Welcoming New Staff and Board Members

Left to Right: Kirsten Blackburn, Tyler LaMotte and Mary Maliff

The Conservation Alliance board elected Tyler LaMotte, VP of Global Brand Marketing at KEEN, Inc., and Mary Maliff, Director at The Forest Group to serve on our board of directors. LaMotte was elected by the board of directors to fill an unexpected vacancy, while The Conservation Alliance membership elected Maliff during an annual board election.

Tyler and Mary bring exciting fresh blood to The Conservation Alliance, and we will benefit from the broad range of experience that they bring to the table. Tyler’s term began in May, and Mary’s term will begin on July 25, 2017.

In addition to the new board members, Kirsten Blackburn joined The Conservation Alliance as the new Advocacy Program Manager. Kirsten previously worked at KEEN, Inc. where she played a lead role in the company’s Live Monumental campaign. Kirsten also served on The Conservation Alliance board. In her new role, Kirsten will lead will lead our efforts to educate and engage member companies on public lands issues.

These additions to the staff and board come at a time when America’s public lands are threatened by proposals by the Trump Administration and members of Congress to undermine long-standing protections for our special wild places.

We are fortunate to operate in an industry that cherishes our wildlands and rivers, and to work with talented people like Tyler, Mary, and Kirsten who are so committed to our mission.

Announcing Five Grants to Support Public Lands Events Nationwide on July 27

The Conservation Alliance awarded five grants to conservation organizations to support “This Land is Our Land” celebrations in Oregon, California, Minnesota and New Mexico. The public lands celebrations will take place on July 27, the same day as the outdoor industry’s “This Land is Our Land March For Public Lands” in Salt Lake City, UT.

“America’s public lands are the backbone of the outdoor industry, and they support local outdoor recreation economies across the county. With help from Conservation Alliance grantees, people in California, New Mexico, Minnesota and Oregon will have the opportunity to join the outdoor industry’s celebration of public lands on July 27,” said John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance.

Grant recipients will host public lands celebrations in their communities to raise awareness and spark public lands discussions. Each group hosting an event has received Conservation Alliance funding for efforts to secure protections for public lands, and many of these protections are now at risk under Trump Administration and Congressional proposals. The events will provide a platform for people to express support and enthusiasm for public lands in communities that rely on protected land to support the local outdoor recreation economy.

The grants will support public lands celebrations in Medford, Oregon; Bend, Oregon; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Ely, Minnesota; and Mammoth Lakes, California.

“Oregonians share a deep love for our public lands and in Bend and Central Oregon public lands are a big part of our way of life,” said Brent Fenty, executive director of Oregon Natural Desert Association. “Public lands are also an important part of our local economy and help attract people and businesses who care about them. We are proud to work with this great community to highlight the value of public lands with the This Land is Our Land Rally on July 27th.

Grant recipients include:

Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center
Medford, OR

Oregon Natural Desert Association
Bend, OR

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
Las Cruces, NM

Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Ely, MN

Winter Wildlands Alliance
Mammoth Lakes, CA


About the “This Land is Our Land March For Public Lands”
The “This Land is Our Land March For Public Lands”, hosted by The Conservation Alliance, Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Alliance, will take place on July 27, Day Two of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017. The march will start 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. 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 Outdoor Retailer show attendees as well as interested citizens of Utah are welcome to attend. All participants are asked to abide by the established Code of Conduct.

$110,000 Awarded to Nine Organizations Defending Public Lands

Photo:  Tim Peterson

The Conservation Alliance Board has approved nine emergency grants to support organizations working to defend our public lands. The grants, totaling $110,000, come from our new Public Lands Defense Fund.  We have awarded a total of $145,000 in grants from this fund in 2017 and plan to disburse at least $185,000 before the end of this year.

We 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 the integrity of our public lands. The Conservation Alliance board of directors awarded the following Public Lands Defense Fund grants last week:

Organization Project Amount
Earthworks Grassroots Campaign to Defend NEPA  $       7,500
Friends of Cedar Mesa Strategic Defense of Bears Ears National Monument  $     20,000
Friends of Nevada Wilderness Gold Butte National Monument Defense Campaign  $     10,000
Grand Canyon Trust Defending Bears Ears National Monument  $     10,000
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Defense Campaign $     15,000
Outdoor Alliance Navigating the New Public Land Heist  $       5,000
Soda Mountain Wilderness Council Defending the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument  $     10,000
The Wilderness Society Defending Our National Monuments in California and Arizona  $     17,500
Western Environmental Law Center Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Defense  $     15,000

Seven organizations received funding to respond to President Trump’s executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all national monument designations larger than 100,000 acres from the past 21 years. Going back to 1999, The Conservation Alliance awarded 25 grants, totaling $765,000, to 13 different conservation organizations whose work was instrumental in protecting 10 of the national monuments included in the review.

Every organization that received funding for national monument defense is a former grantee of The Conservation Alliance. These organizations used Conservation Alliance funding to help designate the national monuments, and now will use Alliance funding to defend them.

“We opposes any effort to change the boundaries of existing national monuments through executive action. These monuments protect landscapes with important recreation, cultural, and habitat values,” said John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance. “We invested in the designation of these monuments, and we are proud to be in a position to fund the groups working to defend them.”

In addition to national monument defense,  we awarded grants to Outdoor Alliance for its effort to oppose the transfer of federal lands to states and public lands to private ownership, and Earthworks for its effort to defend the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Bears Ears National Monument 15-Day Comment Period is Open


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: 

  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.  


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!

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.


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


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.


Winter 2017 Grant Announcement


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.

Outdoor Businesses Call on President Obama to Expand the California Coastal National Monument

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President,

As outdoor industry companies that depend on protected landscapes where our customers recreate, we urge you to use your authority under the Antiquities Act to expand the California Coastal National Monument. After years of community dialogue and overwhelming public support, it is time to add Trinidad Head, Lighthouse Ranch, Lost Coast Headlands, Cotoni-Coast Dairies, and Piedras Blancas to the California Coastal National Monument.

When President Clinton first established the California Coastal National Monument in 2000, it became our most viewed, but least visited monument. Comprised originally of 20,000 offshore rocks and islands, the monument was biologically important and scenically jaw dropping, yet offered few opportunities to visitors. With your addition of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to the monument in 2014, visitors gained the first on-land addition to the monument. Expanding the monument will provide public access and interpretation opportunities while protecting important coastal resources for current and future generations to enjoy.

Thanks to the efforts of Senators Boxer and Feinstein along with Representatives Capps, Eshoo and Huffman, the proposed expansion of the California Coastal National Monument enjoys widespread support throughout California. We are encouraged that these Congressional champions have also called on you to expand the California Coastal National Monument.

As companies in California, we can attest to the direct benefits that this designation will bring to the communities of our state, and the outdoor industry. In California, the outdoor recreation economy contributes $85 billion in consumer spending and supports 732,000 jobs. This economic contribution depends on places for our customers to play, learn, and share the outdoors with friends and family. The proposed additions to the California Coastal National Monument will help grow California’s outdoor recreation economy.

We hope you will use the Antiquities Act to expand the California Coastal National Monument before the end of 2016.


Download a copy of this letter here.

Conservation Alliance Grantees Deliver Five Victories


In October 2015, The Conservation Alliance invested $790,000 in grassroots conservation organizations. Each grant went to a project working to secure permanent protection for a specific threatened wild place.  We direct organizations to use our funding over the course of a 12-month period. At the end of the grant period, we ask each group for a final report. These reports play a key role in helping us determine the return on our investment. Conservation Alliance grantees funded in the last 12 months reported five conservation victories, permanently protecting 1,823,423 acres, four river miles and one climbing area.

On October 1, we received 19 final reports. Following is a summary of the progress our grantees have made with our funding. At the end of the summary are several exciting updates on work we funded in April 2016. We will share final reports on all of our April 2016 grants in April 2017.

Download the complete report summary here.

Where Conservation and Advocacy Meet (for a drink)

Wild Drinks brings together member company employees and local conservation organizations in a happy hour setting to celebrate the work we have accomplished together. The goal of these events is to rally support on the local level for Conservation Alliance grantees.

Earlier this month we hosted Wild Drinks events in the Bay Area and Vancouver, British Columbia.  75 people from Conservation Alliance member companies came out to raise a glass for local grantees.  Participating members included The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Outdoor Project, ClifBar, GU Energy, Peak Designs, SlingFin, Arc’teryx, Helly Hansen, Innate/GSI, MEC and SAXX Underwear.  Members heard from California Wilderness Coalition, Wilderness Land Trust, Friends of the Inyo, Winter Wonderlands Alliance and Raincoast about the work being done to protect landscapes in their area.

Wild Drinks in Portland, OR is coming up on November 3rd, and we’ll host events in Bend, OR and Carlsbad, CA before the end of the year.  Visit our events page for more details.  Cheers!



Letter to the President: #ProtectBearsEarsNow

October 19, 2016

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC

Dear President Obama:

As outdoor industry companies that depend on the wild landscapes where our customers recreate, we urge you to use your authority under the Antiquities Act to protect the Bears Ears landscape in southeastern Utah as a national monument. This internationally significant place deserves protection for its singular cultural significance, and for its outstanding recreation opportunities that directly benefit the outdoor industry and its customers.

Over the past 80 years, several proposals have sought to protect all or part of this important landscape, including the recent Public Lands Initiative (PLI) led by Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz. Unfortunately, the legislation includes provisions that make it impossible for us to support. The PLI contradicts several bedrock conservation laws, and would undermine the sound management of proposed wilderness areas, national conservation areas, special management areas, and recreation zones. The PLI would also grant management of more than 1,000 miles of public roads to the State of Utah, and give the state the authority to approve energy development on federal lands in eastern Utah.

Given the value of this special landscape, combined with current and acute threats to its integrity, we feel that the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition’s proposal to create a collaboratively-managed national monument that respects and celebrates the traditional and ancestral ties of Native American people to these lands – while protecting the landscape for all Americans – is the most viable path forward.

There are many reasons to protect the Bears Ears, but we in the outdoor industry best understand the value of this area for recreation and respectful adventure. We acknowledge that the Bears Ears region – with more than 100,000 archaeological sites – is America’s most significant unprotected cultural landscape, and that recreation on these sacred lands must be enjoyed respectfully. With engagement from the Native American community and recreation interests, we can ensure that important outdoor recreation opportunities like climbing in Indian Creek, paddling the San Juan River, and backpacking in Grand Gulch are preserved.

The proposed Bears Ears National Monument – conceived by a historic consortium of sovereign tribal nations and backed by a diverse group of stakeholders – would honor the area’s rich cultural history and preserve its many outdoor recreation amenities. We support your use of the Antiquities Act to secure a national monument designation for Bears Ears this year.


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