Allegheny CleanWays cleanup ship

Meet the Outdoor Industry’s Newest Power Couple

Photo: Allegheny CleanWays

Patagonia and Public Lands are teaming up in the race to hit America’s conservation goals

Patagonia and Public Lands are teaming up in the race to hit America’s conservation goals. 

In January 2021, shortly after taking office, President Biden announced a goal to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030. This so-called 30x30 plan would be critical to forestalling climate change, but it was ambitious—at the time, only 12 percent of U.S. land and 23 percent of U.S. waters were permanently protected. Even the most dedicated policymakers would be hard-pressed to hit such daunting targets in just a decade. 

That’s where Todd Spaletto, president of Public Lands, saw an opportunity. 

To Spaletto, the framework represented a chance for the outdoor industry to step up—a chance for gear shops and outdoor retailers to help support the administration’s environmental efforts and finally move the needle on climate change. Plus, 30x30 lined up just too perfectly with Public Lands’ mission: to protect the places we recreate and help get more people outside. But before jumping in, Spaletto had a call to make. After all, two heads are better than one. 

If there was a perfect teammate in the fight for conservation, Patagonia had to be it. 

Working closely with the nearly 50-year-old environmental stalwart was, as Spaletto put it, “a natural partnership” for Public Lands.

“Patagonia and we have shared values and approaches,” Spaletto said. “We both want to create positive impacts for our public lands and the outdoor community and we share a commitment to giving back, engaging with local communities, and advocating for causes that are meaningful for people and the planet.

Now, Public Lands, Patagonia and the Public Lands Fund are proud partners in the effort to help the administration reach its 30x30 goals. The broader stakes couldn’t be higher. 

“To curb the mass extinction crisis and address climate change, scientists and conservationists urge that we protect 30 percent of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030,” said Walt Bailey, Patagonia’s senior sales director of North America Wholesale.

The plan for Patagonia and Public Lands is to support grassroots conservation organizations via advocacy, messaging, and volunteering. Additionally, the Public Lands Fund and Patagonia will support those organizations with grant funding, plus featuring them on Patagonia Action Works.

“We’re committed to working with wholesale partners such as Public Lands, as well as Indigenous leaders, frontline communities and nonprofits, to prioritize place-based land and water protection with grants, storytelling, policy and advocacy,” Bailey added. “As we assess land and water priorities, we’ll look at elevating projects that have high biodiversity impact, as well as carbon sequestration potential.” 

One first priority of this duo’s support of nonprofits: working to improve lands that are already protected. After all, the 30x30 plan will be most effective against climate change if it includes robust ecosystems—in other words, we get the most bang for our buck if all the conserved land is healthy. 

With local conservation at the front of the line, Public Lands and Patagonia have already announced their first nonprofit partners: Allegheny CleanWays and Friends of the Lower Olentangy River (FLOW), which clean and care for the Ohio and Olentangy rivers, respectively. Their work felt close to home: These rivers are in the backyards of the first two Public Lands stores in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Columbus, Ohio.

This focus on local impact will be a continued pillar of this partnership, with Public Lands committed to fostering community connection through volunteering, local business partnerships, cleanup and education events, and funding. Patagonia already has a long history of support for grassroots activism, and the launch of Patagonia Action Works provides an additional platform to help anyone discover environmental organizations and actions they can take to support local causes. 

To address the bigger picture, Public Lands is also following Patagonia’s lead and is a member of 1% for the Planet, a global network of businesses committed to donating 1% of all sales to environmental organizations. 

It can be easy for businesses to take charge of environmental initiatives and try to dominate the conversation. But Public Lands and Patagonia both know that conservation doesn’t get done unless we all work together. That goes for businesses and every outdoor community needing to care for the land and water we rely upon. Taking action will make those 30x30 goals not look so daunting after all. Visit to learn about how you can get involved in your community. 

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.