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April 20, 2011

AWC Welcomes Mark Trautwein to Board of Directors

Former Staffer for Morris K. Udall Led House Committee in Growth of National Park and Wilderness Systems


Contact: Matt Skroch, Executive Director, 520-326-4300

               Katurah Mackay, Deputy Director/Communications, 602-571-2603

Copyright Mark TrautweinPHOENIX—The Arizona Wilderness Coalition this week warmly welcomed a new director to its Board—a person who was pivotal in protecting many of Arizona’s most unique wild places. Mark Trautwein served on the staff of the U.S. House Interior Committee from 1979 until 1995 under Chairman Morris K. Udall (AZ) and Chairman George Miller (CA), where he was responsible for the Committee’s jurisdiction over parks, public lands, and wilderness.

During Trautwein’s tenure, the Committee led Congress in doubling the size of the National Park System, tripling the National Wilderness Preservation System, and enacting landmark conservation laws such as the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (1980), Arizona Wilderness Act (1984), and the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act (1990)—the latter two of which were led locally by the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. 

“Mo Udall taught me that protecting our heritage of wild lands doesn't stop with any one law, any one man, or any one generation,” says Trautwein. “I'm honored by the opportunity to grow that legacy through the work of the Arizona Wilderness Coalition.”

In December, Trautwein keynoted a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act, a sweeping piece of legislation designating more than 1.1 million acres of wilderness on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge lands in Arizona. BLM officials—including the agency’s Director Bob Abbey—congressional staffers, numerous agency officials, and advocates from across the state gathered with the Arizona Wilderness Coalition to celebrate the many private citizens and public servants who made Mr. Udall’s BLM wilderness bill a reality.

“Mark Trautwein’s commitment to wilderness – under the unflagging leadership of Mo Udall – is a fundamental reason why Arizona has such a rich legacy of protected areas,” says Matt Skroch, AWC’s executive director based in Tucson. “AWC is both honored and humbled to partner with someone who worked firsthand under the leadership of Mo Udall—one of Arizona’s, and the nation’s, greatest champions for conservation.” 

The 1990 Arizona Desert Wilderness Act was the first in the nation to address BLM wilderness areas on a state-wide basis.  Because of the bi-partisan collaboration and broad support that preceded the Act’s passage, in addition to several new approaches to management issues in wilderness, components of the Act have become common precedent in subsequent wilderness initiatives around the country.  The National Wilderness Preservation System contains approximately 110,000,000 acres of public lands, with units in almost every state. 

As the chairman of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Arizona Congressman Morris Udall built a consensus view on the 1990 wilderness bill, working collaboratively with then-congressmen Jay Rhodes, Jim Kolbe, and other members of the Arizona delegation.  In the Senate, similar legislation was co-sponsored by Senators John McCain and Dennis DeConcini, soon to be reconciled with the House-version and passed by the Senate on a voice vote.  The House version passed on a vote of 356 yeas and 45 nays.

On November 28th, 1990, President George H.W. Bush’s signature to the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act marked a major milestone in carrying out the intent of Congress to cultivate America’s National Wilderness Preservation System and protect appropriate federal lands in their natural condition.  It remains the most recent wilderness-related congressional decision in Arizona today. 

Trautwein retired from congressional work in 1995 and returned to San Francisco, where he is now editor and producer of Perspectives at KQED public radio in San Francisco. He also serves on the board of the Wilderness Land Trust.






-Arizona Wilderness Coalition mission statement