Friday, April 17, 2015

Moon Writing -- try this on your next adventure!

On your next outing with a full moon, try your hand at moon writing using a long exposure and moving your camera for a unique writing experience.

Check out this blog about photographer John Kraus creating this moon signature.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Photos From the Field

Our 2014 photo contest had many wonderful submissions, such as the following great shots of the moon.

WV participant David Peters on two of his photos he took on the Continental Divide Trail building project in New Mexico's Gila National Forest:

I love taking photos of the moon, playing with exposures and focal distances and compositions. The photos are most special when I captured the moon juxtaposed against something distinctive in the place I’m visiting. On the Continental Divide trip, I had the advantage of a full moon and a clear sky at 8,600 feet above sea level. When the moon rose on the evening of the full moon, I thought I had missed the best opportunity because the divide ridge behind our camp obscured the moon until it was high in the sky. But I wandered around my tent site until I was able to place some ponderosa branches in front of the lunar image.

Then the next morning, as the moon was setting in the west, the rising sun illuminated the few clouds on the horizon, turning them a New Mexico pink and blue as ponderosa pines framed the image.

See more of these great photographer's works, as well as many more photos from our 2014 season at the gallery. And stay tuned for more information on the 2015 WV Photo Contest!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yosemite Releases Bighorn Sheep

A dozen endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep were released in Yosemite National Park last week. They included nine ewes and three rams from the Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park.

The Sierra Nevada bighorn is the only federally endangered mammal in Yosemite, listed in 2000 after the population plunged to record lows (around 100). The park estimates that prior to the arrival of white settlers, the bighorn populations likely numbered in the thousands.

"Bighorn sheep are a true symbol of wilderness and represent the need to protect wild lands," said Frank Dean, Yosemite Conservancy President. "With the reintroduction, visitors will experience a wilderness similar to that found in the days of John Muir, when large alpine wildlife was abundant."

Read more here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Wilderness Trends

The Forest Service conducted surveys in 1970, 1982 and 2004 to look at the most used trailheads, frequency of visits, and reasons for visiting wilderness along with other questions. They noticed that visitors to wilderness are increasingly older, more experienced, and have more education (62% had four-year college degrees or higher). Another shift was that wilderness users aren't staying as long as they used to; in 1970, the average number of nights was 5.1 compared to 3.3 in 2004.

In the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the average age of a visitor in 1969 was 26, in 1991 it had increased to 36, and in 2007 the average was 45.

What trends have you noticed in the backcountry?

(source at this link  and this link)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

First Grid-connected Wave Power Plant Goes Live

The world's oceans are vast wilderness areas, a place where few people venture although many of our habits wreak havoc upon the waters. In Australia, a potentially good use has gone live recently. The world’s first wave power station has been activated off the coast of Western Australia (WA). The technology uses wave swells to create zero-emission power and zero-emission desalinated freshwater. The system is fully submerged with a buoy tethered to a pump on the ocean floor.

The Perth Wave Energy Project is the first grid connected commercial scale demonstration of this technology. More information here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

New National Monuments Declared

Chalk Cliffs of Browns Canyon, Colorado. Photo by John Fielder / Friends of Browns Canyon
Last week, President Obama declared three new National Monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act.  The three areas offer a range of of educational, historical and wilderness values.  This announcement will bring the creation of the Pullman National Monument in Chicago, Ill., a site where African-American railway workers won a historic labor agreement, and the Honoliuli National Monument, the largest internment camp for Japanese-Americans and prisoners of war in Hawaii during World War II.  Also included in this announcement is a 21,000 acre parcel of wild land along the Arkansas River in Colorado, Browns Canyon.

For outdoor recreationalists, the victory in the campaign for Monument status for Browns Canyon is the culmination of more than two decades of work to gain permanent protection for this area. Originally proposed as 35,000 acres, the proposal, which includes defined wilderness, was scaled back to ensure feasible management as a BLM National Monument. The Friends of Browns Canyon has been spearheading the effort since chartered in 2003.

This area is not only notable for its renowned whitewater rafting, but also the pristine forests, unspoiled wildlife habitat, excellent rock climbing, mountain biking, hunting and fishing that engage visitors year-round. The land has been managed as a BLM Wilderness Study Area and National Forest Roadless Area for many years.

What do you think about the new National Monuments? Any interest is helping the BLM steward this land on a service project in the coming years? Let us know in the comments section below.

And here's a way cool graphic of all the new National Monuments over the last few years.
Image courtesy of ThinkProgress

Friday, February 20, 2015

Canyon Country Adventures Await

In just a few short weeks, the 2015 Wilderness Volunteers project season will kick off with a full trip to the Mojave. Get out of the cold and into the wilderness with projects across the southwest (and Hawaii), such as these projects on the Colorado Plateau:

K04Mike in slot canyon

Moab Arches and Towers, Moab BLM, Utah

Moab is a paradise for hikers, with many landforms unparalleled in the world.  Our project there runs the week of April 19th - 25th whre we'll work on the trails to arches and views of the Colorado River and Fisher Towers.

San Rafael Swell, Sids Mountain WSA, Price BLM, Utah

The San Rafael Swell is one of most striking areas in all of the wild western United States.  With slot canyons, gorges, mesas, desert streams and so much more. This is an area all wilderness lovers should explore, at least once. Read more about the April 19-25th trip in this blog post and sign up for the adventure on the website.

Escalante River, Glen Canyon NRA, Utah
This project is the continuation of a fourteen year project removing invasive Russian olive trees from the Escalante River watershed. The work is needed and this rugged landscape must be experienced. Join us April 26 - May 2.

Hammond Canyon, Manti-La Sal National Forest, Utah

Join WV out in Canyon Country from May 10-16th for a trail maintenance project amongst fascinating ancient history and scenic beauty. This extremely underrated area promises to impress you and reward your stewardship efforts.

North Rim, Kaibab National Forest, Arizona
When you think of canyons, there is one in particular that stands out - the Grand Canyon. Join us in northern Arizona in an area outside of the National Park and spend the week working from the Kaibab Plateau brushing trails that lead to the North Canyon. Read more and signup up for the WV service project on the North Rim, Kaibab National Forest, May 24 - 30, 2015.

And more! If you need help deciding which project is right for you, send us an email or give us a call at (928) 255-1128 - we'd love to hear from you.