A Brief History & Philosophy of the PNW Section

By: John Buckhouse,
SRM Past President (1997) & PNW Section Past President (1990)

The story of the Pacific Northwest Section (PNW) of the Society for Range Management is a story of devotion to rangelands, dedicated men and women in the region, outstanding natural features germane to the geography and geology of the region, and a strong feeling of love and connectedness between and among the membership and the members to the land.

The PNW Section was chartered in 1950 with Fred Kennedy chosen to serve as its first President. If one goes to the PNW Section Society for Range Management website and looks at the list of Past Presidents and Trail Boss Award winners, it reads as a virtual who’s who of range management heroes in the PNW; as well as the international SRM! Names like E. William Anderson, E. R. Jackman, Alastair McLean, John Clouston, Grant Harris, Ben Roche, Tom Bedell, Fred Hall, Norm McClure, Doc Hatfield, James Brunner, Don Blumenauer, Alf Bawtree, and Don Baldwin in the early years! These giants of the profession have been followed by a host of equally dedicated individuals, including current PNW President Jeff Burnham and the most recent Trail Boss recipient Will Keller.

For 70 years, this Section has been a vibrant, exciting, and welcoming place to be! And why not? It has the people, the attitude, and the resources to embody everything which the Society for Range Management holds dear. The Section’s geographical boundaries are the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and the Canadian Province of British Columbia. This unique blend of locale and its international outlook has served it well. We have vibrant landscapes of coastal rainforests, tundra, alpine, boreal forests, mixed species forests, mountains, gallery forests, woodlands, prairie, semi-arid grasslands, shrub steppe, and desert ecosystems. The Section ranges in elevation from sea level to 10,000’+. Our people are a mix of agency folks, academics, students, ranchers, and lovers of rangelands of every ilk! And from this mix comes a diversity of point of view plus the willingness to listen and work together to insure that proper management of the land can be obtained with the people who care about that land— all the while protecting the resource itself! It is small wonder that such enduring traditions as Coordinated Resource Management Planning (CRMP\CRM) have their origins in the PNW. Many of SRM’s strong research and management philosophies also have their origins and\or collaborations deriving from original rangeland science and ecology research as well as the collaborative management of the agencies stationed in the PNW. Afterall, the Father of Range Management, Arthur Samson, conducted his groundbreaking, early research in the Wallowa region of the USFS within the Section!

Of course we are proud of the rich history and the long management tradition found in this Section! We invite each of you to come west and experience the region, the people, and the resource. You’ll be glad you did!

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