Idaho State Director
Mark Menlove Idaho State Director © © Snapshots by Jolene 2017

Our People

Mark Menlove

State Director, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

  • Areas of Expertise

    conservation strategy, fundraising, government relations, outdoor recreation/business

Biography

Mark came to The Nature Conservancy after serving 14 years as the Executive Director for the Idaho-based Winter Wildlands Alliance. His recent accomplishments also include co-founding the Outdoor Alliance and the Idaho Outdoor Business Council. Prior to that, Mark served as President of the Utah Ski Association/Ski Utah and in communications positions with the U.S. Ski Team, 2002 Winter Olympic Games and Park City Ski Area.

Through these efforts, Mark has been a leading voice and advocate for federal and state conservation funding, public lands policy, climate science and engaging the outdoor recreation community in conservation. Mark feeds his passion for and commitment to Idaho’s wild places through fly fishing, whitewater rafting, backcountry skiing, camping and hiking, most often with his wife, Dana, and teenaged children Asa and Eliza.

Mark understands that as the nation’s fastest growing state, Idaho faces unprecedented challenges to the health of its lands, waters and wildlife. And he believes that The Nature Conservancy is uniquely positioned to meet these challenges. Mark earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Utah and a MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Arizona.

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April 7, 2021

Recently, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson released a proposal to recover imperiled salmon in the Columbia and Snake River Basin and transform the region’s energy, transportation, tourism and agricultural infrastructure. His bold vision returned a decades-long debate to the forefront of public conversation and reminded us of deep divisions that run across the Pacific Northwest on some issues. It has forced many of us to face past and present injustices and assured us the challenge is complex and the solutions required immense.

I applaud Representative Simpson for his courage to bring this proposal forth and for challenging us to stop saying, ‘someday.’ The Nature Conservancy believes the extraordinary complexity and urgency of this issue must be matched with a bold plan that imagines inclusive new solutions for people and nature today—or we risk losing salmon and a big part of our Idaho way of life forever.

The current system certainly benefits some parts of our community. Just as certainly, it disadvantages and works to the detriment of many. Salmon populations are dwindling despite billions spent on recovery efforts over the last four decades. Commitments to Tribal treaty rights have not been honored, denying Tribes of their right to uphold a way of life that depends on salmon. Fishing communities and recreation economies from the Pacific coast to the Mountain West are in jeopardy. And salmon, the iconic species that beats as the wild heart of Idaho’s identity, inch closer to extinction as their returns diminish each year.

And yet, too often we forget that our thriving—between species, between communities—is interconnected. The divisiveness distracts us by placing the importance of one solution over another, one industry over another, or even one species over another, preventing us from finding the path forward where we all thrive.

At the heart of TNC’s mission is finding solutions that support both people and nature. We value the opportunities in recent months to listen to stakeholders across the state about how we’re all affected by this complex issue.

We’ve heard concern from our partners in the agriculture community about impacts to their livelihoods. At the same time, we’ve heard optimism from those same partners regarding the many benefits in Congressman Simpson’s proposal and the bold vision to address long-standing problems.

TNC believes that the first step to finding common ground is bringing everyone to the table, and we look forward to continuing those conversations. The time for action is now and the magnitude of the challenge is large. The opportunities in front of us have the potential to go beyond saving salmon from extinction but also reconcile environmental injustices of the past and create pathways for ecological and community healing. After decades of conflict and division, we look forward to imagining a future where the Snake River, and all the human and natural communities that depend on it, are fully restored.

Yours in conservation,

Mark Menlove
State Director

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