Friday, October 28, 2016

Announcing the 2016 Wilderness Volunteers Photo Contest

The 2016 season is nearly over, so let's celebrate all of the great work our trip participants helped WV accomplish this year by awarding some great prizes for a few fantastic photos!

A few of our great entries from last year:

Enter your favorite WV project photos by uploading your selections to the WV gallery in these categories:
  • Landscapes (scenic photos of our nation's public lands)
  • Wildlife (from slugs to bears, if it's a wild animal it's game)
  • On the Trail (volunteers/hikers on trails)
  • Hard at Work (volunteers working on projects)
Please add a description for each photo as well as your name and what project it was taken on.

One winner will be selected for each category as well as a grand prize winner for best photo.

Grand Prize:

  • A gift certificate for a free Wilderness Volunteers project good for the 2017 project season.

Best Landscape:

  • Black Diamond SPOT headlamp donated by Peace Surplus
  • a one-year subscription donated by Backpacker Magazine
  • a sport bottle, coupon for 20% off one full price item, & chapstick donated by REI    

Best Wildlife:

  • Ultra-Sil Day Pack (20L) donated by Sea to Summit
  • a one-year subscription donated by Outside Magazine
  • a sport bottle, coupon for 20% off one full price item, & chapstick donated by REI  

Best On the Trail:

  • Clear Stopper Dry Bag (8L) donated by Sea to Summit
  • a one-year subscription donated by Backpacker Magazine
  • a sport bottle, coupon for 20% off one full price item, & chapstick donated by REI  

Best Hard At Work:

  • Ultra-Sil Pack Cover (Medium) donated by Sea to Summit
  • a one-year subscription donated by Backpacker Magazine
  • a sport bottle, coupon for 20% off one full price item, & chapstick donated by REI  

You can enter as many photos as you like, just be sure to do so before the deadline on November 30th! 

A huge thank you to this year's photo contest sponsors:

Peace Surplus

Outside Magazine

Sea To Summit

Backpacker Magazine

Official Contest Rules:
  • All photos must be taken on a 2016 Wilderness Volunteers Project and must comply with Leave No Trace ethics & principles.
  • Each entry must include the photographer's name and the project it was taken on
  • The same photo cannot be entered in more than one category. Judges reserve the right to switch images to other categories.
  • The contest is open to all 2016 WV project participants and leaders, except for Wilderness Volunteers staff, contest judges and their families. WV reserves the right to verify, in its sole judgment, entrant eligibility. 
  • Photographs will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. Awards will be selected by a panel of judges, and all decisions are final.  
  • Entries must be submitted to the Wilderness Volunteers photo gallery (no later than 11:59pm on by Monday, November 30th to be eligible.
  • Judges may exclude entries that do not meet the above criteria. 
  • Winners will be notified by email. Wilderness Volunteers is not responsible for lost or damaged prizes.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Photos From the Field: Dark Canyon Wilderness

Wilderness Volunteers recently finished a service project in the Dark Canyon Wilderness of the Manti La Sal National Forest in southeastern Utah.

The Dark Canyon Wilderness is a spectacular canyon wilderness in southeastern Utah that was the ancestral home of Puebloan peoples for 5,000 years. Dark Canyon is rich in biological, geological, archaeological, and historical significance, and is also one of the most colorful canyon systems on the Colorado Plateau.

Dark Canyon begins on Elk Ridge at an elevation of 8,800 feet then cuts through Cedar Mesa sandstone formations dramatically framed amidst a forest of ponderosa pine on its 5,000-foot descent to the upper reaches of Lake Powell. It is remote and spectacularly beautiful.

At various times residents of the canyon hunted on the mesa tops, grew maize, squash and beans on canyon terraces, gathered pinyon nuts on the plateaus, and hunted turkey and deer in the high ponderosa pine forests.

They built cliff-dwellings and grain storage warehouses, made pottery in a variety of styles, and fashioned tools from the mineral resources of the canyon.

As part of our ongoing project with the Manti-La Sal National Forest, participants backpacked into the area and then worked with Forest Service archaeologists to survey remote parts of the Dark Canyon system for artifacts and ancestral sites.

They split into small teams, each led by an archaeologist, and slowly walked the canyon looking for stone tools and flakes, projectile points, pot sherds and the remains of ancient structures.

Forest Service staff provided participants with training on how stone tools and artifacts were made, the different styles of tools and pottery used, and how to find artifacts and document the sites where they are found.

The training included a demonstration of the art of "flint knapping" - the fabrication of tools and projectile points from stone - that gave participants insight into the things to look for and the types of tools that can be made from stone.

This year's project was extremely fruitful: participants surveyed over 353 acres, recorded 5 sites, and identified 14 new sites.

Want to give something back with Wilderness Volunteers in the Dark Canyon Wilderness?

The Summer and Fall 2017 projects will be released on our website December 1, 2016.

All of the stunning photos in this post were taken by Dark Canyon participant Brandon Jett.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Just Because Bears Hibernate, Doesn't Mean You Need To: 10 Public Lands to Visit During Fall

The leaves are changing colors, the air is beginning to have a bite, and the world seems to be telling you to curl up on the couch with a cup of joe and begin winter hibernation preparations. Fight that urge because our public lands are blooming in the most spectacular way - in the golden hues of autumn! Fall offers a unique opportunity to see your public lands in a whole new light. While all lands are pretty enjoyable in this delightful season, here are some that we felt should not be missed.

Denali National Park, AK
Snow-capped mountains bordered by vibrant tundra? Fall has never looked better than in Denali National Park.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Larch trees take a turn for the gold in lake basins in the Alpine Lakes. Anyone interested in a cold dip in one of these glacial lakes?

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Acadia National Park, ME
Who can resist the reds and yellows of east coast fall foliage! Acadia in autumn is the ideal weekend adventure.

Zion National Park, UT
Always a surprise in such an arid environment, deciduous riparian vegetation attempts to mimic the orange glow of the surrounding rock faces.

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, ME
Our newest national monument have much to offer in this season! Deciduous plants burst into swaths of reds, yellows, and oranges, bordered by old-growth forests.
Kachina Peaks Wilderness, AZ
Inner Basin in the Kachina Peaks is a valley filled with aspen trees. The golden glow from the fall aspen leaves is other-worldly!

Daniel Boone National Forest, KY
Oak trees melt into a wide variety of reds once the weather turns in Kentucky. Scenic vistas will offer glimpses into these vibrant valleys.

Maroon Bells Wilderness, CO
With adventures of all kinds to offer, Maroon Bells Wilderness, outside of Aspen, CO, displays dynamic and vivid landscapes filled with aspen trees and serene mountain lakes.

Glacier National Park, MT
Prime-time for Glacier extends well past busy-time. Larch and aspen sprinkled throughout the lowland forests offer a unique (and more isolated) take on one of Americas most popular National Parks.

Regardless of where you are geographically located, there is always a way to enjoy your surroundings this season! Get out there and enjoy what our public lands have to offer!

Share some of your fall favorites in the comments!