Monday, June 30, 2014

Memoirs of a Cactus: Saguaro Wilderness

Shared from NPS Wilderness

"They say that history is in the eye of the beholder, but what if the beholder is wilderness itself? What do our actions as a species look like to a member of the wilderness community? A personal history from the eyes of the saguaro cacti, this video recounts how over time humans have transformed Saguaro National Park's desert landscape. Saguaro cacti are among the oldest members of the Sonoran desert community, and over centuries and generations, the cacti have seen their home change dramatically as groups of humans moved in. Over the course of this memoir, we see poetic vestiges of human settlement in the desert, echoes from a time before wilderness reclaimed its own."

Friday, June 27, 2014

One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire

The California Fire Prevention agencies have teamed up to create "One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire" Public Service Announcements to help decrease the number of wildfires started by spark ignition.

Share these videos with friends and family to get the word out about how we can decrease unintended fire!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Available Summer Adventures

There are still spaces remaining on WV service projects in several outstanding wild places. Here are a few of the places that have spots available to give something back:

Mission Mountains Wilderness, Montana, July 19 - 26

Photo by Tammy Rinaldi, WV Service Project in 2010
The Mission Mountain Wilderness, with its rugged peaks, pristine glacial lakes and mountain streams, is frequently called the American Alps. The Missions feature 225 lakes and its clear waters hold native trout, a high-bred "Cutbow" (which is a cross between the Cutthroat and Rainbow trout), and pike. Its high peaks tower 7000 feet above the valley floor, up to 9280' McDonald Peak. The slopes and valleys are heavily forested, rocky and lush with undergrowth.

This a great trip for everyone, including beginner backpackers, as it's fairly level and we have terrific pack stock support. Our service project will be very useful in helping maintaining these scenic mountain trails after a particularly late snow season this year.  See the project page to learn more and join us in America's Alps.

Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness, Bighorn Crags, Idaho, August 17 - 23

Photo by Caroline Williams, WV Service Project 2013

Located in west-central Idaho and below the Montana state line, lies the 2.3 million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area - the largest wilderness in the United States outside of Alaska. Cutting through it with ferocity is the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Salmon River, called the River of No Return by pioneers. High above the river is the remote, jagged Bighorn Crags area, with outstanding opportunities for hunting, hiking, primitive camping, fishing and whitewater rafting.

Please join us on our service project in this undeveloped and wild land, assisting wilderness rangers from the North Fork Ranger District with trail maintenance on the Ship Island Lake Trail. Our work will include erosion control, reroutes, brushing, and maintaining campsites following a 9 mile backpack to a picturesque base camp at Airplane Lake in the Ship Island Lake basin. 

Mt. Hood Wilderness, Oregon, September 7 - 13

Located twenty miles east of Portland, Oregon, and the northern Willamette River valley, the Mt. Hood
Photo by Sharon Pilot, WV Service Project 2012
National Forest extends south from the strikingly beautiful Columbia River Gorge across more than a million acres of forested mountains, lakes and streams. At its heart lies the imposing figure of Mt. Hood, a dormant volcano with 11 active glaciers, forested slopes and alpine meadows. The Mt. Hood Wilderness follows river drainages to lower elevations, concealing waterfalls and valleys that support an understory of Oregon grape, salal, rhododendron, huckleberries, and an overstory of towering cedars and other moss-covered conifers.

The service project is working with the Mt. Hood NF Fisheries Biology team on a continuing collective to restore and aid salmon habitat recovery along Still Creek and the Salmon River. We'll spend the first part of the week working on stream banks restoring riparian habitat, wetlands and stream-side vegetation by planting native Red cedar, and removing illegal campsites and fire rings as they are encountered. The second half of the week we'll be gathering seeds and berries for direct sewing or later propagation. Opportunities abound for day hiking to area waterfalls and taking in the sites of this classic Pacific Northwest temperate rainforest. This project is great for all experience levels including beginners to car camping and service work.

Thanks for giving something back with Wilderness Volunteers!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Antiquities Act turns 108 this week!

The Antiquities Act allows "the President to set aside and reserve for use as public parks or reserves and public lands upon which are monuments, cliff-dwellings, cemeteries, graves, mounds, forts, or any other work of prehistoric, primitive, or aboriginal man, and also any natural formation of scientific or scenic or scenic value or interest, or natural wonder or curiosity together with such addition area of land surrounding or adjoining the same, as he may deem necessary for the proper preservation and subsequent investigation of said prehistoric work or remains."

National Monument managers include the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Devil's Tower
There have been 124 monuments created through the act; some of these have later been designated National Parks/Preserves through the action of Congress. You can find a list of the monuments with the President who dedicated them at this link.

The first was Devil's Tower in Wyoming, dedicated by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 shortly after The Antiquities Act was signed into law. The latest was the Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks in New Mexico in May of this year by Barack Obama.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Wilderness: Our Enduring American Legacy

Hiking in the John Muir Wilderness
A new publication from The Wilderness Society celebrates the role of wilderness in shaping our national character, highlights the significance of wilderness in America and calls on Congress to protect more wild places.
"Changes unforeseen by the authors of the Wilderness Act five decades ago ... make the resource of wilderness even more essential to our nation's future."
 More than two dozen locally-crafted, home-grown bills to protect new wilderness areas are still pending before the House and Senate; many have been stalled on Capitol Hill for years due to political partisanship and ideological disputes. To honor the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, The Wilderness Society is calling on
Eagletail Mountains Wilderness in Arizona
Congress to renew its commitment to protecting wilderness by passing legislation to protect our wild legacy. The report highlights Hermosa Creek in Colorado, Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, and Maine’s Coastal Islands among other priority areas.

You can view this special report here.