Last week I rafted the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, one of the most iconic free flowing rivers protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. It was wonderful to be off the grid and to enjoy this wild section of Idaho, one that would not be possible without robust public lands protections.
Part of TCA’s efforts to protect places like the Salmon River is the member directed grant program. The 2023 Summer Cycle Ballot is open right now. This is an opportunity for all of our member company employees to help decide which conservation projects across the country will receive grants, conserving more outdoor spaces and wild places. Vote today if you have not already voted – the deadline to vote is August 31!
These grants are one piece of our broader strategy that can lead to big conservation wins. I’m sure you saw that just a few weeks ago we had a big win when President Biden designated the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. Nearly 1 million acres of federal public lands in Arizona are now protected from mining, a result that was directly supported by our Mobilizing for Monuments campaign. Read on to learn more about all of this and more.
Earlier this month, President Biden protected nearly 1 million acres of federal public lands in Arizona by designating The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. This monument will honor multiple Tribes’ deep connection to the land and protect critical water resources. Together with our members, we played a role in this victory. Since 2010, we have contributed over $330,000 to The Grand Canyon Trust to protect the Colorado Plateau. Our advocacy efforts included a sign-on-letter with over 50 TCA member company signatures, thousands of petition signatures from customers, and local companies testifying at the Public Listening Session in Flagstaff in front of Department of Interior leadership. Finally, the recent launch of our new initiative, Mobilizing for Monuments, directly supported this effort.
Last week a federal judge dismissed two lawsuits filed by the state of Utah that attempted to undo President Biden’s restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, and deem the Antiquities Act as unlawful. Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments are two of the most significant, intact, and extraordinary public landscapes in America – landscapes that will remain protected now that the courts have reinforced the validity of the Antiquities Act to conserve wild ecosystems and public lands for future generations.
Our advocacy efforts are in full swing to support the BLM Public Lands Rule. Last week we hosted a Member Education Session on the rule, featuring representatives from TCA, REI, Conservation Lands Foundation, and the BLM. Missed the webinar? Watch it here. We also submitted a letter signed by over 100 businesses in support of a strong Public Lands Rule, an action that supports our belief that the collective impact of our membership will lead to better land protections.
We are proud to announce that our latest 2023/2024 priority campaign is to protect 28 million acres of land in Alaska. Alongside local organization SalmonState, we are working to ensure that 28 million acres of the D-1 public lands managed by the BLM are protected from large scale industrialization proposed by the Trump Administration. Through our collective voice and partnerships, we will ensure that the Biden Administration’s BLM knows that these public lands should remain protected from extractive industrial development, as they have largely been since the 1970s. Learn more about this priority campaign here.
Thank you for your partnership and engagement in our mission to protect wild places and outdoor spaces!