This river valley is protected by the Wild and Scenic Act; however, that does not seem to stop ranchers from allowing their cattle to (illegaly) graze in this specific region.  Owyhee Canyonlands - Eastern Oregon

How the Conservation Alliance Is Making a Difference

Photo: Dan Holz/Tandemstock

How the Conservation Alliance protects wild places.

All the gear in the world wouldn’t be worth much if we didn’t have wild places to use it. That’s why protecting wilderness and promoting access to the outdoors is a foundational part of the mission at Public Lands. Recreation and conservation go hand in hand, so every purchase from Public Lands helps protect our country’s wild lands. 

How does it work? Public Lands sets aside 1% of every sale for the Public Lands Fund, which supports conservation efforts. One beneficiary is The Conservation Alliance, a business-funded nonprofit that makes critical grants to conservation programs nationwide. The Public Lands Fund is a Pinnacle member of the Conservation Alliance, contributing $100,000 annually.

“It is great to see a major retailer build conservation, public lands education, and advocacy into the bedrock of their stores,” says Conor McElyea, Senior Director of Membership and Partnerships at The Conservation Alliance.

The Conservation Alliance has more than three decades of experience—and success—in helping to protect wild places. It invests funds carefully in vetted projects based on their biological diversity, success history, political viability, and benefits to people and wildlife. It also increases outdoor recreation opportunities and helps provide climate change solutions. Conservation Alliance funding and corporate advocacy has helped protect 81 million acres of wildlands, conserve 3,579 river miles, stop or remove 37 dams, designate five marine reserves, and purchase 21 climbing areas.  

It’s the collective nature of the organization that is its greatest strength, says Conor. “The Conservation Alliance brings the power of its member businesses, their thousands of employees, and billions of dollars in economic impact to bear for the protection of wild places,” he says. “The Public Lands Fund has been an incredible partner from Day One thinking creatively about ways they could support our work, the work of our grantees, and the U.S. public lands system as a whole, and that commitment and enthusiasm has continued on since.”

In 2023 alone, the Conservation Alliance has awarded $2.2 million in grant distributed across more than 50 grassroots conservation organizations throughout North America.  

A scenic image of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.. Photo: Jaynes Gallery/Danita Delimont

2023 Grant Winner Highlights

Here are a handful of 2023’s grant-winning organizations:


Gwich'in Steering Committee: Gwich'in Steering Committee Support - Protecting the Coastal Plain — $50,000

Named for the major river within its range, the 197,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd has a rich connection with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, using an area the size of Wyoming in the Refuge as well as Yukon and the Northwest Territories. It’s also an important resource for the Gwich'in people. Their steering committee’s mission is to ensure the long‐term health of the herd that sustains the Gwich’in way of life in the Refuge. The committee is dedicated to protecting the entire ecosystem of the caribou to ensure the Gwich’in people have a future in their homeland, in particular passing legislation that would designate as Wilderness the 1.5-million acre coastal plain, “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins). 


CalWild: Southern California National Monuments — $50,000

The California Wilderness Coalition is working to designate the Santa Pelona Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains and Mojave Desert as national Monuments to protect 997,143 acres of public lands, and pass the PUBLIC Lands Act to protect 625,000 acres of wilderness, 684.5 miles of streams as wild and scenic rivers, and over 50 climbing areas.


Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness: Save the Boundary Waters — $50,000

The Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota is the United States most visited wilderness area. The Save the Boundary Waters Campaign is working to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (1.1 million acres), Voyageurs National Park (218,200 acres) and Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park (1.18 million acres) from sulfide-ore copper mining pollution through a ban on this type of mining in the watershed/headwaters of these treasured wild lands.


Central Oregon Landwatch:  Save Skyline Forest — $25,000 

This grant is supporting efforts to protect 33,000 acres of intact forestland for critical wildlife habitat, close-to-town outdoor access, world-class recreation opportunities, regional water quality, and improved fire safety that is paramount to the well-being of Central Oregon communities.  

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.