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Director, Wilderness Policy Job Details

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Employer:  The Wilderness Society.
Categories:  Executive/Management
Travel Required:  16-25%
Job Type:  Full Time
Preferred Degree:  Bachelors
Experience Required:  6-9 years
State/Province:  DC - District of Columbia
City:  Washington
Salary:  non-disclosed
Job Description: 

The Wilderness Society (TWS), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places, is seeking an experienced full-time Director, Wilderness Policy to join its Public Policy team in Washington, DC. Reporting to the Senior Director of Legislative Affairs, and in coordination with the Senior Director of the Wilderness Support Center (WSC) in Durango and the Senior Director for Agency Policy & Planning in Denver, the Director of Wilderness Policy is responsible for coordinating wilderness policy and lobbying efforts on all wilderness policy issues.

This position will provide support to The Wilderness Society’s regional offices and priority wilderness campaigns develop and implement plans to garner new support for wilderness on Capitol Hill and with appropriate federal land managing agencies, and provide support for wilderness movement building activities, such as logistical arrangements for lobby weeks and other Washington, DC based events.

The Director of Wilderness Policy will serve as a key member of a dynamic, creative, and skilled team of Wilderness Society staff (both in DC and throughout the organization) along with key coalition partners, working to achieve new conservation designations.

Expectations & Responsibilities

  • Leadership of campaign efforts related to national legislation that impacts (positively or negatively) the National Wilderness Preservation System.
  • Leadership of any national policy efforts related to wildlands designation (e.g., the Forest Service decides to rewrite their wilderness handbook).
  • Tracking all designation efforts occurring across the organization, including maintenance of the designation summary chart for the Governing Council.
  • Serving as a liaison/air-traffic-controller between the regions/WSC and the policy shop to anticipate and help navigate potential conflicts between our designation work and other policy work.
  • Day-to-day lobbying support for select designation bills where appropriate.
  • Day-to-day lobbying and overall coordination of any campaign to advance an omnibus designation bill.
  • Coordinating implementation of the legislative component of our national wilderness strategy.
  • Working in close partnership with the Senior Director of the WSC to maintain sufficient and timely internal cross-departmental discussions about emerging designation problems/opportunities and challenges around specific bills that need to be discussed among senior staff and potentially brought before the Wildlands Designation Committee of the Governing Council.
  • Co-leadership with WSC of Great Outdoors Week (GO Week).


  • At least 8 years’ experience working on wilderness issues, preferably on Capitol Hill or in the conservation movement at the national or local level;
  • Strong understanding of historical and current issues regarding wilderness, public land and conservation policy;
  • Demonstrated ability to interpret legislative and regulatory language, and court rulings with regard to wilderness and public lands issues;
  • Direct experience working with elected officials and a solid understanding of the legislative process, in particular how wilderness issues are considered and passed on Capitol Hill;
  • A strategic political thinker who can synthesize a variety of information and circumstances into a forward plan and execute it;
  • Excellent negotiation skills and ability to work with a wide array of individuals internally and externally;
  • Experience working successfully with the media and an understanding of how to utilize opportunities in a strategic manner;
  • Proven public speaking skills as well as excellent writing and editing skills;
  • A personal commitment to protecting wilderness quality lands;
  • Ability and willingness to travel on an as-needed basis as well as willingness to work nights and weekends when needed;
  • Proficient computer skills; knowledge and experience with word processing (MS Word), database and communications software.

Bachelor’s degree, or its demonstrated equivalent, required.  Relevant graduate work or law degree will be highly regarded.

Interpersonal Skills

The ideal candidate would have these leadership characteristics:

  • Ability to lead, inspire, and work collaboratively and respectfully with a team of outstanding people.
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative.
  • Excellent at thinking creatively to find new opportunities and new solutions to wilderness protection.
  • Superb organizational and communications skills combined with the ability to prioritize conflicting demands.
  • Ability to work as part of a team in a fun and collegial but occasionally stressful atmosphere.
  • Ability to work effectively with many different interests and personalities.
  • Ability to respond smartly and quickly to rapidly changing circumstances.

The Wilderness Society offers a very competitive salary and benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance; sick and vacation leave; and a pension plan. TWS is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair and equal treatment of its employees and constituents regardless of culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, or sexual orientation.

For consideration, please submit cover letter and resume to:

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