Remembering Doug Walker

The loss of Doug Walker has touched so many people here in the Northwest and around the world. 

Here is a brief reflection from Mike Stevens, the Washington State Director for the Conservancy.

A personal note about Doug Walker

On December 31, Doug Walker died while climbing Granite Mountain, near Snoqualmie Pass. With his passing, we have lost one of our great leaders, friends, and mentors.

Doug was a longtime supporter of The Nature Conservancy. He served as a Washington trustee from 1993-2005, was chapter chair from 1997-1999 and also served on the Conservancy's Board of Directors from 2001-2005. Doug was recognized with The Nature Conservancy's Oak Leaf Award for his leadership and long-term volunteer service.

Doug was an amazing mentor, friend and supporter to so many of us. I will forever be grateful for the generous welcome he and Maggie gave to me and my wife Liz during our first couple of years in Seattle. After an initial trip up Mailbox Peak, Doug encouraged me in my conservation work, connected me to the community, and urged me to get out in the mountains as much as possible, providing me with long lists of peaks to climb.

It was Doug who helped me bring my passion for the mountains into my new job at The Nature Conservancy, giving my work a deeper meaning and resonance. And it was Doug who constantly stressed to me the urgency of getting new people into the mountains to refresh and invigorate the conservation movement. What is so remarkable is that Doug had a similarly profound personal impact on many, many people while also playing a national level leadership role in the worlds of conservation, youth engagement, philanthropy and mountaineering.

In June 2014, Doug took me to climb Sahale Peak, along with his daughter Kina and friend Alex, as my introduction to the North Cascades. We hiked up forested and alder-choked slopes, took turns kicking steps up the glacier, and finished by roping up and putting on crampons for an exposed traverse to the summit. As I mantled onto the summit block, with dozens of snowy jagged peaks surrounding us, Doug sat at the belay anchors smiling: “Cool place, isn’t it?”

The mountains and our community will be emptier without Doug. Please keep Maggie and Kina in your thoughts.

For additional articles and essays about Doug, please see:

Seattle Times: Doug Walker …Spread Love for the Outdoors
Outside Magazine: Doug Walker…Fierce Love