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Wallace Stegner Center 23rd Annual Symposium – Public Lands in a Changing West

March 15, 2018 @ 8:00 am - March 16, 2018 @ 1:00 pm

S.J. Quinney College of Law Moot Courtroom (Level 6)

The Stegner Center’s 23rd Symposium will address “Public Lands in a Changing West.” With controversy continuing to embroil the federal public lands, and with our nation approaching the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Public Land Law Review Commission report, this is an opportune time to examine the changes that have occurred during the past fifty years, the forces driving current controversies, and the opportunities to anticipate and resolve future conflicts.

Also join the Stegner Center March 14, the day before the Symposium for the noontime lecture with John Leshy »

After reviewing how the West is changing, scientific advances, and evolving public land laws and policies, the symposium will examine three signature issues—the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument designation, multi-jurisdictional efforts to manage for sage grouse conservation, and the Crown of the Continent initiative in northern Montana—to extract key lessons learned and viable strategies for addressing contentious issues. The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion to identify ongoing problems, policy changes, and related reforms that could improve resource management across the public domain and also garner broader support.

The Wallace Stegner Lecture will be given by Professor John Leshy, University of California Hastings College of Law and former Department of the Interior Solicitor. The lecture is scheduled for March 14, 2018.

10 hours Utah CLE. Thursday 6.5 hours, Friday 3.5 hours. Click here for the Symposium brochure »

Online registration now closed. Registration will be available at the door »

$150 General Public, if received before March 1
$175 General Public, if received on March 1 or after

$125 Seniors (62+), University, Government, Nonprofit, if received before March 1
$150 Seniors (62+), University, Government, Nonprofit, if received on March 1 or after

$25 Students, if received before March 1
$50 Students, if received on March 1 or after

Symposium Agenda

Thursday, March 15, 2018

7:30  a.m. – Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30  a.m. – Welcome and Introductions

8:40  a.m. – The Dynamic West: Economic & Demographic Change
Ray Rasker, Headwaters Economics

9:20  a.m. – Science, Policy, and the Public Lands
Jocelyn L. Aycrigg, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho

10:00  a.m. – Break

10:30  a.m. – An Evolving Legal and Policy Framework
Robert Keiter, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

11:10 a.m. – Keynote: Salmon, Huckleberries and Redrock Monuments — Relatives All: Indian Tribes and Federal Lands
Charles Wilkinson, University of Colorado Law School

12:00  p.m. – Lunch

12:50 p.m. – Utah’s Monumental Controversy: Revisiting the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
John Ruple, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law (Moderator)
Steve Bloch, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Constance E. Brooks, C.E. Brooks & Associates, P.C.
Nicole Croft, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners

2:20 p.m. – Break

2:45 p.m. – Sage Grouse Conservation: The Challenge of Multi-Jurisdictional Planning
Danya Rumore, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law (Moderator)
Bret Birdsong, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Anthony Rampton, Public Lands Section, Utah Attorney General’s Office
Todd Tucci, Advocates for the West

4:15 p.m – Keynote: From Conflict to Cooperation: Challenges of Scale, Complexity and Change
Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy

5:00 p.m. – Conclude

Friday, March 16, 2018

8:00  a.m. – Continental Breakfast

8:30  a.m. – Western Playgrounds/Outdoor Recreation: Who Cares?
Rebecca Watson, Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C.

9:10  a.m. – The Crown of the Continent: Home Grown Regionalism
Robert Keiter, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law (Moderator)
Jeff Mow, Superintendent, Glacier National Park
Mary Sexton, Crown of the Continent Roundtable Leadership Team
Melissa Weatherwax, Blackfeet Community College Native Science Field Center

10:40  a.m. – Break

11:00 a.m. – The Path Forward: Challenges and Opportunities
Matthew McKinney, Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy, University of Montana (Moderator)
John Leshy, University of California, Hastings College of the Law (emeritus)
Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy
Rebecca Watson, Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C.
Charles Wilkinson, University of Colorado Law School

12:30 p.m. – Conclude


Speaker Bios

John D. Leshy is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Before joining the Hastings faculty in 2001, he was Solicitor (General Counsel) of the Interior Department throughout the Clinton Administration, and earlier was special counsel to the House Natural Resources Committee, a law professor at Arizona State, Associate Interior Solicitor in the Carter Administration, with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in the Bay Area, and a litigator in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He helped lead the Interior Department transition team for Clinton-Gore in 1992 and Obama-Biden in 2008. He has four times been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1969, after earning an A.B. at Harvard College. Leshy has published widely on public lands, water and other natural resources issue, as well as constitutional law, including books on the Mining Law of 1872 (The Mining Law, 1987) and the Arizona State Constitution (2d ed. 2013, in the series of Oxford Commentaries on the State Constitutions of the United States). He is co-author of Federal Public Land and Resources Law (Foundation Press, 7th ed. 2014, with Coggins, Wilkinson & Fischman) and Legal Control of Water Resources (West Publishing, 6th ed. forthcoming 2018, with Thompson, Abrams, and Zellmer). He has litigated cases in state and federal courts, served on numerous commissions and boards, and is currently writing a political history of America’s public lands.

Jocelyn Aycrigg is a conservation scientist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences in the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. Her research interests focus on wildlife population ecology and informing conservation at the landscape level.  Her research has enabled her to work with a wide variety of exceptional people from diverse backgrounds, including academia, land management agencies at the state and federal level, tribal agencies, and non-governmental organizations.  Recently, she led a successful research team with 14 members that represented 4 federal agencies, 5 non-governmental organizations, and 4 universities, including the University of Idaho. The team published a paper in BioScience describing the opportunities and challenges in the U.S. for developing a national habitat conservation system. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Idaho in natural resources with an emphasis in wildlife population ecology.

Bret Birdsong, a professor of law at UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law, is a recognized expert in Public Land, Federal Natural Resources, Water Rights and Conservation Law.  Most recently, while on leave from the law school from 2013-2016, he served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Solicitor for Land Resources at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  At Interior, he provided counsel to the Secretary of the Interior regarding the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and other agencies on important conservation and land management policy initiatives. He teaches, Public Lands and Natural Resources Law, Water Law, Environmental Quality Law, Property Law and Administrative Law He is a co-author of Natural Resources Law: A Place-Based Book of Problems and Cases (Aspen 3d ed. 2013) and edits chapters on Federal Reserved Water Rights and Interstate Water Allocation in the Treatise Waters and Water Rights.  Since joining the law school faculty and moving to Las Vegas in 2000, he has learned to point his car away from the Strip, where he enjoys exploring the public lands.

Stephen Bloch is the legal director and an attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA).  SUWA is Utah’s largest conservation organization and is dedicated to the protection of approximately 9.5 million acres of Utah’s remarkable red rock country as designated Wilderness.  He oversees all aspects of SUWA’s litigation. In December 2017, SUWA and a coalition of conservation groups challenged in court President Trump’s reduction of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.  In 2011, he was the Utah State Bar Energy, Natural Resources & Environmental Law Section Lawyer of the Year.  Mr. Bloch is a 1997 graduate of the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law and a 1993 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and three children.

Constance E. Brooks, C.E. Brooks & Associates, P.C., specializes in federal regulatory issues and related natural resource and environmental matters, such as mining, mineral leasing, rights of way and access rights, livestock grazing, as well as federal and state land use planning. She has handled federal litigation in most western states and in the District of Columbia.  Prior to starting her own firm in Denver, Colorado in 1993, Ms. Brooks practiced law in Portland, Oregon, as a member of the firms of Davis Wright Tremaine and Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler. From 1982 to 1988, Ms. Brooks served as Vice President and General Counsel of Mountain States Legal Foundation in Denver, Colorado.  Before moving to Denver, Colorado in 1982, Ms. Brooks worked in Washington, D.C. for an Alaska-based law firm which represented Alaskan clients on the proposed wilderness legislation now known as the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Ms. Brooks is a 1977 graduate of Tulane Law School and a member of the bar in Virginia, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. She served on the Standing Committee on Environmental Law of the American Bar Association from 1986 to 1990 and has lectured and written on public land and environmental issues.

Nicole Croft has served as the Executive Director for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners since 2016.  She has lived in Escalante, Utah since 2007, where she has been involved in community organizing projects from launching a charity thrift store to founding the Escalante Farmers Market in 2008. She has a master’s degree in Community Leadership from Westminster College in Salt Lake City with a focus on rural sustainability and understanding the perspectives of various stakeholders living in the gateway communities of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. She is a sixth generation Utahan.

Bob Keiter is the Acting Dean for the S.J. Quinney College of Law, the Director for the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, and the Wallace Stegner Professor of Law and University Distinguished Professor. He has written extensively on public lands, national parks, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem management. His books include To Conserve Unimpaired: The Evolution of the National Park Idea and Keeping Faith with Nature: Ecosystems, Democracy, and America’s Public Lands. He is a trustee of the National Parks Conservation Association, past president of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and past chair of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s board of directors.

Matthew McKinney is Director of the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy at the University of Montana, where he also serves as the founding chair of a university-wide graduate program in Natural Resources Conflict Resolution. Matthew has over 30 years of experience as a mediator, educator, and policy analyst, and has worked on land, water, and natural resources issues in the American West, as well as throughout North America and around the world. One of his most recent publications is “Whither Public Participation in Federal Land Management? Replicating Homegrown Innovations in Shared Problem Solving,” Environmental Law Reporter (2018).

Jeff Mow has been the Glacier National Park Superintendent since August of 2013.  He first came to Montana in 1979 and over the next four summers worked for the USGS doing geologic mapping in southwest Montana.  His first visit to Glacier National Park was in 1988 where he spent two weeks cutting fire line on Red Bench Fire in the North Fork. Much of Jeff’s 29 years with the National Park Service has been in Alaska where he had eight duty stations over the course of 22 ½ years.  Glacier National Park is his fourth superintendency, with previous assignments at Kenai Fjords National Park, Denali National Park and Preserve, and Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.  During his career, he has gained experience with the legislative process, climate change response, large oil spills, and the use of scenarios to plan for uncertainty. He lives in Whitefish Montana with his wife and son and they are all passionate about winter sports including all types of skiing and skating.  In the “off-season,” they enjoy biking, hiking, camping, and paddling.

Anthony L. Rampton is an accomplished attorney with 43 years of extensive experience in civil litigation, trial and appellate practice.  His legal practice has also included a wide spectrum of expertise in government relations at federal, state and local levels, administrative and regulatory law, eminent domain, natural resources and water law, as well as public lands and utilities.  He has years of experience in energy development, as well as environmental regulation and permitting, and endangered species assessment.  Throughout his career, he has been active in legislative matters, having authored and lobbied dozens of pieces of legislation.  Presently, Tony serves as Assistant Utah Attorney General, and is Director of the Public Lands Section.  In this capacity, he serves as lead litigation counsel in the several R.S. 2477 roads litigation pending in federal district court.  He has also been actively involved in the State’s sage grouse, national monuments, grazing, resource planning, law enforcement, wildfires, wild horses and other public lands issues.

Ray Rasker is the Executive Director of Headwaters Economics, an independent, nonprofit research group which seeks to improve community development and land management decisions in the West, with a focus on such topics as wildfire, federal payments to counties, energy tax policy, the economic role of public lands, and a number of free analytical tools for helping understand the link between the economy and the environment.  Partners include rural communities, state legislatures, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, universities, and non-profit organizations. Ray Rasker has a Ph.D. from the College of Forestry (economics), Oregon State University; a Masters of Agriculture from Colorado State University (agricultural marketing); and a Bachelor’s of Science (wildlife biology) from the University of Washington.  He also holds an affiliate position at Montana State University.

Danya Rumore is the Director of the Environmental Dispute Resolution Program at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. She is also a Research Assistant Professor in the City and Metropolitan Planning Department and a research affiliate of the Ecological Planning Center and Global Change and Sustainability Center. Dr. Rumore’s research and work focus on supporting collaborative decision-making and stakeholder engagement in the context of science-intensive environmental issues, with a particular focus on climate-related risk management, water resources management, and regional planning.

John Ruple is an Associate Professor of Law (Research) and Wallace Stegner Center fellow at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. He is also a faculty affiliate with the University of Utah’s Institute for Clean & Secure Energy, and the Global Change and Sustainability Center. His work focuses on public land and natural resource management, including national monument designation, federal public land planning and management, efforts to transfer federal public lands to the states, federal-state land exchange reform, and environmental impact review efficacy. Prior to joining the Stegner Center, Professor Ruple served as a policy analyst in Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.’s Public Land Policy Coordinating Office, as an environmental litigator in private practice, and as a NEPA contractor and project manager specializing in permitting for ski areas operating on National Forest System lands.

KEYNOTE – Lynn Scarlett was formerly the Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and is now global Co-Chief of External Affairs at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and leads TNC’s global climate strategy. She chairs the Science Advisory Board of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Sustainability Roundtable, and also co-chairs the federal Landscape-scale Conservation Cooperatives Council. During her 8 years at the Interior Department, which oversees management of 500 million acres of public lands, federal dams, and other natural resources, as well as offshore energy leasing, Ms. Scarlett convened and chaired the Department’s first-ever Climate Change Task Force. She served on the Executive Committee of the President’s Management Council in the White House. She served as a co-lead author of the 2014 (U.S.) National Climate Assessment. She is author or co-author of publications on climate change adaptation; urban greening; large landscape conservation; science and decision-making, and other environmental policy topics. She received her M.A. in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she also completed her Ph.D. coursework and exams in political economy.

Mary Sexton has served Governor Brian Schweitzer as director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for eight years.  She was a Teton County Montana Commissioner in the early 2000’s.  Additionally, she has worked for the Montana Nature Conservancy as an administrator at the Pine Butte Swamp Preserve west of Choteau.  She is currently a member of the Leadership Team for the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent, a network of people that works to maintain the culture, communities, and conservation in the magnificent 18 million-acre Crown of the Continent. She lives on her grandfather’s ranch just outside of Choteau, Montana.

Todd Tucci is a co-founder and Senior Attorney at Advocates for the West, a public interest environmental law firm headquartered in Boise, Idaho, with offices in Portland, Oregon and Washington, D.C.  Mr. Tucci leads Advocates’ Sagebrush Sea and National Monument Defense Projects.  He has brought many cases seeking to protect Greater sage-grouse populations and habitat, and with his co-counsel and partner Laird Lucas created, designed, and executed the legal strategy to increase protections for Greater sage-grouse. He has won numerous victories over the years to protect the biological diversity and integrity of the public lands and waters within the Sagebrush Sea, and the imperiled species that depend on these habitats throughout the Intermountain West.  Todd currently lives on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Rebecca Watson is a shareholder in the law firm of Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C. in Denver.  With more than 30 years of legal and policy experience in the fields of conventional and renewable energy, mining, natural resources and federal environmental law, Rebecca counsels companies on environmental regulatory compliance and agency engagement strategies.  As Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management of the U.S. Department of the Interior in the George W. Bush administration, she had oversight over three energy resource bureaus including BLM, led 12,000 employees and managed a $1 billion budget.  Rebecca earlier served as the Assistant General Counsel for Energy Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy.  Rebecca was named the 2011 Distinguished Natural Resource Practitioner-in-Residence at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, her alma mater, and is nationally recognized as a top energy and natural resources lawyer.  She serves as the Secretary for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s governing board, is a board member and past-Chair of the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and serves on the advisory board for the Draper Museum of Natural History at the Center of the West in Cody, WY.

Melissa Weatherwax has been an educator for 14 years working with the Blackfeet Tribal Community and K-12 students and educators for 13 years. She has been instrumental in helping develop the Native Science Field Center (NSFC) Model and implementation of K-12 and educator programs under the NSFC. Melissa has been a part of the Blackfeet Community College Institutional Development Team for 5 years. Her experience includes developing long-range planning for the Blackfeet Community College, including engaging community in development of programs and coordinating the campus facilities master plan. She has an Education A.A. in Elementary Education from Blackfeet Community College and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Montana State University Northern.

KEYNOTE – Charles Wilkinson is the Moses Laskey Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Colorado. He has written 14 books on law, history, and society in the American West. They include the standard law texts on both Federal Public Land Law and Indian Law along with such popular books as The Eagle Bird: Mapping a New West; Crossing The Next Meridian: Land, Water, and the Future of the West; Fire on the Plateau: Conquest and Endurance in the American Southwest; and Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations. He has served on several boards, including the Northern Lights Institute, The Wilderness Society, and the Grand Canyon Trust. Over the years, he has taken on many special assignments for Indian Tribes, States, and the US Department of the Interior, Agriculture, and Justice, including serving on the drafting team for President Clinton’s proclamation creating the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 and acting as Special Advisor to the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition in the creation of the Bears Ears National Monument in 2016. His awards include the National Wildlife Federation’s National Conservation Award; the Grand Canyon Trust’s John Wesley Powell Award for extraordinary vision, passion, and commitment to the Colorado Plateau; and the Federal Bar Association’s Lawrence R. Baca Award for Lifetime Achievement in Indian Law.


The King’s English Bookshop will be onsite selling books.

Principal Funding:

Harold Burton Foundation
Cultural Vision Fund

The Wallace Stegner Center’s annual symposium brings together legal scholars, thinkers, and practitioners from around the world to tackle pressing environmental issues. Recent symposia have focused on wildlife conservation, alternative energy, global climate change, and sustainability.

For questions about this event contact Kris (801) 585-3440.

Free parking is available at the Rice-Eccles Stadium. We encourage you to use public transportation to our events. Take TRAX University line to the Stadium stop and walk a half block north. For other public transit options use UTA’s Trip Planner. The law school is on the Red Route for the University’s free campus shuttles (College of Law stop).


March 15, 2018 @ 8:00 am
March 16, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
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College of Law
801-585-3440 | 801-585-3479


S. J. Quinney College of Law
383 South University St
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States
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