Wilderness Volunteers recently attended a national conference for a new organization. The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance (NWSA) was formed to develop a growing network of volunteer-based organizations to provide stewardship for America’s enduring resource of wilderness. It is a coming together of public land managers with those groups on the ground with missions to steward existing wilderness, and is importantly not an advocacy group lobbying for new wilderness.
While Wilderness Volunteers has, and will continue to operate independently of other groups, and directly with agency land managers, we occasionally find ourselves partnering with local “friends” groups to identify volunteer needs and to sometimes help with logistics.
We believe that working with the national stewardship alliance will help spread the good word about our program, will allow us to identify more volunteer needs, and will also give us added visibility and face-to-face interaction with higher level managers of the land agencies themselves.
One exciting and interesting result of the first conference was a brainstorming session about potential opportunities for national stewardship in the near future. Being that 2014 represents the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, there might be an effort to celebrate a National Wilderness Stewardship Day, or something similar. Just an idea at this point, but it’s the kind of idea made possible when a bunch of wilderness do-gooders get together in the same room!