Tom Bell, founder of the Wyoming Outdoor Council and High Country News, died on Tuesday. He was 92.
Bell was known throughout the West for his conservation work. In an interview with Wyoming Public Radio earlier this year, he explained that when he founded the Wyoming Outdoor Council in 1967, it was a radical undertaking.
“I really believe in clean air, clean water, clean land and taking care of it. And nobody had a thought about that at that time,” said Bell.
Today, the council is the state’s oldest independent statewide conservation organization. Many remembrances also focused on Bell's character.
“Tom cared deeply about Wyoming’s open space, its landscapes, its wildlife, and he wasn’t afraid to take a stand,” said Gary Wilmot, the current executive director of the Outdoor Council.
Wilmot said even though Bell is gone, his conservation work inspired a next generation.
“The Outdoor Council and High Country News are both almost fifty, and Tom’s legacy in those organizations I think will continue to plant seeds that Tom hoped to plant in his lifetime.”
Bell was also a World War II veteran, and was awarded an honorary doctorate for his conservation work at the University of Wyoming in May.
The Outdoor Council is working with Bell’s family to organize a celebration of his life.