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DEEP Announces New Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Conservation

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announces its new Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Conservation, Mason Trumble, an outdoor educator with expertise in promoting and expanding access to outdoor recreation through innovative partnerships between the public and private sectors.

In leading DEEP’s Environmental Conservation Branch, Trumble will oversee the Bureau of Natural Resources, charged with managing the state’s natural resources (particularly fish, wildlife, and forests), through a program of regulation, management, research, and public education. He will also oversee the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, charged with the conservation and management of statewide recreation lands and resources through the acquisition of open space and the management of resources, including state parks, to meet the outdoor recreation needs of the public. 

DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said she was thrilled to welcome Trumble to the DEEP Team.

“Mason is a passionate and dynamic leader in the outdoor industry here in Connecticut and brings a strong track record of promoting and expanding access to outdoor recreation through innovative partnerships,” Commissioner Dykes said. “He is a welcome addition to a vital position here at DEEP, and we look forward to the ways in which his experience in outdoor education and conservation will inform his leadership of DEEP’s Environmental Conservation Branch.”

Trumble joins DEEP after most recently serving in several leadership roles with outdoor recreation company Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI).  As part of REI’s New England leadership team focused on experiences and brand engagement, Trumble worked with many non-profit partners across Connecticut on projects focused on education and stewardship to increase public participation in outdoor activities, and the preservation of outdoor resources. The free educational programs Trumble helped to organize sought to provide people with fun and accessible ways to learn more about the outdoors, while the stewardship projects focused on making improvements to outdoor resources in both Connecticut’s cities and its backcountry.

“Our theory was if we could improve outdoor resources such as trails, campgrounds, and access points, that would benefit everyone in Connecticut,” Trumble said.

Among Trumble’s greatest achievements while at REI was “Cheers for Public Lands,” a political advocacy campaign in partnership with the Connecticut Forest & Park Association that built crucial public support for the recently passed constitutional amendment to protect state lands in Connecticut. Trumble also founded the Connecticut Outdoor Recreation Alliance (CORA) - a coalition of both business and non-profit entities focused on protecting and promoting Connecticut’s outdoor recreation resources. Trumble stepped down from CORA’s board following his hiring at DEEP.

From an early age, Trumble knew he’d pursue a career in the outdoors. A native of Maine, he grew up in a small town near the Penobscot River, one of the nation’s last remaining Atlantic Salmon runs.  Trumble recalled the stories he’d hear growing up about how amazing the fishing was in the river in the decades prior, but how over time, the fisheries became depleted due to dams, overfishing, and commercialization.

“That was one of the first lessons I learned early on in my outdoor career was just how important our natural resources are and how if you don’t take care of them, you don’t protect them, they disappear quickly,” Trumble said.

Right out of high school, Trumble worked as a whitewater rafting guide, initially for the fun of it and for the opportunity to work in the outdoors. He worked at a camp in Maine, and then worked as a guide with the National Outdoor Leadership School, running wilderness expeditions in Utah and throughout the west. Remembering the conservation lessons he learned growing up on the Penobscot River, Trumble soon realized the responsibility he had as an outdoor educator as his career in the outdoor industry unfolded.

“I began to understand it was my responsibility as a leader in the outdoor industry to take care of the places I enjoyed playing outside in, taking care of the resources I appreciated, whether that was paddling, hiking, hunting, or fishing; conservation issues; access to outdoor areas; all of that quickly became very, very important to me,” Trumble said.

Moving to Connecticut five years ago, Trumble was initially unsure of whether the state would have enough outdoor opportunities to sate his appetite. He was very pleasantly surprised by what he found upon arrival, and quickly fell in love with the state.

“Connecticut’s really neat because it offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities that are located extremely close to where people work and live,” Trumble said.

Trumble said what excites him most about his new position is the opportunity presented by the increased outdoor usage in Connecticut since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trumble said that while it’s terrific to see so many people who have not previously experienced the outdoors now doing so, it also means the state’s outdoor resources are being stressed in ways they haven’t been before. Trumble sees a nexus of opportunity for education and acquisition of resources to ensure Connecticut’s outdoor resources remain for generations to come.

"My goal is to try to protect the outdoor resources, and help those who are new to the outdoors become outdoor lovers, and stewards, and care for the outdoors,” Trumble said.

Picture of Mason Trumble 

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