July 9, 2018|By The Conservation Fund

Annual report cover2
Our 2017 Annual Report is out!

Throughout our annual report you will see examples of how conservation can be a driver of economic results—providing benefits to nature and to landowners, small businesses and communities. Our work makes a difference for the environment and for people.

We helped permanently conserve the historic 1,540 acre Hardscrabble Ranch in Colorado which provided access to adjacent public lands, and serves as a key connection to surrounding state and federal lands—enhancing the state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy.

7 9 Hardscrabble Ranch c Ed Roberson courtesy of Mirr Ranch GroupHardscrabble Ranch. Photo by Ed Roberson, courtesy of Mirr Ranch.

Our Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund) provides financing and technical assistance to small-to-mid-sized enterprises, primarily in rural and underserved communities in Appalachia and the Southeast. In 2017, we lent startup capital to Sport Outfitters, LLC, a new outdoor recreation business that is building lodging facilities to support growing tourism around protected areas and the popular 600-mile network of AT trails that spans nine counties in southern West Virginia and brings thousands of in-and out-of-state visitors to the region annually. To date, NCIFund has provided more than $14 million in loans and over 2,600 hours of technical assistance to 293 small businesses and farm enterprises.

7 9 NCIF Sport Outfitters c Sam LevitanSport Outfitters, LLC. Photo by Sam Levitan.

Through our Working Forest Fund (WFF) program, we purchased the 23,000-acre Cowee Forest in New York—saving it from subdivision and conversion to nonforest uses. By partnering with stakeholders across three states, we set the stage for a permanent conservation solution that will keep the forest in production while preserving important wildlife habitat and enhancing access to recreational opportunities on nearby public lands. Since 2009, our WFF has acquired over 101,000 acres of high-conservation-value forestland, conveyed 42,000 acres to long-term stewards of the land under conservation easement and generated 2,000 jobs.

7 9 Cowee Forest NY c Carl HeilmanCowee Forest. Photo by Carl Heilman. 

We improved access to the greater Yellowstone area, by partnering with the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho to acquire the 762-acre Teton River Confluence Ranch, protecting wildlife habitat and opening up access to more than 1,500 acres of nearby public land and 3 miles of waterways that were inaccessible. This will attract hunters, anglers and other recreationists who, in turn, will patronize local businesses and contribute to the economy.

7 9 yellowstone elk cDamian KuzdakPhoto by Damian Kuzdak.

Last year marked the protection of 7.9 million acres since 1985—expanding public access to land and ensuring this precious resource can be enjoyed for hiking, fishing and all types of recreation for generations to come. More and more, our efforts increasingly challenge us to involve multiple parties from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, which often requires additional kinds of funding beyond just pure philanthropy or government appropriations. In 2017, nearly $39 million in private contributions enabled us to leverage over $47 million in federal funding. Together, private and public resources are powerful drivers of our work.

We are trusted and because of that we have achieved Charity Navigator’s coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency, were rated A+ by Charity Watch, and received the Land Trust Accreditation Commission’s accreditation seal.

The accomplishments highlighted in our annual report are just a snapshot of the work of The Conservation Fund, but they are emblematic of our businesslike, partnership-driven approach to conservation. We invite you to learn more about our work and to join us as we seek to ensure that conservation works for all Americans.