$85,000 to Defend Public Lands

Bears Ears, UT Photo: Mason Cummings

The Conservation Alliance awarded three emergency grants to Earthjustice, Outdoor Alliance, and Trout Unlimited to support their efforts to defend public lands. The grants, totaling $85,000, come from the Public Lands Defense Fund (PLDF), created to preserve and defend the integrity of America’s public lands system. This grant fund is separate from The Conservation Alliance’s regular grant fund, which contributed $1.7 million in 2018 to efforts to secure new protections for wild places throughout North America.
Earthjustice will use a $55,000 grant to challenge in court President Trump’s attempt to reduce the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The group filed suit against the Trump Administration last December, and their litigation will continue until the National Monument case is decided.
Both Outdoor Alliance and Trout Unlimited received grants to engage outdoor users to ensure that Forest Service roadless area protections remain in effect in Utah. The state has petitioned the Forest Service, requesting an exemption from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, and permission to develop its own plan to manage roadless areas in Utah, which would likely undermine the current protections for these lands. The Conservation Alliance contributed $10,000 to Outdoor Alliance, and $20,000 to Trout Unlimited for this work.
The Conservation Alliance established the PLDF in January 2017 with multi-year commitments from Patagonia, The North Face, and Arc’teryx. Throughout 2018, the organization added contributions from Farm to Feet, GRAYL, and BoCo Gear, raising $163,710 for the PLDF in 2018. With a carryover of over $58,416 from 2017, The Conservation Alliance made grants totaling $200,000 in 2018, as follows:

Organization Project Amount
Access Fund Bears Ears National Monument Defense $15,000
Earthjustice National Monument Legal Defense $55,000
Earthworks National Environmental Policy Act Defense $15,000
Friends of Cedar Mesa Bears Ears National Monument Defense $10,000
Montana Wilderness Association Montana Wilderness Study Area Defense  
Outdoor Alliance Utah Roadless Area Defense $10,000
Soda Mountain Wilderness Council Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Defense $20,000
The Wilderness Society Roadless Area Defense $20,000
Trout Unlimited Utah Roadless Area Defense $20,000
Western Environmental Law Center Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Legal Defense $20,000

“We are pleased to have a fund dedicated to defending our public lands,” said John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance. “Most of our funding continues to support proactive conservation efforts, but current political challenges force us to make grants to defend the gains we’ve made over the past 30 years.”
With these Public Lands Defense Fund grants, The Conservation Alliance concludes its grantmaking for 2018, contributing an all-time high $1.9 million.