Longtime Policy Expert John Gale to Leave Backcountry Hunters & Anglers for Senior Position with the Bureau of Land Management

News for Immediate Release
Oct. 23, 2023
Contact: Thomas Plank, 303-720-0111, [email protected]

MISSOULA, Mont. – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is proud to announce that John Gale, the organization’s vice president of policy and government relations, has been selected for a Senior Executive Service position with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. His last day with BHA will be November 3, 2023.

As the nation’s largest steward of public lands and waters, the Bureau of Land Management is a natural landing place for Gale, whose efforts to hone BHA’s influence and advocacy affecting conservation policy deeply informed and shaped the group’s priorities in local, state, federal, and international spheres. Gale will serve in a career service position as Program Executive for Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the BLM, helping DOI and BLM enhance policy development, strengthen stakeholder engagement, and facilitate implementation of management priorities across multiple jurisdictions. He will function as the principal advisor to BLM senior leadership on sensitive issues and critical matters pertaining to BLM policy and program direction. His departure has been in motion for several months as DOI worked through the rigorous selection processes for civil service. BHA’s Executive Committee has been supporting his progression through this process.

“We are very proud of and excited about John’s selection for an influential career service leadership position with the Department of the Interior,” said Ted Koch, BHA North American Board Chairman. “This unique opportunity reflects his expertise, hard work, reputation in the community, and good judgment demonstrated throughout his career. It is also recognition of the significance of his impact at BHA.”

Gale’s roots with BHA run deep. He was voted onto the Board of Directors in 2008 and joined the staff in 2015 to establish a policy and government relations strategy to elevate the organization’s influence with decision makers and enhance conservation delivery at all levels. Under Gale’s leadership, BHA nurtured a policy-savvy chapter network and empowered a dedicated membership willing to stand and advocate for our lands, waters, and hunting and fishing heritage. “I will always be most proud of the work we accomplished together with BHA’s hard-charging chapter leaders and those individual members willing to lend their voices when we needed them most,” Gale said. 

During his tenure, BHA helped achieve generational policy wins such as ensuring dedicated funding and permanent authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and secured durable conservation designations for lands and waters across the United States. His work with decision makers in Washington, D.C. and state governments established BHA as a respected organization with a reputation for advancing thoughtful bipartisan solutions.

Gale was remarkably effective at directing resources to handle smaller policy brush fires around the country, but was at his best when marshaling grassroots energy and passion to move the needle on large, complex policy initiatives such as the many attempts by state and congressional lawmakers to sell or privatize public lands and waters. An avid angler and hunter, his deep grasp of outdoor traditions and ethics combined with an encyclopedic knowledge of environmental laws and regulations made him an invaluable resource for members and partners seeking insight and clarity on issues spanning the conservation spectrum. At every juncture, Gale’s love of public trust resources fueled his fire. “While I wasn’t around the formative Oregon campfire that sparked BHA into existence, as soon as I smelled the smoke,” Gale said, “I knew where I wanted to be.”

“While leaving BHA is bittersweet, I am incredibly grateful for the unique experiences I’ve had and the life-long friends I’ve made,” Gale said. “I am filled with a strong sense of excitement and duty to do my part at BLM to ensure our wild public lands, waters, and wildlife endure for the generations that follow us. As I leave, I tip my hat to the talented staff, dedicated North American Board of Directors, and tireless volunteer leaders that are the heart and soul of an incredible conservation organization working to protect our traditions and outdoor heritage. We’ll see each other soon on some crooked trail in the wild country.”

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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About Thomas Plank

Communications Manager for BHA

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