Fifty years ago today, December 12, 1973, ICL published our very first newsletter. 

Now known as The Idaho Conservationist, it has been continuously published and mailed out to ICL members ever since.

Written by ICL staff located across the state of Idaho, the newsletter reports on what’s happening in the realm of Idaho’s lands, energy, wildlife, water, and so much more.  

“ICL has been created to help Idaho citizens, conservation and public interest groups influence state decision-making in the legislature and elsewhere.”
– ICL’s inaugural newsletter Dec. 12, 1973

Weeks later, ICL’s Executive Director Marcia Pursley sent a first missive to Idaho legislators. 

“The ICL was created to help concerned citizens throughout Idaho take a more active part in their government,” she said. 

About two years later, ICL brought on its first newsletter editor, Ardyth Eisenberg. Back then, creating the ICL newsletter was a true labor of love. “The small staff and dedicated volunteers wrote the articles, and I edited, proofed, and then took them to our volunteer typesetter Gail Ward,” Ardyth shared. “Gail produced streams of paste-up-ready text on specially treated paper. I took it to a light table at a friendly print shop after hours, cut it into columns, laid them out, and pasted them into print-ready format. It was a labor of love and the best volunteer job I’ve ever had.”

Other long-time newsletter editors and designers Jonathan Stoke and Mary Beth Whitaker kept the newsletter humming along with significant design improvements and transitioned from manual layout to digital layout.

The process of making The Idaho Conservationist has changed since 1973, but the core of ICL remains the same: “ICL is non-partisan and came into being because of a strong conviction among concerned conservationists that, despite yeoman efforts by many volunteers, state decision-making often has not reflected the interest of Idahoans in protecting a quality environment.”

Sometimes in the heat of ongoing disputes and political polarization, it’s easy to lose sight of all that we have accomplished. 

Together, since 1973, we have:

  •  protected over 3.5 millions acres of Idaho’s backcountry public lands as Wilderness, ensuring that these pristine landscapes will be preserved for future generations of fish, wildlife, and Idahoans,
  • passed important land use planning laws, blocked efforts to build coal-fired power plants, and initiated efforts that led to development of a federal rule limiting mercury emissions from gold mining operations,
  • helped establish 1.2 million acres of Monuments, Wilderness Study Areas, and National Recreation Areas, over 602 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, and 9 million acres of protected National Forest Roadless Areas. 

Each of these accomplishments have been reported in The Idaho Conservationist, which has connected our members and supporters to the important decisions that affect our air, water, lands, and wildlife.

As we enter our 51st year, ICL looks forward to continuing to spotlight issues that are important to you and your family. 

If you’d like to receive the newsletter, sign up today as a member! And if you aren’t able to join today, remember you can sign up for our free email updates and you can manage your preferences to receive updates on the topics most important to you!