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The California Wilderness Coalition (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.
The voice of wild California
Natural ecosystems that keep California’s air and water clean and allow our economy to thrive are threatened by climate change, development, and over use. They need space and protection. When we preserve wild spaces and rivers, we preserve the health of our wildlife, our economy, and our own health.
Our Theory of Change
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
CalWild co-founder (and future Executive Director) Jim Eaton worked to help organize citizens of Colusa, Glenn, and Lake counties to protect Snow Mountain as wilderness in the early 1970s. As a result, logging and road building was halted, and legislation was introduced in 1974. In the process, activists in the Davis area activated around inventorying and protecting roadless areas around the state. California Wilderness Coalition was founded in 1976 by Eaton, Don Morrill, Bob Schneider, Phil Farrell, and Jeff Barnickol (read a recap for our 40th anniversary here). Since then, CalWild 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.