Generations: Wayne Hoskisson
by Laura Haley
Dec 25, 2013 | 3280 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Wayne Hoskisson was 13 years old, his mother helped him build a backpack. She sewed the canvas, and he built the frame. That backpack took Hoskisson into the wilderness where he developed a love for hiking that would follow him throughout his life.

Hoskisson, a great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, was born in Salt Lake City. He lived there until he was 12, when his family moved to Provo. It was during his time in Provo that Hoskisson started to spend more time outside, hiking trails and backpacking.

“I’ve always been into the outdoors,” he said.

While Hoskisson was still in high school, the federal government passed the Wilderness Act of 1964, an act that protected 9.1 million acres of federal land. At the time, Hoskisson said he was only vaguely aware of the legislation.

“I watched as things happened, but I wasn’t terribly invested,” he said.

After high school, Hoskisson attended the University of Utah. He tried several different majors, starting with English and art, before finally graduating with a degree in nursing. He spent the next 10 years working as a nurse, and then moved to a job as a supervisor at a medical lab.

“I ended up working at the hospital I was born at,” he said. “At one point, I was working about a hundred feet from the room where I was born.”

Hoskisson also dedicated much of his time to volunteer service. He served on one of Salt Lake’s community councils, volunteered at the local library, and spent time helping at a computer lab in a nearby elementary school.

“I’ve been a volunteer for all of my life,” he said.

It wasn’t long before Hoskisson combined his love of the outdoors with his love of volunteering. He volunteered time with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Sierra Club and the Utah Wilderness Association. But it wasn’t until 1995 that he started to really dive in to wilderness issues.

“A congressional delegation convened. They were going to solve the wilderness problem here in Utah,” Hoskisson said.

The bill, the Utah Public Lands Management Act, proposed designating less than 2 million acres of wilderness area in Utah. However, it was defeated, in part, by environmentalists.

Hoskisson then took on a number of projects related to the environment.

“I don’t think of myself as an environmentalist or a conservationist,” Hoskisson said. “I just like the wilderness.”

Since 1995, Hoskisson has traveled to Washington D.C., close to 20 times, working on a variety of projects. He’s met with legislators and fought for issues that were important to him. “Going to D.C. is really empowering,” he said. “I highly suggest that everyone try it.”

After realizing that he didn’t like working in corporate healthcare, Hoskisson was offered a position with Redrock Forests. He accepted the job and moved to Moab. The organization focused on national forest issues in southeast Utah, with their main focus being on the La Sal and Abajo mountains. For four years, Hoskisson served as the executive director of the organization.

In addition to his treks to Washington D.C., Hoskisson has been involved with a number of different efforts for environmental organizations. He worked on grazing allotments and studying the impact of grazing on the surrounding lands. He also spent time studying the springs in the surrounding mountain ranges.

Hoskisson also helped look for reference areas – places between 100 acres and 1,000 acres in size that didn’t have any roads or active trails and no grazing for at least 10 years.

“I found one in the Dixie National Forest,” Hoskisson said. “It was one of the most pristine places I’ve ever seen.”

Hoskisson said the area was approximately 600 acres in size, but there wasn’t a single non-native species.

“It’s kind of fun but also kind of frustrating,” he aid. “Everything has been impacted.”

In 2004, Hoskisson stepped down from his position at Redrock Forests with the intention of retiring. However, he has remained involved in the community. He serves on the Moab City Planning Commission and the Department of Resources Southeast Regional Advisory Council.

Hoskisson said all of his work goes back to his love of hiking.

“That’s what I do,” he said.

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