Favorite Place in the Northwest:Queets Valley
Favorite Northwest Animal:Pine Marten
As our leader, Mitch Friedman is involved in nearly all our conservation programs and other operations, as well as directing our Cascades to Rockies programs and Healthy Watersheds Campaign to protect transboundary rivers from mining pollution.
Mitch Friedman is the Executive Director of Conservation Northwest, which he founded in 1989. He has a degree in Zoology from the University of Washington and raised two daughters in Bellingham before recently moving back to Seattle. He led or played key roles in the following conservation achievements and innovations, among others.
- The largest return of land to indigenous peoples in the history of America’s West, with the Figlenski Ranch.
- The largest reconveyance of state land in the country, around Lake Whatcom in 2012 to protect Bellingham’s drinking water.
- Restoration of a landscape-scale habitat linkage across the I-90 corridor, including a signature wildlife overpass.
- The largest privately-funded protection of state trust land in American history, on the Loomis Forest in 1999.
- The first conservation bid to prevent a federal US timber sale, on Thunder Mountain in 1996.
- Nationalizing support for ancient forest protection by organizing three coast-to-coast tours of a giant log hauled by a semi-truck, 1989-91.
- Published two books (in 1988 and 1993) applying conservation biology principles to protect the North Cascades Ecosystem.
- Organized the first civil disobedience protest to protect spotted owls, in 1986.
- Was among America’s first tree-sitters, to protect Oregon’s Millennium Grove in 1985.
He was also a founding board member of Wildlands Network and has been recognized with awards from Sunset Magazine, Society for Conservation Biology, The Wilderness Society, Washington Environmental Council, Northwest Jewish Environmental Project, Endangered Species Coalition, Wilburforce Foundation, and The Wildlife Society (NW Section). In 2003 he was named by Washington Law and Politics Magazine as one of the “25 smartest people in Washington.”
You can read Mitch’s thoughts on activist strategy in this vintage speech he delivered. In his 1996 voice, you can already hear his thoughts evolving toward broad democratic engagement and against the perils of tribal ideology.