Survey says… The Mountaineers should continue to support conservation work

Last year, we asked our members and Conservation Currents readers what they thought about our conservation program. Here's a summery of the feedback we heard.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
July 17, 2016

Last year, we checked with our members and Conservation Currents readers to better understand individual interest in conservation issues, get opinions on existing Mountaineers conservation programs, and generate ideas for the future. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your perspectives with us!

Stewardship Responsiblity

94% of all respondents said "The Mountaineers have a responsibility to steward and protect our public lands." These results reaffirmed our 2012 conservation survey, which also showed overwhelming support for conservation work as an integral part of our mission.

Since the 2012 survey, we’ve further defined our Conservation Program in an effort to hone our priorities and approach. This most recent survey provided great feedback on The Mountaineers place and role in public lands conservation. You can check out all the goals of the program and see the survey results here.  

Survey Highlights


The top three ways people participate in our conservation work is by signing petitions, reading Conservation Currents, and reading conservation articles in the Mountaineers Magazine. All three of these saw more than 40% participation, while the next highest (stewardship on trails or lookout towers) saw 25%.

Prioritizing Goals

Respondents showed support for all six of our Conservation and Recreation goals, and prioritized the top three as:

  • Engaging the recreation community in public land conservation issues to create responsible outdoor recreationists
  • Influencing public policy and participating in planning efforts to protect the wild backcountry and preserve responsible recreational access
  • Integrating a responsible recreation and conservation stewardship ethic in all our activities

Importance of Program Areas

Advocating for conservation and recreation funding at state and federal levels was deemed our most important program area with 65% ranking it “Very Important.”  To learn more about some of our efforts in this area, check out our work on the reauthorization of Land & Water Conservation Fund and Washington State’s No Child Left Inside program.

Advocating to establish congressionally designated Wilderness areas or other protective land designations was another top program area with 60% ranking it as “Very Important.” Recent focus in this area includes the Alpine Lakes Wilderness expansion, the Wild Olympics , and the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area designation.

Teaching low-impact skills to a variety of back country users ranked high as well with 57% of respondents ranking it as “Very Important.” Check out our simple and inspirational Low-Impact Recreation Skills videos to brush up on your skills or perhaps learn something new!

Stewarding our Outdoor Places

85% of respondents said stewardship and trail work is important to our program, yet only 40% engage in trail stewardship activities and of that only 33% engage with The Mountaineers.  Ideally, we want everyone who values stewardship to be able to participate. We’ll continue to work towards this by providing diverse activities, alerting people about volunteer events, and partnering with other organizations that offer stewardship opportunities. You can check out our current activities here.

Looking Ahead: Climate Change

Throughout the survey, respondents encouraged us to use our conservation platform to address climate change. When asked to suggest an area we should engage in one person wrote, “Climate-specific education and advocacy: Washington’s forests and waters are rapidly changing… and many may not realize that.”

We agree. Our mission is to protect and steward the places where we love to play, and doing so on behalf of the planet makes our programs even stronger. Many of our policy positions like forest management and the recreation economy directly tie into climate change and provide us with a great opportunity to educate (check out our recent blog on the Northwest Forest Plan and our roundtable with Rep. Delbene). In the future, we’d also like to look into speaking events and partnerships with climate-focused nonprofits.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who participated.  For 110 years, Mountaineers members and publications have inspired the larger outdoor community to protect and steward our public lands and waters. Your feedback is crucial as we continue to protect and steward the wild places we love.