Friends of the Clearwater founder and long-time Board of Director Steve Paulson recognized the need to honor men and women that have devoted decades of their lives fighting to protect our public wildlands, biodiversity and natural processes, particularly those of the Clearwater Basin and Northern Rockies. As a result the Macfarlane Plank Award was created in 2006 to recognize and thank individuals that may not have, yet, received adequate recognition for their important work.
The below individuals have been honored and are now officially on “The Plank.”
2006 – Gary Macfarlane is the Ecosystem Defense Director for Friends of the Clearwater. He has spent over fifteen years working to protect roadless wildlands, threatened species and keeping Wilderness wild in the Clearwater Basin of North Central Idaho and throughout the Northern Rockies. Prior to that, he worked for fifteen years with the Utah Wilderness Association. He has served on the Board of Directors for Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Wilderness Watch, and currently lends his expertise to the Sierra Club Wildlands & Wilderness team.
2007 – Stuart Brandborg worked closely with Howard Zahniser, author of the Wilderness Act, to ensure it’s passage by Congress in 1964. He then went on to become the Executive Director of The Wilderness Society for over a decade, earning a reputation as a fierce and loyal grassroots organizer who was successful, with the help of others, in getting tens of millions of acres added to the newly established National Wilderness Preservation System. “Brandy” also worked for the National Wildlife Federation, helped found the Friends of the Bitterroot, and was an accomplished wildlife biologist, particularly in Mountain goat research.
2008 – Larry McLaud worked for years with Friends of the Clearwater, bringing his economics background to the Ecosystem Defense Department, and helping lead projects to protect old-growth forests and native species. A former forest lookout, he is fond of talking about the sacredness of place, and the Clearwater Country is one of his favorites. “Lorenzo Trout” also worked as the Conservation Director of Hells Canyon Preservation Council and was responsible for public lands proposals while with the Idaho Conservation League.
2009 – Barry Rosenberg was one of the founders and founding chairman of the Selkirk-Priest Basin Association, now known as the Selkirk Conservation Alliance. The group is dedicated to keeping the Southern Selkirk Mountain ecosystem of northern Idaho, northeastern Washington and southern British Columbia intact. Barry also created and directed the Forest Watch Program for The Lands Council, whose goal was to establish and support a community of forest advocates in the Inland Northwest. His decades of work, and those of the Forest Watch groups and individuals in holding federal agencies accountable to our public land laws, including public involvement through the National Environmental Policy Act, has led to a significant reduction of illegal and destructive Forest Service timber sales. He is currently highly critical of the industry-driven and undemocratic public lands collaborative process. Following that, he was executive director for the Kootenai Environmental Alliance until he ‘retired’ in 2009.
2010 – Dr. Fred Rabe is professor emeritus of biology at the University of Idaho and author or co-author of over thirty-five referenced articles in aquatic science journals. He worked for years with the late Forest Service botanist Chuck Wellner to successfully establish Research Natural Areas on National Forests in Idaho and throughout the Northern Rockies. Fred has devoted much of his time since retirement writing books, leading field workshops and lending his expertise to the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Idaho Native Plant Society, Idaho Conservation League and Palouse – Clearwater Environmental Institute. He has also worked extensively with FOC to publish numerous booklets on the importance of permanently protecting roadless areas in the Clearwater Basin.
2011 – George Nickas has been a public lands activist for over thirty years. Fresh out of high school, he helped form a local organization to protect the picturesque wildlands of Desolation Canyon, the Book Cliffs and San Rafael Swell of Utah. After college he went on to work for Utah Wilderness Association, before becoming the Executive Director of Wilderness Watch, which is the only nationwide organization dedicated solely to the protection and proper stewardship of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
2012 – Liz Sedler is a long-time activist that left us too soon. Her decades of work on issues affecting grizzly bears, Bull trout and other species native to the Northern Rockies resulted in federal agencies having to strengthen standards and reduce the impacts of extraction programs on endangered species and fish and wildlife habitat. She was the long-time president of the Board of Directors for Alliance for the Wild Rockies.
2013 – Jeff Juel has spent over twenty years doing Forest Watch for the WildWest Institute (formerly the Ecology Center), The Lands Council, Friends of the Clearwater and Alliance for the Wild Rockies. His expertise is vast, with a strong background in national forest policy, public process, ecology, law and field monitoring.
2014 – Karen Coulter is the co-founder of the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, which works to protect and restore the ecosystems of the Blue Mountains and eastern Oregon. A long time activist, she has experience with American Friends Service Committee, Greenpeace International, the Program on Corporation, Law & Democracy and other grassroots efforts. Karen is a past recipient of Oregon Wild’s William O. Douglas Award of Courage and the Fund for Nature’s Grassroots Activist of the Year.
2015 – Keith Hammer is a former wildland firefighter and logger turned activist. He is a co-founder of the Swan View Coalition, which has been working tirelessly for over thirty years to decommission harmful roads and cease unsustainable logging in order to benefit native fish and wildlife, particularly grizzly bears and Bull trout, on the Flathead National Forest in Montana. Keith is a strong proponent of “quiet recreation” and the multiple values it brings to people and place.
2016 – Janine Blaeloch has an extensive background in public lands policy and management, including with the private and public sector. She founded of Western Lands Project, which was very successful in bringing reform to the obscure federal land exchange program. Janine has been a vocal critic of the national environmental establishment (“Big Greens”), the public lands collaborative process, quid pro quo wilderness, and the federal government’s destructive public lands solar energy policy. She is a former board member of Wilderness Watch.
“One day, when all our wildlands are protected from greed, when the Grizzly Bear roams free again, when the caribou graze in Chamberlain Basin again, when the wolverine lives in peace in the high country again, the people on this plank will be remembered as heroes.”
- Steve Paulson