Thank You for a Successful Year

Dec. 27, 2019

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit”Edward Abbey

The success of The Wilderness Land Trust is a direct result of our supporters, who recognize the absolute necessity of wilderness.

Thanks to our supporters, we acquired nearly 3,300 acres of private land during the past year to create new public access into designated wilderness, remove the threat of private development and protect vital wildlife habitat, flora and fauna. The impact of these projects reaches far beyond the acres we purchased; they affect more than 800,000 acres of wilderness overall.

These successes help ensure future generations will experience landscapes more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate, as a source of clean air and clear water, and as a safe haven for wildlife – all within a national preservation system that we are expanding.

On behalf of the entire staff and board of The Wilderness Land Trust — thank you to everyone who generously invested in our work.

Want to read more? Check out our 2019 Annual Report.

Happy Holidays,

The Wilderness Land Trust Staff and Board

A Win for Wildlife Habitat in Eastern Sierra

Dec. 13, 2019 — Did you know that it’s nearly impossible to replicate sage grouse habitat? These seasonably vocal, magnificent birds require habitat under very specific conditions and are strident about returning to the same location every year.

Photo credit: Tatiana Gettelman

Why are we telling you this? Because The Wilderness Land Trust has closed on two properties totaling 960-acres in California’s Eastern Sierra. This land provides vital habitat for sage grouse and other species in the rare and diverse Sagebrush steppe that is vastly under-represented in the National Wilderness Preservation System. It also contains a critical water source for all wildlife in the surrounding area.

The properties are located in the Bodie Hills, adjacent and integral to three Wilderness Study Areas – Bodie Mountain, Mount Beideman and Mormon Meadows.

Next steps include partnering with the Eastern Sierra Land Trust on sage grouse habitat restoration before transferring this land to public ownership under the management of the Bureau of Land Management.

Bodie Hills Habitat Facts

  • The Bodie Hills are filled with a diversity of species because of water, which is scarce overall in this landscape, but plentiful in a few distinct areas.
  • The  properties secured by The Wilderness Land Trust control plentiful and critical water for this region.
  • Lek habitat includes openings in the sagebrush landscape that host nesting sites. Lek habitat and broodrearing have been identified on these properties. Lek habitat for sage grouse is rare and nearly impossible to duplicate, and the sage grouse habitat quality provided by these properties is exceptional.
  • This land is home to significant plant species, including sagebrush, riparian and Aspen groves, and pinyon pine woodland. Plants identified here include more than 450 Species in 73 families.
  • The Bodie Hills provide habitat for a variety of species including pronghorn antelope, black bear, pikas and pygmy rabbits, mountain lions, mule deer, golden eagles and sage grouse.
  • The watersheds in the Bodie Hills are important tributaries to Mono Lake and the East Walker River.

Saving Arizona

Nov. 8, 2019 — The Wilderness Land Trust has closed on 80-acres of land in the Mt. Tipton Wilderness in Arizona. Thanks to generous supporters like you, we have removed the threat of private development on this property. Our next steps include working toward transferring it to public ownership and increasing the overall size of this wilderness area.

The result of our work in Arizona has now protected 63 parcels and 2,488 acres in five designated wilderness areas, including 17 parcels totaling 550 acres in the Mt. Tipton Wilderness.

The Mt. Tipton Wilderness is home to some of the most breathtaking views in Arizona. Many people visit this area to climb Mt. Tipton – at more than 7,000 feet, it’s quite a challenge! Others are drawn to the unique beauty of the Cerbat Mountains, dense with a diversity of vegetation that provides a stunning contrast to the gray and red rock outcroppings.

We are grateful for your continued investment in protecting wild places like the Mt. Tipton Wilderness. Please help us raise awareness of this project and others by sharing our work on Facebook.

A small stream meanders through boulders

Three Cheers for Three Transfers!

Oct. 25, 2019 — Your generous support recently allowed us to successfully transfer the last of three Trout Creek properties to public ownership within the Los Padres National Forest in California. This 324-acre piece of land is located near Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. It includes a trail system that provides a key link to the planned California Condor Trail — a 400-mile route connecting the southern and northern parts of the forest.

In July we transferred Trout Creek I and II to the same national forest, two properties totaling 480-acres and ensure public access to the California Condor/Hi Mountain/Trout Creek trail. This land provides vital habitat for mule deer, black bear, wild turkeys, Peregrine Falcon, mountain lions, endangered red-legged frogs and other wildlife.

Thanks to you, more than 800 acres bordering the Garcia and Santa Lucia Wilderness are now permanently protected for future generations. Find out more about our work and please share this success story with three friends. Thank you!

Employment Opportunity: Lands Specialist

Position Location: Northwest United States

Supervisor: President

Work Schedule: .75 FTE

Salary: Dependent on experience

Organizational Mission: The mission of The Wilderness Land Trust is “We keep the Promise of Wilderness – By acquiring and transferring private lands (inholdings) to public ownership that complete designated and proposed wilderness areas, or directly protect wilderness values.”

Position Description: The Wilderness Land Trust has an opening for a salaried position as a Lands Specialist to manage wilderness land acquisition and transfer projects primarily in the western states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, parts of Colorado and elsewhere as required. In conjunction with the President, the Lands Specialist works to guide the effectiveness of the Trust in all functional areas and reports directly to the President.

Ideal Candidate: The ideal candidate must have exceptional interpersonal skills, at least 3-4 years’ experience working remotely on successful land conservation real estate transactions, be very detail-oriented, a proven ability to travel and work alone managing numerous complex projects across multiple states, a passion for wilderness preservation and enjoy working in a small, complex, non-profit environment.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Provide project recommendations to the President and staff, including potential funding sources to cover project and operational costs.
  • Initiate and negotiate private land acquisition and transfer to managing agencies as guided by adopted goals.
  • Helps raise sufficient funds to cover acquisition and operational costs in cooperation with the President, staff and members of the board.
  • Develop project-specific budgets, and manages project and operational expense consistent with the current fiscal year approved budget.
  • Manage all project-specific contracts and supervise contractors as needed.
  • Travel regularly to meet with landowners, agency (U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service) staff and local wilderness conservation advocacy organizations to build trust and relationships.
  • Conduct business in a professional and business-like manner.
  • Effectively and efficiently promote The Wilderness Land Trust to further the goals and mission of the organization.
  • Communicate fully with the President, staff and board of directors.

Necessary Skill and Experience:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent job experience.
  • 3-4 years’ experience working with private landowners and successfully negotiating land conservation deals.
  • Ability to work alone and travel to remote locations, including designated and proposed wilderness areas.
  • Ability to set priorities, problem solve, and manage a portfolio of numerous projects spread across multiple western states.
  • Familiarity with federal land management agencies and how they work to manage wilderness designation, including the acquisition of private inholdings funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Ability to write project grant or loan applications and manage all reporting requirements.
  • Very detail oriented, with ability to present projects in a clear, concise, written and verbal manner.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with a small team, and be willing and flexible to assist with additional requests for help as needed.
  • A good sense of humor.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office, Outlook, file-sharing systems and lands database management.

Please submit a cover letter and resume to:

Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2019. The position begins January 1, 2020.



Scotchman Peaks Wilderness vista

Inheriting a Livable Planet

Oct. 11, 2019 — 50,933 acres permanently protected, 481 parcels added into public ownership, and 16 wilderness areas completed. Since our founding in 1992, you, our board of directors and staff have made those numbers possible.

Board members took some time to hike the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness area.

Board members took some time to hike the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness are

We just returned from our fall board meeting in Sandpoint, Idaho where we spent the better part of a weekend reviewing the complex work that goes into buying and transferring private land to public ownership.

Hours of research, letters, phone calls, travel, meetings, a site visit, environmental assessment, negotiation, title work, contract preparation and closing documents are just a hint of the work we do to remove a threat to the wild places you love.

We hope you are as energized as we are to continue this work so that future generations inherit a livable planet with healthy wilderness areas that support a diversity of plant and animal life.

Please help expand our team of dedicated supporters by sharing this email and encouraging your fellow wilderness advocates to sign up for our news updates.

Reid Haughey, Senior Lands Specialist, looks east from the Grandview Lode property

Protecting Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

Sept. 27, 2019 — About a year and a half ago we partnered with the Independence Pass Foundation to purchase the Grandview Lode, a nine-acre parcel in the Collegiate Peak

Reid Haughey, Senior Lands Specialist, looks east from the Grandview Lode property

Reid Haughey, Senior Lands Specialist, looks east from the Grandview Lode property

s Wilderness in Colorado. Private ownership of this land would have opened it up to development, road construction and the disruption of vital habitat for threatened and endangered plants.

Today I am happy to share with you that we have transferred this property to the public for permanent protection with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Grandview Lode is connected to the Spotted Tail Lode, a 10-acre property we purchased at the same time. Both parcels are within the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and located in the view plane of the preserved ghost town of Independence and State Highway 82, a Colorado Scenic Byway.

Bringing you these wilderness wins is one of the highlights of my work at the Trust because you make these successes possible. To help us raise awareness for our work preserving our nation’s wilderness, please consider sharing this news and encourage your friends and family to sign up for our news updates.

Looking east from the Grandview Lode property

Conservation Grant Helps Protect Little Castle Lake

Sept. 15, 2019 — We are excited to announce The Wilderness Land Trust has been awarded a $30,000 grant by The Conservation Alliance to help with our Little Castle Lake project costs. We acquired the 637-acre Little Castle Lake property in June to protect it from logging and development, which would have threatened old growth forest, critical habitat and a Castle Lake reflectionsmajor source of clean water. Our purchase also protects all of Little Castle Lake, part of Castle Lake, the hiking trail to Heart Lake, and access to lake activities, fishing and hunting.

Our work to save this land has just begun. We are actively fundraising the $365,000 needed to pay off our loan, insure the property and undergo the multi-year process to transfer this land to public ownership within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. We are sincerely grateful to The Conservation Alliance for seeing the value in our work protecting and expanding our nation’s designated Wilderness.

Please consider becoming one of our Little Castle Lake supporters or share this news with your family and friends.

Saying Goodbye to a Conservation Leader

Aug. 30, 2019 — It is with profound sadness that we share the passing of our dear friend and Wilderness Land Trust board member Jean Hocker.

In the eyes of The Wilderness Land Trust, Jean was more than a tenacious conservation leader. She was a role model who led her life by example.

There was nothing Jean liked more when exploring the outdoors than to crawl into a warm sleeping bag at the end of a long day, gaze at a million stars, and feel content with the world. She often remarked how fortunate she was to backpack, canoe and hike in many wild places because her experiences in the wilderness had a profound impact on her understanding of the natural world and our place in it.

Jean joined The Wilderness Land Trust as a board member because she wanted to participate in wilderness preservation. When asked why she chose to serve on the board, Jean said, “I love working with The Wilderness Land Trust’s dedicated directors and talented staff to protect and complete Wilderness. Seeing our often difficult and complex work succeed, sometimes after years of perseverance, is immensely rewarding! I appreciate that the Trust is laser-focused on its mission and produces such tangible, permanent results.”

Jean was an inspiration in nonprofit conservation. She was the founder of the Jackson Hole Land Trust, and as president and CEO of the national Land Trust Alliance (LTA) from 1987-2002, she helped it become a force for conservation, tripling the open space protected by its member land trusts. She was awarded the LTA’s Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award in 2014 in recognition of her outstanding leadership, innovation and creativity in land conservation. She was also a member of LTA’s elite 100 percent club, having never missed a Land Trust Alliance Rally since its inception in 1985.

Thank you, Jean, for your unwavering dedication to our mission that has forever expanded our country’s wilderness landscape. Thank you for your invaluable presence on our Board. And thank you for your friendship. You are missed.

Jean’s husband, Phil Hocker, requests that any gifts made in Jean’s honor be in the name of The Wilderness Land Trust. A memorial fund for land acquisition is being established in her name. Donations can also be mailed to:

The Wilderness Land Trust
P.O. Box 11697
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Looking east from the Grandview Lode property

The Romance of Heart Lake

Aug. 23, 2019 — Last week we guided a group of 35 friends and supporters through the wooded shores of Castle Lake, where we hiked across rocky outcroppings and alpine meadows to the crystal clear waters of Heart Lake. The hike was a celebration of our recent purchase of the largest remaining private property within the designated Castle Crags Wilderness. The 637-acre property is home to a portion of Castle Lake, all of Little Castle Lake and a section of the Heart Lake trail.

WLT friends and supporters arrive at Heart Lake

Wilderness Land Trust friends and supporters arrive at Heart Lake

While we spent some time educating our group about the project, we were also fascinated by their stories. This pristine land has provided space for life decisions, healing, marriage proposals, hiking, and swimming with children and grandchildren.

Our work to save this land has just begun. We are actively fundraising the $365,000 needed to pay off our loan, insure the property and undergo the multi-year process to transfer this land to public ownership within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Please consider joining our efforts by donating or sharing this news with family and friends. We value your continued investment in protecting our nation’s unique wilderness heritage, and we couldn’t do it without you!