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Interim Executive Director Report, April 2024

The Thrill of Conservation Victory

Interim Executive Director Report, April 2024

Dear friends,

 

It can take a long time to achieve lasting results for our wild places and rivers. Sometimes even decades.

 

Which is why this month’s tremendous victories for conservation and recreation feel so great!

 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has just announced its final Public Lands Rule. The new rule affirms that the mission of the BLM, which manages 247 million acres of public land throughout the US, must include conservation and recreation as equal priorities with economic development activities such as grazing, logging, mining or oil and gas exploration.

 

This change has been on conservationists’ wish lists for multiple administrations and it’s an enormous step forward. Now, the BLM will have to consider conservation and recreation alternatives to exploitation for private profit as they consider the highest and best uses of our public lands. While it doesn’t guarantee anything, the practical effect of this visionary act by the Biden Administration will be protection of millions of acres of wild lands that really shouldn’t be opened to economic development.

 

And this makes good economic sense! Outdoor recreation was a $1.3 trillion industry in the US last year, and wild lands bring us clean air and water, sequester atmospheric carbon, and sustain the biodiversity that keeps our world habitable.

 

Here at CalWild, we thank everyone who played a role in this significant change in policy. We’re proud of our piece of it, as California’s only statewide organization working on protecting wild places on federal public lands. We fought hard for the Public Lands Rule, and here it is at last!

 

In addition, we understand from our sources that the expansions of two National Monuments for which CalWild has been organizing support are to be announced by the President very shortly. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument will grow by thousands of acres, protecting these magnificent places forever!

 

After years of working to advocate for these positive strides, we are grateful to all the coalition partners, elected officials and conservation champions, and to President Biden for bringing them into being. Onward to the next achievements!

 

Yours for the wild,

 

Mark Green

Interim Executive Director