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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.

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!

Readying a Property for Transfer

A stunning view is restored after the removal of a dilapidated cabin

A stunning view is restored after the removal of a dilapidated cabin

Aug. 9, 2019 — Some of the properties we purchase require a lot of work before we can transfer them over to public ownership, including the complete removal of unwanted man-made structures.

In 2017 we acquired the “Jumbo and Mt Vernon Lode” property – 38-acres along a popular hiking route in the Mount Baker Wilderness in Washington state. By doing so, we also inherited a cabin filled with old furniture, discarded equipment, a wood stove and lots of garbage. The cabin was highly visible on a ridge that boasts stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. It was also being slowly crushed by the weight of heavy annual snowfall.

Last fall we partnered with the Whatcom Land Trust to begin the tedious process of dismantling the structure and removing most of its contents via helicopter. Last week we visited once more to rehab the site and prepare for its eventual return to the wilderness. Personally, I think the view is much better now, don’t you?

Santa Lucia Flower

California Condor Trail Access is Permanently Protected

July 26, 2019 — Thanks to your generous support, we have successfully transferred our Trout Creek I and II properties to public ownership within the Los Padres National Forest. A small stream meanders through boulders

The two properties total 480-acres and border the Garcia Wilderness near Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. Protecting this land ensures public access to the California Condor/High Mountain/Trout Creek trail. It also conserves vital habitat for mule deer, black bear, wild turkeys, Peregrine Falcon, mountain lions, endangered red-legged frogs and other wildlife.

We are also in the process of transferring a third property on this landscape, our Trout Creek III property near High Mountain Road, ensuring the public can access both the Garcia and Santa Lucia Wilderness areas. We look forward to sharing this success with you soon.

Thank you for your support and commitment to conserving wilderness for the next generation.

Snowy Little Castle Lake

Protecting Access to Castle Crags Wilderness

July 9, 2019 — Wander through the wooded shores of Castle Lake, scramble across some exposed rock and stroll through alpine meadows and you’ll find yourself on the shores of Heart Lake, taking in stunning views of Mt Shasta.Little Castle Lake nestled in the Castle Crags Wilderness

This three-mile round trip hike is now possible thanks to our purchase this month of the largest remaining private property within the designated Castle Crags Wilderness. The 637-acre property is home to a portion of Castle Lake and all of Little Castle Lake. By purchasing this property, we are protecting the hiking trail to Heart Lake, as well as access to lake activities, fishing and hunting. Our purchase protects the property from logging and development, which would have threatened old growth forest, critical habitat and a major source of clean water for California and the West.

What We’re Saving

This property provides access to a portion of Castle Lake beach, the trail to Heart Lake, all of Little Castle Lake and Mt. Bradley Ridge. It also includes shoreline and the outflow stream from Castle Lake, an area that is loved by residents and visitors. Castle Lake is well-used by summer hikers, swimmers, kayakers and wildflower lovers; in the winter it hosts backcountry skiers and snowboarders, ice skaters and a few hearty folks who drill through the ice to fish.

The Castle Crags iconic rock formation is a world-class climbing destination simply known as “the Crags” and the landscape is sacred to the Wintu Tribe as a source of medicinal plants and place of spiritual guidance.

A 14-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) winds through the landscape nearby, and protecting this land provides an opportunity to connect to the PCT from Castle Lake in the future. The surrounding wilderness provides critical habitat for Pacific marten, blue ribbon trout, black bears, a growing wolf population and the endemic Castle Crags harebell wildflower.

The Trust will now undertake the multi-year process of transferring it to public ownership through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest to increase recreational access for campers, hikers, lake visitors and hunters. Acquisition of the Little Castle Lake property builds on the Trust’s recent Castle Crags project. In June 2018, the Trust transferred 1,256 acres of the Crags to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, opening access from the east to trails and world class rock climbing, as well as preserving wildlife habitat and an important water source for California residents.

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.

For more information on this project or our work:

The Wilderness Land Trust
PO Box 11697
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
206.842.1214

We’re Applying for Land Trust Accreditation Renewal

June 17, 2019 — The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Wilderness Land Trust (WLT) is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of accreditation in 2019, which occurs every five years. WLT was first accredited in 2008 and completed our first renewal in 2013. A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. The Trust’s investment in accreditation demonstrates our implementation of best practices in the field, including commitment to sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance and lasting protection for the land we transfer to public ownership.

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how The Wilderness Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust.

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, or email your comment to info@landtrustaccreditation.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.  

Comments on The Wilderness Land Trust’s application will be most useful by June 21, 2019.