WildLands Defense

Working to inspire and empower the preservation of wildlands and wildlife in the West.

WLD's Mission

WLD's Directors

Natalie Ertz

Natalie Ertz

Executive Director

Inspired by a howl with the late Phantom Hill Wolf Pack of central Idaho, Natalie Ertz has been tracking and monitoring wolves in the central Idaho backcountry for over six years.

During much of that time, Natalie served and learned from Lynne Stone of the Boulder-White Cloud Council providing oversight of the federal and state MANagement of wolves.

Natalie’s passion for wolves and public landscapes is inspired by a deep appreciation for the wild, an appreciation borne on-the-ground.

Dave Hayes

Dave Hayes

Board President

Worked for the Forest Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs for thirty five years in Alaska and several western states.  Life long sportsman and wilderness advocate.  Interested in enhancing wild lands and waters for the benefit of all fish, wildlife, and native plants.  “One of my greatest concerns is the loss of healthy sage brush-steppe communities in Idaho, Oregon and the Great Basin, and associated degradation of rivers and riparian habitats, due to cattle grazing on public lands.”

Brian Ertz

Brian Ertz

Litigation Director

Brian Ertz is Natalie Ertz’s brother.  Brian is in his final year of law school, currently serves as the Chair of the Sierra Club’s National Grazing Team, Conservation Chair of the Sawtooth Group of the Sierra Club and previously spent 7 years as Media Director for Western Watersheds Project. Since that time Brian has consulted a variety of public interest environmental nonprofits on administrative, policy, and media advocacy.

Katie Fite

Katie Fite

Director of Public Lands

Katie Fite brings over 30 years of on-the-ground experience to WLD’s advocacy.

As Western Watersheds Project’s Biodiversity Director, Katie has monitored more public ground–from Modena to the Modoc to Mcdermitt, the Lemhis to Little Blue Table to the Little Lost to Leslie Gulch, from Jarbridge to Jump Creek to Jim Sage, the Pahsimeroi to the Pancake Range, Calico Mountains to Castleford–working to ensure the land is valued and protected by the anti-environmental bureaucrats at BLM and Forest Service than arguably any other single person in the Western United States.

John Carter

John Carter

Board Member

I was raised on a farm in the mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. Cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, horses, cats, dogs…hoeing corn, planting gardens, cutting wood with a cross cut saw in winter to heat the house, using horses and a homemade sled hewn from locust trees by my Grandfather to haul the wood in the snow back to the house. My days and afternoons when not in school were spent out in the woods and mountains where I learned about wildlife and nature, fished and hunted. I graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, MBA from Georgia State University, PhD Ecology from Utah State University. My consulting career was spent assisting industrial companies in complying with environmental regulations, superfund investigations and cleanup, hydro facility permitting, mining permitting and reclamation, and stream restoration. While I had been engaged in environmental activism with the Sierra Club, the state of our Forests and Public lands lead me to establish Willow Creek Ecology in 1995 to confront agency mismanagement, merged WCE with Western Watersheds Project in 2001 and became Utah Director for WWP. I left WWP in 2010 to focus my attention on Kiesha’s Preserve, a 900 acre wildlife preserve and research area in the Bear River Range of Idaho for which I had been acquiring land since 1993. However, I could not allow the agency mismanagement and corruption of science in our area to go unchallenged, so established the Yellowstone to Uintas Connection non-profit in 2012. Y2U focuses on the corridor connecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to the Uinta Mountains and Southern Rockies. Along the way, I have spent innumerable days in the Wilderness and public lands, assisted by my Akitas who carry our gear and food. I have been publishing papers for the scientific journals so that information that refutes false agency claims will be available for others to use. I have known and worked with Katie and Brian for many years and am grateful for the uncompromising positions taken by Wildlands Defense and am very pleased to be on the Board.

Erin Anchustegui

Erin Anchustegui

Board Member

An Idaho native and Basque, Prof. Erin Anchustegui has been interested in protecting wild spaces since she was a child. In 2004, Erin designed and launched Environmental Ethics, a course taught to mid- and upper-students at Boise State University. Erin’s growing passion for ethical stewardship of all lands, public and private, led her to join the board of directors at Western Watersheds Project. Moving on seemed to be a good idea in 2016 and so Erin proudly to joined Wildlands Defense, an organization that is headed by none other than one of Erin’s former environmental ethics students, Brian Ertz!