ð WILDERNESS MOVEMENT HISTORY

 
   
  Last Updated 01/30/08

The environmental community is notoriously interconnected and interwoven.  Organizations are often very flexible and fluid in nature, which can make tracking their history a challenging endeavor.  Some of the environmental groups actively avoid any form of actual organizational structure.  The Earth First! website states "Earth First! is not an organization, but a movement. There are no "members" of Earth First!, only Earth First!ers." and "Earth First! is a priority, not an organization. The only "leaders" are those working the most effectively."

However, many of the individuals involved can be traced.  As individuals migrate from organization to organization, it can paint a picture which helps when trying to understand the relationships between organizations.  Despite the challenges, there is quite an abundance of material available which is educational and enlightening.

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NMWA) heralds Mr. Dave Foreman as their "Founding Father", according to promotional materials distributed for the 2006 New Mexico Wilderness Conference sponsored by NMWA on November 11, 2006 in Santa Fe.  Mr. Foreman was a featured speaker at this event.  The materials read "Dave Foreman, Director of The Rewilding Institute and Founding Father of NMWA, presenting “The Future of Wilderness"More recently, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Spring 2007 newsletter featured an article by Mr. Foreman. 

Because of the amount of information available, and his direct and close association with the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, we chose to begin our timeline with Mr. Foreman in 1973 and work forward from that point.

Mr. Foreman is perhaps best known as a founder of the radical environmental group Earth First!, and as the author of the book "Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching" which contains detailed information on destroying machinery, oil and gas installations, airplanes, ranch improvements and counter-surveillance instructions as tactics for environmental activism. 

But Mr. Foreman's career reaches far beyond these two "accomplishments".  A look at Mr. Foreman's biography, along with other key events occurring in the environmental movement and other individuals, proves extremely helpful in understanding this influential individual and his impact on numerous environmental organizations. 

This "timeline" below in no way represents all of the associations between the various environmental organizations and the individuals involved.  The time and effort required to trace through the spider webs connecting all the various organizations and individuals would be monumental. 

The information presented below captures the essence of some of the pivotal relationships and events, and should prove helpful in understanding the complex and complicated environmental movement.  In reality, it is most certainly just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. 

The websites which were used to compile and create this overview of the environmental & wilderness movement history are all included.  From 2005 forward, each individual line item has an embedded link to its source.  Please keep in mind that websites are easily modified and often change over time.  The links provided were all verified in September of 2007.

For readability, the following conventions were used:

  • Quotations from the respective source websites are displayed in "italics".  
  • Names of individuals are shown in CAPITALS. 
  • Organization names are in Bold.
   
  AN ABBREVIATED ENVIRONMENTAL & WILDERNESS MOVEMENT HISTORY
 
1973-1980 DAVE FOREMAN worked first as the Southwest Regional Representative in NM and later as the Director of Wilderness Affairs in Washington, DC, for The Wilderness Society
1974-1978 FOREMAN served as Vice Chair and Wilderness Chair of Sierra Club's Rio Grande Chapter
1976-1980 FOREMAN is on the Board of Trustees of the NM Chapter of The Nature Conservancy
1979 In his book "Trashing the Economy", RON ARNOLD writes: "Defectors from the environmental movement have told us that Earth First! founder DAVE FOREMAN was approached by the Sierra Club and his employer, the Wilderness Society, in 1979 with an offer to fund a new extremist point group for the movement. It would serve the function of making their own demands look more reasonable … Defectors say that FOREMAN made the deal by himself in a comfortable Wilderness Society office, and accepted the offer on the condition that funding would be steady and adequate, and that his participation was a limited 10-year deal."
1980 FOREMAN co-founds radical environmental group Earth First!, along with ex-Youth International Party member MIKE ROSELLE, Wyoming Wilderness Society representatives BART KOEHLER and HOWIE WOLKE and former Park Ranger RON KEZAR.  The book "Coyotes and Town Dogs" indicates that C. WESLEY LEONARD (Chair of the Board of Directors of New Mexico Wilderness Alliance since 2004) was also present.
198? Earth First! rallying cry: "The earth is not dying --- it is being killed.  And the people killing it have names and addresses."
1982-1988 FOREMAN serves as editor of Earth First! Journal - "The voice of the radical environmental movement"
1982 Fund for Wild Nature is founded to replace the Earth First! Foundation
1985 FOREMAN publishes the book "Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching", which contains the now famous quote "In some cases burning a target is the most effective way of decommissioning it.".  Much of the inspiration for the book, as well as the term "monkeywrenching" came from EDWARD ABBEY'S 1975 novel "The Monkey Wrench Gang".  Other inspiration likely came from the 1972 book "Ectoage!".  Much of the actual content came from the Earth First! newsletter column titled "Dear Ned Ludd".  The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and many other organizations have openly embraced this book the "bible" of Ecoterrorism.  Some countries have banned this book because of its content.
1987 National Wildlife Federation president JAY HAIR states "They are outlaws; they are terrorists; and they have no right being considered environmentalists." in describing Earth First! in "The Nation".
1987 There is a 4 part video series titled "EARTHFIRST! The Politics of Radical Environmentalism by Manes".  Excerpts of this 1987 documentary appeared on 60 minutes: "Part 1", "Part 2" and "Part 3" and "Part 4".  Featured in the videos are past and present NMWA Board Members Dave Foreman, Nancy Morton (Dave Foreman's wife), and many other EarthFirst! followers.  Mr. Foreman has publicly stated that their philosophy and purpose is to "destroy civilization and technology, and eliminate the need for the word 'wilderness' because everything will be 'wilderness'" In the videos, he states that EarthFirst! members are "antibodies against the Humanpox".  Ms. Morton states in the documentary that "monkeywrenching" (sabatoge in the name of "eco-defense") is "using the tools of the devil against the devil".  The book "Coyotes and Town Dogs" indicates that the current Chair of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, C. Wesley Leonard, was also heavily involved with Dave Foreman in the inception of EarthFirst!.  Former NMWA Chairman Dr. Robert Howard has also been closely associated with Mr. Foreman in NMWA and The Wildlands Project and continues to be involved with Foreman's Rewilding Institute
1990 FOREMAN is arrested by the FBI in operation THERMCON
1990-1999 DAVE PARSONS led the USFWS’s effort to reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf in Arizona and New Mexico
1991 FOREMAN pleads guilty to conspiracy on FBI charges
1991 FOREMAN writes the book "Confessions of an Eco-Warrior".   FOREMAN states in this book that "A major accomplishment of Earth First! ... has been to expand the environmental spectrum to where the Sierra Club and other groups are perceived as moderates."
1991 FOREMAN co-founds The Wildlands Project, along with Michael Soule and others
1991-2003 FOREMAN is Chairman of The Wildlands Project
1991-2004 FOREMAN is executive editor and/or publisher of Wild Earth magazine.  Another editor, JOHN DAVIS, wrote "'Wild Earth’ exists in part to remind conservationists that in the long run all lands and waters should be left to the whims of Nature, not to the selfish desires of one species which chose for itself the misnomer ‘Homo sapiens’, humanizing of landscapes must stop now and be reversed.”
1992 Earth First! members found the Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
1992-1998 FOREMAN is editor of the Earth First! Journal
1993 FBI congressional testimony: "The ELF was listed for the first time along with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) in a communique declaring solidarity in actions between the two groups."
1993 TODD SCHULKE co-founds the Center for Biological Diversity, which embraces the philosophy of "Deep Ecology".  SCHULKE is on the staff of the Center for Biological Diversity;
1995-1997 FOREMAN serves on the national Board of Directors of the Sierra Club
1995 A German court found that “the collaboration of Greenpeace with the terrorist organization Earth First!” cannot be denied.
1995 Earth First! co-founder MIKE ROSELLE founded The Ruckus Society.  ROSELLE also co-founded the Rainforest Action Network.
1996 Unibomber THEODORE KACZYNSKI is arrested.
The FBI finds copies of the Earth First! Journal and Earth First! affiliated publication "Live Wild or Die" in KACZYNSKI'S Montana cabin; FBI believes that KACZYNSKI attended an Earth First! gathering one month before murdering THOMAS MOSSER.
1996 Fund for Wild Nature grantees include New West Research, Ranching Task Force, Ruckus Society, Sky Island Alliance
1997 FOREMAN co-founds the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
1997-present ROBERT HOWARD and C. WESLEY LEONARD serve on the Board of Directors for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.  HOWARD is recognized as a co-founder, served as the first Chair of the Board of Directors.  HOWARD was involved in Earth First!, and he has served as the national Sierra Club Director, Vice President and Treasurer.
1997-2005+ FOREMAN serves as Director on the Board of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (IRS Form 990 records verify this through 2005.  2006 Form 990 is not yet available).  NMWA no longer shows FOREMAN on their website, but according to FOREMAN'S Rewilding Institute website, he is still on the NMWA Board of Directors.
1997-present TODD SCHULKE serves as a Director on the Board of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.  According to the Center for Biological Diversity website, SCHULKE also sits on the Board of the Sky Island Alliance, American Land Alliance, and Gila WoodNet.
1997-1998 The Trees Foundation, which serves as the fiscal agent for various Earth First! groups, reported to the IRS that it received funding from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
1997 Fund for Wild Nature grantees include Earth First! Journal and Ruckus Society
1998 One of the single largest donations ever received by the Fund for Wild Nature (formerly called the Earth First! Foundation), was $50,000 from the Tides Foundation.
1998 Fund for Wild Nature grantees include Center for Biological Diversity, Earth First! Journal and Gila Watch
1999 Article "Crimes in the name of the enviroment" links TODD SCHULKE with EarthFirst!
1999 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) made three payments totaling $7072 to the Earth First! Journal
1999 Fund for Wild Nature grantees include Center for Biological Diversity, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, New West Research and Sky Island Alliance
2000 Fund for Wild Nature grantees include Earth First! Journal
2001 Fund for Wild Nature grantees include Earth First! Journal, Public Lands Without Livestock, Western Land Exchange Project
2001 STEVE CAPRA joins the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance as Executive Director.  MARTIN HEINRICH is listed as Chairman of the Board of Directors.  (IRS Form 990)
2002 FBI states in congressional testimony that the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are "serious terrorist threats"
2002 Fund for Wild Nature grantees include Public Lands Without Livestock
2002 On October 19th, the Sky Island Alliance, Wildlands Project, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, Wilderness Society and Arizona Wilderness Coalition hosted a “Sky Island 2002: Restoring Connections” workshop in Tucson, Arizona.  Keynote speaker was DAVE FOREMAN. Other presenters, besides the hosts, included: the Arizona State Museum; U.S. Forest Service; Malpai Borderlands Group; Nature Conservancy; National Park Service; Sonoran Institute; Gray Ranch; World Wildlife Fund; Center for Biological Diversity; Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory; Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection; Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Protection Plan; University of Arizona; Defenders of Wildlife; Arizona Open Land Trust; National Resource Conservation Service; a conservation biologist, a jaguar researcher, and a Coronado Forest rancher.
2003 FOREMAN co-founds The Rewilding Institute
2003-____ FOREMAN is Director and "Senior Fellow" of The Rewilding Institute. 
2003 Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) was one group that sponsored the Earth First! 2003 summer gathering.  Earth First! and SHAC both joined the Coalition for Earth and Animal Liberation to protest the World Economic Forum.
2003-2004 DAVE PARSONS serves as New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Board of Directors Chairman
2004 FOREMAN writes the book "Rewilding North America: A Vision for Conservation in the 21st Century"
2004 Fund for Wild Nature grantees include Gila Conservation Coalition
2004 The Wildlands Project (as Wild Earth Society) reported revenue was $685,293
2004 The Wildlands Project (as Wild Earth Society) reports a grant to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance of $8,210, and to the Sky Island Alliance of $29,192.  One grant was made to Mexican organization Naturalia of $35,864 and one grant was made to the Wildlands Conservation Trust in South Africa of $5,000.  Two of the listed Directors, RURIK LIST and OSCAR MOCTEZUMA, are listed with addresses in Mexico.
2004 The College of Wooster in the Philosophy department shows NATHAN SMALL as the author of the paper titled "Wilderness: The Freedom to Find.  A Look Into Abbey, Thoreau, Mill and Aristotle and their Connotations on Happiness, Fulfillment, and the State of our Own Environment".  The "ABBEY" in the title refers to EDWARD ABBEY, author of "The Monkey Wrench Gang" and inspiration for FOREMAN'S book "Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching".  SMALL joined the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance in 2005 or 2006.
2004-____ C. WESLEY LEONARD serves as New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Board of Directors Chair
2005 From FBI congressional testimony: "In recent years, animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists have become the most active criminal extremist elements in the United States. ... The eco-terrorist movement has given rise and notoriety to groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF, and the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF. These groups exist to commit serious acts of vandalism, and to harass and intimidate owners and employees of the business sector."
Additional FBI testimony:
"One of today's most serious domestic terrorism threats come from special interest extremist movements such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign. Adherents to these movements aim to resolve specific issues by using criminal "direct action" against individuals or companies believed to be abusing or exploiting animals or the environment. ... We believe these trends will persist, particularly within the environmental movement, as extremists continue to combat what they perceive as 'urban sprawl'."
2005 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance reported revenue was $691,789  Source: 2005 IRS Form 990
2005 The Center for Biological Diversity reported revenue was $3,477,044  Source: IRS Form 990
2005 Wild Earth Society, Inc., dba Wildlands Project reports a grant to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance of $7,000, and to the Sky Island Alliance of $8,210.  Two of the listed Directors, RURIK LIST and OSCAR MOCTEZUMA, are listed with addresses in Mexico.  Source: IRS Form 990
2005 The Sierra Club Foundation reported revenue was $21,426,810.  Source: IRS Form 990
The Sierra Club reported revenue was $83,432,700, and they listed a $500 grant to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance  Source: IRS Form 990
2005 or 2006 NATHAN SMALL joins the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance staff as Wilderness Protection Organizer
2006 JEFF STEINBORN, Southern NM Director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, is elected as a New Mexico State Representative, 37th district.
2006 FOREMAN is a featured speaker at the 2006 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Wilderness Conference
Promotional materials stated
"Dave Foreman, Director of The Rewilding Institute and Founding Father of NMWA, presenting 'The Future of Wilderness'"  MICHAEL SOULE, "the Father of Conservation Biology", spoke on the "grand vision of the 'Spine of the Continent'".  SOULE is a "Senior Science Fellow" of the Rewilding Institute.  Here is a map of the "Spine of the Continent" project.
2006 Wild Earth Society, Inc., dba Wildlands Project reported revenue for $669,426.  They report grants to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance of $8,210 and Sky Island Alliance of $29,192.  Two grants were made to Mexican organizations Naturalia and Pronatura totaling $26,116.  Two of the listed Directors, RURIK LIST and OSCAR MOCTEZUMA, are listed with addresses in Mexico.  Source: IRS Form 990
2006 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance reported revenue was $888,506  Source: 2006 IRS Form 990
2007 NATHAN SMALL, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, is appointed to the Dona Ana County Planning and Zoning Commission as a Commissioner.
2007 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is listed as a client of Earth Justice Earth Justice was founded as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund in 1971, and has become the leading nonprofit environmental law firm in the country.
2007 BART KOEHLER, another co-founder of Earth First! along with FOREMAN, is employed as the Director of the Wilderness Society's Wilderness Support Center in Durango, Colorado.
2007 The Rewilding Institute lists the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance under "Ecological Wilderness Area Design" and "Wildlands Defense" areas on it's website.  DAVE FOREMAN is a "Senior Conservation Fellow".
2007 The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Spring 2007 Newsletter features an article titled "Whittling Away at the Gila Wilderness Area For Over 80 Years" by DAVE FOREMAN, covering nearly 2 full pages in a 24 page newsletter.
2007 STEVE CAPRA, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Executive Director, is listed on Foreman's Rewilding Institute website as a "Conservation Fellow".
2007 DAVE PARSONS, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Board of Directors Treasurer, is also listed on FOREMAN'S Rewilding Institute as a "Science Fellow".  From the Rewilding Institute website "Fellows Soulè, Foreman, Parsons, Miller, McKnight, and Humphrey met with John Terborgh and other TRI supporters during a 10-day Green River float trip this summer. Working groups and meetings for other key topics are being planned."
2007 ROBERT HOWARD, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Board Member, serves as President and Director of the Wildlands Project.
2007 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is one of numerous organizations listed on the Activist Cash website under the Financial Information section on Earth First!, under the heading "The following groups have received funding from what was originally named the Earth First! Foundation, now known as the Fund for Wild Nature:"
2007 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is mentioned in a newsletter article on the Wildlands Project "Wild News enewsletter - Spring/Summer 2007" titled "One of the Largest Conservation Projects in History Growing Strong".  The project they are referring to is the "Spine of the Continent Initiative", "...in an effort to protect the free movement of native species and natural processes along the 4,000-mile stretch of mountains, mesas and basins stretching from Alaska to northern Mexico. Here is a map of the "Spine of the Continent" project.
2007 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is identified as a "Regional Partner" on the Wildlands Project New Mexico Highlands project.
2007 The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Summer 2007 newsletter had an article on the founding board members of NMWA, and stated that DAVE FOREMAN "provided many, if not most, of the philosophical underpinnings that guide the work of NMWA.". 
2007 NATHAN SMALL, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, is elected to the Las Cruces City Council, Nov, 2007.
2007 The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Holiday Party, Dec 8, 2007, was publicized on the nmwild.org website as being held at the home of  DAVE FOREMAN and NANCY MORTON.
2008 Several changes to the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance are noted on their website (01/30/08) and their Winter 2007 Newsletter.  Gone from the board are PAM EATON, GLEN BANKS, BOB HOWARD and ARTURO SANDOVAL.  New additions are NANCY MORTON and NANCY MURRAY.  NANCY MORTON  is the wife of DAVE FOREMAN, and is listed on the "Working Group" for the Rewilding Institute The Activist Cash biography on Nancy Morton is "Wife of Dave Foreman; former dir., Earth First! Foundation; former conservation cmte. member, Sierra Club; activist, Wildlands Project & Sky Island Alliance; former dir., Butte Env. Council; former coordinator, Northstate Wilderness Cmte."
June 2008 The electronic newsletter for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance contains notice of "a presentation by Dave Foreman of the "Rewilding Institute" on the need for developing recovery visions for highly interactive species in North America." at their "Building Community Series" Film Night at O'Niell's Pub in Albuquerque, June 17, 2008.
   
  REFERENCE SOURCES
 
Wikipedia Dave Foreman
EarthFirst!
"Ecodefense, A Field Guide To Monkeywrenching"
"Confessions Of An EcoWarrior"
The Rewilding Institute
Wild Earth Magazine
Eco-Terrorism
"Deep Ecology"
"Pleistocene Rewilding"
Earth First! Earth First! website
Earth First! Journal website
The Rewilding Institute Dave Foreman's "Around the Campfire" writings
Biographies on Rewilding Institute Fellows
The Rewilding Institute Resources
Dave Foreman's blog
Wildlands Project Wildlands Project website
Wildside News Wildside Dave Foreman Forum
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance NMWA website
NMWA Spring 2007 Newsletter
Sierra Club Sierra Club, Who We Are: Some of Sierra Club's Conservation Leaders
Fund for Wild Nature Fund for Wild Nature website
Guidestar IRS documents for New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
Charity Navigator Charity Navigator information on New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
Activist Cash Earth First! and Dave Foreman quotes
Earth First! organization overview
Earth First! officers and supporters
Earth First! financials and donors
Earth First! organization connections
Ruckus Society organization overview
National Center for Public Policy Research Dossier on Dave Foreman
Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI Congressional Testimony of James F. Jarboe, Domestic Terrorism Section Chief, Counterterrorism Division, FBI, Before the House Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, Feb 12, 2002 "The Threat of Eco-Terrorism"
Remarks prepared for delivery by John E. Lewis, Deputy Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division, FBI, 4th Annual International Conference on Public Safety: Technology and Counterterrorism, Counterterrorism Initiatives and Partnerships, San Francisco, CA, March 14, 2005
Congressional Testimony, Statement of John E. Lewis, Deputy Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division, FBI, Before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, May 18, 2005
Capital Research Center Paper by John Berlau, "Eco-Terrorism: When Violence Becomes an Environmentalist Tactic"
"Gang Green" list of worst environmental groups
Organzation overview on the Center for Biological Diversity

Paper by Philip J. Maslar and David Hogberg, "Deep Ecology, Depthless Thinking"
Paper by Neil Hrab, "Greenpeace, Earth First!, PETA"
Paper by Sally Torbert, "Ted Turner, Down But Not Out"
Wildlands Project Revealed Wildlands Project Revealed website
Wilderness Society Wilderness Society Wilderness Support Center, Durango, Colorado
Earth Justice Earth Justice website
Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc. Speech titled "The Pleistocene Park Project - Removing Civilization from North America" by Robert J. Smith, Adjunct Environmental Scholar, Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Outdoor Wire Judy Keeler articles
Sky Island Alliance Sky Island Alliance website
Nature Magazine The Nature commentary "Re-wilding North America"
National Geographic National Geographic article: "Lions, Elephants to roam US Plains?"
MSNBC "Elephants, lions to roam North America again?"
University of Chicago "A plan for reintroducing megafauna to North America"
The American Naturalist "Pleistocene Rewilding: An Optimistic Agenda for Twenty-First Century Conservation"
Scientific American "Restoring America's big, wild animals"
College of Wooster Philosophy Department
American Land Rights Association Article "Crimes in the name of the environment"