WGA 2017 Annual Meeting

WGA 2017 Annual Meeting

The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) hosted their 2017 Annual Meeting in Whitefish, Montana from June 26 - 28. Ten Western Governors from the states (or U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands) of Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming attended the meeting. During the three-day event, Western Governors formally approved five policy resolutions and discussed issues such as U.S.-Canada relations, infrastructure and the upcoming WGA Initiative on workforce development, led by 2018 Chair and South Dakota Governor, Dennis Daugaard. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, was one of the keynote speakers at the meeting.

Of priority to the Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF) and the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC), WGA hosted a meeting session on the WGA National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative to highlight their past year's work. Moderated by WGA 2017 Chairman and Montana Governor, Steve Bullock, speakers included Wyoming State Forester and CWSF member Bill Crapser, USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Natural Resources Conservation Service Acting Chief Leonard Jordan, Idaho Forest Group Chairman Marc Brinkmeyer, and The Nature Conservancy Global Managing Director for Public Policy Lynn Scarlett.

During the WGA Annual Meeting, Governor Bullock and Western Governors released the WGA National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative special report. Additionally, two of the formally approved WGA resolutions (2017-10 National Forest and Rangeland Management and 2017-09 Western Agriculture) incorporate relevant recommendations from the report. The special report outlines the launch year of the multi-year Initiative and includes both administrative and legislative recommendations. CWSF members and staff assisted WGA and Western Governors’ over this last year on the Initiative workshops and on the development of the special report. We look forward to continuing to work with WGA as they begin the implementation phase of the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative. The link to the WGA special report is here. The link to the Initiative web page is here.