This year Christmas came a little early for all Americans who treasure our public lands, when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar delivered a new policy for protecting wilderness-quality areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Secretarial Order effectively puts an end to the second class status of wilderness on our public lands that was ushered in by the Bush administration’s “no more wilderness” policy.
Urban Southern California – known for its traffic logjams and ever-growing suburbia – will soon benefit from an agreement to protect one million acres of wild lands in four local national forests.
These added protections are the windfall from a successful lawsuit that challenged the management plans of four Southern California national forests.The Dec. 15 court settlement is a win for drinking water, wildlife habitat, fresh air and outdoor recreation – benefits that will be enjoyed by many generations of families.
Shopping mall parking lots are full, store lines are long and FedEx delivery men are working overtime. Americans are by and large incredibly generous and thoughtful people and the Christmas season provides an outlet for that expression. Still, I can’t help but think that most of the fruitcakes, holiday sweaters and video games being wrapped up and put under trees over the next few days will only provide temporary happiness for their new owners after this holiday season has come and gone.
What started off as an average hike in late October turned into a bit of a scare. Shenandoah National Park appeared to be on fire with color during my recent visit but little did I know what this trip had in store for me. The highest elevations boasted the brightest fall colors from oak, hickory, and maple trees, illustrating a typical yet breathtakingly beautiful fall day in the temperate zone.
Have you ever walked across a lava field and felt the heat moving up through your shoes? Or watched molten lava pour into the Pacific, sending up clouds of steam? Or walked through tunnels (“tubes”) created by lava flows?
With only weeks left before the 111th Congress adjourns for its final time, conservationists are waiting to see if dozens of land, water and wildlife bills (including 21 wildlands and Wilderness bills), will make the short list of bills to be considered during the last days of the lame duck session.
In a few days, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be celebrating 50 years of protection. Tonight in Washington, DC, we are celebrating this momentous occasion with a gala featuring some of the people that have been responsible for keeping the Refuge safe for half a century.
Bud Moore, a great conservationist and a wilderness champion for Idaho and Montana, passed away last week at his home in Condon, Montana, at age 93. Bud blazed a trail his whole life for all who revere wilderness and wild land — linking the mountain men, who taught him backcountry skills in his youth, to the modern foresters who came to understand ecosystem management with his vision.
The only wild animals I see on my walk to work are hyperactive squirrels darting in front of me. I guess that’s why polar bears, with their thick white fur and snowball-like quality, seem almost otherworldly to me. It’s easy to see why so many people are enthralled by these majestic arctic animals and want to protect them. And they need our help, too—the polar bear has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 2008. Fortunately, they just got another helpful hand from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).