Last week, the recreation and conservation community suffered an enormous loss with the death of Doug Walker. Doug served on the Outdoor Alliance Board, and was the President of the American Alpine Club. Previously, he had been a Board Director at REI, a founding member of the Seattle Parks Foundation and served on numerous boards including Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Parks Foundation, Conservation Lands Foundation, The Sierra Club Foundation, and The Wilderness Society.
As a board member, Doug was generous with all of his resources, including his time, his deep knowledge of the conservation community, and his business acumen. His participation on the Outdoor Alliance board played a huge role in helping launch us from an informal coalition to a national policy organization with the ability to work together and solve real problems. As an icon from the conservation and nonprofit world, Doug’s presence on our board was extremely validating. On our board and many others, Doug was a powerful advocate for collaboration and compromise within the conservation and recreation world. Doug had deep roots in the Northwest outdoor community and was a committed advocate for recreation and public lands.
Along with serving on numerous nonprofit boards, he also dedicated personal time to introducing people to the outdoors. Doug was a climber of more than 40 years, and spent time volunteering as a climbing instructor for the YMCA’s BOLD program. He dedicated much of his life to ensuring that outdoor pursuits could be accessible for as many people as possible, and the outpouring of grief in the last week is testament to his commitment and impact on the conservation community.
One of the things we will miss most about Doug is the great joy he took in solving problems. As a mathematician, Doug relished finding elegant solutions to thorny challenges, whether that was at the crag or in the boardroom. At a recent dinner with him, he toggled effortlessly between describing the mathematical origins of the concept of “orientation,” sharing his knowledge about American history, and providing guidance on Outdoor Alliance’s next year of partnerships and policy work. We will deeply miss his wry sense of humor, his diversity of expertise, his sense of adventure, and the warmth and graciousness with which he shared his talents to leave the world a better place.