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    « July 2011 | Main | September 2011 »

    A Watershed Moment for Wild Salmon

    SOS banner

    Here at Patagonia, we have two or three holy grails of conservation. One is the permanent protection of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wild Refuge and another the restoration of the legendary salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake River Basin.


    Salmon swimming We have advocated for over 10 years that the best way to achieve this second goal is by removing the four lower Snake River dams and allowing the salmon and steelhead a fighting chance to finish their upstream journey of many miles (as long as 900) home to spawn. Removing these dams would be the largest river restoration in our nation’s history and would be an inspiration for the rest of the country to take the initiative to build a healthy future not just for salmon and rivers in the Northwest, but for other endangered wildlife and waterways across the U.S.

    With the recent federal court ruling on the latest Obama administration's salmon plan, we asked Steven Hawley, journalist, author (Recovering a Lost River), salmon expert and self- proclaimed river rat for his take on the federal court decision. Here’s Steven, with a fish story that’s about a lot more than fish:

    [Salmon moving upstream, from this earlier post about the pending salmon decision. Photo: © University of Washington, Thomas Quinn]

    Continue reading "A Watershed Moment for Wild Salmon" »

    The In-Between

    by Zoe Hart

    Thanks to Patagonia Climbing Ambassador Zoe Hart for today's post. A recent trip from her new home (Chamonix) to her old one (New Jersey) triggered some thoughts on the directions life's paths take us. Her story originally appeared on the Dutch mountain travel site Bergwijzer. -Ed

    I woke this morning to my husband, Max, lamenting the snow that was falling outside our window. I’m legally blind without my glasses, but even without them, I could see fuzzy white saucers of snow falling in our back yard. Falling, no actually accumulating on the hedges! It’s supposed to be June, spring, birds, our garden growing, limestone climbing in the sun, sunny granite cracks up high. 

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    Spring is SUPPOSED to bring rain for the neatly lined rows of tomatoes, lettuces, carrots that our eighty year-old neighbors meticulously plant, and care for, with the aid of a ski pole for balance. Spring is supposed to bring rain to nourish the little mountain flowers that grow besides the trails.  Flowers that will capture my eye for a moment on an approach to a big route, allowing me to forget the objectives that we are heading for and the nervous excited feeling of that twists in my belly.  Spring supposed to feed the wild berries that sprout in the bushes on the approach to limestone crags.  A sweet explosion of strawberries and raspberries plucked from the branches as we saunter to a crag.

    What I’m realizing though, is that there’s no supposed to in nature, and that there are a lot of in-betweens in our lives.

    [Topping out on a mixed route on Pointe Farrar, a day out in my backyard. Photo: Maxime Turgeon]

    Continue reading "The In-Between" »

    Joy Trip Podcast: Shelton Johnson Speaks to the Conservation Alliance about "Diversity and Wilderness"

    Shelton-Johnson2James Mills, host of The Joy Trip Project, brings us a very special podcast today from the recently held, biannual meeting of the Conservation Alliance, of which Patagonia is a founding member. Here's James:

    For those of us who spend a great deal of time outdoors it’s hard to believe that there are many of those who don’t. Especially when it comes to our national parks there is an entire segment of the United States population, natural born citizens who seldom if ever visit. This is particularly true among people of color. African-Americans, Hispanics and other ethnic minorities spend far less time in nature than their white counterparts. And in a shifting demographic where minorities will soon become the majority there’s rising concern throughout the conservation movement that one day in the not so distant future most U.S. citizens will have no personal relationship with or affinity for the natural world.

    This concern is expressed most eloquently by National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson. The only permanent African-American ranger at Yosemite National Park, his mission is to share with audiences, black and white, lessons of stewardship that illustrate the bond with nature that is every U.S. citizen’s birth rite. An interpretive ranger that tells the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, African-American cavalrymen who projected Yosemite at the turn of last century, Johnson puts into context the importance of wilderness not merely as a point of national pride but an intrinsic value of what it means to be human.

    At the biannual meeting of the Conservation Alliance at the 2011 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City Utah, Shelton Johnson was the keynote speaker. Best known for his prominent role in the Ken Burns documentary “The National Parks, America’s Best Idea,” he was also instrumental in bringing Yosemite Valley to the attention of leading black talk show host Oprah Winfrey. In a nationally televised visit to the park in 2010 Winfrey used her media clout to invite millions of minorities across the country to explore the great outdoors.

    In this unabridged audio recording Johnson is welcomed to the podium by Conservation Alliance executive director John Sterling. For 40 minutes Ranger Johnson inspired a rapt crowd with a message to encourage all people, regardless of race, to embrace the wonders of nature and to claim their inheritance of our national treasures.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Shelton Johnson - Diversity and Wilderness"
    (39:40 - right-click to download MP3. Music: Hot Buttered Rum)

    Our thanks go out to James Mills for recording this talk and sharing it with The Cleanest Line. You can keep up with James at The Joy Trip Project website, Facebook page, iTunes channel and Twitter feed.

    For more from Shelton Johnson, pick up his book Gloryland.

    [Update 8/16: edited title]

    Juan Pablo Orrego Explains Why HidroAysen Threatens The Heart of Chilean Patagonia

    In our coverage of the Chile dam fight, we’ve heard from many Americans who’ve visited Patagonia but we’ve yet to hear from someone who lives there. That changes today with this post from Juan Pablo Orrego, the president of Santiago-based NGO, Ecosistemas, and a leading international voice in the Patagonia Sin Repressas (Patagonia Without Dams) campaign.

    CharlaJuanPabloOrrego_PatagoniaElGolf_26JUL2011_RodrigoFariasM©Photo-11

    [Juan Pablo Orrego at Patagonia El Golf. Photo: Rodrigo Farias]

    The construction of five big hydro-power plants in the region of Aysen, considered the heart of Chilean Patagonia, has raised the national awareness of its negative impacts to levels never seen before. The complexity of the problem is evidenced in the many fronts that the debate opens, as well as in the variety of players that have joined efforts – from Patagonia to Santiago, Argentina, Bolivia, USA, Canada, Italy and Spain – to oppose this project that belongs to Enel (Italy), Endesa (Spain-Chile) and Colbún (Chile).

    The three main issues this project involves are the local impact, the national energy policy, and the “energivorous” development model (highly inefficient in the use of energy, and predator of natural resources) installed in Chile during the past decades.

    Continue reading "Juan Pablo Orrego Explains Why HidroAysen Threatens The Heart of Chilean Patagonia" »

    Travel Riding

    The Patagonia crew extends a hearty welcome to Josh Dirksen. Josh joins fellow snowboarders Ryland Bell, Forrest Shearer and Taro Tamai in our ambassador lineup. Josh is widely known as one of the great understated riders in the sport. With over 20 years snowboarding and a pro career spanning over a decade, Josh is one of the few athletes in the circuit who's been riding professionally longer than he can remember. We caught up with Josh recently in Europe, where he spends part of the year, the other parts being spent in the search for snow and surf. He can still be found in his long-time home base of Bend, Oregon a few months out of the year.


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    [Josh Dirksen, enjoying home-sweet-tent - his living quarters during 3 weeks of filming for Deeper in Alaska. All photos courtesy Josh Dirksen collection.]

    TCL:  You have a home in Oregon, a wife in Switzerland and travel all over the world each year. Do you have a favorite place to come back to?

    Josh: These days it does not really matter which place I head back to. It is more important who is around when I get there. I always look forward to seeing my wife, family, and friends wherever they are at.

    Continue reading "Travel Riding" »

    I Know You

    by Kelly Cordes

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    A breeze floats mountain air across my face and triggers of flood of chemicals to my brain. I feel something. Something familiar. I’ve been here before, at different times and in different places. Deep blue water ripples along the lake shore; stout green shrubs stand firm and stubborn against the alpine elements; orange-streaked granite encapsulates my world in the cirque. I stop on boulders beside Sky Pond, my planned turnaround for my hike-slash-gimpy-run workout, and gaze at the Petit Grepon. I feel myself there, climbing, and another flood of feelings courses through me. Though I don’t have my rock shoes with me, I wish that I did but know it’s probably best that I don’t as I scurry up the talus cone to the base and scramble around the rocks, just to touch them, to feel, to transport myself for a few precious moments.

    Familiarity. I know you. I think of the forms it can take, how it feels like love in all of its ethereal and mysterious ways.

    [Spires rising in the Sky Pond cirque, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "I Know You" »

    Patagonia Supports Tim DeChristopher

    TimDeC

    “The epic fight to ward off global warming and transform the energy system that is at the core of our planet’s economy takes many forms: huge global days of action, giant international conferences, small gestures in the homes of countless people. But there are a few signal moments, and one came up when the federal government put Tim DeChristopher on trial in Salt Lake City.”Bill McKibben

    In December 2008, at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction in Salt Lake City, Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old economics student at the University of Utah, 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. He was convicted of the charges in March this year. In late July, he was sentenced to two years in federal prison and a $10,000 fine.

    Two years in prison is a very long time and is, we believe, unnecessarily harsh. Patagonia has supported DeChristopher since he made his bold move. We are contributing to his appeal and will be visiting him in prison.

    Continue reading "Patagonia Supports Tim DeChristopher" »

    Solitaire: Official Movie Trailer and World Premiere

    Nick Waggoner and the crew at Sweetgrass Productions have been hard at work on the release of their third move, Solitaire. Cleanest Line readers have been joining them on their journey to produce their most ambitious film to date by checking in around the 21st of each month. Sweetgrass has been sharing the footage from the story as it unfolds through their series "On the Road With Solitaire." Regular watchers may have noticed a good deal of time has passed since Episode Four, "Low Tide" aired back in May. The wait was worth it. Today, we're pleased to share the official trailer from the upcoming movie. Oh yeah . . . and the beta on the world premiere, not much more than a month away. Enjoy.  - Ed

    SOLITAIRE: A Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding, and Telemark Film from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.

    WORLD PREMIERE SEPTEMBER 15th, 2011
    Denver, CO at the Gothic Theatre 7pm

    Patagonia and Dynafit present...

    Solitaire_redux04 (2) SOLITAIRE - A Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding, and Telemark Film from Sweetgrass Productions

    In the high desert of South America, winter takes hold, devouring bleached bones and abandoned shacks. Into these most inhospitable of lands, a handful of drifters emerge from the whiteout, ready to cast their lot on forsaken peaks both merciless and magnificent.

    Venturing beyond the frontiers of most mountain films, Solitaire is born in the spires of Argentina’s legendary Las Lenas, where a lonely two-year journey begins through an abandoned world, wandering the length of a continent from Peru’s Cordillera Blanca to Chilean Patagonia. Lost in the winds of snowbound badlands and the blizzards of primordial forests; seen from a horse’s saddle and a paraglider’s wings; ridden on ski and board and telemark... Solitaire fuses western-inspired tales of backcountry gambles into landscapes never before visited on film.


    Continue reading "Solitaire: Official Movie Trailer and World Premiere" »

    The “Great Outdoors Giveaway” Is Not a Gear Sale – Take Action to Protect American Public Lands

    Hikers_drylk Perhaps you’ve seen the phrase “Great Outdoors Giveaway” in the news or your inbox recently. Hopefully, you didn’t interpret it as an opportunity to get free outdoor gear.

    The Great Outdoors Giveaway is, according to former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, “the most radical, overreaching attempt to dismantle the architecture of our public land laws that has been proposed in my lifetime” and it’s unfolding with the same complexity and lack of vision that characterized the debate over the debt ceiling in D.C.

    Editor’s note: Today we’ll hear from Stacy Corless, Executive Director of Friends of the Inyo, and Nancy Hall, Executive Director of Friends of Gold Butte, about a complicated political issue that is threatening to further deplete America’s vanishing wilderness. Read on and then take action after the jump.

    [Hikers walk in the Bodie Hills region of California, an area that could be opened up to gold mining in the Great outdoors Giveaway. Photo: John Dittli, with permission]

    Continue reading "The “Great Outdoors Giveaway” Is Not a Gear Sale – Take Action to Protect American Public Lands" »

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