Success! American River Conservancy Completes 10,115 Acre Granite Chief Property Acquisition

Granite Chief / American River Headwaters, CA  Photo Credit:  American River Conservancy

On Wednesday, August 5thAmerican River Conservancy (ARC) closed escrow on, thus permanently protecting, 9,955 acres of land known as the American River Headwaters/Granite Chief Property.  These acquired lands adjoin another 160 acres acquired by ARC in 2013, and completes the purchase of section numbers 1, 29, 35 and 36 on this mapThis acquisition has protected and preserved the largest private inholding on the Sierra Nevada Crest south of Donner Summit.

This forested landscape is at the headwaters of the North and Middle Forks of the American River. The property is immediately west of North Lake Tahoe, CA, the Olympic Valley/Squaw Valley Ski Area and the Pacific Crest Trail.

The $50,000 Conservation Alliance grant awarded to ARC in 2014 was instrumental in initiating a massive fundraising campaign, enabling ARC and its partners to raise the $14.5 million required for this conservation project including $11,000,000 for the purchase price and transaction expense; $1.15 million for a stewardship endowment and $2.35 million for restoration.  This restoration work includes the decommissioning of approximately 20 miles of logging roads, and the repair of streams and wet meadows on 3,055 acres. ARC expects to begin the physical restoration work in June, 2016.  Once the restoration work is complete, they expect to add more than 3,000 of the newly acquired acres to the Granite Chief Wilderness.

The Conservation Alliance is deeply proud to have played a role in this project. Protecting 10,000 acres in such a short amount of time, in one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world, is a great accomplishment.

Huge protected area moves ahead in Canada’s NWT


Erica Janes, Conservation Outreach Coordinator at Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Northwest Territories shares exciting news about Thaidene Nene.  Since 2011, The Conservation Alliance awarded four grants totaling $155,000 to support this campaign.

With both federal and territorial elections looming in Canada in the fall, we are thrilled that significant progress has been made over the summer in finalizing protection for Thaidene Nene, the Land of the Ancestors. This huge area of sparkling lakes and rushing rivers as far as the eye can see spans the transition from boreal forest to tundra, around and beyond the shores of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories. It’s the traditional homeland of the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, accessible by boat in summer, and by plane and snowmobile in winter, from the NWT capital city of Yellowknife. Within a couple of years, new parks there should be open for adventurous visitors from far and wide!

In mid-July, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) unveiled their proposed boundaries for territorial park and caribou conservation zone areas within the Thaidene Nene study area, and embarked on a public consultation program. The details around these protection mechanisms are still to be worked out – and you can rest assured that CPAWS will continue to be involved to ensure permanent and robust protection – but we have heartily congratulated the GNWT on this huge step forward in NWT conservation.

Then on July 29th, just four days before a federal election was called for October 19th, the Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Environment Minister traveled to Lutsel K’e to unveil the boundary of the proposed national park reserve portion of Thaidene Nene, and launched a parallel federal public consultation process. This would not have happened without the dedication of the entire Thaidene Nene team, or the strong encouragement from many citizens and opinion influencers whom we were able to rally.

Following public consultations, Parks Canada, the GNWT and the LKDFN will continue to negotiate the details of two separate establishment agreements, keeping in mind the goal of creating a contiguous protected area and seamless visitor experience. We expect that Thaidene Nene will be established within the next couple of years.

Commitments from both the territorial and federal governments in advance of the upcoming fall elections for both governments signal a major step forward for Thaidene Nene, and speak to the constructive and collaborative work between all levels of government that has been done in the past several months.

Continued support from The Conservation Alliance and others has enabled CPAWS to work closely with the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation in building public awareness and support for this bold conservation vision that not only encompasses protecting land, water and wildlife, but also fosters cultural continuity and promises to provide the basis of a regional and sustainable tourism economy based on conservation.

You can send a letter of congratulations to Parks Canada, the GNWT and the LKDFN via the Thaidene Nene Action Centre, and stay tuned for more on this incredible conservation opportunity in Canada’s NWT.

Congress Passes 275,665 Acre Wilderness Bill


For the past 40 years, conservationists have fought to protect the Boulder White Clouds as Wilderness. Today, that drama came to a happy ending when the US Senate voted unanimously to bestow Wilderness designation on 275,000 acres of federal land in Central Idaho. The House of Representatives passed identical legislation last week, so the measure now awaits President Obama’s signature.

The Conservation Alliance first supported this effort in 1998 when we made a $35,000 grant to the upstart Boulder White Clouds Council. We have since made five grants totaling $175,000 to Idaho Conservation League, which has led the effort to protect this special place.

During the 17 years of our involvement in this project, the campaign has taken countless twists and turns. In 2006, we organized a delegation of business leaders to travel to Washington, DC to voice support for a protected Boulder White Clouds. Legislation to save the area nearly passed the Congress that December, but failed at the 11th hour. Republican Congressman Mike Simpson, who has championed the bill for 13 years, was disappointed, but not deterred. He has re-introduced the legislation during each subsequent session of Congress.

Last fall, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, we organized another group of outdoor industry representatives to go to DC and demonstrate support for protected federal lands. At a Wilderness 50 banquet, we all listened to Congressman Simpson tell the audience of his commitment to saving the Boulder White Clouds. He spoke passionately, and made it clear that he would not rest until this work was done. He was the only Republican to speak that night.

The Boulder White Clouds campaign took another turn last year when, fed up with Congressional inaction, conservationists launched a new effort to ask President Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate the Boulder White Clouds as a national monument. Doing so would bypass Congress, but finally put the issue to rest. The Obama Administration sent signals that they would be willing to make the designation, but – recognizing that the Idaho delegation did not want to see a national monument in their state – agreed to give Congressman Simpson six months in 2015 to move the bill through Congress.

During the national monument push, The Conservation Alliance teamed up with filmmaker Alexandria Bombach to make a short film about the area as part of our worthWILD film series. The film features stunning arial footage of the Boulder White Clouds, and talks about the broad support in the recreation community for the national monument designation. We also met with key representatives in the Obama Administration to voice outdoor business support for the national monument designation.

We endorsed the national monument push for two reasons. First, it seemed unlikely that Congress would ever manage to move legislation. Second, as a national monument, the Boulder White Clouds would be protected, but still allow access to mountain biking, which is prohibited in Wilderness. Our friends in the mountain bike community worked hard to secure the monument designation, reaching an unprecedented agreement with the Wilderness community that brought the two stakeholders – often at odds with each other – together.

With the threat of the national monument proclamation looming, Congressman Simpson worked harder than ever, and managed to move his Wilderness legislation through the House of Representatives. At the same time, Idaho Senator Jim Risch – who once opposed protecting the area – used his seat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to move the bill forward in the Senate. Today, this combination of efforts paid off, and we celebrate our newest Wilderness areas.

Not everyone is celebrating today, though. Our friends in the mountain bike community feel like they have lost access to a truly special area. International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and Outdoor Alliance (OA) pushed hard for the national monument designation. As the Wilderness legislation moved forward, the mountain bike advocates proposed changing the bill to establish a mountain bike corridor through the proposed Wilderness areas. In the end, Congressman Simpson refused that request. In doing so, Simpson articulated the accommodations he made to the mountain bike community in developing the bill. Though not all of our friends will agree with the Congressman’s position, it is worth reading his explanation:

Today, we congratulate Idaho Conservation League, The Wilderness Society, and Congressman Mike Simpson for bringing to a close the 40-year effort to save a special landscape. The Boulder White Clouds now enjoys the highest form of protection we can bestow on our federal lands. Conservation icon Brock Evans, when asked what was his secret to success, said: “Endless pressure, endlessly applied.” The Conservation Alliance is proud to have played a role in applying that pressure, and are relieved that the need for pressure, in this case, was not “endless”.

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.

Ambassador Profile: Chelsea Pawlek, Supply Chain Manager at Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Inc.

chelsea.Rusty (1024x683)

Conservation Alliance Ambassadors are the next generation of 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 Chelsea Pawlek, Supply Chain Manager at Ibex Outdoor Clothing, located in Vermont. She has been an active volunteer for The Conservation Alliance over the past two years, serving on our Advocacy Committee, and participating in our annual trip to Washington, DC.  She will begin serving a three-year term on The Conservation Alliance Board in August. 

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

The Conservation Alliance is a lot like Ibex: an organization that looks for change and can activate it quickly. I wanted to engage the Alliance to push myself to be a better activist and my company to be a more involved member. The Alliance staff is so welcoming, they made it easy to participate and add value.

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

I would love to see The Alliance even more active in conservation lobbying efforts in Washington, DC. The Alliance has made great efforts in the past two years to include Ambassadors in their spring lobbying trip, creating a growing group of better informed activists. I would love to see this continue to develop and create an even more powerful lobbying effort to protect our wild places.

What areas of conservation are you most passionate about? 

Keeping our rivers and waterways free flowing and clean inspires me to work hard for conservation. Our New England landscape is defined by our many streams, rivers, and lakes. As the climate changes, we need to create large shifts in how we treat our water resources to ensure we cannot only paddle in fifty years, but can drink that water as well.

Favorite outdoor activity?

A day without getting outside is a sad day, so I do many outdoor activities. If I have to pick one, it’s getting friends outside on the water. We own a small fleet of water crafts and I love introducing people to kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding. A long day on the water followed by a BBQ at home is my idea of a perfect day. Having my dog join me paddling is an added bonus.

Most eye opening experience for the need of conservation. 

My parents took me canoeing down the CT River when I was growing up. At the time, the local sewage plant emptied a portion of their runoff directly into a brook connected to the river. Dead fish would be floating in a murky sea of chemicals and trash. As a child this shocked me and instilled for life the need for protection. The brook now runs clean and Ibex participates in an annual cleanup of that same river called Source to Sea.

Words of motivation to get others inspired.

The Conservation Alliance will engage you as much as you engage them. Get out there and get involved! If you’re interested in lobbying, go to DC this spring – go! The Conservation Alliance staff is amazing and the more people who help out the more success we will have.

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