Ken Rait began directing Pew’s western lands initiative in September 2011. For 10 years prior, he headed up the campaigns team of the Campaign for America’s Wilderness, which became part of The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2010.
Rait is also the former director of the Heritage Forests Campaign, an initiative that successfully advocated for the conservation of nearly 60 million acres of roadless, wild national forestlands.
Before joining Pew, Rait was conservation director of the Oregon Natural Resources Council and spent seven years as issues director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Previously, he was the conservation chair of the Sierra Club's Rincon Group in Tucson, where he lobbied for passage of the Arizona Bureau of Land Management wilderness bill. He also held a faculty position with the University of Arizona's Department of Agricultural Economics as a research associate. His work has been published in various legal and economics journals.
Rait holds a bachelor’s degree in physical geography and a master's degree in environmental affairs and water resource management, both from Clark University.
Recent WorkView All
In 1885, the 27-year-old Theodore Roosevelt published Hunting Trips of a Ranchman, in which the future president wrote about stalking “the grouse of the Northern Plains,” including what he referred to as the “sage fowl.” Read More
With more than half of the American West’s sagebrush lands lost to development, wildfire, and invasive species—a loss that has driven a 95 percent reduction in greater sage-grouse populations—now is not the time to roll back protections for the vital ecosystem or the iconic bird. Yet that is what the Department of the Interior appears determined to do. Read More
The wild and varied landscapes of southwest Wyoming are home to many of the state’s natural treasures, including the world’s largest herd of desert elk and the biggest active sand dune system in the U.S., and they also host one of the longest terrestrial wildlife migrations in North America. Spectacular areas such as Greater Adobe Town, Little Mountain, and Devil’s Playground... Read More