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  • The vast 800,000-acre expanse of Texas' Big Bend National Park is flanked by the Wild and Scenic Rio Grande River along the United States-Mexico border.

    In 1984, to protect the wild and remote nature of Big Bend, the administration of President Reagan recommended that Congress designate 533,900 acres of the park as federally protected wilderness. A quarter century later, Congress has still not acted on this proposal.

  • For the past several years, there has been an unprecedented rush in applying for permits to lease and drill federal public lands especially in the West. Proponents for drilling use energy independence and economic gain to justify their case. So how much oil and gas is really available under public lands and how much are they worth? Our spatial analysts, economists and ecologists in TWS make it their business to find out.

  • Our own Frank Peterman had a hand in helping documentary maker Ken Burns find  one of the interesting characters portrayed in Burns’ much-anticipated series on national parks (The National Parks: America’s Best Idea), to begin airing on PBS on Sept. 27.

  • It’s been a big month for climate change. “YOU LIE!” you say? Well, if you don’t geek out on environmental politics all day (in other words, you are a relatively normal person) you may be under the mistaken impression that healthcare is the only game in town these days. But don’t be fooled. September has seen several game-changing developments on the climate front. Here’s a quick recap of some highlights from this month so far:

  • Some clean energy opponents have put a false choice forward in recent press stories pitting land conservation priorities against needed renewable development. This shortsighted view misses the real opportunity to accomplish both of these national priorities which we've been advocating for regionally and nationally.

  • Some clean energy opponents have put a false choice forward in recent press stories pitting land conservation priorities against needed renewable development. This shortsighted view misses the real opportunity to accomplish both of these national priorities which we've been advocating for regionally and nationally.

  • Some of Colorado’s most pristine places are at risk. While the federal 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule protects nearly 60 million acres of pristine forests throughout the nation, the state of Colorado continues to move forward with a proposal that would exempt the state from the national rule, replacing it with a weaker version that could damage some of the most beautiful countryside in Colorado.

  • Just twenty miles east of the Portland metro area, cold mountain streams run  through lush forest that carpets the lower reaches of Mt. Hood’s snow capped peak and provides habitat for many species including the spotted owl. With about 5 million annual recreational visits, people flock to Mt. Hood National Forest because it offers accessible backcountry getaways for hiking, camping, picnicking, or just clearing one’s mind.

  • To show the Senate that support for strong climate legislation is broad and deep, The Wilderness Society and more than 600 other national and regional conservation, outdoor, sportsmen, recreation and faith groups have written Senators to urge their leadership in passing comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

  • Restoration. That’s a very important word to those of us who work in  conservation. Following on decades of logging in our national forests — much of it unsustainable — considerable work is needed to restore the ecosystems our forests contain.

    That’s why I was especially excited to hear that watershed restoration is at the heart of the Obama Administration’s vision for our national forests, as laid out by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack in August.

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