Former Secretary of Interior receives one of The Wilderness Society's highest honors

Jun 14, 2013

Ken Salazar receives Ansel Adams Award

Washington, DC (June 14, 2013) – Former Colorado Senator and Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, received the Ansel Adams Award on Thursday for his enduring dedication and commitment to  America’s wild public lands.

The Ansel Adams Award is presented to a current or former federal official who has shown exceptional commitment to the cause of conservation and the fostering of an American land ethic.

“Ken Salazar’s work has enriched our nation and strengthened our wild public lands for generations to come,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society.  “The Wilderness Society is thrilled to present him with our highest honor for public servants, the Ansel Adams Award.”

Among his many accomplishments, Secretary Salazar oversaw the designation of nine new national monuments, including the approximately 240,000 acre Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.

Throughout his tenure as Secretary of the Interior, Salazar worked to increase renewable energy development, doubling the nation’s production in just four years.  He also helped ensure the passage of the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Act which protected 2.1 million acres of new wilderness, among other conservation measures.

Salazar initiated badly needed reforms to the Bureau of Land Management’s onshore oil and gas program in order to restore a better balance between oil and gas development and the protection of wild landscapes. 

In addition, Salazar stood up for the first marine wilderness off Point Reyes, California, and saved the rim of the Grand Canyon from uranium mining. Ten new national wildlife refuges were created under his stewardship of the Department of the Interior. Perhaps most notably, Salazar sought to amplify the importance of the great outdoors to the public. His vision for the America’s Great Outdoors program laid the foundation for collaboration among the federal government, state and local stakeholders, and the public to encourage more Americans to get outdoors and enjoy our wild places.

The Ansel Adams Award is given on behalf of the renowned photographer who, until his death, was an outspoken advocate for defending the nation’s natural heritage. Past winners of the Ansel Adams Award include former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, former Congressman Mo Udall (D-NM), Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, President Jimmy Carter, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME), and Senators Bill Roth (R-DE), John Chafee (R-RI), John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT)


L-R Senator Michael Bennet (D- CO) Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, TWS President Jamie Williams, TWS Governing Council Chair Doug Walker


The Wilderness Society is the leading wild public lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 500,000 members and supporters, TWS has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.