This Land is OUR Land

public land heist

If outdoor recreation is a big part of your life, you likely spend a lot of time on public lands. For many of us, lands managed by the National Park Service, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management are the setting for the most important moments in our lives.

I grew up backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness, and spent much of my 20s and 30s climbing in Joshua Tree and Yosemite, and skiing and hiking throughout the Sierra Nevada backcountry.  My wife and I got engaged in Tuolumne Meadows, and honeymooned on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. During a job change, we spent two months monitoring wolves in Yellowstone. We settled down in Bend, Oregon where I spend much of my free time running, biking, or skiing on Forest Service land. We recently spent a magical spring break with our young kids in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. To say that I enjoy public lands is a vast understatement. I have learned more about myself and the natural world from these experiences than any other teacher.

It is easy for us to take our public lands for granted. They’ve always been there, and presumably, they always will be there. And, because of the consistent management that federal oversight provides, we can find similar experiences in a California Wilderness area as we would in Wilderness in Colorado. We know we can camp under the stars on nearly any acre of BLM land nationwide. These lands belong to all of us; one of the great privileges of being an American.

But today, there is a misguided movement in state legislatures across the country to transfer our federal lands to the states in which they lie. Utah passed such a bill in 2012, demanding that the federal government grant control of 20 million acres of BLM and Forest Service lands to the state. Though this notion is likely unconstitutional, the trend is troubling. It shakes the foundation of our understanding of our common natural heritage. Imagine if the icons of our public lands were no longer “ours”. What if a state could not afford to manage those lands, and sold them off to extractive industries? It seems inconceivable, but many states are taking steps down that road.

The outdoor industry has awoken to this threat. A growing coalition of outdoor businesses, recreation and recreation user groups has come together to stand up for our federal lands. The Conservation Alliance is proud to partner with our peers in raising awareness about this threat, and telling our elected officials to stand strong in the belief that federal lands are best managed by the federal government, not individual states with their unpredictable budgets and perspectives on the best use of those lands. Learn more at


Those of us who love our public lands need to respond to this threat just as we would respond to attempts to take away our freedom of speech or the right to practice whatever religion we choose. Our federal lands represent our freedom to roam, play, contemplate, mourn, and celebrate in a setting that is wild, natural, and free.

Seattle Backyard Collective

Photo Credit:  Rick Meade, Nikwax

Last week, 97 volunteers from Seattle-based member companies spent a total of 291 volunteers hours removing 11,000 square feet of invasive plants and spreading 4,000 square feet of mulch at Genessee Park, WA. Participating members included Eddie Bauer, REI, Brooks, Filson, Perpetual Motion NW, Stanley , and Nikwax.

Thank you, Forterra, for organizing another successful day of stewardship!

Photo Credit: Rick Meade, Nikwax











Success! Anthony’s Nose Acquisition Protects 18 Acres

Lake George, NY   Photo:  John Macionis

Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) just completed the acquisition of 18 acres at the base of Anthony’s Nose, an iconic peninsula at the north end of Lake George, NY. This acquisition provides public access to the 2,200 ft summit of Record Hill and is adjacent to a 189 acre parcel acquired by LGLC in 2000.

The Conservation Alliance awarded LGLC with one grant for $35,000. We are proud to fund this important project, well done Lake George Land Conservancy!


Ambassador Profile: Kate Larramendy, Design and Sustainability Director at Toad&Co

east cape baja

Conservation Alliance Ambassadors are key influencers and leaders in the outdoor industry, and they serve as a conduit for spreading the word about Conservation Alliance programs and grantee activities within their respective companies.  They volunteer their time, going above and beyond the duties of their full-time jobs at member companies.  Our ambassadors are passionate outdoor enthusiasts, and exceptional people. 

Today, we’d like you to meet Kate Larramendy, Design & Sustainability Director at Toad&Co in Santa Barbara, CA. She has been an active volunteer for The Conservation Alliance since Toad&Co (formerly Horny Toad) joined in 2005. 

What made you want to be an Ambassador for The Conservation Alliance? 

The work of the Conservation Alliance is profoundly important to the health of the outdoor industry. Selfishly, that is how I’ve supported myself my entire adult life. The viability and future of wild and even, not-so-wild places means we will continue to have these places outdoors to go. We need to protect the places we love and provide the hope and possibility that people coming after us will also be able to experience them. As an ambassador I am learning to be a more effective activist and can bring it back to the office to get others fired up.

What local conservation projects are you involved in?

About 15 years ago a group of locals caught wind of backroom dealings to approve a major development in the hills that are the backdrop to Ventura. We were appalled by what this would mean for traffic, sprawl and loss of open space and habitat. This was my first hands-on experience helping to start a grass-roots movement. From there it got political and after defeating a ballot measure we were able to shift the focus to conservation efforts by forming a land trust. I learned a lot about fundraising – sadly, so much of conservation comes down to money. The upside is I know how to produce a concert.

Where would you like to see The Alliance in another 25 years from now?

I think the political arena is where much of the future of conservation lies and I’m impressed by how powerfully The Conservation Alliance has moved into that area. I have been lucky to join a couple of the lobbying trips to Washington, D.C. What a fascinating, convoluted and bizarre world. But it is the reality for getting anything done. I’m clear that you don’t go there to change the system, you go to learn to work the system. Continuing to leverage the growth and health the outdoor industry has on the national economy is the future. It comes down to numbers. Money talks. Well, we can keep working those numbers.

What areas of conservation are you most passionate about?

I live on the ocean so clean water, through the entire system, from the source to the sea is very important to me. Habitat preservation for all creatures, even humans, is critical. Alaska fascinates me. The idea of it is fantasy because I haven’t actually spent any real time there. I love knowing such an utterly vast, expansive and for the most part, still pristine, place exists. I take great comfort in the idea of it and will join and support any efforts to keep it that way. I will be there soon.

End Quote: 

We protect the places we love. It all starts there. There is tremendous power in that simple principle. The Conservation Alliance is an effective and growing network of people doing just that.

Introducing Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument,  Photo Credit: Ivan Sohrakoff

Today, President Obama protected 330,780 acres in Northern California by designating Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

The Conservation Alliance awarded Tuleyome with two grants in 2012 and 2014, totaling $55,000, for their effort to protect Berryessa Snow Mountain. In addition to financial support, our members stepped up in other ways to advocate for the designation of this monument. In July 2014, Kevin Cleary, CEO of Clif Bar, wrote this op-ed about the importance of protecting California’s public lands, including Berryessa Snow Mountain. In December 2014, 14 Conservation Alliance member companies based in California signed this letter addressed to President Obama asking him to designate Berryessa Snow-Mountain National Monument.  In April 2015, Sacramento news station CBC13 highlighted the biologically diverse landscape in a feature about the unique partnership between member company Juniper Ridge and Tuleyome.

This 330,780 acre monument is less than 100 miles from Sacramento and the Bay Area, and covers portions of Lake, Napa, Mendocino, Solano and Yolo counties. Recreation opportunities include hiking, mountain biking, paddling down the wild and scenic Cache Creek, hunting and horse-back riding. This region provides critical habitat for California’s second-largest population of wintering bald eagles, and wild Tule elk.

A bill to protect Berryessa Snow Mountain was introduced into Congress in February 2015.  Like most monuments designated by President Obama, he took action when Congress failed to act. We applaud President Obama for using his authority under the Antiquities Act to create Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

Victories like this are worth celebrating!  We hope you will share the exciting news with your audience by sharing our Facebook and Twitter posts.

Outdoor Retailer Events and Sales

Visit our events page for a complete list of Conservation Alliance events and sales at Outdoor Retailer, August 5-8, 2015.

Celebrate Our Public Lands

Join The Conservation Alliance, OIA, and Outdoor Alliance
Caffe Molise, 55 100 South
August 5, 4:30-6 PM


Live Monumental Party

Celebrate projects funded by The Conservation Alliance
KEENfest, W Temple St.
August 6, 5:30-9 PM



We contribute every dime of our members’ dues to grantees, and don’t take a percentage for our operational expenses. Each brand below will be selling gear at the Outdoor Retailer show at a discounted price, and a percentage of the proceeds–10 to 100 percent– will go directly to The Conservation Alliance. These donations cover a significant portion of our operating expenses every year.

If you’d like to host a fundraiser, please contact Serena at for more information.

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