Durango, CO – A public service campaign launched today with the goal of spreading the word about safe and respectful use of America’s National Conservation Lands. The “Respect. Connect. Protect.” campaign introduces Spokespebble – in what is believed to be the first ever such character in marketing history – as its adorable yet earnest voice on these three themes.
Through a series of endearing videos and social content, the campaign – and Spokespebble – seek to help visitors to National Conservation Lands understand how to experience these remote, vast, rugged, and sensitive landscapes safely, respectfully, and responsibly.
The national campaign is sponsored by the Conservation Lands Foundation, in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management’s Las Cruces District Office, Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and partners including Leave No Trace, and Tread Lightly.
“More people are visiting Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and other National Conservation Lands in New Mexico, which are more remote and rugged than national parks,” said Romir Lahiri, New Mexico Associate Program Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation.
“We’re hoping this campaign empowers visitors with practical tips on how to stay safe, understand Indigenous cultural connections, protect the natural beauty, and act respectfully and responsibly. For example, during summer months, morning hikes should be done by 11AM or visitors should plan on hiking higher elevation trails.”
The campaign encourages the public to find resources at www.respectconnectprotect.org.
Spokespebble is a nature-loving hunk of million-year-old sedimentary rock who is always young at heart, on the go, and your guide to planning ahead, staying safe, and being awesome whenever you visit National Conservation Lands.
“We are excited to be a partner in this campaign as we welcome and help manage the impact of more visitors to public lands we manage in New Mexico,” said McKinney Briske, BLM New Mexico National Conservation Lands Program Lead.
“Visitors to New Mexico’s National Conservation Lands need to be aware that they likely won’t have cell coverage, water stations, or rangers. We want everyone to be prepared so they don’t get lost, stranded, or worse, and they know how to not damage essential wildlife habitats, Indigenous sacred sites, and water sources,” said Wight.
There is currently no other large-scale collaborative effort that addresses the safety and other considerations specific to National Conservation Lands. The Respect. Connect. Protect. campaign fills the void to address these issues and ensures that visitors are well-informed and well-prepared on their trips to these locations.
“The campaign is designed to speak to the next generation of visitors – and the message has never been more important. As strong as Smokey Bear, as wise as Woodsy Owl, Spokespebble is a voice for National Conservation Lands that require a little more planning and preparation to visit,” said Kris Deutschman, Senior Communications Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation.
First Phase: Today’s launch is the first phase of what will eventually be rolled out to cover all recreation-accessible lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The first phase focuses on specific National Conservation Lands within five states:
- New Mexico: Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
- California Desert: Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow national monuments, and Amargosa Wild and Scenic River
- Colorado: McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area, Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, and Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area
- Nevada: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, and Basin and Range National Monument
- Utah: Bears Ears National Monument and Moab (Canyon Country BLM Office)
- Spokespebble is excited to get the word out – especially to Gen Z and Millennials who are passionate about protecting our natural resources and know how to influence the culture at large.
- Over the next five weeks, the campaign will unveil a series of videos on social media platforms designed to reach as many people as possible and drive them to the practical resources available at www.respectconnectprotect.org.