Possible International Protection for the Flathead River Watershed


We've been closely tracking what's happening up in the Flathead Valley in Southeastern British Columbia, where in February, a ban was placed on mining and energy development

But that ban was only part of protecting this wild and beautiful section of North America. Conservation Alliance grantee Sierra Club of British Columbia has been working hard to create a National Park in the south eastern one-third of the Flathead River Valley, to fill in the missing piece of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

Well, good news! At the recent G8 and G20 summits, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper deliberated over B.C.'s precious Flathead Valley. Now, there's an international conservation agreement in the works for the American and Canadian Flathead River watershed – a Rocky Mountain hotspot for animals that straddles the Montana-British Columbia border.

Check out the White House's official statement on the issue here

Let's keep this cause moving forward! Learn how you can help by visiting Sierra Club of BC's website.

Conservation Victory: Southwest Colorado May Get More Wilderness


The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources passed the San Juan Wilderness Act last week soon will pop up for a full House vote — protecting almost 62,000 acres in portions of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests in Southwest Colorado.

From the Durango Herald News:

The bill, introduced by Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa, would provide permanent protection for some of Colorado's most-renowned views and mountains, including the slopes of Mount Sneffels and Wilson Peak…

"Today's passage of the San Juan Wilderness Act is a major step in the process and a victory for the communities of Southwest Colorado," Salazar said in a news statement. "This bill came from the ground up, from my constituents and local government representatives who came together to work out a bill with me that enjoys strong support on the ground.

"The bill will provide permanent protection for crystal-clear water and soaring peaks while protecting agriculture, grazing and water rights," Salazar said. "The stunning beauty of this region provides the economic driver for these communities."

Thanks to Conservation Alliance grantee Wilderness Support Center for making this happen!


The Sun was Shining on the Seattle Backyard Collective!

Warm weather and a bit of sunshine greeted ConservationNEXT volunteers as they began to arrive at Mt. Baker Park for the 2nd Annual Backyard Collective. 

Cascade Land Conservancy, Green Seattle Project and ConservationNEXT put together a full morning of work and more than 80 volunteers from  Patagonia, Stanley, a brand of PMI, Outdoor Research, Nikwax, Clif Bar, Brooks, Filson, Teva, and Cascade Designs came together to pull invasive plants and spread mulch on the hillsides of one of Seattle's most popular urban parks.  

Volunteers were broken into groups of 15, each led by a Conversation Corp member, and given names including Mulch Masters, Cedar Savers and Blackberry Busters.  First on the agenda: clear the hillsides of the invasive blackberry vines and ivy, out-competing the natives for sun, nutrients and water.  Once this was complete, heavy cardboard was rolled out over the treated area and mulch was spread. 

It is said that many hands make light work.  In only four hours, 24 cubic yards of debris (invasive blackberry and ivy) was removed from 12,000 square feet of earth, on which 35 cubic yards of mulch was spread.

Once the work was done, volunteers enjoyed an amazing lunch provided by Skillet and visited with a few of the Conservation Alliance Grantees; Washington Wilderness Coalition, Alaska Wilderness League, American Rivers, and the Cascade Land Conservancy.

Huge thanks to Krissy Moehl, Green Seattle, the Cascade Land Conservancy, Patagonia, Nikwax, Brooks, Stanley, a brand of PMI, Outdoor Research, Clif Bar, Brooks, Filson, Teva, Cascade Designs and Bear Naked Granola for  providing support, product donations, nourishment, and volunteers to another successful Backyard Collective!

Boulder White Clouds One Step Closer to Wilderness Designation!

The Boulder White Cloud Mountains of central Idaho are one step closer to receiving the designation of Wilderness.  On Wednesday, June 16th, the Obama administration endorsed a Senate bill (S. 3294) proposing 333,000 acres of land to be designated Wilderness, the nation's highest level of protection for a landscape

Backed by the Idaho Conservation League, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the 333,000 acre wilderness bill has strong support in Idaho and in Washington.  While small adjustments will most likely be made to the bill before it is passed, supporters are willing to strike a compromise to protect one of Idaho's greatest assets.  Rep. Simpson, who has been working to protect the Boulder White Clouds for more than 10 years, feels "the needs of the people who live and recreate in the area are as important as lines drawn on a map."

For more on the subcommittee hearing, click here

Legislation Would Give Tennessee Nearly 20,000 More Acres of Wilderness


Yesterday, U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) introduced the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 that would designate six different areas totaling 19,556 acres as wilderness in the Cherokee National Forest.

From the Chattanoogan:

“I grew up hiking in the mountains of East Tennessee and know firsthand that these beautiful landscapes should be preserved for generations to come,” Alexander said. “The bill we are introducing today is an important step in conserving some of the most pristine areas in Tennessee and will strengthen the legacy of Tennessee’s natural heritage.”

Read more…

The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 specifically creates one new wilderness area and expands the boundaries of five separate existing wilderness areas already within the Cherokee National Forest. Since these areas are owned entirely by the U.S. Forest Service and are being managed as Wilderness Study Areas currently, this bill will have no effect on privately owned lands and will cause no change in access for the public.

Thanks to the hard work of two-time Conservation Alliance grantee Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition for making this happen!

Learn more and get involved here.

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