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Our mission.

CalWild protects and restores the state’s wildest natural landscapes and watersheds on public lands. These important wild places provide clean air and water, refuges and habitat connections for plants and wildlife, immense cultural values, outstanding opportunities for recreation and spiritual renewal, and are important tools in addressing climate change. CalWild is the only statewide organization dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the wild places and native biodiversity of California’s public lands.

CalWild believes in and is committed to the democratic process. Our success comes through availing ourselves of democracy’s most fundamental concept: responding to the wishes and desires of the people.

Our theory of change is that through the direct engagement and empowerment of local public land advocates of all stripes, we can effect change at the local, regional, state and federal levels. CalWild’s role is to help identify where public lands advocates’ tools and capacity aligns with an immediate or medium-term political opportunity. It is our belief that local people and local elected officials are the best advocates for protecting lands and waters in their area.

Our job is to provide the knowledge, technical support, and connections to make that a reality. We are committed to respectful, authentic, equitable, and proactive engagement and empowerment of all groups and individuals, specifically those that have been historically marginalized in the public lands decision-making, management, and use process. Read more on our Equity and Inclusion statement in the tab below.

In January 1976, five twenty-somethings, Jim Eaton, Don Morrill, Bob Schneider, Phil Farrell, and Jeff Barnick who shared a passion and a mission got together to sign Articles of Incorporation for their new startup, the California Wilderness Coalition.


Their plan: disrupt the status quo of conservation activity to achieve a breakthrough in wilderness preservation. Instead of succumbing to the bureaucratic-industrial complex that divided and defeated conservation plans, they proposed a new paradigm of “unify and succeed.” Unify information, unify people, unify action – and succeed in a radical paradigm shift that stopped seeing exploitation as the normal fate of wildness, and instead promoted a big new idea:  wild areas – all of them – should and will remain wild.

Since then, the organization (officially renamed CalWild in 2023) has helped to permanently preserve in perpetuity 13 million acres of wilderness, 1,500 miles of wild and scenic rivers, and successfully defended other special places from over-use, encroachment, logging, mining, and road-building. Read more.

The most fundamental principle of CalWild’s work is that public lands belong to all people. Therefore, it is CalWild’s duty to ensure everyone is encouraged and empowered to be involved in the protection, management, use and enjoyment of public lands regardless of age, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, culture, or spiritual background.

Who We Are

To be effective towards this end, CalWild is committed to integrating and executing values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into our hiring practices and internal support systems for staff. We will prioritize a rich mix of experiences, perspectives, backgrounds, and beliefs. We are committed to furthering that ethos by proactively listening to the different perspectives and points of view of our staff, and creating a welcoming environment where they feel empowered to bring their complete selves to the work they do. We believe our future organizational effectiveness rests squarely on our ability to embody these ideas.

What We Do

CalWild has always worked to empower local voices and groups in their efforts to protect the public lands they love. We are committed to respectful, authentic, equitable, and proactive engagement and empowerment of all groups and individuals, specifically those that have been historically marginalized in the public lands decision-making, management, and use process. Only by ensuring that all groups and individuals have an equitable voice and power will California be able to protect its rich ecological diversity for generations to come.

CalWild acknowledges that everyone connects and engages with nature in a way that reflects their culture, experiences, and abilities. We are committed to listening and helping to advocate for appropriate access and inclusive policies for all groups.

Our impact since 1976.

With our partners and advocates like you, we have protected or are working to protect:
13,154,357
acres of wilderness
6,000
miles of wild scenic rivers
2,578,000
acres of National Monuments

Meet our Board of Directors.

Read bios for our board and staff →

Michele Barinksy

Michele Barinksy

Board Member
Daniel Gutman

Daniel Gutman

Board Member
Keith Hammond

Keith Hammond

Board Member
Jonathan Hodge

Jonathan Hodge

Board Member
Bonnie Holman

Bonnie Holman

Board Member
Wendi Jonassen

Wendi Jonassen

Board Member
Mariana Maguire

Mariana Maguire

Board Member
Mark Milinkovich

Mark Milinkovich

Board Member
Annie Nyborg

Annie Nyborg

Board Member
Andrea Osorio

Andrea Osorio

Board Member
Sarah Pedersen

Sarah Pedersen

Board Member
Kristin Roscoe

Kristin Roscoe

Board Member
Russell Scofield

Russell Scofield

Board Member

Meet our staff.

Sarah Pedersen

Board Member
Mark Green

Mark Green

Interim Executive Director
Ryan Henson

Ryan Henson

Senior Policy Director
Steve Evans

Steve Evans

Wild Rivers Director
Linda Castro

Linda Castro

Assistant Policy Director
André Sanchez

André Sanchez

Community Engagement & Conservation Policy Manager
Julene Freitas

Julene Freitas

Office Manager
Andrea Iniguez

Andrea Iniguez

Public Lands Fellow

Careers at CalWild.

HIRING: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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