December 28, 2023 |The Conservation Fund

2023: Reflecting on an Extraordinary Year of Conservation

The Conservation Fund is on track to complete more than 100 conservation projects in 2023, protecting more urban parks, working farms, forests, mountains and coastlines and bringing our overall total acres conserved to nearly 9 million. Of the many highlights from 2023, we chose a few projects that exemplify our unique and successful approach to land conservation across the United States.

“These are some of the signature projects that have set us apart in 2023. We couldn't have gotten them done without our amazing staff, supporters and partners, and we're grateful to everybody who has put their shoulder to the stone and helped reach the finish line.”

- Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund

Photo by Jerry Monkman.

For the second time in recent years, The Conservation Fund and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) partnered together to increase the land protected through AMC’s Maine Woods Initiative — this time to purchase and permanently protect nearly 29,000 acres of forestland in Maine known as Barnard Forest.

Protecting this important forest habitat in Maine’s famed 100-Mile Wilderness ensures opportunities for public recreation, forest restoration and fish passage through waterways. This project was part of our Working Forest Fund®program, which uses bridge capital to protect large ecologically and economically important forestland from subdivision and fragmentation, allowing time for permanent conservation solutions to be implemented.


Photo by Addison Hill.

Our Farms Fund program continued building more equitable and resilient local food systems by scaling and expanding to meet the needs of next generation farmers across the country. By securing working farmland for the next generation of farmers we are actively conserving land at risk of being lost to development in growing metro regions. Additionally, the program helps establish connections between the farmers growing the food and the markets that distribute it to those who need it most.

By the end of 2023 we will have protected more than 1000 acres of farmland, supported over 40 farmers and secured 14 farms for a total investment of over $12 million. And we are still growing! In the fall of 2023, the Farms Fund officially expanded to the Charlotte, North Carolina metro region, with several more sites under consideration for 2024 and beyond.


Photo by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative.

Mount Democrat in the Mosquito Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains is one of the state’s beloved “Fourteeners,” which are mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. This year The Conservation Fund purchased nearly 300 acres on Mount Democrat, which resolved its trail closure issues and protected the critical headwaters of the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers.  We subsequently transferred the property to the Pike-San Isabel National Forests, securing it as public lands for conservation and recreational access, thanks to funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, Park County and the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative.

Summitting Fourteeners is a popular recreational activity in Colorado. This newly protected property includes the Kite Lake Trailhead that leads to all the DeCaLiBron peaks (Mounts Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln and Bross), land along the Mount Democrat trail and the Mount Democrat summit itself. Our own Colorado project manager Kelly Ingebritson summed up our collective sentiments when she said, “Buying this majestic peak is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a model for how conservation can solve America’s recreational access issues and benefit local communities.”


Photo by Jim Oehler/New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Glover Farm in northern New Hampshire had been owned and loved by generations of the Glover family since the early 1900s. When it came time to part with their land, the family agreed that selling it for development was not an option. We worked with the Glovers alongside the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to memorialize their family’s legacy, and in 2023 the Glover Farm Wildlife Management Area was created to permanently protect roughly 800 acres of diverse forest and wetland habitat. By remaining unfragmented, this landscape will continue to provide tremendous benefits to both local wildlife populations and recreational opportunities, such as hunting and wildlife watching, for the public.

Watch this video to hear directly from the Glover family and learn more about the unique partnership that made this significant conservation effort possible.


Photo courtesy Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

We partnered with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to acquire 20,505 acres of forestlands in southwest Washington state that will bring climate-smart forestry, habitat protection and community revenue to the region. Known as Deep River Woods, the property is the State of Washington’s largest land purchase in more than a decade and is adjacent to lands already owned and managed by DNR for sustainable forest management and habitat protection.

This forest supports important habitat for a variety of species, including endangered birds and native salmon. These lands also are essential to the local timber industry and the forests will be sustainably managed for both economic and climate benefits.


Photo by Jordan Wills.

In California, the Hoopa Valley Tribe reclaimed 10,395 acres of their ancestral land in the Tribe’s largest reacquisition of land since the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation was established in 1864. The newly regained land on the reservation’s western border includes the headwaters of Pine Creek, which flows into the Klamath River and is a spawning stream for sacred salmon. The land also provides gathering sites for food, plant and wildlife species that hold great importance in the Tribe’s culture.

The Conservation Fund was honored to work with a broad coalition of supporting organizations and the Tribe to rightfully return the management, conservation and use of the Hupa Mountain property for the benefit of the Hoopa people, the land and wildlife. We look forward to seeing this land thrive in the Tribe’s hands, through potential plans to expand wildlife habitat, protect and restore salmon streams and build regional climate resilience.

Written by

The Conservation Fund

In her role as Blog Manager, Gretchen Hoffmann helps share unique perspectives, projects and people from across The Conservation Fund and our partners. She enjoys being able to combine her passion for storytelling with her love of nature and conservation, and has worked on our blog, Redefining Conservation, since its launch in 2015. Gretchen holds a Master of Science in Biomedical Journalism from New York University and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. She lives in Westport, CT, where she enjoys playing tennis, working in her garden and being on the water with her family.