Conservation Alliance Applauds Pick for Interior Secretary: Obama’s choice bodes well for new conservation system

Dec 17, 2008

WASHINGTON — An alliance of conservation and other organizations today expressed their support for what President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for Secretary of the Interior, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colorado), means for a system of public lands expected to receive congressional recognition in 2009.

“Senator Salazar, through his leadership on the National Landscape Conservation System and popular conservation measures in his home state, has demonstrated a strong commitment to our public lands,” said William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society. He understands these complex issues and the importance of protecting the West’s open spaces for the next generation.”

Salazar co-sponsored the National Landscape Conservation System Act that’s expected to be passed into law next year. The legislation formally recognizes and protects more than 26 million acres of lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The National Landscape Conservation System would become America’s first new conservation system in more than 50 years.

An array of organizations also expressed their view that the choice of Salazar is a good pick for the Conservation System.

“We are very pleased with the selection of Senator Ken Salazar for Secretary of Interior”, said Richard Moe, president of The National Trust for Historic Preservation, another of the 80 conservation, historic preservation, faith-based, recreation, business and place-based friends groups supporting the conservation system. “As co-author of the National Landscape Conservation System Act, he has demonstrated a solid record of preserving historic resources on public lands. This hallmark legislation will Congressionally recognize a system rich in cultural treasures, and we look forward to continuing to work with him in his new position with the Obama Administration.”

So is an organization dedicated exclusively to supporting the Conservation System.

“Senator Salazar has been a true leader on public land protection,” said Brian O’Donnell, executive director of the National Conservation System Foundation, based in Durango, Colorado. “He is the co-lead on legislation to permanently establish the National Landscape Conservation System. Salazar also introduced a bill to create the Dominquez-Escalante National Conservation Area in western Colorado.”

About the System: The National Landscape Conservation System encompasses many historically and ecologically important areas spanning the American west, including 15 national monuments, 13 national conservation areas, 36 wild and scenic rivers, 148 wilderness areas, 4,264 miles of national scenic and historic trails, and more than 600 wilderness study areas. The conservation system was established administratively in 2000 by then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to “conserve, protect, and restore these nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.”

Learn more: Visit the website to see details of many more Conservation System sites, maps, etc.

Note: Photos of select National Landscape Conservation System units available from Chris Lancette at TWS. Contact him at 202-429-2692.