Remembering friends, current and past

The founder of Great Old Broads for Wilderness has passed away.

  • Susan Tixier, left, Dave Foreman and Ronni Egan, former executive director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, in 2009.

    Great Old Broads for Wilderness
 

A blast of colder weather and a bit of biting wind and rain meant fewer visitors have made it to our Paonia office in recent weeks. Fortunately, our friends aren’t the fair-weather variety, so we won’t take it personally. The truth is, we’re amazed at how many readers brave the back roads and the mountain passes in search of our remote little town. We’d like to acknowledge all the hard work that the members of our community — which stretches over a million square miles — do every day, just by reading HCN and loving the West. Thanks for your continued support. Although it really, truly does make our day when you visit us in person.

A special nod to Rocky Barker, an Idaho environmental writer and a longtime contributor to High Country News. Over the years, Rocky has written for us on topics ranging from wolves to fish, dams, fire and floods. In September, he was honored with The Wilderness Society’s Aldo Leopold Award for Distinguished Editorial Writing, which awards writers who “articulate the importance of protecting American wilderness.” We feel incredibly fortunate to work with people like Rocky and are delighted when their work is nationally recognized.

We are saddened to -report that Susan Tixier, who founded Great Old Broads for Wilderness, passed away Oct. 8. She was 73. An avid outdoorswoman, Susan helped found the organization in 1989.  “Susan was always a gracious friend, full of energy and enthusiasm, and a lot of fun,” co-founder Frandee Johnson said in a statement. “She had spontaneous and daring ideas. Calling the organization Great Old Broads for Wilderness was a stroke of imagination. She was innovative and a great leader, and she did amazing things for the environment for which we are all grateful.”

Susan, who was born and raised in Aspen, earned a law degree at the University of New Mexico and edited the New Mexico Environmental Law Journal. She also held master’s degrees in both Eastern and Western philosophy.

Susan told HCN in 2013 that Great Old Broads for Wilderness was in part inspired by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, R, who had argued against wilderness designation, claiming that prohibiting motorized vehicles in the backcountry discriminated against the elderly. “We thought, ‘Jeez, we are all old and we still hike!’ ” she said. “So, what better than to have old people, particularly old women, stand up for wilderness?” What better, indeed? Thank you, Susan, for your hard work for wild places.