The Conservation Alliance: The heart of the outdoor industry
It all started at the San Francisco International Airport. Employees from Kelty, REI, Patagonia and The North Face were waiting for a flight when the topic of conversations shifted from the nature of each other’s business to nature itself and the need for all outdoor businesses to give something back to the planet. In the 22 years since that initial conversation, The Conservation Alliance has grown to over 160 dues paying members and donated over $9.5 million to more than 300 conservation projects in the continental United States. Every dollar of every annual membership fee goes to grassroots conservation programs that are in-progress but need a little extra financial help to reach completion. That’s the true beauty of the Conservation Alliance– every grant awarded makes an immediate impact.
While the Conservation Alliance’s roots are firmly planted in the western U.S., here in the east, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Adirondack Mountain Club, Trust for Public Land Northern New England, Appalachian Voices, American Whitewater, CRAG Vermont and the Adirondack Council have all received generous CA grants within the past two years. Earlier this month, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests were among the winter 2011 grant winners.
At Eastern Mountain Sports, we’ve been members of the Conservation Alliance since 1997. From the moment I joined our company as CEO in 2003, I’ve joined the CA’s lobbying trips to Washington D.C. as often as I could. In 2008, we took our membership to the next level by pledging $500,000 over the next five years to the Conservation Alliance’s Legacy Fund, a $3.5 million endowment designed to provide a permanent source of operational funding. 2010 was another milestone year in our relationship with the Conservation Alliance. Our Executive Vice President Ted Manning was named to the Board of Directors and we strengthened our commitment even further by pledging an additional $100,000 annually as part of the new Pinnacle Membership Level. Keen, Patagonia, REI and The North Face took this same step to provide the Conservation with even more funding to contribute to conservation efforts throughout North America.
For Eastern Mountain Sports, the Conservation Alliance is the most efficient and most effective way for our company to give back to the wild spaces that we depend on for our personal enjoyment and professional livelihood. As an outdoor retailer, we believe that ensuring current and future generations have access to public places for outdoor recreation is our responsibility and we are proud to work together with our partners as well as our competitors to make it happen. Bringing businesses together to make sure Americans have places to play–that’s the beauty of the Conservation Alliance.
If you’d like to learn more about how the Conservation Alliance works, who’s involved, and how it benefits the environment, I encourage you to visit them today at http://www.conservationalliance.com/