As ICL celebrates our 50th anniversary with events across the state, it’s important to recognize that we are carrying on an important legacy of standing up for what makes Idaho so special. Learning the lessons from our history is the key to understanding our future. 

ICL Executive Director Pat Ford, circa 1980

Serving as a conservation lobbyist in the Idaho Statehouse has never been easy. In studying ICL’s history, I’m heartened when I review the legislative committee hearings and see regular appearances by prior ICL lobbyists and leaders like Karl Brooks, Pat Ford, Ed Cannady, Renee Quick, Lauren McLean and Courtney Washburn testifying in front of the same committees I do today, standing up for Idaho’s clean water, air, wildlife, and public lands, and advancing the cause of conservation across a half century.

Some important conservation achievements were woven together across an even longer history. Whether it’s the legacy of Harry Shellworth’s camping trips that led to the creation of the Idaho Primitive Area in 1931, now designated Wilderness bearing the name of another Idaho conservation icon, Idaho’s U.S. Senator Frank Church… 

Or the legacy of Tribes who have inhabited Idaho since time immemorial, caring for and honoring the land, water, fish, and wildlife that provided sustenance for tens of thousands of years before Europeans ever arrived… 

Or the citizen initiative led by the Idaho Wildlife Federation in the 1930s that led to the creation of an Idaho Department of Fish and Game and its Commission, intending the agency to be free of political influence….

Or the lifelong advocacy from ICL founders, former state Senator Mary Lou Reed and her husband Scott Reed, who advocated (numerous times) before the Idaho Supreme Court in support of clean water protection and worked to protect Lake Coeur d’Alene, the St. Joe River, and so much more…. 

Or the moving account from Ted Trueblood on his adventures in Hells Canyon with Ernie Day, Bruce Bowler, Franklin Jones, and Woody Benson that Sen. Church entered into the record on June 22, 1973

Idaho is a mosaic of landscapes that tell our shared history.

As we celebrate 50 years of conservation achievement in Idaho, we invite you to join with us on this conservation journey. Double your impact – gifts during the September Membership Drive will be MATCHED dollar for dollar.

When we work together, we can accomplish great things. Join us! For the Love of Idaho!