The Alliance for the Wild Rockies lost a dear friend, past President and long-time activist with the passing of Liz Sedler.
Activist Brian Peck wrote the following about Liz:
“More than 70 years ago, Aldo Leopold said: ‘Like Winds and Sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until ‘Progress’ started to do away with them. Now we face the question of whether a still higher standard of living is worth its cost in things Natural, Wild, and Free.’
Though small in stature, Liz was a Giant when it came to defending all things natural, wild, and free – especially the grizzlies of the Cabinet-Yaak & Selkirk. They have lost a champion, and we have lost a friend.”
Rest in Peace Liz, and thank you!
The forests, grizzly bears, streams, fish and the city of Sandpoint lost one of their most tenacious and dedicated defenders, when Elizabeth “Liz” Sedler passed away on February 6, 2014 at her home in Samuels, Idaho. She was 71. Her frequent, strong laughter, her occasional persnickety and outspoken ways, and her unjustified sense of modesty will be missed. She was a unique and gifted individual. I felt fortunate to be counted as one of her friends.
In 1988 I got a call from a friend of hers who asked me if I would meet with Liz Sedler. It seems that Liz wanted to get involved in protecting the environment but did not know where to begin. I said I would be happy to meet and work with her.
We spent a lot of time together hiking proposed and ongoing Forest Service timber sales, meeting with regulatory and administrative agencies and conservationists, going to meetings, digging through Forest Service files, writing administrative appeals and when necessary, contributing to the filing of lawsuits against proposed and illegal Forest Service timber sales.
She spent many years as a volunteer for the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. Liz was a board member of AWR and also served as its president. She was also on the board of the Inland Empire Public Lands Council during the 1990’s, and served on the board of the Idaho Sporting Congress. Liz also did contract work for several environmental groups.
She volunteered with members of the Spokane Audubon Society doing old growth surveys, which made the Idaho Panhandle National Forests revise its inaccurate inventories. She also participated in Idaho’s Basin Advisory Group (BAG) for the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River.
Liz became one of the most effective environmental activists of the Northern Rockies and an expert in the regulations pertaining to fish, water quality and especially, the grizzly bear. She held regulatory and administrative agencies feet to the fire making sure they were fulfilling their mission to protect the bear. She also wrote legal arguments for appeals and litigation for the maintenance and enlargement of habitat necessary to insure its viability. It is acknowledged that Liz was one of the individuals most responsible for protecting grizzly bear habitat and populations in the Northern Rockies.
Liz also worked closely with the late Leroy Lee on the phantom forest scandal. Lee discovered and publicized the fact that the Kootenai National Forest exaggerated its forest inventory by stating that many areas were fully stocked with mature trees when in reality they were clearcuts
Being an extremely private person, Liz rarely talked about herself but I managed to gather a little information about her life. She was a graduate student who taught Italian at the University of California at Berkeley before she moved to Big Sur where she met and married Shamus Sedler. They had two sons, Moses and Jesse. From Big Sur they moved to Lopez Island and then to Yaak, Montana in 1967 where they established a homestead.
After an amicable divorce, Liz spent many years in Sandpoint, Idaho where she worked, amongst other things, as a very popular bartender at the Donkey Jaw and the Garden Restaurant. Also, in the basement of her Sandpoint home, she sawed and sold old growth spruce wood for the construction of musical instruments.
Liz spent many years leading the opposition to the Idaho Department of Transportation’s proposal to bypass downtown Sandpoint and continue Hwy 95 along Sand Creek. Liz headed up the North Idaho Community Network, the group that filed lawsuits against the bypass all the way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court affirmed the District Court’s ruling against their lawsuit and the bypass was constructed.
Always a hard worker in all her undertakings, she worked relentlessly on environmental issues from the day I met her until her recent illness left her unable to continue her work.
She spent the last 15 years on her property in Samuels, Idaho where she raised a beautiful and abundant garden, made hay for her two beloved horses and enjoyed the peace that comes with living close to the land.