The National Forest Foundation Appoints Rob Leary As New Chair of The Board

April 20, 2021

Leary will lead the NFF in efforts to triple impact on recreation infrastructures by 2025

Missoula, MT. (April 20, 2021)The National Forest Foundation (NFF), the congressionally-chartered nonprofit working to improve and restore the health of our 193-acre National Forest System while inspiring millions of Americans each year to experience and protect these lands, is pleased to announce appointment of Rob Leary as new Chair of the Board effective April 10. Bob Wheeler, President and CEO of Airstream, Inc. and Executive Committee Member, will become Vice-Chair.  Outgoing Chair, Patricia Hayling Price, will remain on the organization’s Executive Committee.

“The public lands we steward compromise 8.5% of all land in the United States,” said Patricia Hayling Price, president of Liveworkstrategize LLC and outgoing chair of the NFF.  She added, “these lands ensure abundant clean water and wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, support communities, and offer unparalleled recreation opportunities for all. As the NFF elevates the focus on diversity and inclusion in our mission, Rob’s extensive leadership experience, as well as his dedication to conservation and health of our forests, will be crucial to the Board, and I am excited to work with him on the organization’s next phase of growth.”

Leary, formerly the Chief Executive Officer of The Olayan Group, a private, multinational investing enterprise and Nuveen, a global investment manager, has served as an NFF Executive Committee Member for one year. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Intact Financial Corporation, Citizens Financial Group and has served on the board of numerous nonprofits focusing on education, environment and humanitarian aid.

“Our changing climate is exacerbating impacts – larger and hotter wildfires are the norm leading to sedimentation increases in rivers, creeks and streams, invasive species shift forest and grassland ecosystems out of balance, and communities that depend on healthy forests for recreation and forest products often find a critical economic resource in peril,” said Rob Leary, incoming chair of the NFF. “The National Forest Foundation is the only nonprofit conservation organization that has solely dedicated itself to restoring these public lands for today’s and future generations, and I am humbled and proud to serve as its board chair.”

In 2021, the combined pressures on America’s public lands are mounting faster than ever before. During the worst of the Covid-19 2020 pandemic, a record number of people visited National Forests and Grasslands, a welcome trend that also resulted in human impacts on strained recreational facilities and sensitive ecosystems. As an avid outdoorsman, Leary is devoted to furthering NFF’s mission of improving forest health and the outdoor experience for all. His leadership and collaboration with the Board will continue driving growth for the foundation, engage the community and further build a sustainable and resilient National Forest System.

The NFF has committed to tripling its impact on recreation infrastructure to expand the capacity for more people to love and enjoy the forests without negatively impacting forest health. As they move forward in achieving this important work, the NFF welcomes, needs, and values people of all races, creeds, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, and backgrounds to enjoy and help steward our public lands. The monumental challenges that the National Forest System is facing –and the opportunity these lands offer for natural climate solutions, biodiversity, connecting the human spirit with nature, and community sustainability – both inspire and demand the NFF to do more.


Press Contact: Erin Wyer| 612.747.1314 | Erin@Outsidepr.com

About the National Forest Foundation

The congressionally chartered National Forest Foundation promotes the enhancement and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System. By directly engaging Americans and leveraging private and public funding, the NFF improves forest health and Americans’ outdoor experiences. The NFF’s programs inform millions of Americans about the importance of these treasured landscapes. Each year, the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitat, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects, and disease, improve recreational opportunities, and enables communities to steward their National Forests and Grasslands. Learn more at www.nationalforests.org