Bruce was raised in a small town in Maryland surrounded by dairy and other agricultural farms. After school and athletics Bruce spent time with his closest friends helping out on their farms. This influence has remained with him throughout his life as he has always chosen to be in an environment with more open space and less people.
While attending the University of Oklahoma, Bruce and his first wife Lynn spent a summer in Lander working for an architect who subsequently moved to Jackson. After graduation from OU, Bruce and Lynn lived in Europe for two years. Upon returning to the U.S Bruce was offered a job in Jackson and moved here in 1969.
In 1970 – 1971 Bruce and 7 other concerned residents of Jackson Hole saw the rapid growth occurring in the valley and noticed the lack of proper planning tools to deal with that growth. In order to influence the need for a comprehensive plan and a proper building permitting process this group formed ENACT, The Environmental Action Society. ENACT invited speakers to conduct well-attended public meetings to share with us our fate unless we took immediate action. The effort took off like wildfire and ENACT is now the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.
“We all know that our effort is to give people the tools they need to be good stewards while in Jackson Hole,” says Hawtin. “The Alliance can creatively and imaginatively influence positive outcomes.”