ONDA Receives Volunteer Award

We are proud to announce that Conservation Alliance Grantee, Oregon Natural Desert Association, has been named a regional winner in the Outstanding Volunteer Program category for the 2011 Governor's Volunteer Awards.

This award recognizes ONDA's Wilderness Stewardship Program for their dedication, commitment and determination in promoting and supporting volunteerism throughout Oregon with the purpose of inspiring individuals to make a positive difference by strengthening Oregon communities.

Learn more about ONDA and the Governor's Volunteer Awards by clicking these links.

Bill Introduced to Expand San Juan Mountain Wilderness

  Photo: Jonathan Richter

On September 27, Mark Udall announced that he has introduced a bill to preserve some of the state's most iconic public lands in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. 

The San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act would designate 33,000 acres as wilderness – mostly as expansions of the existing Lizard Head and Mount Sneffels wilderness areas – and establish a new area called McKenna Peak, which presides over imposing sandstone cliffs rising 2,000 feet above the plain.  It would also designate about 22,000 acres as a special management area and withdraw over 6,000 acres within Naturita Canyon from mineral entry. 

The Conservation Alliance funded the Wilderness Support Center's work on the San Juan Wilderness Campaign in 2008 and 2010. 

On a divisive dam, a snippy bit of graffiti

Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times / September 19, 2011

A picture says a thousand words.  In this case, tens of thousands of words. 

"Tear the thing down already."

This is a dam that should be removed. 

Built in 1947, the 200-foot Matilija Dam, near Ojai, California, was flawed from the onset; depriving beaches 17 miles downstream of the sand they need to replenish themselves and a huge obstacle for steelhead trout, an endangered species.

Environmentalists, fishermen, surfers and officials from every level of government have called for demolishing the obsolete structure. 

Learn more and read the article written in the Los Angeles Times here


Senator Barbara Boxer introduces the Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Act of 2011


On Monday, September 19th, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer introduced the Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Act of 2011, which would expand two existing wilderness areas in northern San Diego County.

The bill is a Senate companion to legislation introduced in January and in the last Congress by Repersenative Darrell Issa.

Senator Boxer sees both the recreation and economic value in the permanent protection of our wild spaces.

"By permanently protecting these natural treasures, we will ensure that future generations can continue to visit these places and revel in their scenic beauty while also boosting the tourism and recreation economy of San Diego County," Boxer said in a statement.

The House and Senate bills would add more than 7,796 acres of public land to the existing Agua Tibia Wilderness and expand the Beauty Mountain Wilderness by an additional 13,635 acres; all of which are currently being managed with wilderness-level protections.

The Conservation Alliance has funded both California Wilderness Coalition and Friends of the River for their work to build local support for these protections.

Read the whole story here.



Backyard Collective travels to the East Coast


More than 100 volunteers from Eastern Mountain Sports, Briggs & Riley Travelware, EarthTec, NEMO Equipment, Jetboil, and Polartec came out to support the East Coast Backyard Collective. This great group of volunteers partnered with several local environmental organizations and spread out through the Monadnock region of New Hampshire to work on a variety of conservation and restoration projects.

The Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests, a recent grantee of the Conservation Alliance, organized a large scale trail maintenance project. Volunteers spent the morning clearing trails and building 4 bridges at the 189-acre McCabe Forest Reservation. The property will soon have a new parking lot, property sign and kiosk for the new trail to access existing paths along the scenic Contoocook River.

"The thing that was amazing about the Conservation Alliance Backyard Collective event was the instant camaraderie that developed. Our crew of 18 was comprised of 4 EMS employees, 6 folks from NEMO Tents in Nashua (even in the midst of moving their HQ to Dover) and four Forest Society land steward volunteers and four Forest Society staff," said David Anderson, The Director of Education and Volunteer Services for The Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests. "We busted-out a lot of work. We carried in the lumber and decking for 3 foot bridges and one bog bridge, placed the stringers and decked the bridges, cleared the treadway and cleared the fallen trees and painted blazes and cleaned up and finished all before noon. Essentially we accomplished a full day of heavy trail work in a half day due to the enthusiasm and strength of the individuals working together. The Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests is extremely pleased to have had an opportunity to host a volunteer service project as part of the Backyard Collective!"


All volunteers ended their day celebrating their efforts and hard work over a pizza lunch at Eastern Mountain Sports base camp. During lunch, local non-profits including The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, New Hampshire Audubon, Harris Center for Conservation Education, New Hampshire State Parks, and the Alaska Wilderness League were able to share additional ways volunteers could support their environmental efforts.

A huge thank you to all our participating volunteers and special thanks to Eastern Mountain Sports, The Timberland Company, Briggs and Riley, and EarthTec for their sponsorship of the New Hampshire BYC.

Stay tuned for the next BYC in Bend Oregon on September 29th.

World’s biggest dam removal begins this week

Year of the River: Episode 1 from Andy Maser on Vimeo.

The biggest dam removal project in history begins this Saturday on Washington's Elwha River. American Rivers, the national leader in restoring rivers through dam removal, applauded the effort which will revitalize salmon runs and deliver significant cultural, economic, and recreation benefits to the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe and surrounding communities.

"This is one of the most significant river restoration efforts the world has ever seen," said Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers. "We will witness a river coming back to life, with great benefits for people and the environment. The lessons we learn on the Elwha will inform and inspire other river restoration efforts around the country."

The three-year process to demolish the two Elwha River dams begins Saturday, September 17. Actor and American Rivers board member Tom Skerritt will emcee the ceremony at Elwha Dam, which will include Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Frances Charles, Governor Christine Gregoire, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Rep. Norm Dicks.

American Rivers has dubbed 2011 ‘The Year of the River' because the Unites States will reach the significant milestone of 1000 dams removed nationwide. Dams can provide useful services, but should be removed when they have outlived their usefulness, are unsafe, or when their costs outweigh their benefits.

The Elwha River flows from the heart of Olympic National Park to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Puget Sound.  Dam removal and river restoration on the Elwha will bring hundreds of millions of dollars of economic benefits to the community, from restored fisheries to recreation and tourism.  Dismantling Elwha Dam and Glines Canyon Dam will allow the river to flow freely for the first time in 100 years, restoring over 70 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat. Fish populations are expected to grow from the current 3,000 to more than 300,000 a year, benefitting the entire web of life, from black bears to eagles to orca whales.

At 210 feet tall, Glines Canyon Dam will be the tallest dam ever removed.

The Elwha River restoration effort is the result of decades of work by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, American Rivers, and many other conservation partners. American Rivers has advocated for dam removal on the Elwha for more than 25 years, from intervening in the dam relicensing proceedings to supporting the 1992 legislation authorizing dam removal, to helping secure $50 million in federal economic stimulus funding for the project.

"All of us care about clean water, and about the rivers where we fish, swim, and paddle," said Irvin. "American Rivers is committed to protecting and restoring the Elwha and all of our nation's rivers for future generations. Rivers connect us."

Petzl’s Rasmussen Speaks Out for Balance in Utah Public Lands Management


Roody Rasmussen, President of Petzl America, a long-time Conservation Alliance member, wrote an eloquent piece in the Ogden, Utah Standard Examiner asking that Utah's members of Congress recognize the economic value of protected public lands as they deliberate over how to manage lands in their state. In the article, Rasmussen references a letter that 27 Utah-based outdoor industry companies sent to each member of Utah's Congressional delegation asking them "to adopt a balanced, rational approach to protecting Utah's unique and scenic landscapes."

Members of Utah's delegation are leading efforts to deny needed protections for special wildlands in Utah and throughout the US. This despite repeated efforts by outdoor industry companies to demonstrate the economic benefits of outdoor recreation that depends on protected public lands.

Roody writes:

"It's time for… our delegation, to realize Utah has a strong economic interest in protecting, preserving, and enhancing our public lands. The concept that protective designations lock us out of public lands is patently false. To say we are locked out of protected public land is like saying we're locked out of a shopping mall because we can't drive a bulldozer through it.

"Solutions are rarely found at the extremes. If we put partisan politics aside and look at the real facts about what drives our economy, we can work together for balanced management of our public lands that strengthens Utah's economy, provides abundant recreational opportunities for its residents and visitors, and preserves and protects Utah's iconic wildlands for future generations."

Well spoke, Roody!

Click here to read the full piece.

Speak out now to protect the Arctic Refuge

Right now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking YOUR input on a plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that, for the first time, could recommend Wilderness protection for the Coastal Plain – the Refuge's biological epicenter that has been in Big Oil's sights for decades. A Wilderness recommendation would protect this unparalleled area and the abundant wildlife that depends on it, including polar bears, musk oxen, caribou, and millions of birds from around the globe.

If Americans speak with a loud and united voice, we'll send a strong message that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can't ignore.  That's why the many organizations that care about the Arctic Refuge have an ambitious goal of generating 1 million comments in support of Wilderness for the Coastal Plain this fall.  Will you speak up for the Arctic Refuge by signing this letter?

Will you speak up for the Arctic Refuge by signing our letter?

2011 Boulder Backyard Collective Round-Up

Conservation Alliance Member Company, Osprey Packs, led the charge for the Boulder Backyard Collective! 

Here is an excerpt from the Osprey blog…………….

It's always a fantastic feeling to donate a little sweat equity to give back to the places we play in and the 2011 Backyard Collective was no exception.  Backyard Collective's were started back in 2008 as a program of The Conservation Alliance.  In essence, they bring Conservation Alliance member companies together with grantees for a day of service work.  Put a bunch of outdoor industry people together with environmental not-for-profit folks and that adds up to a LOT of work done in one short day.  This is an energetic and motivated demographic that's not afraid to get dirty!

Read the whole article and check out a load of photos here.

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