I'm a trail runner who wants to do more to protect open, wild spaces around the West.
On September 22, 2019, I'm starting the Grand to Grand Ultra, a 170-mile self-supported weeklong stage race, for the third time. This time, I'll run with the purpose of raising money and awareness for the National Conservation Lands—some 36 million acres of public land containing national monuments, conservation and wilderness areas, wild rivers and scenic trails managed by the Bureau of Land Management. I plan to do this by spotlighting the work of the Conservation Lands Foundation and asking you to help me meet my goal of raising at least $10,000 for the group by the time I finish the Grand to Grand.
The Conservation Lands Foundation, founded in 2007 and based in Durango, Colorado, is the only nonprofit dedicated solely to protecting and enhancing the National Conservation Lands. Whereas most Americans know of and value our country's magnificent national parks system, far fewer know about and appreciate this network of BLM-managed National Conservation Lands.
I became aware of the Conservation Lands Foundation two-and-a-half years ago, and the more I learn about and observe their work, the more I’m convinced they’re making a real, positive difference to protect and enhance public land in its natural state, thereby safeguarding the ecosystems and the significant archeologic and historic sites of these special areas, as well as providing trails and access for the public to engage in low-impact recreation in the wilderness.
Conservation Lands Foundation has been a leader in the fight to restore the designation of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah, and they were a key driver helping to pass the landmark public lands bill last March, which gained broad bipartisan support in Congress. They do this in part by coordinating the work of some 70 locally based conservation groups in the West.
There is much more work to be done to defend and enhance BLM land worthy of National Conservation Lands status, which is why the Conservation Lands Foundation needs our support! For a quick summary of their awesome impact, check out their brief 2018 Annual Review.
The Grand to Grand Ultra starts at the northern edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and finishes near the pink cliffs of the Grand Staircase in southern Utah. Along the way, the competitors traverse BLM-managed lands and state parks that skirt two of the 28 stunningly beautiful and unspoiled areas designated as National Monuments that the Conservation Lands Foundation works to defend and promote: the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Not far to the east is the Bears Ears National Monument. In late 2017, the Trump Administration removed some 2 million acres from those designated monuments, reducing Bears Ears' protected land by about 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by about half, opening them up to extractive use. The Conservation Lands Foundation has been working to restore these monuments' full protection, for the sake of the area's wilderness and its sacred archeological and cultural artifacts.
I hope you will learn more about the important work of the Conservation Lands Foundation, and discover a National Conservation Lands area near you. Then consider making a generous donation to support the work of the Conservation Lands Foundation and share this fundraising page with others.
If you want the bigger-picture story of how I came to know about and care about the Conservation Lands Foundation, I invite you to read this blog post.
Thank you so much for your support!
Featured photos: (1) running across a plateau with the vermillion cliffs in the background during the 2014 version of the Grand to Grand Ultra; (2) finishing the inaugural 2012 event teary and exhausted, overlooking the pink cliffs of the Grand Staircase, 3rd female and 7th overall; (3) traversing a swath of beautiful BLM-managed land in southern Utah. (photos courtesy Grand to Grand Ultra); (4) visiting Bears Ears National Monument in May to see the positive work of the Conservation Lands Foundation firsthand (read my post about it here).