Doug retired at the end of 2012 after forty years working with The Wilderness Society (1967-1973), the Sierra Club (as Northwest Representative, 1973-1980, Conservation Director, 1980-1985, and Associate Executive Director, 1985-1990), and the Campaign for America's Wilderness, an arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2000-2012
Throughout his career, Doug learned that the real power in our political system is effective, timely grassroots action—volunteer power—the druggist, soccer mom, volunteer fireman, small town mayor, retired postal working) who drive successful wilderness designation bills into law. Their love of a special place of wildland is infectious—members of both parties in Congress ant to help. He continues to travel frequently to give talks to gatherings and workshops for grassroots wilderness activists and training events for agency wilderness personnel.
Doug working as the chief lobbyist and strategist, working with his colleagues to build coalitions that persuaded Congress to enact:
The Eastern Wilderness Areas Act of 1975
In the face of opposition from leaders of the U.S. Forest Service of the time, who clung to their administrative discretion to make such decisions, this bipartisan law confirmed that the 1964 Wilderness Act intended that lands which had been subject to the impact of man's work (even quite recently) could be designated for wilderness preservation, with natural forces left to restore natural conditions. Preserved 20 areas totaling 320,791 acres on national forests in the East, South, and Midwest. Click here for a list of these areas [link to list]; details on each area may be found at www.wilderness.net
The Roadless Area Review and Evaluation ("RARE")
This 1973-1975 administrative process was intended rapidly inventory and sort all "roadless areas" on the national forests, recommending some for designation as wilderness and open the rest of development. Deeply flawed in many ways, including by using erroneous "purity" interpretation of the criteria stated in the Wilderness Act, resulting in exclusion of many citizen-proposed areas. RARE was hopelessly tied up in citizen appeals and lawsuits.
The Endangered American Wilderness Act of 1978
This bipartisan law corrected planning approaches of the U.S. Forest Service that had split individual roadless areas into artificial planning subunits, so that the larger whole was never considered, or subdivided very large roadless expanses into many smaller planning units, so that the big picture was never subject to study and public comment. Hearings precipitated the decision by the Carter administration to re-do the process in an improved way—RARE-II. The law protected 975,835 acres in 15 wilderness areas. Click here for a list of these areas [link to list]; details on each area may be found at www.wilderness.net
The Second Roadless Area Review and Evaluation ("RARE-II")
A do-over of the RARE process, this time applying more accurate criteria for inventorying and evaluating roadless areas. Intended to sort the areas into recommended for designation as wilderness, held for further planning by the Forest Service, or to be opened for development. Despite pleas from Doug and the three others who coordinated a nationwide campaign to keep grassroots activists informed of how to work within the process (all by mail in an era before email), the process was rushed and fell to a lawsuit by the state of California, which tied up all roadless areas on the national forests, as the leaders had warned.
1980s Wilderness-and-"Release" Laws
The injunction in the California lawsuit tied up all roadless lands on national forests in the West, which led to an unstoppable demand for some solution. Doug participated in a negotiated solution with key wilderness champions in Congress, the timber industry, and the Chief of the Forest Service. The result was a series of wilderness-and-release laws in the 1980s.
These laws covered all national forests in states other than Wyoming and Montana. They designated significant additional wilderness in each state, held some areas over for consideration in planning, and "released" others from the threat of any California-style injunction through the first cycle of forest planning. That work has been completed now, so that new plans are underway on forests around the country and the recommendation of wilderness must be considered for each roadless area. The highlight of Doug's lobbying career was when he served as co-coordinator of lobbying for the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980
Doug coordinated the 20 lobbyists and participated in strategy meetings with the congressional champions for this law. “ was privileged,” he says, “to sit in the East Room watch as the bill was signed. When President Jimmy Carter lifted his pen from the parchment, the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, and Wild and Scenic Rivers System had doubled—and the National Wilderness Preservation System grew by 57 million acres. This epochal campaign drew the combined efforts of all of America's conservation groups and grassroots activists across the nation.” The bipartisan statute established some 103,000,000 acres in these conservation units—the largest land and water protection bill in the history of this or any other nation. Within these areas the law designated 48 wilderness areas totaling 57,028,981 acres. Click here for a list of these areas [link to list]; details on each area may be found at www.wilderness.net
Other Wilderness Laws
Doug was also intimately involved in the 1975 legislation that blocked dams and designated wilderness in Hells Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border, the negotiations that led to the Gospel-Hump Wilderness Area in 1978, the campaign for the huge Frank Church / River of No Return Wilderness Area, numerous wilderness areas in Montana, and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area in Washington.