ICL appoints Brad Smith as new conservation director

By Reader Staff

Longtime Idaho Conservation League North Idaho Director Brad Smith has a new title with the statewide organization: conservation director. 

Well known for his conservation work throughout the region, Smith began his career with ICL in 2007, focusing on public lands and wildlife with an emphasis on responsible recreation. He most recently collaborated with snowmobilers, backcountry skiers, the U.S. Forest Service and other North Idaho stakeholders to develop a winter recreation plan for the 1 million-acre Kaniksu National Forest.

“Brad’s experience and expertise makes him the perfect person to lead our conservation team forward,” stated ICL Executive Director Justin Hayes in a news release. “His passion for the natural world and the people of Idaho will make ICL’s work resonate with people across the state, and make a real difference for Idaho’s clean air, water, lands, wildlife and communities.”

Having grown up in North Idaho — and seeing among the last woodland caribou to be found in the region — Smith felt inspired by the animals’ plight and pursued a degree in environmental science at the University of Idaho in Moscow and a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Boise State University.

Stemming from that experience and education, collaboration has been a cornerstone of Smith’s success at ICL. He worked with the Idaho Forest Group — Idaho’s largest timber company — to endorse the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness in 2015. This support was part of a broader agreement on a land management plan for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, encompassing proposed wilderness areas and timber management areas.

In 2022, Smith launched ICL’s North Idaho Lakes Program, aiming to maintain the cleanliness, swimability and fishability of the region’s lakes, rivers and streams. 

As conservation director, he will oversee ICL’s initiatives to restore salmon, protect public lands, conserve wildlife, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean up the Snake River.

“I am honored to be selected for this role,” Smith stated. “I look forward to leading staff and collaborating with our members and others who care about Idaho to safeguard our air, water, wildlands and wildlife for the benefit of present and future Idahoans.”

Smith succeeds Marie Callaway-Kellner, who, after a decade at ICL, accepted a position at the University of Idaho Law School.

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