Success Announcement: Muir Valley Climbing Area

Jennifer Morgan

We are thrilled to announce another conservation victory:  Access Fund, in partnership with Friends of Muir Valley, raised $200,000 for stewardship of this popular crag.  Once this fundraising goal was reached, the landowner agreed to donate this 300-acre world-class climbing destination in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky.

40,000 people visit this forested valley every year, so it is no surprise that individual donations account for 85% of the total amount raised.  The $200,000 fundraising goal was reached in just nine months, which included a partial grant from The Conservation Alliance in 2014.

The current owners spent 11 years and over $1 million turning this area into a sustainable climbing resource for future generations to enjoy.  Ownership of Muir Valley will be transferred to Friends of Muir Valley in March 2015, ensuring the long-term stewardship of this crag.




Pickin’ On The Middle Fork River Trip Aims to Raise Awareness and Benefit The Conservation Alliance

Pickin on the Middle Fork

Rafting Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River is the trip of a lifetime. Renowned as one of the premiere wilderness rivers in the world, the Middle Fork flows through the largest tract of protected public lands in the Lower 48. The Conservation Alliance and its member companies have supported a diverse team of local organizations working to protect special public lands and iconic rivers in Idaho, and the wild salmon and steelhead that call this place home.

Now YOU have an opportunity to take your own trip of a lifetime on the Middle Fork—and support The Conservation Alliance at the same time!

Conservation Alliance member company, Idaho River Adventures, is partnering with American Roots Music artists FruitionHot Buttered Rum and Cabinet to offer three all-inclusive rafting trips aimed at raising awareness for wilderness conservation. All proceeds from these trips will benefit The Conservation Alliance.

Pickin’ on the Middle Fork is the opportunity to experience this special place like few others have: with a live acoustic soundtrack, professional guides, good company and all for a great cause. Learn more and reserve your seat today!

Thank you for your continued support of The Conservation Alliance and the incredible organizations that work tirelessly to protect wild places and experiences like those found on the Middle Fork. If you feel inspired, please share this opportunity with your community online and on the ground.

Introducing Browns Canyon National Monument


On February 19, President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Browns Canyon National Monument near Salida, CO. This proclamation preserves 22,000 acres of Forest Service and BLM land in Colorado and provides outstanding opportunities for fishing, whitewater boating, hiking and many other outdoor activities. It is one of the most popular whitewater destinations in the country; attracting roughly 150,000 visitors annually who contribute $60 million to the local economy. The area provides critical habitat for bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer and mountain lions.

The Conservation Alliance funded two organizations working to protect Browns Canyon:  Conservation Colorado and Conservation Lands Foundation. We funded Conservation Colorado in 2006 for their effort to designate Browns Canyon as wilderness.  After more than fifteen years of attempts to protect Browns Canyon via legislation, the strategy shifted to a national monument campaign.  Conservation Lands Foundation, a 2014 grantee, worked with the Obama Administration to bring this national monument campaign across the finish line.

Senator Mark Udall introduced legislation last year to designate Browns Canyon as a National Monument, but Congress failed to move the bill. Udall’s legislation specified that paddling on the Arkansas would continue to be managed by the Colorado State Parks as it is today. The president’s proclamation of Browns Canyon National Monument honors the spirit of Udall’s legislation, which followed a multi-year process of input from local residents, paddlers, ranchers, and businesses.

The Conservation Alliance applauds President Obama for designating the Browns Canyon National Monument. With this proclamation, President Obama continues his legacy of protecting special wild places with designations that enjoy strong local support. We thank President Obama for recognizing this special place, and protecting Browns Canyon forever.

100% of our membership dues support conservation opportunities like Browns Canyon.  Together, we are making a measurable impact toward protecting threatened wild places in North America.

Browns Canyon, CO Photo: Bob Wick

A Win and a Loss for the Taku Watershed Campaign

Photo:  Rivers Without Borders

This Taku Watershed Campaign update is courtesy of Will Patric, Executive Director of Rivers Without Borders:

In the Taku, after four years of effort, Chieftain has not yet been able to obtain the more than $200 million of construction financing needed to start building the Tulsequah Chief mine. RWB’s efforts to highlight the substantial risks of the project, including First Nation opposition, the impracticality of barging, and downstream Alaskan opposition has contributed to that outcome. In fact, Royal Gold, the only entity to date to promise any funding for the mine, recently announced that on December 22nd it pulled out of its agreement to provide $45 million in construction financing, and required Chieftain, already struggling financially, to repay its initial $10 million working capital loan to the company. An excerpt from Royal Gold’s press release is attached.

That timing was critical, because on January 13 the BC Minister of the Environment made her redetermination of whether or not the Tulsequah Chief mine was “substantially started.”  This redetermination was required by the Supreme Court of BC as a result of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) lawsuit. In July, the Supreme Court ruled that the TRTFN should have been consulted as part of the process, and that the First Nation should have been given the opportunity to submit evidence on whether mine construction had been started within the regulatory timeframe. The redetermination, contrary to substantial opposing evidence, common sense, and skepticism expressed by the Court, was that Tulsequah Chief is “substantially started.”  Obviously this is a disappointing finding. The TRTFN is currently weighing legal options. While the legal challenge did not cause Chieftain to lose its Environmental Certificate as hoped, it created more uncertainty about an already controversial and tenuous mine proposal, as evidenced by the mine’s recent investment loss. It also underscored that First Nations rights must be considered in mine projects and all related government deliberations, and that investors will be wary of risk if a project does not have social license.

Marmot and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Raise $10,000

For the fourth consecutive year, Marmot and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance worked together to raise money for The Conservation Alliance.  For any Marmot product over $99 sold by a Grassroots Retailer, Marmot pledged to donate $10 to The Conservation Alliance, up to $10,000.  The campaign came to a successful close, and we are pleased to announce that Marmot will be contributing $10,000 towards the permanent protection of wild place in North America.

“We sincerely appreciate the efforts of every participating Grassroots Outdoor Alliance member. They make this promotion work for The Conservation Alliance through their dedicated efforts to support our wild lands,” says Tom Fritz, Marmot’s Vice President of Marketing. “This past fall marked our fourth consecutive year collaborating with Grassroots, and together we’ve raised more than $45,000 for the Conservation Alliance. It’s one of most successful promotions we do to benefit a non-profit organization.”

Wes Allen, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance stated, “Independent outdoor stores are focused on supporting the type of work that the Conservation Alliance excels at—preserving and reclaiming our wild places for both their innate value and recreational qualities. This partnership with Marmot allows Grassroots retailers to really focus on issues that are important to our customers, our businesses, and ourselves.”

The support from Marmot and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is very important to us, and we applaud our members for finding a creative way to engage consumers about the importance of conservation.



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