Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Founder of Utah’s Great Old Broads for Wilderness dies at 73

Susan Tixier, a tireless voice for conserving wilderness in Utah, has reached the end of her trail after many decades exploring the West's desert wildlands and explaining why those places matter. Tixier, who died Thursday at age 73, is best remembered as a founder of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, the irreverent advocacy group now based in Durango, Colo. At the time, Tixier was a lawyer and associate executive director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Timed with the 25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 1989, the Broads launched in Escalante to challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch's assertion that the wilderness designations in southern Utah would harm the elderly by denying them access to unroaded backcountry. "Several of us took umbrage and decided the honorable senator from Utah, as well as others in Congress, should hear from some Great Old Broads for Wilderness about how we felt about roads in wild places," Tixier wrote in a 2001 blog post. "We started the organization without any thought to its becoming a nationally known, professionally staffed organization with about 3,000 members." Tixier, who had lived in New Mexico the past several years, was active in other organizations including the founding of the New Mexico Environmental Legal Center, the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies (now Western Lands Advocates), and Forest Guardians (now WildEarth Guardians). She also directed the Colorado Environmental Coalition (now Conservation Colorado)...more

Some will remember Tixier's pre-Utah activities in NM, along with her boyfriend Brant Calkin, who Bill Humphries defeated in the general election for Land Commissioner.

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