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    May 1 and 9 - Two Important Dates for Salmon and Free Flowing Rivers


    Salmon are anadromous. They live mostly in the ocean, but return to distant, fresh mountain headwaters to spawn. This term that describes their biological ties to seemingly disparate environments (ocean and mountain) might just as easily describe the ways in which salmon bring together competing cultures and histories. Their power, their story, have earned salmon a broad cross-section of advocates. The sustained, collective will of these unlikely allies is needed now, as federal courts near a decision that will determine the fate of Snake River salmon, and potentially set a new example for the management of fisheries resources. Some talented salmon advocates join us today with their words, images and video. Here's Emily Nuchols, from UnderSolen Media to get things started:

    Snake River salmon swim farther and climb higher than any other salmon on earth. And because they return to the biggest, highest and best-protected habitat in America, endangered Snake River salmon are slated as the West’s best chance to save salmon for future generations in an environment threatened by climate change. These cold, crisp waters, spanning three Western states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho – will remain cold under warming climates, protecting these one-of-a-kind salmon with a one-of-a-kind habitat. On May 1, PBS' Nature will premier Salmon: Running the Gauntlet, a program about the ongoing debate on how to save this endangered species.

    And on May 9th, a federal court is poised to make a decision that could change the fate of endangered species across the entire country. U.S. District Court Judge James Redden will decide if the Obama administration’s federal salmon plan will pass legal muster — a decision that will do one of two things for endangered wildlife: protect the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or weaken it. Making the wrong decision on these rivers would effectively damn these salmon to extinction.

    [The high country that Snake River Salmon call home. Redfish and Little Redfish Lakes, "so named for the brilliant sockeye salmon that once returned from the Pacific Ocean in such massive quantities that the lake shimmered red during spawning season," sit at the base of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. All photos ©Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP]

    Continue reading "May 1 and 9 - Two Important Dates for Salmon and Free Flowing Rivers" »

    On the Road with Solitaire, Episode 3 - The Raptor

    The third in a series of posts from Nick Waggoner and the crew at Sweetgrass Productions. They're currently hard at work on their third movie, Solitaire. Cleanest Line readers are invited to join them on their journey to produce their most ambitious film to date.This third installment from their behind-the-scenes series focuses on the crew's attempts to balance their desire for a compelling aerial image with their commitment to eschew motorized assistance in the filming process. Look for monthly updates here on TCL shortly after they appear on the Sweetgrass website, scheduled for the 21st of each month . - Ed

    On the Road with Solitaire Episode III: The Raptor from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.

    From the Sweetgrass crew:

    Helicopters have never been part of our fiber. Beyond the economics of flying such expensive birds, we've never wanted our work to be about the noise or the fuel. If a method actor stays up all night before a shoot to play the part of an exhausted character, we feel the need to "walk the walk" up mountains to make films that feel true to our style.

    For us, faster is not always better, and it's the experiences and the time spent going up that ultimately flavor the final film.

    For years, filmmakers have shot aerial footage from helicopters and planes, and as we prepared for a trip to Peru's Cordillera Blanca last June, we wanted to try something different. So we took to the air with paragliding wings for a month, hiking through many nights, and taking huge gasps of air as we attempted a launch from over 18,000 feet.

    So light your mattress on fire, settle down with a nice slaughtered guinea pig, and enjoy Episode III.


    Mining the Grand Canyon - Speak Out to Protect Our Common Waters by May 4

    [Video: Grand Canyon Uranium Mining PSA from James Q Martin Media.]

    Take_action_large Patagonia's new Our Common Waters campaign speaks out on threats to freshwater across the U.S., including those affecting the Colorado River. We posted on uranium mining near the mighty Colorado in February, urging citizens to stop uranium mining from areas surrounding the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River in Arizona by sending letters to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Arizona BLM. The comment period has been extended to May 4, 2011 so if you have not been able to send in a letter, please find a sample below. Print out your customized version of the letter, and send it today to the address(es) provided. Or, send an email to the address below. -Thanks, Ed.

    Uranium mining threatens the Grand Canyon

    The Grand Canyon, the crown jewel of our National Park system, has been increasingly threatened by mineral development in recent years. Most, if not all, of these claims are for uranium.

    Uranium mining can impact soil, ground and surface water, often leaving radioactive devastation that can last for years. Thousands of claims surround the river in Arizona. It will only take one blunder to contaminate the main stream, and put endangered fish and human communities that rely on the Colorado River at risk.

    Continue reading "Mining the Grand Canyon - Speak Out to Protect Our Common Waters by May 4" »

    Desert Rembrance

    by Brittany Griffith


    Early spring means it’s desert season. Well, it does now. Fifteen years ago it meant belaying my boyfriend on his three-year sport-climbing project in the Virgin River Gorge. Now, I spend March and April weekends climbing sandstone splitters in the beautiful desert of southeast Utah. Back in the 1990s, I would burn away those same spring days clipping bolts and chasing grades. Why? Well, honestly, I didn’t know any better. Living part-time near Smith Rock in Oregon and traveling with my sport-climbing boyfriends, bolts and projecting was all I ever knew. My first trip to the desert of Utah outside of Moab in 1999 changed all that—and I couldn’t be happier.

    [Desert bloom in Indian Creek. Photo: Andrew Burr]

    And now here it is again: desert season. I have dozens of special memories from my desert climbs, but one stands out more than the rest: a weekend in 1999 spent cragging at Indian Creek with my friend Sue Nott.

    Continue reading "Desert Rembrance" »

    Baja in the Rearview

    1_Morning shot of truck

    When last we left the fly-fishing filmmakers of MOTIV Fishing, they had converted a mid-'90s F250 to run on used vegetable oil and successfully crossed the Mexican border. Today, we pick up their scent in Baja as they continue traveling south in their pursuit of tight lines.

    Over 2500 miles behind us and we were still truckin’ on used veggie oil! Our F250 truck ran smoother, quieter, and depending on which 55gal drum we suck waste oil from to fill our veg tank, we either smelled like an Italian, Sushi, or Chinese buffet when we rolled down the highway. Brian swears that he saw people in the tail lights chasing us with knives and forks at times. The exhaust fumes alone have probably packed an extra 10-pounds on each of us, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. The money that we saved by not having to purchase much diesel for the trip has easily paid off the initial expense of the vegetable oil conversion.

    [Above: Morning shot of the truck. All photos: MOTIV Fishing.]

    Continue reading "Baja in the Rearview" »

    Anniversary of the BP Gulf Spill 7 Weeks, 7 Communities, 70 Employees

    IMG_5631 Patagonia hadn't budgeted for the  disaster of last year's Gulf oil spill (The Deepwater Horizon well blew up on April 20, 2010), but circumstances there were dire, so our CEO tapped Patagonia vice presidents to look for discretionary money.

    The VPs came up with $300,000 above and beyond our budgeted environmental giving. Two-thirds of it went to emergency funding that was divided among the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Skytruth among others. The other third paid for seven groups of 10 Patagonia employee volunteers to spend a week in the Gulf working in seven different communities.

    The first group of employees arrived in Louisiana amid a July 2010 swelter to work with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Six more groups followed over the next two months.

    The Bucket Brigade wanted to document impacts from the spill because of a lesson learned in Alaska, after the Exxon Valdez tarred Prince William Sound with 10.8 million gallons of oil. Lacking really detailed information about the impacts of that disaster, it had been harder to recover damages from the oil giant for affected residents and resources.

    Our employees walked door-to-door in communities across southeastern Louisiana’s coastal parishes surveying residents about the public health, cultural and financial impacts they’d felt from the spill.

    [Above - Jackie Hickman from our Reno, Nevada, distribution center, knocking on doors in Dulac, LA. Photo: Jim Little]

    Continue reading "Anniversary of the BP Gulf Spill 7 Weeks, 7 Communities, 70 Employees" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Ditch Logic

    Ditch logic_logo In 2005, Gregg Bleakney was on the rise. He was crushing his job as a software executive. At 30, he owned a beautiful home complete with white picket fence in North Seattle. He had a serious girlfriend. He drove a fast car. His sofa was black Italian leather. He had all the trappings of a successful life, but Gregg also had a secret. Something he wasn't sharing with his boss, his family or friends, even his longtime girl friend. It was an idea that was about to change his life. Today, we present Ditch Logic. Evolving as a person isn't always pretty. --Fitz Cahall

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Ditch Logic"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit to hear the music from "Ditch Logic" or download past episodes from the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with like-minded listeners on Facebook and Twitter.

    Fitz and his crew have been working on a couple video projects. Check out the Fringe Elements series over at National Geographic, featuring Patagonia ambassadors Colin Haley and Krissy Moehl. Then watch The Love Letter starring Fitz and his wife, Becca -- it's the video companion to "Unseen But Felt." 

    Good vs. Honesty in the Mortenson Debate

    Kc - hushe area school 295 I’ve long had this idealistic notion that the ends don’t justify any means. It’s why I’m a stickler for truthful reporting of climbs. The half-truths, clever omissions and misrepresentations we sometimes see – and I learn about too often in my work – are just different forms of lying, and for what? If you can’t be honest about climbing, what else in life do you lie about?

    But who cares…it means little – unless, on a fundamental level, we think that truth matters. I think that it does.

    So what, then, if someone is dishonest – or just inept – and they serve a greater good?

    60 Minutes recently aired a damning indictment of Greg Mortenson, the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated humanitarian who founded the Central Asia Institute. The Institute has educated tens of thousands of young children, mostly girls, in rural and grossly neglected regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson, a former climber, started his organization after a failed attempt on K2 in 1993, when, he claimed, Pakistani villagers helped nurse him back to health and he promised to return and build a school. 60 Minutes and Jon Krakauer – author of a 75-page article, Three Cups of Deceit (How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way) – allege significant fabrications in Mortenson’s best-selling book, Three Cups of Tea, and its follow-up, Stones Into Schools. Worse are the allegations of serious financial mismanagement, including a woefully low percentage of CAI’s proceeds actually going to schools, and large sums being spent on publicity and travel for Mortenson’s books and speaking engagements, for which he, not the CAI, receives the proceeds.

    [Above: A Central Asia Institute school along the road to Hushe, Northern Areas, Pakistan. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "Good vs. Honesty in the Mortenson Debate" »

    Making a difference, one kid at a time

    Downsized_0212111724 As a book editor at Patagonia I work in obscurity, helping writers make the best of their story. I like it that way, but don’t often hear about how the projects I work on impact their readers. So an email from a great friend in Santa Barbara about the impact that 180° South – a film directed by Chris Malloy, with a companion book published by Patagonia – had on his son, Max, it caught me by surprise. Here, with my friend Matt Wilson’s permission is that email.

    Break-through weekend at our house. Max has really found surfing, not boogie boarding and 2-second rides at some beachbreak. Thursday through Sunday we went to Campus Point every day.

    Thursday he took his shortboard and even on the small waves he could get up and surf. I took the fly rod and wet-waded for a short halibut, and a lot of kelp… . On the drive home he talked about taking the longboard and how maybe he should try it out. I told him about how we saw Lard Hamilton riding a SUP on TV and that when the waves are smaller it just makes sense to use the ‘right board.’

    [Max out at Campus Point. Photo: Matt Wilson]

    Continue reading "Making a difference, one kid at a time" »

    Beyond and Back: 180° South/Yvon Chouinard

    by Jeff Johnson

    1.08_frost_SUF06 002B

    Its been over a year since the initial premiere of our film 180° South at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. After that we had a west-coast tour. Then, for the next four months, it played at selected theaters around the country. There were some international shows as well – Spain, Australia, Japan, Canada, to name a few. It was an honor to have the opportunity to present the film at some of these venues and host Q&A’s afterward. I wish I could have been at them all.

    Every once in a while Yvon Chouinard would make it to one of these shows. While shooting the film we had spent long days and weeks together in remote Patagonia, climbing around and surfing a bit. It was quite a contrast to meet up with him again in these cities, in theaters, speaking to large audiences. But he has this casual way about him where he seems right at home just about anywhere.

    [Above: Yvon Chouinard and Tom Frost. Photo: Tom Frost Collection]

    Continue reading "Beyond and Back: 180° South/Yvon Chouinard" »

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