When Conservation Lands Foundation was launched in 2007, the National Conservation Lands were in a very tenuous situation. This system of protected lands was not permanent and could be abolished by a future President with no formal process; it had no viable long-term strategic plan, and its proposed management and vision–outlined by Secretary Babbitt in 2000–had not been formally adopted or implemented at the Washington or state levels of the Bureau of Land Management.
The Conservation Lands Foundation worked with partner organizations to make the National Conservation Lands permanently established by Congress. We then developed and advocated for a conservation-focused management vision, and for needed policy changes for the National Conservation Lands. Responding to our ideas, advocacy and grassroots support, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a Secretarial Order elevating the stature of the National Conservation Lands and improving their management. The BLM developed a solid strategic plan and revised their policies to better protect these lands.
Taken together, these changes place the National Conservation Lands on par with our nation’s national parks and national wildlife refuges for conservation standards and guaranteed protections.