Coming from Argentina as an intern to The Wilderness Society, I was recently asked this question while getting familiar with the work: Do you know who is in charge of managing most of the federal lands in the United States?
From startlingly beautiful close-ups of feathergrass and prickly pear to oil storage tanks leaking black puddles that grotesquely mirror the open sky, the images in Otero Mesa: Preserving America’s Wildest Grassland match the bone-hard and evocative narrative of this endangered landscape. Recently published by the University of New Mexico Press, the book pairs text by prizewinning nature writer Gregory McNamee, with exquisite photography by Stephen Strom and Stephen Capra.
This is the first installment of a four-part series on the beautiful, threatened Otero Mesa from New Mexico writer and Southwest Regional Office Administrative Assistant Zoe Krasney.
The three of us lean out of the car windows as we bounce along the dirt road through Otero Mesa, this remote and hidden grassland in Southern New Mexico. The road is blanched by mineral deposits leaching to the surface, a pale line starkly bisecting the wash of green and brown and the metallic spray of seedheads for miles all around us.
If you think today’s youth are up to no good, you obviously haven’t been at Newhalem Crags in the North Cascades National Park recently. A group of 8 young climbers and 16 others volunteered a coveted Saturday in September to build an access path to the Crags in Washington.
It’s one of the most difficult environmental concepts to understand, yet the word is starting to get out: some fires are good things. A look at a recent poll conducted by a coalition headed by The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy revealed that the American public better understands that fire, under the right conditions, helps restore forests and protect communities and firefighters alike.
A federal limit on global warming pollution received a timely endorsement from two key House chairmen in October.
U.S. Reps. John D. Dingell, (D-Mich.) and Rick Boucher, (D-Va.), have vowed to tackle global warming. Their proposed cap-and-trade legislation, released Oct. 7, sets the stage for future discussion on preventing dangerous emissions.
Thank you, Congressmen. We needed that.
The Wilderness Society welcomes the progress but we remain wary of its modest near-term goals.
Right now, a sweeping and long-awaited package of bills that would conserve hundreds of thousands of acres of new Wilderness and other special public lands is working its way through Congress. If passed, the omnibus lands act, would provide the greatest expansion of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 14 years.
So much work has gone into making these wilderness-friendly bills a reality, but with the end of the legislative year, many larger, controversial national issues have taken attention away from passing the legislation.
Here I am at one of the West’s wildest and most spectacular waterways — eastern Oregon’s Owyhee River will offer the chance to escape to a remote desert canyon for six days, where I’ll enjoy stunning towers and rock formations, soak in natural hot springs, catch glimpses of soaring raptors and California bighorn sheep, and test my skill against exciting whitewater rapids.