With towering redwood forests, pristine mountain peaks, and rugged desert landscapes, the wild lands of California encompass some of the most beautiful and diverse places on earth. These are refuges where eagles still soar across the horizon and salmon still swim from ocean to river—lands where nature thrives and the human spirit is free. California’s wild places offer a retreat from the frenetic pace of everyday life, and are also critically important to the ecological health of our region. Wilderness provides homes to threatened wildlife, supplies clean drinking water to California’s growing communities, and contributes to clean air in our skies.
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 for wildlife, and outstanding opportunities for recreation and spiritual renewal for people. CalWild is the only statewide organization dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the wild places and native biodiversity of California’s public lands.
CalWild protects our wild landscapes through public education, legislation and advocacy. We believe that a well educated and activist citizenry is essential to the preservation of wild California. We believe that local activism is often the most effective defense of our wild lands. We work as local organizers to educate thought leaders, elected officials and communities about the importance of protecting wild spaces. We build coalitions and work with Congress to secure wilderness designation for public lands. By creating new wilderness areas and designating rivers as “wild and scenic,” we can simultaneously:
- provide wild spaces the highest level of protection;
- encourage public recreational use; and
- ensure proper management to protect the plants, animals, and waters.
Our forests and watersheds are essential to providing clean water for our communities, carbon sequestration to counter climate change, and counter air pollution generated by burning fossil fuels. Millions of Californians use parks, forests, wilderness areas, and wild and scenic rivers for hiking, camping, rafting, fishing and a variety of recreational activities.
The enduring model for CalWild from the early 1970s was co-founder Jim Eaton working to help organize citizens of Colusa, Glenn, and Lake counties to protect Snow Mountain as Wilderness. As a result, logging and road building was halted. Legislation was introduced in 1974 and ten years later was made law. Since then, CalWild has helped to permanently preserve in perpetuity 13 million acres of wilderness, and successfully defended other special places from over-use, encroachment, logging, mining, and road-building.