Adding to a string of conservation success stories this year, Conservation Alliance grantees secured permanent protection for 76,000 acres of federal land in New Hampshire and Vermont. This victory is the fifth significant accomplishment for Alliance grantees in 2006.

President Bush signed today the New England Wilderness Act. The bill protects 42,000 acres in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest, and 34,000 acres in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest.

“We are honored to have played a role in protecting these special lands in the Northeastern US,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “We have many member companies based in New England who will benefit from these designations. Outdoor customers in the region now have more Wilderness to enjoy.”

In 2003, The Conservation Alliance contributed $28,000 to the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) for the group’s work to identify lands in New Hampshire worthy of Wilderness designation, and secure recommendations from the Forest Service that those lands be protected.

“Thanks to support from The Conservation Alliance, AMC was able to involve thousands of concerned citizens in 2004 to advocate for wilderness protection,” said AMC Executive Director Andrew Falender. The 2004 public comment period determined which lands in New Hampshire would be included for protection in the 2006 legislation.

Our $20,000 grant to Forest Watch in March 2006 helped build support for the Green Mountain National Forest protections.

“The Conservation Alliance’s investment in and support of Forest Watch’s work enabled this to happen,” said Jim Northup, Forest Watch’s Executive Director. “Raise a toast for wild Nature today, and give thanks.”

The New England success is the latest in a flurry of victories supported by Conservation Alliance funding, summarized below:

  • Cedar Mountains Wilderness: 100,000 acres protected in Utah’s West Desert (January 2006)
  • Great Bear Rainforest: 4.4-million-acre Provincial Park established in British Columbia (January 2006)
  • Chipeta Dam Removal: Obsolete dam removed on Colorado’s North Fork Gunnison River (February 2006)
  • California North Coast Wilderness: 275,000 acres protected on California’s North Coast (October 2006)
  • New England Wilderness: 76,000 acres protected in Vermont and New Hampshire (December 2006)

“As indicated by these successes, The Conservation Alliance is good at identifying projects that can succeed given the necessary financial support,” said Sterling. “It is important that we show our member companies a solid return on their investment. This has been a banner year.”

As the year winds down, The Conservation Alliance could yet celebrate conservation victories on Oregon’s Mount Hood, Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds Mountains, and wildlands in Nevada’s White Pine County.