Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is known for our intense focus on the three National Conservation Areas (NCA) in western Colorado, but did you know CCA has become a leader in the west for the type of work we do? There are other groups popping up around the west just like ours, working with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) stewarding and expanding the BLM National Conservation Lands of which our local NCA’s are a part. CCA has taken a partnership role in connecting these groups into a powerful collaboration to encourage and support these efforts in often rural locales. The idea that a diverse set of local interests can work with the government to better use and protect these lands is a visionary notion that saves tax payer dollars and enhances quality of life for communities across the west. In 2014 BLM Conservation Lands Friends Groups, like ours, added over $2,000,000 of private fundraising to work on these extraordinary BLM landscapes. As CCA heads out this spring for a gathering of groups like ours from across the country, otherwise known as the Friends Rendezvous, we stand committed to using our experiences to assist other groups as they engage in similar work. As part of our national leadership initiative, CCA has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors for Conservation Lands Foundation representing over 60 groups from around the U.S. and CCA will take a role assisting with trainings at the conference on fundraising and engaging diverse interests. With these groups contributing over $3 million dollars in volunteer labor and 125,000 hours of volunteer service, the continued growth of these efforts is paramount to the future of these important lands. In 2014 CCA traveled to Oregon, Utah, Idaho, and California to aid in the efforts of growing and supporting the National Conservation Lands. One example was our trip this winter to Idaho on special invitation from the State Director of the BLM and its Leadership team. We spent 3 days working with BLM to understand how Friends groups work and how to actively encourage participation in these groups in the often rural landscape that makes up BLM Idaho. CCA successfully had an impact bringing BLM leaders in Idaho up to speed and getting excellent feedback and enthusiasm for supporting Friends groups across the state. CCA and other Friends groups are independent from BLM but we need to partner closely with local managers in our vision to be effective. We hope you will support our efforts in 2015 while we grow and spread the news about how communities can take care of these special lands.