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bear print in mud

The Arrival of Spring: A Message from Brad Borst, President

March 20, 2020 – Today is the first full day of spring, a season that ushers in longer days, warmer temperatures and a vibrant burst of activity as flora and fauna awaken from their long winter nap. It also happens to be my birthday.

How do I plan to celebrate?

After a dawn walk in the woods with my belligerent husky and friendly border collie (neither understand the concept of “social distancing”), I’m spending the rest of the day happily working alone from our small organizational office on Bainbridge Island. That’s how.

Right now my team and I are safe and sound, each of us working from individual locations and intensely focused on the details of several new land acquisition projects under development in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico, and the steps we need to take in order to add them to the surrounding wilderness.

You see, even during a time of profound change that COVID 19 is bringing to our country, I hope you find some comfort in knowing that some things remain the same — spring has arrived on time, your favorite wilderness area awaits as you practice your own brand of social distancing and everyone here at The Wilderness Land Trust is diligently working to fulfill our mission.

Thank you for sticking by us, even during this difficult time. We greatly appreciate your calls and emails to check in on us, your kind words of encouragement and your generous contributions to keep us moving forward. Please send me any images of you and your family this spring enjoying that special wild place in your heart, and I’ll be sure to share them with the team.

Happy spring everyone. Thank you for sharing this special day with me.

Sincerely,


Brad Borst, President
The Wilderness Land Trust

 

A Unique Ecosystem Worth Saving

March 6, 2020 – We were recently given the opportunity to preserve 1,698 acres of an increasingly rare sagebrush steppe ecosystem in the Bodie Wilderness Study Area in California.

The Bodie Hills are alive with 400 plant varieties and more than 250 species of animals.

The Bodie Hills are alive with 400 plant varieties and more than 250 species of animals. Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management

The sagebrush steppe ecosystem is at high elevation with gorgeous vistas over mountain ranges in California, Nevada and Mono Laske, a unique saltwater lake supporting endemic species. To humans, this ecosystem provides excellent opportunities for solitude, but it also provides home to approximately 400 types of plants that provide habitat, food and water for more than 250 species of animals.

Needless to say we jumped on the chance to purchase this special property in order to protect it. Surrounded by towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada, White, and Sweetwater Mountain ranges, this open space provides habitat for sage grouse, mule deer, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion, and many other species.

We are now working to transfer this property to the Bureau of Land Management and promote long-term management of the landscape as open space. Check out additional details of our recent work in the Bodie Hills and what we’re doing to protect critical wildlife habitat in the area.

 

 

Completing a Wilderness

Feb. 21, 2020 – Nine years ago this week we completed the Kingston Range Wilderness in California by transferring the last two remaining private land parcels to the BLM for permanent protection. This land – 1,240 acres – is right in the heart of the wilderness and was being considered for a large private development when we purchased it.

This wilderness is botanically one of the most diverse areas within the California Desert. Botanists have identified 505 native plant species and 32 are viewed as endangered, rare, or limited in distribution. The only stand of giant Nolina (Desert Spoon) in the eastern Mojave Desert is found in Kingston Range and one of only three relic stands of white fir trees in the desert clings to its slopes.

What does “completing a wilderness” mean? One of the greatest threats to our globally unique, more than 110-million-acre preservation system is private land, or “inholdings.”

When a wilderness area isn’t complete, it is vulnerable to development, mining and logging. Should private land within its boundaries be developed, it would affect the surrounding wilderness and threaten vital habit. Right now, approximately 180,000 acres of private land still remains within federally designated wilderness areas in the lower 48 states.

The good news? Thanks to our unwavering supporters, we continue to steadily remove these inholdings to ensure our nation’s wilderness areas remain forever wild for future generations. In fact, since 1992 we have helped complete 16 designated wilderness areas by removing the last remaining privately held land Of course, we feel like we’re still just getting started.

 

 

Protecting a Paradise

Jan. 31, 2020 – There’s a hidden paradise straddling the Santa Lucia Mountains south of the Monterey Peninsula in California, where crystal clear streams flow rapidly through narrow valleys and coastal redwood trees grow tall from within the deep canyons of the Big Sur and Little Sur Rivers. Ventana Wilderness

That paradise is the Ventana Wilderness, and we are pleased to announce we have secured 80 acres that border this wilderness in the watershed of the south fork of the Little Sur River. The property includes a tributary to the river as well as a section of the Little Sur River Trail and a beautiful stand of old growth redwood trees.

We are grateful to landowners David and Peter Duveneck for donating this land to The Wilderness Land Trust. Their generous gift will allow us to permanently protect this land for future generations to explore and enjoy. We take pride in our strong partnerships with landowners and are grateful to our supporters for making this work possible.

Like what you’re reading? See what we’re up to in your neck of the woods!

 

 

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!

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 Peaks Wilderness in Colorado.

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

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

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.