Wrapping up a spectacular year, Conservation Alliance grantees scored two major victories in December, protecting 558,000 acres of federal land in Eastern Nevada and closing Montana’s spectacular Rocky Mountain Front to new oil and gas leasing.

Grantee Nevada Wilderness Project ( led the effort to secure Wilderness designation for lands in Nevada’s White Pine County, including areas adjacent to Great Basin National Park. The Conservation Alliance supported the Nevada effort with a $30,000 grant in 2005, which helped NWP build local support for the Wilderness designations. Congress passed the White Pine County Public Conservation, Recreation, and Economic Development Act in the final hours of the session on December 8.

Also in the waning hours of the session, Congress passed legislation that permanently closes at least 350,000 acres of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front to new oil and gas leases. The Montana Wilderness Association ( played a key role in moving the legislation. The Conservation Alliance supported MWA with a $60,000 grant in March, 2006.

The Nevada and Montana conclude a year in which Conservation Alliance funding helped seven organizations win significant and permanent victories that: protected more than 1 million acres of land in the US; established a 4.4-million-acre Provincial Park in British Columbia; removed one dam in Colorado; and permanently prohibited oil and gas drilling on at least 350,000 acres in Montana.

“These two wins close out a year of unprecedented success for The Conservation Alliance,” said Executive Director John Sterling. “Our members have done a terrific job placing our funding into the hands of organizations that get the job done.”

Following is a summary of the good news The Conservation Alliance has reported in 2006:

  • Cedar Mountains Wilderness (January 2006): 100,000 acres protected in Utah’s West Desert (Grantee: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance)
  • Great Bear Rainforest (January 2006): 4.4-million-acre Provincial Park established in British Columbia (Grantee: Raincoast Conservation Society)
  • Chipeta Dam Removal (February 2006): Obsolete dam removed on Colorado’s North Fork Gunnison River (Grantee: North Fork River Improvement Assn.)
  • California North Coast Wilderness (October 2006): 275,000 acres protected on California’s North Coast  (Grantee: Calif. Wild Heritage Campaign)
  • New England Wilderness (December 2006): 76,000 acres protected in Vermont and New Hampshire (Grantees: Appalachian Mtn. Club, ForestWatch)
  • Nevada Wilderness (December 2006): 558,000 acres protected in White Pine County Nevada (Grantee: Nevada Wilderness Project)
  • Rocky Mountain Front (December 2006): 350,000 acres in Montana permanently closed to oil and gas drilling (Grantee: Montana Wilderness Assn.)


Mountain Hardwear raised $3,930 for The Conservation Alliance at its parking lot sale in November. The company gave a 10 percent discount to any customer that made a $10 donation to The Conservation Alliance. The contribution will help the organization in its ongoing efforts to protect wild places where outdoor customers recreate.

“We are fortunate to work with Mountain Hardwear because they always look for creative ways to support The Conservation Alliance,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of the Alliance.

The November event supplements a similar effort in May, which raised $2,655 for the Alliance. Together, the two initiatives generated $6,585 for the group’s conservation efforts.

“We’re excited that our customers responded so positively to the fundraising effort,” said Mountain Hardwear’s Paige Boucher. “It has always been important to us that we support efforts to protect the wild places for our customers and for wildlife.”

Mountain Hardwear is a long-time Conservation Alliance member with a strong commitment to conservation. In addition to contributing annual dues the Alliance’s grant fund, the company has helped promote environmental causes important to them. Mountain Hardwear regularly features information about conservation efforts in catalogs, and encourages employees to be active in these campaigns.

“We couldn’t ask for a better partner in conservation,” said Sterling, whose group is celebrating several significant conservation successes this year. “Mountain Hardwear has been an important part of everything we’ve accomplished in 2006.”


Adding to a string of conservation success stories this year, Conservation Alliance grantees secured permanent protection for 76,000 acres of federal land in New Hampshire and Vermont. This victory is the fifth significant accomplishment for Alliance grantees in 2006.

President Bush signed today the New England Wilderness Act. The bill protects 42,000 acres in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest, and 34,000 acres in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest.

“We are honored to have played a role in protecting these special lands in the Northeastern US,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “We have many member companies based in New England who will benefit from these designations. Outdoor customers in the region now have more Wilderness to enjoy.”

In 2003, The Conservation Alliance contributed $28,000 to the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) for the group’s work to identify lands in New Hampshire worthy of Wilderness designation, and secure recommendations from the Forest Service that those lands be protected.

“Thanks to support from The Conservation Alliance, AMC was able to involve thousands of concerned citizens in 2004 to advocate for wilderness protection,” said AMC Executive Director Andrew Falender. The 2004 public comment period determined which lands in New Hampshire would be included for protection in the 2006 legislation.

Our $20,000 grant to Forest Watch in March 2006 helped build support for the Green Mountain National Forest protections.

“The Conservation Alliance’s investment in and support of Forest Watch’s work enabled this to happen,” said Jim Northup, Forest Watch’s Executive Director. “Raise a toast for wild Nature today, and give thanks.”

The New England success is the latest in a flurry of victories supported by Conservation Alliance funding, summarized below:

  • Cedar Mountains Wilderness: 100,000 acres protected in Utah’s West Desert (January 2006)
  • Great Bear Rainforest: 4.4-million-acre Provincial Park established in British Columbia (January 2006)
  • Chipeta Dam Removal: Obsolete dam removed on Colorado’s North Fork Gunnison River (February 2006)
  • California North Coast Wilderness: 275,000 acres protected on California’s North Coast (October 2006)
  • New England Wilderness: 76,000 acres protected in Vermont and New Hampshire (December 2006)

“As indicated by these successes, The Conservation Alliance is good at identifying projects that can succeed given the necessary financial support,” said Sterling. “It is important that we show our member companies a solid return on their investment. This has been a banner year.”

As the year winds down, The Conservation Alliance could yet celebrate conservation victories on Oregon’s Mount Hood, Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds Mountains, and wildlands in Nevada’s White Pine County.

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