Ambassador Profile: Mary Maliff, Director at The Forest Group

rafting organ

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 Mary Maliff, Director at The Forest Group in Lotus, CA. She has been an active volunteer for The Conservation Alliance since 2010.

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

Since I started my job, The Forest Group and The Conservation Alliance have and continue to partner closely. Between the Conservation Alliance’s mission and the wonderful team, it is easy to want to pitch in and help in any way possible. It is a very rewarding feeling to be a part of the good work being done. Not to mention, this is also a lot of fun and there is a great community surrounding the Conservation Alliance.

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

I would love to see every business who prides themselves as a company in the outdoor industry a member of the Conservation Alliance. Can you even begin to imagine the impact that could have on our wild spaces to have that much support and resources put towards the conservation community every year?  Also, seeing firsthand the impact the Conservation Alliance has already had in our Washington D.C. trips, it would be great to see the Conservation Alliance playing a larger political role and voice on behalf of the outdoor industry.

What areas of conservation are you most passionate about? 

I have to echo what a few of my fellow ambassadors have called out already regarding this question; preservation and access are extremely important to me. We need to protect our wilderness for ourselves and future generations, but also need the ability for everyone to interact with and gain from the benefits nature offers.  As a former raft guide and outdoor educator I have witnessed many times over how quickly a person can bond with a space and how even the shortest adventure can alter a life for the better.

Favorite outdoor activity?

While climbing has recently taken up more of my time and energy, absolutely nothing beats floating down the river with good friends and good dogs.

Favorite Wilderness or national park?

I have yet to find a place that rivals Yosemite for its pure natural awe and beauty.

Words of motivation to get others inspired:

Get educated and get involved.  Be it on a local level or larger, you absolutely  have the ability to make a positive impact.

Save the Date: The Conservation Alliance Breakfast with Kevin Fedarko

Photo: John Blaustein


The Conservation Alliance Breakfast
Friday, January 8, 7-9 AM
The Marriott, Salons F-I, Salt Lake City

The Emerald Mile: Grand Canyon, Adventure, and Threats to Our National Parks

A Presentation by Author Kevin Fedarko

Kevin Fedarko is author of New York Times bestseller, The Emerald Mile, which recounts the story of the record-setting speed run through Grand Canyon in a small wooden dory during the largest flood to sweep the Colorado River in generations. Fedarko’s presentation will cover geology, hydrology, the history of American exploration, and the art of rowing extreme whitewater deep inside the Grand Canyon. With a nod to the centennial of the National Park Service, Fedarko will also talk about threats to our National Parks, and what we can do to renew our commitment to the crown jewels of the American landscape. Fedarko’s writing has appeared in Outside, Esquire, the New York Times, and other publications. The Emerald Mile, won a National Outdoor Book Award and the Reading the West Award.

Arrive tired, leave inspired!

The Bend Backyard Collective; Building trail in our own backyard!


October 2nd was a fine autumn day in Bend, OR and the date of the annual Bend Backyard Collective.

Employees from local member companies, Cascade Financial Strategies, Hydro Flask, Cairn, Footzone of Bend, Quickfeat and Ruff Wear worked with Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA) to build the last mile of the new Catch & Release mountain bike trail, connecting Tyler’s Traverse with the Century Drive Welcome Center Trails, which when open at the end of October, will eliminate the need to ride on the road to connect these popular trail segments. While member company, Picky Bars, was unable to join us in person, they did keep us fueled on the trail. #lifepoints

We were thrilled to have representatives from local grantee organizations Oregon Natural Desert Association, Oregon Wild, and Central Oregon LandWatch give updates on their projects, and to connect with our local member companies.

Photos: Victor Ortado (cameraman extraordinaire) Thanks for capturing the day Victor!

80 Volunteers Join The Conservation Alliance in Lyons, CO

Boulder BYC21

Nine outdoor industry member companies and six non-profit organizations joined us in Lyons, Colorado for our fifth Backyard Collective event of the year. Backyard Collectives bring together member company employees and local non-profits for a day of environmental action.  80 volunteers donated their time to help repair flood damage impacted the corridor trail in Lyons.  The trail is a main thoroughfare for pedestrians & cyclists to safely travel along the busy entrance to town.

Employees from Backpackers PantryOsprey PacksLa SportivaNite IzeVerdeMerrellSea to SummitKelty, OIABoulder Mountain Bike AllianceIMBAAccess FundColorado Mountain ClubConservation Colorado and 1% for the Planet participated in the event.

Thank you to all of our members and non-profit partners for doing good work to preserve and protect the open space in your community.

Shell Abandons Arctic Oil Drilling

“Kayaktavists” protest Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Photo: Charles Conatzer & the sHellNo! Action Council

After seven years of planning and preparation, and billions of dollars spent, Shell Oil Company announced this week that it will abandon its oil drilling effort in the Arctic Ocean “for the foreseeable future.” Conservation organizations, including Conservation Alliance grantee Alaska Wilderness League, fought Shell’s drilling plan from the start, but it appeared the company had cleared the final hurdle when it launched exploratory drilling in the Chuchki Sea this Summer.

Shell explained that it found little oil in its “Burger J” exploratory well. “Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future. This decision reflects both the Burger J well result, the high costs associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska,” the company said.

The Conservation Alliance funded Alaska Wilderness League (AWL) in 2013 and 2014 to support the group’s Protect the Arctic Ocean Campaign, aimed at halting Shell’s drilling plans. Here is a statement from AWL’s Executive Director Cindy Shogan in response to the Shell announcement.

With Shell leaving the Arctic Ocean, we ask that Congress and the Obama Administration take this opportunity to once and for all prohibit future drilling in the Arctic Ocean, and protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with a Wilderness designation.

Congress Lets Land and Water Conservation Fund Expire

Rocky Fork Track Acquired with LWCF Funds Photo: David Ramsey

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a popular and successful conservation funding program managed by the federal government, expired today. Congress failed to reauthorize the broadly-supported program, which for the past 50 years has provided a reliable source of funding to purchase lands important for outdoor recreation and habitat conservation. Despite the expiration, LWCF advocates will continue to push for Congress to renew the program.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the LWCF into law in 1964, creating a fund that would take royalties from oil and gas drilling and put those dollars into land acquisition for recreation and conservation. The fund cost taxpayers nothing. The oil and gas drilling continues, but the royalties that once purchased land for parks, playgrounds, and river access now goes into the general treasury.

“This is a sad day for everyone who cares about our National Parks and outdoor conservation, recreation and wildlife.  Congress has broken an enduring promise to the American people,” said Alan Rowsome, Senior Director of Government Relations for Lands at the Wilderness Society.  “Starting tomorrow, oil drilling will continue, but the American people won’t see a penny of the proceeds reinvested in outdoor conservation and recreation.  This is a shameful and brazen assault on America’s greatest places.”

Many Conservation Alliance grantees used our funding to cover the staff time necessary to secure funding from the LWCF. Between 2007-2013, we made grants totaling $400,000 to 12 different organization that leveraged those funds to win $99 million in grants from the LWCF, multiplying our investment nearly 250 times. It will be difficult to replace this important source of conservation funding.

Though this is a dark day for conservation, the LWCF remains popular among a bipartisan coalition of Congressional representatives who vow to work to attach a reauthorization bill to a forthcoming must-pass bill, like the omnibus spending bill or a highway and transportation bill. The path forward is uncertain, but given the strong public support, and the bipartisan commitment from members of Congress, we have reason to hope that the LWCF will ultimately be reauthorized. Stay tuned for details on how you can get involved.

Meanwhile, here is a great piece about the LWCF expiration from High Country News.

And here’s a slide show of special places protected by LWCF, courtesy of Slate.

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