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Meet Land Tawney, the face of young, passionate conservation group

Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Outdoors

A: To engage our members and prospective members, and to raise funds, we often meet our members in urban places, three-quarters of whom are under 40. The Pint Night we had here in Minneapolis was well attended, and gave members and prospective members a chance to have some fun while meeting others of like interests.

We also hold Brewfests and Story Nights. In Seattle recently, we had a couple of great Story Nights in which eight of our members recalled good times they've had on public land.

We also have significant corporate and foundation support.

Q: How did you personally develop an appreciation for public lands?

A: I was with my dad in a duck blind or on a trout stream from a very early age. It helped also that my parents were very conservation-minded. My dad was a lawyer, and he and my mother were the first full-time conservation advocates at the Montana Legislature. My dad also helped write the bylaws of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and was their lawyer for the first 10 years of their existence.

Q: Why are public lands important?

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A: We live in a time where we can be connected to a phone 24/7. Wilderness and public lands in general allow us a chance to separate from that, a chance also for solace, and for challenge.

When traveling in wilderness, or in back country, whether you hunt, fish, backpack, mountain bike or canoe, it's up to you to carry yourself forward, to show resolve and grit. In many ways, this self-reliance, this grit, is what America was built on. In that respect, as our public lands go, so goes America. Additionally, public lands are the nation's cornerstone of clean air and water.

The outdoors economy, which is dependent on our public lands, is the nation's third-largest, at $887 billion, behind the financial and medical sectors. By preserving our public lands, we can sustain, and even grow, our outdoors economy.

Q: Public-lands conflicts have gained significant media attention in recent years.

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