New Gear To Protect Wild Places

A look inside the inspired, new hiking collection collab between Public Lands and The Conservation Alliance.

To help celebrate National Public Lands Day (Sept. 24) as well as Public Lands’ own one-year anniversary this fall, Public Lands is partnering with The Conservation Alliance (TCA) on a new hiking collection. The limited collaboration, released over the month of September, is designed to highlight select vendor members of TCA. (Reminder: the Bend, Ore.-based nonprofit alliance represents a coalition of outdoor businesses that fund and advocate for the permanent protection of North America’s wild places through grassroots environmental organizations.) The new collab will include several products that will be in-store across Public Lands locations as well as online the entire 30 days of September. And beyond the products, Public Lands and the brands participating in the collection will each be donating to The Conservation Alliance’s ongoing preservation efforts as part of the collaboration. 

The original idea here, as Conor McElyea puts it, is twofold: first, curating a select group of products from a variety of TCA’s member partners in order to raise funds while also highlighting their direct actions taken to help preserve public lands throughout the country. McElyea, TCA’s director of membership and partnerships, also noted how Public Lands is in a unique position, as a retail partner, to unite so many different companies to push a common mission: “It brings all these brands together under one roof while giving their customers an opportunity to engage and contribute to our conservation efforts,” he says. “The Conservation Alliance exists to get revenue from the business community to support land and water conservation, and partnering with Public Lands is a great way to help foster that.”  

Separate from the product collaboration celebrating National Public Lands Day and its anniversary, Public Lands also has a philanthropic arm, the Public Lands Fund, that’s an esteemed Pinnacle member of The Conservation Alliance, donating $100,000 each year to support the organization’s preservation work. 

Collection Highlights

The new Public Lands x Conservation Alliance Collection will feature a variety of branded products from select brands that will be benefitting TCA, including the following highlights.

  • A co-branded Hydro Flask bottle with the Public Lands and Conservation Alliance logo. 
  • Smartwool Conservation Alliance socks 
  • Two versions of co-branded BOCO Gear headwear, with TCA- and Public Lands-inspired designs 
  • Keen’s Circadia Hiking Shoe (men’s and women’s), Chaco’s Chillos Slide Sandal, plus an Osprey Hikelite 32 backpack, will come with a Conservation Alliance sticker and these vendors will also donate a portion of sales The Conservation Alliance throughout September. 

Collab Product Spotlight

With a design inspired from the timeless aesthetic of the 1970s, Smartwool’s The Conservation Alliance Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks feature cushioning on the entire foot bottom, plus a look that ties back to nature. Ideally, this merino-blend sock encourages all to get out and find wilderness—hopefully inspiring advocacy for its protection. Smartwool CEO Jennifer McClaren certainly notes her pride in partnering with TCA: “They inspire us and the greater outdoor industry to protect the wild places that we love,” she says. “The more we can do as an industry to support organizations like this that are advocating for the protection of our landscapes, the better we all are as a whole.” 

2022 Conservation Alliance Priority Campaigns 

For more than three decades, TCA funding and corporate advocacy has helped to protect 73 million acres of wildlands, conserve 3,576 river miles, stop or remove 37 dams, designate five marine reserves, and purchase 18 climbing areas. This year, the alliance is investing additional advocacy resources in the following four Advocacy Priority Campaigns.

Each campaign addresses demands for natural resources, adapting to a changing climate, recognizing the rights of Indigenous communities, and protecting habitat in places valued for recreation. In each prioritized area, TCA works with grantees to identify land and water conservation legislation that is urgent, vital, and needs national attention. The group is also working with members of its inaugural Confluence and multi-year grant programs to secure permanent protection for these threatened areas.

Boundary Waters – Minnesota

The cause: permanent protection for the Boundary Waters through finalizing a proposed federal 20-year ban on copper mining in this watershed; and passing permanent protection bills in Congress and the Minnesota legislature. 

Key partner: The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is led by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness and was organized by local residents in and around Ely, Minn. 

Dolores River – Colorado

The cause: a 75,000-acre National Conservation Area from McPhee to the San Miguel/Montrose County line, which includes more than 70 miles of river. 
Key partner: Dolores River Boating Advocates

Bristol Bay – Alaska

The Cause: permanent protection of Bristol Bay through EPA finalizing its action under the Clean Water Act and veto the Pebble Mine; and passing bills in Congress and the Alaska legislature to permanently ensure that mining projects, which would harm Bristol Bay salmon, rivers and lakes, can never be built.

Key partner: The United Tribes of Bristol Bay

Castner Range – Texas

The Cause: permanent protection of the region by designating a National Monument to protect it by passing legislation in Congress or through administrative action via the Antiquities Act. 
Key partner: Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.