Dave Matthews Lending Voice to Wilderness As Board Member of TWS

Mar 22, 2011

As one of the newest members of The Wilderness Society’s Governing Council, Dave Matthews is lending his voice to help preserve America’s treasured wilderness—including legislation to protect Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness expansion efforts near his home in Seattle. He is also calling on Congress to avoid short-sighted cuts in programs that preserve land, wildlife, and clean water.

“We are thrilled that Dave has joined our board,” said Doug Walker, the Governing Council’s chairman and himself a Seattle resident. “We have a tremendous opportunity today to make major strides in wilderness protection and to inspire the American people to action on behalf of the lands we all love. Dave’s creativity, energy, and perspective will provide a fabulous boost to these efforts.”

Matthews has championed environmental causes for many years. His band’s first public performance occurred at the 1991 Earth Day Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia. Over the years, Matthews has contributed to a series of environmental learning programs for children, worked on mountaintop mining issues, and taken steps to create a more environmentally friendly tour.

"I am honored to be associated with the work of The Wilderness Society,” said Matthews. “I look forward to learning more through this association and hope that I am able to bring greater attention to their efforts."

Given its close proximity to his Seattle home, Matthews has a special interest in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the North Cascades. Legislation introduced in Congress earlier this year would add 22,000 acres to the existing wilderness and protect nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River as wild and scenic rivers.

Featuring wild mountain vistas, lush old-growth forests, and more than 700 mountain lakes and tarns, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness offers world-class recreation opportunities such as rafting, kayaking, hiking, and horseback riding.

In addition to Alpine Lakes, Matthews is urging Americans to take action to protect one of our wildest places: Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Running along the Beaufort Sea in northeastern Alaska, the coastal plain is the biological heart of this sanctuary. It is vital to polar bears, wolves, muskoxen, millions of migratory birds, and a hundred-thousand strong caribou herd that treks hundreds of miles to the coastal plain each spring to give birth to the next generation.

Legislation to designate the coastal plain a wilderness area has been introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) and many co-sponsors.

With Congress in the midst of a heated debate over the federal budget, Matthews is asking his fans to reach out to their representatives and insist that they protect and improve America’s national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests. Millions of acres of wildlands hang in the balance without proper funding.

“Dave Matthews has long demonstrated a sophisticated and creative commitment to protecting our environment,” said William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society. “Our work to preserve the nation’s last wild public lands will benefit greatly from his guidance and his ability to inspire millions of Americans.”

During The Wilderness Society’s 75-year history, the council has included some of the nation’s most prominent conservationists: founders Bob Marshall (a passionate wilderness activist and leader), Aldo Leopold (renowned author of A Sand County Almanac), and Benton MacKaye (“father of the Appalachian Trail”); award-winning writers Wallace Stegner and Terry Tempest Williams; and Mardy and Olaus Murie (driving forces behind protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge).