Conservation is never easy, but it is worth the effort.

A note from John Sterling, Executive Director.

Photo: William Thompson

At a meeting earlier this year, The Conservation Alliance board and staff learned from a pollster that roughly 75 percent of voters in the Intermountain West support stronger protections for public lands and open space. In the wake of the 2012 elections, it is tempting to assume that the results reflect that public support for conservation. Time will tell.

The Conservation Alliance Staff and Board spent three days in Boulder, CO earlier this month, at our annual Board Retreat developing our Annual Operating Plan for 2013. Among other things, we discussed what the election means for our conservation efforts, and the work of our grantees.

In general, we see a lot of encouraging signs. Second-term presidents tend to start thinking about their legacy, and most designate new National Monuments to leave their mark on the land. We have supported several campaigns to designate National Monuments, and have every reason to believe that President Obama will lead on this front before he leaves office (he has already designated three small monuments).

Obama's Interior Department is also poised to finalize a historic management plan for the Western Arctic that will protect up to 11 million acres. Congress will likely remain a dysfunctional mess. But the Senate – with a larger pro-conservation majority – is in a better position to move public lands legislation.

Notably, Sen. Jon Tester from Montana narrowly won re-election while touting his proposal to protect 750,000 acres of Wilderness in the state.

The House will remain challenging, but the election (and redistricting) created several new opportunities for land protection, particularly in California.

Conservation is never easy, but it's worth the effort. The projects we fund promise to permanently save many of our last wild places. As we drafted our 2013 Annual Operating Plan – a mundane task – we kept those places in mind.

We wrap up 2012 with optimism that our efforts are broadly supported, and that our decision makers will honor the will of the people who elected them.


Take Action Tuesday: Wild Olympics

Wild Olympics for Our Future from Wild Olympics on Vimeo.

The Conservation Alliance has twice funded American Whitewater’s Wild Olympics Campaign, to designate 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.

The Wild Olympics Campaign has broad, local support for new Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers; protecting the last wild places on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

Make your voice heard in the fight to protect these special places by clicking here to sign a letter to Congressman Dicks, Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell in support of the Wild Olympics Campaign.

Favorites on Friday: The Sacred Headwaters

Sacred Headwaters from Paul Colangelo on Vimeo.

The Conservation Alliance has funded the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition's Sacred Headwaters Campaign to secure permanent protection for one million acres of the Sacred Headwaters, a pristine wilderness area surrounding BC's Skeena, Nass, and Stikine Rivers. 

Located in remote northern British Columbia, the Sacred Headwaters is the shared birthplace of three of the province's greatest salmon rivers — the Stikine, Skeena and Nass. It supports an extraordinary population of large mammals, and it is the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation. Numerous mining developments are proposed for the Sacred Headwaters, including a coal bed methane development spanning nearly one million acres and an open-pit gold and copper mine on Todagin Mountain, home to Stone's sheep.

Learn about the Sacred Headwaters by watching the video above, with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis and photographs by Paul Colangelo.

To learn more and support this campaign, please visit

Special thanks to Patagonia for making this video possible. 

Take Action Tuesday: VOTE

"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. 

Make your voice heard, VOTE!   

Favorites on Friday: Marmot and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance team up to support The Conservation Alliance

During the month of November, Marmot is partnering with the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance to raising funds for The Conservation Alliance.


Here's the deal:

Purchase $99 or more of Marmot merchandise from a participating Grassroots Outdoor Alliance member during November and Marmot will donate $10 directly to The Conservation Alliance.

It's that simple.  Re-up your winter wardrobe and support The Conservation Alliance.

Here's a list of participating GOA members:

The Outside World

Mountain Chalet

Base Camp Billings

Base Camp Helena

Summit Canyon

Champaign Surplus

Skinny Skis

Peak Sports

Half Moon Outfitters

Diamond Brand

Travel Country

Summit Hut



Black Creek Outfitters

Appalachian Outdoors

Alpine Shop


Mountain High

River Sports Outfitters

Appalachian Outfitters

Casual Adventures

Outside Hilton Head

Midwest Mountaineering

Backcountry North

Ute Mountaineer

Nat's Outdoor

Bill Jackson's

Outdoor Source

Rock Creek Outfitters

  • Archives
    • 2018
    • 2017
    • 2016
    • 2015
    • 2014
    • 2013
    • 2012
    • 2011
    • 2010
    • 2009
    • 2008
    • 2007
    • 2006