WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

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Photo Credit: Adriel Heisey

The Greater Gila – America’s next, great protected landscape

The Greater Gila

Deep in the heart of the American Southwest lies the Greater Gila Bioregion, a place that is larger and more biodiverse than Yellowstone, as rich in cultural history as Bears Ears, as wild as the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, and the birthplace of the wilderness ideal. WildEarth Guardians believes that the Greater Gila can and should be America’s next, great protected landscape. We envision a protected area of equal or greater size to three million acres, anchored around the Gila, Aldo Leopold, and Blue Range wilderness areas where wolves and jaguars are free to roam, Mexican spotted owls soar, and Gila and Apache trout thrive in free-flowing rivers and streams.

For decades, WildEarth Guardians has advocated for protection and restoration of the Greater Gila Bioregion. We’ve made great strides since shifting our approach to working with ranchers, rather than against them. Our innovative method for retiring grazing allotments has resulted in the protection of more than 36,000 acres of important Mexican wolf habitat on public lands, giving the wildness that remains in the Greater Gila the space to endure.

Guardians is actively pursuing more grazing permit retirements and working to protect the Greater Gila against the threats of logging, roads, and other harmful activities. We aim to protect, restore, and reconnect public and private lands to provide a unique and rich place of wildness, wildlife, and wild rivers.

Greater Gila Priority Work

Mexican Wolves

The Greater Gila Bioregion is home to the recovering Mexican gray wolf, commonly known as the lobo. The Mexican wolf, a subspecies of its gray wolf relative, is gravely endangered, with only 114 wolves remaining in the wild. Learn more.

Grazing Permit Retirement

WildEarth Guardians compensates federal grazing permittees to end their grazing on public lands—an innovative, equitable, and effective way to overcome longstanding conflicts between livestock grazing and wildlife such as Mexican wolves, and decreasing water resources due to drought and climate change. Learn more.

Postcard From the Gila

In four days on the Gila, Guardians encountered a troubled legacy of vanquishing the Wild—and also experienced the remarkable resilience of this incredible landscape.
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Photo Credit: WildEarth Guardians

Recent Stories From Public Lands

Large Landscape Conservation Just Makes Cents

July 17, 2020

We envision a large landscape designation in the Greater Gila Bioregion that would set the stage for the ecological and economic benefits of land protections to be, for lack of a better word, capitalized on. 

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Beckoning the Beavers

October 30, 2019

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve thought beavers were worthy of my admiration. Sadly, beavers have been eradicated from literally tens of thousands of miles of streams and small rivers—the victims of both trapping and habitat degradation.

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Postcard from the Gila
Jul 23, 2018
Cougar black white wild time WildEarth Guardians One Day Closer
Wild Time
Oct 16, 2017
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Why legislation authorizing permanent retirement of livestock grazing permits matters

July 23, 2018

Keeping livestock off public lands has many benefits, but existing law doesn’t allow for permanent livestock grazing permit retirement

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Public Lands Press

Of Toddlers, Wolves, and Public Lands Ranchers

Counter Punch | Jul 17, 2020

The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, further bolstered by the Multiple Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, authorized cattlemen and sheep growers to use public land across the West to grow their personal businesses. Now the same law has enabled corporate cattleman to profit from some of America’s most picturesque forests, grasslands, and deserts.

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All Public Lands Op-Eds

Our national forests are not crops
Missoulian | Jun 28, 2020
Forest Service is ignoring public comments
Santa Fe New Mexican | May 30, 2020

Board upholds order keeping coal mine out of roadless area

The Daily Sentinel | Jul 27, 2020

A state board this week upheld an order barring further road-building or other surface-disturbing activities by the West Elk Mine in the Sunset Roadless Area of the Gunnison National Forest in the upper North Fork Valley.

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All Public Lands In the News

Forest Service defends stance on mine road
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel | Jun 23, 2020
Coal mine built illegal road
The Daily Sentinel | Jun 16, 2020