Sloan Shoemaker stepping down from Wilderness Workshop |

Sloan Shoemaker stepping down from Wilderness Workshop

Staff Report
Sloan Shoemaker

Sloan Shoemaker, the head of the environmental watchdog group Wilderness Workshop, announced his resignation Thursday in what the nonprofit organization called a “bittersweet moment.”

Shoemaker, who was the Carbondale group’s executive director for 21 years, will be replaced by its conservation director, Will Roush.

Shoemaker’s reasons for stepping down, according to a statement, are “that he’s ready for a change to spend more time with his family and in the wilderness he has long worked to protect while he contemplates new opportunities.”

“It’s hard to find the words to express how grateful I am to the staff, board and community for the faith and support that has allowed me to lead this organization to become one of the most impactful local conservation organizations in the state,” Shoemaker said. “But, just like our ecosystems are renewed by occasional disturbances, I am ready for a change. It’ll do me good and I have no doubt that it will equally refresh the organization’s ecology.”

Shoemaker and Roush will spend the summer working together on the transition in which Roush will take over in the fall. Shoemaker will continue working with Wilderness Workshop on some special projects and consulting on an as-needed basis, the statement said.

“I am excited to explore what the next chapter of my life will bring and I am bullish on where Will’s leadership will take Wilderness Workshop in its next iteration,” Shoemaker said.

Said Roush: “I can’t think of anything I’d rather devote my professional energy to than protecting public lands for wildlife and future generations. Wilderness Workshop is a community asset and I’ve seen firsthand the profound difference the organization has made to our community. I am honored the board has chosen me to lead the organization.

“It’s hard to think of a time when our work of educating, organizing, advocating and, when needed, litigating to ensure public lands stay public, remain wild and gain additional protections, has been more needed or supported by the local community.”

Roush has been with the organization since 2009 and comes from a rich conservation background. His grandparents and parents have been environmental advocates for local and national issues, and Roush sits on the national boards of the renowned environmental law firm Earthjustice and its Canadian counterpart, Ecojustice.

Roush also is a prior trustee of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

Roush graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Middlebury College in Vermont and earned a master’s of science degree from the University of Victoria in Canada in environmental studies and geography.

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