News

Wyoming Outdoor Council One Step Closer to Success

In 2009, The Conservation Alliance funded Wyoming Outdoor Council's Wyoming Range Campaign, to halt energy leases issued on 100,000 acres of public land in the Wyoming Range, safeguarding a haven for outdoor adventure and wildlife.  Leases on 44,720 acres of this land have been successfully halted and an additional 58,000 acres are one step closer to protection.

Plains Exploration and Production, a Houston-based company, has agreed to sell approximately 58,000 acres of valid oil and gas leases in the Upper Hoback area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, along the Eastern Front of the Wyoming Range, just south of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park.

The company had planned to develop a 136-well gas field in this priceless wildlife, hunting and recreation area. The landscape where this full-field development would have taken place is one of Wyoming's treasured places — an area, in fact, that just about nobody in Wyoming wanted to see developed.

This lease buyout — with a willing buyer and a willing seller — is the culmination of years of work by the Wyoming Outdoor Council its partners, including The Conservation Alliance.

When the historic buyout was announced earlier this month, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, former Governor Dave Freudenthal, Wyoming State Legislators, and more than 100 local residents, including hunters, anglers, ranchers, and mineral industry workers all celebrated.

"This is an outstanding outcome for the people of Wyoming-a true ‘win-win' resolution. It respects both the wishes of local residents and the legal rights of leaseholders," Governor Mead said.

Thanks to the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, passed by Congress in 2009, these leases underlying the Bridger-Teton National Forest can never be leased again.

Citizens for the Wyoming Range, a group of local hunters and residents, also endorsed the deal.

"We always felt like a lease buyout was the cleanest, and a win-win, solution. It's a Wyoming solution to a Wyoming problem," group spokesman Dan Smitherman told The Associated Press.

This $8.75 million buyout is the culmination of years of work by a truly diverse group of Wyoming citizens who came together to prevent the development of this major gas field — a field that nearly everyone agreed would have been a bad idea for western Wyoming's wildlife, air quality, and one of its most special places — near the southern approach to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.

About half of the $8.75 million needed for the buyout has been raised.

To learn more about the Wyoming Outdoor Council and their work in the Wyoming Range, please click here.

Leisure Trends Group Founder, Jim Spring, Passes Away

 

We were sad to learn yesterday of the passing of Jim Spring, founder of Leisure Trends Group, a Conservation Alliance member. I never met Jim, but got to know him "virtually" through his committed engagment in The Conservation Alliance. We could always rely on Jim to honor basic responsibilities of membership: voting for which organizations we should fund; nominating organizations to submit grant requests; and of course, paying membership dues. Several times over the past five years, we asked our members to sign on to letters in support of conservation initiatives that we had funded. Jim was always quick to add Leisure Trends' name — and logo — to those letters. Under Jim's leadership, Leisure Trends was a rock solid member of The Conservation Alliance.

We received a call yesterday from one of Jim's colleagues at Leisure Trends letting us know that they are asking people to donate to The Conservation Alliance to honor Jim's memory. She went on to say that Jim was proud of Leisure Trends' participation in the Alliance, and always worked hard to share news about the organization with his team in Boulder. In the course of managing our membership of nearly 200 businesses, we don't always hear stories about how leaders like Jim embrace our work internally. As we work from our small office in Oregon, it's an honor to know that we do not work alone; that people like Jim Spring are carrying our commitment to protecting wild places into their communities.

We'll miss you, Jim. Thanks for all that you did for The Conservation Alliance.

Take Action Tuesday: Vote the Environment

Election season is upon us, and Patagonia is back with the Vote the Environment campaign.

"The environment is where we live, where we work, and where we play," said Dana Alston, a pioneer in the environmental movement.

It is also any place you love. We need to elect leaders committed to the places we live, work, and play – and the places we love.

League of Conservation Voters, HeadCount, the band Wilco, and Patagonia have joined together this year to elevate Vote the Environment 2012. We are encouraging people to register to vote, get educated about their candidates' environmental voting records, and share their stories about the places, wildlife, and outdoor activities they love.

 Ultimately, we'll be bringing our environmental values to the voting booth on November 6.

 Learn more by clicking here.

Favorites on Friday: Cook-Out with Conrad. A guest post by Blair Witte

Editor's Note: Blair Witte, Outdoor Participation & Community Development Coordinator at The North Face, was instrumental in making the Bay Area Cookout With Conrad a success! We would like to thank Blair for all her efforts in support of The Conservation Alliance.

Working in the Outdoor Industry is an interesting juxtaposition because although the word "outdoor" is in the title, we tend to have to spend the multitude of our work week sitting in front of a computer.  So, when I was asked to help coordinate a climbing event with The Conservation Alliance this past week, I was super excited about the prospect of mixing work with play.

The  "Cook-Out with Conrad" event was an idea fostered at Summer Outdoor Retailer by The Conservation Alliance Outreach Committee with a purpose of connecting Conservation Alliance Ambassadors from different companies and collaborating on ways to share information about the great work that The Conservation Alliance is doing.

 Ambassadors from The North Face, Camelbak, Mountain Hardwear and The Forest Group had the privilege of being mentored in bouldering by epic mountaineer, rock climber and environmental enthusiast, Conrad Anker. It was not only a great opportunity to meet people who share the same passions, but also served as a brainstorming session to start to think about ways we can get people excited in our own companies about what The Conservation Alliance is working on.

The most important thing I took away from the event was that when it comes to conservation and the preservation of the places we play- there's really no competition regardless of the product you're selling.

 

Chimney Rock Protected as a National Monument

On September 21st, President Obama used the Antiquities Act to designate Chimney Rock as the United State's 103rd National Monument.  The Chimney Rock National Monument, a 5,000 acre archaeological site located in the San Juan National Forest of Southwest Colorado, is now permanently protected.  

In addition to protecting Chimney Rock for future generations, the National Monument Designation wil be a source of economic opportunity in Colorado, attracting new business and tourism. According to a study commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the national monument designation is expected to double economic activity from tourism in the area over the next five years. 

Protected public lands like Chimney Rock provide outdoor enthusists with places to recreate and strong economic opportunites for surrounding areas.  Outdoor recreation alone contributes an estimated $650 billion a year to our economy, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

Learn more about Chimeny Rock from the The Washington Post and The Whitehouse Council of Environmental Quality.

Backyard Collective Bend: a beautiful day of river restoration

Brilliant sunshine greeted volunteers at Riverbend Park last Tuesday in Bend. Volunteers from RuffwearREIQuick Feat International, Oregon Natural Desert Association and Central Oregon Landwatch arrived ready for a day of riparian stewardship lead by our partner, Kolleen Yake, Education Director at Upper Deschutes Watershed Council.

 

 Earlier that morning, 700 locally propagated native plants including cottonwood, water birch, woods' rose, dogwood and fescue were delivered to the staging area along a beloved stretch of the Deschutes River that is frequented by hikers, joggers, and water recreationists.

 

 

Our energetic volunteers were up to the task of planting them with enthusiasm and care. Soon shovels were digging, gloved hands were planting and conversations covered all variety of topics.

The Riverbend site was once a severely degraded vacant lot prior to a restoration partnership between the Watershed Council and Bend Metro Park and Recreation District in 2007. After more than 400 hours of volunteer effort, 2,084 native plants and 25 pounds of seed, it now represents an excellent example of community-based restoration. 

 

 

 

It seemed fitting that this event, the last of the 2012 Backyard Collective season truly was in our backyard. Local dogs and more than a few friends happened by on the path throughout the morning effort.

 

 

The day closed with lunch from Nancy P's bakery, an update from local grant recipients at ONDA and Central Oregon Landwatch, followed up by a pop quiz with prizes from REI Bend.

We're grateful to all of the volunteers, our partners at Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and our event sponsors at Backporch Coffee, Stanley and Icebreaker.

Patagonia Footwear and Onlineshoes.com Partner for Advocate Week in Support of The Conservation Alliance

Patagonia Footwear and Onlineshoes.com are partnering to raise awareness and funds for The Conservation Alliance during Advocate Weeks; October 9th -22nd.

During Advocate Weeks, OnlineShoes will highlight some of our grantees on their blog and Patagonia will donate $10 to TCA for every Patagonia shoe sold on OnlineShoes.com.

Visit Onlineshoes.com by clicking here. 

Favorites on Friday: Save the Date for The Conservation Alliance Breakfast with Cheryl Strayed

undefinedSave the Date!

The Conservation Alliance Breakfast

WILD 

A presentation by Cheryl Strayed

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

7AM-9AM

Marriott Downtown Salons F-I  

Salt Lake City, UT 

Click here for details 

 

 

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, Wild. At age 22, Strayed found herself shattered by two major life events: her mother's sudden death from cancer and the end of her young marriage. To cope, Strayed used drugs and sex before she hit rock bottom and confronted her emotional pain by attempting to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild tells the amateur hiker's tale, and illustrates the healing power of our wild places. Strayed is also the author of the novel Torch, and her stories and essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Allure, and The Best American Essays. Open to the public, bring a friend.

{worthWILD} Our Rivers

{worthWILD} OUR RIVERS from Conservation Alliance on Vimeo.

The Conservation Alliance has just released Our Rivers, the second video in the worthWILD series, telling the story of a successful partnership between Conservation Alliance grantee American Whitewater and Conservation Alliance member, Portland-based outdoor footwear brand, KEEN, in their efforts to save rivers nationwide. This documentary shows how AW and KEEN are working together, with support from The Conservation Alliance, to save whitewater rivers by bringing down dams, protecting water flows and habitats, and providing outdoor recreationalists with places to adventure.

Today, many of the nation’s whitewater rivers are threatened by water storage or diversion to supply water to urban sprawl. American Whitewater and KEEN see the importance of healthy rivers for humans, fish, and the beauty of our landscape, and are actively working to preserve and protect them from such imminent threats. Their efforts have led 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).

“Protecting whitewater rivers is our number one passion at American Whitewater,” said American Whitewater Executive Director Mark Singleton. “We are continuously working to prevent the threats posed on our rivers and reversing the damage that has been done through dam removal projects. These rivers are vital to our existence. Both financial and personal partnerships with The Conservation Alliance and KEEN are allowing us to save our rivers. We will continue to make a difference through these committed partnerships.”

The Conservation Alliance has funded American Whitewater eight times since 1993, contributing close to $250,000 to AW campaigns to protect North America’s last wild rivers. In conjunction with this support, AW has tuned in to like-minded Conservation Alliance members including KEEN.

“Since KEEN was founded in 2003, we promised to serve as activists for positive change for the environment,” said Chris Enlow of KEEN. “Partnerships with American Whitewater and The Conservation Alliance have been instrumental in helping us live up to this promise. Together, we can make a better impact.”

Produced by Alexandria Bombach’s Red Reel Video, the Our Rivers ‘worthWILD’ video is the second of four documentaries that the Conservation Alliance is rolling out over the next four months.

Watch the worthWILD-Our Rivers video here. For more information about the dynamic duo, visit American Whitewater and KEEN, Inc.

Supreme court rejects challenge to roadless rule in national forests

           Photo: Scott Smith

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned away an appeal challenging a federal rule that bars development on 50 million acres of roadless areas in national forests, including Utah.

The justices said Monday they will leave in place a federal appeals court decision that upheld the so called roadless rule that took effect late in the presidency of Bill Clinton.

The roadless rule enacted under Clinton in 2001 had been upheld earlier by both the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit in separate cases.

Nearly 12 years after it was first announced, the Roadless Rule has faced endless legal challenges. The Supreme Court’s decision not to review the legality of the rule should put an end to the wrangling, and protect our Forest Service Roadless Areas once and for all.

For more information, click here

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