National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Chris Barns, Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center

Chris Barns is a Wilderness Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management's National Landscape Conservation System. He is stationed at the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center in Missoula, Montana -- the interagency office that trains wilderness managers, disseminates wilderness information to agency personnel and the public, and educates Americans on the values of our wilderness areas.

Barns came to the Carhart Center in 1999 after serving almost 9 years leading the Wilderness, Recreation, and Paleontology programs for the Bureau of Land Management's Farmington office in northwest New Mexico. Proud of having reduced the number of wildernesses in the country, he drafted the legislation that combined the Bisti and De-Na-Zin Wildernesses into one area by designating the land between them wilderness as well. While working for the BLM in Farmington, he volunteered for the Forest Service as a Wilderness Information Specialist in the Weminuche Wilderness in southwest Colorado. He has also worked for the National Park Service at Zion, Isle Royale, and Lassen Volcanic National Parks. He has yet to work for the Fish & Wildlife Service, though that Agency did ask him to go to Hawai'i to teach staff of that agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the implications of possible wilderness designation for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Barns devised the futuring exercise at the Wilderness 30th Anniversary conference that led to the 1995 Interagency Wilderness Strategic Plan, for which he was the lead author. Among other film credits, he wrote and directed the 2004 documentary American Values: American Wilderness for the 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. This film featured the last on-screen performance by Christopher Reeve, and was widely broadcast on PBS stations across the country. It is still aired in individual markets on PBS World.

Barns has written several articles on topics as broad as the direction of the National Wilderness Preservation System, as narrow as paleontological research in wilderness, and is one of the co-authors of Keeping It Wild: An Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System.

He has helped develop the Bureau of Land Management's wilderness policies, trained countless former, present, and future wilderness managers from all four federal land management agencies, and is one of the Department's most outspoken wilderness advocates.

Barns was graduated cum laude from Cornell University, went through the M.F.A. program in theatre at Penn State, and received an M.S. in Forestry from the University of Minnesota's College of Natural Resources. He lives in Lolo, Montana, with his wife, Kathleen Stachowski, founder of Other Nations.

Barns will be speaking at the National Wilderness Conference on Thursday, October 16th as part of the following: American Indian Welcome and Blessing from Sandia Pueblo (invited) and Wilderness Today; Wilderness Tomorrow with keynote speakers Jesse DesRosier, Vet Voice Foundation; Chris Barns, Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center; Sylvia Earle, oceanographer