The Mountaineers Foundation was founded in 1968 by a small group of conservation-minded leaders who wanted to educate people on the values provided by the mountains, forests, and waters of the Pacific Northwest. These visionaries recognized the need to preserve the natural beauty and ecological integrity for future generations.
For more than 50 years, our volunteer-led Foundation has combined an unwavering dedication to restoring and preserving the vibrant ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest with our desire to connect people of all ages to the outdoors.
The Foundation puts our mission into action through four unique programs that have remained steadfast for decades.
We proudly steward, preserve and restore the beautiful 466-acre Rhododendron Preserve, an incredible treasure in the heart of Kitsap County. The Preserve is home to an important watershed that supports salmon and other fish, and is also home to an 11-foot wide Douglas fir affectionately known as Big Tree.
Education to inspire conservation
The Preserve isn’t just a pretty place – it’s a place of profound learning too. The Foundation works with local schools and community members to provide engaging education experiences for learners of all ages.
The best way to ensure you can protect the land is to own it. The Foundation has purchased 256 acres over the past decades to increase conservation efforts at the Preserve, and helped other organizations purchase and preserve thousands of acres of land throughout the Salish Sea region.
Community grants and partnerships
Community is everything to the Foundation. Since 1970, the Foundation has supported hundreds of conservation-focused non-profit organizations through our competitive grant program, amplifying our mission.
We operate with an all-volunteer board and have a rich history of working with amazing and generous donors. Together, we celebrated our 50-year milestone as a registered 501 (c)(3) organization in 2018.
That same year we added Keta Legacy Foundation to our name, though our focus and programs remain unchanged. This name embodies our core values of conservation and connection using a metaphor from salmon life cycles. Keta is the Latin name for chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), which need healthy ecosystems from the mountains, through forests and streams, and throughout the marine environment. These natural systems also support communities of people with a vested interest in the health and wellbeing of all the residents of our region – people and wildlife. That’s why this simple word – keta – captures what we have done as an independent organization since 1968.
Our numerous longtime supporters continue to know us as the Mountaineers Foundation, which has been our legal name since 1968 and remains so today. We are proud of the legacy we built over 50 years as the Mountaineers Foundation, the many supporters who have supported us under that banner, and the work we will continue to do under these names.
While the Foundation sometimes partners with The Mountaineers, a recreation-focused alpine club, and has even contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to support some conservation programs of their organization over the past few decades, we have always been separate and independent from one another. Today, more than ever, we remain deeply committed to conservation for everyone, including people fortunate enough to enjoy the mountains and waters of the Salish Sea region.