A Conservation Alliance grantee, the California Wild Heritage Campaign (, has scored a major conservation victory in California. The Alliance and individual member companies played an active role in the Campaign’s effort to secure Wilderness designation for 273,000 acres of federal land on the state’s North Coast.

Congress passed the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, and President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law any day. Four years in the making, the bill will permanently protect special places including the Lost Coast, the King Range, and additions to existing Wilderness areas in the region. It also designates 21 miles of the Black Butte River as Wild and Scenic.

“We are thrilled that Congress acted to save these very special lands for their habitat and recreational values,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “Our member companies, many of which are based in California, benefit when lands are added to the Wilderness Preservation System.”

Conservation Alliance members played an active role in the effort to protect Wilderness on the North Coast. Several companies – including Mountain Hardwear, Wilderness Press, Patagonia, and Adventure 16 — featured information about the campaign in their catalogs and retail stores.

The Conservation Alliance also organized three trips to Washington DC on which business representatives spoke to Congressional offices about the economic value of Wilderness in California. Companies that participated in DC trips are Patagonia, prAna, Wilderness Press, Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, Atlas Snow-Shoe, and Marmot.

“Conservation Alliance members were among the most effective voices that advocated for new Wilderness on the North Coast,” said Traci Sheehan, Campaign Director for the California Wild Heritage Campaign. “Our elected officials were truly impressed that so many businesses cared so deeply about conserving our wild places.”

“Wilderness is an important part of our business, and of the California landscape,” said Devaki Murch, Marketing Coordinator for prAna, who participated in two trips to Washington in support of the legislation. “It’s encouraging to see that outdoor businesses can have a positive impact on the effort to save Wilderness.”


A group of four Conservation Alliance members traveled to Washington DC to talk to members of Congress about the importance of securing new Wilderness designations in Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds Mountains.

Representatives from Cascade Designs, Chaco, Outdoor Industry Association, and The Conservation Alliance spent two days in meetings with 12 Congressional offices to show support for legislation that would protect 319,000 acres of federal land as Wilderness. The bill would also cap motorized recreation on another 500,000 acres of land surrounding the Wilderness.

The Conservation Alliance organized the trip in conjunction with the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) ( a recent Conservation Alliance grant recipient.

“When possible, we like to supplement our financial support with on-the-ground advocacy,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “Our member companies recognize the value of protecting wild places for non-motorized use.”

Conservationists in Idaho have been working for roughly 25 years to protect the Boulder-White Clouds Mountains. During that time, off-road vehicle registrations have skyrocketed from 750 in 1980 to 104,000 today.

“Motorized recreation in Idaho is on the rise, making it urgently important that we preserve some areas for non-motorized use,” said Sterling.

It has been 26 years since Congress last designated new Wilderness areas in Idaho, a trend that ICL hopes to change by showing broad support for protected public lands.
“The strength of this endeavor comes from the diversity of allies, and Conservation Alliance members broadened that even more at a very important time,” said Johnson.

Trip participants included Tami Fairweather (Cascade Designs), Brian Scranton (Chaco), Amy Roberts (Outdoor Industry Association), and Sterling.


The Conservation Alliance sent checks totaling $250,000 to ten organizations working to protect wild places throughout North America. The donations marked the Alliance’s final disbursal of funding for 2006, and brought the year’s contributions to a new high of $530,000.

By a vote of the group’s 120 member companies, The Conservation Alliance made donations to ten grassroots conservation organizations as follows:

 Organization (Location)    Amount
Alaska Wilderness League (Washington, DC)  $30,000
Greater Yellowstone Coalition (Bozeman, MT)  $30,000
Carolina Climber’s Coalition (Spartanburg, SC)  $30,000
Northeast Wilderness Trust (Boston, MA)     $30,000
Colorado Environmental Coaltion (Denver, CO)   $25,000
American Whitewater (Cullowhee, NC)    $20,000
Deschutes Basin Land Trust (Bend, OR)   $25,000
Nevada Wilderness Project (Reno, NV)  $20,000
Forest Guardians (Santa FE, NM)   $20,000
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (Ottawa, ON)   $20,000
 Total   $250,000

“Through The Conservation Alliance, our member companies are supporting the most effective conservation organizations in the US,” said Conservation Alliance Executive Director John Sterling. “We’ve already celebrated several significant conservation victories this year, and look forward to more good news from this round of grantees.”

This round of grant recipients reflects the geographic distribution of Conservation Alliance members. Conservation Alliance funds will support efforts to: purchase a popular climbing area in North Carolina; secure new Wilderness designations for federal lands in Nevada, Colorado, and Alaska; protect a private land wilderness in New Hampshire; improve federal land management in Wyoming and New Mexico; restore rivers in the Carolinas; save a 9.6-million-acre watershed in Canada’s Northwest Territories; and protect a 30,000-acre forest in Central Oregon.

“We work hard to identify great projects throughout North America,” said Sterling. “It’s important to our members that we support a diverse range of organizations.”

With the conclusion of this funding cycle, the Conservation Alliance has contributed more than $5.3 million since its founding in 1989. The Alliance has budgeted to make $500,000 in grants in 2006, a 38 percent increase in just two years.

“The buzz around The Conservation Alliance continues to grow. We’ve added more than 25 new members this year, which increases our budget to support more conservation efforts,” said Sterling. “The outdoor industry is really stepping up in its support for wildland protection.”

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