Wrapping up a spectacular year, Conservation Alliance grantees scored two major victories in December, protecting 558,000 acres of federal land in Eastern Nevada and closing Montana’s spectacular Rocky Mountain Front to new oil and gas leasing.

Grantee Nevada Wilderness Project ( led the effort to secure Wilderness designation for lands in Nevada’s White Pine County, including areas adjacent to Great Basin National Park. The Conservation Alliance supported the Nevada effort with a $30,000 grant in 2005, which helped NWP build local support for the Wilderness designations. Congress passed the White Pine County Public Conservation, Recreation, and Economic Development Act in the final hours of the session on December 8.

Also in the waning hours of the session, Congress passed legislation that permanently closes at least 350,000 acres of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front to new oil and gas leases. The Montana Wilderness Association ( played a key role in moving the legislation. The Conservation Alliance supported MWA with a $60,000 grant in March, 2006.

The Nevada and Montana conclude a year in which Conservation Alliance funding helped seven organizations win significant and permanent victories that: protected more than 1 million acres of land in the US; established a 4.4-million-acre Provincial Park in British Columbia; removed one dam in Colorado; and permanently prohibited oil and gas drilling on at least 350,000 acres in Montana.

“These two wins close out a year of unprecedented success for The Conservation Alliance,” said Executive Director John Sterling. “Our members have done a terrific job placing our funding into the hands of organizations that get the job done.”

Following is a summary of the good news The Conservation Alliance has reported in 2006:

  • Cedar Mountains Wilderness (January 2006): 100,000 acres protected in Utah’s West Desert (Grantee: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance)
  • Great Bear Rainforest (January 2006): 4.4-million-acre Provincial Park established in British Columbia (Grantee: Raincoast Conservation Society)
  • Chipeta Dam Removal (February 2006): Obsolete dam removed on Colorado’s North Fork Gunnison River (Grantee: North Fork River Improvement Assn.)
  • California North Coast Wilderness (October 2006): 275,000 acres protected on California’s North Coast  (Grantee: Calif. Wild Heritage Campaign)
  • New England Wilderness (December 2006): 76,000 acres protected in Vermont and New Hampshire (Grantees: Appalachian Mtn. Club, ForestWatch)
  • Nevada Wilderness (December 2006): 558,000 acres protected in White Pine County Nevada (Grantee: Nevada Wilderness Project)
  • Rocky Mountain Front (December 2006): 350,000 acres in Montana permanently closed to oil and gas drilling (Grantee: Montana Wilderness Assn.)