What does it take to remove a 125-foot tall wall of concrete from a mountain-fed river? Nearly two decades of perseverance and dedication. The Mountaineers celebrated long-awaited news on Thursday, December 16, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered the decommissioning of the White Salmon River’s Condit Dam. In the project surrender order, FERC stated,"We conclude, based on the record of this case, that the benefits of dam removal to anadromous fish, wildlife, and whitewater recreation outweigh the costs associated with the loss of Condit dam and Northwestern Lake."They further stated that these benefits of removal "cannot be achieved if the dam is left in place."
Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Congress heads back to work on November 15th facing a huge backlog of legislation. While the federal budget and a host of other issues will compete for attention during the short, lame-duck session, the bipartisan support for fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund separates it from most other proposals. Having passed the House, all that remains is to secure passage in the Senate to restore the single most important funding source for conservation and recreation in the United States. Urge your Senators include the Land and Water Conservation Fund in legislation during the last session of the 111th Congress.
What is the Land and Water Conservation Fund?
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established in 1965 to meet the nation's growing desire to preserve natural areas, culturally and historically significant landmarks, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Federal Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing provides the revenue for LWCF--the concept is a simple one where extraction of resources we all use provides some revenue for important access and conservation projects on our nation's public lands.
Unfortunately only a fraction of the intended revenue from these leases has gone into the fund with the balance being diverted to general funds for other purposes. In fact last year LWCF funding approached an all time low of $155 million. Legislation that has already passed the House would rectify this situation with full funding available each year, not subject to cuts in the annual appropriations process. Recent national bipartisan polling shows overwhelming support (86% of voters) for the continued use of offshore oil and gas feed for land and water protection through full funding of the LWCF.
If LWCF was fully funded, it would have a rather large positive and direct impact on organizations like The Mountaineers who depend on access to outdoor recreation and conservation of treasured landscapes on public lands. There would be 5 times the amount of federal money available to protect land and assure access to human-powered recreation. More trails, more river access, more crags, more backcountry skiing.
Since its creation, LWCF has made nearly 7 million acres of land available for outdoor recreation. The fund has helped to complete iconic American landscapes like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, the Appalachian Trail, and Grand Teton National Park and here at home the North Cascades, Mt. Rainier, and Olympic National Parks have all benefitted from this program. In addition the fund has established close-to-home parks and recreation facilities providing new and improved recreation opportunities for all Americans.
Washington is home to over 500 successful local, regional, state, and federal projects made possible by LWCF. The Duwamish River Trail, Green River Gorge Conservation Area and associated State Parks, mature forest lands in the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, lands along Icicle Creek in the Wenatchee National Forest, Green Lake Park in Seattle, public access on the White Salmon River, public shoreline access along Puget Sound, and Fort Worden State Park are just a few examples of public recreation lands in Washington that have received aid from LWCF.
Unfortunately the recent lack of funding has resulted in lost opportunities. In 2004 the State of Washington received only 5 percent of requested funds through the program and while we have enjoyed key successes, there have been a number of lost opportunities. For example key conservation opportunities along the White Salmon Wild and Scenic River acquired by a land trust for sale to the Forest Service had to be sold on the open market due to a lack of available LWCF.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
In the past year The Mountaineers' has partnered with many local and national recreation and conservation organizations in our work to protect our outdoor spaces. During this time The Mountaineers:
Received National Forest Service Award for Community Awareness for our work on Watershed Health and Habitat Restoration (The Mountaineer - December, 2009)
Awarded the Forest Service's Rise to the Future Award for Community Awareness for our work on the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Act.
As a charter member of the Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative we worked to raise awareness and funding to repair 820 culverts that were blocking fish passage, improve 3,170 miles of trails, and fix 166 bridges. This worked helped restore 1,147 miles of stream habitat in addition to tens of thousands of acres of watershed nationwide.
Helped move legislation for the addition of 22,000 acres and Wild & Scenic River designation for the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (The Mountaineer - May, 2009)
Joined with wilderness-advocacy partners to bring the 22,000-acre expansion one congressional step from fruition
Two Wild and Scenic River designations for 40 miles of stream is included in the proposal
Kicked off "Conservation on the Ground" hiking series to investigate ("ground truth") proposed alternative motorized routes for the new Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Motorized Travel Management Plan (The Mountaineer - August, 2009)
Led 20 volunteers on "ground-truthing" hikes of proposed alternative routes to survey motorized incursion along proposed alternative routes that dead end at or intersect with trails in designated wilderness areas. Participants learned about threats to aquatic resources and sensitive plants and animals and other resource damage due to illegal motorized use.
Protected 9,000 acres along the borders of the Wild Sky Wilderness Area from resource and wildlife damage due to illegal off-road vehicle use (The Mountaineer - March, 2009)
Vigilant volunteer "ground-truthing" and yearlong participation on the Department of Natural Resources Reiter Foothills Advisory Committee resulted in the protection of 9,000 acres from motorized use in the swath of state forest trust land between two state parks and along the borders of the Wild Sky Wilderness Area.
Provided over 5,250 hours of leadership advocacy (January - December 2009)
Our volunteers partnered with other local and national conservation and recreation organizations to form powerful coalitions to advocate for wildlife, state parks, national parks, wilderness and Wild & Scenic River designations in Washington State. These volunteers researched public land use regulations, reviewed environmental impact statements for proposed projects on public lands and provided comprehensive comments for federal, state and local land managers. Volunteers attended public meetings, conferences and workshops, planned and hosted conservation events and fundraisers , organized hikes, wrote newspaper and magazine articles and just about anything you can think of to raise public awareness about conservation issues.
Saved Washington State Parks and Department of Natural Resources Lands from Closure (The Mountaineer - June, 2009)
Mountaineers volunteers and professional representatives in Olympia worked to secure funding solutions for huge gaps in the Washington State Parks and Department of Natural Resources recreation budgets. The budget gaps threatened closure of popular recreation destinations on our state lands. Working with our local partners, were able to dodge the bullet in 2009, but in October 2010 the new state budgets will be released and we expect serious shortfalls once again. We need your help to let our lawmaker's know that even in times of economic downturn recreational opportunities hold great value for our communities.
Empowered 43 environmental advocates through our Northwest Environmental Issues Course (January - March 2009)
Advocates earned independent-study college credit through our Northwest Environmental Issues Course on Climate Change. This course covered green house gasses and human influence, projected impacts on the Pacific Northwest, the science behind climate modeling, climate change effects on ecosystem services, calculating carbon footprints and green building as mitigation measures and action individuals can take to address climate change
Supported two individuals who became Leave No Trace™ Master Educators (March 2010)
These individuals are now certified to teach Leave No Trace™ ethics to at the trainer level for other non-profit trainers and have poised The Mountaineers Program Center to become a regional center for "master educator" certification.
Winter Wildlands Alliance is assisting our local partners through the Wenatchee Mountains Coalition to advocate for the designation of two non-motorized winter recreation areas in the Wenatchee National Forest. Please lend your voice to this important initiative.
Currently, little of the Wenatchee National Forest is protected for human-powered winter recreation. Winter access to wilderness areas is challenging and, sadly, illegal snowmobile activity prevalent. By designating non-motorized winter recreation areas for the Wenatchee National Forest there will be greater opportunity for quite winter recreation and in turn create a non-motorized buffer toenhance wilderness protection.
The Thousand Skiers Project, formed by the Wenatchee Mountains Coalition, hopes to generate one thousand letters and emails, from human-powered snowsports enthusiasts - in support of designating new non-motorized areas in the Wenatchee National Forest. Please take a moment right now to help achieve our goal.
These non-motorized winter recreation areas will be significant in size and include two separate contiguous areas along the pristine and unroaded crest of the Wenatchee Mountains. The western non-motorized area will include the higher elevation portion of Wenatchee Crest next to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The eastern non-motorized area will include the Wenatchee Crest from Blewett Pass (Hwy 97) to the Mission Ridge Road. These non-motorized winter recreation areas will offer backcountry snowsports enthusiasts multiple opportunities for short, long and overnight ski tours.
For more information click here and Get Involved by emailing or calling;
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
The Forest Plan Revision Team
215 Melody Lane Wenatchee, WA 9880
Sign your letter or email with your full name and place of residence so the Forest Service can verify you're a real person. And please Carbon copy the email@example.com so we can track support.
Everyone seems to be in agreement these days... the North Cascades represent a unique area of natural beauty and recreational opportunity that must be protected from development and other resource management threats. The economic stability of the rural towns around the North Cascades are now directly tied to the protection of these natural resources and the revenue generated from recreation-based business. Coalitions of local and national conservation, recreation, business and other organizations have been working on various proposals to promote conservation objectives and economic opportunities for the North Cascades. These proposals include completion of North Cascades National Park, Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations and public private partnerships to help promote sustainable, recreation based economies.
The Mountaineers to Produce a Book on the North Cascades
To support these efforts The Mountaineers and Mountaineers Books/Braided River have joined forces to produce a book about the North Cascades. Beautiful coffee table photographic books published by Mountaineers Books have been held up on the Senate floor, hand delivered to U.S. Presidents during legislative debates, and played an integral role in galvanizing people to become engaged in public policy debates.
The book will be part of a robust campaign that will include events, media, exhibits, and more—all based on magnificent images and stories of this iconic landscape. The Mountaineers will collaborate with numerous regional grassroots organizations, and plans to craft the book so it will be a useful media tool for the overall campaign.
While gorgeous works of art and important advocacy tools books like these are rarely money makers. With this in mind The Mountaineers is leading a donation drive to raise money to produce this book on the North Cascades. Contributions to this campaign help us doubly to reach our goal since every dollar donated up to $25,000 is generously matched by The Mountaineers. Please make checks out to Braided River- and be sure to put North Cascades Advocacy Book in the memo of your check. Publication will be in 2011 or 2012.
Donate now at www.braidedriver.org
Monday, July 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
In April, at the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors, President Obama established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to develop a conservation and recreation agenda worthy of the 21st century and to reconnect Americans with our great outdoors. The President understands that protecting and restoring the lands and waters that we love and reconnecting people to the outdoors must be community driven and supported.
The President directed the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead this effort and to listen and learn from people all over the country. Please join senior representative of these agencies for a public listening session and discussion on land conservation, recreation, and reconnecting Americans to the great outdoors.
In the Northwest many citizens and organizations are deeply involved in the conservation of working farms, forests, lakes, and rivers, scenic lands, and historic areas, and in celebrating and enjoying the region’s rich outdoor and cultural heritage.
This public listening session and discussion is an opportunity for leaders of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to hear from you about solutions for building a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnecting all Americans with the outdoors. Please join us – here are the details:
Listening Session and Discussion Information:
Thursday, July 1, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Public Listening Session on President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative
Franklin High School
3013 South Mount Baker Blvd, Seattle, Washington, 98144
Representatives from DOI, USDA, EPA, and CEQ will be present to hear your thoughts
and to participate in a conversation with you about land conservation, recreation, and
reconnecting Americans to the great outdoors.
This event is free and open to the public and we will make every effort to accommodate everyone. To help with our
planning, we encourage you to pre-register by Monday June 28. To pre-register, go to:
http://www.discovernw.org/ago-signup.htm and input your name, organization and primary area of interest:
· Working land, open space, and landscape conservation
· Outdoor Recreation
· Youth engagement and environmental education.
You can find more information on the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and submit
comments on-line at: www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors/.
We hope you will participate and look forward to hearing from you.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Mountain Stewards Protect Mt. Baker ecosystems
Volunteers are needed to teach day hikers, backpackers and climbers on the three busiest Mt. Baker area trail systems: Heliotrope Ridge, Park Butte/Railroad Grade and Heather Meadows. As a Mountain Steward volunteer you will train in low-impact recreational skills, natural history and back country management. Volunteers work in the lower segments of the trails with fellow Mountain Stewards interacting with the public for three daytime shifts.
Qualifications: Volunteers must be 18 years or older with hiking and outdoor recreation skills.
Timeline: Volunteers attend training July 10 & 17 and commit to volunteer a total of three weekend days between July 24 – Sept. 12. An optional training for Heather Meadows volunteers is July 24.
Apply: Return the application by June 25. Applications are here. Mail to Mt. Baker Ranger District, Mountain Stewards, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284, or fax to 360-856-1934. Call 360-845-2615 for more information.