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    « March 2013 | Main | May 2013 »

    DamNation – The Grand Dame of Dam Busting

    By Katie Klingsporn

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    Folk-singer, desert goddess, rabble-rouser and all-out spitfire Katie Lee has been raging against Glen Canyon Dam and its reservoir, Lake Powell, for more than 50 years.

    And she’s not slowing down.

    Lee, who is featured in DamNation, a documentary film produced by Patagonia and Stoecker Ecological in conjunction with Felt Soul Media, has penned protest songs and authored books about Glen Canyon, the dam and the Southwest over the years. Just now wrapping up her latest project, “Dandy Crossing,” she tells the story of the handful of people who once lived at Hite, a river crossing that was drowned by Lake Powell, and what happened to them after they were forced from their homes.

    Lee, who is in her 90s, also serves on the advisory board of the Glen Canyon Institute, an environmental group that advocates the draining of Lake Powell and the restoration of the Colorado River. She still performs and speaks for educational and non-profit organizations, as well.

    [Above: The one and only Katie Lee, outside her home in Jerome, Arizona after her interview for DamNation this fall. Photo: Ben Knight]

    Continue reading "DamNation – The Grand Dame of Dam Busting" »

    2013 5Point Film Festival Trailer



    Let's do this! From April 25 - 28, 2013 the 5Point Film Festival will take over your senses, transport you to another place and leave you inspired for adventure. Join us. Visit 5pointfilm.org for more information and tickets.

    [Video: 2013 5Point Film Festival Trailer from 5Point Film Festival.]

    Backseat of the Ford – An Excerpt from “Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods”

    By Christine Byl

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    Back in 2007, author Christine Byl sent a juicy little story entitled “Innard Mongolia” to our fledgling blog. Today, we welcome Christine back to The Cleanest Line with congratulations on the publishing of her first book,
    Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods by Beacon Press.

    The first half of
    Dirt Work is set in Montana's Glacier National Park. This excerpt, from the second chapter, finds the novice traildog out with a new crew in the Middle Fork district on Glacier's west side.

    One of my first days in the Middle Fork resembles my firsts nearly everywhere in Glacier: out of my element, eager to get in, following along quietly until the former state gives way to the latter. This particular day found my own crew leader sick and me shipped off for the day with Brook and his Middle Fork guys to get a jump-start on the heavy clearing in the Coal Creek burn. I knew Brook by reputation only. Thirty-something, wiry, hyper, and flat-out hilarious, Brook was at the center of some of the most outlandish pranks and stories in the trails canon. He was drawn to drama, calamity, and excess. Brook loved attention. If he was on a search and rescue, he’d end up on the local news, and you could see why. He told a monologue worthy of a one-man show, complete with pantomime and imitations. He teased until the butt of the joke was ready to throttle him, stopped just before he was resented. His crews worked hard, hiked hard, drank hard, laughed hard. I was eager to see him in action.

    [Above: Fording Riley Creek. Photo: Gabe Travis]

    Continue reading "Backseat of the Ford – An Excerpt from “Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods”" »

    Flow

    By Tony Butt

    Flow

    You are out surfing on your own. Someone else paddles out, comes up to you and says, “How long have you been out here?”

    You think as hard as you can. In the end you take a stab at it and tell him about an hour. But the truth is you really don’t know – on one hand it seems like a couple of minutes, but on the other hand it feels like you’ve been out there forever.

    If you really have been deep in concentration, your world will have been reduced right down to what you see and feel in your immediate surroundings. Nothing exists apart from you and the waves and maybe the wind or the odd seagull. All that stuff you were doing earlier this morning seems like something in the distant past, almost from another life. Your mother-in-law, the traffic, the bank manager and the shopping have simply ceased to be.

    Your surfing is effortless, almost as if the surfing itself is doing it for you. You feel like a passenger just along to enjoy the ride. You’ll be paddling back to the line-up after each wave without the slightest effort, feeling like you could go on catching waves forever. You are living in the moment, enjoying surfing for its own sake.

    [Tony, definitely not thinking about his mother-in-law or the bank manager. Photo: Jakue Andikoetxea]

    Continue reading "Flow" »

    In Salmondarity

    By Ray Friedlander

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    Put on the same level as Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, genetically engineered salmon, or “Frankenfish,” are creations designed by the biotechnology industry. The fish are devised to grow year round, which makes their appetites voracious and their dependency on feed fish unsustainably high. They are also designed to be ready for market in one and a half years, instead of the normal three years. If approved by the FDA, Frankenfish will be the first ever genetically engineered animal on the market, paving the way for other future genetically engineered animals in the United States.

    Why the opposition? For us who live in the nation’s largest National Forest, the Tongass rainforest, our economies and our identities are sustained through wild-as-can-be salmon. Wild Alaskan salmon generate over $986 million dollars and 11% of regional jobs in Southeast Alaska, making the accidental introduction of GMO salmon into our oceans a huge threat to these economies. This threat is not only limited to fishing economies, it continues to our health since the risks of eating genetically engineered salmon by humans, and marine animals dependent on salmon, are unknown.

    [Above: Over 150 residents of the small coastal Alaskan town of Sitka display their disagreement with the FDA’s ruling that genetically modified salmon “pose no risk to human health or the environment” at a community rally. Photo: Sitka Conservation Society]

    Continue reading "In Salmondarity " »

    Colorado River is Nation’s #1 Most Endangered River

    By Amy Souers Kober



    We are all connected by fresh water. Rivers run like arteries, crossing state and international borders, and sustaining our communities. In the west, one river links seven western states and Mexico. It’s a river that goes by different names – Red, Grand River Red, Rio Colorado, the Mighty Colorado.

    The Colorado River is truly a lifeline in the desert. Its waters provide habitat for a host of wildlife including four federally-listed endangered fish species. The river and tributaries support a $26 billion recreation economy, and a quarter million sustainable jobs. Millions flock to the river for fishing, boating, and hiking, or just to stand in awe atop the Grand Canyon to witness the breathtaking formations carved by water and time.

    [Above: Colorado River - America's Most Endangered River 2013. Video: Pete McBride for American Rivers]

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    A Million Comments Against Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

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    Tar sands oil in the Keystone XL pipeline will cross more than 1,000 bodies of water through three states threatening freshwater with a devastating oil spill. We want to get a million comments against Keystone XL to the State Department by April 22. The clock is ticking.

    Protect freshwater: add your name to the growing numbers of people who oppose this pipeline.

    Take action at 350.org

    Patagonia's current environmental campaign, Our Common Waters, spotlights the need to balance human water consumption with that of plants and animals. Learn more.

    [Vast open-pit bitumen mines require massive clear-cutting of the pristine boreal forest in the Alberta tar sands. Photo: John Woods / Greenpeace]

    The Usual x Patagonia

    By Patagonia Surf Europe

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    The Usual magazine teamed up with Patagonia’s NYC surf crew to put together this unique edition. Check it out.

    “On the following pages, we start on the Bowery, where our favorite company Patagonia will take over the old CBGB gallery to open their first East Coast surf store in early 2013. Just like CBGB’s nurtured New York’s alternative music culture, Patagonia’s shop will be a hub for surfers — the misfits of the global brand.”
    Hit the jump to read the full digital edition of the magazine.

    Continue reading "The Usual x Patagonia" »

    A Watershed Moment for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

    By Nate Ptacek



    Brushing past lily pads, my canoe cuts through the serene calm of a September evening. I glide silently under massive pines in the fading light, careful to avoid the weathered snags of black spruce jutting out from shore. The water is still warm, but there is a slight chill in the air – a reminder that the brief northern summer is waning. 

    Suddenly, the silence is broken by a loud buzz. With a few draw strokes, I reach the source – a large dragonfly is trapped on the water’s surface, blown into the lake during a passing storm just an hour before. Ripples echo out in a delicate pattern as she struggles to take flight. Instinctively, I reach into the water, taking care not to crush her wings as she trembles wildly in my grasp.

    [Video: Watershed from Nate Ptacek]

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    Two New Products I Want to Rave About – M10 Jacket & Knifeblade Pants

    By Colin Haley

    Here is a quick blog post that doesn't include any cool climbing stories or photos, and will only appeal to gear nerds, like myself. I want to take a minute to rave about two new Patagonia products, the updated M10 Jacket and the new Knifeblade Pants. No one at Patagonia has asked me to make this blog post, and in fact, as I type this out, I'm not sure if they'll even put it up on the Patagonia blog.

    My motivation is simple and selfish. Often the very best Patagonia alpine products are discontinued after only one year on the market because they don't sell well enough. This is why some pieces which are now a cherished staple, such as the R1 Hoody, were once discontinued. I used the new M10 Jacket and the Knifeblade Pants on almost every climb I made this past season in Patagonia and they are the best alpine shell jacket and pants I've ever used – which leads me to worry that they won't sell well and will therefore be discontinued. Ironic, yes! So, I simply want to explain why I like these two products so much, in the hope that I'll be able to keep ordering them for years!

    I know that people often view product testimonials with skepticism, and obviously for good reason. I can assure you that my endorsement of these two products is 100% honest, and that I wouldn't take part in a product testimonial of a product I didn't like, even if I were asked to do so. Even for a product that I do really like, like the new Encapsil Parka, I wouldn't yet write a product testimonial for it, simply because I haven't yet used it enough to be 100% sure of what I am writing.

    So, here goes...

    Continue reading "Two New Products I Want to Rave About – M10 Jacket & Knifeblade Pants" »

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