By a vote of the group's 160 member companies, The Conservation Alliance made donations to 17 grassroots conservation organizations. Click here for a full list of the grants.
"The Conservation Alliance wraps up our largest year of funding by supporting another great collection of conservation projects," said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. "We continue to work collectively to save the wild lands and waterways that are so important to the outdoor industry."
This round of grant recipients reflects the geographic distribution of Conservation Alliance members. Conservation Alliance funds will support efforts to: secure new wilderness designations in Alaska, Oregon, California, Utah, and Montana; protect wild rivers in Washington, Utah, and Canada; protect private wildlands in Tennessee, New York, Maine, Oregon, and California; and preserve quiet winter recreation opportunities in Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming.
Each project was first nominated for funding by a Conservation Alliance member company.
This is the second and final grant disbursement The Conservation Alliance has made in 2008.
"In challenging economic times, we met our goal of contributing $900,000 in 2008," said Sterling. "That's a significant investment in protecting our wild places."
Two weeks ago, we posted information about an historic opportunity to protect three million acres of public land, and 1000 miles of rivers in the US. To recap: the Senate is considering a large package of roughly 150 separate bills that would designate new Wilderness areas in Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, and West Virginia. The package would also protect rivers in Oregon and Wyoming, and prohibit new oil and gas development in the Wyoming Range. Click here for a detailed summary.
The status of that legislation — now called Senate Amendment 5662 — has been hard to pin down. We had hoped the Senate would vote on the bill this week, but the economic crisis pushed it aside. New hope for the legislation emerged last night when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on the Senate floor that the Senate will hold a "lame duck" session after the election, the week of November 17. Said Reid, "One thing we are going to move is a lands package."
Though far from a sure thing, this news keeps the package alive. And it keeps alive hopes that we will celebrate a huge conservation victory before the end of the year.
Consevation Alliance member Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., a global leader in the climbing and freeride ski markets, announced continued support of local non-profit groups that are active in defending the environment. Black Diamond's efforts include manpower and financial support of Save Our Canyons, Friends of Alta, High Uintas Preservation Council, Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Rivers, SUWA, Utah Nature Conservancy and Summit Land Conservancy.
"On a national scale BD has always been active in partnering with groups such as the Access Fund, American Alpine Club and the Conservation Alliance," explains CEO Peter Metcalf. "For the past few years we have deepened our financial backing to diverse local groups with a common mission – that of championing and protecting access and preservation of wild lands. This is key for BD as we want to drive tangible impact on our immediate recreational areas."
It's always great to see our members steppin up on the local level!
Our friends at Ahnu Footwear will donate up to $10,000 to The Conservation Alliance as the charter outdoor industry sponsor of the Plus 3 Network, a free web-based community that challenges Americans to record and earn rewards for their exercise miles. Click here for the full story.
The Conservation Alliance Breakfast at the January 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show will feature guest speaker Steven Kazlowski, renowned wildlife photographer known for his intimate look into the world of the polar bear, and how that world is being impacted by global warming.
During the last eight years, Kazlowski has accumulated a comprehensive and unparalleled portfolio of the polar bear in its wild habitat. During his presentation, he will share his stunning images and observations and talk about the challenges and thrill of photographing in the Arctic. Kazlowski will also discuss what every citizen can do to make a difference in the global warming crisis.
Caving to a veto threat by President Bush, House Democrats will not attempt to extend the 26-year moratorium on offshore oil drilling by attaching such an extension to legislation that will fund the US government into March, 2009.
According to the New York Times:
"Eliminating the drilling restrictions will have no immediate consequences since leasing would take place through a long Interior Department process. But it will leave the future of offshore drilling to the next administration."
Responding to the historic shift, Representative David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee said, "That will mean, very frankly, this next election will decide what our drilling policy is going to be."
Given that the moratorium could easily be reinstated by the next administration, it's difficult to say how this will impact the work or Conservation Alliance grantees fighting offshore oil development. It is significant, though, that for the first time in 26 years, Congress appears likely to lift the moratorium.
Pam Miller from the Northern Alaska Environmental Council sent us a report that the group has succeeded in delaying a proposed land swap that would transfer 110,000 acres, and subsurface drilling rights inside Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to Doyon, Ltd. The lands in question are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves. Doyon had hope that the land swap would be complete in 2008, and under the Bush Administration. The delay postpones the swap for at least one year. Following the release of an environmental impact statement in January, the US Fish and Wildlife Service received 100,000 public comments, 80 percent of which opposed the land swap. NAEC will continue its effort to halt the land swap and subsequent oil development. The Conservation Alliance supported NAEC's efforts with a grant in April.
Our good friends at Timex continue to produce excellent short films as part of their Return to the Outdoors promotion. Each film starts with a nice PSA about The Conservation Alliance. Check out the most recent film featuring climber and occasional Conservation Alliance spokes-comedian, Timmy O'Neill. I also recommend scrolling down to check out the outtakes from the film. Viewer discretion advised.
The official Timmy O'Neill Return to the Outdoors film:
The US Senate is likely to vote on a package of public lands legislation the week of September 22 that would permanently protect 3 million acres of public land and 1000 miles of rivers throughout the US. The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2008 (S.3213) contains more dozens of bipartisan provisions, including Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations for special places in Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado. Wyoming, Virginia, and West Virginia. Before these wildland-protection campaigns took legislative form, The Conservation Alliance supported local, grassroots organizations for their efforts to demonstrate that the places should be protected. Click here to see a complete overview of the special places that would be protected.
If you support this effort, your Congressional representatives need to hear from you! Click here to send a message to your elected officials.