(SnoWest ED—Thank heavens Adena Cook was on our side. She
truly was a champion for motorized sports and worked tirelessly toward keeping
riding areas open.)
Boise, ID -- The OHV community joins together in mourning the loss
of one of its greatest activists. On Thursday, April 5, 2012, Adena Cook—one of
the original founders of the BlueRibbon Coalition—passed away.
be sorely missed, both by those that knew her and by the recreation community
to whom she gave so much. She will forever be in our hearts and thoughts and
her legacy of dedication, perseverance and determination will live on.
amongst those who aided founder, Clark Collins, in turning the Idaho Public
Land User's Association into a national organization, re-titled the BlueRibbon
Coalition (BRC). She served as the newly created group's volunteer secretary
until 1989, at which point she became the group's first Public Lands Director
and the second paid staff member.
tirelessly in her role as Public Lands Director for the coalition and was a
strong advocate for protecting recreational access to public lands. She was
among the first to establish the ties to land managers and agencies that still
help BlueRibbon in its vital role to this day. She also had a pivotal role in
the efforts of Clark Collins to create a network of grassroots groups and
individuals. A network that has become the heart and soul of the organization
as it is today.
Always pushing to modernize the Coalition and advance our methods of
communication, Cook was instrumental in the Coalition's keeping up with the
pace of technology. In her own words, "We were growing, achieving, and
improving grassroots recreation activism, communication technology was changing
the world. It primed all those pumps in all those springs that flowed into the
creeks and rivers. We were among the first to use every bit of it ... our
timing was right on."
of her relentless drive to improve the Coalition and make it into a powerful
tool for recreational advocacy, she initiated some of the earliest contacts
with the legal firm of Moore-Smith-Buxton & Turcke, the firm that would
eventually be integral to the BlueRibbon Legal Program.
In the Coalition's first Supreme Court victory—defeating a lawsuit filed
against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)—Cook would later say, "I could
never have imagined that, a few years after those meager beginnings, we would
participate in a case that won before the Supreme Court. Our legal team is now
one of the most important parts of BRC."
In 2002, Adena Cook retired as Public Lands Director, but stayed on in a
volunteer capacity as the Coalition's Senior Policy Advisor. She will be deeply
missed by those who worked closely with her:
was absolutely crucial to the BlueRibbon Coalition’s evolution as a nationally
recognized recreation advocacy group. Her hard work and dedication was an
inspiration to me personally and to grassroots recreation access activists
across the nation. No one has had more of a positive impact on back-country
recreation than Adena.”
—Clark Collins, BRC founder
was a true innovator in the field of recreation advocacy. I feel a deep personal
loss at the news of her passing. Adena was my friend, mentor, and colleague and
I will miss her. The recreation community lost an iconic champion. I mourn with
many others today at this news."
—Don Amador, BRC Western Representative
public lands community will miss a pioneer and champion in Adena Cook. Her keen
insight helped create BlueRibbon's legal program and give recreationists a
voice they lacked before agencies and courts. She was quick, efficient and
genuine in her thoughts and was respected even by those with differing views.
Not only recreationists but the public lands community should take a quiet
moment to reflect on the gifts Adena brought and the legacy she hoped to
—Paul Turcke, lead counsel for the BRC Legal Team
is a sad day. We are all the better for having known Adena. Few
ever achieve the level of excellence she demonstrated in her life and in her
work. I am proud to say that generations to come will share the benefit
of her efforts. I am blessed to have been able to call her my friend and
—Greg Mumm, BRC Executive Director
believe there is a bit of Adena's legacy in all of us who remain behind working
in advocacy roles to keep the public lands open for people to use. I will carry
with me the knowledge and skills she helped me develop over the years. Others
will benefit through the years from her research and from the environment
created by her presence. Despite her dogged tenacity, she was every inch a
lady....all the time, on her beloved snowmobile or in the courtroom and the
boardroom. She continues to be a role model into the future and I will miss
—Joni Mogstad, BRC President
on her short biography on the BlueRibbon Coalition website, we cannot help but
find it woefully inadequate to describe the wonderful, vibrant woman who had
such a large hand in the Coalition's creation and growth. Therein she states
her goal as being, "To shape public policy in support of diverse
recreation on public lands." In truth, her goal was the same as that of
the Coalition itself. It is an ongoing goal. She achieved it with grit and
determination, and we will continue to achieve it in her memory.
Rest in peace, Adena. You remain with us forever.