Brian Kelly strives to do his work where the spheres of ecology, society, and the economy meet. He believes that there is a way to go about conservation work that will benefit all three, and speaks about this intersection passionately. In his words, “People who disagree need to respect each other.” Brian is the Restoration Director for the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, a collective founded in 1967 with the mission to “protect, restore, and connect.” The HCPC formed in reaction to proposals to build dams in Hells Canyon, where the Imnaha and Salmon rivers join the Snake. Since then, it has prompted the creation of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA), a 652,000 acre parcel of land that includes 200,000 acres of wilderness. This area connects the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest, allowing species like wolves and moose unfettered access across the western portion of the US. In terms of conservation, Brian thinks that “change is growth, and growth is part of life.” Bearing this principle in mind, human connections must be forged that can allow for restoration practices that are flexible and tailored to the specific place being restored.
By: Kenzie Spooner