Meet CFC’s new Executive Director!

After an intensive and thoughtful candidate search, we are beyond thrilled to announce that CFC staff and board have appointed Dr. Brian Chaffin as the new Executive Director of the Clark Fork Coalition, succeeding current Executive Director Karen Knudsen after her 17 years at the helm and 31 at the organization. He will begin his tenure on June 3, 2024, guiding CFC into the next chapter of its almost 40-year legacy of protecting and restoring the watershed.

Brian comes to CFC after almost a decade as a professor at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana. His teaching and research focused on water policy and governance, including the challenges of managing water supplies in a changing climate and amid shifting social values. He previously worked as a wilderness river guide, a river ranger for the U.S. Forest Service, and a research fellow at the EPA. He also founded a small non-profit dedicated to supporting the mental health and strength of the professional outdoor guiding community. 

Chaffin holds a Ph.D. in Geography from Oregon State University where he studied water conflict management and conducted research on the social processes that eventually led to the recent removal of major dams on the Klamath River. He earned an M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho, and a B.S. in Resource, Recreation & Tourism, also from the University of Idaho.

Brian lives in Missoula with his wife Jenni and their two cats. They enjoy year-round outdoor activities in Big Sky Country and can often be found on a river or behind binoculars somewhere in the Five Valleys.

Stay tuned for meet and greet opportunities later this year!