Thank You and a Look Ahead

Jan. 11, 2019 — We can’t think of a better way to start the new year than by saying thank you, and to give you an early look at 11 properties – more than 1,100 acres – we plan to transfer in 2019 to the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for permanent protection.

In California we plan to transfer three Trout Creek properties (804 acres) to the Los Padres National Forest. Located near San Luis Obispo, this land provides vital habitat for endangered species, and ensures public access into the Garcia and Santa Lucia Wilderness areas.

In Colorado we will eliminate the threat of development by permanently protecting five properties (117 acres). This includes three mining claims above beautiful Emerald Lake and the Sally Bowman mine in the Weminuche Wilderness, as well as an 80-acre property within the proposed West Elk Wilderness.

In New Mexico we will transfer a 10-acre Ponderosa Trail property to protect part of the El Malpais Wilderness – home to elk, bats, volcanic badlands and caves.

In Oregon, we are preserving recreational trail access to the Snake River with the transfer of the McGraw Creek property (138 acres). And in Washington state we are protecting critical old growth forests by transferring the 20 acre Jasperson Lode mining claim in the Wild Sky Wilderness.

By the way, we’re just getting started. Thanks to your support, 2019 is going to be a busy year!

A Final Threat Eliminated from the Kalmiopsis Wilderness

Nov. 30, 2018 — We are thrilled to report we have closed on the purchase of a 60-acre mining claim adjacent to the Little Chetco River, the last remaining private inholding within the 180,000 acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

This southwest Oregon wilderness contains the headwaters of three national wild and scenic rivers — the Chetco, North Fork Smith, and Illinois — clean, clear waters that provide critical habitat for salmon and steelhead. The World Wildlife Fund has labeled this land as one of the most botanically diverse areas in North America.

Our acquisition eliminates forever the threat from a tourist mining operation, and the potential removal of thousands of tons of river gravel that would have directly impacted critical spawning beds and water quality of the Chetco River drainage.

After we finish restoring this land to its natural state, we will transfer the property to the US Forest Service to become a part of the the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

This is your success story. Share the good news and our work with your family and friends, and thank you for believing in us.

Tenacity Results in a Win for Wild Sky

Nov. 16, 2018 — Jon Mulford founded The Wilderness Land Trust in 1992 with a long-range mission to acquire unprotected private land within designated wilderness and return it to public ownership. He cultivated the Trust’s steady and tenacious work ethic with the understanding that some successes take time. In the late 1990’s, Jon established a relationship between the Trust and a company that owned a 345-acre mining property in the Wild Sky Wilderness of Washington state.

A sale was not imminent at that time, but in early 2000, board member Bill Pope picked up the torch and continued the Trust’s connection with the landowners. Bill says it best: “The Evergreen land was one of the largest private properties left in Wild Sky and I knew it was critical for us to protect it, no matter how long it took to make it happen.”

While it took a few more years, we are thrilled to tell you we have closed on the purchase of the Evergreen property, along with Jasperson, a nearby 20-acre property. This critical land will continue to provide clean water for spawning salmon, old growth Douglas Fir and western Hemlock, and the abundance of wildlife that call this area home. It is truly a wild place that is safe from future mining and logging, thanks to the help of our passionate supporters.

We are now working hard to transfer these Wild Sky properties to the Forest Service for permanent Wilderness protection. If you would like to help or want to know more about our work, please visit us and tell us what you think!

Join Fellow Wilderness Lovers on Nov. 27th and Dec. 4th

Nov. 27, 2018 – Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Join fellow wilderness enthusiasts and CREATE A LEGACY!

Dec. 4, 2018 – Colorado Gives Day

Colorado Gives Day unites all Coloradans in a common goal to strengthen the state’s nonprofits by giving to their favorite charities online. But we won’t make you wait until December, you can support our mission now to protect your public lands through Colorado Gives SCHEDULE A DONATION TODAY!  Thank you so much for supporting us and our Wilderness areas! Give where you live!

WLT Helps Save the California Condor Trail

Nov. 2, 2018 — The California Condor/Hi Mountain/Trout Creek trail provides public access into the Santa Lucia and Garcia Wilderness areas. But use of the trail and appreciation of the surrounding land extends beyond us humans. The land is also home to mule deer, black bear, wild turkeys, peregrine falcon, horned toad and other wildlife.

To protect this land, The Wilderness Land trust just closed on the purchase of a 324-acre property that could have been developed, cutting off access to the popular trail and disrupting local wildlife.

We are grateful for contributions from the San Luis Obispo Park and Open Space Foundation, the Backcountry Horseman’s Association, the Pacific Coast Long Riders, the Atascadero Horseman’s Association, generous donors and a Protect the California Condor Trail Go Fund Me campaign that helped make this purchase a reality.

We are keeping our Go Fund Me campaign active so we can raise the funds necessary to transfer the land to the Los Padres National Forest. If you’d like to be a part of this effort, please visit the campaign page and join us!

How a Cabin Disappeared in the Mt. Baker Wilderness

Oct. 19, 2018 — The one room cabin perched precariously on a narrow ridge, its dilapidated windows boasting stunning views of the surrounding Wilderness landscape. However, the cabin and its contents old furniture, mattresses, a wood stove, treated lumber and garbage – was slowly being crushed by the weight of heavy annual snowfall.

Down below, I was joined by our partners from the Bellingham, WA-based Whatcom Land Trust and several experienced backcountry contractors. Undeterred by the horizontal line of fresh snow that had appeared across the peaks of the nearby Mount Baker Wilderness, we loaded our backpacks with rechargeable batteries, chainsaw fuel, crowbars, hammers, rope and trash bags and took off up the trail.

After reaching the project site, we quickly organized ourselves into teams and, by the end of the day, all that remained was the cabin platform and a large pile of material.

The cabin site is part of a 38-acre inholding project we acquired last winter. We are now coordinating with a local helicopter service to fly the materials out of the Wilderness so we can truck them away for proper disposal. Once the parcel is returned to its natural state, we will transfer it to the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest as a new addition to the surrounding Mt. Baker Wilderness.

As we hiked back to our trucks that evening, it struck me how this effort mirrors larger partnerships the Trust builds to successfully complete projects, even during times of increasing threats to our wild places.

Defining Wealth in the Wilderness

Oct. 5, 2018 — According to Merriam Webster, El Dorado is defined as a place of fabulous wealth or opportunity. As we know, opportunity and wealth are in the eye of the beholder.

Hopeful miners saw the El Dorado Lode in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado as a potential gold mine, their own “City of Gold.” However, like many mining properties throughout the west, the El Dorado Lode turned out to be a bust.

When the land fell short of their dreams, the long time landowners turned to The Wilderness Land Trust, and we purchased this 10 acre property for a fair yet modest price. Over the past two years, we have worked with our partners at the US Forest Service to complete and secure this wilderness, and we are thrilled to report that the El Dorado Lode has been successfully added to the wilderness that surrounds it.

This purchase and transfer ensures the protection of the Whitehead Trail that crosses it, above Verde Lake, assuring hikers access to one of our country’s most dramatic and beautiful wilderness areas along the Continental Divide. Although it was never realized as a city of gold, the El Dorado Lode will remain rich with the plants and animals that inhabit it, and provide a wealth of experiences for outdoor enthusiasts for generations to come.

Protecting the Weminuche Wilderness

Sept. 21, 2018 — Nestled within the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado and located at the top of a rise behind beautiful Emerald Lake sits three properties that, until now, were a threat to the designated wilderness around them. Thanks to our supporters, The Wilderness Land Trust now owns these properties and they are no longer in danger of being developed and disrupting this pristine wilderness area. Instead, they will be enjoyed in their natural state for generations to come.

This is the happy ending. But where did it begin? We started working with the prior owners more than a decade ago. The Emerald Lake properties were owned by a couple with deep roots over several generations in southwest Colorado. At one time, the owners worked the land by herding cattle in order to help pay for college. When it came time to sell, they were very happy to see their legacy help fill in the gaps in the Weminuche. To us, our work is about more than closing the deal. We get to know landowners and they believe in our mission and trust our organization and process.

We will now take on the multi-year work to transfer this land to federal ownership and put another piece in the puzzle to help complete the Weminuche Wilderness. On to the next project!

33 Acres Returned to Rocky Mountain National Park’s Wild Basin Area


Before and After Cabin Removal

Sept. 6, 2018 — The Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park lives up to its name as the wildest area of the park. It’s in Wild Basin that a large amount of designated wilderness is located, and where backpackers, anglers, hikers and horse packers enjoy a truly remote experience a short hour outside of Denver and the Colorado Front Range.

Until now, a two-story house sat in the middle of this wilderness, perched atop a highly visible rock formation, its driveway cutting through the trees to its doorstep. After two years of work, The Wilderness Land Trust is pleased to announce the transfer of this parcel to the Park Service as an addition to Rocky Mountain National Park.

The Trust purchased this critical property and has removed the existing two-story house, returning the land to its natural state. The paved access road will soon be transformed into a hiking trail, giving the public access to the view from the property’s overlook for the first time in nearly 100 years.

We sincerely thank the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, the National Park Trust, and our local funders and supporters, for helping to make this a reality.

New Recreational Access in Castle Crags Wilderness

July 11, 2018 — A unique alliance between a land trust, three timber companies, the climbing community and the Forest Service has resulted in protection of the beloved Castle Crags area in northern California, a rock climbing destination, wildlife habitat and important water source for California residents.

Two square miles of land adjacent to the Castle Crags State Park and Federal Wilderness purchased by the Wilderness Land Trust from Roseburg Forest Products has resulted in the transfer of more than 1,250 acres to the USDA-Forest Service for inclusion in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Funding for the transaction was provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, along with the Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan Program and The Conservation Alliance.

Eagles and other raptors frequently soar through the Crags, which contain world-class climbing opportunities. In the forest surrounding the Crags, almost 1,000 acres of mature timber also now stand protected. The property is located south of Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta, just off Interstate 5, from which the Crags are clearly visible. The area contains stunning views of Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen. Little Castle Creek provides spawning habitat for trout and fishing opportunities and it flows to the Sacramento River, providing clean water throughout California via the Sacramento River Delta.

“The land contains 360 acres of the Crags with dramatic rock outcrops and amazing views that are part of local history,” said Aimee Rutledge, vice president and California program manager for The Wilderness Land Trust. “The Wintu Tribe fought and died to protect it and still come for spiritual healing and guidance and to collect plants for medicinal purposes.”

Ranging from the bottom of Little Castle Creek to the top of Castle Crags, the area has few developed trails, the primary one accessing Castle Dome. Local groups like the Mount Shasta Trail Association have proposed building an Around-the-Crags Trail at some time in the future.

Other partners critical to the success of the project include local climbers and businesses. The Crags contain more than 20 challenging climbing routes as recently detailed in the Castle Crags section of “Mount Shasta Area Rock Climbing — A Climber’s Guide to Siskiyou County” by Grover Shipman.

“The acquisition is a great example of a large-scale win-win for conservation, cultural resources, and recreation, including access to incredible wilderness climbing,” says Joe Sambataro, access director for the Access Fund. “This type of deal is about protecting the outdoors and ensuring future experiences.”

“We are proud to be a part of the effort to increase the protected acreage at Castle Crags, and to improve access to this special place,” said John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance, a group of outdoor industry companies that work together to support conservation initiatives. “Our member companies benefit when outdoor recreation is more accessible.”

“Roseburg recognized there was a higher and better use for this land and was happy to make the sale. It maintains the company’s long tradition of active community support,” said Scott Folk, senior vice president of Resources at Roseburg.

The transaction culminated two years of collaboration between Roseburg and the Trust. In addition, Sierra-Pacific Industries and Kimberly-Clark Corporation assisted in the disposition of legacy mineral and access issues.