December 28, 2020 |The Conservation Fund

Nature Comes Out the Clear Winner in 2020

#1) Minnesota Heritage Forest

In our largest acquisition of the year—and one of the largest in Minnesota history—our purchase of over 72,000 acres from PotlatchDeltic buys time for permanent conservation solutions that benefit people and nature.
Bestof2020 Minnesota Heritage Forest MN 510 c Jay BrittainPhoto by Jay Brittain.

Tackling big challenges like climate change requires big action. In our largest acquisition of 2020, we purchased over 72,000 acres of working forests in Minnesota from timber company PotlatchDeltic. These forests play an important role in mitigating climate change by absorbing over 19 million metric tons of CO2—equal to emissions from more than 4 million passenger vehicles over the course of a year. This project also enhances Minnesota’s timber and recreational economies. Learn more.

#2) Navajo River Watershed, Colorado

A 30-year effort to protect over 65,000 acres of a critical migration corridor and watershed in southwest Colorado is finally complete.
Bestof2020 Mule deer WY c Mark GockePhoto by Mark Gocke.

The Navajo River watershed is one of the wildest and most pristine landscapes we’ve ever protected in Colorado—and that’s saying a lot! Its majestic, natural beauty is reminiscent of Yosemite or Yellowstone National Park. Made up of privately held ranches surrounded by national forest and wilderness lands, the watershed was the last place grizzly bears were spotted in the state. Its protection provides a critical sanctuary for diverse wildlife species, preserves water quality for 1 million people in New Mexico, including 90% of Albuquerque’s surface water supply, and supports economic benefits to the entire region. Learn more.

#3) Conserving Culture at Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Land sacred to the Native Huna Tlingit has been protected as part of the national park, where traditions will now be preserved for generations.
Bestof2020 Berg Bay sits within Glacier Bay National Park c National Park ServicePhoto courtesy the National Park Service.

Like much of Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve features some of the most valuable wildlife habitat, unique recreational opportunities and breathtaking landscapes in the country. But most importantly, it encompasses sacred land to the Huna Tlingit—Indigenous people whose ancestors occupied Glacier Bay before they were forced out of their homeland by advancing glaciers and western expansion. To preserve their traditions, we helped protect a 150-acre sacred site as part of the national park. Learn more.

#4) White Clay Creek Preserve, Pennsylvania

This decade-long effort preserved one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest remaining blocks of open space.
Bestof2020 2018 Strawbridge Credit Jerry Monkman002Photo by Jerry Monkman.

Along the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania sits roughly 8,000 acres of undisturbed open space—an extremely rare occurrence in such a densely populated area. No wonder it took over a decade to make it a reality. Now a sanctuary for wildlife and public recreation opportunities, the White Clay Creek Preserve has become one of the largest protected open spaces in the entire region.

#5) Piecing Together the Puzzle at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

One of America’s most popular national parks got an upgrade this year, securing a private property to prevent future development within the park.
Bestof2020 AlanKrakauer Flickr 7600397941 f29330b482 cPhoto by Alan Krakauer via Flickr.

We helped protect 35 acres in one of America’s most prized national parks. That may sound small, but it’s crucial! This property sat within the park’s borders and faced high risk of development, which would have marred Grand Teton’s stunning natural scenery for visitors and diminished habitat for wildlife. Now, it will remain intact and preserved forever.

#6) Greening Kansas City

Green spaces are the cornerstones of vibrant communities. After decades of dedication, the Marlborough community has completed its own urban park—where nature and play meet.
Bestof2020 Marlborough Park parks with purpose c Ivan LaBianca202009171 2Photo by Ivan LaBianca.

81st and Troost Park in Kansas City, Missouri is more than a safe space for children to play outdoors—it reduces stormwater flooding, improves water quality and provides clear air for a revitalized community. After nearly 10 years of infrastructure planning and fundraising, the park is finally complete, and will even have a new name announced in early 2021. Learn more.

None of the above projects would have been possible without our donors and supporters. Thank you for your dedication to nature! If you would like to support our ongoing conservation work, please consider a gift today. 
Donate here.

Bonus: Guaranteed funding for LWCF

The historic passage of the Great American Outdoors Act secures future government funding that will accelerate the pace of conservation across America.
Bestof2020 Banded Peak Ranch credit John Fielder 2Photo by John Fielder.

This year, Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act, which ensures full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)—a federal funding source that enables hundreds of conservation projects nation-wide, including many on this list. Guaranteed funding for LWCF will enable even greater conservation victories nationwide for generations to come. Learn more.

Written by

The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 8.8 million acres of land.