Press Release – Volunteers Contribute $3 Million to National Conservation Lands

Durango, CO (August 5, 2013) – According to new data released today by the Conservation Lands Foundation, conservation volunteers contributed more than 112,200 hours of service to restoration, outreach, education and scientific research projects across the National Conservation Lands. The 2012 effort amounts to a total monetary value of $3,142,076, the equivalent of nearly 54 full-time jobs.

The National Conservation Lands are our nation’s newest collection of protected lands and waterways, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, that stand in stature along with National Parks, National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges as special places that protect America’s natural, historical and archaeological treasures.

“This shows that local Friends groups are making a tangible difference in the protection of the National Conservation Lands while they’re also working together to influence how these lands are managed,” said Betsy Buffington, Vice President of Programs with the Conservation Lands Foundation.

Last year, nearly 2,200 volunteers across 53 organizations who are Friends of the National Conservation Lands took part in projects ranging from repairing vandalism to petroglyphs, maintaining roads and trails to increase recreational access, to removing plants non-native to the area in order to make conditions more suitable for native trees to thrive, to reestablishing vital wetlands and wildlife habitat.

Volunteers with Friends of the National Conservation Lands are working in eleven different states (click here for a full list of areas within the National Conservation Lands). Specific project examples include:

  • In Montana, 200 volunteers for the Friends of Pompeys Pillar contributed 5,000 hours protecting Pompeys Pillar National Monument and conducting educational events;
  • In Nevada, volunteers with Friends of the Black Rock High Rock removed invasive Tamarisk plants, restored dunes and repaired fences in the National Conservation Area; and
  • In Utah, volunteers with the Grand Staircase Escalante Partners contributed nearly 4,500 hours working with local school programs, conducting restoration projects and providing education around the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Over the next four years, the Conservation Lands Foundation will continue supporting these local groups in order to grow the Friends network to more than 60 active and effective local organizations. Not only will they advocate for their local lands, they will also work collectively to defend our larger national conservation accomplishments and heritage.

“By working together with the BLM, Friends groups are pioneering new ways of working with the BLM to preserve and protect these lands on behalf of future generations,” said Buffington.

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