News for Immediate Release
December 6, 2023
Contact: Thomas Plank, 303-720-0111, [email protected]
MISSOULA, Mont. – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), a trailblazing public lands and conservation advocacy organization, announces the appointment of Patrick Berry as its new Chief Executive Officer. Following an extensive continent-wide search process, Berry, of Middlebury, Vermont, will take the reins of the North America-wide organization on Jan. 1, 2024. Berry’s hire will kick off the group’s 20th-anniversary year.
“It is an incredible honor to lead an organization that has seized the mantle as a leader in effective and passionate advocacy for the special places where fish and wildlife thrive and where so many of us find solace, renewal, and reward,” Berry says. “The meteoric rise of BHA’s stature and relevance, and the increased recognition of the deep values of public lands and public waters, is a testament to both the vision of my predecessor, Land Tawney, as well as the dedication of BHA’s board, staff, and volunteers. I look forward to being a part of that legacy.”
Before joining BHA, Berry served as President and CEO of Fly Fishers International, where his strengths in nonprofit leadership, conservation advocacy, and strategic vision have been instrumental in the organization’s recent evolution. He previously held the position as Vice President of Philanthropy for the Vermont Community Foundation, leveraging his expertise in fundraising to triple annual giving and assets under management.
Berry’s additional experience includes a successful tenure as the director of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, where he spearheaded important conservation initiatives and has been credited for modernizing and bringing financial stability to the Department. He has also held roles directing conservation policy and government affairs at the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Vermont Law School. Early in his career, Berry spent nearly a decade as a fishing guide in the Northern Rockies while also working as an outdoor writer, commercial fly tyer, and artist.
“We are incredibly grateful for a truly impressive roster of applicants from all corners of the BHA community,” says Ted Koch, BHA North American board chair. “We’re particularly excited that Patrick brings a great breadth and depth of skills and experience directly applicable to BHA’s people and mission. We’re looking forward to him hitting the ground running.”
Berry will lead BHA as the organization builds on a legacy of conservation successes. Known for operating on the front lines of efforts to protect public lands and public waters from threats as diverse as privatization and over-commercialization, BHA has been instrumental in efforts to protect spawning salmon habitat in Alaska, coastal shore access in Rhode Island, the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, and in ensuring dedicated funding and permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Its state and regional chapters are noted for their highly active membership base and engagement with local, state, and federal policy.
“BHA’s advocacy has been tremendously beneficial for the evolving demographics of the hunting and fishing community across North America,” Berry notes. “One of the distinctive tenets of the North American Conservation Model is the equal opportunity provided for outdoor pursuits, but that construct is based on successful conservation efforts and the ability to access public resources. BHA has been the point of the spear to ensure current and future generations can enjoy these same opportunities.”
Berry currently lives in Vermont with his wife, Brooke, and has two adult sons, Quinn and Willem. He is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, an avid hunter and angler, and shares his house with five spaniels he trains for hunting and field trials.
Formed around a 2004 campfire in Oregon, BHA seeks to ensure America’s outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. In addition to its Missoula headquarters, the organization oversees chapters in 43 states and three Canadian provinces.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.