Living Wilderness Fund


Over fifty years ago, a small group of Sitkans banded together to achieve the impossible — they sought to protect the incredible wilderness of Southeast Alaska from industrial clear-cut logging. Sitka Conservation Society members, led by Chuck and Alice Johnstone and Sasha, Jack, and Margaret Calvin, braved an unpopular stance and advocated for wilderness, culminating in the federal designation of the West Chichagof–Yakobi Wilderness Area. They left us a legacy of wilderness that we will cherish and share for generations to come. 

The Living Wilderness Fund is an endowment that honors the legacy of our founders and promotes the continued protection of our treasured wilderness. The wilderness of Southeast Alaska provides clean water, fresh air, bountiful salmon, and unparalleled inspiration all of us who live here. In an era in which more and more of our planet is developed and forests mowed down, swaths of land without destructive human impact are more important than ever. They act as refuges, providing space for species that are highly threatened elsewhere like the brown bears, Pacific salmon, wolves, and bald eagles that thrive in Southeast Alaska.

By contributing to the Living Wilderness Fund, you are supporting healthy forests and coastlines that will sustain future generations. In conserving wilderness areas, we ensure that the forests of the Tongass continue to provide salmon, clean water, fresh air, and our Southeast Alaska way of life. Our founders realized this decades ago when they advocated to leave a legacy of wilderness for the future. Other individuals, including Pam and Eric Bealer and Greg Killinger, have continued this tradition of living with the land and building community in the Tongass. We honor these individuals and have integrated the inspiration they provide us into our work. Scroll down to read more about their lives. 

What is the LWF?

The Living Wilderness Fund is an endowment created to protect the wilderness of the Tongass National Forest. It was formed to honor our founders, celebrate their lives and dedication to wilderness, and ensure that future generations can also experience the spectacular wilderness we cherish.

A gift to the Living Wilderness Fund differs from other charitable contributions because the donations will remain untouched. Only the interest from the fund will be used to support a wilderness advocate position at the Sitka Conservation Society. This will ensure that there will always be a voice advocating for and protecting pristine wilderness. As the endowment grows, additional interest will be put directly toward wilderness conservation projects.

Legacy gifts are often the easiest way to make a significant contribution to the Living Wilderness Fund and can be important sources of long-term support for wilderness.

If you would like to contribute to the Living Wilderness Fund:

1. Contact us at or 907-747-7509 if you would like to discuss your options for giving.

2. If you would prefer to contribute to the Fund online, please click here.

3. Please download our Giving Guide to learn more about options for giving to the fund and this document as a reference for you and your financial planner.

How will the LWF be used as it grows?

As the Living Wilderness Fund grows, it will increasingly support the efforts of the Sitka Conservation Society to protect existing Wilderness Areas while advocating for additional Wilderness designations in the Tongass.  The Fund currently encompasses just under $800,000.

When the Fund reaches $1 million:

At $1 million the interest will pay for a full-time wilderness advocacy position. This position will ensure that our Wilderness areas are constantly monitored, that threats to Wilderness are tracked and countered, and that emphasis is maintained on stricter protections and advocacy for additional Wilderness designations.

When the Fund reaches $1.5 million:

Once the fund reaches $1.5 million or more, the interest will fund an entire Wilderness program budget including full-time salary and project expenses, which would be independent of the general SCS budget. This means that no matter what the political or economic climate, SCS will always be true to our founders’ vision of Wilderness advocacy, and SCS will have more resources free to focus on other issue affecting the Tongass.

Celebrating the passion for the Tongass and the lives of:

Margot Adams Susan Neuhauser Atlee Rachel Baldwin Eric and Pam Bealer
Anita Behnken Ian Blair Jack and Sasha Calvin Richard Carstensen
Helen Hooper Drury Ruth Dunbar Sally Duncombe Robert J. Ellis
Ward Eldridge Greg Killinger Marcel and Connie LaPerriere Don Muller
Jack and Judy Ozment William Stortz Chuck Thoms Richard Nelson

Letting Go, a wood engraving by Eric Bealer. SCS is honored that the Bealers contributed their estate to the Living Wilderness Fund.

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