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Green Bag: Peter Geddes – American Prairie Reserve: Building America’s First 21st Century Park in an Era of Government Retrenchment

January 30, 2014 @ 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm


S.J. Quinney College of Law, Room 106

Historically American has relied on the federal government for large landscape protection. Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness, Yellowstone, and the breathtaking national parks of Utah are examples of this incredible legacy. But this era of iconic conservation was largely over by the middle of the last century. With federal government confronting entitlement liabilities that will trump (by orders of magnitude) discretionary spending by federal land management agencies, might private philanthropy fill this void and help build a globally significant wildlife reserve for the public to enjoy?

As Alexis de Tocqueville explained early in our history, Americans excel at building voluntary institutions that foster cooperative pursuit of shared interests. In the sprit of de Tocqueville, American Prairie Reserve (APR) is spearheading a historic effort to assemble the largest wildlife reserve in the lower 48 states. Working in Montana’s Northern Great Plains, our goal is to assemble a wildlife complex approximately 3.5 million acres in size. When complete, this will be a contiguous landscape roughly the size of Connecticut set aside for wildlife and open to the public.

Now ten years in the making, this project is funded exclusively by private individuals and foundations rather than with taxpayer funds. National Geographic describes this undertaking as “one of the most ambitious conservation efforts in American history.” At a time when the country faces a seemingly endless array of divisive issues, this project offers the possibility to coalesce around an unambiguously positive effort.

Peter Geddes, Managing Director, American Prairie Reserve
Pete is a Managing Director of the Bozeman Montana based American Prairie Reserve (APR). His responsibilities include strategic leadership, fundraising, and organizational development.

Working in the Northern Great Plains of Montana APR is assembling the largest wildlife reserve in the continental United States. By acquiring and managing approximately 500,000 private acres APR will glue together a complex of private and public lands the size of Connecticut devoted to wildlife conservation and public access. National Geographic has described this effort as one of the most important and ambitious conservation projects underway anywhere in the world.

Pete spent fourteen years with the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment first as Program Director and later Executive Vice President. Directly prior to joining APR in 2011, Pete was Director of Development and Operations at the Property and Environment Research Center.

A native of New York State, Pete earned his BS from St. Lawrence University, where he studied geology. He holds an MS from the University of Montana School of Forestry where he was awarded a Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship. Pete was a member of the senior faculty at the National Outdoor Leadership School and served a term on the school’s Advisory Council.

Pete is co-editor of Saving a Place: Endangered Species in the 21st Century published by Ashgate Press. His writings have appeared in numerous media outlets including The Wall Street Journal and he has been a guest on NPR’s To the Point and Yellowstone Public Radio’s Homeground.

Pete is actively involved with his community, serving as a trustee of the Sourdough Volunteer Fire Department and the Bozeman Amateur Hockey Association.

1 hour CLE, email communications@law.utah.edu


January 30, 2014
12:15 pm - 1:30 pm
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S. J. Quinney College of Law
383 South University St
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States