Ken Rait became the director of the Western Lands Initiative in September 2011. Ken joined Pew in 2010 as senior officer for the Campaign for America’s Wilderness. Rait is the former director of the Heritage Forests Campaign, an initiative that successfully advocated for the conservation of nearly 60 million acres of roadless, wild national forestlands.
Before joining Pew, Rait was conservation director of the Oregon Natural Resources Council and spent seven years as issues director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Previously, he was the conservation chair of the Sierra Club's Rincon Group in Tucson, Arizona, where he lobbied for passage of the Arizona Bureau of Land Management wilderness bill. He also held a faculty position with the University of Arizona's Department of Agricultural Economics as a research associate and is published in various legal and economics journals.
Rait holds a bachelor’s degree in physical geography and a master's degree in environmental affairs and water resource management, both from Clark University.