We lost one of the greats of conservation yesterday

Huey Johnson
Huey Johnson was a major figure in the world of conservation. Photo by the Resource Renewal Institute.

I want to share some brief thoughts on the passing of Huey Johnson.

Huey was a powerhouse and created the “land for people” era of the modern conservation movement. Starting with the Marin Headlands that have since grown to define the beauty and recreational culture of the Bay Area, he launched a movement of saving places not just for their natural beauty, but because these places, and our collective connection to them, make our lives better and our communities stronger.

He had a further, lesser-known ambition and impact: a vision of creating and training a new profession; an ecosystem of real estate professionals around the country tasked with saving land for the public. Through the growth and collaboration of the national work of the Trust for Public Land, Huey helped to train generations of professionals equipped to compete in the private market with developers and the extraction industry, negotiating complex real-estate transactions to get the beauty of nature out of harm’s way and into the public trust. As a result of the organization he helped to launch in 1973 (Trust for Public Land, hundreds of conservation professionals have been at work in every state of the country to save land for the public good.

About the author

President and Chief Enthusiast for the Outdoors (CEO) of Save the Redwoods League, Sam brings more than 25 years of experience in overseeing land conservation programs from the remote wilderness to the inner city.

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2 Responses to “We lost one of the greats of conservation yesterday”

  1. Becky Bremser

    I concur. Huey did create a new profession and helped train generations of professionals. I am a part of that special group. I grew up at The Trust for Public Land, being trained to compete and negotiate in that world. I remember learning about Huey and The Trust for Public Land over twenty years ago and it was like a light was turned on and a fire was lit inside of me – it was exactly what I wanted to do. It was my calling. I feel so lucky to have built my career in this space; to have been mentored by some of the best; and contribute to protecting critically important places.

  2. Joe Edmiston

    You nailed it on Huey. His greatest contribution was scores of environmental real estate gurus. Although I never heard him say these words, he might as well have : “Out think ’em, out calculate ’em.”


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