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Nearly 90 Conservation Alliance Members Respond to Secretary Zinke and Stand with Bears Ears National Monument

Photo Credit:  Marc Toso

The Conservation Alliance was deeply involved in securing designation for Bears Ears National Monument. Through our funding program, we supported many grassroots organizations that led the effort to protect this special landscape. And through our advocacy efforts, we helped bring the outdoor industry’s own voice to bear on the effort. Last December we all celebrated a monumental victory when President Obama declared this landscape a National Monument, protecting 1.35 million acres of rich archeological history and world-class outdoor recreation. The designation preserved 100,000 archaeological sites, and some of our favorite places to play in Utah, including Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and Indian Creek.

Four weeks ago President Trumped signed Executive Order #13792 directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review 27 National Monuments designated or expanded since January 1, 1996 to determine if their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. Since Utah’s political leaders are pressuring President Trump to shrink or rescind Bears Ears National Monument, it became Secretary Zinke’s top priority.

When Secretary Zinke and the Department of Interior opened a 15-day public comment period to hear how Americans feel about Bears Ears National Monument, we took action and asked our members to join us in a formal response.

We Stand with Bears Ears and ask that Secretary Zinke recommend Bears Ears National Monument remain fully intact – all 1.35 million acres of archelogical history and world class recreation.


May 25, 2017

The Honorable Secretary Zinke
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

RE: Monument Review, MS-1530

Secretary Zinke,

On behalf of nearly 90 outdoor industry companies, thank you for the opportunity to comment on Monument Review, MS-1530. The Conservation Alliance is a group of more than 200 outdoor industry companies nationwide that manufacture and sell products for use in the outdoors. As engaged stakeholders that depend on the wild landscapes where our customers recreate, we strongly oppose any executive action that would reduce or rescind any National Monument under review.

The Bears Ears landscape is exactly the kind of place the Antiquities Act intended to protect. It is rich in cultural history and archaeological sites, which inspired a historic coalition of tribes to band together to push for its designation. This tribal coalition remains staunchly opposed to any changes to the monument boundaries.

The region also boasts world-class rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, canyoneering, whitewater paddling, and skiing. Whether it be climbing in Indian Creek, paddling the San Juan River, or backpacking in Grand Gulch, the iconic recreation opportunities within the monument directly benefit the outdoor industry and its customers. Please see the attached map that details the recreation opportunities on the landscape. Bears Ears National Monument is a place where outdoor enthusiasts have the opportunity to respectfully explore a protected landscape where past and present intersect. Bears Ears National Monument can also help sustain a local recreation-based economy. According to a new study by the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generates $12 billion in direct consumer spending and supports 122,000 jobs in Utah.

The process that led to the designation of Bears Ears National Monument was thorough and transparent. For more than 80 years, a wide array of decision makers presented proposals seeking permanent protection of all or part of this worthy landscape. The final boundaries closely resemble those proposed for legislative protection in the Public Lands Initiative (PLI), led by Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz. The PLI boundaries were drawn to include, not exceed, the acreage necessary to preserve the rich cultural heritage, ecological values, and recreational opportunities found in the area.

The Conservation Alliance did not ultimately support the PLI legislation because it included provisions that undermined bedrock conservation laws, and the management of federally protected lands. However, groundwork and maps drawn throughout the three-year PLI process significantly influenced the boundary that would ultimately define Bears Ears National Monument. The PLI process incorporated perspectives from not only the tribal coalition, the outdoor industry, and conservation groups, but also San Juan county residents. We are confident that any credible review of the Bears Ears designation will confirm that the boundaries are more than justified.

Thank you for reviewing the decades of hard work and thoughtful consideration that culminated in the designation of Bears Ears National Monument, and for making the time to visit the region. We hope that your experiencing this landscape first-hand will help lead you to recommend that President Trump leave the Bears Ears National Monument fully intact.

We look forward to working with you to steward America’s greatest public land treasures in a manner that allows future generations of Americans to enjoy these wild places. The Bears Ears National Monument is an iconic place worthy of protection for its cultural and recreation values. Preserving Bears Ears is an investment in our economic future.

Sincerely,

Bears Ears National Monument 15-Day Comment Period is Open

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On April 27th, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO #13792) directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review 27 National Monuments designated or expanded since January 1, 1996, to determine whether their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. This order identified Bears Ears as the first priority, and requires Secretary Zinke to submit a recommendation on the monument’s future by June 10th. Utah’s political leaders are pressuring President Trump to shrink or rescind Bears Ears National Monument.  While no President has ever attempted to revoke a National Monument, it is unclear how the President will respond to Secretary Zinke’s recommendations.

This EO threatens some of our most precious landscapes, many of which help us define who we are as a nation. We will potentially see recommendations to rescind any of the 27 National Monuments, scale them back in size, or alter the Antiquities Act – the bedrock conservation tool from which these National Monuments were designated.

The Department of Interior (DOI) opened a 15-day public comment period during which individuals and organizations may weigh in on the future of Bears Ears National Monument.  The commend period ends on May 26th. Now is the time for Secretary Zinke to hear why keeping this National Monument intact is so important to our community.

Follow these steps to make a comment:

  1.  Click this link to access the DOI comment page:  https://www.regulations.gov/ 

  2.  Copy and paste the comment below.  It is very important that you personalize your comment. If you don’t personalize it, your comment may not be counted.  Please edit or add text based on your own experience.  

RECOMMENDED COMMENT: 

As an outdoor enthusiast who loves our public lands, I support the designation of Bears Ears National Monument and ask that it’s boundaries remain unchanged.

For more than 100 years, Presidents of both parties have used the Antiquities Act–a tool signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt–to enact far-sighted protections for our common American inheritance. Bears Ears is exactly the kind of place the Antiquities Act intended to protect. It is rich in cultural history which inspired a historic coalition of tribes to band together to push for its designation. In addition to protecting over 100,000 archaeological sites, the designation preserves world-class recreation opportunities in places like Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and Indian Creek.

The process that led to the designation of Bears Ears National Monument was thorough and transparent. For more than 80 years, decision makers from all sides presented proposals seeking permanent protection of all or part of this incredible landscape. The boundaries were informed by both the multi-year Public Lands Initiative and by a proposal from the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. Those boundaries do not exceed the acreage necessary to preserve the rich cultural heritage, ecological values, and recreation assets.

Thank you for reviewing the decades of hard work and thoughtful consideration that culminated in the designation of Bears Ears National Monument. Please recommend that President Trump leave the current Bears Ears National Monument boundaries in place.

Want to do more?

Click this link to post this action alert to your Twitter feed:  ACTION ALERT: We have 15 days to tell @SecretaryZinke to protect #BearsEars. Submit your comment today! https://ctt.ec/1L1Nn+

Share our Facebook post with your friends. Ask them to take action to protect Bears Ears National Monument too!

The formal public comment period to weigh in on Bears Ears National Monument is open until May 26, 2017.  The formal public comment period to weigh in on the remaining 26 National Monuments included in the review process closes July 10, 2017. We will be circulating another action alert for these monuments after May 26.

Background

The Conservation Alliance was deeply involved in securing designation for Bears Ears National Monument. Through our funding program, we supported the grassroots organizations that led the effort to protect this special landscape. And through our advocacy efforts, we helped bring the outdoor industry’s own voice to bear on the effort. Last December we all celebrated a monumental victory when President Obama declared this landscape a National Monument, protecting 1.35 million acres of rich archeological history and world-class outdoor recreation. The designation preserved 100,000 archaeological sites, and some of our favorite places to play in Utah, including Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and Indian Creek.

 

 

 

Meet Kirsten Blackburn, The Conservation Alliance Advocacy Program Manager

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The Conservation Alliance is excited to welcome Kirsten Blackburn as our new Advocacy Program Manager. Kirsten began her relationship with The Conservator Alliance as an Ambassador in 2012 where she inspired her colleagues at KEEN to participate in Conservation Alliance programs.  While at KEEN, she worked to create a movement of people dedicated to preserving our country’s incredible outdoor landscapes through a campaign called “Live Monumental”. She also managed corporate philanthropy and activism, including strategic non-profit partnerships and a grant program called the KEEN Effect. She was elected to The Conservation Alliance Board of Directors in 2016 and will undoubtedly hit the ground running as she transitions to her new role at The Conservation Alliance.

As the Advocacy Program Manager, Kirsten will develop and implement a plan to: engage Conservation Alliance member companies and their employees to participate in advocacy efforts in support of the projects we fund, and in defense of our public lands system; and to engage state and national decision makers on behalf of those member companies.  Kirsten will also manage The Conservation Alliance Ambassador Program.

Kirsten moved to Bend, OR to join the staff at The Conservation Alliance HQ.  “It’s a dream to join The Conservation Alliance team! John, Josie, and Serena are incredible and steadfastly dedicated to our mission, and the Board is made up of top notch friends, and industry leaders whose values lead first. I very much look forward to working collaboratively to take The Conservation Alliance’s advocacy efforts to the next level, and to build on the amazing 28-year history the collective team has created.

I am fueled by the authentic passion of grassroots nonprofits, constantly inspired by the power and people of the outdoor industry, and incredibly excited to work with our members to harness our collective power and engage in ways that will secure our wild places remain the way they are today, forever.

I will be forever grateful for a monumental six years at KEEN and for the friendships and experiences gleaned. The next chapter is an exciting one!”

Kirsten grew up in Whitefish, Montana with Glacier National Park as a backyard. Growing up amongst the beauty of Western Montana fostered a love for the outdoors and a burning desire to preserve them. She spends her time climbing, trail running, and getting lost in Oregon’s high desert where she serves as a board member for Oregon Natural Desert Association.

You can reach Kirsten at: kirsten at conservationalliance dot com.

 

The Conservation Alliance Makes Grants to Defend National Monuments and Elliot State Forest

Photo:  Friends of Cedar Mesa

The Conservation Alliance made two emergency grants to support organizations working to defend public lands. The grants, totaling $35,000, come from our new Public Lands Defense Fund, created to preserve and defend the integrity of our public lands system. We plan to disburse at least $185,000 in defense grants in 2017.

The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) received a $20,000 grant to support its National Monuments Defense Campaign. This effort comes in response to President Trump’s recent executive order calling for a review of National Monument designations made over the past 21 years. This is an unprecedented move that has the potential to reduce in size some of the most spectacular landscapes managed by the federal government. The order specifically targets the Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah, which President Obama designated in December.

President Trump’s executive order is a direct assault on our National Monuments, many of which we helped to protect. We are proud to answer this threat with funding for a group that has deep experience with monuments.

The second grant went to Wild Salmon Center (WSC), based in Portland, Oregon. The $15,000 contribution supports WSC’s effort to halt the proposed sale of the Elliott State Forest. The 82,500-acre forest is managed by the State of Oregon, which is mandated to sell timber from the forest to help fund schools. Managing the forest now costs the state more than it brings in through timber, so the state has proposed selling the land to meet its revenue-generating mandate. WSC is leading the effort to convince Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the state legislature to find a solution that would keep the forest in public hands, and preserve it for recreation and conservation.

The Elliott State Forest situation demonstrates what can happen when cash-strapped states manage public lands.  We will work hard to keep the Elliott in public hands, and to oppose the transfer of federal lands to states.

The Conservation Alliance established the Public Lands Defense Fund in January, 2017 with contributions from Patagonia, The North Face, Arc’teryx, GU Energy Labs and Ibex Outdoor Clothing. Together, these four companies have committed $185,000 this year to support efforts to defend public lands. The Conservation Alliance welcomes additional contribution to grow this fund.

National Monuments Benefit the Outdoor Recreation Economy

Procession Panel, Bears Ears National Monument Photo: Marc Toso

 

President Trump today signed an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all national monument designations larger than 100,000 acres from the past 21 years to determine whether their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. The Conservation Alliance opposes any effort to change the boundaries of existing national monuments through executive action. National monuments designated since 1996 protect landscapes with important recreation, cultural, and habitat values.

“We worked closely with our member companies to demonstrate outdoor business support for protecting new national monuments during the Obama presidency,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance.  “These monuments preserve important recreation amenities that benefit all Americans, and this unprecedented move may threaten those amenities.”

An updated study by the Outdoor Industry Association shows that outdoor recreation generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually, and supports 7.6 million jobs in the US.

“Protected public lands, including national monuments, are important economic drivers, particularly in rural Western communities that attract new residents and visitors drawn to outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Sterling. “Outdoor recreation is a huge economic engine, and national monuments fuel that engine.”

The Antiquities Act, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, gives the president the authority to safeguard federal lands and cultural and historical sites for all Americans to enjoy.  President Trump’s action has the potential to undermine one of the nation’s most important conservation tools.

Presidents have designated 150 national monuments since 1906. Some of those monuments have since become National Parks, including Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Zion, and Glacier Bay. National monument designations made since 1996 include Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears in Utah, San Gabriel Mountains in California, and Gold Butte in Nevada. President Trump’s executive order does not immediately reduce or rescind any national monument, but does order a review of all monuments designated between January 1, 1996 and the end of 2016.”

“Any serious review of these monuments will conclude that these are special lands and waters, beloved by millions of Americans for their cultural, recreation, and habitat values,” said Sterling. “Because Obama’s monuments were informed by public meetings and robust stakeholder outreach, any review should similarly involve significant public input.”

In announcing the forthcoming review of national monuments, Secretary Zinke said that he will make a recommendation on the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument within 45 days. The outdoor industry came together in 2016 to advocate for the Bears Ears designation.

“The Bears Ears landscape is exactly the kind of place the Antiquities Act intended to protect. It is rich in cultural history, archaeological sites, and recreation opportunities,” said Sterling. “The boundaries closely mirror those proposed in Congressman Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative legislation. We’re confident that any credible review of the Bears Ears designation will confirm the boundaries are more than justified.”

The Conservation Alliance will work closely with our members and our partners in the outdoor industry to engage in this issue, and to demonstrate to political leaders the important role national monuments play in the outdoor recreation economy.

This Land is Our Land March

OUTDOOR RETAILER, OUTDOOR INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, THE CONSERVATION ALLIANCE AND OUTDOOR ALLIANCE HOST MARCH TO CELEBRATE PUBLIC LANDS

Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association, The Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance Host March to Celebrate Public Lands at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market
Thursday, July 27, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Exhibitors, Retailers and Attendees invited to join
This Land is Our Land March to Utah State Capitol

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. — April 19, 2017 — Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), The Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance today announced that cooperatively they will host a march to the Utah State Capitol to celebrate public lands on Day Two, Thursday, July 27, at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The This Land is Our Land march will provide show attendees with a platform to express their support for the outdoor industry’s backbone and foundation: federal public lands.

“The This Land is Our Land march at summer Outdoor Retailer spotlights that public lands across America are truly the foundation of the outdoor industry, providing incredible landscapes and waterways for people to come together and experience the awe of the outdoors,” said Amy Roberts, OIA executive director.  “We aim to communicate that America’s national treasures require investment and effective management today and for generations to come—and they must remain accessible for all Americans.”

The march will convene in the South Plaza of the Salt Palace Convention Center at 4:30 p.m. and will proceed along a designated route to the Utah State Capitol. Confirmed route information will be available soon. The walk to the Capitol is expected to take approximately 30-45 minutes. At the Capitol, industry leaders and experts will hold a 45-minute rally to raise issues that spark further public lands discussion and action. Speakers include Utah tribal leaders, outdoor industry leaders, athletes and policy makers. All show attendees as well as interested citizens are welcome to attend. All march participants are asked to abide by the established Code of Conduct.

Outdoor Retailer is the only gathering where the entire outdoor industry comes together to conduct commerce, share best practices and exchange ideas. Outdoor Retailer 2017 will continue to serve the industry’s business needs while also serving as an important observance of public lands and our industry’s values. The show will remain open for normal business for those attendees wishing to conduct meetings. The show floor will close at its standard time of 6:00 p.m.

“The outdoor community has been in the national spotlight because of its fervent passion for protecting the public lands we all enjoy,” said Marisa Nicholson, show director for Outdoor Retailer. “This is not a one-and-done issue. While Bears Ears National Monument status has been a catalyst for our community, it’s just the most currently visible example of what will be a long, hard series of national debates. This march will harness that passion by providing a responsible yet energized path to celebrate what is so important to all of us, and about which we need to be heard.”

“Protecting public lands is central to The Conservation Alliance’s mission, and the Outdoor Retailer trade shows provide a great venue to connect with the tribe and share our passion for this mission. At this pivotal moment, it is important that we join forces with Outdoor Retailer, the Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Alliance to rally the industry around a long-term agenda to protect and preserve the mountains, deserts, forests and waters that grace our nation’s public lands,” commented John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance.

In addition to the march, Outdoor Retailer, OIA, The Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance are exploring additional ways to highlight public lands during the show. Updates will be shared on unity.outdoorretailer.com.

“Outdoor Alliance works on behalf of millions of paddlers, mountain bikers, hikers, climbers, and backcountry skiers who get outside on public lands each year. Public lands are the foundation of this large and passionate community, and we’re excited to lend our voice to this effort to unify the industry around this important issue,” said Adam Cramer, executive director of Outdoor Alliance. “We have been working for two years to unify outdoor business and advocacy groups to protect public lands. Summer Market is the perfect opportunity to rally together as a community to protect the landscapes that are home to our adventures.”

To join the This Land is Our Land march and add your voice to the conversation, click here to RSVP to the Facebook invite.

Save the Date! The Conservation Alliance Breakfast with Wildlife Photojournalist Joe Riis

Pronghorn by Joe Riis

The Conservation Alliance Breakfast
Thursday, July 27, 2017
7:00-9:00 AM
The Marriott, Salons F-I, Salt Lake City

MIGRATIONS: Photographing Animal Migrations, the Heartbeat of Yellowstone

A Presentation by wildlife photojournalist Joe Riis

Joe Riis is a wildlife biologist turned photojournalist and filmmaker. He is a National Geographic Society Fellow and Photography Fellow at the Wyoming Migration Initiative. His photography book Yellowstone Migrations to be released in Fall 2017, illustrates Joe’s decade-long project to document the animal migrations of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. “I want people to think about the animal’s needs,” Riis says. “They need somewhere to live, the freedom to move as seasons change and as the climate changes.” Joe was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2015 for his work in Yellowstone, and has photographed wildlife stories around the world for National Geographic Magazine ranging from the rare Gobi Bear to Tepui Toads. As the outdoor industry focuses more energy on preserving our public lands, Joe’s work shows us what is happening on those lands when people are not watching. The Conservation Alliance Breakfast is open to the public, so please bring a friend.

Arrive tired, leave inspired!

Winter 2017 Grant Announcement

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The Conservation Alliance is pleased to fund the following organizations to support their efforts to protect wild lands and waterways for their habitat and recreation values. These grants are made possible more than 200 outdoor businesses who care passionately about protecting wild places for future generations. Each of these businesses is a member of The Conservation Alliance, and plays a critical role in determining which organizations receive funding. Thank you to all of our members for protecting wild places across North America. Download the Winter 2017 Grant Announcement here.





Trip Report: Four Things We Learned in Washington, DC

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The Conservation Alliance led a strong delegation of outdoor industry leaders to Washington, DC earlier this month. The goal was to learn about conservation policy and the current political lay-of-the-land, and to demonstrate business support for conservation on public lands. Our group included 40 representatives from member companies, and leaders from organizations that represent outdoor recreation user groups.

The trip started with a full day of training on conservation policy, hosted by our friends at the Pew Charitable Trusts. To start the day, speakers provided information on the politics of conservation with the new Congress and the Trump Administration, making clear that we face new challenges that threaten our public lands. Throughout the day, we learned about new threats to our public lands, and then heard from specific stakeholder groups – sportsmen, conservation groups, outdoor recreationists – about how they will address those threats. We ended the training day by focusing on opportunities to make conservation gains through Wilderness legislation, agency management planning, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

We drew a few key conclusions from the training day:

  • Congress has not changed dramatically, but we no longer have a strong conservationist in the White House to serve as a backstop to Congress’ worst ideas. As a result, we will need to focus more of our energy on stopping legislation in Congress that would undermine our public lands and the laws that govern them.
  • We still have strong conservation friends in Congress. Our friends in Congress remain committed to protecting and defending our public lands. Members of Congress have already introduced – or will soon introduce – legislation to protect lands in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and Alaska.
  • The current political climate is galvanizing our allies. There is nothing like a crisis to bring people together to find solutions and work toward common goals. We have already deepened our coalition with friends in the outdoor recreation community, and are talking more regularly with groups that represent the hunter/angler community. We all love our public lands, and will work together to protect them.
  • We need to be ready to respond quickly to threats. More than ever, our industry needs to be able to rapidly respond to threats to our wild places. Understanding public lands policy is crucial to that response. The Conservation Alliance will do all we can to prepare our members to be knowledgeable on these issues, and to respond when threats arise.

After the training day, we divided our large group into smaller teams, and hit Capitol Hill for meetings with appropriate members of Congress. Together, our seven teams met with 29 different offices, and delivered the message that protected public lands are crucial to the growing outdoor recreation economy. From our meetings, it is clear that our greater outdoor community is finding its voice, and decision makers are listening. We will continue to push this message, in Washington, and on the local level.

We are grateful to our friends at Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association for partnering with us on this recent trip to DC. It is important that our community show up and speak to lawmakers about issues that impact us. We organize this trip every year. If you are interested in participating in 2018 please let us know!

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