For those who have not heard, Dave Foreman, the legendary conservationist and a personal hero of mine, died this past Monday after battling a lung illness. The passing of Dave is both the loss of a time when gutsy people could become heroes in conservation, and to be led by their vision and determination.
During my time running New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NMWA), Dave was a Board Member and a friend. Board meetings were at his home along with famous Christmas parties that went well into the night.
The first time I met Dave was in the fall of 2000, on the ranch of a Budweiser heir down deep in the Boot heel of New Mexico, a stone’s throw from the Mexico border. The ranch was stunning and wild, we looked out for jaguars. There a group of us talked about the concept of rewilding and plans for making that a driving force in conservation. It was heady and exciting!
Little did I know then that I would in short order run NMWA and that Dave would be a person to turn to for information and council. Dave lived conservation, loved wildlife as he loved his pet cats. His home was large and his yard filled with fruit trees and garden beds.
Downstairs was cabinet after cabinet of files and information that he kept, maps of every kind. His mind never strayed far from conservation. He was meticulous. With his wife Nancy, they were formidable in their knowledge and passion. After many years of back pain, the result of being hit by a logging vehicle during a protest, Dave could no longer backpack, but he and Nancy loved floating rivers especially in the Arctic. Nancy passed away last year.
Dave Foreman was a king in a field often, and sadly, evolving more into a corporate system. When he started Earth First, it was an expression of everything as a conservationist many of us saw as right. That passion is sorely lacking in the modern conservation movement, as is the desire to fight for what we all love.
Foreman was a bright light in our world, one that will sorely be missed. But I am at peace knowing that such a man gave his all to the effort, he lived a full and fabulous life. Now he can rest in an afterworld of wildlife and wilderness, that part of heaven carved out as paradise for him and for so many.
Good bye my friend and thank you, you were and remain a star to so many. You will always burn bright.