The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced that effective February 1, 2010, the Campaign for America's Wilderness (CAW) will become part of the Pew Environment Group, expanding Pew's work to protect public lands. For more than two decades, Pew has been dedicated to securing lasting safeguards for wilderness of the United States, Canada and most recently Australia. The result has been the preservation of tens of millions of acres of pristine landscapes critical to providing clean water, healthy fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and a buffer for the impacts of climate change. A cornerstone of this effort has been the Campaign for America's Wilderness, which Pew established in 2002.
Over the past seven and a half years, CAW has worked with local, state, and national partners to develop and implement public education and outreach campaigns aimed at giving federal public land the highest level of protection possible, by adding them to the National Wilderness Preservation System. Their efforts led to the designation of more than 4.3 million acres of public wild land across 14 states and Puerto Rico. Most recently, CAW worked with state and local wilderness groups to move through Congress the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act. The measure, which included the greatest amount of wilderness in a single bill in fifteen years—more than two million acres—was signed into law by President Barack Obama at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on March 30, 2009.
“The Pew Environment Group is committed to preserving the landscapes that represent our shared future, in the United States and around the world,” said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group. “We look forward to bringing CAW's effective and experienced team into Pew, where they will enhance our focus on preserving the nation's wilderness for future generations. This integration will help us meet the critical goal of safeguarding significant new wilderness over the next five years.”
In the last year alone, public lands work by CAW and Pew has protected more than 2 million acres of public land as wilderness; secured 1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Management land to buffer the Grand Canyon and its watershed from the impacts of new mining claims; supported provincial governments in Canada to set aside 20 million acres of the Boreal forest, the world's most intact forest ecosystem; and attained renewed commitment for roadless protections for nearly 60 million acres of forests throughout the United States.
CAW is currently campaigning to ensure that such wild treasures as Idaho's Boulder-White Clouds, Montana's Sapphires, the Organ Mountains in New Mexico, Arizona's Tumacacoris, Devil's Staircase in Oregon, Gold Butte in Nevada, and the San Gabriel Mountains in California stay as they are for future generations to use and enjoy.
“Becoming part of the Pew Environment Group will vastly enhance our ability to protect our last remaining wilderness—America's common ground—and we look forward to integrating our efforts with such a successful force for good on a wide array of critical conservation issues,” said Mike Matz, executive director of the Campaign for America's Wilderness. “This is a team that will be exciting to join because of how our reach and effectiveness can be greatly expanded. As we move forward to the next phase of our work, we are extremely grateful for the support of our backers over the years, including the Hewlett, Campion, Turner, Brainerd, and Tortuga Foundations—support that has made our success possible.”