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    Dirtbag Diaries: The Adventures of Beansprout

    The adventures of bean sprout A few of us in the office have been reading Tree Spiker -- the memoir of Mike Roselle, co-founder of Earth First! -- and while it's not as lighthearted as today's Dirtbag Diaries episode the timing is still excellent. Stay tuned for our review of Tree Spiker. In the meantime, Fitz Cahall is here to get your weekend started right:

    Ryan Nickum was a 20-year-old college athlete with a passion for brutal tackles and body checks. He had yet to grow out of the angst and rebelliousness of his teenage years. Socializing involved cases of Coors, rehashing high school exploits and running from the cops. He wasn't exactly prime recruitment material for Earth First. Spring break of his sophomore year, Nickum and his best friend Woodchuck were too broke for Cancun's party scene and opted instead to join a band of radical environmentalist organizing a tree sit in Southern Oregon. There are many ways to stumble into activism. Maybe some people just shouldn't read the Monkey Wrench Gang.

    Listen to "The Adventures of Beansprout"
    (mp3 - right-click to download - contains some drug references but no stoke references)

    If you missed it the first time around, check out Ryan Nickum's previous appearance on the Diaries, "Bedtime Stories for Wanders." You can listen to the music from today's episode, including Charlie Hunter's boogielicious "High Pockets and a Fanny Pack," over at

    Hit the jump to see Walker Cahall's custom board game that's based on today's episode.

    Continue reading "Dirtbag Diaries: The Adventures of Beansprout" »

    Seabirds Regain a Perch on Channel Islands

    LandscapeScorpionRock Growing Solutions is a 501c (3) non-profit organization located in Santa Barbara County. They are dedicated to the restoration and preservation of California’s remarkable botanic wealth and rich diversity. We've supported their work through donations and were pleased to welcome them at this year's Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference. They've accomplished a great deal since they were last featured on The Cleanest Line. Today's post is an update on some of their most recent work.

    The weekend of October 23rd to 26th was spent out at Santa Cruz Island with the help of Don Hartley’s SBCC Environmental Horticulture class and other outstanding volunteers. It was a joint effort between the Channel Islands National Park, the Nature Conservancy, Santa Cruz Island Restoration, and Growing Solutions. The work was part of a restoration effort, headed by David Mazurkiewicz and Laurie Harvey, to restore nesting habitat for the Auklet seabird on Scorpion Rock.

    Growing Solutions became involved with the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program in 2007 to contribute to native plant propagation, habitat restoration, and education efforts. MSRP is the product of a 2001 lawsuit against the Montrose Chemical Company, the main source of DDT contaminants on the south coast.  Invasive species and lack of appropriate native cover coupled with impacts from the chemical spills (i.e. eggshell thinning, reproductive failure) have discouraged nesting opportunities and affected population numbers for several species of seabirds.

    This project, many joked, fit under the rare category of “extreme restoration” due to near-heroic efforts by staff and volunteers to transport seedlings across the channel by boat, carry onto a rock island by hand, and hike up a guano-covered cliff . . .

    [All photos courtesy of Growing Solutions.]

    Continue reading "Seabirds Regain a Perch on Channel Islands" »

    Dear & Yonder Screening and Art Show this Saturday at Patagonia Cardiff


    Patagonia Cardiff is hosting a special engagement screening of Tiffany Campbell and Andria Lessler's new movie Dear & Yonder - a primarily waveriding film that features a diverse cast of ladies united by their love of the sea. Immediately following the first screening, please join the filmmakers upstairs for an art show reception, DVD signing and live music. Artists Thomas Campbell, Kassia Meador, Serena Mitnik-Miller and Tiffany Campbell will be on hand to display their latest creations. An encore screening will commence at 8:00 pm.

    Dear & Yonder Screening and Art Show
    Saturday, February 27, 2010   
    Film: 6:30pm & 8:00pm (two shows only)
    Art show reception: 7:30 - 9:30 pm (gallery is open 10am - 9:30pm)
    This indoor event is free. Seating is limited to 150 people, and is available on a first come first serve basis.

    Continue reading "Dear & Yonder Screening and Art Show this Saturday at Patagonia Cardiff" »

    Struggling Economy Means a Threat to Organics

    NV grown We discussed the elimination of Nevada’s state-supported Organics Program just over one year ago. At the time, the state was facing severe budget shortfalls and the budgetary scythe cut a wide swath. The situation has gotten worse, and despite a successful defense in early 2009, the program is once again facing elimination. Organic consumers take note: With its record-setting foreclosure rate, Nevada has been a canary for many who are trying to gauge the extent of the recession’s fallout. While few states envy Nevada’s financial position, most will be watching to see how it responds to its budget crisis. Elimination of a growth industry would be an example few organic consumers would want to see repeated in their own state.

    Folks by now are pretty familiar with cost-cutting and drastic savings measures. As one of the states hit hardest by the collapse of the housing market, Nevada has been scrambling to make up for a budget shortfall nearing $1 billion. With a deficit of this magnitude, no state program is safe. High-profile suggestions such as closing of colleges and cutting university athletic programs have been grabbing headlines and spurring protests while a vast array of more modest cuts are set to go through unchallenged. Such is the case with the state’s Organic Certification Program, a measure that – if approved – would wipe out one of the few growth areas in the state’s faltering economy.

    Continue reading "Struggling Economy Means a Threat to Organics" »

    Update on the Patagonia Sustainable Trails Project in Los Glaciares National Park

    Rolo_trails_5 The second year of the American Alpine Club’s Los Glaciares National Park Trail Restoration project, sponsored by Patagonia Inc., wrapped up successfully in early December. Over six weeks in the Patagonian spring, the ten-man Argentinean-American team, led by project coordinator Rolando Garibotti, with help from many volunteers, continued work begun in 2008 to restore heavily eroded trails in Los Glaciares, which is home to Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.

    First, however, the team, composed of several American trail experts, led a nine-day field-work seminar in late October with 17 park rangers from various national parks across Argentinean Patagonia. Over the course of 76+ hours in the field, the rangers learned techniques for mitigating and stopping erosion, including steps, drainage, and causeways. Despite some initial difficulties due to the language barrier, the course was a major success, and similar efforts likely will be made in the future.

    [Students, instructors and finished work at the end of the trail restoration course. All photos courtesy of Rolando Garibotti]

    Continue reading "Update on the Patagonia Sustainable Trails Project in Los Glaciares National Park" »

    Keeping the Edge – Night Paddleboarding with Jeff Denholm

    Jeff_Denholm_T_Davis It's the cocoon of night that brings total escape. Escape from all that my eyes can be distracted by. Because after all, I do this for its simplicity: to surround myself with only the sea, a craft and my heartbeat. It's not that paddleboarding by day is so bad it just seems to reach a higher level of purity at night with my strongest sense muted.

    [Editor's note: Today's story comes from Patagonia ambassador Jeff Denholm. Look for more from Jeff in our next installment of the Tin Shed, coming soon. Photo: Tim Davis]

    I began paddleboarding in order to keep the edge. Having only one arm I am forced to stay as sharp as a tack in order to simply catch the waves I seek to ride. Growing up in Maine where the sun sets early in winter, our prime wave season, I was forced to embrace the night in my mission to stay fit, to ride waves. Through necessity I was awakened to another level of joy from the paddling experience.

    My launching point back East led to a cold body of water that boasts the second highest tidal flow in the Western Hemisphere. It is a powerful tidal river that leads to the Atlantic Ocean and is a major shipping channel supporting communities that were established in the 1600s. This body of water also is home to a nuclear sub base. A hulking mass of steel and sinister shapes that lies menacingly on the shore that I frequently paddle by. Post-9/11 anxiety has led to entertaining encounters with the keepers of the “peace” who patrol the bases aquatic perimeter. Slipping in and out of the shadows and swirling black current I am always keeping an eye out for fast moving vessels that represent a certain level of threat given that I paddle without a light.

    Continue reading "Keeping the Edge – Night Paddleboarding with Jeff Denholm" »

    [Update] Climate Change v. U.S. Government: Trial for Tim "Bidder 70" DeChristopher to Begin in mid-March

    Tim_d Update: The trial for Tim DeChristopher has been postponed by the judge to an unspecified date. The March 15th actions are canceled for now. Details and FAQ

    Over the past year, Patagonia has worked with Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old economics student at the University of Utah, also known as “Bidder 70,” and founder of Peaceful Uprising.

    In December 2008, at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction in Salt Lake City, Tim bid for the oil and gas leases on several parcels of federal land even though he had no money to pay for them, thus upending the auction.

    Tim was arrested and charged with two felony counts of interfering with an auction and making false statements on bidding forms. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison on each of the two counts and up to $750,000 in fines.

    “My intention was to cause as much of a disruption to the auction as I could. Making that decision — that keeping the oil in the ground was worth going to prison — that was the decision I made,” Tim told Kirk Johnson from the New York Times.

    [Tim DeChristopher at the 2009 Patagonia Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference. Photo: Tim Davis]

    Continue reading "[Update] Climate Change v. U.S. Government: Trial for Tim "Bidder 70" DeChristopher to Begin in mid-March" »

    Product Testing - Cool Weather Cycling

    We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our athletes and ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.

    Mtbtahoe Products Tested: Capilene 2 Bottoms, Shelled Insulator Pants, Simple Guide Pants, Windproof Gloves, Socks, Nano Puff, Alpine Wind Jacket, R2 Jacket, Integral Jacket

    Activity: Cool Weather Cycling in and around the high desert

    Average temperatures: 20 - 30ºF

    Testers: Jim A. & Suzanne K., Customer Service Representatives

    Jim & Suzanne are our itinerant customer service reps. For the past 11 years they have been spending their summers in Skagway, AK and their falls and winters here in Reno, NV. They're avid cyclists who don't let the cold slow them down. It was a chilly December here in Northern Nevada with temperatures rarely rising above the freezing mark, but Jim & Suzanne kept on riding. Here's Suzanne's take on what works for them:

    In our never-ending quest to find the perfect layering system for winter cycling here in Reno, Jim and I have determined that men and women are indeed different species.

    [Just because it's the desert, doesn't mean it's dry and warm. Winter comes early to the high desert and brings deep snow and regular rainfall. Snow and ice persisted on most surfaces throughout the period of Jim and Suzanne's test.]

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Cool Weather Cycling" »

    Deal Time - Winterfest and Presidents' Day Sales are On!


    Patagonia Winterfest Sale
    February 11-16, 2010
    30-50% off retail prices on select merchandise, online and in participating Patagonia Stores (Outlets and Cardiff store excluded, details after the jump).*

    Patagonia Outlets Presidents' Day Sale
    February 11-15, 2010
    40% off current outlet prices storewide (hit the jump to find an outlet near you).**

    Winterfest Sale prices are limited to stock on hand. Sale prices apply only to Patagonia® merchandise on days specified. Patagonia Outlets and Patagonia Cardiff-by-the-Sea are not participating in the sale. New for spring items, surfboards, wetsuits, blankets, gift cards, gifts bags, Carry Y’All Bag and shipping are excluded. Offer valid in USA and Canada only (Canadian orders, call 1-800-638-6464). Not valid with pro, team and group sales or any other special offers. Sale ends February 16, 2010.

    ** President's Day Sale prices apply for Patagonia Outlets only, and apply only to Patagonia® merchandise on days specified. Surfboards, wetsuits, blankets, gift cards, gifts bags, Carry Y’All Bag and shipping are excluded. Offer valid in USA only. Not valid with any other special offers. Sale ends February 15, 2010. No phone or fax orders.

    Thanks again to everyone who called, wrote, or tweeted to find out the sale dates. We appreciate your patience and support.

    [David Hanson preps heat for the hut. Methow Valley, Washington. Photo: Michael Hanson]

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Shorts - Trekker's Blues

    The_Shorts_NBB What better way to browse the Winterfest Sale than with the Dirtbag Diaries playing in the background? Here's host Fitz Cahall with today's listener-submitted Short:

    More people reach the top of Mount Everest than hike the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail. It asks a lot of the human body. When writer Alissa Bohling and her longtime boyfriend Paul set out of the trail, they thought a trip of that significance would leave a mark on their relationship. They didn't foresee that it would leave Paul hobbling and struggling to get healthy years after they reached the Canadian border. In today's Short, Alissa puts pen to paper and imagines a pain-free life for Paul. If we write it down does it become true? I hope so.

    Listen to "The Shorts - Trekker's Blues"
    (MP3 - right-click to download - music info)

    For more Shorts and full-length episodes, visit The Dirtbag Diaries or Patagonia's Tin Shed. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or join the Dirtbag nation on Facebook and Twitter.

    Looking for something different? From the creators of The Dirtbag Diaries comes a new Web television project called The Season. Writer/narrator Fitz Cahall and filmmaker Bryan Smith follow five outdoor athletes through the course of a single season in the Pacific Northwest. Check out the first two episodes now at

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