Our Mission & History

Keep Alaska Wild

The vast wilderness areas in Alaska support a huge and diverse ecosystem. They support the majority of America’s fish harvest. They are the heart of Alaska’s tourist economy. Most importantly, Alaska’s environment has intrinsic value that defies measurement in economic terms. Alaskans know this on a deep level, and so do people all across America. Federal law and the laws of our state, up to and including the state constitution, have laid out a framework of protections so that we can be good stewards of our resources, keeping Alaska special – and wild – for the long term. But today, Alaska is being threatened by the destructive trend of unconscious development. We face an onslaught of efforts to circumvent the public process and force through plans that would enrich a few while forever destroying the Alaskan way of life. The consequences of failing to protect our last few wild places are huge. Our government must follow its own rules, treating everyone equally in the public process. As we have seen, this won’t happen without vigilant oversight.
With our expertise not only in Federal statutes and regulations but also in Alaska’s unique legal framework – Alaska is the only state with an entire constitutional article aimed at safeguarding natural resources within its boundaries – we have set legal precedents and won significant victories.
Trustees for Alaska is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm providing legal counsel to protect and sustain Alaska’s natural environment. We provide legal counsel to diverse constituencies on the major environmental policy issues facing Alaska. Our client list includes local and national conservation groups, Native villages, community and citizen groups, statewide coalitions, hunting and fishing groups, and individual Alaskans. Our services are free of charge, and for most of our Alaskan clients, we provide legal counsel they could not otherwise access or afford. Established in 1974, Trustees for Alaska has long been and remains the legal backbone of environmental advocacy in Alaska. Our lawyers have been in the vanguard of issues large and small which continue to shape Alaska’s environmental future – oil and gas development, mining, toxic wastes, air and water pollution, public land use, and protection of marine resources. While our successes have set significant legal precedent in environmental law on state and national levels, the primary focus of our work is to benefit Alaska’s environment and human communities. Most recently, we have focused on global warming, which is already devastating Alaska’s environment – particularly its fragile Arctic and subarctic ecosystems – and to which, ironically, Alaska is poised to make an outsized and self-destructive contribution in the form of massive coal developments. Our work relies on donations from foundations and individuals who care about protecting Alaska’s special places. For more information on our work please visit the program section on our website.

Values we live by

  • Leadership in our approach to emerging conservation issues and priority campaigns

  • Respect for people, cultures, and environment

  • Excellence in our work

  • Innovation in the way we use the law to protect Alaska

  • Integrity in who we are and how we work

  • Perseverance in addressing our challenges

  • Foresight in anticipating and preparing for new environmental threats

  • Passion for protecting the wildlands, wildlife, and people of Alaska

Vision for the Organization

Trustees for Alaska, Alaska’s only state-based and focused environmental nonprofit law firm, has been at the forefront of Alaska’s most important legal environmental issues for almost four decades. As we move into the future, we will continue to be a leader in the courts, community and conservation movement; we will work strategically to support Alaska’s natural environment and its people by utilizing the law where we can have the greatest impact combined with creative and innovative legal strategies. We will continue to develop the staff, resources, expertise and trust to join forces with our clients throughout Alaska’s vast reaches in support of clean air, clean water, spectacular wilderness, and Native cultures. We will work to promote a sustainable and sustaining Alaska. Our strength comes from our supporters, board and staff’s passion to protect the magnificent places and people of Alaska, and our commitment to working with rural Native communities.