I tried, folks, but it will come as no surprise to many of you that I’m not quite ready for retirement after all (see My Next Elevator Ride). What’s next?
This Friday, October 1st, is my first day as executive director for the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts (ICOLT). Take a look at the video above showcasing the lands, resources, and landowners served by ICOLT’s member organizations and I think you’ll understand why I’m not yet ready for the rocking chair.
Idaho’s population growth rate is one of the highest in the nation, spreading urbanization and creating land use conflicts between development and production agriculture, open space, recreation, wildlife, and other natural resources critically important to most Idahoans.
A recent article published by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation acknowledged the need for property rights-respecting, voluntary action to ensure Idaho’s valuable private lands and natural resources are kept in agriculture – protected – for future generations.
“…’It’s getting ugly,’ said Washington County Farm Bureau President Tristan Winegar, who farms near Weiser. ‘We’ve got a problem with the loss of farm ground in Idaho. The whole state is growing but it’s happening here in this area more than anywhere else.’…
…’If we don’t do something now, in five years we won’t have anything to save,’ he said…” (see article here).
I’m passionate about protecting the future of agriculture and natural resources. And it’s not just agricultural lands that we’re losing. Idaho is at a crossroads.
I look forward to working with private landowners and ICOLT’s members, our partners, the Legislature, the Governor’s Office, and anyone interested in the long term health of Idaho’s glorious natural and human resources.
Revisiting my last elevator ride with the Commission, I see the need to take an even broader view of Conservation the Idaho Way. We must continue to further good stewardship certainly, but also promote strategic voluntary conservation easements, tax incentives, and more.
It’s this very challenge that has occupied and consumed me for much of my career. I am honored by the trust placed in me by ICOLT and excited for the work ahead. It’s sure to be another exciting ride and a whole new way to positively benefit the people, natural resources, and future of this great state.
I’m definitely taking this next elevator up.