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Mission & Values

Our Mission

"We set standards of excellence that inspire, connect, and equip people to steward wild landscapes."

Our Mission


1.  Take care of wild public lands in our bootprint.

2.  Provide transformational opportunities in the outdoors that inspire and connect the next generation of conservation stewards.

3.  Increase public awareness, access, and relevancy to wilderness.

4.  Build organizational sustainability and fiscal responsibility.

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A Premier Wilderness Organization
With STELLAR Values

Our Values


Wilderness and wild public lands have value, and we share responsibility in caring for those lands and for the ecological benefits they provide for current and future generations.


We build the next generation of conservation stewards by providing jobs and meaningful, transformational experiences in the outdoors.


We are share responsibility for creating equity and working to disrupt systems that are unjust.


We strive to deliver stewardship excellence in all facets of our organization.


Sharing knowledge and offering skills-based training for employees and partners will help revitalize stewardship in our region and the country.


Safe, inclusive access to the outdoors is a basic right, and access to meaningful and transformative outdoor places, experiences, and careers must be equitable.


The foundation of our relationships. SAWS is more successful when we build respectful relationships to share capacity and work to understand and support mutual objectives and the needs of the communities.


We Are Committed to Working Towards Equity in the Outdoors

The bottom part of a giant tulip polar sits amongst a variety of green trees and shrubs with the words Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion overtop.  SAWS

We are committed to working towards equity in the outdoors and in conservation by celebrating diversity, fostering inclusivity, and recognizing and working to address past injustices and barriers to equitable access. SAWS has three JEDI priorities:

  • Maintain a diverse and inclusive board.

  • Create an inclusive workforce and increase the diversity of the people that engage in our programs.

  • Continue to work with and support organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and all people of color (BIPOC) to remove barriers and build more equitable opportunities in the outdoors. 



Land Acknowledgement

Land Acknowledgement

SAWS acknowledges and honors the history, culture and heritage of Tribal Nations and communities. The lands in each of the places we work are the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary homelands of Native people. Our offices in Asheville, North Carolina and Roanoke, Virginia stand on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary homelands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Tutelo people. We recognize the continuing experiences, rights, and values of Indigenous people.

We are committed to telling a more truthful story of the lands we live, work, and play on. We actively seek and welcome all opportunities to learn more from the Tribal Nations throughout our region to better acknowledge their perspectives, interests, and stories. SAWS will listen to, learn from, and support Native interests in our landscape.

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