David isn’t one to brag, but he once made a solo winter ascent to the highest peak in Minnesota—without oxygen. He chuckles while saying this, knowing he crested maybe 1,400 feet, tops.
In contrast, after migrating to Randle with his wife Gina in 2016, he is surrounded by three substantial peaks: Mount Rainier, 14,411 ft.; Mount St Helens, 8,363 ft.; and Mount Adams at 12,281 ft.
He says the choice to move to Cowlitz Valley was “quite deliberate,” after an 18-month search for the perfect homestead. He left behind the flat cornfields, harsh winters, a career at the renown Mayo Clinic, and a lot of good friends.
David, board member and current Treasurer, admits that as a newcomer to Western Washington's temperate rainforest, even the fauna and flora were new to him, not to mention local politics and the long history of the community. He credits founding Board member John Squires with patient mentoring on life in the Big Bottom, as well as working with Pinchot Partners.
He spent a lot of time with me early on and I have gratitude for that, he said. When a new topic comes up at meetings, and John isn’t there, I often think, “well, what would John think about that?”
David got involved with the Partners about five years ago, after overhearing a conversation of two locals talking about the Forest Service. In those five years, the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District has had three acting district rangers and three “permanent” rangers. He uses air quotes as a way to emphasize a point of frustration: is a couple of years considered permanent?
Now, as he takes on an even newer role—as soon-to-be grandfather— David’s concept of time has stretched to encompass, not just years, but generations. It’s a subtle shift that matches the lifespan of much of the surrounding forest he now calls home.
Although David will be stepping back as Treasurer this month, he will still bring the long-haul view to the Partners work. Even when folks don’t see eye-to-eye, he said, they are still cordial, even friendly. As always, Pinchot Partners are committed to working on common ground.