Common Ground

Common Ground Enews

Several ranching and farming communities living against the stunning landscape of the Rocky Mountain Front on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide in Montana have been faced with a difficult decision. Over 400,000 acres of public land in their backyard is currently unprotected and faces the threat of development. Common Ground is a short documentary that examines what happens when a community is faced with the idea of proposing more wilderness area while protecting heritage, tradition and their way of life.

Common Ground highlights the inspiring work of one of our grantees, the Montana Wilderness Association. After making its debut at the 2014 Mountain Film Festival, Common Ground is now available for everyone to enjoy.

Over the past 8 years, The Conservation Alliance and its outdoor industry member companies have contributed over $260,000 to Montana Wilderness Association’s efforts to permanently protect the Rocky Mountain Front through a combination of designated wilderness, backcountry recreation areas and Conservation Management Areas.

After years of collaboration between ranchers, sportsmen, conservationists, outfitters, hikers and mountain bikers, the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act represents a plan to keep the Front the way it is today; preserving a way of life that has gone on for generations and protecting it for generations to come.

Thank you to all of our member company sponsors who helped make this film possible; CLIF BarHorny Toad Clothing and Osprey Packs.

This film was directed and produced by Alexandria Bombach of RED REEL.

Obama Makes Waves


Weeks after declaring the 450,000 acre Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks Monument, Obama made another bold announcement at the Our Oceans conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Obama pledged to expand protections for up to 656,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean. This is over one-fifth the size of the contiguous United States and it would more than double the number of square miles currently protected in the Pacific Ocean.

Obama announced two specific executive actions to preserve and protect our oceans. First, he is looking at new protections for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the south-central Pacific Ocean.  Second, he is directing Federal agencies to put together a plan to combat black market fishing, which accounts for 20% of the wild marine fish caught each year.

 “We’ve already shown that when we work together, we can protect our oceans for future generations.  So let’s redouble our efforts.  Let’s make sure that years from now we can look our children in the eye and tell them that, yes, we did our part, we took action, and we led the way toward a safer, more stable world.”

Favorites on Friday: National Park Service Designates National Recreation Trail in Ventura, CA


Kate Laramendy of Horny Toad, based in Santa Barbara, shared some exciting news with us this week about a success in her own backyard.

On Saturday, June 7, the Ventura River Parkway Trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail last Saturday. Horny Toad is one of several member companies that participated in two Backyard Collective eventsthat took place along the Ventura River Trail.  This is one of 20 trails added this year to the 1200 total recreation trails designated by the National Park Service (NPS).

Here’s what Kate had to say:

“The dedication was on Saturday and local supporters, volunteers, participating environmental groups and city, county & state politicians were present. A representative from the NPS read a personalized letter from secretary of the interior,Sally Jewell. The trail connects the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Ventura River to the mountains in Ojai. Over 100 tons of trash and invasive arundo (giant bamboo) have been removed. It’s clean and beautiful and the habitat is happily rebounding. Fishing for steelhead is not too far away.

The first time we were deep down in the river bottom with the BYC we did a major 5 ton clean-up of encampments and detritus from questionable activities that had been festering there; the second year included trail building, signage, more invasive plant lopping and planting of willows.”

Outstanding Partnership Award: Black Diamond Equipment & Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

BD Image

Black Diamond gets a high-five from The Conservation Alliance team for their outstanding partnership with Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.  We applaud BD’s commitment to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, an organization focused on preserving Utah’s remaining desert wild lands, known collectively as America’s redrock wilderness.

Deeda Seed, from Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, tells the story of how the Black Diamond employees contributed to a major victory for the organization:

“Black Diamond has consistently and courageously been a partner in working to protect Utah’s wild places.  In particular, Black Diamond has stood with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance with undaunted advocacy for protection of Utah’s redrock wilderness.  The company has manifested this commitment in every way that matters. They have made financial contributions to our work, they have invited us on a regular basis to meet with employees to educate them about the issues, and they have taken action to advocate for protection.

A recent notable example was when they showed up at a rally to protest oil and gas leasing in the San Rafael Swell with a full bus load of Black Diamond employees and signs they had made that said “No Wells in the Swell” – this action helped secure a victory, as the Bureau of Land Management withdrew from sale, the leases it was offering on wild land in the Swell.  In addition, the Black Diamond CEO, Peter Metcalf, has demonstrated incredible leadership.  He testified at a Congressional hearing in support of the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, he’s taken on anti-wilderness policies promoted by several Utah governors and he’s written numerous op-eds in support of the redrock.  Most importantly, he and his company really believe what they say and he takes every public opportunity given to him to advocate for the protection of Utah’s wild lands.

Having Black Diamond Equipment as a partner in advocating for protection of Utah’s redrock wilderness has been enormously important to our work. They provide a strong voice from the outdoor industry perspective, demonstrating the economic value of wilderness, as well as the social value.”

Take Action Tuesday: Patagonia Partners With Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership for a Day of Stewardship

Bodie Hills, CA  Photo: John Dittli

A unique partnership between the Bureau of Land Management, the Bridgeport Indian Colony, Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership and employees from Patagonia in Reno, NV, resulted in a cleanup project at an old shooting range adjacent to Travertine Hot Springs in Bridgeport, CA. .

On May 22, volunteers from Patagonia’s Reno, Nevada Service Center helped clean up the area off Jack Sawyer Road. The area was littered with shell casings, old targets and trash. “This is what the power of partnership is capable of,” said Jeff Hunter of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership. “This is a project that the BLM and the Bridgeport Indian Colony had been hoping to address for quite some time. With volunteers from Patagonia, and leadership from the project partners, we’ll be able to make a big difference in half a day.”

Staff members from Friends of the Inyo (FOI) and Trout Unlimited (TU) helped provide leadership at the site. Both TU and FOI are members of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership.

The video below tells the story!

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