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Backyard Collectives 2010: BYC Bend Style

 

A few weeks ago we got to spend sometime in our "sort of" backyard — Portland — but this week we got to get our hands dirty for conservation in our actual backyard: Bend! We had forty employees from local member companies participate in trail building, garbage removal, and invasive tree removal in the Bull Springs area of Skyline Forest.

Big thanks to volunteers from Bend based Ruff Wear, Inc and Quick Feat International, as well as to our supporting sponsors: Ruff Wear, Inc., Stanley, a brand of PMI, and Clif Bar.

 

Volunteers got to mingle with representatives with local nonprofits Oregon Natural Desert Association, The Deschutes Land Trust, and 1000 Friends of Oregon, and learn more about the organizations and current projects.

 

Brad Chalfant, Executive Director of The Deschutes Land Trust, also gave a big thanks to all the volunteers:

“The Deschutes Land Trust has been working since 2005 to protect the big private timberlands on the east side of Oregon’s Cascades mountains. It’s been an uphill battle, since most people assume these lands are national forests and not at risk of development. The Conservation Alliance has helped us create a voice for these lands before they get broken up and sold off for development. Together we’ve made real progress and in the last year have seen the creation of Oregon’s first new state forest in 40 years. However, there’s a lot more work to do and the Conservation Alliance’s Backyard Collective just gave us a great new trail to help educate citizens, legislators and funders to create the momentum to make Skyline Forest a reality and permanently conserve another 66,500 acre of threatened forest.”

 Here's to more of us getting out and helping to take care of the places we love!

Arctic Wilderness Review Raises Hopes, Alarms

 

From the PEW Environment Group via E&E Daily: 

Environmental groups are crowing while Alaska's congressional delegation is condemning the Obama administration's announcement Monday that it will consider proposing new wilderness designations within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Nearly half of ANWR has already been declared wilderness, a designation that carries strict restrictions on human activities to protect high conservation-value lands. The Interior Department now will consider recommending designations on the rest of the area — including land above oil reserves on Alaska's coastal plain.

Interior does not have the power to create any new wilderness areas. That can only be done through an act of Congress. Instead, Interior can recommend Congress consider certain lands for the designation, said Bruce Woods, an Alaska office spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Interior agency conducting the review.

"We're a long way from that," Woods said.

But they are too close for comfort for Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D), who favor developing the refuge's oil reserves. They took turns ripping the administration's plans this week.

Murkowski called the reviews a "blatant political move by the administration" in an Associated Press interview, and Begich said they were "a colossal waste of limited resources."

"We should use those resources to develop the enormous oil and gas reserves believed to be beneath the coastal plain," Begich said…

But while the lawmakers fume, environmental groups are heralding the move as a step in the right direction.

"We are confident that because the [ANWR] has pre-eminent wilderness values … this process will lead to a strong wilderness recommendation to the U.S. Congress," said Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.

The group pushed the administration to propose wilderness on the coastal plain, saying it was the heart of the ecosystem ANWR was set up to protect. "The arctic refuge is one of the last true wilderness areas left in the United States," Shogan said. "Some places are just too special to sacrifice to oil and gas development."

Woods said both sides may be getting ahead of themselves…

"Regardless of what we do and what anyone does, only Congress can designate wilderness and only Congress can open it to oil and gas drilling."

The administration's decision to consider suggesting new wilderness does not necessarily mean it intends to do so, Woods said.

Read the rest of the story… 

Udall Introduces Bill to Expand San Juan Mountain Wilderness

 

 

 Photo: Jonathan Richter

On September 27, Mark Udall announced that he has introduced a bill to preserve some of the state’s most iconic public lands in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.

The San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act would designate 33,000 acres as wilderness – mostly as expansions of the existing Lizard Head and Mount Sneffels wilderness areas – and establish a new area called McKenna Peak, which presides over imposing sandstone cliffs rising 2,000 feet above the plain.  It would also designate about 22,000 acres as a special management area and withdraw over 6,000 acres within Naturita Canyon from mineral entry.

The Conservation Alliance funded the Wilderness Support Center’s work on the San Juan Wilderness Campaign in 2008 and 2010.

Grantee Weekly Grind: Arctic Wilderness Review Raises Hopes, Alarms

 
From the PEW Environment Group via E&E Daily: 
 

Environmental groups are crowing while Alaska's congressional delegation is condemning the Obama administration's announcement Monday that it will consider proposing new wilderness designations within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Nearly half of ANWR has already been declared wilderness, a designation that carries strict restrictions on human activities to protect high conservation-value lands. The Interior Department now will consider recommending designations on the rest of the area — including land above oil reserves on Alaska's coastal plain.

Interior does not have the power to create any new wilderness areas. That can only be done through an act of Congress. Instead, Interior can recommend Congress consider certain lands for the designation, said Bruce Woods, an Alaska office spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Interior agency conducting the review.

"We're a long way from that," Woods said.

But they are too close for comfort for Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D), who favor developing the refuge's oil reserves. They took turns ripping the administration's plans this week.

Murkowski called the reviews a "blatant political move by the administration" in an Associated Press interview, and Begich said they were "a colossal waste of limited resources."

"We should use those resources to develop the enormous oil and gas reserves believed to be beneath the coastal plain," Begich said…

But while the lawmakers fume, environmental groups are heralding the move as a step in the right direction.

"We are confident that because the [ANWR] has pre-eminent wilderness values … this process will lead to a strong wilderness recommendation to the U.S. Congress," said Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.

The group pushed the administration to propose wilderness on the coastal plain, saying it was the heart of the ecosystem ANWR was set up to protect. "The arctic refuge is one of the last true wilderness areas left in the United States," Shogan said. "Some places are just too special to sacrifice to oil and gas development."

Woods said both sides may be getting ahead of themselves…

"Regardless of what we do and what anyone does, only Congress can designate wilderness and only Congress can open it to oil and gas drilling."

The administration's decision to consider suggesting new wilderness does not necessarily mean it intends to do so, Woods said…

Read the rest of the story… 

Conservation Stories: REI Encourages Members to Volunteer for National Public Lands Day

 

The work at Conservation Alliance wouldn't be possible without all of our outdoor industry brand members. But a lot of them aren't only involved with Conservation Alliance; many of our member brands are committed to a diverse variety of environmental causes. Every Thursday we'll be featuring a cross-post from one of our member companies to highlight the causes that they're active in. Today we're featuring a post from REI's blog about getting out and volunteering for this Saturday's National Public Lands Day.

***

Our nation’s public lands are the places where most of us go to enjoy the outdoors. Whether we visit our neighborhood green space or a national park, public lands give us a chance to enjoy fresh air wherever we live or travel.

I rely on public lands for all the best places to use my beloved outdoor gear, and you probably do, too. That’s why I’m hoping you and your friends will join one of the events of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sepetember 25.

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is our nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the lands that we all enjoy. Not sure what qualifies as “public land?” Public lands include municipal, county, regional, state and national parks as well as US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. Like I said, pretty much everywhere that we go to get outside.

I’m also pleased to point out that REI supports hundreds of local organizations through our grants program and local store partnerships that engage volunteers in restoring and sustaining public lands all year long.

If you’re a member of the REI co-op, you can be proud to be playing a part in helping to take care of these places. However, we’d love it if you would come out and join us in playing an active role in stewarding public lands. Find your local store page and check the classes and events section to see if they’re hosting or promoting an NPLD event in your community.

You can also find events by entering your state or zip code on the National Public Lands Day website. REI’s partnership with VolunteerMatch is yet another way to search for local volunteer stewardship events on public lands in your community. Try it out—it feels great to get involved.

As an added incentive to get out and spend some time on your public lands this weekend, The National Parks will be fee-free on Saturday and Sunday.

Grantee Weekly Grind: Natural Gas Drilling Threatens New York City Water Supply and Beyond…

The New York City watershed and Delaware River Basin combined provides water for more than 15,600,000 people. It's the largest unfiltered water source in the world. And the natural gas industry has leased hundreds of thousands of acres within the watershed and the river basin for energy development. That could mean 50,000 gas wells in the combined watershed area. 

As of spring 2010, there has been no drilling, but that could change any day now… Conservation Alliance grantee Adirondack Mountain Club is working to protect Allegheny State Park from proposed hydro-fracking mining by purchasing sub-surface mineral rights by the state, or by designating the area a Park Preserve. But the problem goes deeper than that. The potential drilling threatens the entire region and many others across the country, as exposed by the documentary Gasland…

 Watch the trailer:

"The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown."

Take Action: Tell your Senators and Representatives to support the FRAC Act…

http://gaslandthemovie.com/take-action/ 

Backyard Collectives 2010: Portland Hosts Largest BYC Yet!

 

Another week, another Backyard Collective… this time right in our own backyard: Portland! More than 235 employees from eight Conservation Alliance member companies — Columbia Sportswear; KEEN; Nau; Horny Toad/Lizard Lounge; The North Face; REI; Under Solen Media; and Ben Moon Photography — participated in trail restoration, invasive weed removal, and other projects in Forest Park, Sellwood Park, and along Johnson Creek. In fact, that made the Portland 2010 Backyard Collective the biggest one yet! Columbia loaded three huge busses with 200 employees!

 

 

With over 235 employees showing up, that means we logged over 840 volunteer hours.. you can imagine how much ivy that equals! We also had a lively “environmental fair” that provided several of our grantee conservation organizations the opportunity to share information about their work with everyone that came out.  

Thanks to Forest Park Conservancy and their trail crew for keeping us all in line and hard at work!

Polar Bear Ad: Good, or Just More Greenwashing?

 

Earlier this month, Nissan debuted "Polar Bear," a video advertisement for the new Nissan LEAF — a zero-emission, 100-percent electric vehicle. In this story, a sad polar bear watches its Arctic home melt away and journeys from the icy north through forests, highways and over bridges to the big city and then to the suburbs, where the animal finds someone who is trying to help — the owner of an all-electric Nissan LEAF.

Thanks to the Western Environmental Law Center for tipping us off to this video. What do you think? Is Nissan on the right track here, or is it just more greenwashing?

 

 

Conservation Stories: Help Select The Next Conservation Alliance Grantees, Win prAna Prize Pack!

 

The work at Conservation Alliance wouldn't be possible without all of our outdoor industry brand members. But a lot of them aren't only involved with Conservation Alliance; many of our member brands are committed to a diverse variety of environmental causes. Every Thursday we'll be featuring a cross-post from one of our member companies to highlight the causes that they're active in. Today we're pulling a request from the prAna Facebook page that asks for your help in deciding which groups should get Conservation Alliance grants this year!

***

Nicole Bassett here, prAna Sustainability Director, and I wanted to include you in a really wonderful opportunity.

The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor industry companies that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations.

Funding is directed to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat, preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. As a member of the Conservation Alliance, prAna is asked twice yearly to vote for the organizations that will receive grant money.

This year we thought it would be great to hear from you, our supporters, on who you would like prAna to vote for. Please take a few moments to review the 24 grants nominees and vote for your top 10 groups and campaigns.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts as we support wilderness areas. All participants will be entered into a draw for a prAna prize pack! Click here to take the survey.

DEADLINE: Please complete your survey before Wednesday September 15, 2010 at 12 noon Pacific Standard Time

Grantee Weekly Grind: World’s Premiere Photographers Join Forces to Protect British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest

Photo courtesy Ian McAllister, iLCP

Conservation Alliance grantee Pacific Wild has teamed up with the iLCP, a group of internationally renowned photographers, to take part in a RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition) in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. Home to white spirit bears, ancient forests, and stunning marine biodiversity, it is one of the planet's most priceless treasures, but overseas oil interests wanting access to western Canada's tar sands, the second largest known oil reserves in the world, have put the region in threat, prompting the action of conservation groups and the iLCP. Please follow along on the iLCP blog, on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

From iLCP's blog:

Just like in many creative industries, the photography business is a competitive one. Why then, would some of the world's premiere photographers converge in the wilds of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest? To save one of the planet's most priceless treasures. Photographers including Paul Nicklen, Florian Schultz, Daniel Beltra, Jack Dykinga, Tom Peschak and Cristina Mittermeier will take part in the iLCP's RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition) of the area and tell the story of this incredible place and the people working to save it.


"The Great Bear Rainforest is an environmental treasure, and the international exposure that the iLCP is capable of generating will undoubtedly prove a clarion call for its protection," said Ian McAllister, Conservation Director for B.C. based Pacific Wild and recently nominated Associate of the iLCP. "We have everything to lose and very little to gain by allowing oil tankers on our coast."

 

Overseas oil interests want access to western Canada's tar sands — the second largest known oil reserves in the world — and have proposed the construction of a massive pipeline through the rain forest to get it.

 

Photo courtesy Cristina Mittermeier, iLCP

Home to white spirit bears, ancient forests, and stunning marine biodiversity, iLCP's team of photographers will showcase the immense ecological importance of western Canada's threatened rain forest and marine environment. The images and stories from the expedition members will be shared with international media and partner organizations and will be featured in a traveling exhibition across North America and Europe.

Photo courtesy Ian McAllister, iLCP

Enbridge Inc., the world's largest pipeline construction company (and the same one responsible for Michigan's oil spill) has proposed to open export markets for tar sands oil outside the United States — most notably China.

 

So, how do you go about that? Build a 1,200 km pipeline from Alberta's tar sands and British Columbia's north Pacific coast over more than 1,000 streams and rivers — including some of the world's largest salmon producing watersheds — and introduce super oil tankers (revoking an existing moratorium on large ships) to transport oil through the pristine waters of the Great Bear Rainforest.

"We support this effort to document the lands and seas of our traditional territory," states Ernie Hill Jr., Sn'axeed, Gitga'at Hereditary Eagle Chief. The indigenous First Nations who call this area home unanimously oppose this project. "Enbridge's pipeline and oil tanker proposal will destroy our way of life and we must do everything possible to show what we stand to lose."

 

Learn more about the Great Bear Rainforest RAVE.

 

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