What we do
Some of Conservation Northwest's and our membership's many achievements keeping the Northwest wild since 1989.
“Keeping the Northwest wild” since 1989, we protect old-growth forests and other wildlands, connect large landscapes and vital habitats, and restore native wildlife.
Our M.O. is simple: connect the big landscapes, protect the most vulnerable wildlife, and conserve our natural heritage for future generations.
Keeping the Northwest wild
Creative and effective, we have protected hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlands, supported the recovery of threatened species such as grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou, and touched thousands of lives throughout the greater Northwest. Our wildlife advocacy, annual WildLinks Conference and Citizen Wildlife Monitoring programs are at the core of our work for a wilder Northwest.
Elected leaders, government agencies, and conservationists know us for being tenacious yet pragmatic. We work with diverse stakeholders and engage in dialogue and genuine listening to find common ground. We collaboratively reach solutions to challenging issues including wildlands conservation, endangered species recovery, wilderness designation, and sustainable natural resource management.
We work hard to protect wildlife and connect habitat because what is good for wildlife is good for people, too. Clean air and water, protected forests, mountains, and other wildlands, healthy and connected natural ecosystems—it all adds up to a better quality of life in our region.
Want to take action? For over a decade our WILD NW Action Alerts have provided people in the region with notices and simple tools to comment, speak up or take action on important conservation issues. Learn about more ways to connect with our work on our Get Involved page.
Old-growth rainforests, shrub-steppe grasslands, glaciated mountains and other wild places are the heart of the Great Northwest. Healthy watersheds, mature forests and expansive grasslands go hand-in-hand with healthy, prosperous communities and abundant wildlife.
Conservation Northwest was one of the first conservation groups to recognize the power of ecological forest restoration and community collaboration. Through our Forest Field Program, these tools help restore and protect forests and other wildlands while also promoting sustainable forestry and benefiting local communities.
Since 1989, our staff have worked to oppose risky natural resource management, from old-growth timber sales and expanding off-road vehicle use, to promoting better wildfire policies and more sustainable forest roads, and protecting important watersheds and wilderness. At the same time, we collaborate with forestry, government agencies, sportsmen, elected officials and other groups to achieve lasting solutions that benefit multiple stakeholders. We also organize volunteers and contractors to restore wildlife habitat by planting native plants and removing unnecessary forest roads, particularly in key habitat areas.
With the rise of anti-public lands extremism in recent years, we're working hard to keep America's public lands in public hands. Learn more
Our staff leading a rally to protect public lands during the seizure of Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Paul Bannick
Animals are on the move in the Northwest. Species such as wolves and bears travel daily for food. Elk, mule deer and other wildlife embark on seasonal migrations. Lynx, wolverines and other species shift territories as the climate and other conditions change, forcing them to find new ground to call home.
Providing a large, connected network of habitat to allow for the safe movement of wildlife is called connectivity, and it's at the core of our mission.
A few of our connectivity programs include:
- I-90 Wildlife Corridor Campaign: Restoring habitat and connectivity around Snoqualmie Pass through conservation, restoration and wildlife crossings.
- Working for Wildlife Initiative: Connecting the Cascades to the Columbia Highlands through the Okanogan Valley and surrounding highlands in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other allies.
- Safe Passage 97: A collaborative effort led by a local Mule Deer Foundation chapter to reduce animal-vehicle collisions along Highway 97 in Okanogan County.
- Columbia Highlands Initiative: Conserving important habitat between the Cascades and the Rockies in the Kettle Range and Selkirk Mountains through private lands conservation, forest management, and wildlands protections.
- Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative: Linking British Columbia’s Coast Range with the North Cascades for grizzly bears and other species.
- The Cascades Conservation Partnership: From 2002-2004 we spearheaded an innovative project that raised nearly $16 million in private donations and $68 million in public funds to protect nearly 45,000 acres of forest lands in the Central Cascades from logging and development. Nearly 17,000 people made it happen.
Over the next five years, we're ramping up two new programs to conserve wild places, retain working lands, and connect habitat between the South Cascades and the Olympic Peninsula, and between the Cascade Mountains and the arid interior Columbia Basin.
After more than a decade of leadership and advocacy, we recently celebrated monumental progress in advancing wildlife crossings under and over Interstate 90 near Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass. Learn more in this video: Connecting Wildlife Habitat Under and Over I-90.
Diverse animal species make the Northwest region rich and vibrant. Thriving wildlife signals healthy forests and watersheds. We champion iconic native wildlife in our region, from gray wolves, wolverines, Canada lynx and grizzly bears, to marbled murrelets, mountain caribou and fishers.
In collaboration with scientists, government agencies, ranchers, landowners and other partners, we also lead projects to restore native wildlife or support recovery and coexistence with endangered species.
Learn more about the wildlife we work to restore
Since 2008, we have worked with the National Park Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to restore fishers, cat-sized members of the weasel family, to Washington's Olympic and Cascade Mountains. In December 2016, we released the first fishers to return to Mount Rainier National Park in more than 80 years.
We're also a leading group advocating for the return of a healthy population of grizzly bears in the North Cascades. And we aren't afraid to go to court for endangered northwest natives like the wolverine and Canada lynx.
Our Reward Fund to Help Stop Poaching, annual WildLinks Conference, and Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project (one of the largest citizen science volunteer programs in North America) also support wildlife and a wilder Northwest.
In our groundbreaking Range Rider Pilot Project, we partner with Eastern Washington ranchers each year to demonstrate the effectiveness of non-lethal measures in reducing conflicts where wolves and livestock overlap in our state. This helps build social tolerance for wolf recovery. We also sit on Washington’s stakeholder Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) and has been closely involved in policy-making around wolf conservation and management for more than a decade.
Range riders in northeast Washington wolf territory round up cattle. Photo: Chase Gunnell
A few of our accomplishments include
- In 2008, our wildlife monitoring cameras documented the first wolf pack to return to Washington in 70 years. In 2011, volunteers did it again, providing the first record of the Teanaway Pack, as well as the recovery of wolverines south of Stevens Pass.
- We led, and won, protection for Canada lynx under the Endangered Species Act.
- We helped gain a recovery plan for Washington's wolves and are finding solutions to improve the outlook for wolves and ranchers and others.
- We protected 25,000 acres of the Loomis State Forest in north-central Washington, essential habitat for lynx.
- fisher to the Olympic Peninsula and Washington's CascadesWe helped reintroduce the Pacific
- We achieved, with Canadian conservation groups, a major commitment from the BC government to protect habitat for the endangered mountain caribou
- Over the years we've spearheaded a number of successful partnerships and coalitions, including The Cascades Conservation Partnership in 2000, and the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative in 2013.
- In northeastern Washington's Columbia Highlands we are keeping wilderness alive, connecting wildlife habitat, protecting forests, and improving local jobs.
Our work in review
- And beyond: Our timeline