News

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 http://www.protectourpublicland.org/.

SIGN THIS PETITION TODAY TO PROTECT OUR PUBLIC LANDS

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

 

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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

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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

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Live Monumental Party

Celebrate projects funded by The Conservation Alliance
KEENfest, W Temple St.
August 6, 5:30-9 PM

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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 serena@conservationalliance.com 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.

America’s Most Important Conservation Program Expires in Fewer than 100 Days

In 2012, Western Rivers Conservancy secured LWCF funding to acquire 16,114 acres along the John Day River in Eastern Oregon. Photo: Gary Braasch

 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, signed into law 50 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson, will expire in fewer than 100 days unless Congress reauthorizes the landmark legislation. Congress created the LWCF to provide funding to acquire special wild lands and waters, and cultural resources, and to support recreation infrastructure nationwide. It is the federal government’s most tangible commitment to supporting outdoor recreation, and it does not depend on tax dollars.

The LWCF is funded using a small portion – up to $900 million annually – of the royalty payments energy companies pay to drill for offshore oil and gas. In what now seems a prescient move, the authors of the legislation set up a creative system whereby the depletion of one resource pays for the protection of another. That creative solution is now at risk.

Congress originally authorized the LWCF for 50 years, and that initial period is coming to an end. Since 1965, Congress has appropriated $16.8 billion for the LWCF. Those dollars have permanently protected nearly five million acres of public lands including some of America’s most treasured assets such as Grand Canyon National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the White Mountain National Forest, and Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first federal refuge.

The Conservation Alliance regularly funds organizations that tap into the LWCF to acquire special wildlands. Between 2007-2013, we made 13 grants totaling $400,000 to organizations that used our support to secure more than $99 million in LWCF funds. Because of the LWCF, our grants were multiplied 247 times!

If we value this kind of federal support for outdoor recreation and the lands on which it depends, our members of Congress must act soon to reauthorize the LWCF. Fortunately there are two bills in the Senate and one in the House that would do just that:

  • 338: Introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), this bill would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
  • 890: Introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), this bill not only would permanently reauthorize LWCF, but provide for full, dedicated and permanent funding of the program as well.  This would stop LWCF’s funding from being siphoned off each year in the appropriations process for other, unknown and unaccountable purposes.  In the 50-year history of LWCF, over $18 billion intended for LWCF has been lost to the General Treasury this way.
  • R. 1814: Introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), this bill is a companion to S. 338 on the Senate side and would likewise permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The LWCF is a rare program with strong bipartisan support. We encourage you to join the nationwide effort to urge Congress to permanently reauthorize the LWCF. (http://lwcfcoalition.org/take-action.html) Please take action now. There’s not much time left!

Scott Whipps, Peter Metcalf, and Chelsea Pawlek Elected to The Conservation Alliance Board

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We are pleased to announce the results of The Conservation Alliance Board Elections. We had three positions up for election (or re-election), and five outstanding candidates running to fill these seats. By a vote of our membership, Scott Whipps was elected to a second term, and Chelsea Pawlek and Peter Metcalf were chosen as new directors.

Scott Whipps is Clif Bar and Company’s Director of Sports Retail for North America. He has served on The Conservation Alliance board for the past three years and is our current board chair.

Peter Metcalf is Founder and CEO of Black Diamond Equipment. He is a long-time participant in Conservation Alliance activities and a leading voice for conservation in the outdoor industry.

Chelsea Pawlek is Supply Chain Manager at Ibex Outdoor Clothing. 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.

We are honored to add Chelsea and Peter to our board, and to retain Scott as our board chair. In other board news, we reported last month that we also have new board representatives from founding members The North Face and Kelty. Ann Krcik succeeds Aaron Carpenter in filling The North Face’s permanent board seat, and Eric Greene takes over for Geoff O’Keeffe in the Kelty seat. We look forward to integrating four new board members into our organization!

Filson and American Rivers Work Together to Protect Wild Rivers

Nooksack RIver, WA Photo: Bonnie Rice

 

The Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Awards are given to members who provide outstanding support to Conservation Alliance grantees. Our third award will be presented to Filson at The Conservation Alliance Breakfast event on August 6, 2015. Filson and American Rivers are providing opportunities for river enthusiasts to come together around a shared passion for protecting wild rivers.  Filson was nominated for this award by Wendy McDermot, Associate Director of the Washington Conservation Programs at American Rivers. Below is an excerpt from Wendy’s nomination:  

On October 1, 2014, Filson hosted the first annual Seattle Wild Rivers Night, an evening of inspirational films and presentations about the rivers of Washington state and the environmental issues they face. Filson donated use of their event space at their new corporate headquarters in downtown Seattle. Nearly 200 river enthusiasts attended the event providing exposure not only to American Rivers, but also to seven other conservation and recreation organizations and businesses. Additionally, Filson donated items valued at nearly $1000 to the event’s silent auction. Seattle Wild Rivers Night was wildly successful thanks to the kindness and support of Filson.

On February 18, 2015, Filson hosted a celebration of the passage of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act which permanently protected almost 40 river miles as Wild and Scenic and just over 22,000 acres as Wilderness. The celebration was coordinated by members of the Alpine Lakes Working Group, which includes American Rivers. Special guests included congressional sponsors of the Act: Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene. Gray Madden, Filson’s President, provided the evening’s welcome and opening remarks. Gray spoke about the importance of protected places and the recreation economy to his company and beyond. Once again, Filson generously donated their event space and made us feel very welcomed.

Filson has nominated American Rivers for funding from The Conservation Alliance for many years. They also donate 1% of their fishing wader sales to American Rivers. Filson has been a wonderful partner to American Rivers, and Amy Terai, Filson’s Marketing Manager, is tremendous to work with. Filson truly deserves to receive an Outstanding Partnership Award from The Conservation Alliance.

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