Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Started in 1989 on the 25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by a feisty bunch of lady hikers who wanted to refute Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s notion that wilderness is inaccessible to elders. About that time, wilderness designation had been proposed for Escalante, and Senator Hatch opposed it, saying, “if for no other reason, we need roads for the aged and infirm.”

Conceived by older women who love wilderness, Broads gives voice to the millions of Americans who want to protect their public lands as Wilderness for this and future generations.  Today there are 40 chapters (Broadbands) with 70 women leaders, 8,000 members in 16 states. Alnoba is proud to sponsor Great Old Broads leadership training.

Shelley Silbert, Executive Director

Inspired by her mother, a biology teacher, to love nature, Shelley Silbert worked for the Nature Conservancy and Northern Arizona University before looking for an organization where she could do more activism around issues relating to public lands and climate. Today, she is the Executive Director of Great Old Brads for Wilderness, a 30-year old national grassroots organization led by women with the purpose of engaging and inspiring activism to preserve and protect wilderness and wild lands.

Started in 1989 on the 25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by a feisty bunch of lady hikers who wanted to refute Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s notion that wilderness is inaccessible to elders. About that time, wilderness designation had been proposed for Escalante, and Senator Hatch opposed it, saying, “if for no other reason, we need roads for the aged and infirm.” Broads gives voice to the millions of Americans who want to protect their public lands as Wilderness for this and future generations.

According to Shelley, “I believe women have something unique to contribute to the protection of our lands and waters. I think that women’s voices have not been heard enough, and we have not been in leadership roles in conservation policy. And yet we have such an important role to play. We have a different view, in general, of how to interact with Mother Nature. We take the long view—for generations and generations to come.”