Isa Catto, Rick Bass, Jill Ozarski

The Wilderness Land Trust 20th Anniversary Celebration

The Wilderness Land Trust 20th Anniversary Celebration

Sep. 28, 2012



ASPEN, CO— The Wilderness Land Trust named Senator Mark Udall recipient of the Jessica Catto Guardian of Wilderness Award for 2012. More than 125 wilderness supporters gathered at the Aspen Historical Society on Saturday, September 22 to honor the senator and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Wilderness Land Trust, a Carbondale-based nonprofit that acquires endangered lands for the National Wilderness Preservation System.


“Senator Udall, the senior U.S. Senator from Colorado, has been instrumental in protecting our region’s spectacular natural resources from overuse and exploitation,” said Reid Haughey, President of The Wilderness Land Trust.  “This award goes to Senator Udall in grateful recognition of his dedication to wilderness preservation throughout his career, both in Colorado and nationally, including the designation of wilderness within Rocky Mountain National Park and the creation of the James Peak Wilderness.”


The Udall family name is virtually synonymous with American conservation. Their family legacy includes millions of acres of public land for wilderness areas, national parks and wildlife refuges.


“Senator Udall has said that the Udalls share a belief that the 11th Commandment is that thou shalt protect the environment,” said Jill Ozarski, natural resources policy advisor for Senator Udall.


The senator’s father, Morris K. Udall, served as in Congress for 30 years and tripled the size of the National Wilderness Preservation System.  His uncle, Stewart L. Udall served as Secretary of the Interior under presidents Kennedy and Johnson and helped usher in the original Wilderness Act in 1964.  His cousin, Tom Udall, currently serves in the U.S. Senate, representing New Mexico.


Senator Mark Udall began his career as a leader with Outward Bound. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a U.S. Senator he has supported establishing new wilderness areas and clean energy.  He opposed the Interior Department’s decision to permit western states to designate roads across thousands of acres of federal land that might otherwise be designated as wilderness areas.


The Guardian of Wilderness Award is named for Colorado-based conservationist Jessica Catto, a tireless campaigner whose environmental work and philanthropy spanned decades. Mrs. Catto was a member of the Chairman's Council of Conservation International and the boards of directors of the National Parks Conservation Association, World Resources Institute, the Conservation Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund. She was a dedicated supporter of The Wilderness Land Trust and key to the success of many wilderness acquisitions throughout the west

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The WLT 20th celebration was spectacular.  From the opening remarks in the courtyard to the reading by Rick Bass, the evening told the story of how very much a small, loyal and inspired staff and board can achieve that does so much permanent good for the planet.  I remember well when Jon and Sharon launched their vision and now, thanks to its laser focus, resales, revolving fund, and amazing team, you are realizing the true potential.  And yes, Alaska is tempting ...

 but there is still so much to accomplish closer to home.  



Tim McFlynn

Public Counsel of the Rockies