OLYMPIA – Jerry Gutzwiler, an orchardist from Wenatchee, has been elected chairman of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, the nine-member citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Gutzwiler, a retired land and timber manager for The Weyerhaeuser Company, was elected chair by his fellow commissioners during a public meeting here Jan. 13. Gutzwiler replaces Ron Ozment of Cathlamet, who is leaving the commission after six years, the past two as chair.
Miranda Wecker, an attorney and natural resources consultant from Naselle, Pacific County, was elected vice-chair of the commission. Gutzwiler and Wecker were elected to their leadership positions for two years.
Gutzwiler said his primary goal as commission chairman is to help focus WDFW on priority issues.
“The department, by its very nature, gets pulled in a lot of different directions,” Gutzwiler said. “As chairman, I want the commission to take a more active role in setting priorities for fish and wildlife and help to improve the department’s communications with the citizens of this state who value and enjoy these resources.”
“Washington’s population continues to grow while our natural resources are limited or declining,” Gutzwiler said. “Our challenge is to maximize opportunities for the public to enjoy these natural resources while maintaining adequate and healthy fish and wildlife populations and their habitats for future generations to enjoy.”
An avid hunter and fisher, Gutzwiler is a lifetime member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Safari Club International, the North American Moose Foundation and the Wenatchee Sportman’s Association. He is also a member of Ducks Unlimited, and has fished or hunted in Africa, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Alaska and a number of other western states.
Other members of the commission include Kenneth Chew, Ph.D, of Seattle; Conrad Mahnken, Ph.D, Bainbridge Island; Chuck Perry, Moses Lake; Will Roehl, Bellingham; Fred Shiosaki, Spokane; and Shirley Solomon, Mount Vernon.
Commission members are appointed by the governor. Three commission members are appointed from eastern Washington, three from western Washington and three serve in at-large positions.