SNOWMOBILE – Dart Leaves BlueRibbon Coalition
October 19, 2004
Filed under Features
Bill Dart resigned his position as the executive director of the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), Pocatello, Idaho, on Sept. 24 after he was cited for conducting a commercial operation on national forest lands without a permit.
Clark Collins, co-founder of the BRC and prior executive director, has resumed the executive director role.
Collins would not comment on Dart’s infraction, citing a pending legal action by Dart. Published reports, however, state that Dart was fined $250 for operating backcountry motorcycle tours without a license in Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest. The incident took place in August, 2004. Collins said the infraction was made on Dart’s personal time, and the commercial operation was not associated with the BlueRibbon Coalition.
In a statement posted on the BRC Web site, Dart said he’d asked membership to contact the BRC board of directors to request that they reserve judgement on his violation in relation to his BRC position until the situation was resolved.
The statement continues to say that Dart and the board mutually agreed to Dart’s resignation. "Many, many issues in the recreation access arena are ongoing right now," Dart wrote, "And BlueRibbon needs to direct all of its resources on these issues and not be distracted with side issues that might impact the effectiveness or credibility of BlueRibbon."
Collins said the resignation came down to credibility. ‘We work a lot with the land managers,and that is why this was taken so seriously," Collins said. "The land managers that respect us know that this was a serious issue that we took seriously. It will put in good stead with those folks."
"Any time something like that happens, it creates a credibility problem," Collins said. "This next April will be 18 years [for the BRC], and so we’ve built up our credibility over a period of time. One leader getting into trouble is not going to have any lasting consequence. It created a bit of a stir, though, and our opposition is going to try to make the most of it."
Collins does not predict any repercussions with the organization’s membership, either. "We’ve got a very loyal, dedicated and generous membership," he said.
Dart was appointed as the executive director in October, 2003, and he took over the role on January 1, 2004. He’d worked for BlueRibbon since June 2002, starting as the director of public lands. He was the second executive director in the organization’s history.
Since January, Collins has been working as the development director for the organization, focusing on fund raising and membership-building — duties which he did while serving as the executive director. He has already resumed the administrative duties belonging to the executive director.
The organization will be searching for a new executive director, but not in the immediate future. "I’ll be 63 in December and I want to fully retire by 65," Collins said. "We’re very likely going to take all next year for the search of an executive director, and it could very well take all the way to the end of next year. The main thing is that we’re not going to be in a hurry."