MISSOULA, Mont. - To advance its efforts on behalf of America's wild public lands, waters and wildlife, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers announces two additions to its national staff: John Gale as conservation director and Katie McKalip as communications director.
The new hires cap a period of unprecedented growth for the 10-year-old BHA, which over the past 18 months
has seen its membership numbers more than double and accumulated a string of successes in mobilizing sportsmen to advance natural resources policy.
"Backcountry Hunters & Anglers stands to benefit immeasurably from the additions of John Gale and Katie McKalip to our national staff," said BHA Executive Director Land Tawney. "John's background and appetite for engagement in the policy arena combined with Katie's expertise in communicating these issues to the media and sportsmen in general will be instrumental to our continued and increasing success. In short, they're joining BHA at a pivotal moment, and I couldn't be more excited to have them be part of our team. I've admired both of their work for a long time. Now it's time to roll up our sleeves together!"
A fifth-generation Idahoan who grew up hunting and fishing the backcountry with his family, John Gale engaged in policy at a young age, completing high school early to take his first job with Republican's in the Idaho State Senate. He later worked as a whitewater river guide and ranger while earning his B.S. with the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. Currently based in Colorado, Gale comes to BHA after spending nine years at the National Wildlife Federation directing sportsmen campaigns and public lands policy; prior to that he oversaw a variety of grassroots conservation programs with Trout Unlimited.
"Our heritage and family traditions are shaped by many things, but there is something especially pure and primal about hunting and fishing in the backcountry," said Gale. "These wild landscapes lodge themselves into the fiber of our human spirit. I'm proud to be a part of an organization like Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, dedicated to our sporting traditions and pristine public lands, waters and wildlife. We have an obligation to pass this unique inheritance to the generations that follow us. As a father, I am personally invested in BHA's commitment to our natural resources and the stewardship values we model for future hunters and anglers."
Katie McKalip joins BHA following a stint with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, where she spent seven-plus years leading the TRCP's media outreach and other communications work and realizing founder Jim Range's vision of the TRCP as an influencer of sportsmen-driven conservation policy. She is actively involved with the board of the , where she previously directed communications. McKalip has an M.S. from the University of Montana and a B.A. from The College of William & Mary.
"I'm frankly thrilled to be joining the talented crew at Backcountry Hunters and Anglers," said McKalip. "From leading the charge to advocate for the nation's federal public lands to enhancing our ability to access U.S. lands and waters, BHA has generated a level of engagement, passion and commitment by its members that, in my experience, is unprecedented. At the same time, communicating the importance of policy and legislative issues to rank-and-file sportsmen can be a challenging task at best. I'm eager to put my experience to work in support of BHA's mission and in service of the millions of citizens who cherish the solitude, solace and physical challenges found in America's backcountry."
Formed around an Oregon campfire a decade ago, BHA was created to be the sportsmen's voice for the nation's wild public lands, waters and wildlife. With members in all 50 states and Canada, 16 state-based chapters and a chapter in British Columbia, and more than 60,000 Facebook users, the group brings an authentic, informed, boots-on-the-ground voice to the conservation of public lands.
"During its relatively brief existence, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has maintained a laser-like focus on maintaining quality hunting and fishing for all Americans to enjoy," concluded Tawney, "and we remain committed to sustaining and expanding access to public lands, conserving world-class fish and wildlife habitat and promoting fair chase principles. BHA has an energy that's hard to describe, but it's impossible to manufacture - or ignore. The additions of John and Katie will enable us to capitalize on this energy. The best is yet to come!"