Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gary Snyder-"The Practice of the Wild"

On this Earth Day, 2009 I want first to thank Leesa Wright and Jake Reeder, a new and very active member of CEC, for their timely posts today. They remind us of the complex conservation work that we at CEC engage in every day, and their work from now on will keep all Mountaineers members aware of developments on the most important conservation issues of our day, especially in Washington State.

Second, I'd like to post a short paragraph from an essay by Gary Snyder called "On the Path, Off the Trail" from his book The Practice of the Wild. Snyder writes:

"Our skills and works are but tiny reflections of the wild world that is innately

and loosely orderly. There is nothing like stepping away from the road and

heading into a new part of the watershed. Not for the sake of newness, but for

the sense of coming home to our whole terrain. 'Off the Trail' is another name

for the Way, and sauntering off the trail is the practice of the wild. That is also

where--paradoxically--we do our best work. But we need trails and paths and

will always be maintaining them. You must first be on the path, before you can

turn and walk into the wild."

Snyder explains that "Way," derived from the Taoist Dao De Jing, means "way, road, trail, or to lead/follow," and "the nature and way of truth." We can walk off the trail to find the wilderness that we have not seen before, as when we summit a mountain, but we also need paths and trails to lead us to understand our place within that wilderness and what we have to do to preserve it--and ourselves within it. So on this Earth Day, let us all ponder for a moment the Way we are following as we try to learn how to walk gently in the wilderness we love.

Kind regards,

Mike Shurgot

CEC Chair

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day, everyone. I'm Jake, your latest blogger, and I hope to regularly post at least every Wednesday with news and notes from the latest developments in the Conservation fight, amongst the Mountaineers and anything I may find interesting in the paper, on TV, or on the internet. without further ado, lets get the ball rolling:

Raging River preservation fills "donut hole" in I-90 Greenway (link to Seattle Times)

Recently brought to the attention of the CEC is the impending wolf slaughter in Idaho. The de-listing of Idaho and Montana Grey Wolves was approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a decision based largely on what Salazar called "good science," and an apparent endorsement of wolf management at the state level (Wyoming wolves are still protected). It hardly inspires confidence in conservationists when the Governor of Idaho, C.L. "Butch" Otter proclaims he would like to be the first person to kill a wolf when the hunt opens. Idaho's Dept. of Fish and Game will target 26 packs, and the de-listing is scheduled to take effect May 4th.

plenty has been written and editorialized, here is but a sampling:
NY Times, April 12th
Daily Camera (Boulder CO) April 14th
Idaho Statesmen April 15th

The sad reality is that, without federal protection, there seems to be very little standing in the way of Wolves being hunted to near extinction, just as they were before they were re-introduced to the Northern Rockies in '95/'96

Lastly, there is, of course, some "good news" on the front of Climate Change as a result of human activity, as much as such a thing can exist concerning this 900-pound gorilla that haunts seemingly every aspect of modern industrialized civilization. The EPA has officially ruled that Greenhouse Gases are a "threat to human health and the environment." Although to most eco-/enviro-conscious folks, such a decision at this late a stage may seem strangely naive, it nonetheless represents a huge leap forward in allowing the EPA to mandate reductions in CO2 and other Greenhouse pollutants (such as methane and Nitrous oxide). Getting Federal, state, and local governments to recognize greenhouse gasses as a pollutant, just as PCBs and Lead, will be a major battle victory in the war against Global Warming.
Seattle Times Article, April 18th
This originally aired last night:
Frontline: Poisoned Waters
Only about a third of this deals with Puget Sound and Western WA, and the conclusions are already evident to most eco-/enviro-conscious people, but it is excellent viewing. You can watch it from the website or set your DVR's to record the re-air on Sat, April 25th and 2:00 am, on KCTS 9 (109 Comcast digital in HD)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Press Conference Held on Proposed Additions to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Mountaineers Recreation Resources Division chair Tom O'Keefe speaks at a press conference held by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Representative Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) on completion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (photo by Harry Romberg).

On Friday, April 10th, Senator Patty Murray and Representative Dave Reichert announced at Three Forks Park that they are co-sponsoring a bill "The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act" (S. 721 and H.R. 1769) to complete the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

This bi-cameral legislation will help protect some of the most gorgeous and accessible backcountry (located less than an hour from a major metropolitan area) anywhere in the country. The proposal includes adding 22,000 acres to the exisiting Alpine Lakes Wilderness as well as protecting 30 miles of Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River under Wild and Scenic designation.

“The Alpine Lakes Wilderness connects the wildlands between Snoqualmie, Stevens and Blewett passes,” said John Chelminiak, North Cascades Initiative Director for The Wilderness Society. “This legislation preserves key recreation opportunities for more than three million people in the region, improves wildlife habitat and enhances our communities by protecting two river corridors. Future generations will look back on this measure as one of the most significant in our efforts to ensure the future of Washington’s remaining wildlands for our children and grandchildren.”

Stay tuned here and in the Mountaineer for updates as this exciting piece of legislation progresses through the House and Senate.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Highway Crews Clearing Winter Snow from SR - 20 in the North Cascades

The annual rite of spring of clearing 37 miles of Highway 20 in the North Cascades began in earnest on March 30th. Every spring Washington State Department of Transportation(WSDOT) crews work the highway with snow plows and blowers---one crew from the east, one from the west---until they reach Washington Pass at 5,477 feet. Crews usually make it to the pass in early May, however this year's heavy snows may delay the effort. WSDOT crews have their own website set up where those itching to get to their favorite North Cascades spot can track their progress.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nominate your Favorite Local Environmental Hero for The Trust for Public Land "Cox Conserves Heroes Award"

the Trust for Public Land is searching for candidates to be recognized for their conservation efforts in Western Washington State.

Launched in 2008 by The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, Cox Conserves Heroes is a nationwide awards program created to honor conservation in everyday life. The program celebrates individuals who take it upon themselves to create, preserve, or enhance the shared environment, making our communities better places to live.

Nominees will be featured on KIRO-7! Winners, chosen by public vote, will receive up to $5,000 for their favorite environmental nonprofit organization. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. PST on Friday, May 1, 2009.

If you could forward this to anyone who might know of candidates within the Washington environmental community it would be greatly appreciated.

To nominate someone click nomination page.

This Year's Washington Coastal Cleanup is Saturday April 18th !

It is time for this year's Washington Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, April 18, 2009. NPCA will once again be leading a volunteer group to the Olympic National Park for a day of cleaning up the coast and camping (if you want!).

If you would like to camp, we will be camping at the Kalaloch Campground in the southwest corner of Olympic National Park (for free!) on Friday, April 17th and participating in the cleanup on the 18th. We will finish the cleanup in the afternoon, which will be followed by a cookout with all the volunteers. Afterwards, you are welcome to head home or stay another night, free of charge, at the beautiful beach side campground at Kalaloch. Last year we had no rain and a beautiful day on the beach. However, the year before we had non-stop rain, so come prepared for all types of weather!

To join the group and get the details, please contact David at or (206) 902-1444, ext.25.

The Case for Wild & Scenic River Designation for The Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt River

Whitewater rafting on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River (c/o Tom O’Keefe)

Few rivers anywhere in the country can match the quality of recreational, scenic, and ecological resources provided by the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and its major tributary, the Pratt River.

Whether it's a quiet fishing trip after work, a day out with friends on some of the most outstanding whitewater the region has to offer, or a weekend with the family in one of the most scenic river valleys in the country, these rivers are tremendous resources for our community. They are also an important source for clean water that sustains the culturally and biologically-significant fishery resources of the Snohomish River system.

Wild and Scenic River designation will ensure that the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers are forever protected – securing important habitat for fish and wildlife, protecting a quality recreational experience for current and future generations, and celebrating the community-based stewardship efforts that have resulted in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie valley being one of King County’s greatest natural assets.

Recommended for Protection

In 1990, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) recommended the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers to Congress for Wild and Scenic designation, noting their outstanding, regionally-significant recreation, fisheries, wildlife, geological and ecological values and “very high public support” for designation.

Benefits of Wild & Scenic Designation

• Protects the river’s free-flowing character, water quality and outstanding values

• Promotes river-friendly land use practices

• Protects important fish and wildlife habitat

• Protects existing, compatible uses of the river corridor including the quality of the recreational experience

• Promotes natural flood protection by protecting and restoring wetlands and floodplains, and by protecting a river’s natural flow and meandering channel

• Enhances the local community’s civic awareness and pride by having a nationally-recognized river in their backyard

What Designation Will Do

• Prohibit dams and other water projects that impair the free-flow of a river or its outstanding values.

• Establish a protected corridor extending ¼ mile from the high-water mark on both sides of the river.

• Encourage partnerships among landowners, river users, tribal nations and all levels of government to protect the river’s outstanding values.

• Bring river stakeholders together in a collaborative process to develop a river management plan, to be completed within three years of designation.

What designation Will Not Do

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act carries no authority to affect the zoning of private lands. At one time much of the Middle Fork and Pratt River valleys were privately owned, but today only a few small in- holdings remain along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie; all of the Pratt River is now in public ownership.

Volunteer to Install Remote Wildlife Cameras!

I Spy…A Grizzly!

North Cascades grizzlies are so rare they’re known as “ghost bears.” Take part in efforts to save grizzlies, wolves, lynx and other rare species by joining a wildlife camera team!

RSVP here to attend a training, learn more about this volunteer opportunity and join a Wildlife Camera Team!

Help spread the word. Forward this message on to friends in the area who might be interested in helping.

Defenders of Wildlife is teaming up with Conservation Northwest for a second time this year to help document the presence of rare species like grizzlies, wolves, lynx and wolverines in the Cascades -- and you can help!

Last year, one of the camera teams caught the first Washington wolves on tape!
Don't miss out on this great opportunity to get your hands dirty for Washington wildlife this year. Join the Wildlife Volunteer Corps and be a part of an exciting camera monitoring project this spring and summer.

There are two trainings coming up next week in Seattle on Tuesday, April 7th and in Bellingham on Thursday, April 9th -- and we hope you'll be able to join us! RSVP now to let us know you're planning to attend. Volunteers will help track the presence of wildlife in the North Cascades by installing remote cameras and monitoring the footage these cameras capture each month.

Here’s a short description of the volunteer positions we’re looking to fill with caring wildlife supporters like you:

Grizzly Camera Teams
These camera teams will be active from April to June and then will resume activity from July-October in the East, West and North Cascades. Volunteers will need backcountry hiking skills and many of these locations will require overnight trips.

Wolverine Camera Teams
These teams will be working at four locations in the North Cascades to capture footage of the rare and elusive wolverine.

Pacific Fisher Camera Teams
These teams will be working with the North Cascades National Park, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Olympic National Forest to monitor Pacific fishers that were just released into the wild as part of the current recovery plan. This project will involve longer, steeper hikes on the Olympic Peninsula.

I-90 Camera Teams
There are a few positions left for projects on Amabalis Mountain and Mount Margaret, just east of Snoqualmie Pass. Both projects involve moderate day hiking.

Space is limited, so please RSVP today!

© Copyright 2009 Defenders of Wildlife.
Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities.
Defenders of Wildlife can be contacted at:
1130 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036