Wasatch Mountains, Utah. Photo by Adam Clark

ABOUT WINTER WILDLANDS ALLIANCE

At the crossroads of conservation and recreation, Winter Wildlands Alliance is the national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving winter wildlands and a quality human-powered snowsports experience on public lands.

Founded in 2000, Winter Wildlands Alliance speaks up for the soul of winter. As a national community that supports 100+ grassroots environmental organizations and backcountry partners, we advocate for policies that preserve and protect public lands and wild winter refuge. We also believe that engaging with current and future generations of winter backcountry travelers is essential in safeguarding the places that we love. As a result, every year our SnowSchool program takes 35,000+ kids outside for science-based winter field trips, and our Backcountry Film Festival tours 100+ locations worldwide to raise $180,000+ for local mountain communities.

Building on a string of successes in policy and education, the organization is accelerating into a new chapter of outreach and engagement with winter advocates locally and nationwide.

SUMMARY OF POSITION

The Executive Director is the chief executive officer with strategic and operational responsibility across the organization’s staff, programs, mission, annual goals, fundraising, and administration.

Examples of General Duties:

  • Alongside the Board of Directors, develop strategic objectives that further the mission and goals of the organization.
  • Effectively and efficiently operationalize those strategic objectives.
  • Recruit, retain, support, and manage high-quality staff, consultants, and contractors.
  • Engage, energize, and proactively communicate with staff and board.
  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence and rigorous program evaluation.
  • Operate within approved budgets, maximize resource utilization, and generally ensure sound fiscal management.
  • Raise funds and cultivate donors to accomplish mission and ensure the long-term financial stability, success, and growth of the organization.
  • Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors.
  • Enable the Board, with the Board President, to fulfill its governance functions.
  • Integrate the conservation and recreation components of the organization’s mission and engage deeply with the backcountry and conservation communities.
  • Represent and proactively promote the organization.
  • Oversee, evolve, and communicate the Winter Wildlands Alliance vision and brand.
  • Establish and execute sound organizational systems, processes, policies, procedures, and recordkeeping.
  • Conduct business in a professional and businesslike manner.

Examples of Specific Duties:

  • Establish a kind, responsive, and open atmosphere within the office and with partners, donors, members, vendors, and other constituents.
  • Support, coach and manage staff, providing mentorship, leadership, vision, accessibility, and opportunities for growth. Provide clear expectations and ensure accountability.
  • Identify, track, measure, and analyze key performance indicators tied to program evaluation, funding, and other organizational objectives.
  • Obtain funding in the form of grants, donations, memberships, events and other revenues.
  • Oversee development of sophisticated outreach, membership, and fundraising programs.
  • Create transparent, thoughtful, strategic, and forward-thinking annual budgets that align with programmatic and organizational objectives.
  • Proactively advocate for the organization and mission through omnichannel outreach, including public speaking, media/PR/op-eds, and marketing.
  • Develop, cultivate, and leverage strategic partnerships.
  • Manage, negotiate, and sign contracts.
  • Serve as a board member of Outdoor Alliance, which nationally represents the greater human-powered outdoor community.
  • Develop and document relationships with supporters of the mission of the organization.
  • Keep budgetary, financial, and project records in a systematic manner sufficient to enable the easy transfer of responsibilities.
  • Other duties as required.

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS

We expect a minimum of 5 years of leadership experience in the conservation/recreation, non-profit, advocacy, or for-profit arena. Additionally, candidate must have:

  • A deep and personal commitment to the Winter Wildlands Alliance mission and a passion for winter and the outdoors.
  • Visionary leadership paired with a get-it-done attitude.
  • Considerable and demonstrable success in leading fundraising efforts, including experience soliciting and cultivating major donors, foundations, and private corporations in support of program and operational activities.
  • Proven success in membership program development.
  • Experience with organizational leadership and effectively managing a team.
  • Excellent writing, editing, verbal, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
  • Inspirational public speaking skills.
  • Familiarity and savvy across a broad spectrum of relevant technology and software.
  • A strong public lands policy/advocacy background.
  • Familiarity with volunteer work.
  • While optional, musical talents are valued highly by the “backcountry buskers” on the staff and board.

REPORTING AND EXPECTATIONS

The Executive Director reports to the Winter Wildlands Alliance Board of Directors. The board will conduct an initial 6-month review and an annual review each year thereafter. The Executive Director position is a full-time role classified as Exempt from FLSA overtime requirements.  

LOCATION

Strong preference to be based at Winter Wildlands Alliance headquarters in Boise, Idaho.

COMPENSATION

Competitive salary (commensurate with experience) plus exceptional employee and health benefits.

APPLY

Email resume, cover letter, and salary requirements by February 27, 2019 to careers@winterwildlands.org.

Winter Wildlands Alliance is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and organizational needs.

 

Snowmobilers, backcountry skiers lobby U.S. Forest Service to adopt shared-use plan for the Lookout Pass backcountry area (Spokesman-Review)

The longest-ever government shutdown ended late last week. During the shutdown all of the land management and travel planning that we work on was on hold, as most Forest Service and Park Service employees were furloughed. Despite the shutdown, however, the Department of Interior continued to move ahead with changing how they respond to Freedom of Information Act Requests (comments due January 28) and permitting drilling in the Arctic Refuge (comments due February 11). We are working with our Outdoor Alliance partners to comment on both of these DOI actions.

Last week we published a blog post detailing some of the impacts that the government shutdown is having on public lands and winter recreation. We expect that as the government re-opens all of the planning processes that are on-going will pick up where they left off. Time-sensitive scientific research, however, may have to be postponed until next year or cancelled altogether. For example, NASA announced last week that it would be postponing its SnowEx campaign until 2020. Not only is this a lost opportunity for SnowSchool students who would have assisted with data collection this winter, it is a setback to gathering valuable information about Western snowpack.

We also expect that things won’t be back to normal right away even with the government re-opened. For example, it will take time to re-open roads and trailheads that have not been plowed for weeks (like in Rainer National Park). The shutdown will have longer-term implications as well. This is the time of year when the Forest Service and other agencies hire their summer crews and apply for grants to fund recreation programs. Not being able to work for most of January has put the Forest Service, Park Service, and BLM behind in their summer hiring and it’s possible that not all offices will be fully staffed for summer. Likewise, if grant deadlines passed during the shutdown or agency staff don’t have time to get a grant in between when they’re back at work and the grant deadline, they won’t have the funding needed run recreation programs.

Although planning was on hold for most of January, comment deadlines weren’t delayed because of the shutdown. Comments on the Plumas National Forest’s winter travel plan draft EIS were due on January 24th and we worked with our California partners to make sure Plumas skiers got their comments in. David travelled to Quincy, CA for a couple of great outreach events put on by Friends of Plumas Wilderness (including screenings of Jeremy Jones’ Ode to Muir and the Backcountry Film Festival) to help rally skiers to comment on the Plumas travel plan.

Also this month, I travelled to Lookout Pass on the Montana/Idaho border to participate in a collaborative meeting with the Stevens Peak Backcountry Coalition (which includes several groups, such as the Spokane Mountaineers and Montana Backcountry Alliance), snowmobile clubs from the Montana and Idaho sides of Lookout Pass, and the Lookout Pass ski area. At stake is a high-value winter recreation zone and backcountry skiers, snowmobilers, and the ski resort are working together to find agreement on how to share and manage the area.

Finally, we were excited to see our newest grassroots group, Teton Backcountry Alliance host a fun and well-attended event aimed at raising awareness around access to Teton Pass. Teton Pass is an extremely popular backcountry ski zone, but access is not guaranteed if skier activity threatens the safety of people driving on the road.

This week the entire Winter Wildlands Alliance crew is headed to the winter Outdoor Retailer show. If you’re in Denver, come find us at the show or join us for the Night of Stoke, featuring an exclusive lineup of films from the Backcountry Film Festival (and beyond) and presentations from featured outdoor adventurers, athletes, and activists about how to turn passion into action.

 

 

 

 

Hilary Eisen, Policy Director

Senators Daines (R-MT) and Gardner (R-CO) champion #bipartisan effort to reauthorize LWCF, America’s favorite conversation program.

Winter Wildlands Alliance policy staff has been in Washington D.C. this past week for our annual Outdoor Alliance policy summit, as well as to check in with Federal land management agencies and meet with members of Congress. Congress is still limping through its lame-duck session, and it’s our last chance to make a case for legislation we’d like to see included in a possible last-ditch, year-end public lands package, and to get some important bills passed into law before having to start over with the new Congress next year.

With Democrats in control of the House and its committees, we expect to see House Republicans putting more pressure on the agencies as a way of achieving their policy priorities outside of the legislative process.

As many bad bills as there are in Congress these days (and there are plenty!), there are some good ones too. One of our top priorities has been to bring back the Land and Water Conservation Fund (#SaveLWCF). Congress let this program expire in September despite the fact that it’s America’s most popular conservation program, with broad bi-partisan support, and a critical source of funding for public land acquisition and recreation infrastructure. We’re still getting mixed beta from Senate offices and members of Congress about whether it’ll get re-authorized — either permanently or temporarily — and at what level, but we’re staying optimistic in these final days of the session.

Which brings me to the primary topic of this policy update – what will the midterm election results and a new Congress in 2019 mean for backcountry skiers who love public lands?

As you will have heard by now, Democrats won enough House races to take back control of the House of Representatives next year, while Republicans maintained control of the Senate. For the past two years, all three branches of government have been controlled by one party, but starting in January we’ll return to a divided government. In the House, the Democrats will control the agenda, forcing both the White House and Republican-controlled Senate to negotiate with them. Given our partisan politics, we expect there will be a lot of vilifying going on too, with each party continuing to focus on blaming the other for the nation’s woes. So, what do we think this means for public lands?

  • Legislation: We expect the scariest legislative threats – such as large-scale public lands transfers and attempts to gut environmental laws – to fade. These attacks on public lands and the public process have been driven by House Republicans and now they don’t have the votes to move these extreme proposals. At the same time, with a hyper-partisan divided Congress, we’re not sure that Congress will get much done in the legislative arena at all.
  • Investigations: With Democrats taking control of the House, we’re expecting a lot of investigations into the conduct and decision-making of Trump Administration officials. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is likely to be on the hot seat as Legislators look into his decisions to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, among other controversial actions of the past two years.
  • Confirmations:The Republicans have strengthened their majority in the Senate, which will likely make it easier for the President to get the 60 votes needed to confirm his nominees, from the Courts to the Cabinet. Many federal appointments are currently vacant and the rumor mill is churning with word that Secretary Zinke is on his way out. Although Zinke has been a huge disappointment for public lands enthusiasts, we’re not optimistic about who his replacement might be. In fact, there are some frightening nominees waiting in the wings to take positions across the federal public lands agencies. It’s no secret that the Trump Administration and Senate Republicans are highly motivated to change the federal judiciary by confirming as many conservative judges as possible. This will have a delayed, but major, effect on environmental and administrative law, with conservative judges likely giving less deference to land management agencies in how they interpret the laws that govern public lands management.
  • Pressure on the Agencies: It’s not unusual to see members of Congress putting pressure on the Forest Service or other land management agencies. Most recently, we saw members of the Congressional Western Caucus weighing in on winter travel planning in California and asking the Forest Service to re-evaluate any potential restrictions on snowmobile use and even to reconsider the planning process itself. With Democrats in control of the House and its committees, we expect to see House Republicans putting more pressure on the agencies as a way of achieving their policy priorities outside of the legislative process.

We’ll see how these predictions play out in the coming year. For the next week or so, we’ll remain focused on the lame duck session, with fingers crossed that we can get a few things across the finish line in the next couple of weeks!

 

 

 

 

Hilary Eisen, Policy Director

Public Comment Deadline is March 1, 2019: Comment Now!

With our local partners at Friends of Plumas Wilderness, we support the forest’s preferred Alternative 2 with specific modifications from Alternative 5.

OUR TAKE: We like that Alternative 2 protects terrain east of Bucks Lake Wilderness, the Bucks Creek Loop Trail, the Historic Lost Sierra Ski Traverse Route, and the backcountry ski zone on Thompson Peak by Susanville. We urge that the Forest Service also include specific amendments from Alternative 5 to protect proposed Middle Feather, Bucks Creek, Chips, Grizzly, & Adams Peak Wilderness Areas, Lakes Basin Snowshoe and Ski Trails, Little Jamison Basin and to stop grooming on 24N33 to help prevent OSV trespass into the Bucks Lake Wilderness.

October has been a busy month here at Winter Wildlands Alliance! Last week, we wrapped up a meeting in Boise with other conservation partners, representatives from snowmobiling organizations, Forest Service staff, state biologists, and Fish and Wildlife Services biologists. We came together to talk about how winter recreation impacts wolverines, and to start working toward science-based recommendations that we can all agree on for managing winter recreation in wolverine habitat. It was just the first meeting of many, but we’re optimistic and excited to engage with such a broad range of partners in a collaborative manner.

Meanwhile, we’re nearing the end of the public comment period for the Chugach Forest Plan. The Chugach, America’s northernmost national forest, is soliciting public feedback on the draft EIS they have developed. The Chugach features spectacular coastal mountains with some of the best and wildest backcountry terrain in the world. In this planning process we’re advocating for Alternative D. Comment now (Public comment period ends November 1)!

Also in Alaska, we’re continuing the engage in the Wrangell-St Elias National Park backcountry management plan. Right now the Park Service is looking for comments from those who have personal connections to Wrangell-St Elias. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Wrangell-St Elias, please consider telling the Park Service about your experience. Comments are due October 31.

We directed a lot of attention to Alaska in October but Utah is on our radar as well. Alaska has been working on getting an exemption to the Roadless Rule in order to open up untouched coastal rainforests on the Tongass to commercial logging (that comment period ended October 15). Now Utah is drafting a petition, asking the Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service for an exemption to the federal Rule and permission to write a state-specific Rule, just like Alaska. We’re working with our Utah-based grassroots groups to stand up for roadless lands in Utah. Stay tuned to our channels in case the opportunity arises for people outside of Utah to weigh in!

We’re also still working to save LWCF. Congress let the Land and Water Conservation Fund expire on September 30. There are two bills that would permanently reauthorize and fully fund LWCF – Senate bill S. 569 and House bill H.R. 6759. Please contact your Senators and Representative and ask them to both support these bills and push for a vote before the end of the year.

And hot off the press: the Plumas National Forest just published a draft EIS for its winter travel plan. Public comments are due December 10. Stay tuned for our outreach on that!

Finally, don’t forget to vote (and vote for public lands!) on November 6!