The Conservation Alliance Announces the 2023 Outstanding Partnership Awards

Recognizing Alpacka Raft, Kahtoola, Northwest Rafting Company, and REI for outstanding support of Conservation Alliance Grantees

Photo: Jonnelle Yankovich

Winter Park, CO (May 22, 2023) The Conservation Alliance (TCA) announces four recipients of the organization’s 2023 Outstanding Partnership Awards: Alpacka Raft, Kahtoola, Northwest Rafting Company and REI Co-Op.

The annual award recognizes TCA member companies whose efforts directly support grantee organizations working to protect wild places throughout North America. 

“Realizing that many of our business members play a critical role in helping grassroots conservation organizations do their work and achieve success, we think it’s important to acknowledge the companies that go above and beyond. These are unique, important partnerships that The Conservation Alliance is excited to support through its grantmaking and advocacy work” said Kim Paymaster, Grant Program Director at The Conservation Alliance.

Alpacka Raft, nominated by Dolores River Boating Advocates (DRBA), because “Alpacka Rafts has been an incredible partner for our organization and local community over the years. Alpacka has supported our organization in many ways over the years, such as soliciting donations for DRBA at Alpacka events, publishing a Letter to the Editor in support of the Dolores River National Conservation Area legislation, and lending packrafts to us and our partners who go out on the Dolores River to help tell the story of the river. Alpacka Rafts is also an incredible asset to the community. They provide ample employment opportunities in rural Colorado, and spend time organizing events, notably a film festival. Overall they are a member company with great positive influence on their community and a deep commitment to our organization and the conservation of rivers. Alpacka Rafts deserve recognition for their integrity and steadfast dedication to not only land and water conservation, but also to the well-being of rural communities.”

Kahtoola, nominated by Grand Canyon Trust, saying: “The Giovale Family and Kahtoola have been invaluable contributors to the Grand Canyon Trust, and continue to serve as exemplary partners in conservation on the Colorado Plateau. Thanks to their multi-year support, we were able to dramatically expand our youth engagement efforts. This includes the expeditionary LeaderShift conservation mentorship program – which the Giovale family helped launch – and a diverse array of strategic and meaningful opportunities focused on education and empowerment. These programs are helping shape the future of conservation on the Colorado Plateau.”

Northwest Rafting Company, nominated by Oregon Wild, saying “Northwest Rafting Company owner Zach Collier has been an amazing advocate for the protection of Oregon’s treasured waterways for a number of years. His efforts this year have been helpful, persistent, and inspiring. Oregon’s members of congress love to stand next to outdoor recreation businesses and Zach has leveraged their political optics to help advocate for river protection. Not only does he support and sign on to conservation letters and provide support quotes for bills like the River Democracy Act, but he is also simply a great natural advocate and able to win over hearts and minds alike.”

REI Co-op, nominated by Save the Boundary Waters, saying “REI Co-op has been a valued partner of Save the Boundary Waters for many years and was an early joiner to our now 350+ member Boundary Waters Business Coalition. REI has helped reach and engage a wider outdoor community and decision makers in our efforts to permanently protect the Boundary Waters Wilderness from proposed copper mining. REI Co-op has helped advance the cause in so many ways, including: adding its name to business sign-on letters, hosting and attending events, displaying and selling campaign items in-store, covering the Save the Boundary Waters efforts in its media publication, Uncommon Path (previously called the Co-op Journal), hosting action alerts on their websites and emails, and funding our work. The close involvement with REI Co-op over the years has helped immensely to elevate the importance of Boundary Waters protection in the national outdoor industry and the eyes of influential leaders. We are so grateful for REI’s support and collaboration.”

Members of TCA support more than 50 grassroots conservation organizations every year through their membership dues, which go directly into the TCA’s grant fund. On top of their annual dues, many member companies provide additional support to TCA and its grantees through cause-marketing initiatives or direct involvement in the grantees’ work. The annual Outstanding Partnership Awards are one way for TCA and their grantees to give thanks and recognize their business partners. 

About The Conservation Alliance
The Conservation Alliance (TCA) is an organization of like-minded businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where people and wildlife thrive. Alliance grant funding has played a key role in protecting rivers, wildlands, and climbing areas throughout North America. Since 1989, we have contributed over $30,000,000 in grants to conservation organizations whose collective efforts have helped protect 81 million acres of land and 3,587 miles of rivers; stop or remove 37 dams; acquire 21 climbing areas; and designate five marine reserves. For complete information about TCA, visit

Media contact:
The Conservation Alliance
Lilly Zoller
(248) 302-1553