News

Take Action Tuesday: Thank your Senators for Oregon Treasures

 Photo: Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center

On Friday, February 15th, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced the Oregon Treasures Act of 2013 in the U.S. Senate; legislation that would greatly improve public lands protection throughout the state of Oregon. 

The Oregon Treasures bill includes enhanced protection of the John Day, Chetco, Molalla, and Rogue Rivers – all conservation campaigns The Conservation Alliance has supported, through grants to Oregon Natural Desert AssociationEarthworksOregon Wild, and Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, respectively.

How you can TAKE ACTION

Please take a moment to thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for their work to protect Oregon's natural treasures:

If you live in OREGON, click here.

If you live outside the state of Oregon, click here.

 

Favorites on Friday: The North Face – Clothes the Loop

 

On Tuesday, The North Face launched Clothes The Loop, a new program debuting in select TNF retail stores this month.  The Clothes the Loop program gives consumers an easy way to recycle used clothing and footwear to help keep these items out of the landfill, recycle them into new product, and protect our precious natural resources.

Apparel and footwear waste is a problem. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that roughly 22 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste ended up in landfills. The North Face is passionate about protecting and preserving our wild places and believe that every piece of apparel and footwear collected will help. The Clothes the Loop program is just one solution to this issue; but an important step that will help you reduce waste and reduce your footprint.

To learn about Clothes the Loop, click here.

To read more about the outdoor industry is doing to help stem the flow of gear into garbage cans, click here.

Items collected through Clothes the Loop will be sent to a recycling center where they are sorted into over 400 categories and designated either to be resold or recycled into raw materials such as insulation, carpet padding and stuffing for toys. The North Face will donate any proceeds made through the program to The Conservation Alliance, which funds community-based campaigns to protect North America's last wild places.  

Interior Department Protects Special Areas within National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

 Photo: Richard Kahn

Today, the Department of the Interior issued a Record of Decision that formally adopts a new Integrated Activity Plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (Reserve). 

Located on Alaska's North Slope and almost 22 million acres in size, the Reserve is our country's largest single unit of public land. The final plan appropriately protects five unique Special Areas including Teshekpuk Lake, Utukok Uplands,

Kasegaluk Lagoon, Peard Bay and Colville River in the Reserve, which are critical to fish, wildlife, recreation and Alaska Native subsistence. The announcement of the final Integrated Activity Plan wraps up a multiyear planning process, and is the first ever comprehensive plan that has been completed for the entire Reserve.

Over 400,000 Americans, including sportsmen, Alaska Native subsistence users represented by the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group and villages, tribes and other organizations representing more than 90 villages in Alaska called for protection of the wildlife and special places within the Reserve. Alaska Natives have relied upon the Reserve's resources for thousands of years for their subsistence use and continuance of their culture.

Conservation groups look forward to continuing to work with the Department of the Interior to refine needed protections for key special areas withinthe Reserve.

"We thank the Department of the Interior for protecting special areas within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska," said Cindy Shogan, Executive Director, Alaska Wilderness League. "The Department of the Interior has crafted a plan that protects and recognizes the vital role of subsistence, scenic and recreational values, and unique wildlife values. The Reserve is home to our most iconic wildlife, like caribou, muskoxen, grizzly bears and beluga whales. Thank you for protecting this special place for future generations."

Take Action Tuesday: Help Protect the Peel Watershed!

Photo: Peter Mather

The Peel River Watershed, located in Canada's Yukon Territory, is considered one of the world's most precious natural treasures.

Ten times the size of Banff National Park and seven times as large as Yellowstone National Park, the area is prime grizzly bear, caribou, moose and Dolly Varden trout habitat.

The Conservation Alliance has twice funded Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society's Peel River Campaign, to secure strong protection for all or most of the 17-million-acre Peel River watershed with significant First Nations participation in long-term policy and management.

The Yukon government is about to make an historic decision about the future of this precious natural treasure. 

CPAWS supporters and individuals from across the country participated in consultations that helped the Peel Land Use Planning Commission shape its Final Recommended Plan, released in 2011, which recommends protecting 80% of the Peel's extraordinary wilderness. This honors the overwhelming support by First Nations and the Yukon public for Peel protection while still leaving some of the watershed open to paced industrial development.

Despite this widespread consensus, the Yukon Government has proposed four alternative scenarios for the Peel's future – all of which would allow roads and industrial development throughout the watershed – even in so-called "Protected Areas."

Take Action & Speak up now to protect the Peel!

Please take one minute to email the Yukon government and let it know you support the plan to protect 80% of the Peel.

Click here to voice your support

 

Favorites on Friday: Osprey Packs goes above and beyond

Being good to one another and to the planet is at the core of Osprey Packs’ mission.

Osprey Packs works hard to lessen their impact on the planet and to trend lightly. Osprey has been a member of The Conservation Alliance since 2005, taken numerous trips to Washington DC to speak with elected officials about protecting our public lands, and works diligently, not only to be the creator of top-quality, high-performance, innovative packs, but to inspire their customers to help protect our wild places for future generations.

One way Osprey walks the talk is through their Prodeal Donation Program. For the past 10 years, each and every prodeal transaction requires a two dollar donation to select organizations. Prodeal customers select the organization to which they wish to make the donation at the time of purchase.

In 2012, over $11,000 was raised to benefit Alaska Wilderness League, International Mountain Biking Association, SOS Outreach and Paradox Sports.

In years past, The Conservation Alliance has been a beneficiary of the Osprey Program. As the program has grown, Osprey has elected to give directly to a number of Conservation Alliance grantees, namely Alaska Wilderness League and the International Mountain Biking Association in 2012 and Conservation Colorado and American Whitewater in 2013.

The Conservation Alliance encourages our member companies to develop direct relationships with our grantees, building on the grant funding provided by the Conservation Alliance membership, and lending support in additional ways. Osprey Packs sets an excellent example of this and we are proud of the dedication, commitment, and energy this member company puts into doing the right thing and protecting our last wild places.

To learn more about Osprey Packs’ corporate giving, click here.

Oregons Senators Reintroduce Cathedral Rock And Horse Heaven Under The Oregon Treasures Act Of 2013

Photo: Greg Burke

Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced legislation today in the
U.S. Senate which would  greatly improve public lands protection throughout Oregon including the protection of nearly 18,000 acres as Wilderness along the John Day River in eastern Oregon's prized high desert.

Introduced as the Oregon Treasures Act of 2013 the bill, among other notable accomplishments, would designate two new wilderness areas along and adjacent to the John Day River, Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven. The legislation includes a transfer of lands along more than four miles of the Wild and Scenic John Day River into public ownership, adds more than a dozen new campsites along a highly prized stretch of the river and improves access to public land that has been largely inaccessible to the public.

The land consolidation would allow public access to 8,500 acres of public land that have been surrounded by private ownership and unreachable by the public. "For the first time, the public will have unconstrained access to thousands of acres of prime eastern Oregon public lands. Whether you are hiking, hunting, boating, or fishing, your experience will be noticeably richer without the concern for trespassing onto private land," said Ben Gordon of the Oregon Natural Desert Association.

The Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven areas are defined by dramatic basalt cliffs, rolling hills of juniper, sagebrush and native grasses, lush river canyons, and expansive uplands.  The area offers world-class opportunities for outdoor recreation as well as important wildlife habitat for elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep and native fish such as salmon and steelhead trout.

Inclusion of Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven in the Oregon Treasures Act is a result of collaboration between diverse stakeholders including local landowners, hunting, fishing, and recreational user groups, and the Bend-based Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA). The proposal has been endorsed by Wasco and Wheeler Counties, local businesses, and the Redmond Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association.  

"ONDA extends its gratitude to Senators Wyden and Merkley for their leadership to include Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven in the Oregon Treasures Act of 2013," added Gordon. "Their commitment to the conservation of Oregon's treasured public lands is a testament to the Oregonian spirit."

Take Action Tuesday: Save the Chetco River

The Wild and Scenic Chetco River in Oregon is renowned for its world-class salmon and steelhead runs, and crystal clear water – it is also one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. It is vulnerable to mining as a result of the General Mining Law; a law from 1872 that gives mining precedence over all other uses for the river.

The good news is that the U.S. Forest Service is urging the Interior Department to protect about 17 miles of the river by withdrawing it from mining for the next five years to give Congress time to pass more lasting protection via the Chetco River Protection Act.

By making our voices heard, we have an opportunity to protect almost the entire length of the river.

How You Can Take Action

Send a message to the Department of Interior urging them to approve this request and save the Chetco River from suction dredge mining by clicking here.

To learn more about the Chetco River, click here.

Outdoor Retailer: Winter Market Wrap Up

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The Conservation Alliance spent a week in late January in Salt Lake City, attending the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.  As ever, our schedule was jam-packed and full of energy, great people, and member engagement.

 
Here are a few of the highlights:
 
A record crowd turned out for The Conservation Alliance Breakfast, with guest speaker Cheryl Strayed.
 
 

 

 

 

 

We introduced 10 new members: ECCO, Kahl & Partners, La Sportiva, Outside Haus, Point6, Pro Bar, Moving Comfort, Oboz Footwear, Sea to Summit, and Stio.

Our member companies hosted 21 fundraising events to benefit The Conservation Alliance and raised close to $40,000.

 

KEEN brought the Northern Lights to Salt Lake City

The 4th annual Canadian Cup raised $9,000 for The Conservation Alliance and provided an entire evening of entertainment.

 For more photos, click here.

 Be sure to follow The Conservation Alliance on Instagram at http://instagram.com/conservationalliance.

Obama taps REIs Sally Jewell for Interior Secretary

Photo: REI

We were thrilled to learn today that President Obama has nominated REI CEO Sally Jewell to be his next Interior Secretary. Assuming she is confirmed by the Senate, Sally will oversee the Department of the Interior, which manages all Park Service, BLM, and US Fish and Wildlife Service lands, totaling 507 million acres or 20 percent of the US land mass. In addition to setting conservation priorities for these lands, the Interior Department manages energy projects on federal lands and offshore areas that supply 28 percent of the nation’s energy production.

Previous Interior Secretaries have left historic legacies on the land. Bruce Babbitt, who served in the Clinton Administration, led efforts to designate 15 National Monuments and 14 National Conservation Areas. As President Johnson’s Interior Secretary, Stewart Udall oversaw the creation of four National Parks, six National Monuments, eight National Seashores, and 56 National Wildlife Refuges. Udall also played a lead role in passing the Wilderness Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, and the National Trail System Act. Times are different now, but Sally will be in a position to influence important conservation policy decisions.

It is notable that Obama chose a business leader for this position, as it usually goes to a prominent Western politician. We would be fortunate to have an Interior Secretary who knows the outdoor industry, and who has a long history of supporting The Conservation Alliance.

Here are a couple of links about the nomination:

New York Times

LA Times

Politico

SkiLink Is Not The Answer

 

Guest post by Mark Menlove, Winter Wildland Alliance, Executive Director

As a former president of the Utah Ski Association and its marketing company, Ski Utah, my allegiance to Utah skiing and to the Wasatch Mountains runs deep. That allegiance compels me to write in firm opposition to a legislative proposal to force the sale of public lands to a Canadian development company in order to facilitate a gondola known as SkiLink.

The proposal, pushed by members of Utah's congressional delegation at the behest of Talisker Corp., was introduced in the 2012 session of Congress as the Wasatch Range Recreation Access Enhancement Act. The bill would force the U.S. Forest Service to sell 30 acres of land on the Wasatch National Forest – land owned by all of us – to Talisker in order to build a gondola between Talisker-owned Canyons Ski Resort near Park City and Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Thirty acres may not sound like a lot, but this particular 30 acres bisects pristine national forest land currently proposed as wilderness and including popular hiking and biking trails and well-loved backcountry ski terrain. Incidentally, the Forest Service understands the public value of this land and testified against the SkiLink bill when it was introduced.

As a Utah native and lifelong skier I am an unabashed cheerleader for Utah skiing. I tell anyone who will listen about Utah's world-class resorts and "Greatest Snow on Earth." I also tell them about the unrivaled terrain that has made the Wasatch a world-renowned mecca for backcountry skiing, mountain biking, climbing and hiking.

It's the balance between developed and undeveloped recreation opportunities that make the Wasatch so unique. That balance is a primary reason the Outdoor Retailers, which pours more than $30 million each year into Utah's economy, chooses Salt Lake for its semiannual trade show and why many of the companies who attend the show have moved their businesses here.

SkiLink would forever alter that balance.

Led by Utah-based Black Diamond Equipment Co., 85 outdoor companies whose livelihoods are directly tied to Utah's recreation economy recently published a letter opposing SkiLink and asserting that, contrary to backers' claims, SkiLink would be a significant detriment to the greater ski community and would negatively impact Utah tourism and the outdoor businesses that contribute to the state's outdoor recreation economy.

Published industry reports on trends in snowsports support this assertion.

According to a 2011 Snowsports Industries of America report, human-powered snow sports are the fastest growing segment of winter recreation. This segment includes backcountry skiing, alpine touring, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Another SIA report on equipment sales states that alpine touring equipment sales in 2009-10 increased by 57 percent over the previous year. Interestingly, more than a third of all resort skiers now utilize equipment that does not require a ski lift.

Talisker marketeers tout SkiLink as a solution to the ever-increasing traffic volume and congestion to and between the Wasatch Front ski areas. This "solution" requires the purchase of a $96 lift ticket and spending an hour or more on four separate ski lifts just to reach the proposed gondola. That's after driving to the Canyons and before embarking on the gondola ride to Solitude.

Clearly, the Wasatch needs transportation solutions but SkiLink is not the answer.

If Utah's congressmen and senators truly want to serve their constituents they will abandon this backroom proposal benefiting a single international corporation and cutting the public – the owners of the land in question – out of the process, and will instead apply their considerable influence toward a comprehensive, area-wide planning effort that addresses transportation, watershed, land use and recreation on both sides of the Wasatch Range.

Mark Menlove is a fifth-generation Utahn who spent 18 years working in the state's ski industry, five as president of the Utah Ski Association and its marketing company, Ski Utah. He is executive director of Winter Wildlands Alliance.

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