Yvon Chouinard Endorses Beckwith for County Commission

Yvon Chouinard, the legendary climber, surfer, fisherman and Founder of Patagonia and Patagonia Provisions, has endorsed Christian Beckwith for Teton County Commission.

“Christian’s the only candidate for Teton County Commission who is willing to fight for the longterm interests of this community,” said Mr. Chouinard in his endorsement. 

“The quality of our ecosystem, our quality of life and the quality of experience it provides for visitors are interconnected,” Chouinard said. “A pro-growth agenda that makes a few people rich at the expense of this place and the community that calls it home is an agenda we can’t afford. 

“Christian gets it. He has the vision to make Teton County sustainable, the courage to fight the special interests working against it and the tenacity to persevere.

“He has my full support.”

With his announcement, Chouinard joins the growing list of local and national leaders who support Beckwith’s candidacy. 

A full list of endorsements may be found here.

The support comes from a wide array of sectors and perspectives.

Beckwith founded the conservation organization SHIFT in 2013. Under his direction, the organization evolved to focus on the health benefits of outdoor recreation, advancing a cost-effective component of comprehensive health care while strengthening the argument for nature in the process.

“Christian’s vision, tenacity and inspired thinking have quickly made him a national leader in the space,” said Michael Suk, MD, JD, MPH, MBA, the System Wide Chairman of the Geisinger Musculoskeletal Institute for the Geisinger Health System and a Board Trustee of The American Medical Association. “I’m excited to see what happens when he applies those same leadership qualities to a community he deeply loves.”

Jonathan B. Jarvis, the 18th Director of The United States National Park Service, agrees. “Thanks to Christian’s vision and tenacity, SHIFT is a global leader in the health and nature movement. I have no doubt that if he were elected as Teton County Commissioner, he would apply a similar vision and tenacity to the challenges and opportunities facing one of the most iconic places in the world.”

“Having worked with Christian on the SHIFT board as well as through the leadership program at Central Wyoming College, I’ve been witness to his undaunted courage, relentless energy and ethical values,” said Sandy Schultz Hessler, the Founder of Six Minutes Daily and former Assistant Dean of Harvard Kennedy School (2009-2011). “He’s what we most need now as County Commissioner.”

Kathryn Mapes Turner, the artist and a lifelong Teton County resident, echoed Hessler’s assessment. “Through his years of experience as the Executive Director of SHIFT, Christian has gained a comprehensive understanding of the complex challenges that face Jackson Hole,” she said. “In his role as county commissioner, I believe he will demonstrate the same dedication, hard work, passion and insight that we know him for—and our community will be better for it for generations to come.”

Business leaders, too, support Beckwith’s candidacy.

“In my long career, I’ve had the privilege to work with some of our country’s finest business, political, and non-profit leaders,” said Peter Metcalf, the Founder of Black Diamond Equipment. “Without question, Christian is one of the most impressive.”

“Christian understands that Teton County’s economy is directly tied to its natural resources,” said Luis Benitez, the Vice President of Government Affairs and Global Impact for the VF Corporation and the first Director of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. “He has a proven track record of creating jobs, educating the next generation, and bringing the world to Jackson Hole.”

“Christian says what he thinks, has a clear vision for what he would do if elected, combines passion with a great intellect and has a moral compass carved from Teton granite,” said Alex Friedman, the Co-Founder of Jackson Hole Economics and former CFO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “He is exactly the county commissioner we need.”

“I have known Christian for over 20 years,” said Rob Werner, the Founder/President of Jackson Temp Service, Inc. “I don’t think I’ve met anyone so tenacious when he’s fighting for his vision. He sees the big picture, thinks big and is willing to work very hard to make things happen.”

A number of those supporting Beckwith hail from the climbing world. 

Beckwith started his first climbing magazine, The Mountain Yodel, shortly after moving to Jackson in 1994. One of his early climbing partners in those days was Nat Patridge, who is now the President and co-owner of Exum Mountain Guides. 

“I have watched Christian work as a writer, editor, community project organizer, and recently the Director of SHIFT with boundless energy and inclusive vision,” said Patridge. “I have no doubt that he will do great work for this community and environment during these complex times.”

When the first issue of The Mountain Yodel was published, Beckwith gave a copy to Chouinard, who proposed to The American Alpine Club that they hire Beckwith as Editor of The American Alpine Journal (AAJ), the world’s foremost mountaineering publication. The AAC complied, making Beckwith the youngest editor in the Journal’s history.

Phil Powers, the owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides and former CEO of The American Alpine Club (2005-2020), helped Beckwith with climbing reports from Pakistan’s Karakoram Range. “I have known and worked with Christian for over 20 years,” he said. “He is aware. He is thoughtful. And he is relentless when on the path to an outcome in which he believes. I can not think of a more deserving person to serve as county commissioner.”

In 2001, Beckwith co-founded Alpinist Magazine, a coffee-table quarterly that Reinhold Messner, the first person to climb all 14 of the world’s 8000-meter peaks, called “the best climbing magazine in the world today.”

In 2009, Beckwith led a public-private initiative that resulted in the creation of the Teton Boulder Park at the base of Snow King Mountain. 

Bob McLaurin, Jackson Town Manager from 2008-2018, worked with Beckwith on the project. “Christian’s leadership and commitment, as well as his effectiveness in fundraising and building partnerships, were instrumental in building the Teton Boulder Park and ensured the implementation of this important community project,” he said.

More recently, Beckwith founded The Teton Climbers’ Coalition, a local climbing organization that in August completed its first stewardship project, a rehabilitation effort that built belay platforms and undertook trail work for the popular local climbing area, Rodeo Wall.

Understanding the importance of Latino engagement in the community, Beckwith invited Sahir Enriquez to become the organization’s Vice Chair. 

“Christian Beckwith is an advocate for the backbone of this community: the Latino community,” said Enriquez. “He wants to engage and better serve this vital part of the community that for too long has not had a voice at the table. I will be voting for him this November.”

Marian Meyers, a physical therapist and longtime resident of Teton County, also joined the Coalition’s board. 

“As the resources of our beloved valley and community have been stretched past their capacity in recent months, we desperately need leaders who have not given up on working towards a vision that looks at the long-term implications of their decisions,” she said. “I’ve known Christian Beckwith for over 20 years. In that time, he has demonstrated he has the tenacity and work ethic necessary to see challenging projects through to completion. Our community would be fortunate to have Christian serving us in the capacity of County Commissioner.”

Other community members, such as Ben Ellis, Teton County Commissioner from 2006-2014, view Beckwith’s candidacy through the prism of public office. “Christian Beckwith would make an excellent elected leader for our community,” he said. “He is committed to working through the hard issues to balance conservation and development. Christian has my vote because I know he will work hard for Teton County.”

Still others support Beckwith as a champion of Teton County’s ecosystem.

“If you want someone who will protect wildlife and preserve some semblance of Wyoming lifestyle in Jackson Hole, vote for Christian Beckwith,” said Tom Turiano, the author, guide, and pioneer of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. “He has the vision and skills to make a difference.”

Perhaps not surprising, Beckwith also has the support of his wife, Giovannina Anthony, MD, an Ob/Gyn and partner at Women’s Health Center and Family Care Clinic.

“Plainly put, I do not know anyone who will work harder for Teton County,” said Dr. Anthony. “His passion for this community, his drive, commitment, and work ethic are literally a force of nature. In these complex times, Christian is uniquely prepared to serve this community.”

“I’m honored to have the support of so many people I respect, and who care, as I do, about the future of Teton County,” said Beckwith.

“If elected, I will strive to uphold the opening words of The 2012 Comprehensive Plan: to ‘preserve and protect the area’s ecosystem in order to ensure a healthy environment, community and economy for current and future generations.'”

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@ 2020 Christian Beckwith for Teton County Commissioner.