Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Biography of Andy Kerr

Andy Kerr (andykerr@andykerr.net) is the Czar of The Larch Company (www.andykerr.net) and consults on environmental and conservation issues. The Larch Company is a for-profit non-membership conservation organization that represents the interests of humans yet born and species that cannot talk.

He is best known for his two decades with the Oregon Wild (then Oregon Natural Resources Council), the organization best known for having brought you the northern spotted owl. Kerr began his conservation career during the Ford Administration.

Through 2013, Kerr has been intimately involved in with the establishment or expansion of 46 Wilderness Areas and 47 Wild and Scenic Rivers, 13 congressionally legislated special management areas, 15 Oregon Scenic Waterways, and one proclaimed national monument.  He has testified before congressional committees on several occasions.

He has lectured at all of Oregon's leading universities and colleges, as well at Harvard and Yale. Kerr has appeared numerous times on national television news and feature programs and has published numerous articles on environmental matters. He is a dropout of Oregon State University.

Kerr authored Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes (The Mountaineers Books, 2000) and Oregon Wild: Endangered Forest Wilderness (Timber Press, 2004). His articles on solar energy, energy efficiency and public policy have appeared in Home Power magazine.

Kerr participated, by personal invitation of President Clinton, in the Northwest Forest Conference held in Portland in 1993 for which Willamette Week gave Kerr a “No Surrender Award.”

The Oregonian named Kerr one of the 150 most interesting Oregonians in the newspaper's 150-year history.

Time reporter David Seideman, in his book Showdown at Opal Creek, described Kerr as the “Ralph Nader of the old-growth-preservation movement.”

Jonathan Nicholas of The Oregonian characterized Kerr as one of the “Top 10 people to take to (the) Portland bank” for “his gift of truth.”

The Oregonian's Northwest Magazine once characterized him as the timber industry's “most hated man in Oregon.” In 2010, The Oregonian said Kerr was “once the most despised environmentalist in timber country.”

The Lake County Examiner called Kerr “Oregon's version of the Anti-Christ.”

In a feature on Kerr, Time magazine titled him a “White Collar Terrorist,” referring to his effectiveness in working within the system and striking fear in the hearts of those who exploit Oregon's natural environment.

The Christian Science Monitor characterized Kerr as “one of the toughest environmental professionals in the Pacific Northwest.”

Willamette Week said Kerr “is entirely unwilling to give an inch when it comes to this state's remaining old-growth timber.”

In his book Lasso the Wind, New York Times correspondent Tim Egan said of Kerr, “(h)e has a talent for speaking in such loaded sound bites that it was said by reporters that if Andy Kerr did not exist, someone would have to invent him.... (Kerr) forced some of the most powerful timber companies to retreat from a binge of clear-cutting that had left large sections of the Oregon Cascades naked of forest cover.”

High Country News ranks Kerr “among the fiercest and most successful environmentalists.”

The Salt Lake Tribune described Kerr as "part provocateur and part policy wonk… Kerr . . . has long been a bur in the side of the cattle industry."

Rocky Barker of the Idaho Statesman said, "There were a lot of environmentalists working to stop logging on old growth national forests in the 1980s and 1990s. But few were more outspoken and effective than Andy Kerr."

Veteran Pacific Northwest journalist Floyd McKay, writing in Crosscut.com, said Kerr was "once considered [a] wild [man], aggressively challenging federal agencies and corporate land managers" who is now "an elder [statesman] in the region's environmental leaders."

His next book is Beyond Wood: The Case For Forests and Against Logging, which will argue that trees generally grow slower than money, forests are more important for any other use than fiber production, America can get nearly all of its fiber products from agricultural waste and other crops with less environmental impact, and that most private timberland in this nation should be reconverted to public forestlands.

Past and current clients include Advocates for the West, Campaign for America’s Wilderness, Conservation Northwest, Geos Institute, Idaho Conservation League, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, National Public Lands Grazing Campaign, Oregon Natural Desert Association, Oregon Wild, Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, The Wilderness Society, Western Watersheds Project and the Wilburforce Foundation.

Current projects include advocating for additional Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers in Oregon, legislating the protection and restoration of Pacific Northwest forests, facilitating voluntary grazing permit buyout of federal public lands, and conserving and restoring the Sagebrush Sea.

Kerr is presently on the board of directors of the North American Industrial Hemp Council. He is a former board member of Friends of Opal Creek, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, The Coast Alliance and Alternatives to Growth Oregon.

Kerr's official public office is that of having been an Oregon Notary Public from 1983-1999.

A fifth-generation Oregonian, Kerr was born and raised in Creswell, a recovered timber town in the upper Willamette Valley. He presently splits his time between Ashland, a recovered timber town in Oregon’s Rogue Valley, and Washington, DC, where the most important decisions affecting Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and wild waters are made.