Katie McKalip, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ communications director, explored Eastern backcountry at an early age while growing up outside of Washington, D.C., in Virginia. She waded through the busy hustle of the city to find pockets of public lands and waters, everything from local ponds and marshes to Civil War battlefields.
Being raised near the nation’s capital in a military family resulted in a lot of dinnertime discussions about law-making and policy, conversations that would influence her even after she moved west to Montana’s vast expanses.
Katie holds a huge appreciation for the role that sportsmen and women can play in influencing policy affecting public lands. “This community has a long tradition of being a leader on conservation issues,” she said.
Her older brothers took her fishing when she was a kid, but when she moved to Montana for graduate school in 2000, she started spending more time hunting and angling. She says hunting gave her something new to do in the fall. After marrying her husband from northwestern Montana, a lifelong big game hunter, her fate was sealed.
Katie’s parents both were public servants and enforced in her the importance of giving back to society. After completing school, she started working for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a young organization committed to amplifying the voice of sportsmen on national policy issues. She spent seven years building the TRCP’s communications program before joining BHA’s team three years ago.
Anytime she is not juggling press releases and policy, Katie can be found outside, whether it’s hunting, fishing, skiing, trail running or floating rivers. She loves being outside with her husband and two young kids, even if it’s just a short summer float down the Clark Fork River that runs through Missoula.
In Katie’s view, BHA is a catalyzing force that unites sportsmen and women and outdoors people who care about public lands. “One of my favorite parts of my job is our members,” Katie said. She calls the organization a big tent that brings together many different outspoken people – committed, well spoken and passionate advocates for the conservation of public lands.
Despite the strong conservation work of BHA in the last years, the very existence of public lands seems more precarious than ever to Katie. “We are facing enormous challenges,” she said. And Katie is ready for the fight: “I am relishing the huge challenges that lie ahead because the team at BHA is awesomely equipped to tackle them.”
Stay tuned for the next staff bio to learn who is working for you behind the scenes!