Salazar Names Land Conservation Leader Will Shafroth Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has named Will Shafroth, a land conservationist executive and founding director of the Colorado Conservation Trust and Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

“Will and I have worked together on natural resource conservation issues for more than 15 years,” Secretary Salazar said. “We share a passion for working with a broad range of interests, including ranchers, conservationists, businesspeople, public officials, and recreationists, to find common ground and forge common sense solutions. Will Shafroth is a great addition to our team and will provide invaluable leadership on land and wildlife conservation initiatives.”

Shafroth was a founder and executive director of the nonprofit Colorado Conservation Trust from 2000 to 2008. The group increased the pace and effectiveness of land and wildlife habitat conservation in Colorado, raising $18 million in private contributions, spurring the investment of $35 million into conservation projects, and leveraging $200 million in public funds. He played a significant role in developing an agenda for the conservation community in Colorado and developed local, state and federal conservation policies. His efforts helped preserve 30,000 acres of wildlife habitat and open space.

Shafroth was a member of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation advisory board in 1999 and 2000; a member of the Land Trust Alliance Board of Directors from 1999 to 2008 and chairman of the board from 2004 to 2007; and chairman of the Resources Legacy Fund (Sacramento, Calif.) from 1999 to 2006.

From 1994 to 2000, Shafroth also served as the first executive director of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, helping to develop strategic plans, grant programs, and financial policies. Great Outdoors Colorado is a statewide land conservation program that Secretary Salazar helped create when he was then executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

As the executive director for Great Outdoors Colorado, Shafroth oversaw the granting of $250 million for 1,600 projects that preserved 300,000 acres of wildlife habitat, ranchland, and open space. Great Outdoors Colorado also established parks, trails, environmental education centers, a statewide cattlemen's land trust and a network of youth conservation corps. The initiative built diverse partnerships with ranchers, sportsmen, conservationists, businesspeople and government officials, including state administrators and legislators.

From 1991 to 1994, he served as assistant secretary for Land and Coastal Resources in the California Resources Agency, where he developed and implemented policies on wetlands, oceans, agricultural lands and rivers. He helped negotiate the creation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and develop offshore oil transportation policy. Shafroth oversaw budget and legislation for the Department of Fish and Game, State Parks, State Lands Commission and four boards and commissions.

From 1982 to July 1990, he was western regional director of the American Farmland Trust, where he was responsible for fundraising, policy development, public education and conservation real estate transactions. He helped to develop local and state legislation and preserved farms and ranches in six states.

A graduate of Harvard University, Shafroth received a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1991. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara (1980).

Shafroth is a 4th generation Coloradan. His great grandfather served in the U.S. House, as Governor and U.S. Senator between 1896 and 1919 and was in the Senate when the National Park Service was created and Rocky Mountain National Park was established. An avid outdoorsman, Shafroth enjoys biking, hiking, fishing and canoeing. He is married and has three children.

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