Many county commissioners in the western United States preside over rural and/or public lands-dominated counties. Their formal role in the development of natural resources public policy is poorly defined, but rapidly evolving. As part-time elected officials, they state needs for training in both policy process skills and technically oriented subject matter. A survey investigation of their nonformal learning environment was conducted. They desire more consistent involvement in issues dialogue and higher-quality interactions with various policy influencers. Commissioners overwhelmingly prefer consultation with county government officials--with more regularity, confidence, and credibility than with any other agency, consultant, or institution.

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