CARBONDALE, Colo., Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Wilderness Land Trust has named Senator Mark Udall the recipient of the Jessica Catto Guardian of Wilderness Award for 2012. An award ceremony will be held at the Aspen Historical Society on Saturday, September 22, as part of The Wilderness Land Trust's 20th Anniversary Celebration.
"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, a nonprofit that acquires endangered lands for the National Wilderness Preservation System.
"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," said Haughey.
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."
Senator Udall's father, Morris K. Udall, served 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.
Established in 1992, The Wilderness Land Trust is the only national organization dedicated solely to acquiring private lands in wilderness areas, called inholdings, for the National Wilderness Preservation System. Some 400,000 acres of private land remain within federal wilderness areas. Many are at risk of mining, vacation home development and oil and gas drilling. The Wilderness Land Trust buys these lands and transfers them to public ownership to ensure the wilderness will remain intact and forever wild. The Trust has added more than 36,000 acres in 82 federal wilderness areas to America's public lands.
The Wilderness Land Trust is a 1% for the Planet Non-Profit Partner. Visit www.onepercentfortheplanet.org for more information.
For more information, please contact:
Reid Haughey, President, The Wilderness Land Trust, Phone: 970.963.1725
SOURCE The Wilderness Land Trust