With his book Cities in the Wilderness: A New Vision of Land Use in America (Island Press), Bruce Babbitt, former governor of Arizona and interior secretary in the Clinton administration, was one of the most prominent environmentalists to recognize the importance of cities and the need for a national land use planning framework in the U.S. Admiration will no longer need to be from afar, as he has joined the board of the Lincoln Institute.
“This is a convergence and a coming home,” said Babbitt, who is stepping down in October as chairman of the World Wildlife Fund. “I have worked with the Lincoln Institute for many years as governor of Arizona and during my time as secretary of the interior. I have always believed the Institute is the recognized leader in land policy, and I am honored to become a member of the board.”
Kathryn J. Lincoln, the Phoenix-based chair of the board of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, said she was "thrilled that someone with such wisdom and experience will help us guide this great organization.”
With degrees in geology, geophysics and law, Babbitt was elected to statewide office as attorney general of Arizona on his first foray into elective politics at age 36. After fulfilling that role from 1975 to 1978, he then served as governor of Arizona from 1978 to 1987. As governor, Babbitt brought environmental and resource management to the forefront in Arizona, bringing about the Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980, which remains the most comprehensive water regulatory system in the nation. He was also responsible for the creation of the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and a major expansion of the state park system.
Appointed secretary of the interior by President Clinton in 1993, Babbitt served from 1993 to 2001, bringing about the forest plan in the Pacific Northwest, restoration of the Florida Everglades, passage of the California Desert Protection Act, and legislation for the National Wildlife Refuge system. As a certified fire fighter, Babbitt brought his front line experience to creating a new federal wild land fire policy that emphasizes the role of fire in maintenance and restoration of natural ecosystems. He pioneered the use of habitat conservation plans under the Endangered Species Act and worked with President Clinton to create twenty two new national monuments, including the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah. He is perhaps best remembered by American school children as the secretary who brought the wolves back to Yellowstone.
The departing chairman of the World Wildlife Fund, Babbitt is a research fellow at the Blue Moon Fund, working on infrastructure in South America, and was the founder of the National Landscape Conservation System Foundation.
Other members of the board of the Lincoln Institute include Thomas M. Becker, president of The Chautauqua Institution; Henry A. Coleman, professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University; Gary Cornia, dean of the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University; William A. Fischel, professor of economics at Dartmouth College; Alberto Harth, president of Civitas in San Salvador, El Salvador; Gregory K. Ingram, president, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; Bruce Lincoln of Phoenix, Arizona; David C. Lincoln, president of VIKA Corp. and chairman of the Lincoln Laser Company; John G. Lincoln III, senior engineer at CH2M-Hill in Boise, Idaho; Kenneth T.W. Pang, adjunct professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Andrea Taylor, director of community affairs, North America, Microsoft Corporation; Douglas P. Wheeler, partner at Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C.; and Carol Whiteside, president emeritus of the Great Valley Center in Modesto, California.