The summer of 2010 has been scorching hot in the D.C. area. As the temperature has risen, so has the heat on Congress to fulfill a promise it made 45 years ago — to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
My favorite weekends of my childhood began with my dad stuffing duffle bags, lanterns, mess kits, sleeping bags, a tent and cooler into the trunk of our car. Everything else was strapped to the roof with bungee cords. My family—including our beloved dog, Gibson—would set out on our camping trips. Sometimes we took 94-East to the Indiana Dunes National Park.
On Sunday, ten days after setting out from Alaska’s Dalton Highway, my friend Brad Meiklejohn and I floated on our packrafts into Arctic Village, the final stop on our adventure through the Arctic Refuge and the place I’ve come to teach a summer science camp to village kids. As we geared up for this great journey, we expected some encounters with wildlife; the refuge has delivered ten-fold.
I’m going to stand out on a fairly strong limb and make a declaration just about everyone (from treehugger to tea partier) can agree with: restoring degraded natural areas is a good thing. Luckily this thinking is gaining ground in some pretty important circles.
Every spring I hike out to a special meadow in Idaho’s Frank-Church River of No Return Wilderness to see spectacular wildflowers. Earlier this month, I had a chance to witness the same wild place, only this time to see a burning summer wildfire. Both the flowers and the fire are wonderful and beautiful acts of nature.
My location for connection with nature is the southwest corner of the vast Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. At 2.3 million acres, here the wilderness is big enough to provide a full view of wild nature.
My friends and I were recently approached at a market here in Washington by two girls no older than the age of 10. They asked us to sign a petition that would protect their local park from being purchased and converted into a multi-use development. I was so impressed by their fearlessness in approaching total strangers at such a young age that I did not initially realize the significance of their question.
Pop the cork on the champagne — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has given The Wilderness Society another reason to celebrate. Thanks to a secretarial decision announced on Aug. 13, communities in nine states will soon see more jobs, healthier forests, clean water and more abundant wildlife.
Thus spoke Josh Fox, master of the understatement, after he witnessed a man, whose house neighbors a natural gas well, light his kitchen tap water on fire. And by “fire” I don’t mean a delicate tongue of flame like on a candlestick: it’s an honest-to-goodness fireball that comes blazing out of that tap. And it happens not once but multiple times in different homes across the country in Fox’s recently-released documentary on hydraulic fracturing called Gasland.