads a team of postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and research associates to investigate how land development and human activities affect wildlife and biodiversity. Sarah currently serves as Vice President for Programs of the Society for Conservation Biology and co-leads the Conservation Development Working Group at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. In her free time, Sarah enjoys growing and cooking food, traveling and recreating with her husband and dogs, and volunteering as a foster parent and mentor for at-risk youth.

Website: WCS North America program
Website: Colorado State University

Laura Ziemer, Senior Counsel and Water Policy Advisor, Trout Unlimited

Laura Ziemer has worked on collaborative, water-saving projects with agricultural producers, watershed groups, and federal and state agencies for almost two decades. Laura started Trout Unlimited’s (TU’s) water program by establishing TU’s Montana Water Project office in 1998. She has helped grow TU’s water work to nine western states to restore and maintain streamflows for healthy trout rivers. She has worked to create more state and federal funding for collaborative conservation work, through such vehicles as the Farm Bill, SECURE Water Act, and Army Corps’ funding. She currently serves as TU’s Senior Counsel and Water Policy Advisor.

Ms. Ziemer served as a judicial clerk to Honorable Barabara J. Rothstein of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. She is a 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan, graduating cum laude from the Law School while earning a Master’s Degree in Resource Ecology with honors from the School of Natural Resources. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Bozeman, Montana.


Renee Callahan, Senior Policy Officer, Center for Large Landscape Conservation

With a background in environmental science, management, and law, Renee lends her legal expertise in administrative processes, legislative language and judicial rulings to CLLC’s policy work, with the goal of promoting public policies that facilitate ecological connectivity and large landscape conservation.

While at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, Renee specialized in conservation planning and coastal marine resources management, with a focus on habitat connectivity and climate change. She has over a decade of professional legal experience working on federal regulatory law and public policy issues in Washington, D.C.

Prior to enrolling at Bren, Renee was a Partner with the law firm of Lawler, Metzger, Milkman & Keeney, LLC, and served as an Attorney Advisor for the Honorable Joseph E. McGuire within the Attorney General’s Honors Program at the U.S. Department of Justice.


Dr. Andy Hansen, Ecology Professor, Montana State University

Andrew Hansen is Professor in the Ecology Department and Director of the Landscape Biodiversity Lab at Montana State University. He teaches macroecology to undergraduates and landscape ecology to graduate students. His research focuses on interactions among biodiversity, climate change, and land use, with an emphasis on landscape management and protected areas. He received a Ph.D. in ecology at the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Hansen was a post-doctoral scientist in landscape ecology at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and with the Scientific Committee on Problems in the Environment (SCOPE) in France. He then joined the faculty of Oregon State University, where Dr. Hansen studied ecological approaches to forestry. At Montana State University, he is focusing on rates of land use change and consequences for protected areas such as Yellowstone National Park. Results from Yellowstone provided the basis for comparative study of land use change surrounding several nature reserves and biodiversity within reserves for six greater ecosystems around the world. Dr. Hansen also led a national study of global change effects on forest biodiversity as part of the US Assessment of Climate Change and Variability. He is currently studying vulnerability of national parks to land use and climate change across the United States. His work uses a combination of remote sensing, computer simulation and field studies. This research has been funded primarily by NASA, US Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Agriculture, conservation organizations, and the timber industry.


Kathy Rinaldi – Idaho Conservation Coordinator

Kathy is the Idaho Conservation Coordinator for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition where she directs the Idaho campaigns and is the program lead for GYC’s recreation project. Prior to her work at GYC, Kathy was a two-term Teton County, Idaho Commissioner where she helped lead an effort to create a new (post boom) comprehensive plan focused on sustainability. She was appointed by Gov. Otter and served on Idaho’s Roadless Commission. Prior to her election in 2008, Kathy was the Executive Director of Valley Advocates for Responsible Development and advocated for the responsible development and sustainable use of the natural resources in Teton Valley, Idaho. Kathy is a former Peace Corps Volunteer and National Outdoor Leadership School instructor. Kathy and her husband enjoy their time on the slopes, rivers and trails with their two boys.


Brooke Regan – Special Projects Organizer, Greater Yellowstone Coalition

Brooke Regan is organizing a project for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition to examine outdoor recreational use and conservation goals in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Whether studying pine beetle outbreaks in Colorado, grizzly bear food habits in Montana, or the values of modern recreation and conservation in the Greater Yellowstone, Brooke loves finding answers relevant to


Randy Carpenter, Project Director, Future West

Randy Carpenter Randy Carpenter has spent many years working with community leaders in the Northern Rockies, helping them understand the challenges that come with growth and change, and tailor locally-based solutions to those challenges. Before joining Future West in 2014, Randy was a community planner in Iowa, followed by 13 years with the Sonoran Institute’s Northern Rockies Program. He holds an undergraduate degree in history and a graduate degree in urban and regional planning, both from the University of Iowa.


Dr. Ray Rasker, Executive Director, Headwaters Economics

Ray has written widely on rural development and the role of environmental quality in economic prosperity, and is well known in policy circles in the U.S. and Canada. He has a Ph.D. from the College of Forestry, Oregon State University, M.Ag. from Colorado State University, and B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Washington.


Todd Wilkinson, Journalist & Founder, Mountain Journal

Todd Wilkinson is an American journalist and author proudly trained in the old-school tradition of asking tough questions and pressing for honest answers. He is the founder of Mountain Journal. Since he began as a violent crime reporter with the legendary City News Bureau of Chicago, Wilkinson’s work has appeared in a wide variety of national publications, ranging from National Geographic and Christian Science Monitor to The Washington Post and many others (on topics of environment, art, culture and business) in-between.

Ralph Becker – Keynote Speaker, Sustaining the New West

Ralph Becker, Former Minority Leader of the Utah State House of Representatives, 34th Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT

Ralph Becker is 43-year resident of Salt Lake City where served two terms as mayor (2008-2015). He also served in the Utah State Legislature as a member of the House of Representatives for 11 years (1996-2007). For most of that tenure, he was in legislative leadership positions, including five years as House Minority Leader. In 2015, Ralph served as President of the National League of Cities. In his political career, Ralph focused attention on serving the public interest through solution-orienting, inclusive governance practices. He became known for his work improving conditions for the LGBT community around discrimination; sustainability practices and protection of lands and resource; and changes to improve equity in education, access to the outdoors, and community development.

In 2017, Ralph holds a Leadership in Government Fellowship with the Open Society Foundation.

Prior to his legislative service, he was Utah State Planning Coordinator under Governor Scott Matheson, and co-launched a consulting firm (Bear West) for 22 years specializing in community and resource management planning, environmental assessment, public lands, and public involvement. Ralph was an adjunct professor in the University of Utah College of Architecture and Planning, teaching classes each semester in Environmental Planning and Law, Public Involvement and Governance, Public Lands Planning and Management, and related courses and lectures. Ralph holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and from the University of Utah he holds a JD and a MS in planning. He is married to Kate Kopischke, has two sons and grandchildren, and enjoys many forms of outdoor recreation.

Sustaining the New West – Agenda


November 29, 2017

Emerson Cultural Center, Bozeman, MT

  • 8:30 Welcome – Dennis Glick, Future West
  • 8:45 Defining “The New West” – Todd Wilkinson, Mountain Journal
  • 9:00 Key Note – Managing Growth in the New West – Ralph Becker, Former Mayor of Salt Lake City
  • 9:30 Setting the Stage: Growth Trends in the Northern Rockies, Ray Rasker, Headwaters Economics, Growth at the Local Level, Randy Carpenter, Future West, Outdoor Recreation and Public Lands, Kathy Rinaldi and Brooke Regan, Greater Yellowstone Coalition
  • 10:10 Break
  • 10:30 Growth Implications:
    • Water, or a Lack Thereof, in the New West – Laura Zeimer, Trout Unlimited
    • Highways and Wildlife – Impacts and Opportunities – Renee Callahan, Center for Large Landscape Conservation
    • Sprawling into Wildlife Habitat – Dr. Andy Hansen, Montana State University
    • Our Playground is Their Home – Recreation and Wildlife – Dr. Sarah Reed, Wildlife Conservation Society, Colorado State University
    • The Elephant in the Room – Climate Change – Dr. Steve Running, University of Montana
  • 12:15 Lunch
  • 1:00 Overcoming Conservation Challenges:
    • Fostering Sustainability at the Community Level – Skye Schell, Executive Director Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance
    • Bringing Towns and Counties Together to Plan for their Future – Chad Phillips, Planning Director, Routt County CO
    • Building Drought Resilience in the Upper Missouri Watershed, Ann Schwend, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
    • Creating Safe Wildlife Passage Across Wyoming’s Highways – Chris Colligan, Greater Yellowstone Coalition
    • Reconciling Conflicts Between Recreationists and Wildlife – Morgan Valliant, Missoula Parks and Open Space Department
  • 3:00 Break
  • 3:20 Tying it All Together – Todd Wilkinson with Panelists
  • 4:30 Closing Remarks
  • 4:45 Reception