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Washington Wild Mourns the Passing of Norman Winn, Champion of the Outdoors

Posted on Feb 7, 2022 in Conservation News, WA Wild Blog

Norman Winn

Norman Winn, former board member, attorney, mountaineer, and steadfast defender of wild lands, passed away in late December at the age of 82.

Winn and his wife Karyl Leix landed in Seattle in 1968, where he quickly became an avid mountain climber and conservation champion. Among the long list of groups that Winn supported include Washington Wild (at the time the Washington Wilderness Coalition), Washington Water Trails Association, Audobon Society, the Washington Environmental Alliance for Voter Education, and The Mountaineers, where he served his longest tenure serving in a number of roles including Board President, climb leader, and Chair of the Outdoor Division and Conservation.

As an attorney, lobbyist, and activist, Winn was a fierce defender of wilderness and wildlife with a knack for finding compromise and cooperation in unlikely situations.

Washington Wild co-founder, Karen Fant approached Winn in the late 1980s with a request to steer the organization as Board Chair and to help hire the first Executive Director. Winn agreed and from 1990 – 1993 he served as our Board Chair. 

When asked why he continued to support Washington Wild, Winn would tell the story of the bipartisan work he did to ensure the Wild Sky Wilderness bill passed. He would tell you about Washington Wild transcending party lines in order to protect Washington State’s precious wild lands and waters. And he would will tell you that as a founding member of the Karen M. Fant Conservation Legacy Society, he hopes that Washington State will one day be known as the state that got conservation right.

“Norman was a strong advocate for Washington state’s wild spaces, and I worked with him on the checkerboard land exchanges in the 1990s,” Murray said in a statement. “He was also a great partner in our efforts to designate the Wild Sky Wilderness and to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. His dedication to conservation will live on in the lands he helped protect.”

Washington Wild mourns the passing of Norm and is honored to have known him as a member and mentor.

Read the Wild Profile from our 2019 newsletter here.

Read the Seattle Times piece on Norman Winn’s legacy here.