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Say hello to the renewed CalWild

We don’t believe in change for simply the sake of change. Like most things in nature, we believe in the necessity of evolving, reshaping, and shedding a bit of old skin for something more fitting in a changing environment. 


Since 2021, our team has been working behind the scenes to develop a new look and feel for our organization that we believe will serve as our foundation for years to come. We thought about what is truly important to us, and how we can build on what we have to create more value for all of you. Our new logo, color palette, and typeface are just a small part of our rebrand. What’s more important is our intent to redesign the relationship we have with all of you – our advocates. 


Our vision for change has never come from a need for replacement, but rather, renewal – a way to refresh the organization to better reflect our progress while continuing to honor our heritage and long-standing legacy of protecting wild California. We wear our new look with consideration of what the future will bring, with an everlasting admiration of our robustly rich past.


The evolution from California Wilderness Coalition to just CalWild

Four of five CalWild’s original founders. From left to right: Jim Eaton, Don Morrill, Phil Farrell and Bob Schneider (Jack Barnickol not featured)

In 1976, five twenty-somethings – Jim Eaton, Don Morrill, Phil Farrell, Bob Schneider, and Jeffrey Barnickol – shared a passion and mission for a new startup, the California Wilderness Coalition. Their plan? disrupt the status quo of conservation activity, and achieve a breakthrough in wilderness preservation. Their paradigm was to “unify and succeed.” Our laundry list of wins since then can testify to that, starting with the massively influential California Wilderness Act of 1984, one of our first milestones. We plan to stick to the roots laid down by these passionate individuals by continuing to unify information, people, and action.


Why we’re simplifying to “CalWild”


Many of you, ourselves included, have already adapted to our casual use of “CalWild” – now we’re making it official. 


Throughout this change, our mission and emphasis on protecting wild places will not change. Wilderness and wild and scenic rivers are still the bread and butter of what we do, and we will continue to aim for the highest forms of protection for the places we identify as vulnerable and crucial. 


What is different is the way we adapt to an unfolding era of change – the climate crisis, drastic biodiversity loss, a re-examination of equity and inclusion, and a gridlocked Congress are all issues that are reshaping the public lands discussion. As we see it, our non-partisan, pragmatic, collaborative approach will remain key as new and more immediate opportunities for protection present themselves. This includes National Monuments, Areas of Environmental Concern, Wilderness Study Areas, and Roadless Areas. 


We stand on the legacy of our founders and activists who helped protect millions of California’s wildest acres from logging, mining, and other extractive efforts. They applied the tools they had to the problems they faced. The problems of today require a more diverse set of tools and advocates. To further our mission of protecting wild places we must adapt to the political, environmental, and social realities of the day.” – Chris Morrill, Executive Director


Our new look and honoring our core heritage

Logo and wordmark: Our new logo is an ode to our original, just with a more simple modern feel. We landed on California’s iconic vast mountain ranges at the logo’s focal point, with no specific range in mind. Rather, we’re paying tribute to the rugged Sierra, Coast Ranges, San Gabriels, and every beautiful peak and valley in between.


Tagline: “Protecting Wild California” is a short reflection of our mission statement. Protecting the wild lands and waters in California is at the heart of what we do. 


Color Palette: We chose colors and hues that reflect and tell the story of the magnificence of the California landscape. With each of our new colors, we hope to evoke the emotions you feel while clambering down a rock face, staring into a trail map, or paddling down a rapid. 

Typeface: With a pairing of both serif and sans serif fonts, we created a modern yet vintage feel that references our original Wilderness Record design. Before digital media, our printed Wilderness Records were highly regarded in the conservation community – our first shot at communicating our work and growing our advocacy base. We want this part of our past to carry on, and we pay homage to it with the words we use.


Looking toward the future

Our original founders’ big idea was that wild lands and waters should remain wild – areas, as the Wilderness Act of 1964 remarks, where man “is a visitor who does not remain.” Contrary to the messages of our detractors, CalWild does not believe this means that people are excluded from these areas. Rather, our vision for the future, and the way we want to focus our work moving forward, is through places and stories that reveal the interactions between people, wildlife, and wild areas. 


The preservation of our landscapes is in desperate need of action, and we hope that by updating our look and simplifying our name, we can be more consistent and recognizable – reaching more Californians than ever before. It is our hope that the changes you see in our visual identity and voice accurately portray who we are at our core as a team and as an organization.


Take a deeper dive into the rebrand by reading a statement from our Executive Director, Chris Morrill. 


Consider advocating for our state’s wild places by becoming a member today.