Love the Outdoors? Give Back this Holiday Season to Protect Wild Places!


The Conservation Alliance invites you to join in our efforts to protect North America's last wild places. We all believe in conservation, but don't always know which organizations are doing the most effective work. By supporting The Conservation Alliance, you will invest in an array of the most compelling conservation projects in North America. Our rigorous screening process ensures that our funds go to organizations with the ability to succeed.
Love the outdoors? Debating on a good place to put your money this holiday season? Consider making an individual donation to the Alliance. 100% of your donation to the Alliance will go directly into our grant fund to support organizations working to protect special wild lands and waterways throughout North America.  
Donate here to protect our wild places!

Grantee Weekly Grind: Colorado’s Summit County Commissioners Support the Polis Wilderness Plan


In 2010, the Conservation Alliance awarded Colorado Environmental Coalition (CEC) a grant to protect wilderness quality lands in Colorado for the benefit of their wildlife populations, scenery, backcountry recreation opportunities, importance to Colorado's long-term economic prosperity, the many important environmental services they provide, and future generations. Last week, the CEC recognized the Summit County commissioners for their support of Congressman Jared Polis' wilderness bill.

Via Bob Berwyn at Summit County Citizens Voice:

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado conservation advocates are hopeful that their plan to expand and add wilderness areas in the state may still have a chance before the current session of Congress winds up in in a couple of months. And earlier this month, the Summit County commissioners sent a letter of support to Congressman Jared Polis, recognizing the important legacy of wilderness in Summit County.

There has been some talk of trying to move major omnibus lands act through the lame duck Congress — a measure that could include a San Juan wilderness measure, as well as the Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act, which is a scaled-back version of the Hidden Gems wilderness proposal

Polis introduced the wilderness bill just before the November election. The measure would add about 88,000 acres of new wilderness and provide a more uncertain level of protection for another 78,000 acres under so-called companion designations on Forest Service lands in Summit and Eagle counties.

The Hidden Gems proposal, which formed the basis for Polis’s bill, originally identified about 300,000 acres on the White River National Forest as suitable for wilderness designation. After a thorough vetting process and an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders like mountain bike and motorized user groups, several areas were sliced out of the proposal, while others would be protected as recreation or conservation areas.

In early November, the Summit County commissioners sent a letter to Polis expressing measured support for his wilderness bill, specifically praising Polis for addressing the concerns of the wildfire council and the local mountain biking community.

County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said there are still a few lingering concerns about impacts to mountain bike trails, but that the Polis bill is a move in the right direction.

The letter from the commissioners also addressed specific wording the Polis measure that is related to the ability of the Forest Service to pre- and post-fire mitigation. The letter also addresses the issue of funding for public land management.

The Pitkin County Commissioners have voted to support the Polis wilderness bill, according the Colorado Independent.

photo by Zach Dischner

Conservation Stories: Timberland Plants Virtual Trees for Real Change

The work at Conservation Alliance wouldn't be possible without all of our outdoor industry brand members. But a lot of them aren't only involved with Conservation Alliance; many of our member brands are committed to a diverse variety of environmental causes. Every Thursday we'll be featuring a cross-post from one of our member companies to highlight the causes that they're active in. Today we're celebrating member company Timberland for the Earthkeepers Virtual Forest, a Facebook application that invites users to plant virtual trees to make a real difference.


Are you excited about planting trees? We certainly are. So much so that in addition to the real trees we're planting around the world, we've launched a new Timberland Earthkeepers Virtual Forest application on Facebook.  By creating their own individual virtual forests and inviting friends to plant trees in them, members of the Facebook  community are helping to get real trees planted in Haiti. So far, as a result of the Facebook community's adoption of the application, which was launched in October, 1,762 real trees will be planted in Haiti

If you haven't checked it out already, go ahead and do so. By either planting trees in already existing virtual forests or by creating your own forest, you can help Timberland plant an additional 1 million real trees in Haiti.  It's that simple. The more virtual trees and virtual forests, the more real trees we'll plant in Haiti (up to 1 million) – above and beyond the ones we're already planting there. Create a forest and invite your friends to do the same and then plant trees in each other's forests too. Nature will thank you. Haiti will thank you and Timberland will thank you by planting more trees. And while you're there, check out the videos that chronicle our projects in Haiti and share them with your friends. Then, share your ideas with other virtual tree planters from all around the world on the CONVERSATION tab.

We're also working on some updates to the Virtual Forest, so stay tuned for those changes at the beginning of December.

Photo by Zach Stern

Saving the Wild Rogue – a good call

There’s not much time left this year to Save the Wild Rogue River. With new faces coming to Congress in January, who knows if public lands protection will be on the agenda.Take action today to protect 58,000 acres of wild forest along southern Oregon’s famed Rogue River.We’ve made it super easy to call and take action. Just follow this link, enter your information, click, and we’ll call your phone to patch you through to Senator Ron Wyden’s office.Let Senator Wyden know it is important for the Wild Rogue Wilderness to be protected before the year is out!… Read More

Grantee Weekly Grind: Green Light for Condit Dam Removal a Long-Fought Victory for American Whitewater


In 2010, the Conservation Alliance awarded American Whitewater a grant to protect two dozen Wild and Scenic rivers representing more than 450 river miles, new wilderness areas that protect key watersheds, and additions to Olympic National Park that enhance watershed protection. Last month, the Washington State Department of Ecology took the final step toward the removal of Condit Dam by issuing the necessary water quality permit. AW has been working to remove this dam for nearly a decade.

 Via Andy Maser on

Last month, the Washington Department of Ecology issued the water quality permit needed to remove Condit Dam on the White Salmon River. The permit is a major milestone and is the final step before issuance of a dam removal order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is expected later this year. Once removed, the dam will restore several miles of whitewater and allow the White Salmon’s namesake fish to recover from the brink of extinction.

The Wild & Scenic White Salmon River is one of the Pacific Northwest’s gems—very few other rivers in the country boast 365 days of vertical class V, commercial class III and IV rafting, class I floating, and ideal salmon spawning habitat. Condit dam allows no fish passage, so migrating salmon and steelhead have been cut off from this habitat since the dam was constructed.

American Whitewater has been working with local conservation groups for nearly a decade to make this a reality. AW’s Tom O’Keefe had this to say: “We believe that removal of Condit Dam will have a positive benefit on fishery resources, recreational opportunities, and cultural resources of the White Salmon River and we are thrilled with today's issuance by the State Department of Ecology that was essential to moving this process forward.”

The dam removal itself, which could happen as early as next October, will be as dramatic as they come–a crew will divert the water around the dam site, drill a hole in the bottom of the dam, pack it full of explosives, and blow it up…


 More information at

 Photo by Darrell Wyatt

Conservation Stories: Polartec Supports Collegiate Outdoor Programs


The work at Conservation Alliance wouldn't be possible without all of our outdoor industry brand members. But a lot of them aren't only involved with Conservation Alliance; many of our member brands are committed to a diverse variety of environmental causes. Every Thursday we'll be featuring a cross-post from one of our member companies to highlight the causes that they're active in. Today we're celebrating member company Polartec for the Made Possible College Challenge. The winning collegiate outdoor program will receive $10,000 and awesome Polartec gear!


via the Polartec blog:

At Polartec, we understand the incredible experiences that are possible in the outdoors and many of us consider our own personal involvement with collegiate outdoor clubs to be some of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. Because of that, we have decided that this year we are going to award one college outdoor program with $10,000 to help support their efforts.

During the month of October, we asked college outdoor programs across the nation to submit in writing or on video, their ideas for how they would spend the $10,000. Well, we were completely floored by the level of effort and creativity that we saw in the submissions. Narrowing the finalists was incredibly difficult, but we finally named our final four- The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Middlebury College, Appalachian State University, and the University of Idaho.

We have now put all four schools on our Facebook page in a Final-Four style contest. The school with the most votes as of midnight MST on Nov. 30th will win the grant money and Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Jackets for the entire club. To vote for your favorite, go to our Facebook page and click on the “Made Possible” tab. You can only vote once a day and voting will close on Nov. 30th at midnight.

Good luck to our finalists!

Photo by Frank Kovalchek

Grantee Weekly Grind: Grand Canyon Trust Employee Honored With Conservation Leadership Award


In 2010, the Conservation Alliance awarded the Grand Canyon Trust a grant to protect one million acres around the Grand Canyon from uranium exploration and mining through legislation or by securing a 20-year mineral withdrawal from the Interior Department. Congratulations to Grand Canyon Trust employee Dr. Mary O'Brien for receiving the Wilburforce Foundation Conservation Leadership Award!


From the Grand Canyon Trust

The Wilburforce Foundation has honored Grand Canyon Trust employee Dr. Mary O’Brien with its Conservation Leadership Award. A statement issued by the Foundation said: “Dr. O’Brien embodies what we look for in Conservation Leaders: a deep and abiding commitment to protection of functional ecosystems, (even the ones that are more subtle in their beauty like grasslands), adherence to science and democratic processes, and an unwaveringly wonderful sense of humor. She truly takes her work seriously and her self lightly. “

Mary currently works with a coalition of organizations that is proposing alternatives for the forest plans, livestock grazing EISs, and travel/off-road-vehicle plans for the three southern Utah national forests: Dixie, Fishlake, and Manti-La Sal. Her current focus is on changing the sheep and cattle grazing practices, and establishing reference areas on the three forests. Mary has worked as a staff scientist and organizer for the past thirty-five years with toxics and conservation organizations, including Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Environmental Research Foundation, Science and Environmental Health Network, and Hells Canyon Preservation Council. O’Brien taught (1992-1994) as Assistant Professor in the graduate University of Montana Environmental Studies Program…

She is particularly interested in working for the retention and restoration of native grasslands and riparian areas, increasing public and rancher consciousness of and affection for grassland and riparian communities, and learning and conveying the ecological differences between those grasslands and riparian areas that are grazed by livestock and those that have not been grazed by livestock for a number of years.


photo by James Marvin Phelps 

Writer Craig Childs To Speak At The Conservation Alliance Breakfast At Winter OR


It's that time again! Mark your calendars for the Conservation Aliance breakfast at Winter Outdoor Retailer. This time, we're welcoming writer Craig Childs who has spend much of this year in Patagonia with Rios Libres working to protect the region's wild, free-flowing rivers. You don't want to miss this!

When: 7-9am – Friday, January 21, 2011

Where: The Marriot, Salt Lake City

Conservation Stories: Columbia Photo Contest Awards Gear and Donates Funds


The work at Conservation Alliance wouldn't be possible without all of our outdoor industry brand members. But a lot of them aren't only involved with Conservation Alliance; many of our member brands are committed to a diverse variety of environmental causes. Every Thursday we'll be featuring a cross-post from one of our member companies to highlight the causes that they're active in. Today we're celebrating member company Columbia for their Facebook photo contest Ice Pics, which gives contestants a chance to win cool gear while supporting three awesome causes.


Have a great shot of some wintery outdoor fun? Check out Ice Pics, the new photo contest on Columbia Sportswear's Facebook page!
Columbia is collecting their fans' "coolest" outdoor pics and giving them a chance to win a $50 gift card – or $100 if they're a Columbia Greater Rewards member! They will award a winner each week between now and January 31st.
And here's another cool thing: They're giving $5,000 each month to the following groups in honor of all the cool fans who participate!

  • November: Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness – Dedicated to preserving the ecosystem of the boundary waters wilderness area in northern Minnesota.
  • December: Yampah Mountain High School – Offering a nontraditional curriculum in Glenwood Springs, Colorado that emphasizes environmental responsibility.
  • January: Youth Restoration Corps – Recognized as one of the top conservation programs for youth in the country and promotes wilderness stewardship through service projects emphasizing their connection to the outdoors.

So stop by, submit your pics and check out the excellent work these groups are doing!

Photo by Hamed Saber

Grantee Weekly Grind: Go Fly a Kite for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

In 2010, the Conservation Alliance awarded the Alaska Wilderness League a grant to encourage President Obama to designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) a National Monument . This winter, the ANWR celebrates its 50th year; what better time to give it the gift of permanent protection?

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge celebrates its 50th birthday this winter, and the Alaska Wilderness League is asking Americans to join the celebration.

The refuge, established in 1960 by the Eisenhower administration, is the pristine habitat of caribou, polar bears, grizzly bears, musk oxen, Dall sheep, wolves and wolverines. The people of the Gwich'in Nation call it the "Sacred Place Where Life Begins."

With every flux in gas prices, the ANWR is threatened by drilling attempts. Conservation advocates are calling for President Obama to give the refuge permanent protection by declaring it as a National Monument.

The Alaska Wilderness League is inviting all Americans to join their stand for protection by building and flying Arctic Kites on December 6, 2010. These kites symbolize the millions of migrating birds that are born in the ANWR's coastal plains.

Another way to protect American Wilderness here.

Photo by USFWS Headquarters.

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