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Founded in 1994, Wildlands CPR’s mission was to revive and protect wild places by promoting watershed restoration that improves fish and wildlife habitat, provides clean water and enhances community economies. For nearly two decades Wildlands CPR staff and board worked tirelessly to achieve that mission, creating a nationally recognized, cutting-edge organization dedicated to addressing watershed restoration and road and off-road vehicle issues. Wildlands CPR created and supplied scientific and legally based resources, promoted effective policy approaches and communications strategies, and influenced on-the-ground travel management and restoration projects. Known for its solutions-based approach, Wildlands CPR brought diverse groups of people together to restore forests, streams and habitat from the impacts of roads and off-road vehicles.
When Wildlands CPR was founded, few resources and even fewer organizations were addressing the cascading impacts caused by roads and off-road vehicles. In addition to the ecological impacts of the roads themselves, roads are the vector for nearly all types of resource extraction, from logging, to oil and gas development, to mining, to grazing. Preventing new road construction, therefore, prevents wildland destruction. Taken a step further, by reclaiming old and unnecessary roads land managers can heal the damage – thus rewilding the landscape and restoring clean, cold water and reconnecting high quality wildlife habitat.
From 1994-2013, Wildlands CPR worked to elevate road and off-road vehicle issues within the conservation community and among public land managers. Wildlands CPR most often worked earnestly and quietly, behind the scenes and under the radar; influencing national policy in DC while also providing resources and support so countless local and regional groups could successfully address these issues on their own turf. Founded, in part, to elevate roads and off-road vehicles into priority, national issues, Wildlands CPR achieved its primary goals. For example, off-road vehicles were once permitted to travel nearly anywhere across the landscape, but they are now limited only to designated routes on national forests – thanks to a campaign Wildlands CPR co-led the which protected 50 million acres of national forests from cross-country travel by off-road vehicles.
Similarly, reclaiming unneeded roads was a nearly unheard of practice, the science – often gathered and distributed by Wildlands CPR – now demonstrates road reclamation’s importance to ecological restoration. Wildlands CPR led the successful effort to create a new federal funding program for such work on Forest Service lands – securing $315 million in funding for road reclamation and storm-proofing between 2008-2013. WildEarth Guardians will take over leadership of this highly successful Legacy Roads and Trails campaign as part of the merger. To learn more about what Wildlands CPR accomplished from 1994-2013, check out this retrospective.
When initially founded, Wildlands CPR filled an important void, creating and distributing technical, legal, scientific and strategic resources for organizations working to address roads and off-road vehicles. Those resources will continue to be available to partners and land managers through WildEarth Guardians. To access the extensive bibliographic database, Road-RIPorter back issues, and Wildlands CPR’s entire collection of reports and fact sheets, click here. Though the Road-RIPorter will no longer be published, the Wild Places Program will continue to produce and distribute timely policy primers, legal reviews and bibliography notes as needed. To receive notification of these resources and to follow WildEarth Guardians expanding road and off-road vehicle work, follow us on twitter here.
Many, many people have invested their time, money and energy into Wildlands CPR over the past 20 years. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who made Wildlands CPR’s work possible. At WildEarth Guardians, Wildlands CPR staff will continue to be work on road and off-road vehicle issues, but they will also address other environmental challenges in the American West. Wildlands CPR’s mission, expertise and staff complements and deepens WildEarth Guardians ongoing work to protect national forests, while ensuring Wildlands CPR’s vision will be implemented long into the future.