In Their Own Words: Quotes from Conservation Alliance Grantees 

Photo: Sam Roberts

We fund groups working to secure permanent, or lasting, protection for a specific wild place. When a project crosses the finish line, we quantify the impact in terms of the number of acres protected, river miles protected, climbing areas acquired etc.  Projects may take a year to complete, and sometime the unforgiving political landscape makes a campaign feel more like a never-ending marathon.  Regardless of how many years it takes for a project to reach final success, Conservation Alliance grants move each project closer to the finish line.
We’ve spent a lot of time in recent months reading grant proposals and getting to know our Winter 2018 grantees.  For the benefit of our members and our broader community, we asked our grantees to summarize how their recent Conservation Alliance grant will move their project forward in the coming year. Here’s what they had to say:

“Eagle Mountain, like many places in the Adirondacks, has seen considerable logging throughout its history.  However, also like the Adirondacks, the property has shown incredible resilience and the wild is creeping back in.  Conservation Alliance funds will help Northeast Wilderness Trust purchase this property and protect it as forever-wild for wildlife and people.”

Cathleen Maine,  Northeast Wilderness Trust

“This grant gives us the needed capacity to mobilize skiers, riders, winter mountaineers, snowshoers and all of us who love our public lands in winter to speak up for the protection of 4.7 million acres of at-risk winter landscapes on the five Sierra Nevada forests currently embarking on winter management plans. Furthermore, as these are the first forests in the country to undergo this kind of planning, our successes here will have significant impact on forests across the country.”

David Page, Winter Wildlands Alliance

“The support from Conservation Alliance will help us to permanently protect the magnificent Magpie River in Quebec, Canada – a river ranked among the best in the world for whitewater expeditions. This year we will organize a North American Forum on Rivers Conservation near the Magpie River to demonstrate the widespread benefits of river conservation for communities and society.“

Pier-Olivier Boudreault, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Quebec

“Funding will provide Alaska Wilderness League with the resources to engage diverse stakeholders in efforts to protect and defend the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including the Refuge’s 1.5 million acre Coastal Plain. The League will mobilize key constituencies in targeted legislative districts around the country and elevate the voices of the Gwich’in people who reside in Alaska’s Arctic.”

Adam Kolton, Executive Director, Alaska Wilderness League

“The Conservation Alliance Grant to Montana Trout Unlimited will be used in part in the demolition of the Rattlesnake Creek dam outside Missoula, Montana.  This dam removal will allow for the reconnection of 35 river miles for wild, native, and federally endangered trout, 10 acres of wetland and floodplain restoration, .5 miles of stream reconstruction, 45 acres of new open space (38% acreage increase) in the Rattlesnake Greenbelt recreation corridor, 2 miles of new biking/hiking/skiing trails, a new 5 mile–long Class II/III boating opportunity, 21 cfs of water rights protected as instream flow and a functional river connection between the Rattlesnake Wilderness in the headwaters and the Clark Fork River flowing through the urban center of Missoula for the first time in 115 years. “

Kelley Willett, Montana Trout Unlimited

“We are making the dsignation of the Scotchman Peaks as Wilderness politically inevitable by engaging and empowering diverse voices and building community consensus. Conservation Alliance funding helps to support our trail maintenance, Whitebark Pine habitat restoration, “Winter Tracks” youth outreach and “Trail Ambassador” (mountain goat education) programs. These programs engage over 150 volunteers per year from all walks of life including retired and active resource specialists from the Forest Service, Idaho Department of Lands, Idaho Dept of Fish and Game and Montana Dept of Fish Wildlife and Parks.”

Philip Hough, Executive Director, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness

“The grant we received from The Conservation Alliance will allow us to employ a campaign organizer who will strategically focus on community outreach and stakeholder engagement at the local, regional and national level.  Building diverse local support has been key to the campaign’s success and continues to be extremely important, especially as we find ourselves at a critical point in the administrative process with our request for withdrawal and protection of 340,079 acres of U.S. Forest Service public land from industrial-scale mining.  Thank you for funding our efforts while we work to protect the lands, waters, and recreational opportunities that support our communities and drive our local economy!”

Methow Valley Citizens Council for Methow Headwaters Campaign

“Chaco Canyon is a sacred and beautiful place of mystery, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is part of our National Park system—but it is at risk from the many negative impacts caused by rampant oil and gas development. Funding from The Conservation Alliance will enable New Mexico Wild to forge partnerships with Native voices and other stakeholders, and together we will fight for permanent protection of this unique cultural landscape. These funds will be used to support our field and legal staff, to ensure that we have the necessary capacity and resources to be fully effective.”

Mark Allison, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

“We are thrilled to have the generous support of the Conservation Alliance to help us safeguard backcountry public lands in Montana so that fish and wildlife habitat will remain intact and local outdoor recreation businesses can continue to thrive. The BLM’s Lewistown and Missoula field offices oversee some of the best public lands that the country has to offer—with rugged landscapes that define us as Montanans and fill the imaginations of public land users across the U.S. This funding will allow us to see that they stay that way.”

Joel Webster, Director of Western Lands, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

“This award will enable our ReCreation For All Campaign to build a groundswell of grassroots support for public acquisition of the 60,000-acre American Electric Power “ReCreation Land,” in eastern Ohio. This corporate-owned recreation land boasts hundreds of lakes, multiple trail systems, and dozens of campsites. Your support means we can now do the robust digital and face-to-face outreach needed to secure public acquisition of this special place before it’s sold at auction and closed to public access.”

Kristi Boger, Grants Director, Ohio Environmental Council & Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund

“With the support of the Conservation Alliance, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness leads the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, a national coalition working to gain permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Wilderness, America’s most visited Wilderness and Minnesota’s crown jewel, from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining. Thank you for speaking loudly for this quiet place.”

Doug Niemela, National Campaign Manager, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness

“This generous grant from the Conservation Alliance is a key puzzle piece in our work to permanently protect a well-loved trail network just outside of Burlington, Vermont. As a new Community Forest, permanent public access will forever be secured for the more than 20,000 people who bike, ski and race here, as well as providing fully accessible trails for sit-skiing and wheelchairs.”

Kate Wanner, Project Manager, Trust for Public Land

“The 2018 grant from The Conservation Alliance provides critical support for Outdoor Alliance to be involved in Forest Planning and lay the groundwork for the next 10-15 years of protections for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina. Thanks to your generous funding, we will be able to protect these resources now and tee up support for future Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations for this incredible southeastern landscape and its stellar outdoor recreation.”

Adam Cramer, Executive Director, Outdoor Alliance

“With this generous grant from Conservation Alliance, The Wilderness Society will be able to continue collaborating with Colorado’s Gunnison Public Lands Initiative, a coalition of ten diverse groups working to protect the wilderness, recreational, wildlife, ecological, economic, cultural, scientific, and scenic values of the spectacular public lands in Gunnison County. With this support, the GPLI will be refining its proposal and developing legislation to be introduced in Congress. We are very pleased and appreciative that the Conservation Alliance is helping us and our partners with this important initiative.  “

Jennifer Drenning, The Wilderness Society

“The conservation movement is in a deeply transformative moment in its lifespan.  The collective voice of the Conservation Alliance stands above the choir as an innovative approach in changing times.  Smart funding initiatives like this feel like wind behind my sails and it is heartening to see the recreation community stepping into a central role to protect wild places.”

Mark Worthing, Sierra Club BC

“Funding from the Conservation Alliance has allowed CalWild to build a bottom-up wilderness campaign in northwestern California for 4 years running. These additional resources made it possible to hire knowledgeable, local staff to help unite historically antagonistic stakeholders seeking better management of their public lands.We’re thrilled that this work has paid off with Rep. Huffman drafting legislation in 2017, and we should see an introduction soon. “

Dup Crosson, California Wilderness Coalition