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John Freemuth, Boise State University professor of public policy, author, nationally known expert on public lands and Idaho original, has died at age 69; you can read my full story here at, or pick up Tuesday's edition of the Idaho Press. Freemuth died of a heart attack on late Saturday afternoon at his North Boise home. BSU President Marlene Tromp, in a statement Sunday, said, “The loss of John isn’t just a loss for Boise State and his field, but for everyone who knew him. I’ve heard from people across the region today to whom he was a mentor and role model. He will be profoundly missed, but his impact — through all those he and his work touched — will vibrantly live on.”

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson said in a statement, “I’m deeply saddened to hear the news of John’s passing. He will forever be remembered as a man who cared deeply about Idaho’s natural resources and wildlands and bringing people together to discuss public policy concerning these issues. Kathy and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family.”

Freemuth was the Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Cecil Andrus Endowed Chair of Environment and Public Lands at Boise State. In 2001, he was the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching /CAES of Professor of the Year for Idaho.

He chaired the Science Advisory Board of the Bureau of Land Management; was an active participant as moderator in the Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership and the Western Governors Association collaborative projects on working landscapes and invasive species; and was a well-known and respected voice in Idaho public policy and land management circles, from the Statehouse to the classroom to the forest.

Freemuth, who held degrees from Pomona College and Colorado State University, had worked earlier in his life as a high school teacher and a park ranger. He is survived by his wife, Sheri, and two sons.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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