August 13, 2019

Jill Clark
(360) 746-3423

Hilary Franz at Whatcom Land Trust Breakfast Oct. 2

Whatcom Land Trust will host a breakfast buffet and award the Bob Keller Business Conservation Leadership Award to The Conservation Alliance on Wednesday, October 2 from 7:15-9:00 a.m. at the Bellingham Yacht Club Marina Room, 2625 S Harbor Loop Dr, Bellingham. Keynote speaker is Hilary Franz, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands.

Tickets to the breakfast event are $50 per person and may be purchased online at and by calling the Land Trust office at 360-650-9470.  A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase at the door.

Whatcom Land Trust’s Business Conservation Leaders celebrates the strong relationship between conservation, recreation, agriculture and other businesses throughout Whatcom County, and honors our business supporters whose collective investment benefits land conservation and stewardship in our community. Working together, we contribute to our economic well-being and help to define our community’s high quality of life. Guests will be invited to make a gift at the event.

Each year Whatcom Land Trust recognizes a noteworthy business with a leadership award named for former Land Trust board member Bob Keller. This year’s award goes to The Conservation Alliance in recognition of its financial support to protect Galbraith Mountain and the Skookum Creek Conservation Corridor, and its conservation ethic linking land stewardship with vibrant recreation economies in communities where they do business. The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor industry companies that makes grants to grassroots environmental organizations nationwide.

“We are thrilled to award the Bob Keller Business Conservation Leadership Award to The Conservation Alliance this year and recognize local Alliance members American Alpine Institute, NuuMuu, REI, Runner Girl Races, and Superfeet,” said Land Trust Executive Director Rich Bowers. “The Alliance welcomes businesses of all sizes to join together so they have a stronger voice to address big environmental issues on a local, grassroots level. We at the Land Trust share their strategy of building partnerships to get more done and energizing local citizens to achieve lasting land protections.”

Hilary Franz 1

Guest speaker Hilary Franz, Washington Commissioner of Public Lands, will build on the theme of growing public and private partnerships to achieve land conservation, recreation and economic results that benefit people, lands and business of Whatcom County in her keynote address. She will talk about ways Whatcom Land Trust and the Washington Department of Natural Resources work together to protect conservation, resource and recreation lands in Whatcom County as well as big-picture challenges and opportunities on the horizon.

Following the breakfast, the Trust will host a public tour of its newest land acquisition at Skookum Creek in the South Fork Nooksack River basin on Friday, October 18. There is no charge for the tour but space is limited and pre-registration is required by reserving at or contacting Chris Brewer at 360-650-9470 or before Tuesday, October 15.

About The Conservation Alliance -

The Alliance was founded in 1989 by industry leaders REI, Patagonia, The North Face, and Kelty, who shared the goal of increasing outdoor industry support for conservation efforts. Their mission is to engage businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreational values. Since its inception in 1989, the Conservation Alliance has helped save more than 51 million acres of wildlands, protected 3,107 miles of rivers; prevented or removed 34 dams, designated five marine reserves, and purchased 14 climbing areas. Most recently, the Alliance provided funding to Whatcom Land Trust to purchase the 1,400-acre Skookum Creek Conservation Corridor. The conservation of this area will result in improved salmon habitat, improved watershed health, landscape connectivity, climate resilience and recreational opportunities. Whatcom County Alliance members include American Alpine Institute, NuuMuu, Runner Girl Races, REI & Superfeet.

About Whatcom Land Trust -

The mission of the Whatcom Land Trust is to preserve and protect wildlife habitat, scenic, agricultural and open space lands in Whatcom County for future generations by securing interests in land and promoting land stewardship. Since our founding in 1984, the Land Trust has permanently protected more than 24,000 acres throughout Whatcom County, including 14,000 of public park land, 1,100 of working lands for agriculture and forestry, 11,000 acres in the Lake Whatcom Watershed to ensure clean drinking water for 100,000 residents, and more than 40 miles of marine and freshwater shorelines that preserve wildlife habitat. Our staff of twelve, governing board of eleven diverse private citizens, and 600-plus volunteers effectively collaborate with over 200 organizations and individuals including private landowners, local communities, Tribes, public agencies including Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham, corporations and other conservation organizations to permanently protect and manage lands and engage local citizens in conservation actions.

The Land Trust’s most recent land acquisition is the Skookum Creek Conservation Corridorwhich permanently protects 1,400 acres of riparian forest and uplands, improving biodiversity, climate resilience, landscape connectivity and watershed health in the Upper South Fork Nooksack River basin. This is the largest contiguous land conservation opportunity to benefit the South Fork Nooksack River, and is located within the Cascades to Chuckanuts (C2C) Natural Area, 350,000 acres encompassing six of the seven priority conservation areas in which Whatcom Land Trust works, and the last relatively undeveloped corridor linking the shores of Puget Sound with the Cascades and Columbia Basin. To date the Land Trust has protected over 18,000 acres in the C2C Corridor.

About Hilary Franz and the Washington Department of Natural Resources -

Franz has worked to protect and manage nearly six million acres of public lands in Washington States since her election in 2016. She is committed to ensuring that our public lands are healthy and productive both for today and for future generations. She has lead the push for investment in renewable energy infrastructure such as wind, solar, and geothermal, as well as other climate change mitigation operations such as carbon sequestration. Franz has also been active in working to mitigate and protect communities from wildfires in Washington State, including developing a 20-year Forest Health Strategic Plan which will make over one million acres of forest healthier and more fire resistant. The Washington Department of Natural Resources mission is to manage, sustain, and protect the health and productivity of the lands and waters of the state, as well as to meet the needs of Washington’s present and future generations. The DNR recently released the Baker to Bellingham Non-Motorized Recreation Plan which will develop recreation opportunities in Whatcom County near Bellingham, including the Red Mountain, North Fork, Stewart Mountain, and Mirror Lake regions    

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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