Obama Protects 408,000 Square Miles of Ocean

Pew Charitable Trust

President Obama used the Antiquities Act today to permanently protect almost a half million square miles of ocean by expanding the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. This increases the total percent of highly protected ocean territory in the US from 6% to 15%.

Learn more about this important ocean habitat and the significance of this designation from our friends at Pew Charitable Trusts.

Signed into law in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt, the Antiquities Act gives the President the authority to permanently protect public land without the support of Congress. The Antiquities Act has been used over a hundred times since it’s inception. Obama used it in May to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Monument in New Mexico, a project that received over $100,000 from The Conservation Alliance.

While we didn’t fund the Remote Islands Marine National Monument, we applaud the President for using this authority to expand these fragile and important marine reserves. We encourage President Obama to continue using the Antiquities Act to designate more National Monuments. It is important to our economy and to the 140 million Americans that recreate in the outdoors every year.

on nature’s terms

Thomas Paquette, a painter from PA, spent three years on the road visiting wilderness areas across the country. His exhibition, “on nature’s terms” commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Thomas was kind enough to share his book with us, and answer a few questions about his relationship with Wilderness:

How does wilderness inspire your work?

When I paint a landscape I think not of what it looks like, but how it acts. I am much more concerned with giving my paintings the feeling of life and process, as though it were a living extension of the subject. The slow grind of geology is my best teacher when paintings take years to complete. When I get to a point where the only good solution is to scrape off hours, days, or weeks of work and begin again, I borrow a lesson from the regeneration of forests that comes after a fire or even a landslide. New-fallen snow. I let the paint grow where other artists would prune, only because I would maintain that most times, it grows best growing wild.

Why do you paint wilderness areas?

I have always been interested in the natural world, and even studied to be a naturalist for a while. It’s an obvious fact that there is literally nothing I could choose to paint from experience that is not of this earth. But it is those places where humanity has least impact that have always struck me as holding the most significance. They are for me places that hold mysteries to be explored, places that hint of our deepest roots. I found myself going further into the process of the earth and life for my inspiration, leading me of course to wilderness areas. And when the fiftieth anniversary of the Wilderness Act was coming up, I felt focusing exclusively on designated wilderness areas was well worth spending a couple years on anyway. I marveled that we can sometimes end up on the good side of Thoreau’s equation: “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”

Do you have a favorite wilderness area?  Which one, and why?


Keen and Oregon Wild Raise Money for Crater Lake Wilderness

Crater Lake, OR  Photo: Joy Johnston

Earlier this year, we funded the Oregon Wild Crater Lake Wilderness Campaign with a $35,000 grant. Oregon Wild is working to permanently protect more than 500,000 acres of Wilderness in the backcountry of Crater Lake National Park and in the surrounding roadless wildlands that form the headwaters of iconic Rogue, Klamath, and Umpqua rivers in Oregon. According to Oregon Wild, “Oregon still lags far behind its neighbors with only 4% of our state protected as Wilderness — compared to 15% of California, 10% of Washington, and 8% of Idaho.”

To help Oregon Wild raise money for the Crater Lake Wilderness Campaign, Keen is donating a free pair of boots or shoes to anyone who joins with a monthly gift of $10 or more. Keen is a current Pinnacle Member of The Conservation Alliance, and we’re proud to see them working directly with a local grantee.

To learn more about the significant threat currently facing Oregon’s only national park, or to make a donation toward the Crater Lake Wilderness Campaign, visit

Oregon Wild was awarded 12 grants from The Conservation Alliance starting in 1993, for a total of $338,200.

The Wilderness Act Turns 50

Mount Hood Wilderness, OR

The Wilderness Preservation Act was signed into law exactly 50 years ago today. This anniversary is making headlines across the country, as it is a day for all outdoor enthusiasts to take a moment and reflect on the legacy made possible by the Wilderness Act.

To prepare you for this exciting day, we have compiled a list of important facts and resources about the Wilderness Act and the state of wilderness today.

Wilderness: The Act, Facts and Resources

1.      Experience this historic event by listening to the audio recording of President Lyndon B. Johnson as he signs the Wilderness Preservation Act into law on September 3, 1964. (Hint:  For maximum wilderness education, start playing this recording before continuing on to #2)

2.      The definition of wilderness, as outlined in the Wilderness Act, is:  “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

3.      The longest time period without the addition of new wilderness began in 2009 and ended on March 4, 2014 with the designation of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan.


Businesses Urge Congress to Take Action

W50 WH Image 3

Today, on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, every member of Congress received two letters signed by 149 outdoor businesses urging them to take action.

The first letter asks Congress to act on the many Wilderness and public land bills that have been introduced, but are languishing in committee. It expresses strong support for the Wilderness Act, which preserves landscapes that are important to outdoor customers and the 6.1 million American jobs supported by the industry.

The second letter expresses strong support for full, dedicated funding and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Enacted by Congress in 1964, LWCF provides up to $900 million annually to purchase land, water and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans.

60 of the businesses who signed these letters are members of The Conservation Alliance. Thank you to our members, and to everyone who demonstrated support for these two important conservation laws!

This image is courtesy of

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