News

America’s Last Great Wilderness Under Threat, Again.

Photo: Dave Shreffler

For decades, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been at the center of a debate over oil drilling. Over the last 30 years, Congress has voted on whether or not to open the Refuge to drilling roughly 50 times. Thanks to diverse support from Americans across the country, efforts to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling have failed, and to this day it remains protected and celebrated as one of America’s most iconic and inspirational areas for recreation and wildlife.

Those tables have shifted, and the Arctic Refuge now faces one of its most serious threats. As part of his “Energy Dominance” goal, President Trump put the idea of drilling in the Arctic’s Refuge back on the table, calling for Arctic drilling as a source of revenue in his draft 2018 budget. Congress has since included provisions that would allow Arctic drilling into its proposed budget.

We believe that the Congressional budgeting process is no place to decide the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Outdoor Business and Recreationists’ support for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not a new idea. Since 1996, The Conservation Alliance has awarded more than $400,000 in grants to organizations working to secure lasting protections for the Arctic Refuge. In addition, last year, in an effort with Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association, more than 100 businesses signed onto a letter urging President Obama to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge as a National Monument.

Photo: Dave Shreffler

What does the budget process have to do with the Arctic Refuge’s protection?

In 1980 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was passed, protecting half of the 20-million-acre landscape, which stretches from the Brooks Range north to the Arctic Ocean, and prohibits any drilling in the Arctic Refuge without further legislative action by Congress. Each year since then bills have been introduced to reverse this act. Because this topic is so controversial, moving legislation through a filibuster-prone Senate is nearly impossible. Pro-drilling Senators are turning their attention to the Budget Reconciliation process as a means to open the Arctic to drilling. Why? Because Budget Reconciliation only requires 50 votes to pass the Senate (technically 51, but we can assume Vice President Pence would break a tie).

By including revenue from Arctic oil drilling in the budget reconciliation bill, Congress can bypass the 60-vote threshold required to break a filibuster, and open our our most iconic wild landscape to oil drilling with only 51 votes.

We have drafted a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, asking them to leave the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge out of the Congressional budgeting process, and to understand that a protected Arctic Refuge is good for business and the environment.

Thank you for considering joining us in this effort. Click here to read the letter and add your name.

 

The Conservation Alliance Responds to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s National Monument Review Summary Report

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today submitted a report to President Trump in which he reportedly recommends that the President alter the boundaries of some National Monuments designated since January 1996. The Interior Department did not release the full report, and provided no specifics about which monuments would be impacted, but Secretary Zinke told the Associated Press that the recommended changes would reduce the size of a “handful” of the protected areas. Zinke also told the AP that the report does not recommend rescinding any National Monument designations entirely.

“Secretary Zinke has been telegraphing for months that he would recommend shrinking some National Monuments,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. “If President Trump acts on those recommendations, it would be an unprecedented assault on the crown jewels of our public lands system. We stand ready to defend our National Monuments.”

“The Conservation Alliance opposes any effort to change the boundaries of existing National Monuments through executive action,” said Sterling. “The monuments under review are icons of our American landscape. They provide unique opportunities for adventure and solitude, and many have traditional value to Native American communities. National Monuments also drive local economies that benefit from related tourism and outdoor recreation.”

The White House confirmed that they received Zinke’s report, and are reviewing it. It is not clear when the White House or Interior will release the full report to the public. Secretary Zinke did release a short summary of the report that included few details, but acknowledged that public comments during the National Monument review “were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments.”

President Trump is likely to pursue two options for acting on the recommendations. First, he could issue an executive order changing the boundaries of one or more of the monuments under review. It is unclear whether such changes are legal, and any attempt to reduce National Monument boundaries by executive action will immediately be challenged in court.

Second, the President could issue a formal recommendation to Congress that they pass legislation to change certain National Monument boundaries. Legislation undermining existing National Monument protections would trigger a fierce battle in Congress. Nearly three million Americans submitted comments opposing any changes to the National Monuments under review, and it is certain those people will pressure their members of Congress to oppose any such legislation.

The Conservation Alliance will work closely with our member companies and our partners in the conservation community to respond to any attempt to diminish our National Monuments.

“We are prepared to use our grant program to fund litigation challenging boundary changes made by executive action,” said Sterling. “We will support grassroots conservation groups that work to organize opposition to legislative efforts to shrink monuments. And we will continue to organize our member companies and their employees and customers to speak out forcefully in support of our public lands.”

Grantee Update: The Missouri River Breaks, Intact and Wholly Unbroken

Photo Credit:  Charlie Bulla

The Conservation Alliance awarded Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership a $35,000 grant in April 2017 to support their “Safeguarding the Wild Backcountry of the Missouri River Breaks Campaign” to protect at least 100,000 acres of wild, publically-owned lands in Montana by June, 2018 as Backcountry Conservation Areas through the BLM Lewistown Resource Management Plan. Scott Laird, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Montana field rep, explains why conservation is our best bet at keeping central Montana unspoiled. 

The Missouri Breaks region of central Montana is one of the most unique landscapes in the West. The unusual topography and eroded soils—shaped by the river below and centuries of severe weather—make it a land of extremes. Yet it provides some of the best views, most outstanding recreation, and most abundant wildlife habitat in the country. Rough and rugged coulees descend into dense pockets of ponderosa pine and juniper stands before gradually reaching the cottonwood galleries that line the Missouri River.

These undeveloped backcountry lands still mirror what Lewis and Clark saw as they pushed their way upriver in 1805. We have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to ensure that they remain that way.

A Critical Time to Speak Up

Wildlife and wild places are being increasingly pressured through the loss and fragmentation of quality habitat from energy extraction and residential development. This trend needs to be halted to protect our highly valued undeveloped landscapes. Already, much of the western and eastern stretches of the Missouri have been industrialized, dammed, or otherwise developed. But the central portion of the river—roughly from Fort Benton to Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana—remains largely untouched.

The region supports world-class habitat for elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep, and the Missouri provides scenic multi-day fishing trips for anglers. Camping, hunting, hiking, and biking in the Breaks region are hard to beat, and stargazers will tell you that it’s difficult to find a place with less light pollution.

Most of this landscape is made up of public land that belongs to all of us and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On the south side of the Missouri, where the breaks climb and meet the rugged grasslands, the BLM is in the process of updating its resource management plan.

This is a planning document that outlines the management of several hundred thousand acres of BLM lands for the next 20 years or more. This is also a public planning process that provides a unique and critical opportunity to protect some of the best wildlife habitat and most remote public lands in the country from further fragmentation and development.

Momentum Grows

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership recognizes the importance of these lands to wildlife, outdoor recreationists, and sportsmen. The political landscape and threats to the region have changed since the last resource management plan was written some 30 years ago, and sportsmen and women are ready to act.

Nearly 1,000 individuals and local stakeholders have delivered collaborative support for the adoption of a common-sense approach for conserving high-value public lands through backcountry conservation management. By utilizing this tool, the BLM would safeguard large intact habitats from development, maintain and improve important dispersed recreation opportunities, and focusing management on the conservation, restoration, and enhancement of key habitats, all while sustaining traditional uses of the land that help support local economies.

 What’s Next?

The draft of the resource management plan is expected to be released for public comment in late 2017. Visit TRCP.org/join to be the first to know about your opportunity to get involved.

Conservation of this unique landscape won’t happen on its own. It takes strong voices to protect these areas from future fragmentation and development. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “a nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.” Here’s a great chance for us to do just that.

Photo Credit: Charlie Bulla

Secretary Zinke’s National Monument Review: What to Expect Next

Baldy Peak and La Cueva seen from Baylor Canyon Road, west side of the Organ Mountains, 32.344 -106.614, Doña Ana County, New Mexico, 23 May 2005.

It has been a whirlwind of a summer. On April 26th 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order requiring Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to critically review 27 national monuments over 300,000 acres in size and designated after January 1996, to determine if their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. Secretary Zinke was ordered to deliver a final report by August 24th, recommending which monuments should be altered and which should remain unchanged. For nearly ten weeks, Zinke and the Department of Interior hosted an open comment period soliciting feedback from the American public. To say our community engaged in this process would be an understatement. We stood up for the foundation of our businesses, the backbone of our industry, the fuel to our adventures and the wildness in our collective DNA. We proudly stood up for the integrity of our country’s best idea: Our Public Lands.

In a time of political uncertainty, our ability to come together to advocate for something we all believe in is inspiring. Trump’s Executive Order and Zinke’s response to it catalyzed our community into action and unleashed a level of support for our public lands that America has never seen before.

In three short months, Conservation Alliance members, partners, friends and fellow American’s put forth an incredible effort to voice their support for public lands loudly and clearly. Since May 12th: :

Conservation Alliance members, in particular, rose to the challenge and put forth an unprecedented public display of support for our wild places. These are just some examples of the many actions taken:

SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

We are on the eve Secretary Zinke’s final national monument report. Will our voices have been heard? Will our national monuments remain intact? We won’t have a clear indication until the report has been released, but there are some consistent hypotheses. There is general consensus that at least eight monuments are at risk for recommended changes, these include:  Cascade-Siskiyou; Gold Butte; Basin and Range; Organ Mountains Desert Peaks; Grand Staircase Escalante; Bears Ears; Katahdin Woods and Waters; and Papahanaumokuakea, a marine national monument. Please note this list has not been confirmed by the Department of Interior. How these monuments are changed is still up for debate, but three methods seem likely:

  1. Zinke recommends that Trump use executive action to change national monument boundaries, or rescind them entirely.

Some even believe Trump will immediately exercise executive action to rescind or alter certain monuments. Legal experts believe that executive action to alter an existing national monument is illegal and would be followed by years of litigation.

  1. Zinke recommends a mixture of executive and congressional actions.

Under this scenario, Zinke would recommend that Trump take executive action on certain monuments, and recommend that Congress reshape others. Congressional actions could include things like redefining a monument’s boundary or changing its designation from National Monument to something like a National Conservation Area, which would decrease the level of protection for the landscape.

  1. Zinke puts the ball entirely in Congress’ court, and leaves it to our Senators and Congressional Representatives to redraw or un-do our National Monuments.

Unfortunately we have yet to find an expert who thinks all of the monuments under review will escape the process without a recommended alteration. To date, Zinke has indicated six national monuments have been spared, including: Grand Canyon-Parashant; Canyons of the Ancients; Craters of the Moon; Upper Missouri River Breaks; and Hanford Reach.

WHAT THE CONSERVATION ALLIANCE WILL DO.

The short answer is: Not back down. The Conservation Alliance has, and always will, oppose any effort to change the boundaries of existing national monuments through executive action.

We have a 28-year history of supporting grassroots groups working to secure permanent protections for wild places. Since 1999 we’ve made 25 grants totaling $765,000 to 13 different groups whose work was instrumental in protecting ten of the monuments under review. It is in our interest, and the interest of our members, to defend them.

In January of this year we launched our Public Lands Defense Fund. A new, fluid and board administered fund that exists to defend previous Presidents’ National Monument designations, defend our bedrock conservation laws, and oppose the proposed transfer of federal lands to the states or to private hands. We have $120k remaining in this fund for 2017 and anticipate it will be spent on preserving existing national monuments.

We stand ready to formally engage in the defense of our national monuments in the form of public statements, organizing, and grantmaking to grassroots groups working to uphold these places. We look forward to offering many opportunities to join us in these efforts through letters, social media campaigns, lobby visits, and more.

Thanks for joining us and standing up for our Public Lands! We are all in this together.

Promoboxx Supports The Conservation Alliance Mission Through Partnership

logo-promoboxx

We’re excited to announce a new partnership with Promoboxx, the only brand-to-retailer commerce platform that connects and aligns national brands with independent, specialty retailers to drive local awareness and sales. Through this partnership, The Conservation Alliance will utilize Promoboxx to provide more than 200 member companies with stories about land and water conservation opportunities across North America. Collectively, these companies will raise awareness about the importance of protecting wild places for future generations by sharing these stories with millions of social media followers.

Promoboxx currently works with a variety of outdoor brands who are current members of The Conservation Alliance, including Arc’teryx, KEEN, Salomon, and Superfeet. These national manufacturing brands partner with Promoboxx to connect and align with independent, specialty retailers to increase their local awareness and sales. The platform enables national brands to easily and effectively provide brand-approved content and campaigns to their specialty retailers. Retailers, in turn, promote the brand content across their digital and social channels to drive local awareness and sales. The Conservation Alliance is extending Promoboxx in a brand new model that provides content that their outdoor brand members can then share across their own digital and social channels.

The Conservation Alliance will leverage the Promoboxx platform to connect, align, and distribute their digital content and campaigns to more than 200 member organizations. This partnership will help The Conservation Alliance grow the visibility of their content and mission and strengthen their member community. Through Promoboxx, members can share and promote grant announcements, actionable campaigns, and celebrate conservation victories across their digital networks. By using Promoboxx, the member outreach process is streamlined and brands can publish content from The Conservation Alliance easily through a single platform.

All Conservation Alliance members are invited to access and share Conservation Alliance content using Promoboxx.  Click here to sign up.

“We were looking for an easy way to provide social media content to our member companies,” said Josie Norris, Program Manager at The Conservation Alliance. “Two Conservation Alliance board members introduced me to Promoboxx after having great success with the platform. Sharing conservation stories and actionable campaigns using Promoboxx will undoubtedly support our advocacy efforts and help us recruit new companies to join The Conservation Alliance, both of which will help add new protected areas to the map in the coming years.”

“Promoboxx is thrilled to partner with The Conservation Alliance,” said Ben Carcio, CEO and Co-Founder at Promoboxx. “The outdoor industry is one that Promoboxx works closely with, and we are so impressed by the work that The Conservation Alliance has done to defend and protect lands and wildlife across America. The Conservation Alliance’s mission of protecting and restoring America’s wild places is one that we appreciate, and we look forward to supporting The Conservation Alliance as they continue to do great work that matters.”

To view how Promoboxx connects and aligns brands with their local retailers to increase local awareness and sales, check out the lookbook recognizing the top digital campaigns of the year or visit www.promoboxx.com.

About Promoboxx

Promoboxx is the only brand-to-retailer commerce platform that connects and aligns national brands with independent, speciality retailers to drive local awareness and sales. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Promoboxx partners with leading brands in the outdoor, footwear, auto, appliance, flooring, animal nutrition, and hearing aid industries. Within the outdoor industry, Promoboxx works with Smartwool, Arc’teryx, Patagonia, Keen, Salomon, Wigwam, Osprey Packs, and more. Additional information is available at www.promoboxx.com.

2017 Outstanding Partnership Awards

The Conservation Alliance 2017 Outstanding Partnership Awards recognize three member companies who go above and beyond in their support of and relationship building with Conservation Alliance grantees. Each year, awards are granted to member companies with the purpose of rewarding and encouraging direct engagement between member companies and grantees in efforts to move forward Conservation Alliance funded projects. The 2017 awards were given to Kahtoola, Kelty, and Zappos.

Kahtoola played a huge role in helping Grand Canyon Wildlands Council with their Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Campaign. Founder and owner Danny Giovale stepped up in every imaginable form, from op-eds, DC calls and fly-ins, presenting the proposal to local business leaders, and exploring and filming, to being title sponsor of the inaugural RumbleX event. Kahtoola is a powerhouse of support.

Kelty has helped amplify the Conservation Colorado message by hosting lunch-and-learn events with their staff, helping recruit volunteers, and signing a letter of support for the Continental Divide Campaign. Kelty helped Conservation Colorado reach their goals of outreach and engagement by sharing content on social media and recruiting supporters.

Zappos helped Friends of Nevada Wilderness and Friends of Gold Butte move the Gold Butte National Monument Campaign forward. Zappos is a large employer in Las Vega and worked in collaboration with KEEN to make the Gold Butte campaign more welcoming to other Nevada based businesses – showcasing the economic benefit of protected public land on local economies.

A special thanks to Conservation Alliance member Kiitella for donating the awards.

Six New Members Join the Leading Edge Program

Nasisse_Conservstion Alliance (8 of 19)

We’re pleased to welcome six new members to our Leading Edge program.  This program provides individuals with an opportunity to make a significant contribution to support The Conservation Alliance’s efforts to protect wild places throughout North America for their recreation and habitat values.  Members of The Leading Edge have committed to contributing $5,000 to The Conservation Alliance annually for a minimum of three years. Most are either founders of The Conservation Alliance, or have served on the organization’s board of directors. The initial Leading Edgers are: Yvon Chouinard; Steve and Nona Barker; Sally McCoy; Peter Metcalf; Adam Forest; Rory Fuerst; Matt Hyde; Steve Meineke; Steve Rendle; Kirk Richardson; and Casey Sheahan.

Our new 2017 Leading Edge members include:

  • Bill Kulczycki
  • Rose Marcario
  • Michael Pfotenhauer and Diane Wren
  • Todd Spaletto
  • Jerry Stritzke
  • Beaver and Pam Theodosakis

The Leading Edge is now open to anyone who is interested in supporting The Conservation Alliance. Donors may direct their contributions to either the organization’s grant fund (to directly support conservation projects), or to the discretionary fund (to help cover The Conservation Alliance’s lean operating expenses).  Please contact John Sterling (john at conservationalliance.com) to learn more.

Ruffwear Contributes $50,000 to Public Lands Defense Fund

IMG_7402

Ruffwear has contributed $50,000 to The Conservation Alliance to support the organization’s efforts to protect and defend public lands in the United States. The Conservation Alliance will direct the funds into its new Public Lands Defense Fund, created by the organization to preserve and defend the integrity of our public lands system.

The Bend, Oregon-based manufacturer of performance dog gear is a long-time member of The Conservation Alliance, and is committed to preserving open lands and waterways, providing important habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities for humans and canines.

The Conservation Alliance established the Public Lands Defense Fund (PLDF) in January 2017 to safeguard the integrity of our public lands in the face of dramatic proposals at the federal and state levels that would undermine those lands.

“We are grateful to Ruffwear for demonstrating such leadership in our shared effort to protect and defend public lands,” said John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance. “These lands are the backbone of outdoor recreation in America.”

The Conservation Alliance makes grants from the PLDF to support conservation organizations working to defend public lands. President Trump recently ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review 26 national monuments designated since 1996 to determine whether they should be reduced in size, or rescinded entirely. The PLDF has already funded nine organizations to defend national monuments in Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. The fund has also supported efforts to prevent the transfer of public lands to private ownership in Oregon, and to oppose legislation that would undermine bedrock environmental laws.

“We believe in serving our community and protecting wild places,” said Ruffwear President Will Blount. “Many of the moments we cherish most with our dogs take place on our public lands. The Conservation Alliance is doing critical work to safeguard public lands and waterways, and this donation is our contribution to that effort to ensure that future generations of pups and people will be able to experience America’s natural treasures.”

The Conservation Alliance will contribute at least $255,000 from the PLDF in 2017. All companies and individuals are welcome to contribute to the fund. The PLDF supplements the organization’s regular funding program, which, since 1989, has supported efforts to secure new protections for wild places throughout North America. In 2017, The Conservation Alliance will make grants totaling $1.6 million from that regular grant program.

 

3,000 Outdoor Industry Folks March to UT’s Capitol

On July 27th, 2017, during the final Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, 3,000 outdoor industry business owners, outdoor enthusiasts, friends and colleagues marched to the Utah state capitol to show their support for our shared public lands.

Ten inspiring speakers greeted marches at the steps of the capitol with a rally, encouraging our community to keep celebrating and keep fighting for our country’s most precious resource: our shared public lands.

Speakers included:

  • Amy Roberts, Executive Director, OIA
  • Shaun Chapoose, Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee member and founding member of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
  • Adam Cramer, Executive Director, Outdoor Alliance
  • Conrad Anker, Captain of The North Face Global Athlete Team
  • Jerry Stritzke. CEO of REI
  • Blake Spalding, Owner, Hells Backbone Grill
  • Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City Mayor
  • Amy Roberts with Mayor Biskupski and Tom Adams, Utah Director of Outdoor Recreation
  • John Sterling, Executive Director, The Conservation Alliance

The same day, The Conservation Alliance supported five grantees to lead concurrent public lands marches and rallies in five other locations across the West. Those included:

  • Oregon Natural Desert Association: Bend, OR
  • Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center: Medford, OR
  • New Mexico Wilderness Alliance: Las Cruces, NM
  • Winter Wildlands Alliance: Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness: Ely, MN

Thanks to everyone who participated – both in spirit and in person!

Cheers to WZRD Media for capturing the march.

Visit our facebook page for more march photos!

 

Grantees Deliver Nine Conservation Victories

TCA_GrantReport_April_2017_Page_1

In April 2016, The Conservation Alliance invested $820,000 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 nine conservation victories, permanently protecting 3,700,615 acres, 107 river miles and one climbing area.

On April 1, we received 24 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 October 2016. We will share final reports on all of our October 2016 grants in October 2017.

Download the complete report summary here.

  • Archives
    • 2017
    • 2016
    • 2015
    • 2014
    • 2013
    • 2012
    • 2011
    • 2010
    • 2009
    • 2008
    • 2007
    • 2006