Karen Coulter

Karen Coulter

Co-founder ,
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project

Karen co-founded the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project with Asante Riverwind in 1991. Karen has been fighting to defend and restore forests on public lands in eastern Oregon ever since then. In the early days of the Project, she field-checked timber sales on horseback. Karen spent over 14 years living off-grid with her family and their livestock in rural eastern Oregon. Their teepee home and most of their belongings were lost during a wildfire. Karen now lives in a more fire resistant straw bale cabin on the eastside.

Karen has 30 years of experience doing public lands advocacy as the Director of the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project. She has been surveying timber sales every summer since the project’s inception. Karen has long-term and first-hand familiarity with the ecology of the region, as well as an extensive understanding of land management issues. Karen is an extremely effective and passionate voice for forests. She asserts that: “human and ecological issues are indivisible. Humans are rapidly destroying the planet—the forests, the oceans, species biodiversity, and the global climate. We must deal with social and political inequality and injustice in order to stop ecological devastation.”

Karen is a long-time activist, and has dedicated her life to environmental and social justice causes. Her past work includes international negotiations on acid rain and ozone depletion for Greenpeace International, and campaigning to stop the Reagan era MX missile plans with the American Friends Service Committee. She has also been part of the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, which was formed by an alliance of environmentalists and labor union organizers. She was a principal activist of the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy, and did research, writing, and speaking about the history of the rise of corporate power in the U.S. and lessons from past activists’ struggles. Her principles for protection of the wild are based on Deep Ecology and Biocentrism. She has a master’s of English from Reed College.