National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Arthur "Butch" Blazer, U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary
Butch Blazer serves as USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. In 2003, Governor Bill Richardson appointed Butch as State Forester of New Mexico, the first Native American to hold that position. During his tenure as State Forester, Butch was also named as Chair of the Council of Western State Foresters and Co-Chair for the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. A member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Butch has been intimately involved in Tribal issues throughout his life. Prior to his service as State Forester, he served 27 years in the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Range Management Specialist, Natural Resources Manager, and Agency Superintendent. Blazer is the former owner of Blazer Conservation Connections, a natural resources based consulting company that specialized in connecting clients with the resources needed to enhance and protect the environment. He was also a co-founder of the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, and has served on their Board of Directors and as the organization's National President. In 1998 Butch was elected, and served two consecutive terms, to the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council. An avid outdoorsman when he can get to it, Blazer enjoys hunting, skiing and just "hiding-out" in the vast wilderness of his beautiful Mescalero Apache Reservation.