Washington State

This land is home to diverse habitat teeming with wildlife, including the charismatic gray wolf, Canada lynx, wolverine, the occasional grizzly bear and most recently, fishers. 

With President Biden’s commitment to mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity by safeguarding 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030, the National Wilderness Preservation System is back on center stage. Opportunities abound to help realize the 30×30 vision in Washington state, and The Wilderness Land Trust is poised to lead the way.

North Cascades Ecosystem

Washington’s designated wilderness areas are incredibly diverse, ranging from hundreds of small islands off the western coast, to towering, glaciated mountains, to dry, wind-swept sand dunes in the south-central part of the state.

Silver Lake in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness

A number of Washington’ designated wilderness areas reside within the fabled North Cascades Ecosystem, one of America’s largest expanses of wild public lands.

Wilderness allows visitors the opportunity to unmask, breathe deep and find refuge from the modern world. These unique landscapes leave a person reveling in their raw beauty and the assurance that they will remain wild and free, now and for future generations.

And yet, there are dangers within these wilderness areas that threaten their resiliency. Some 3,600 acres of privately owned lands grandfathered into Washington’s wilderness areas have left them vulnerable to mineral extraction, logging and private development.

Protecting Washington Wilderness through the Wilderness Land Trust

Looking down Silver Creek drainage on one of the Trust’s active projects.

Founded in 1992, The Wilderness Land Trust is the only organization solely dedicated to removing these threats from within and adjacent the boundaries of designated wilderness, or directly in the path of future wilderness designations. This is accomplished by purchasing these properties from willing sellers and then transferring them over to public ownership to be incorporated into the surrounding wilderness.

Land acquisition is a lengthy and complicated process that includes remote site visits, environmental analysis, appraisals, land owner negotiations and the execution of complex contracts.

Once a property is purchased, the Trust immediately embarks upon a similar journey to transfer the land over to the managing federal agency.

The Wilderness Land Trust has 10 projects underway across the state of Washington, including seven in the Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness areas in the North Cascades. Combined, these two wilderness areas encompass more than 200,000 acres of ragged peaks, open ridgelines, deep glaciated valleys, dense old growth forests, and tumbling clear waters.

By systematically acquiring these properties, the Trust is stitching together the fabric of the wilderness one project at a time, until it’s completely free from the threat of private development.

When this work is complete, a total of 1,176 acres of new wilderness will be added to Washington’s wilderness areas, moving America one step closer to its 30×30 commitment.

We need your help to accomplish this goal

Several funders have pledged $200,000 towards the $400,000 needed to complete four land acquisitions and six transfers during the coming year.

Your generous contribution today will help the Trust raise the remaining $200,000 needed to cover the cost of this land acquisition, with 25 percent of each gift used to support lands staff time and required due diligence to transfer each parcel. The deadline for securing this vital funding is Sept. 1, 2021.

With your support, 1,176 acres will soon be protected forever for the benefit of fish and wildlife, carbon storage, and our collective wellbeing.

For more information, contact:

Brad Borst, President at 206-842-1214 (o) | 206-397-5240 (c) | brad@wildernesslandtrust.org

Kelly Conde, Lands Specialist at 208-223-3964 (c) | kelly@wildernesslandtrust.org

Four fisher kits (pictured above) have been spotted this spring, and are believed to be the first born in the wild in the North Cascades in the past 50 years. Photo credit: National Park Service

Recently Completed Washington State Projects