Conrad Anker Summits Everest with NatGeo / The North Face Team

Andy Bardon        Photo: Andy Bardon

Earlier this month we wrote about Conservation Alliance board member and The North Face icon Conrad Anker's preparation for his third summit of Mt. Everest.  As the weather improved and the summit attempt date drew closer, it was exciting to follow Conrad and his team, online, courtesy of The North Face and National Geographic Society.

On Friday, May 25th, Conrad summated, without oxygen, via the South Col route, along with National Geographic/The North Face expedition members Kris Erickson, Sam Elias, Emily Harrington, Mark Jenkins, and Hilaree O'Neil.

This year was one of the deadliest seasons on Mt. Everest.  Ten people died on the mountain.  Lines of climbers caused traffic jams on May 19th, when over 300 people crowed the upper slopes of Everest's southeast ridge.  Alpine climbing is inherently dangerous.  So why do climbers continue to risk their lives to climb to the world's highest point?

Mark Jenkins, a member of Conrad's expedition team said well in his most recent post to National Geographic's Everest Blog:

Climbing Everest is not curing cancer. It is a narcissistic pursuit, not a noble one. But, there is grandeur in the endeavor. A common goal of magnificent difficulty, with everyone sharing in the brief moments of pleasure and extended periods of pain, binds heart to heart more strongly than the rope itself. Because Everest is so high and so indifferent, it calls upon every mountaineer, at some point during the climb, to rise to his or her better self-that person inside us all who has unquestioned courage, who will sacrifice without doubt, who will commit without complaint, who will put life on the line. This is the answer to the inevitable question: Why? Because: The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, expects of you, demands of you, to reach for the highest qualities inside yourself.

Congratulations to Conrad and his team!


Protect the Peace

       Photo: Juri Peepre

Take a minute – Protect the Peace!

With one simple action, you can make your voice hear in support of Conservation Alliance Grantee, Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) – and make difference!

British Columbia Hydro is proposing the construction of an $8 billion dam and reservoir – know as Site C – on British Columbia's Peace River

Site C would be the third hydro project on one of the most endangered rivers in the British Columbia. Among other consequences, this dam could be the final barrier to wildlife movement in this critical Y2Y corridor.

Now is the time for public comment!

Y2Y believes BC Hydro needs to conduct a cumulative effects assessment as part of their environmental assessment process that measures the impact that the Site C reservoir, together with all other existing and future development, will have on the ability of wildlife to move through the Peace Break region.

It Only Takes 1 Minute to Take Action

Please write a letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency asking them to broaden the scope of the guidelines.

Please click here to send a letter to send a letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

             Photo: Juri Peepre

Outstanding Partnership Stories: American Whitewater And KEEN, Inc. Join Forces To Make A Difference In Our Landscape

Photo: Kent Vertress, AW Volunteer

American Whitewater, Conservation Alliance grantee and nation-wide advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers, is doing great work. Their efforts have lead to securing flow protections for iconic Colorado rivers, blocking the Flaming Gorge Pipeline Project on the Green River (WY/UT/CO), and dam removals including the Dillsboro Dam on the Tuckasegee River (NC) and the Condit Dam on the White Salmon River (WA).

But they aren't doing this work alone. 

The Conservation Alliance has funded American Whitewater (AW) eight times since 1993, contributing close to $250,000 to their campaigns to protect North America's last wild rivers.  But equally important to the success of these campaigns, AW has developed relationships with Conservation Alliance members; like-minded outdoor industry businesses passionate about protecting the landscape where their customers recreate. 

When we asked Mark Singleton, Executive Director of AW, to tell us about an outstanding partnership he has with a Conservation Alliance member company, without a moment of hesitation, he shared a narrative about KEEN, Inc. an outdoor footwear brand based in Portland, Oregon.

When KEEN started making shoes in 2003, they made a promise to themselves.  If their footwear caught on, they would do things differently.  The shoe with the big toe bumper proved a huge success, and true to their promise, KEEN is actively working for change.  They are in the game, not sitting on the sidelines.  KEEN's partnership with American Whitewater is an excellent example of this involvement and has been instrumental in AW's success in bringing down dams, protecting water flows, and providing human-powered recreationalist with places to play.

"Our partnership with KEEN looks to the future," said American Whitewater Executive Director Mark Singleton. "We both see a world where healthy rivers have a vital role in supporting the well-being of all those who enjoy the great outdoors."

When the Obama Administration needed a venue for an American's Great Outdoors listening session, KEEN stepped up and opened their Portland space for a home grown session, and the resulting "grassroots" comments and input generated there were included in the final AGO report delivered to the Whitehouse. 

At the Summer 2011 Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City, Utah, KEEN hosted America Whitewater in their booth, raising awareness and funds for the Colorado River Stewardship Campaign; ultimately resulting in protecting river flows in the Upper Colorado Basin and halting the Flaming Gorge Pipeline Project.

Support, both financial and personal, were instrumental in the Dillsboro and Condit Dam removal projects – and KEEN staff has helped to celebrate these achievements through site visits and attending the breach and party for the Condit Dam removal.

KEEN's support has also been influential in increased AW membership levels and credibility on the national scene.  Through KEEN product membership incentives, American Whitewater increased their membership by 13% in 2011; allowing AW to have an elevated voice with local and national elected officials.  KEEN has also been a strong and continual voice in Washington DC, demonstrating how protecting our wild places is an economic win.

Setting the bar high, American Whitewater and KEEN are working together, joining forces and making a difference in our landscape.  Click these links to learn more about American Whitewater  and KEEN, Inc.

This is the first is a series of Outstanding Partnership Stories.  Stay tuned to The Conservation Alliance Blog, ‘Favorites on Friday' for additional stories of outstanding partnerships.

Tattoo Design Contest – WE NEED YOU

WE NEED YOU and your creative genius to design a temporary tattoo for The Conservation Alliance. 

If your design is selected as the winner, it will be "tattooed" onto the arms of hundreds of people at the Summer Outdoor Retailer tradeshow this August. 

And, you will win a Prize Package from Conservation Alliance member companies.

How to enter:

1)      Submit your design as an EPS file via email to, subject line: Tattoo Contest

2)      Then, post your design as a photo The Conservation Alliance Facebook Page

Deadline for submissions: June 1st, 2012

Guideline requirements:

1)      1 color design

2)      Files must be submitted as a Adobe Illustrator EPS file

3)      Tattoo size must be between 2-4" wide & 4-6"' long

4)      All lines and type must be converted to outlines

5)      Must be original artwork

6)      The design must incorporate The Conservation Alliance logo and retain it in a recognizable fashion without significantly altering it. 

Here are the links to The Conservation Alliance Logos: Vertical & Square

Outstanding Partnership Awards Announcement

Photo: CLIF Bar and Winter Wildlands Alliance – Glory Peak on Teton Pass in Wyoming

We are proud to announce that KEEN, Inc. and FootZone of Bend are the winners of our first annual Outstanding Partnership Awards. We asked our grantees to tell us stories about great partnerships they have with our members, and how these initiatives have helped their effort to protect special wild lands and waterways.

As the nominations rolled in, we were inspired by the stories of Conservation Alliance members going above and beyond their annual membership dues and connecting with our grantees directly – and making a difference.

We received eight nominations for the 2012 Outstanding Partnership Award. All the nominations are worthy of sharing. It was a challenge to pick only two winners. These two stories will be told through videos to be released later this year. We will tell all eight stories, one at a time, each week on The Conservation Alliance Blog starting May 25th.

Stay tuned to The Conservation Alliance Blog – where "Favorites on Fridays" will feature one Grantee/Member Partnership Story for the next eight weeks.


Take Action Tuesday: American Rivers Announces America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2012

 Photo: James Kaiser courtesy of O.A.R.S.

Conservation Alliance grantee American Rivers today released its annual America's Most Endangered Rivers report.The report lists the 10 most endangered rivers in the US, and explains why these waterways are in peril. Topping this year's list is the Potomac, which flows through our nation’s capital. The Potomac earned the distinction as the most endangered river in the country because of pollution, and the fact that essential clean water protections are under attack in Congress.

"As ‘the nation’s river,’ the Potomac is emblematic of what’s at stake for rivers and public health nationwide," says the report.

Also on the list is the Green River, which flows through Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. The Conservation Alliance has supported American Whitewater in their efforts to protect rivers in Colorado, including the Green. Water developers have proposed to build a 500-mile long "Flaming Gorge Pipeline" that will send water from the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming to Colorado's Front Range. Estimates for completing the Flaming Gorge pipeline range between $7 billion and $9 billion an amount that could be the highest of any water project in Colorado's history. The project could potentially divert more than 250,000 acre feet of water from the Green River annually— water that currently supports a robust recreation and tourism economy, rural agriculture, native species, and urban water use downstream.

Take Action!

The complete list of endangered rivers follows. Click here to take action to protect any and all of the rivers on the list!

  1. Potomac River (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Washington D.C.)
    Threat:  Pollution; Clean Water Act rollbacks
  2. Green River (Wyoming, Utah, Colorado)
    Threat:  Water withdrawals
  3. Chattahoochee River (Georgia)
    Threat:  New dams and reservoirs
  4. Missouri River (Colorado,Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming)
    Threat:  Outdated flood management
  5. Hoback River (Wyoming)
    Threat:  Natural gas development
  6. Grand River (Ohio)
    Threat:  Natural gas development
  7. South Fork Skykomish River (Washington)
    Threat:  New dam
  8. Crystal River (Colorado)
    Threat:  Dams and water diversions
  9. Coal River (West Virginia)
    Threat:  Mountaintop removal coal mining
  10. Kansas River (Kansas)
    Threat:  Sand and gravel dredging

Favorites on Friday: For Alliance Board Member Conrad Anker, a Waiting Game on Everest

Photo: Andy Bardon

As we reported a few weeks ago, Conservation Alliance board member and North Face icon Conrad Anker (above left) is in Nepal preparing for his third attemp at the summit of Mt. Everest. He summited the mountain in 1999 and 2007. The two-month expedition seeks to repeat the historic climb of the 1963 National Geographic-sponsored American Mount Everest Expedition, almost 50 years after that first American ascent. Conrad was originally planning to attempt the West Ridge with photographer Cory Richards, who had to back out of the expedition after experiencing health issues during an acclimitization trip to 23,000 feet on the mountain. Conrad is now hoping to climb the West Ridge with accomplished Himalayan mountaineer Simone Moro (above right). According to the Field Test on Everest blog, Moro would first need to change his climbing permit, and, in his words, "fall in love with this route." It has been exciting to follow this expedition online for the past month, courtesy of The North Face and National Geographic Society.

I was suprised to receive an email from Conrad earlier this week. I had sent a message to the entire Conservation Alliance board, expecting to hear back from him in June, after his expedition. Dedicated board member that he is, Conrad found bandwidth — literally and figuratively — to keep on top of his Conservation Alliance responsibilities.  "The wonders if technology.  I'm working on my solid state iPad and enjoying life at base camp," wrote Conrad. He added that if things work out with Simone, they will shoot for a summit bid in late May. The weather on Everest has been challenging this year, forcing several expeditions to pack up and go home. We wish Conrad the best on this adventure.

Take Action Tuesday: 25,000 Miles of Roads to Nowhere Threaten Utah’s Wilderness

Utah Governor Gary Herbert is pushing a lawsuit agains the federal government that seeks to give Utah counties control over 25,000 miles of so-called roads that traverse most of Utah's Wilderness-quality federal land. According to Conservation Alliance grantee Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance:

"The vast majority of these routes have never been established or maintained, and they don't really exist on the ground. They are but cow paths, old seismic lines, dry stream beds and one-man joyride trails. This is not really about transportation at all. Utah is simply using an old mining law, Revised Stature 2477, as an excuse to undermine future wild lands conservation and to open these special places to development, extractive industry and off-road vehicle assault. If they succeed, such lawsuits will spring up throughout the West, and our last wild public lands will be lost forever."

Following is a map showing the extent to which these "roads" (in red) would intrude on Utah's wild public lands. Click here for a larger version.


Take Action!

Ask Interior Secretary Salazar to defend Utah's public lands today! Click here to send a message to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, asking that he vigorously fight the State of Utah's lawsuit.

This lawsuit is one of a growing list of efforts and proposals that elected officials are making to undermine protections for public lands in Utah. In March, Governor Herbert signed into law a bill that authorizes the state to do everything within its power to transfer title of federal lands in Utah to the state.

Also in March, the BLM authorized nearly 1,300 new natural gas wells in Utah’s Desolation Canyon wilderness and other remote areas. In approving the so-called Gasco development project, the Department of the Interior rejected calls by the Environmental Protection Agency and tens of thousands of citizens from across the country to approve an alternative to Gasco’s proposal. This alternative would have allowed for significant development while protecting the department’s plan to designate Desolation Canyon as wilderness and reducing the overall footprint and impact of the project.

It is disappointing to watch Utah — which benefits economically from outdoor tourism and from the outdoor industry's twice-yearly trade show in Salt Lake City — work so hard to diminish the wild and natural places in the state. 


Marin Backyard Collective

The Bay Area Backyard Collective brought together more than 60 volunteers for a day of invasive plant removal with the guidance of our partners at Marin County Parks

Volunteers from MarmotCamelBak, Clif BarREI and and The North Face hiked a steep incline to reach four areas for Himalayan Blackberry, Barbed Goat Grass and Pioneer Fennel removal in the Terra Linda Sleepy Hollow Preserve.

A White Tailed Kite soared above as Marin County Parks Natural Resource Field Staff Coordinator Pete Frye related the importance of the serpentine grasses for the preserve, adding a note of significance and beauty.

Volunteers in the field (photo by Amber Miska)

(photo by Amber Miksza)

The work here was demanding and teamwork a necessity. One of my favorite elements of the Backyard Collective is seeing how cooperative volunteers from our member businesses work together for the good of the project. New connections are always cultivated at these events. Our hope is that they continue to grow beyond the day.


Our celebration and Volunteer Fair was located a few miles away at the beautiful Lagoon Playground, overlooked by the Marin Civic Center. After a hard morning's work, volunteers arrived at the park hungry–a good thing as lunch was being served up by Top Dog Catering.

The Volunteer Fair included representatives from the Marin County Parks, the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the Volunteers for Outdoor California, eager to discuss upcoming projects and opportunities for action.

We closed the day with words of inspiration and a raffle loaded with goodies from our participating member businesses. Thanks again to all who planned, worked and celebrated with us! For additional photos, visit our Facebook page by clicking here.

 Marin BYC Volunteers, photo by Amber Miksza

(photo by Amber Miksza) 

Favorites on Friday: Conservation Alliance Seattle Tour

  Seattle's Pike Place Market

Last week I had to opportunity to venture north, to Seattle, and visit a number of our member companies.  Seattle is a big city, full of sights, sounds, and a hustle-and-bustle we don't have in Bend, Oregon.  As I negotiated my way through a maze of freeways, only one thought came to mind: "Seattle is a Big City."  Once I got my bearings, I realized it wasn't that big after all, and was impressed at how easy it was to get around; I only wished I was commuting by bike instead of car.

I started off Day One with a stop at Brooks Sports where Conservation Alliance Ambassador, David Kemp, rallied a great group around coffee and pastries to learn more about The Alliance.  I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the group's questions and had a renewed sense of inspiration as I drove into Seattle's city center to meet with the folks from Outdoor Research.

 Vasque might be home to the largest boot, but I think Brooks is home to the largest running shoe.

Jeff Greenwell, Ambassador for Outdoor Research, helped to arrange for a lunch-time gathering, with pizza, of course, and I presented to a full room of OR employees, including CEO, Dan Nordstrom.  The Conservation Alliance has recently funded a number of projects in Washington, namely the Wild Olympics Campaign and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Campaign, and it was great to discuss these projects in a bit more detail with people that call these areas their backyard.   After my presentation, Christian Folk, OR's Grassroots Marketing Supervisor, gave me a tour of OR's facility, including the factory that manufactures OR accessories and gloves (right in downtown Seattle) and their onsite climbing wall.

Outdoor Research
Christian sporting his Stanley water bottle with new Conservation Alliance sticker.
The next day, I made a presentation at REI's headquarters in Kent, Washington. REI is a founding member of The Conservation Alliance and I had the privilege of hearing a little bit more about the early days of the organization from former board member and  REI's corporate giving program manager, David Jayo.  REI has a rich history in the outdoor industry and I was impressed by the way this legacy is celebrated around their corporate headquarters and among the staff.
My next two meetings took me back downtown, where I met with Cascade Designs and delivered a presentation to Filson Outdoor Clothing employees.  Both companies, located just a few miles from one another, manufacture products on-sight.
Ever wonder how many little pieces are needed for your MSR DragonFly stove to operate?  I don't know the answer, but just walking through the Cascade Designs factory and seeing all the machinery needed to manufacture the parts and then construct the stove gave me a new-found appreciation for my morning coffee in backcountry.
Filson has a retail store below their offices and from the windows of the store, you can look right into the space where garments are being cut and sewed.   Filson has been located in Seattle since 1897, when the company was started by C.C. Filson, to outfit Klondike gold-seekers.
The Filson store merchandising speaks novels about their commitment to history and quality.

Visiting our members is one of the most inspiring parts of my job.  We are all part of the Outdoor Industry; a collective voice that, when used together, can make a difference.  I am proud and honored to work with people that have made a concious decision to be part of this voice – and together, we are making a difference.

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