A Conservation Alliance grantee, the California Wild Heritage Campaign (, has scored a major conservation victory in California. The Alliance and individual member companies played an active role in the Campaign’s effort to secure Wilderness designation for 273,000 acres of federal land on the state’s North Coast.

Congress passed the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, and President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law any day. Four years in the making, the bill will permanently protect special places including the Lost Coast, the King Range, and additions to existing Wilderness areas in the region. It also designates 21 miles of the Black Butte River as Wild and Scenic.

“We are thrilled that Congress acted to save these very special lands for their habitat and recreational values,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “Our member companies, many of which are based in California, benefit when lands are added to the Wilderness Preservation System.”

Conservation Alliance members played an active role in the effort to protect Wilderness on the North Coast. Several companies – including Mountain Hardwear, Wilderness Press, Patagonia, and Adventure 16 — featured information about the campaign in their catalogs and retail stores.

The Conservation Alliance also organized three trips to Washington DC on which business representatives spoke to Congressional offices about the economic value of Wilderness in California. Companies that participated in DC trips are Patagonia, prAna, Wilderness Press, Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, Atlas Snow-Shoe, and Marmot.

“Conservation Alliance members were among the most effective voices that advocated for new Wilderness on the North Coast,” said Traci Sheehan, Campaign Director for the California Wild Heritage Campaign. “Our elected officials were truly impressed that so many businesses cared so deeply about conserving our wild places.”

“Wilderness is an important part of our business, and of the California landscape,” said Devaki Murch, Marketing Coordinator for prAna, who participated in two trips to Washington in support of the legislation. “It’s encouraging to see that outdoor businesses can have a positive impact on the effort to save Wilderness.”