Under Tawney’s leadership, BHA grew from a small volunteer-based organization to America’s leader in advocating public lands for hunters/fishers; The BHA board will lead the search committee
MISSOULA, Mont. – Today, after 10 years of dedicated service to building an organization that has become the continent’s leading voice for hunters and anglers and public lands and waters, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney announced his departure from the BHA, effective at the end of July.
Over the course of Tawney’s tenure, the BHA leapt from a small, volunteer-based, western-focused organization with less than a thousand members to an influential powerhouse across North America with chapters in 48 states, Washington, D.C., two Canadian provinces, and one Canadian territory. With an engaged community of more than half a million members, supporters and partners and more than 30 employees, the BHA is impacting policy from the local to the federal level, playing an increasing role in stewarding North America’s public lands and waters, winning conservation and access fights, and creating a “big tent” gathering place for outdoor men and women of all persuasions.
“My time at BHA has been the most rewarding of my conservation career,” Tawney said. “Many people feel their voice doesn’t count and feel disenfranchised from decisions that affect our public lands, waters, and wildlife. Together, the dedicated BHA volunteers, members and staff have changed that idea. Margaret Mead’s quote could not ring more true: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world; in fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”
Notable political victories achieved by the BHA under Tawney’s watch include permanent reauthorization and full funding of the federal Soil and Water Conservation Fund; successfully banning drones for hunting and scouting in much of North America; defeat a variety of ill-conceived attempts to sell, transfer, or privatize public land and water (including legislation introduced, and then swiftly withdrawn, by then-Congressman Jason Chaffetz); guarantee the long-term conservation of the wild nature of the border waters; and, most recently, advocating for public access through the corner intersection in Wyoming.
Under Tawney’s leadership, BHA established its Armed Forces Initiative, Chartered Club and Hunting for Sustainability programs. BHA maintains a membership that is young (63% of BHA members are 45 or younger) and politically diverse, split almost evenly between Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
“Land Tawney is the most charismatic, inspiring and visionary leader I have ever worked with,” said Ted Koch, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the BHA of North America. “He has been the face and heartbeat of the BHA, growing the organization and making it effective in ways perhaps no one else could. We look forward to increasing the BHA’s role in the game and fish conservation community in the future and supporting Land as he leads and impacts conservation in North America in new ways.”
“The people, the people, the people!” Tawney emphasized. “I am in awe of the time, talent and treasure that individual volunteers generously give to BHA. We are warriors in the field of conservation, and I would bank on our great staff each and every time. I am proud of what we have all accomplished, together.
“I can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings,” Tawney concluded. “It has been a great journey. I am a lifetime member of the BHA. My children are lifetime members. We will continue to stand up for wild things and wild places that cannot speak for themselves. Hope to see you all on the trail or in the water soon. Forward and up.”
The North American BHA board of directors will soon begin the search for Tawney’s replacement. During this interim period, BHA Vice President of Policy and Government Relations John Gale and Vice President of Operations Frankie McBurney Olson will serve as interim Co-CEOs to guide the organization.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.