Friday, July 31, 2015

The Real Cost of Plastic Water Bottles


An average bottle of water only costs about $1.21 but what else does that bottle cost us?

Some scary facts about bottled water:
  • In 1976 the average American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water each year
  • In 2008 the average American consumed 28.3 gallons of bottled water each year 
  • Americans are the world's leading consumers of bottled water, consuming four billion gallons per year.
  • Sixty million plastic bottles end up in US landfills every day.
  • Bottling water has produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
  • It takes three liters of water to produce just one liter of bottled water.
  • 1.5 million tons of plastic is used to manufacture water bottles each year.
  • Only one out of every five water bottles is recycled.
  • You can get approximately 450 gallons of tap water for the price of one bottled water.
  • In the United States alone plastic bottle production consumes approximately 17 million barrels of oil per year.
  • Disposable water bottles make up one third of all trash dumped in America’s national parks.
Since 2008 nearly 20 of our nation's national parks have banned the sale of plastic water bottles at their vending machines and concession stands in an effort to reduce park based greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of litter in the parks.

-Zion National Park banned the sale of bottled water in 2008 eliminating more than 60,000 bottles from the waste stream in the first year alone.

-In 2012 Grand Canyon National Park banned the sale of water packaged in individual disposable containers and began a "Reduce, Reuse, Refill!" campaign after finding that disposable bottles comprised 20% of the park's waste stream and 30% of the park's recyclables. Estimates indicate that over 40,000 bottles were removed from the waste stream in the first year.

These parks and almost 100 other parks are members of the Climate Friendly Parks Program, a collaboration between the National Park Service and the US Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the green house gases being generated by our national parks.

Save money and protect our public lands by ditching the bottled water habit and switching to reusable water bottles.

*photo by Leonard John Matthews

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Exploring Bighorn Crags in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness


Stretching across six(!) National Forests, is the incomparable Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. At 2.367 million acres, “the Frank” is the second largest protected wilderness area in the contiguous United States, just behind Death Valley. Established in 1980 as the River of No Return Wilderness, it was renamed after Senator Frank Church, who played a key lead role in passing 1964’s landmark Wilderness Act.

Coursing through this picturesque land is the Wild and Scenic Salmon River, named the River of No Return by pioneers due to its high speed and one-way only travel. Today the Salmon is one of the most popular areas for experiencing a whitewater thrill, with runs of both the middle fork and main fork barreling down deep canyons with gorgeous scenery.  The river is fast as it drops steeply through towering canyons 1000’ deeper than the Grand Canyon.

High above lies the remote and jagged Bighorn Crags, a rugged collection of granite peaks and alpine lakes offering spectacular vistas for which it is widely known.  Recreation opportunities abound here, with incredible fishing for native salmon and steelhead trout, miles upon miles of hiking, and a photographer’s dream of sweeping views surrounded by rugged peaks in this undeveloped forest. 

Indeed, the area does see high traffic (for Idaho standards anyways) and our service project, set for August 15 - 22, is assisting wilderness rangers on the North Fork Ranger District with needed trail maintenance on the Mirror Lake Trail. This will include building a turnpike through a bog, creating and installing log waterbars, and retreading a section of trail. We’ll start with a 9. 5 mile scenic backpack via Birdbill Lake to a picturesque base camp at Mirror Lake. The Forest Service will provide pack animals to carry our group food, commissary and tools. Free day activities might include day hiking to Ship Island Lake, Big Clear Lake basin or other remote lakes or peaks, picking and eating in season huckleberry, fishing, swimming or just relaxing beside alpine lakes & streams.

 
Feel free to check out pictures from previous years of WV projects over on the gallery to see some examples of this incredible area. Click here to learn more and signup for the Bighorn Crags, FCRONR Wilderness service project, August 15 - 22!




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Last Day

Debbie Northcutt
Today is my last day at Wilderness Volunteers. I've truly loved working for WV for so many reasons, chief among them the opportunity to spend so much time in the field in our beautiful wild places. We are so lucky to live in the USA where we have a diversity public lands across the country, and being able to join in the stewardship of caring for them has been a pleasure.

Thanks to everyone, participants, agencies and especially the leaders of all the projects these last 18 years. A special shout-out to John Sherman for his generosity and helping me so much in the early years, and to Vince White-Petteruti who was a sounding board from the beginning.

Ashely Northcutt
I'm very proud of what Wilderness Volunteers has accomplished. I'm being succeeded by my daughter, Ashely -- I'm excited for her to take over as ED of WV and know she will bring a fresh, energetic and youthful experience to the organization.

Wishing you many more Happy Trails,

Debbie Northcutt

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Truly Wild - Nevada's Jarbidge Wilderness


A photo from WV's 2011 project in the Jarbidge Wilderness
In the far northeastern section of Nevada, just below the Idaho border, lies the remote and rugged beauty of more than 110,000 acres of Jarbidge Wilderness. With soaring 10,000’ peaks looming more than 4,000’ above the Great Basin, this is an impressive wilderness area to visit. You are sure to find solitude, as this area is amongst the least visited wilderness areas in the lower 48 states, due solely to the remote location.
Jarbidge boasts many different plant species and lots of wild flowers
The aura of wilderness is in the fresh mountain air here. Indeed, the unicorporated community of Jarbidge is officially rated as having amongst the least polluted air in the country. There is an opportunity for tremendous bird watching, as the clear air and geography allow for sweeping, impressive views.  The geography is impressive, ranging from hoodoos reminiscent of Bryce Canyon to large granite peaks that feel like the Alps. A large range of ecosystems are present, from high desert to alpine. Large herds of deer and elk roam the area, as do the mountain lions that hunt them. Fish are abundant in the many lakes and streams that reside in this unusually wet area of Nevada.

A previous WV basecamp in the Jarbidge
The area receives substantial regular snowfall and the rough winters ensure the need for constant trailwork! Our project will be assisting the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest staff in maintaining trail in the striking Mary’s River Basin from August 22 - 29th. We’ll have pack support and will pack in around seven miles to camp, where we’ll make daily trips to work sites close by, so we can keep the trails accessible in this far out there place.

Join WV as we give back in the beautiful Jarbidge Wilderness
If a truly wilderness experience is what you crave, you can do no better than joining the service adventure in the Jarbidge Wilderness! Come breath the freshest air and  join us as we give something back in this remote, striking area. Learn more and signup here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Amazing time-lapse photography of our National Parks

Our friends at The Wilderness Society shared a wonderful post featuring some gorgeous time-lapse photography of our National Parks. Below are a few of our favorites, where we also happen to have projects in 2015!

Yosemite National Park - June 7-13, 2015
There may still be time to throw your pack in the car and join WV in giving back on a backpack adventure in this outstanding National Park. This time-lapse is jaw-droppingly beautiful, but that's not surprising in Yosemite.


Joshua Tree National Park - October 11-18, 2015
This Southern California National Park receives more than 1 million visitors, and there's really no question as to why. Our project there is currently full, but you're welcome to add your name to the waitlist in case of a cancellation, which does happen. And you can join us next year as well!


Acadia National Park - September 20-26, 2015
Spots remain on our continuing service project in one of the most picturesque, wild places in the northeast. You'll get a good overview of the Park while giving something back.


Acadia National Park from John Fouse on Vimeo.

Zion National Park
Our continuing service project in Zion is currently full for 2015, but you can always visit this gorgeous National Park on your way to other WV service projects on the Colorado Plateau like the San Rafael Swell project or Grand Gulch-Cedar Mesa project that both still have spaces available.


Denali National Park - July 12-18, 2015
WV returns to help maintain the Savage River Trail, a trail we helped build! This project is full for 2015, but stay tuned, as we plan to return in 2016.



Olympic National Park - October 18-24, 2015
Our continuing project on the Elwha is helping naturalize the area after the dams were removed, in many cases planting saplings from seed previous WV groups helped collect.  Currently this project is full, but you're always welcome on the waitlist in case a cancellation or two occurs.


Big Bend National Park - November 1-7, 2015
Another continuing project, WV will once again return to the jewel on the Rio Grande to give something back with the National Park Service. While this project is full, WV is offering another spectacular trip in Saguaro National Park that has spaces available. 



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Project Videos: Pinnacles NP, Mojave NP, Pt. Reyes NS


Veteran Wilderness Volunteer Tom Coroneos has done more than 20 projects giving back all over the country! And beyond being an excellent volunteer, he's terrific at making movies, having put together many great videos, including several about his recent WV projects! Take a gander at Tom's excellent work below:

Pinnacles National Park 2015

Mojave National Preserve 2015

Pt. Reyes National Seashore 2014

Mojave National Preserve 2014

And Tom is currently out in the field at the Pt. Reyes National Seashore project, so we can likely count on another video coming our way soon. Thanks Tom!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!


At Wilderness Volunteers, we believe every day is a day worth celebrating the earth. But that doesn't mean we don't have fun and give something back on this nationwide day!

There are two great Wilderness Volunteers projects in the field this week, giving something back by stewarding our public lands on California's Lost Coast (pictured on the left) and around the slickrock arches and towers of Moab, Utah. While it's too late to join those projects, there are still many outdoor adventures available so that you can give back and celebrate the earth in 2015. Volunteers are need for projects in spectacular areas, such as Yosemite National Park, Sheldon Wildlife Refuge, the Mokelumne Wilderness high in the Sierra, and many more! And if you must get to Moab, there is another opportunity to give back there on the project in the cool and comfortable La Sal Mountains that provide the perfect backdrop for so many photos from the red rock desert.

If you have any questions about our projects or need a little help selecting the one that's right for you, please contact us at (928) 255-1128 or by email at info@wildernessvolunteers.org.

Thanks so much for giving something back with Wilderness Volunteers! Happy Earth Day!!!