Howie Wolke
Key Player

Earth First! co-founder; co-founder, Big Wild Advocates; Board member, the Ecology Center (Missoula, MT); Board member, Alliance for the Wild RockiesA self-described “Luddite and hopeless misanthrope,” Howie Wolke worked for Friends of the Earth in the late 1970s before helping to create the eco-terrorist Earth First! in 1981. He remains good friends with extremist David Foreman, with whom he co-wrote a book in 1992, The Big Outside. Wolke served Earth First! faithfully through 1986, when he served a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to pulling up survey stakes along a prospective road in Wyoming. “They would have let me out after a month if I’d expressed remorse,” Wolke told Sierra magazine. “But we couldn’t let them think jailing me would stop monkey-wrenching.”

Wolke became fed up with Earth First! in 1990 and quit the “disorganization,” as he called it. “I found much of it embarrassing … It had become militant vegan feminist witches for wilderness. People wanted to talk about tree-spiking and bombing, not ecosystems.” With his wife, Wolke later founded a nonprofit group, Big Wild Advocates, to finance his campaigns for wilderness preservation. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Board of Directors of the Ecology Center, and is a member of the Missoula Parks and Recreation Board.