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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!

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: brad@wildernesslandtrust.org

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.