CLF Statement on the passing of former Interior Secretary and founding board member Cecil D. Andrus
The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) is saddened by news of the passing of Cecil Dale Andrus, Interior Secretary under President Carter and one of the organization’s founding board members. Andrus was born in Hood River, Oregon, on Aug. 25, 1931, and died yesterday, a day before his 86th birthday.
“Cecil Andrus was passionate about protecting America’s natural heritage; he believed in the long game, and as a Western Democrat from a conservative state he was very effective at working ‘in the middle,'” said Brian Sybert, CLF Executive Director. “We were fortunate to count him among our founding board members, and I like to think his passion for the West’s wild places and his understanding of its politics became part of this organization’s DNA.”
According to Brian O’Donnell, a former executive director of CLF who worked closely with Andrus, “he was a conservation legend, a statesman, and a wonderful all-around person.”
Prior to serving as Interior Secretary, Andrus served as Governor of Idaho from 1970-1978; he was the first Democrat in 24 years elected to that post. According to the New York Times, Mr. Andrus surprised people when he decided to run for governor again in 1986, winning by just 3,500 votes. His popularity continued to rise, and in 1990, he was re-elected with more than 70 percent of the vote.
Some of Andrus’ most significant accomplishments can be seen in Alaska, where, as Interior Secretary under President Carter, he led the charge to set aside more than 100 million acres for protection–including what became the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The staff and board of the Conservation Lands Foundation are honored by our association with Cecil Andrus, and send our best wishes to his family and friends. His presence will be dearly missed, but his influence will continue to inform our work, and his legacy will live on for generations.