The mission of the Wyoming Wilderness Association (WWA) is to protect Wyoming public wildlands.
WWA is a non-profit conservation group that began in 1979 as a group of local wilderness advocates who envisioned the passage of the Wyoming Wilderness Act. This small volunteer, grassroots group began educating, training, and organizing Wyoming citizens to secure the passage of the 1984 Wyoming Wilderness Act. The Act permanently protected 1.1 million acres of ecologically diverse, wild landscapes. WWA was re-started and incorporated with the State of Wyoming in 1994 to serve as a local voice for the protection of Wilderness and roadless areas. As of 2020, WWA has 4,500 members and supporters. Their voice gives us the inspiration to continue to strive for a wild Wyoming!
What we do
The Wyoming wilderness system encompasses roughly 3% of the state, while still 5 million acres of spectacular wild land, spanning deserts, forests, and plains, remains unprotected. Our top priority is to defend wild, roadless lands and safeguard their potential for future wilderness designation..
Our three pillars of advocacy, education, and stewardship ensure these public lands remain pristine and intact for every American citizen to enjoy now and into the future. WWA hosts outings to vulnerable public wildlands where participants have the opportunity to learn the value of wilderness. We also advocate for wilderness through local festivals, film screenings, newsletters, action alerts, social media, formal presentations, and meetings with elected officials and stakeholders. Our work is made possible through the generous support of our valued members, volunteers, and donors.
Meet Our Team
Khale Century Reno
With deep roots in the Wyoming landscape (family settled in Big Horn, Wyoming in 1883) and a first name that doesn’t fit neatly on most bubble forms, Khale Century (KC) Reno is the Executive Director. The title KC has held the longest has been educator. She has been in the education world for over 20 years teaching students from young to old in various disciplines: environmental science, outdoor education, health, and physical education. After completing the graduate program with the Teton Science Schools, she received her M.Ed. from Montana State University. Some other work and education adventures include: sports medicine/health education degree from Linfield College in McMinnville, OR, semester study in Queensland, Australia, basketball pro-player in Switzerland and Denmark, a college basketball coach in Seattle, WA, and teaching PE and health at the Journeys School in Jackson, Wyoming. Outside of work adventures include: raising two boys (Boone and Ace) with husband Renzy, working on her family’s cattle/sheep ranch, backpacking, teaching piano, watching polo and still playing basketball. All of these experiences have taken her through the ups and downs of working with people, creating community, and navigating topics that have sides sitting on opposite sides of the table. KC loves to create conversation amongst those that would at first seem to be at odds and help them connect over shared stories. "At the end, one finds that we have more commonalities than not and the challenge lies with how we move forward."
Carlie is a fourth-generation Wyomingite raised in Dubois, who grew up exploring the wilderness areas and public lands of northwest Wyoming. Her early encounters with the archaeological record eventually led to a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming and an M.S. in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management from Utah State University. She has worked in the rocky mountain west professionally since 2012, centering her career on the connection between people and place. Carlie is passionate about including the cultural landscape in conservation discussions to recognize the value of wilderness to all stakeholders. Outside of work, you’re likely to find Carlie with her sidekicks - husband Mike and two dogs, Aspen and Otter - enjoying the region’s public lands either trail running, hiking, fly-fishing, hunting, backpacking, or skiing.
BLM Wildlands Organizer
Communications & Development Director
Three days after receiving an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology from the University of Vermont in the spring of 2005, Matt moved to the GYE for a field biology job in Yellowstone and hasn’t looked back. He has spent the last 15 years in Wyoming working in conservation in roles such as a field biologist, educator, wildlife guide and spatial ecologist. He completed a Master’s degree at the University of Wyoming in 2017 and most recently worked as a researcher for the Wyoming Migration Initiative and Wyoming Corridor Mapping Team. Matt is excited to put his research background to work in advocating for conservation of our remaining wildlands. Recognizing the connections between wildlands, wildlife, recreation, public ownership and healthy ecosystems, Matt is passionate about conserving what we already have, and fighting for what we’re all at risk of losing. Away from work, Matt is either on a trail or river, a set of skis or on a bike enjoying the access to public lands that keep him passionate about Wyoming.
The resident short timer, JJ has only been with WWA since December 2020. A Sheridan Native, he attended Big Horn Highschool in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. After earning his Communications degree from the University of Wyoming, he returned to Sheridan to work and enjoy the outdoors. Many climbing excursions to Piney Creek Canyon and Tensleep ensued, ski trips to Antelope Butte, Meadowlark Ski Area and Red Lodge Mountain along with snowshoeing & cross country skiing in the Bighorns became a winter staple. Recently JJ has found mountain biking on the trails around Sheridan and even tried his hand at recreational running, an activity he describes as “mostly hell but also not a lot of fun”. JJ is passionate about promoting and advocating for the public lands he grew up utilizing and is able to use his communication experience to promote awareness and proper use of our wilderness areas. He also loves to pet dogs.
WWA is pleased to re-introduce Sarah Walker back to the WWA team in a new role as policy coordinator. This position will monitor and address threats to Wyoming’s remaining wild roadless areas across the state. Sarah will work with WWA organizers, members and statewide partners to identify critical opportunities to engage the public and decision makers in protecting Wyoming’s wildlands. Sarah has a Master’s in Natural Resources from UW and brings a wealth of NEPA and public lands experience to the team. She also served as the Shoshone wildlands organizer in our Dubois office from 2012 to 2016. Most recently, Sarah founded the non-profit partner Friends of the Bridger-Teton, where she gained a greater understanding of the challenges our land managers face today in our shared mission to protect public wildlands.
Martha Tate - President
Bill Voigt - Vice President
Brett Governanti - Secretary
Mila Stender - Treasurer
Dr. Dennis Knight, Board Emeritus
On Friday, April 30th, the WWA board celebrated with an informal zoom cocktail hour to honor
and welcome the newly appointed emeritus status of Dr. Dennis Knight. For over a decade,
Dennis served on the WWA governing council, leading with a wealth of knowledge, good humor
and thoughtful perspectives. A special message from surprise guest speaker Ed Zahnhiser
added to the celebratory mood of the evening.
Wyoming Wilderness Association would like to recognize that public wildlands are Native lands, and that more than twenty indigenous tribes are connected to Wyoming including, the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Lakota, Dakota and Nakota bands), Hinono’ei (Arapaho), Sáhniš (Arikara), Panati (Bannock), Niitsitapi (Blackfeet), Tsistsistas (Cheyenne), Apsaalooké (Crow), A'aninin (Gros Ventre), [Gáuigú (Kiowa), Nimi'ipuu (Nez Perce), Tukudeka (Sheep Eater), Newe (Shoshone) and Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute). These tribes were forcibly and often violently removed from the areas where Wyoming’s public wildlands and communities now exist.
WWA would lastly like to admit that this land acknowledgement, as well as our commitment to engaging Native peoples in our work is far from perfect. We welcome and encourage all feedback and suggestions.