Land and Water Conservation Fund and Forest Legacy announce priority wilderness projects for 2014

Thursday, August 22, 2013


  • Point Arena/Cypress Abbey Phase II, California Coastal National Monument
  • Land Unit: Bureau of Land Management
  • LWCF Ask:  $2.4 million (20 acres)

This complex of protected state, federal, and private land located near the famous Point Arena Lighthouse encompasses over 2400 acres and over 10 miles of Pacific coastline. Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands contain significant natural resources, including the estuary of the Garcia River, a prime habitat for threatened and endangered species of salmon. Other local federally listed endangered species that give this property high priority include Behren’s silverspot butterfly, the Point Arena mountain beaver, and the California red-legged frog. This property, along with a 4.8 acre residential parcel located at the ocean’s edge, will consolidate public ownership, permanently protect wildlife habitat, and enhance public recreational activities. Their proximity to the town of Point Arena and to the spectacular scenery of the rugged coastline will make them especially attractive for development as the economy continues to improve. The citizens of Point Arena support the conservation of these lands, and as residents of a gateway community to the California Coastal National Monument, they also understand the economic benefits to be derived from tourism and outdoor recreation.

  • Johnson Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC)
  • Land Unit:  Bureau of Land Management
  • LWCF Ask:  $1.06 million (361 acres)

Fifty miles northeast of the urban hub that is San Diego resides scenic Johnson Canyon.  This Canyon is adjacent to Beauty Mountain Wilderness, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, Cleveland National Forest, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and other designated lands. The ACEC provides outdoor recreation opportunities for the public, protects critical wildlife linkages between the public lands, and preserves water quality of the upper watershed of the San Luis Rey River. The Bureau of Land Management LWCF priority acquisition will further these benefits, building on a multi-year, multi-partner effort, working to protect the larger Beauty Mountain landscape. Identified as part of the South Coast Missing Linkages Project, the acquisition will help form one of the largest blocks of undeveloped land in an area that hosts over 55 rare, protected or declining species of plants and animals.

  • Ryan Creek Conservation Easement
  • Land Unit:  Forest Legacy Program
  • LWCF Ask:  $2 million (6,325 acres)

Ryan Creek, a tributary of Freshwater Slough on the northern coast of California, flows through a managed forest known locally as the McKay tract that is dominated by coast redwood, Douglas fir, and Sitka spruce. Its canopy and forest floor sustain known populations of northern spotted owl, red-legged frog, Howell’s montia, osprey, and peregrine falcon. Ryan Creek and its associated upstream wetlands provide very important habitat for spawning coho salmon, cutthroat, and steelhead trout. Unfortunately, over the last 10-15 years, the McKay tract has been subjected to increased development and now defines the interface between wildland and the city of Eureka. Approximately 256 acres within the McKay tract have already been removed for a variety of residential and commercial uses and further conversion threatens both the property’s traditional use for timber and the habitat quality for a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial species known to rely on it. An allocation of $2 million from the Forest Legacy Program is needed in 2014 to provide the landowner with the opportunity to prevent residential development permanently, establish low-impact harvesting practices, and maintain habitat values in the Ryan Creek watershed over the long term. This will be matched by nonfederal funds for a total project value of $4 million.

  • California Desert Southwest, San Bernardino National Forest
  • Land Unit: U.S. Forest Service
  • LWCF Ask: $2.5 million (480 acres)

The San Bernardino National Forest encompasses the wild lands of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountain ranges in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The Fleming Ranch property, which is located within the national forest and is visible from a five-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, is encompassed in a broader landscape-level project. The ranch contains the largest unprotected portion of the upper watershed of Herkey Creek, which flows into Lake Hemet and is a tributary of the south fork of the San Jacinto River. It is also home to the California spotted owl, least Bell’s vireo and the federally endangered mountain yellow-legged frog. These species and others will benefit from the protection of Fleming Ranch as the impacts of climate change increase. The wetland and riparian habitats on Fleming Ranch have natural resilience to climate change due to the tract’s hydrology, and can offer habitat refuge. Improved forest health, water quality protection, habitat protection, and better public access will follow from federal acquisition of Fleming Ranch.

  • Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve
  • Land Unit: National Park Service
  • LWCF Ask: $7.595 million (3,381 acres)

The Mojave Desert, located in California’s Desert Southwest Focal Area, supports broad plant and animal life that varies by elevation. The Mojave National Preserve is listed as critical habitat for the federally protected desert tortoise and other animals including the coyote, golden eagle, and bighorn sheep that live in the region as well. Visitors can take in scenic views, horseback ride, hike, camp, and hunt game animals such as mule deer. The region is threatened by encroaching development and the growing use of recreational vehicles that can disturb fragile habitat. Acquisition by the National Park Service will help to preserve these valuable resources and recreational opportunities, as well continue a valuable partnership that has successfully protected many tracts of land in the region.

  • Sierra Nevada Checkerboard, Royal Gorge and Tahoe National Forest
  • Land Unit: U.S. Forest Service
  • LWCF Ask: $2.3 million (1,071 acres)

California’s Sierra Nevada is the sole source of drinking water for millions of Californians and constitutes one of the largest hotspots of biodiversity in the United States. The Sierra “checkerboard” of alternating federal and private ownership presents numerous challenges, prompting the U.S. Forest Service to attempt to consolidate these checkerboard lands, thereby improving management of and access to existing federally owned lands. This consolidation will also improve management of sensitive wildlife species such as the American marten and Sierra Nevada fox as well as spotted owls, lynx, and mountain lions. The Tahoe National Forest is a popular destination for winter recreation and a significant source of economic benefits for the surrounding region. This project will provide watershed and wildlife habitat protection and continuity of year-round recreational opportunities for the public, including improvements to important ski areas.



  • Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
  • Land Unit:  Bureau of Land Management
  • LWCF Ask:  $1.703 million (1,562 acres)

Located in Southwestern Colorado, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument contains the highest concentration of cultural sites in the nation, more than 6,000 recorded so far and up to 100 sites per square mile in some places. The requested three parcels – Yellow Jacket Canyon, Lower Yellow Jacket Canyon, and Trail Canyon and the Poe Property – will aid in the preservation of a critical inholding for the continued research of unique archaeological resources from the ancient cultures of the American Southwest. Aside from their historical significance, the acquisition of these parcels would conserve outstanding scenery, riparian resources for threatened aquatic species, and enhancements to public access and recreation opportunities. Direct threats to the monument include immediate dangers from vandalism of fragile archaeological and paleontological sites, residential development, and degrading land use practices. These acquisitions would complement prior conservation efforts at Canyons of the Ancients, which include over 7,000 acres of priority lands from willing sellers. All parcels provide potential habitat for the federally endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher and Colorado pikeminnow, and for the long-nose leopard lizard and desert spiny lizard, two species labeled as sensitive by the Bureau of Land Management.

  • Ophir Valley, Uncompahgre National Forest
  • Land Unit:  U.S. Forest Service
  • LWCF Ask:  $1.5 million (55 acres)

Located in the heart of southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, the Ophir Valley project area in the Uncompahgre National Forest is one of the San Juans’ hidden gems. Against a backdrop of unsurpassed alpine scenery, the Ophir Valley offers an abundance of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors including hiking, camping, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, four-wheeling, and fishing. The valley is home to the federally endangered Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly and the threatened Canada lynx.

While much of the Ophir Valley is in public ownership, the region’s mining heritage also created hundreds of privately-owned, patented mining claims scattered across the landscape like matchsticks. These private inholdings can be developed into sites for homes, putting Ophir Valley’s subalpine and alpine environments are at risk, creating significant management issues for the U.S. Forest Service, fragmenting wildlife habitat, and spoiling the scenic splendor and recreational opportunities so important to residents and visitors.

  • Sawtooth Mountain Ranch
  • Land Unit: Forest Legacy Program
  • LWCF Ask: $3 million (2,448 acres)

The Sawtooth Mountain Ranch is located adjacent to the Uncompahgre National Forest and contains some of the most productive forestland in Colorado as well as important water resources that support a rich variety of wildlife. The surrounding region features 14,000-foot peaks, pristine alpine streams, and wildflower meadows. The land also offers abundant recreation opportunities, including biking, fishing and hunting, camping, and hiking. This conservation easement will protect some of Colorado’s most productive habitat from fragmentation due to development and preserve the property’s crucial water rights. Importantly, the easement will help protect two tributaries of the Uncompahgre River that provide drinking and irrigation water for 76,000 people.

The property also supports habitat for threatened and endangered animals such as the Canada lynx and wolverine and globally vulnerable plants like the narrowleaf cotton and blue spruce. Sawtooth Mountain Ranch has at least 72 species of breeding birds, including rare species such as Steller’s jay and mountain bluebird, and common game animals occurring on the property include turkey, elk, and black bear. The Forest Legacy Program may represent the last chance to preserve this extraordinary ranch and prevent forest and habitat fragmentation.



  • Henry’s Lake Area of Critical Environmental Concern
  • Land Unit:  Bureau of Land Management
  • LWCF Ask:  $1 million (565 acres)

This acquisition features a lake that is not only considered a jewel of the Yellowstone region but one that is also the last stronghold in the Henry’s Fork basin for the imperiled Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The surrounding matrix of private and public land supports a dozen cattle ranches, including the requested acquisition of the Johnson-Empey Ranch, and provides valuable summer habitat and critical migration corridors for Yellowstone’s iconic elk, mule deer, moose, and antelope. The region serves as a dispersal and migration corridor for grizzly and black bear, wolverine, and mountain lion as they travel between Yellowstone National Park, the Centennial Valley, and central Idaho. This project is at increased risk from development, fragmentation of valuable wildlife habitat and migration corridors, and conversion of family ranches to second homes. Climate models suggest that winters in this region will become slightly warmer with more snow and the summer season will be warmer and drier. These changes will make the conservation of migration corridors, such as the Johnson-Empey Ranch, even more important as animals are forced to lower elevations earlier in the year and are affected by episodic summer droughts.

  • McArthur Lake East
  • Land Unit:  Forest Legacy Program
  • LWCF Ask:  $5.225 million (8,068 acres)

Through a working-forest conservation easement, the McArthur Lake East addition will secure 8,068 acres of highly productive forestlands within the McArthur Lake Wildlife Corridor (MLWC), the most important wildlife linkage zone in the entire Selkirk-Cabinet-Purcell region. The MLWC provides a narrow but safe crossing point for wildlife between relatively intact blocks of public land inside of the Idaho Panhandle and Kootenai National Forests, including such wide-ranging species as deer, elk, moose, gray wolf, and rare carnivores like grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolverine, and fisher.  The MLWC is highly valued by sportsmen due to its exceptional fishing opportunities and superb hunting for large ungulates, waterfowl, and upland game birds.  The cold, high-quality streams of the MLWC, including many that crisscross the project lands, harbor one of Idaho’s only known populations of interior redband trout and have also been identified as critical to the recovery of the threatened bull trout. This forest property, owned by Hancock Timber Resources Group, is highly developable as rising real estate values have created an irresistible incentive to convert forests to subdivisions.  The project will eliminate the very real threat of conversion while ensuring continued timber management, conserving critical wildlife habitat, and providing perpetual public access for recreation.



  • Cold Stream Forest
  • Land Unit:  Forest Legacy Program
  • LWCF Ask:  $6 million (8,000 acres)

The fee-acquisition of the Cold Stream parcel will add 8,000 acres of high-value forest lands and riparian habitat to Maine’s largest block of contiguous conservation land. The project builds on significant prior Forest Legacy Program investment in this region of the state encompassing over 568,000 acres. The proposed acquisition supports an active commercial forest that contains nine wild native brook trout ponds, critical habitat for the threatened Canada lynx, and 2,000 acres of deer wintering areas. The project will protect more intact wild brook trout pond populations than exist in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined.

The Cold Stream Forest Project represents an outstanding model for a successful federal, state and private partnership that will maintain the forest’s value as a source of timber production and outdoor recreation to fuel the state’s economy. Without immediate protection, the Cold Stream Forest parcel faces a serious threat of development. The current landowner, a real estate investment trust, has offered the property for conservation while funds are secured for its permanent protection by the state.



  • Nez Perce National Historic Trail, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Upper Missouri NWSR
  • Land Unit: Bureau of Land Management
  • LWCF Ask:  $1.6 million (30,685 acres)

The president’s budget request for the Nez Perce National Historic Trail will allow the Bureau of Land Management to acquire key inholdings along the Upper Missouri riverfront, providing outstanding recreational and cultural tourism opportunities. Here, the Missouri flows through geologically stark badlands and cottonwood galleries and is an important corridor for wildlife. The landscape contains a spectacular array of biological, historical, geological, cultural, and wildlife resources, while the remote nature of the river itself allows visitors to view the same vistas experienced by Lewis and Clark on their expedition in the early 1800s and seen by the Nez Perce tribe. The monument allows a wide variety of uses including grazing, hunting, fishing, and other activities. Since the designation of the monument in 2001, the local counties have experienced a marked increase in both job growth and personal income, which will be aided by this key acquisition.

  • Collaborative Landscape Initiative: Blackfoot River Special Recreational Management Area, Douglas Creek
  • Land Unit:  Bureau of Land Management
  • LWCF Ask:  $2.6 million (3,680 acres)

This project consists of three parcels, totaling 3,680 acres, in the Blackfoot River Valley at the southern end of the Crown of the Continent. The Blackfoot system possesses exceptional wetlands, riparian habitats, grasslands, and forestlands. These ecosystems possess high biodiversity and scenic value, and harbor rare aquatic species such as the westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout, and a species of freshwater mussel. The Blackfoot River SRMA as a whole contains 14,720 acres of public lands along the Blackfoot River and Wolverine Creek and the purchase of these lands by the Bureau of Land Management will ensure public access for hunting, hiking, and other recreational activities. This project is one of the remaining pieces needed to complete the Blackfoot Community Project, which began in 2003.

  • Collaborative Landscape Initiative: Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park
  • Land Unit:  National Park Service
  • LWCF Ask:  $1.03 million (2 acres)

In 2010, Glacier National Park celebrated its centennial and began an effort to acquire the last remaining 418 acres of private inholdings within the park.  Funding is sought to continue efforts to acquire six priority parcels located in the Brig Prairie area of the Park along the North Fork of the Flathead River, totaling 2.09 acres.  These tracts have significant resource value as riparian and floodplain habitat. Four of the tracts are completely surrounded by National Park Service-owned lands and some of the tracts are surrounded by the park’s recommended wilderness area and are candidates for eventual addition to the wilderness system. Development of the land would jeopardize wilderness resource values as well as the backcountry character of the surrounding land.  Eligible for funding under the Crown of the Continent Collaborative Landscape program, these projects advance efforts for landscape level protection and species conservation, including habitat for the region’s grizzly bear, wolverine, lynx, goshawk, gray wolf, sage grouse, burrowing owl, trumpeter swan, and bull and cutthroat trout.

  • Clear Creek Conservation
  • Land Unit: Forest Legacy Program
  • LWCF Ask: $595,000 (798 acres)

This project is located in the southeastern Blackfoot watershed and represents a critical forested wildlife corridor. The property will be managed as a working forest to provide economic benefits to the surrounding communities while protecting important wildlife habitat. The project will further bolster local economies by improving access for hunting, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. The property supports native bunchgrass, riparian, Douglas fir, and Ponderosa pine ecosystems. It is an important corridor for grizzly bears to travel between surrounding mountain ranges and is crucial wintering habitat for mule deer and elk. This project will help abate the ecological hazards that residential development, fire suppression, and climate change currently pose to the Blackfoot Valley.

  • Collaborative Landscape Initiative: Crown of the Continent, Rocky Mountain Front
  • Land Unit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • LWCF Ask: $11.94 million (21,870 acres)

The Crown of the Continent is a ten-million-acre trans-border region in western Montana and southern Alberta and British Columbia encompassing some of the largest road-less areas in the contiguous U.S. The Front lies on the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains within the Crown of the Continent region and is rich in glaciated wetlands, riparian corridors, mixed-grass prairie, and coniferous forests.  It is one of the last remaining habitats in the world where grizzly bear still depend on the prairies for a large part of their life cycle. Numerous species of birds inhabit the Front, which features more than 700 species of plants, representing one-third of all the plant species found in Montana.  The native prairie, located primarily on private ranch lands, is crucial for continentally declining grassland birds and endangered, threatened, and candidate species including the bald eagle, gray wolf, Canada lynx, bull trout, trumpeter swan and the slender leaf moonwort. 

Conservation action plans identify subdivision, habitat fragmentation by roads and development, and invasive species as urgent threats to this biological system.  Multi-generational private ranches support and buffer the Front’s ecological attributes. Conservation easements assist in the abatement of potential fragmentation, while giving ranchers much-needed financial flexibility.  Landowners view easements as a tool to keep families on the land, stabilizing rural economies and local institutions. 

  • Montana Legacy Project, Flathead and Lolo National Forests
  • Land Unit: U.S. Forest Service
  • LWCF Ask: $31 million (26,000 acres)

This biologically rich land in western Montana is threatened by the wood products industry and development. The Montana Legacy Project protects core habitat and critical linkages that will enhance the survival of several imperiled species within the larger 10-million-acre Crown of the Continent region. This region is home to many important predators including Canada lynx, wolverines, gray wolves and the largest population of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. The project area features glacially formed wetland areas that host rare plant species and alpine streams that support bull trout. It features a variety of habitats including montane grasslands, riparian and wetland areas, low elevation ponderosa pine, mixed conifer forests, higher elevation spruce-fir forests, and recently burned forests that are home to a wide variety animals.

The project presents an unprecedented opportunity to deter residential development in crucial wildlife habitat. This project will ensure continued access to important wildlife habitat for hunters, angles, hikers and other recreationists who have used these forests for generations.


New Mexico

  • Upper Rio Chama River Watershed, Phase III
  • Land Unit:  Forest Legacy Program
  • LWCF Ask:  $2.98 million (8,272 acres)

The Upper Rio Chama River Watershed property lies within the Jarosa Creek-Rio Vallecitos watershed in Rio Arriba County and is currently in phase III of a conservation easement needed to complete a protection effort beginning in 2008. The federal funds requested will be matched by a 50-percent land value donation from the landowner. The parcel adjoins the Carson National Forest on three sides and is visible from the Continental Divide Trail, which winds for 18 miles along the property’s eastern border. The property contains mixed conifer, aspen, and spruce-fir forests interspersed with mountain meadows and creeks, providing suitable habitat for the state-threatened boreal owl and pine marten. In addition, several miles of riparian woodlands, considered relatively rare in New Mexico, are found along the Rio Vallecitos, Jarosa Creek, and North Creek. The Rio Vallecitos, managed by the U.S. Forest Service as a Wild and Scenic River, runs five miles across the property near the national forest boundary, and provides irrigation and municipal water to downstream villages.

  • Miranda Canyon, Carson National Forest
  • Land Unit: U.S. Forest Service
  • LWCF Ask: $2.17 million (473 acres)

The Miranda Canyon property is adjacent to the Carson National Forest, which features a wide variety of ecosystems from desert scrub to forested mountainsides to wildflower meadows.  The property is located just 10 miles from Taos and offers both scenic and recreational opportunities to city residents and visitors, including hiking, backcountry skiing and horseback riding. Local wildlife support big game hunting as well as outstanding trout fishing, including rainbow, eastern brook, German brown, and cutthroat trout. The Miranda Canyon property also contains a watershed important for local community water supplies. The property is currently under the threat of development and contains two at-risk watersheds. Acquisition of the property will complement other state and federal lands currently protecting the Rio Grande watershed and consolidate conservation lands across an area that is dense in natural resources, cultural and heritage lands, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

  • Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge
  • Land Unit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • LWCF Ask: $5 million (97 acres and 114 acres of senior water rights)

The Price’s Dairy property is located just 5 miles from downtown Albuquerque, NM and is one of the largest undeveloped riverfront properties in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. Protection of this property will provide city residents with open spaces and trails to recreate on and buffer the Rio Grande Valley’s cultural and natural resources from the stress of a rapidly growing population. The El Camino Real Tierra de Adentro National Historic Trail, a federally designated foot trail dating back to the 16th century that connected the Spanish capital of Mexico City to Texas and New Mexico, runs through a portion of the property and represents one of its more important features.

The region is currently threatened by subdivision and development and the transfer and sale of water rights. Several attempts to protect this property have been made over the years, with broad support from surrounding communities. Its acquisition by the Fish and Wildlife Service will allow for the restoration and preservation of a portion of the Rio Grande, facilitate environmental outreach with local citizens, and support nearby economic development while benefiting the numerous wildlife species that inhabit the area. The silvery minnow and Southwestern willow flycatcher, two endangered species, are found in this region, as well as migratory birds like sandhill cranes and arctic geese.


North Carolina

  • North Carolina Threatened Treasures, Pisgah and Uwharrie National Forests
  • Land Unit: U.S. Forest Service
  • LWCF Ask: $1.25 million (696 acres)

The North Carolina Threatened Treasures provide access to some of the most dramatic scenery and outstanding recreational opportunities in the Blue Ridge Mountains area and are the second most visited national forests in the country. Both forests are identified as increasingly threatened due to adjacent commercial and residential development. Continued development pressure not only threatens highly prized views of scenic areas in North Carolina, but also appropriates public natural resources for private ownership. Acquisition of these properties by the U.S. Forest Service will provide new public access opportunities to some of the best natural resource and recreation areas in the state, while allowing for continued timber production.



  • Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
  • Land Unit:  Bureau of Land Management
  • LWCF Ask: $2 million (1,320 acres)

Located in southwestern Oregon, this is the only National Monument established for its distinct biological diversity.  Dramatically different habitats converge here, including the high, dry desert influence of the Great Basin and the wet, lower elevation forests of the Pacific Coast.   As a result, the monument supports a spectacular variety of native plant and animal species and one of the highest diversities of butterfly species in the United States.  However, the land ownership pattern for the property is fragmented and thousands of acres remain outside of Federal ownership, closed to public use and unprotected from development.  Inappropriate development in this fast growing region is threatening the ecological values that the monument was established to protect.  Funding for this project will allow the Bureau of Land Management to purchase high-priority inholdings and at-risk lands within the monument from Hancock Timber, complementing previous work with LWCF acquisitions for Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

  • Crooked Wild and Scenic River Canyon Property
  • Land Unit:  Bureau of Land Management
  • LWCF Ask:  $975,000 (101 acres)

The Crooked River runs through the high desert in central Oregon and provides remote recreational opportunities including fishing, whitewater boating, wildlife viewing, and stunning scenic views. Despite the river’s wild and scenic designation and high popularity, there is very limited public access along its canyon route. Most points where the river is easily accessible are privately owned, making it very difficult for the public to enjoy this resource. Approximately a mile and a half of the river flows through the Crooked River Canyon property, which encompasses the steep walls of the gorge and unique high desert scenery. If received, these funds will be used to preserve the scenic qualities of the gorge and permanently protect public access to this section of the Crooked River.



  • Carter Mountain Working Forest Conservation Easement
  • Land Unit:  Forest Legacy Program
  • LWCF Ask:  $1.875 million (4,800 acres)

The Carter Mountain Working Forest Conservation Easement Project will protect 4,800 acres of prime forestland in Franklin County, Tennessee. The property is at the center of 62,000 acres of contiguous protected forest and adjoins the north boundary of the 8,943 acre Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area and Walls of Jericho State Natural Area. The property includes diverse and highly productive forests, over ten miles of scenic bluff views, two federally endangered species, ten vernal pool wetlands, and over ten miles of headwater streams in the Crow Creek subwatershed. The easement will ensure that the highly threatened Cumberland Plateau forest habitat on the property is protected from development, sustainable forest management is continued, hunting and other recreational activities are maintained, and important wildlife habitat is conserved.  The project will also help preserve the timber economy of the South Cumberland region and maintain the Carter Mountain region as a world-class destination for outdoor recreation



  • Klickitat Canyon Working Forest
  • Land Unit: Forest Legacy Program
  • LWCF Ask: $3.5 million (9,036 acres)

Located in southern Washington state, the Klickitat working forest has been in industrial timberland management for over 70 years and is critically important to the local economy as one of only a handful of non-public lands that can supply local mills. Due to the diversity of microclimates and the ecological richness, the site supports numerous state and federally-listed species, including Mid-Columbia steelhead and Columbia River bull trout. The requested conservation easement project would protect 5.2 miles of the Klickitat Wild and Scenic River, including critical habitat on both sides of the river. The project will link lands protected by Washington Department of Natural Resources and Yakama Indian Nation, and complement the other public lands in close proximity, including Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. While remote, the river canyons, Cascade Mountain views and plentiful recreational opportunities on the property are extremely vulnerable to low-density residential development, which could mar the scenic aspects for river users and block mule deer migration patterns.

  • Washington Cascades: Yakima River Headwaters, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
  • Land Unit: U.S. Forest Service
  • LWCF Ask: $3 million (1,800 acres)

This project seeks to ensure water quality, allow for better forest management and to protect wildlife habitat through the restoration of headwater forests. During construction of transcontinental railroads in the late nineteenth century, the federal government spurred these efforts by granting lands on alternating square miles along the route. The resulting checkerboard pattern in the forests of the Central Cascades poses problems for forest, wildlife, water, fire, and resource management. For wildlife, the checkerboard of ownership and management threatens migration patterns, especially for a number of threatened and endangered species inhabiting the area, including grizzly bears, gray wolves, spotted owls, marbled murrelets, steelhead trout, wild salmon, and bull trout. Fragmentation and development of these lands limits public access to the forests for recreation. Upon acquisition by the Forest Service, these lands will be available to the public for hiking, fishing, camping and cross-country skiing in an area increasingly in need of open space and wilderness recreational areas with its rapidly growing population.



  • Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont)
  • Land Unit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • LWCF Ask: $4.6 million (308 acres)

The Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge was established to conserve the abundance and diversity of native plants and animals and their habitats in the Connecticut River watershed. Its headwaters are found just north of Pittsburg, New Hampshire, and it ends 410 miles downstream as it enters Long Island Sound at Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The watershed is bounded to the west by the Green Mountains of Vermont and Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts and to the east by the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Holyoke Range of Massachusetts. The watershed supports a diversity of habitats including boreal and floodplain forests, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and 20,000 miles of tributary streams. A variety of plant and animal species call the 4 state, 7.2 million acre watershed home.  Protecting the watershed will diminish significant ecological threats, including degrading timber practices, residential and second home development, and the conversion of large forested parcels to smaller, more fragmented properties.