Ben Bulis and Ted Koch have joined the national board of directors of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, bringing close ties to the fly fishing industry and expertise in wildlife biology and public lands management to the leadership of the rapidly growing sportsmen’s group.
Bulis is president and CEO of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, the trade arm of the fly fishing industry. As an industry trade organization, AFFTA serves its members in ways that promote the growth of fly fishing, individual businesses and the industry as a whole. Bulis has owned and operated businesses in the construction and aviation industry, is an FAA-licensed instrument pilot and has sat on numerous boards. A native of New Hampshire, he was introduced to the outdoors and fishing at a young age and since has fished extensively around the world, including his home waters of Bozeman, Montana.
BHA President and CEO Land Tawney spoke positively of Bulis and his role on the BHA board.
“As BHA expands our efforts within the angling committee, the addition of Ben to our board couldn’t be better timed,” Tawney said. “He brings a deep understating of the fishing industry as well as acute political acumen to help us think through conservation strategies at a national level.”
“The importance of our public lands – as valuable fish and wildlife habitat and as places of refuge for sportsmen and other recreationists – cannot be denied,” stated Bulis. “But these places also are important to a range of economic interests, including the outdoors industry. As a member of BHA’s board, I look forward to collaborating to advance policy goals that conserve our public lands, improve citizens’ ability to access them and support the communities and businesses that rely on them.”
A fish and wildlife biologist, Koch has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than two decades. His portfolio includes work implementing the federal Endangered Species Act, hydropower project relicensing and habitat conservation on private lands. He is currently the field supervisor in Reno, Nevada, overseeing ecological services and fisheries restoration programs. Koch has published several professional articles and one book, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. His greatest outdoor passion is pursuing elk with traditional archery tackle – the farther from the road he can get, the better.
Tawney affirmed the crucial role Koch will play in shaping BHA’s policy work.
“BHA proudly bases our conservation policies on sound science,” Tawney said. “Our ability to engage on these policies just took a giant leap with Ted’s vast experience in this arena. Not only does he bring his expertise on policy; he has an infectious personality that bodes well for spreading the BHA gospel.”
“As a boy growing up in Connecticut I dreamed of the wild, remote, big landscapes that are public lands,” said Koch. “BHA exists to protect the places of my dreams from being sold off or desecrated. As a board member I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to give more to support BHA.”
Bulis and Koch officially joined the BHA board at the group’s North American Rendezvous, which took place in Missoula, Montana, in April. A record-breaking crowd of 5,000-plus outdoor enthusiasts traveled from all parts of the United States and Canada to attend the annual sportsmen’s gathering.
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