Conservation Currents | Why Conservation Matters to Mountaineers Members

In this piece from Mountaineer magazine, learn from fellow Mountaineers members why conservation is important and how they choose to give back to public lands.
Conor Marshall Conor Marshall
Advocacy & Engagement Manager
October 20, 2022
Conservation Currents | Why Conservation Matters to Mountaineers Members

After several years working on policy and advocacy campaigns to protect public lands and wildlife in Washington, D.C., I intimately understand how important recreationists can be in convincing lawmakers to invest in the outdoors. I moved home to Washington State in search of conservation work that allowed me to give back to the lands and waters that first connected me to nature. I saw The Mountaineers as exactly the kind of place where I could make an impact - a place where recreation and conservation converge, for adventure with purpose.

In my first year with The Mountaineers, I’ve seen how strong personal connections with the outdoors can build recreationists into stewards and advocates for our natural landscapes and the outdoor experience. Earlier this year, our members helped secure new annual funding to restore and improve Washington’s state parks and recreation areas, and this spring, conservation-minded Mountaineers came together to share feedback on future program initiatives in our first- ever Conservation & Advocacy Town Hall. It’s inspiring to see all of us working together to ensure the Northwest’s natural spaces thrive into the future.

Conservation has been a tightly held value since our organization’s founding in 1906, and it continues to echo throughout the work of our committees, branches, and programs today. Thanks to new resources and partnerships, we’re creating more ways for our members to continue to engage in conservation through education, stewardship, and advocacy. To understand what conservation and advocacy means to you – our community – we asked members engaged in this work to reflect on why conservation is important and how they choose to give back.

Delmar Fadden

Former Board Member

The Mountaineers has been a part of my life for over 50 years. I know what the organization stands for and what it values. The Mountaineers has a core of engaged and committed people working on conservation - both at a local and national level. These people know first-hand the lands, forests, and waters we seek to protect, and are in an excellent position to make the case for conservation.

The collaborative nature of The Mountaineers ensures that money and time donated to conservation through the organization will be well spent. Over the years, I have donated and worked jointly with other like-minded organizations to acquire and protect various parcels of mountain and forest land throughout the Northwest.


Ginger Sarver

Olympia Branch Conservation and Stewardship Committee

I believe conservation and advocacy work is a crucial way of giving back to the environment that we enjoy every time we step outside. I enjoy participating in stewardship work because it makes me feel like I am doing my part. I especially enjoy doing this work through The Mountaineers because these are my people – my friends with whom I share adventures and common values. I enjoy seeing the results of my work to improve the condition and safety of our trails and hearing the appreciation of hikers as they pass by.

Besides trail work, The Mountaineers has afforded me the opportunity to make a difference through outreach to other recreationists as a backcountry ambassador, talking with other hikers about low impact recreation, safe backcountry behavior, and their experiences on local National Forest trails.

The Olympia Branch Conservation and Stewardship Committee has forged strong relationships with staff at the Forest Service, State Parks, and the Department of Natural Resources. Being a part of this work has made the stewardship credit badge on my profile so much more meaningful to me.


Maya Magarati

Board Member and Conservation & Advocacy Committee

To me, conservation and advocacy are cultural cores of The Mountaineers. Our family has been members for 18 years and counting. In our early days as members, when our daughter was in elementary school, we participated in the annual summer family weekend at Baker Lodge or at Meany Lodge. On those overnight trips, the lodge hosts developed family-oriented programming so the kids could have fun recreating in the beautiful mountains while also connecting with each other and the natural environment. Through experiential conservation education activities like wild berry picking, families would learn why protecting public lands is important.

I currently serve on The Mountaineers Conservation & Advocacy Committee and enjoy trail work. I believe The Mountaineers conservation and advocacy work needs to prioritize building authentic, enduring partnerships with local tribal communities and leveraging shared conservation interests while honoring and respecting tribal sovereignty and tribal treaty rights. Given changing population demographics in the region, the committee should also consider more direct engagement with other communities of color as a part of the organization’s work to shape conservation and climate change decisions.

I choose The Mountaineers as one of the outlets for my conservation work because the organization is committed to amplifying conservation and recreation voices through community engagement.


Charlie Michel

Carbon Footprint Reduction Committee

The Mountaineers efforts to protect public lands and the outdoor experience seem very well supported by our community. The aspect of conservation that I’m most passionate about is fighting the climate crisis. I endeavor to find ways that The Mountaineers and its members can reduce our carbon emissions and advocate for strong climate investments.

I have chosen The Mountaineers as an outlet for this work partly because of my passion for sea kayaking. Why not support an organization that helps me pursue my own outdoor activities? With 15,000 members, the organization’s carbon footprint reduction work is a great way to raise awareness of the existential threat of the climate crisis and build support in the recreation community to address it.


Brynne Koscianski

Board Member and Conservation & Advocacy Committee

Since becoming a mom a little over a year ago, the work I do in support of conservation and advocacy has taken on a new level of importance. Now when I walk through a glen of ferns, or dip my fingers into a glittering body of water, I'm not just thankful for myself for this re-centering that only time in nature can provide me. I'm also mindful of the importance of protecting this natural beauty so that myson, and his children, will also know these wonders.

So much of the natural world that brings me joy - vast expanses of cold white glaciers, the hum of heat and grasshoppers on the trail in August, the crunch of snow under my skis - feels very much at risk of disappearing. And not in a theoretical distant future - the smoke-filled summers and abbreviated ski seasons are proof that it's slipping through our fingers like sand.

I give both my time and financial support to The Mountaineers and our conservation and advocacy work because I refuse to accept a future where these wonders cease to exist. I believe in the power of our 15,000 combined voices to enact real change because these are big problems that will require large, policy-based solutions.


LEAD IMAGE OF Thunder Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Photo by Luke Helgeson.

This article originally appeared in our fall 2022 issue of Mountaineer magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, visit our  magazine archive

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