March 13, 2024

Welcome Our New Executive Director

Save Our Canyons would like to welcome our new Executive Director Spencer Shaver!

My name is Spencer Shaver, and I am the new Executive Director of Save Our Canyons. I have had the good pleasure of meeting a handful of you in person, but I look forward to meeting every one of you, and the work we’ll do together on behalf of the beauty and wildness of the Wasatch Mountains.

Since I first arrived in Utah, I’ve felt the pull of the Wasatch, propelling me toward opportunities, experiences, and slope angles that this Minnesota-born backcountry enthusiast did not know were possible before I got here. The people, the places and the community that make the canyons of the Wasatch some of the best public land in the world have kept me coming back, driving toward trailheads at all hours of the night and early morning to chase new adventures, wild failures and everything in between. I’ve made the Wasatch and public lands here my home. In our home, I see the smiling faces at our trailheads as signs of both changes to come and a reminder that the integrity of the ecosystem, which draws us all together in the first place, is a priority that we all must organize around if we’re to preserve it. 

Understanding the traditions and principles that have protected the Wasatch since the founding of Save Our Canyons in 1972 is my first priority. I have immense respect for those who have advocated on behalf of the public lands, watersheds, flora and fauna of the Wasatch. One of the principles I hold is that public lands should remain in public hands, managed in trust by federal and state governments to both protect and preserve natural resources for current and future generations. 

I’ve worked to find common ground in uncommon places in order to protect landscapes my community considers non-negotiables; places we will work to protect for future generations with everything we have. I look forward to learning more about our community’s non-negotiables and adding my voice to a community of advocates who have provided their time, resources and knowledge, and then passed lessons from one generation of Save Our Canyons’ community to the next. If there are traditions, principles or values that I need to understand so that we can pass them on to our generation, then the next, I invite you to help me understand them.

Change is a challenge. Challenges create opportunities. When I think of the future of the Wasatch, I see our community turning those challenges into better opportunities to protect our public lands. I have a friend and mentor that reminds me that in conservation, victories are temporary and losses are forever. 

I hope to apply lessons learned over the first 52 years of our organization’s history to launch us toward new victories, to learn more lessons, upholding our values, legacy and principles, while adding our own experiences in the Wasatch to the story of the next 50 years. With your help, and the support of a growing community of advocates for the Wasatch, I’m confident that our voices will be heard. Another friend reminds me that with public lands, if our community isn’t at the table, we’re on the menu. We’ll need more voices to be at more tables and your help to welcome new members to our community for what’s to come. 

I’ve felt a strong sense of relief when speaking to each and every donor, advocate and supporter of Save our Canyons, who are all here for our own reasons but show up to stand united under a common cause. In the conversations I’ve had with you so far, I can feel the passion our community has for our mountains, canyons, rivers, forests, fauna and favorite trails. Some of the trails, public lands and wild places where my brother and friends taught me to backcountry ski, across the Wasatch, would not be accessible to me, or many others, without the hard work and dedication the members of this organization have demonstrated. For all of the passion I see, and the work you have done so far on behalf of the Wasatch, I am grateful. 

What are my reasons for wanting to protect the Wasatch for the next generation? That passion for a place is rare, and even rarer for some of the best, most accessible public lands anywhere to be only minutes away from you and I, instead of hours or days. We can access Wilderness, these public lands, and the world-class beauty of the Wasatch every day. This is one of the best places in the world to do what I love to do, and I advocate for what I love. Your reasons, my reasons and the public land itself are all worth advocating  for, in whatever ways that it takes, to protect for the next generation. I’ve seen the cost of not engaging, and I’m committed to being a part of what it takes to protect the places I call home however I can.

From my time advocating on behalf of Wilderness and public lands, I’ve learned passion for a place is the single most important thing that people can bring to the table when we advocate to protect the places we love. Check a farmers market’s art table in Salt Lake, your maps app on a Saturday morning or look at any park and ride on a powder day - the people in our community  have passion pouring out of our ears for the Wasatch. I’m excited to see what we can do with it, what we can accomplish together with a shared vision for future generations here and a shared passion for the beauty and wildness of the Wasatch.

Yours For The Wasatch,

Spencer Shaver