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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2015 Year-End Campaign Update

Washington Wild Board Member, Carla Villar, with a group of #WildernessAdvocates enjoying a hike.

We did it! OVER 500 supporters stood alongside Washington Wild to Create a Big Tent for Conservation!!

Washington Wild’s special appeal to Create a Big Tent for Conservation was a huge success –
we nearly doubled our goal to raise $25,000 and reached OVER 500 supporters throughout the campaign!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Thank you, Doug

IN MEMORIAM: Doug Walker 1950-2015

Doug Walker ice climbing. Photo by Roger Mellem

The conservation and recreation community in Washington State lost a strong leader and powerful ally when Doug Walker died on December 31 in an apparent avalanche near Granite Mountain in his beloved Cascade Mountains.

There have been many tributes to Doug in the past few days, including from the Seattle Times, Seattle Foundation, The Mountaineers, Rock and Ice Magazine, and Alpinist. All are worth reading to learn more about this wonderful conservationist, excellent climber, and generous human being.

Doug advocated for protecting wild places for the enjoyment of all, especially our youth.
After retiring from a successful career in the software industry, Doug devoted much of his time, expertise and financial support toward supporting wilderness conservation and recreation. Among many other leadership roles he chaired the boards of REI and The Wilderness Society. He was President of the American Alpine Club at the time of his passing.

Doug was a good friend of Washington Wild, giving not only financial support but also advice
. In 2012, at the invitation of his friend Roger Mellem, our board president, Doug gave a presentation to our board about the need to get a younger and more diverse demographic of wilderness hikers, campers and climbers if we are to secure a broad base of support for future wilderness designations. In 2013, he participated in a day-long workshop that Washington Wild organized for climbers and wilderness advocates to identify common ground around conservation and access issues. Later that year he helped anchor our first-ever match campaign. In 2014, he played an important role in helping to get 45 CEOs and business executives to sign a letter to Congress advocating for the designation of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness additions. He helped us secure new board members to strengthen and diversify our board.

Doug made an indelible impact on many in the conservation community
. His passion and love for recreation and access to wild places like the North Cascades will be terribly missed, but also carried forward. We will work hard to protect the wild places that Doug loved so that current and future generations can also enjoy our life-affirming wilderness.

The Washington Wild family sends our heartfelt condolences to Doug’s wife, Maggie, and his daughter, Kina.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Creating a Big Tent for Conservation

Washington Wild is excited to
Create a Big Tent for Conservation!

Over the past year, Washington Wild made over 1,000 connections with local elected officials, business owners, recreation organizations and sportsmen to support the permanent protection of wild lands and waters throughout the state. In looking at the broad array of those who stand with us, we can imagine a "Big Tent for Conservation" under which we work together to achieve a common purpose.

With the help of volunteers, supporters, members and stakeholders we are able to work tirelessly to protect a wild Washington. The power of a Big Tent philosophy is showcased in our video, Celebrating Wilderness and truly captures what Washington Wild stands for - to bring a diverse group of stakeholders under our tent to build awareness and support for the protection of wild land and waters throughout Washington state.

Looking ahead to the future, it is critical that we keep the momentum going into 2016! Join Washington Wild as we Create a Big Tent for Conservation. Our goal of 500 supporters to raise $25,000 will help us continue to build a sustainable future for Washington Wild.

You may have noticed all the hype on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)! By simply sharing our posts and using the hashtags: #WildernessAdvocate #WAwild, you can spread awareness for our mission!

Thank you for supporting Washington Wild’s mission to protect the outdoor landscapes we all love by donating with a gift that is meaningful to you and by being a #WildernessAdvocate!

For a Wild & Green Washington,
The Staff, Board, and Volunteers from Washington Wild

Monday, November 9, 2015

Craft Beer + Food = Wild and Green WA Full of Great Beer!

Kim and Kendall Jones of the
Washington Beer Blog
Craft beer. Craft food.  A wild and green Washington for generations to come.  All these combine into one amazing event in October, Craft Beer + Food.  This one of a kind event hosted by Kendall and Kim Jones of the Washington Beer Blog raised a net of over $9,000 to benefit Washington Wild, brought out almost 300 people and was supported by 12 partnering breweries and restaurants.  People from the beer, foodie, and Wilderness communities all came out to support this event and enjoy delicious pairings. The festival is about the beer, the food, and about the cause, but it is also about the people.  The people that work for the supporting breweries and restaurants, the people who host the event, the people who attend the event and the those impacted by the nonprofit work of Washington Wild.

As the only statewide conservation organization primarily dedicated to protecting Washington’s wild lands and waters, Washington Wild emphasizes the people portion of the equation.  By building coalitions and through other collaborative efforts, Washington Wild plays a key leadership role of bringing diverse groups together to promote and protect a wild and green state for generations to come.  When working in an area we identify the multiple uses, benefits, values and subsequently the people who have a vested interested in the wild landscape, so that we can work together to protect the landscape and all it encompasses. In the last year Washington Wild made over 1,000 connections with local elected officials, business owners, recreation organization, sportsmen, and breweries to support the permanent protection of wild lands and waters.

Wild waters and the watersheds that protect them impact the quality of Washington beer in large portions of the state.  It hasn’t taken long for our local brewing community to jump on board to support Washington Wild’s efforts to protect a critical part of the brewing process, water. We call this the Brewshed® Connection: protected water leads to superior downstream beer.  Since 2012 the Brewshed® Alliance climbed from 8 partners to over 30 in almost 15 different cities throughout Washington State.  With the help of these partners, including the Washington Beer Blog and Craft Beer + Food, we have reached thousands of beer drinkers with the Brewshed® Connection and raised over $50,000.  In one year the Brewshed® Alliance went from generating a little less than $5,000 to contributing 10% of the revenues of Washington Wild’s budget at large.  Beer will change the world, and we know how- by keeping it wild!

We at Washington Wild are so grateful to Kendall and Kim Jones for their relationship with the Brewshed® Alliance and choosing Washington Wild as the beneficiary of this awesome event for the last two years.  As a small nonprofit this event makes a huge difference to our budget and goes a long way to support the Brewshed® Alliance and conservation work throughout the state.  Additionally, we would like to thank all the brewers and restaurants that participated with a special thank you to our host Tom Douglas Restaurants!  And finally, thank you to all the attendees, especially those who came by to pop a balloon!  If you didn’t get a chance to pop a balloon then look for the 3rd Annual Washington Wild Brewshed® Beer Fest in June, as the balloon popping shenanigans will return!

Craft Beer + Food = A wild and green Washington full of great beer!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Apline Lakes Pale Celebration Challenge!

After seven years of hard work, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act passed Congress!  This legislation will protect over 22,000 acres of Wilderness and almost 40 miles Wild and Scenic Rivers.  As a result clean water, native trout, world-class outdoor recreation opportunities, and downstream beer will all be protected now and for future generations.

To celebrate this important milestone and achievement years in the making, one of our Brewshed® Partners – Elliot Bay Brewing Company – has offered the beer and conservation communities a celebratory challenge: to raise $2,500 (we have made our Indiegogo goal $1,500 since we have additional internal methods to take donations) to support Washington Wild’s Brewshed® Alliance and our conservation work as a whole.  When we meet this goal they will release a celebratory limited edition batch of beer, the Alpine Lakes Pale!
Donations totaling $2,500 or more will not only ensure the release of this batch but also support Washington Wild’s conservation work for the passage of Wilderness initiatives like Alpine Lakes. But there’s much more to it!  Elliot Bay Brewing Company has offered to generously donate $1 per pint sold of the ENTIRE BATCH of Alpine Lakes Pale, which will be on tap at all three Elliot Bay Brewing Company locations (West Seattle, Lake City, and Burien).  In addition, Country Malt Group and Hops Direct, LLC have both generously donated their product as an in kind donation that Elliot Bay Brewing Company will pass onto Washington Wild.  And if that isn’t enough, Elliot Bay Brewing Company will host a release party on February 19, 2015 in the aptly named Cascade Room at their Lake City Way location to celebrate both achievements!

The Brewshed® Alliance was initiated in 2012 and since then has reached over 2,500 people with the impactful message of the Brewshed® connection: protected water makes superior beer.  Our 28 brewery and beer community partners have joined us to help spread the word, but now they are challenging you saying, “It’s your turn to show that you received the message.”
We’ve seen unprecedented support of the Washington Brewshed® Alliance from the professional beer community.  And now we are celebrating the designation of the addition to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, which directly protect the water source for Brewshed® partner Icicle Brewing Company.  This bill represents the quintessential Brewshed® connection, but it also represents a great opportunity: to celebrate a huge success for conservation and great downstream beer!
Help us raise $2,500 today with your tax deductible donation to show the community support of the Brewshed® connection and release the Alpine Lakes Pale in celebration of this great triumph!  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions Passes Congress after Seven Years of Effort

Senator Murray hits another benchmark for Washington’s Next Generation of Wilderness

By Tom Uniack, Washington Wild Conservation Director 

After squinting to watch the streaming video on my computer of the U.S. Senate vote, a voice confirms an accomplishment seven years in the making. The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act passed the U.S. Congress. Next stop President Barak Obama’s desk.

  The feeling was one of exhilaration, joy and relief after a long campaign resulting in 22,000 acres of additions to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and nearly 40 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers

Little did I know that feeling would nearly be eclipsed by another as my phone rang. On the line was the excited and steady voice of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), our senior Senator and the champion of the legislation in the Senate for the last seven years. “I just wanted to say thank you for all your work,” said Murray, “We would not be here without you."

Strong Congressional Champions
You may not know it by her stature and demeanor, but Senator Murray is arguably the most accomplished Wilderness champion in the U.S. Congress and one of the most patient, unwavering and dedicated champions for public lands our state has ever seen. Having worked with her in a leadership role on the 106,000-acre Wild Sky Wilderness (designated in 2008) and the Wild Olympics proposal (introduced into Congress this year), her kind words will resonate with me for years to come.   

On the Alpine Lakes legislation she had bipartisan help from key members of the Washington Congressional delegation.  Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA08) initiated the Alpine Lakes Wilderness additions and has been a tireless and relentless advocate for protecting this special place. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA01) inherited the Alpine Lakes proposal as part of redistricting and has been a passionate champion for Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers during her initial congressional term. Senator Maria Cantwell’s reputation as a strong conservation advocate and leadership role on the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee has been a great asset.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Rivers Additions
The Alpine Lakes legislation will protect an additional 22,000 acres of wilderness adjoining the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and add 10 miles of the Pratt River and nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The legislation will protect clean water, native trout and world-class outdoor recreational opportunities in the closest mountain valley to the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

“With the proximity of the Pratt and Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie rivers to the major urban center of Seattle, residents of the region have unparalleled access to an abundance of recreational opportunities on these world-class rivers,” said Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “As someone who has explored hundreds of river miles across the country and around the world, I can confidently say that we have some of the most spectacular river resources of any place in the world.”

Next Generation of Washington Wilderness
While the Alpine Lakes Additions are the most recent cause for celebration, it is part of a focused statewide approach to protect additional Wilderness that began 15 years ago. On the shores of Lake Wenatchee in 1999, Washington Wild held a special meeting for Wilderness activists around the state to discuss and identify opportunities for new Wilderness designations, especially on national forest lands. The last Forest Service-designated Wilderness in Washington came in the 1984 Washington State Wilderness Act. 

Those discussions culminated in a seminal meeting in 2000 between the statewide Wilderness community and Senator Patty Murray about doing the groundwork to develop the first of several new efforts to designate Wilderness in Washington. 

Two years later, Senator Murray introduced flagship legislation to designate the 106,000 acre Wild Sky Wilderness. Ultimately it was signed into law in May 2008 ending a quarter century drought of new Wilderness designations on national forest lands in Washington State.    
In 2007, before Wild Sky was designated, Wilderness advocates worked to develop a proposal with Congressman Dave Reichert to add 22,000 acres to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Later, Senator Murray would join Reichert to add Wild and Scenic Rivers designations for the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers to a bipartisan proposal.

As Alpine Lakes moved through Congress, Washington Wild and a coalition of Wilderness and river proponents on the Olympic Peninsula worked with Congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA06) and Senator Murray to develop the Wild Olympics Proposal. The Wild Olympics proposal, which would designate 126,000 acres of new Wilderness on Olympic National Forest and more than 460 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers on the Olympic Peninsula, was most recently introduced into Congress in 2013 by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer. 

Underrepresented low elevation Wilderness
Washington Wild’s leadership on wild lands campaigns over the last decade has focused on protecting low-elevation wild lands that were by and large not protected by past Wilderness designations. Out of all the national forest wilderness areas previously designated statewide, only 6% of the total was considered low elevation (i.e., below 3,000 ft.). These underrepresented low elevation areas are a major focal point in the Next Generation of Wilderness proposals because they include:

         - Mature and old-growth forests.
      -  Salmon spawning streams and critical habitat for fish and wildlife
           - Multi-season recreational opportunities accessible to families spring, summer and fall. 

These critical elements support the unique quality of life we enjoy here in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. They are part of the reason why so many of us choose to live, work and play here in Washington State.
The recently designated Wild Sky Wilderness deliberately included close to one-third of its acreage as low elevation forests. Senator Murray referred to these critical areas as the “heart and soul” of the proposal during the Wild Sky campaign. About half of the acreage of the Alpine Lakes Additions is comprised of forests and watershed below 3,000 feet elevation

Washington’s River Renaissance
While Oregon has 2,000 miles of designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, Washington has just 250 miles. Recognizing the potential to increase the number of protected miles through collaboration,  Washington Wild led a one-day workshop on November 8, 2008, to bring statewide Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River advocates together to discuss, understand and commit to the power of pursuing both Wilderness and river protections in public land proposals. Since then, Washington Wild has changed its name to reflect a broader focus on Wilderness and water protection. The Alpine Lakes additions were the first manifestation of this “river renaissance” with its inclusion of Wild and Scenic River designations for the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers. The Wild Olympics proposal, which was introduced into Congress this year, would designate more than 460 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers on the Olympic Peninsula. Unbelievably, they would be the first designated rivers on this iconic landscape.

As we celebrate the passage of the second Wilderness bill in Washington State since recent efforts began in 2000, I am filled with hope and optimism for our future. As a result, we have nearly 130,000 acres of underrepresented low-elevation Wilderness and the first Wild and Scenic River designations in the North Cascades in 35 years.

None of this would have been possible without key leaders in our Congressional delegation, and above all the patience and leadership of Senator Patty Murray. Sen. Murray has been a great friend of Washington Wild, as she made clear in a recent video, and we look forward to continuing to work with her on Wild Olympics and other efforts to protect Washington’s wild lands and waters.