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Favorites on Friday: {worthWILD} Bolton Valley

The Conservation Alliance has released Bolton Valley, the fifth video in the {worthWILD} series. The film tells the story of the Vermont Land Trust's successful effort to purchase and conserve 1,200 acres of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry land.    

In the spring of 2012, The Conservation Alliance first funded the Vermont Land Trust's Bolton Valley Conservation Campaign.

The goal was to permanently protect the 1,200-acre Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry property that provides both critical habitat for wildlife and unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities for thousands of residents and visitors to northern Vermont. In March of 2013, the Alliance funded this project once again, bringing Alliance funding of this project to $85,000. With this second grant, the Bolton Valley Conservation Campaign reached its $1.85 million fundraising goal.

Click here to watch {worthWILD} Bolton Valley.

Favorites on Friday: A Big Week for Wilderness

Photo: Greg Lief

This week was an important one for Wilderness.  With Senator Wyden at the helm of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate took a major step toward the passage of public lands bills, sending a total of 14 measures to the House.  With unanimous consent, the Senate passed bills to designate Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers in Oregon, Washington and Michigan.

"I commend Senator Murkowski and the rest of my colleagues on the committee for proving that sensible bills with bipartisan support can thread the needle and pass the U.S. Senate," Wyden said. "The bills passe (today) will promote recreation, speed up development of renewable power and protect some of our country's most pristine areas."

Bills that passed included:

S. 23, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act, by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to designate roughly 30,000 acres of wilderness at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which features stunning sand dunes and islands along Lake Michigan.

S. 352, Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act of 2013, by Wyden (D-Oregon), To provide for the designation of the Devil's Staircase Wilderness Area in the State of Oregon, to designate segments of Wasson and Franklin Creeks in the State of Oregon as wild rivers, and for other purposes.

S. 112, Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act, by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), which would add more than 20,000 acres to the Alpine Lakes wilderness area and add 10 miles of the Pratt River and nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River to the National Wild and Scenic River System.

S. 383, by Murray, to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate a segment of Illabot Creek in Skagit County, Wash., as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

In additional to these bills being passed, two other Wilderness Bills moved out of committee and will soon beup for a vote by the entire Senate.

These bills included:

S. 353, Oregon Treasures Act of 2013, by Wyden and Merkley (D-Oregon), to designate certain land in the State of Oregon as wilderness, to make additional wild and scenic river designations in the State of Oregon, and for other purposes.

S. 341, San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, by Udall (D -Colo.) and Bennett (D-Colo.), to designate 61,000 acres in San Miguel, Ouray, and San Juan Counties, Colorado, as wilderness, and for other purposes.

To learn more, click here & here..

 

Outstanding Partnership Stories: Columbia Sportswear & ForestEthics

Refineries using fuel from Canada's Tar Sands threaten heart and lung health in US communities. Tar Sands mining in Canada rips up Boreal forest. Throughout its life cycle, Tar Sands produces much more global warming pollution than conventional oil. 

And that's why ForestEthics (and many others) are very grateful for Columbia Sportswear's collaboration in developing a Tar Sands policy at their company. The company's connection to the Tar Sands lies in the transportation fuel that its transportation providers use to move finished products from port of manufacturer to the company's distribution centers and eventually to wholesale customers and end consumers around the world. Now, as part of its regular process for selecting ocean, rail and land transportation providers, Columbia Sportswear asks providers to disclose their efforts to avoid high-impact fuels, such as those from Canada's Tar Sands. 

Columbia Sportswear's action is part of growing trend among some very influential opinion leaders and economic actors, a trend that now includes 19 major US brands. That trend says loud and clear that we don't need Tar Sands pipelines or refineries for a product whose biggest customers – transportation providers – are being discouraged from using by their largest customers – companies like Columbia Sportswear.

Take Action Tuesday: Stop SkiLink

SkiLink is a proposed gondola traversing the Wasatch Mountains from Canyons Resort in Park City to Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Marketed as a transportation solution by its supporters, SkiLink is in essence an effort to privatize highly-valued public lands for a development project that is not wanted or needed.

It is an uncertain time for SkiLink, with Vail Resorts coming in as the new operator of Canyons Resort.

Now is an ideal time to learn more about this proposal, and some of the concerns surrounding it. Please watch and share this short film put together by GEBBS. If you are interested in becoming more involved, please like Stop SkiLink Now on Facebook, and join 6,000 others in signing an online petition opposing SkiLink.

Stop Skilink from GEBBS on Vimeo.

Outstanding Partnership Stories: prAna and Access Fund protecting the places we climb!

prAna's mission of sustainability, mindfulness, and connection to the outdoors, and the climbing community, is evident in their work, products, and advocacy.

prAna has been a dedicated partner of Access Fund since 1993, playing a critical role in keeping climbing areas open and conserving the climbing environment.  prAna is a consistent business voice in support of protecting climbing areas and access.   prAna's mission of sustainability, mindfulness, and connection to the outdoors, and the climbing community, is evident in their work, products, and advocacy.

Access Fund recognized prAna's commitment to advocacy work when they awarded prAna the Sharp End award in 2006 for their dedication to conservation, stewardship, and community activism.

 As Conservation Alliance member, prAna has twice successfully nominated Access Fund for funding, totaling $65,000.

In 2011, prAna nominated Access Fund for funding of the Jailhouse Rock campaign; a successful project resulting in the purchase and permanent access to Jailhouse Rock, a popular climbing crag near Sonora, California. This successful effort included a long-term plan to manage the impacts of climbers at the area.

More recently, prAna nominated Access Fund for Conservation Alliance funding for the Holy Boulders Project. In April, a grant of $40,000 was awarded and will be used to secure permanent public access and long-term conservation of Holy Boulders in Southern Illinois for future generations of climbers to enjoy.

prAna has also been a leading force in the sharing Access Fund stories of stewardship, education, and conservation with their community of customer through their robust social media channels.  

Without partners like prAna, organizations like the Access Fund would not have the same capacity and resources to conserve the outdoor spaces we all love and desire to protect.   

To learn about prAna's commitment to protecting the places we play and their support of the Access Fund, click here 

Commitment, Camaraderie & Conservation in Salt Lake City

We recently returned to Salt Lake City for the Backyard Collective. The occasion was weeks in the planning with a truly cooperative effort from Nathan Kuder, Black Diamond Category Director, Julia Geisler, Executive Director of Salt Lake Climbers Alliance, and Jessie Walther, Executive Director of Cottonwood Canyons Foundation.

On May 30th, we were joined by a small group of hearty volunteers from PRO BARAtomic, Gregory PacksPetzlSalomonSuunto Black Diamond and Backcountry.com for a day of volunteer action in two locations well-loved by outdoor enthusiasts.

 

 

At Ferguson Canyon, volunteers built belay terraces and stepped paths along a very popular climber route. With grit and good cheer, the cross organizational team accomplished the day's objectives improving the area for all to enjoy.

 

A few miles away at Little Cottonwood Canyon, volunteers worked together to "purge the spurge". Ten large bags of invasive Myrtle Spurge, also known as donkey tail, were pulled in total.

After the day's goals were accomplished, volunteers returned to Black Diamond for a hosted happy hour and Volunteer Fair with representatives from Southern Utah Wilderness AllianceSave Our CanyonsUtah Rivers Council, and Cottonwood Canyons Foundation.

Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf gave an inspiring talk to the group that focused on the importance of taking personal responsibility as stewards of wild places. We also welcomed Jules Lambert, PRO BAR President as one of our newest member companies to the event.

Many thanks to Nathan Kuder, Laura Gibbons and the rest of the Black Diamond team for their extraordinary hospitality. We are also grateful to Uintah/Squatters for providing beer, everyone who contributed great gear to the raffle/event swag and to all of our participating member companies and their exemplary employees.

Our next event is planned for June 25th in our Central Oregon Backyard!

(photos courtesy of Nathan Kuder and Lauren Debell) 

Take Action: Thank Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley For Standing Up For Oregon Wilderness!

Photo: Justin Bailie / Tandem Stock

Earlier this spring, Senator Ron Wyden teamed up with Senator Merkley to introduce a package of Wilderness and Wild and Scenic bills in Congress. These bills aim to protect some of Oregon's most iconic lands and rivers, including the Rogue River, Cathedral Rock, Horse Heaven, the Molalla and Chetco rivers and Devil's Staircase. By introducing and fighting for these bills in Congress, Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley have continued to show their commitment to protecting Oregon's special wild places and rivers, as well as supporting our recreation economy.

This work on Wilderness, as well as other key investments like full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses no taxpayer money to protect local and national parks and forests, are terrific steps in the right direction. This strong support also shows that the Senators will continue to reject any efforts to strip protections from national parks, forests, monuments and other public lands, which provide our companies a competitive advantage.

Please take a moment to thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for standing up for conservation and the outdoor community here in Oregon. 

Share the photo above of the Rogue River in Southern Oregon on your social networks, using the below sample text to thank the senators for their support. (Photo Credit: Justin Bailie)

Facebook [copy and share the image at top]: Outdoor recreation injects $12.8 billion annually to the Oregon's economy, and supports 141,200 jobs across the state. Thank you Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley for protecting our jobs and special wild places like the Rogue River .

TAG: Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley and Justin Bailie's Facebook Page

Twitter [copy and share the image at top]: Thank you @RonWyden @JeffMerkley for protecting our recreation economy and Oregon's wilderness + rivers! @justinbailie

Instagram [copy and share the image at top]: Thank you Senator Ron Wyden for protecting wild places like the Rogue River and our outdoor recreation economy in Oregon! @wydenpress @justin_bailie

Thanks for spreading the good word!

Outstanding Partnership Stories: Outdoor Gear Exchange and Vermont Land Trust Create a Lasting Legacy

Photo: Broudy/Donohue Photography

Creating a lasting legacy: Outdoor Gear Exchange was instrumental in Vermont Land Trust's campaign to protect the Bolton Valley.

In 2012, Vermont Land Trust (VLT) engaged in a public campaign to protect the 1,100-acre Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry property, a critical wildlife habitat link that provides unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities in northern Vermont.  In April, 2013 VLT reached their $1,050,000 fundraising goal and will soon permanently protect land with a conservation easement and transfer to the State of Vermont as part of Mount Mansfield State Forest.  Conservation Alliance Member, Outdoor Gear Exchange (gearx.com), was a critical collaborator in the effort to protect the Bolton Nordic and Backcountry land, and has played a key role in helping VLT and the community achieve their objective.

When Vermont Land Trust announced the decision to work with a group of community volunteers to protect the Bolton Valley property, the response of Outdoor Gear Exchange's leadership team was immediate. Outdoor Gear Exchange (OGE) co-owners Marc Sherman and Mike Donohue not only nominated Vermont Land Trust for a Conservation Alliance grant (which was awarded), they also determined that nearly every Outdoor Gear Exchange event and program over the next seven months would benefit or promote the Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry campaign in some way. These community outreach programs and events were critical in the campaign's success and included:

  • Outdoor Gear Exchange reached out one of their key vendors, Kuhl Clothing, who's slogan is "Born in the Mountains", in hopes of finding a creative way to sponsor the ad campaign.  Kuhl loved the idea and partnered with OGE and PointFM, a popular Vermont radio station, to run a series of vignettes  emphasizing what Bolton meant to its users and encouraging the public to help fund this important acquisition. The value of this campaign was more than $7,500 and was instrumental in garnering support for the project.
  • Organizing and underwriting a major "Fall Fashion Show" event in the Burlington store as a benefit event for the campaign. In October of 2012, OGE held "Ullr's Dream", their first annual fall fashion show; staff modeled their latest in winter apparel to an enthusiastic crowd that also enjoyed refreshments and music. The evening included a presentation from VLT about the Bolton campaign. OGE also organized an online silent auction offering the opportunity to bid on the outfits modeled. Proceeds from both the event and the corresponding auction went straight to the Bolton campaign. The evening raised thousands of dollars for the project.
  • Dedicating proceeds from multiple Fall 2012 film screening events to the Bolton campaign, including the popular "Choose Your Own Adventure" ski film that attracted over 100 attendees.
  • In January of 2013, OGE partnered with Mammut and backcountry skiing enthusiast Murray Banks to present a slideshow on hut-to-hut backcountry skiing in the Alps. The event included a presentation from VLT, a raffle, and refreshments. Over 150 people attended, and 100% of proceeds went to the Bolton campaign.

The Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry property holds an almost sacred status for hundreds of people who have become connected to the land over many decades. Outdoor Gear Exchange demonstrated their understanding of the importance of this property to the community, and they were a key partner in Vermont Land Trust's success. As a result of their commitment and support, Vermont has lasting legacy in Bolton.

Photo: Marc Sherman

Take Action Tuesday: Protect Yellowstone in Winter

Our nation's first national park and most iconic winter sanctuary needs your help.

Please urge the National Park Service to continue Yellowstone's transition to cleaner, quieter and healthier conditions.
 
Thanks in large part to the groundswell of support from concerned citizens like you, Yellowstone has made a remarkable recovery from a decade ago when our nation's first national park looked, sounded and smelled more like a wild west race track than the winter sanctuary it was meant to be.
 
Fewer vehicles, commercial guiding requirements, and tighter restrictions on noise and emissions have led to a Yellowstone today that is cleaner, quieter, and far better for skiers and snowshoers and for the Park's iconic winter wildlife. However, those gains are only temporary until they are built into a long-term winter use plan.
 
Last month Park officials put forth a draft long-term plan for public comment. The proposed plan is on the right track, but it backslides in a couple of important areas.

Please take a few minutes right now to write a personal letter using the sample letter and talking points below. Be sure to include information about your personal experience as a skier, snowshoer or quiet winter visitor to Yellowstone in winter.   

 Click here to submit your comment

Sample Letter:

Dear Superintendent Wenk:

As a Nordic skier [or snowshoer, winter hiker, etc.] who values the natural sights and sounds of Yellowstone in winter, I appreciate the improvements to Yellowstone's winter environment resulting from reduced motorized traffic and the requirements for cleaner, quieter machines and for commercial guiding of all snowmobiles. I also appreciate your renewed emphasis on providing better services for skiers, snowshoers and other low-impact winter visitors.

Your acknowledgement in last year's Draft Winter Use Plan that visitors highly value quiet in Yellowstone and your proposal to designate certain side roads as ski and snowshoe routes and to limit motorized travel on the east side of the park in March are positive steps. I urge you to keep moving our flagship national park in this direction so that visitors can better enjoy the park's wonders with minimal interference from traffic.

The National Park Service has repeatedly confirmed that the reduction of daily snowmobile numbers over the past eight winters to approximately 250 per day has been the principal factor driving Yellowstone's improved air quality, expanded quiet, and reduced disturbance of wildlife. I am deeply concerned to learn that you are considering management options that would allow daily snowmobile numbers in the park to vary from zero to 840, or even zero to 350 — depending on the discretion of tour businesses. Please do not forsake stewardship of Yellowstone by increasing vehicle numbers above current levels and do not substitute the uncertainty of "market forces" for the clarity yielded by so many scientific studies.

In addition, Yellowstone's requirement that all snowmobile groups must be led and supervised by professional guides should remain in place. Experienced professional guides have been crucial in reducing impacts to wildlife and violations of park rules. The NPS has rightly called the commercial guide requirement a "fundamental" mitigation of adverse impacts that result when snowmobiles mix with winter-stressed wildlife in Yellowstone's uniquely sensitive corridors. Please do not go backward on this or any other aspect of Yellowstone's improving conditions.

I urge you to adopt a long-term winter use plan that caps over-snow vehicle numbers at or below those experienced during the past five winter seasons, numbers at which Yellowstone is on a path to again become America's most beloved winter sanctuary. Above all, please give Yellowstone a sustainable winter transportation system befitting of the world's first national park, one that minimizes impacts while accommodating enjoyment of Yellowstone's unparalleled winter environment.

Sincerely,

Name
Address 

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