A presentation by photographer and filmmaker, Pete McBride
Thursday August 1st, 2013, 7AM-9AM
The Marriott Downtown, Salons F-I Salt Lake City, UT
A presentation by photographer and filmmaker, Pete McBride
Thursday August 1st, 2013, 7AM-9AM
The Marriott Downtown, Salons F-I Salt Lake City, UT
The Los Padres National Forest is one of the gems of America's national forest system. Extending more than 200 miles along California's central coast, the area features breathtaking scenery, rare wildlife, free-flowing rivers, and hundreds of miles of trails through chaparral, conifer forests, sub-alpine meadows, and desert sagebrush.
The U.S. Forest Service recently proposed long-awaited changes to the management plan for this area. While some of the proposed changes are a step in the right direction, forest officials failed to recommend a single acre for formal designation as Wilderness. As a result, 16 of the forest's Inventoried Roadless Areas totaling more than 400,000 acres remain vulnerable to development.
Recommending areas for wilderness designation is the first step towards securing permanent protection for these lands under the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act is America's strongest land conservation tool - wilderness lands are forever protected from development. Camping, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting are all allowed in wilderness.
But the Forest Service's proposed changes fall far short of permanent protection. Instead of recommending these lands for wilderness designation, the Forest Service is proposing to classify them as Back County Non-Motorized (BCNM), leaving them vulnerable to development. Oil exploration and drilling, mining, construction of communication towers, "temporary" road construction, other energy development, and the disposal/sale of public land to private interests are all allowed on BCNM lands, but they are absolutely prohibited in areas recommended for wilderness designation.
The agency recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for public review and comment. The DEIS selects a Preferred Alternative (referred to as "Alternative 2″) that does not recommend a single acre for wilderness protection in the Los Padres National Forest. In the same document, the Forest Service rejects an alternative approach that emphasizes wilderness protection, called the Recommended Wilderness Emphasis ("Alternative 3″).
A coalition of forest users, local business leaders, elected officials, scientists, and other stakeholders are working together to ask the Forest Service to reconsider its "no-new-wilderness" policy. We want the Forest Service to recommend permanent wilderness protections for thousands of acres of forest land in the Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo backcountry. Join us, and let your voice be heard!
Write a Letter
The Forest Service is accepting public comments on the DEIS and its Preferred Alternative until May 16, 2013. This is the last opportunity for the public to submit comments before the Forest Service makes its final decision later this year.
Click here to send a letter to Forest Supervisor Peggy Hernandez today, urging her to recommend certain lands for wilderness protection in the Los Padres National Forest. You can edit our sample letter and send it with the click of a button! Easy.
Click to send your letter by May 16!
Click here to learn more about the places at stake.
Click here for background information and maps.
"Patagonia has been the most supportive and influential company in the development of our organization." Jeff Kuyper, Executive Director of Los Padres ForestWatch
They began as a small cluster of committed volunteer advocates, determined to improve the way the Los Padres National Forest was managed. Devoted and unwavering, this group of individuals became Los Padres ForestWatch (LPFW) and applied to Patagonia for funding. This was the start of a strong and successful partnership between LPFW and Patagonia.
From the grassroots up, Los Padres ForestWatch is working to protect and restore the forests, chaparral, grasslands, rivers, wildlife and wilderness along California's Central Coast, specifically in the Los Padres National Forest and nearby public lands.
A partnership with Patagonia has been instrumental in the work, and success, of LPFW. Over the past six years, Patagonia's annual Salmon Run, a 5k fun run through the streets of Ventura, California, has raised more than $35,000 for Los Padres ForestWatch. LPFW has been the recipient of three Patagonia "Miracle Grants," unsolicited grants that are given to organizations identified by different departments within Patagonia. When they arrive in the mail, they are "Miracles." Patagonia has also contributed to LPFW through grants and in-kind product donations from Great Pacific Ironworks, their Ventura, CA retail store. Patagonia employees working in the store have granted over $20,000 to Los Padres Forest Watch over the last 5 years.
LPFW has received financial sponsorship from Patagonia for the Cherry Creek Clean-Up, the Ojai Wild! Benefit event, and the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival. Patagonia also nominated Los Padres ForestWatch for funding from The Conservation Alliance - resulting in a $30,000 grant for LPFW's work to protect Wilderness areas and Wild Rivers in the Los Padres National Forest.
"The best thing about Patagonia is that their commitment to our work goes far beyond financial support," proclaimed Kuyper. "Patagonia doesn't hesitate to put their boots on the ground and they encourage their employees to do the same."
Patagonia employees have helped with barbed wire fence removal projects on the Carrizo Plain National Monument, micro-trash clean-ups in California condor habitat, and rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty for the Conservation Alliance's Backyard Collective Event, a one day service project that benefited the work of LPFW.
One Patagonia employee, who participated in a Middle Sespe Trailhead clean-up project, was so inspired that she organized her own department staff to get out for another clean-up project on "Designer's Day Out," a day when the Patagonia design team engages in volunteer work that is meaningful to them.
Patagonia's support has helped Los Padres ForestWatch grow into an organization with four full-time staff and a great list of accomplishments in the Los Padres Forest.
Los Padres ForestWatch wouldn't be where they are today without Patagonia's outstanding and ongoing support.
"Our victories are their victories and we consider everyone at Patagonia among our closest supporters and friends."
Brown Bridge Pond After Dam Removal
Brown Bridge Pond Before Dam Removal
We funded Conservation Resource Alliance's Boardman River Dams Project to remove three dams and restore 15 river miles resulting in a free flowing and reborn Boardman River, benefiting the fishery, the community and the efforts of other communities to remove similar dams.
Returning a cold-water, blue ribbon designated trout stream to a more natural state after over 100 years of man-made manipulation is no small task. The Conservation Resource Alliance, acting as contracted Project Manager, has successfully led the Boardman Dams Implementation Team through the complex process of removing Brown Bridge Dam on the Boardman River in northwest Michigan. Constructed in 1921, Brown Bridge Dam was the first of three historic hydro-electric dams on this northern Michigan gem slated for removal. Set in motion nearly a decade ago, this massive community driven project consumed a total of 21,270 man hours, equal to 14 people every day for 5 months, to complete the construction phase of this initiative.
After the successful removal of the Brown Bridge Dam, Conservation Resource Alliance restored 2.5 river miles and 12.2 acres of previously inundated floodplain. CRA now turns its attention to removing Boardman and Sabin dams.
Swan Range, Proposed Addtion to the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Photo: Zack Porter
Conservation Alliance grantee, Montana Wilderness Association, is working to protect nearly a million acres of Montana's wildest backcountry through the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. Jack Rich is one of many voices - including conservationists, recreationalists, outfitters, business owners, forest managers, and others - that have helped shape the collaborative legislation. Support from the Conservation Alliance has helped the Montana Wilderness Association build strong community support for this grassroots, collaborative solution for the future of our public lands.
Since 1982, Jack Rich has been introducing people to Wilderness in a way that "speaks directly to the heart." That was the year he first began managing Rich Ranch Outfitting, located near Seeley Lake, MT, on the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, where Jack's family has been outfitting trips for several generations. The Bob Marshall Wilderness was created with the passage of the original Wilderness Act in 1964, which specifically allowed outfitting to continue because it was "consistent with the purpose of the act".
Jack believes that recreation is listed as the first purpose in the Wilderness Act not by chance, but because recreation is the pathway to preserving the quality of these lands. Without ample opportunity to experience Wilderness, he worries that people could lose interest in its value. "What makes the idea of wilderness tangible for people is the ability to experience wildness that touches the heart first hand," he says. "It's the outfitter's job to facilitate this experience."
Jack believes that experience leads to action, and he's lived a life that would seem to prove his theory. About ten years ago, he began working with the local snowmobile club, the local sawmill, members of the Montana Wilderness Association, and the Wilderness Society to establish a vision for the long term management of the legendary Blackfoot and Clearwater River Valleys, made famous by Norman Maclean's novel, "A River Runs Through It." That vision included improved snowmobile recreation, Wilderness protection for the headwaters of the Blackfoot and Clearwater rivers, and provisions for increasing forest stewardship and restoration.
"We laid out that vision, but we needed a legislative vehicle," Jack explains. "It was Senator Tester who came to us to ask if we were interested in getting this done. We saw Senator Tester as a person of integrity, so we stepped up to the plate." The Blackfoot Clearwater project was included in the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which was first introduced in 2009 and continues to be a top priority for Senators Tester and Baucus of Montana. In 2010, Jack received Montana Wilderness Association's Brass Lantern Award in 2010 for his work on the legislation, and for a lifetime spent sharing the Bob Marshall Wilderness with others.
"We've been privileged," Jack says. "These lands provide more than livelihoods and recreation. These lands provide passion for our lives. We want to prevent something from happening that would deprive our children of the same source of inspiration."
Learn more about the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act by clicking here.
Photo: Hermosa Creek, Wilderness Support Center
On Thursday, April 25, The Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act was introduced by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), with Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) as cosponsor; and by Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO3) in the House. This was a great day for conservation and strategic community involvement. This achievement was made possible in part by the Conservation Alliance grantees, Wilderness Support Center and International Mountain Bicycling Association.
"We are lucky in Colorado to be able to enjoy many of the country's most beautiful landscapes in our backyards," said Bennet in a press release issued by his office. "The Hermosa Creek Watershed represents some of the best Colorado has to offer. This bill will protect this land for our outdoor recreation economy and for future generations of Coloradans and Americans to enjoy. It is the result of a local effort that took into account the varied interests of the community, and that cooperation helped us put together a strong bill with the community's input."
Aaron Clark, IMBA's Public Lands Initiative Director, said, "Protected trail systems in communities all over the country provide a reliable source of revenue for their host communities. The Hermosa Creek Trail is a world-class recreation asset that deserves permanent protection. In Colorado, well-managed recreation assets on public lands act as a powerful multiplier for local economies, attracting visitors and businesses of all types. This bill is a great example of land protection for the 21st century."
Click here to learn more about the bill and Hermosa Creek.
To see a MAP of the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, click here.
Each Spring, we Conservation Alliance staffers visit member companies to make presentations to employees about our work, and to update them on good news from the previous year. I just returned from a week in the San Francisco Bay Area where I visited Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, CamelBak, Marmot, Clif Bar, and Juniper Ridge. Visiting the Bay Area always reminds me how much outdoor industry history is there. On this trip, I was encouraged to see our members in the area thriving.
My trip started with a visit to the Mountain Hardwear offices in a re-developed Ford assembly plant in Richmond. It is great to see one our members bringing new life to an old industrial area. I spoke to a roomful of employees, and my presentation was followed by an update on Mountain Hardwear's sustainability efforts by Guru Khalsa, the company's corporate responsibility manager.
TNF employees admire the company's garden and parking lot solar panels.
Next stop was a visit to The North Face's beautiful new campus in Alameda, complete with a sea of solar panels, sparkling water on tap, and a TNF history timeline that includes a photo of the Grateful Dead playing at the first TNF store opening in 1966. Talk about history! I was impressed to learn how much thought and planning went into the new campus. The best parking spaces are reserved for electric vehicles, and have electric charging stations.
TNF's timeline proudly displays the founding of The Conservation Alliance in 1989.
I then headed to the North Bay to visit CamelBak and Marmot. CamelBak's offices sit next to a stunning wetland wildlife refuge in Petaluma. It was great to connect with Alliance board members Sally McCoy and Jason Frame, and to give a lunchtime talk to a good portion of the CamelBak team.
Marmot just moved into larger new offices near Santa Rosa. I made my presentation in their nice new cafe, which was full of roughly 60 Marmot employees. It was cool to learn that Marmot fills all of its high-end down sleeping bags onsite to ensure quality and consistency.
Marmot's shiny new offices.
The Final day of my trip started at Clif Bar. Clif moved into a vibrant new space in Emeryville in 2010. The place oozes Clif culture, with bikes everywhere, an onsite gym, climbing wall, and tasty snacks in every conference room. My presentation there was part of their weekly all-company meeting, which happened to land near Earth Day. So, the meeting featured may updates on the good work Clif Bar is doing for the planet.
For my last stop, I was excited a to visit Juniper Ridge, a company that, in their words: "Goes to the mountains, harvests wild plants, and distills them into natural fragrances." Juniper Ridge makes the most wonderful natural trail soap, tea, cologne, and other awesome smelling stuff. When I walked into the warehouse, they were loading a pile of black sage -- which they'd collected from a ranch near Monterey -- into a large still to turn into a very small amount of fragrance.
Juniper Ridge team works on some new fragrance.
These folks are connected to their product in a way I have never seen in our industry. In all, the trip made me reflect on the diversity of our membership, and it made me appreciate that these varied companies come together around the common goal of protecting our last wild places.