In Memoriam: Member Scholar Dale Goble has passed away

Minor Sinclair
Brian Gumm
Sidney Shapiro
Robert Glicksman

April 18, 2022

We're sad to share the news that long-time Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) Member Scholar Dale Goble passed away at his home on April 14. Scholars and staff alike appreciated his warm presence at our scholars' meetings, and he brought a wealth of knowledge to the fields of wildlife and conservation law.

Center Vice President Sid Shapiro said, "When the founders of CPR were reaching out to the nation's leading progressive scholars, we were so pleased that Dale agreed to join. His humanity, his dedication to protecting public lands and wildlife, and his participation in CPR will be sorely missed."

Board Member Rob Glicksman added, "Dale was a leader in natural resources management and wildlife law. At a time when interdisciplinary work did not have the cache that it does now, Dale worked closely with scientists in advocating effective approaches to protecting the nation's precious natural resource base. He rarely missed a CPR scholars' meeting, where his input reflected his creative approaches to legal and policy questions. Anyone who spent more than a few minutes with Dale would surely have been exposed to his wicked sense of humor. Dale seemed to revel in his life in Idaho and in academia, and he radiated optimism and good cheer. He was also committed to CPR's work, as evidenced by his frequent and generous donations to the organization. Dale will be missed by everyone who knew him, and those involved in natural resources law will miss his contributions to the field."

Member Scholar Rebecca Bratspies noted, "Dale’s impact on wildlife conservation law was immense. He had a collaborative spirit and always looked for interdisciplinary projects that would make environmental law more relevant to scientists, policymakers, and the general public. Dale set high standards for his students and gave generously of his time to them and to junior colleagues. He was my first mentor in the legal academy and was always willing to read drafts or give advice. Dale also loved good food and wine. My husband and I spent many happy evenings cooking with him and Susan in Moscow, Idaho (usually Thai food), and dining with him in cities across the country whenever our paths crossed. He was a smart, funny, kind, and generous man with a ferocious appetite for life and deep abiding love of the West. RIP my friend. You will be missed. You are already."

Member Scholar Dan Rohlf said, "Dale's work on legal issues dealing with managing and protecting wildlife and biodiversity had enormous influence on both his colleagues in the academy and generations of students. I've used multiple editions of his textbook on wildlife law for many years to inspire and educate students about how to conserve the species with which we share the planet. But what I most enjoyed was engaging with Dale himself on these topics, whether we were discussing the latest wildlife cases at a meeting, debating the best way to reverse the decline of biological diversity on a conference panel, or trading articles and responses in print. Best of all were the evenings we shared over beers or dinner, when his good nature and sense of humor lit up the room. The planet is better off, as are all of us, because of Dale."

Board Member Joel Mintz added, "I knew Dale when we were both undergraduates at Columbia in the 1960s. I remember having some impassioned conversations about how we both abhorred the Vietnam War and about our mutual efforts to avoid being drafted. Even then, Dale was really bright, witty, a bit eccentric, and fun to be with. I will miss him."

Dale earned an A.B. in philosophy from Columbia College and a J.D. from the University of Oregon. Following law school, he taught at Oregon for a year before joining the Solicitor's Office at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. as an Honor's Program Attorney. He subsequently worked in the Lands and Minerals Division where his responsibilities included sagebrush rebellion litigation, wilderness, land-use planning, and wild and scenic river issues. He joined the University of Idaho College of Law in 1982 after the notorious James Watt became Secretary of the Interior and his subordinates sought to sideline Dale and his progressive approach to natural resources management from any meaningful participation in the agency's work. In his teaching role, Dale educated and mentored students for 36 years.

Dale was highly regarded and active in his fields. He received the College of Natural Resources' Bridge Builder Award (2008), the University of Idaho's Award for Excellence in Research / Creative Activity (2004-2005), the Idaho State Bar Association's Distinguished Service Award (1992), and four Alumni Awards for Excellence in Teaching. He also served on the boards of directors of the Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Legal Aid Services, Idaho Land and Water Fund, and Idaho Environmental Forum, and he was a member of the editorial advisory board of Western Legal History and was Idaho state reporter for Administrative and Regulatory Law News.

Editor's note: This post will be updated periodically.

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