The Cleanest Line

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    Green: The Old Red

    Words and photos by Michael Kew

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    “EXPECT ANOTHER ROUND OF STORM-FORCE WINDS, WITH HURRICANE-FORCE GUSTS POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY IN THE VICINITY OF CAPE BLANCO. THIS WILL BE A VERY STRONG STORM. MARITIME AND COASTAL INTERESTS SHOULD TAKE ALL PRECAUTIONS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE LIFE AND PROPERTY.”

    By dawn, the damage was done—downed trees, flooding, thousands without power. The swell was huge and ripped apart by 70 mph gusts.

    A surf day? No.

    None of those for a while.

    Late that afternoon I sat on the couch and read “The Super Trees,” a feature in the October 2009 issue of National Geographic. It detailed Mike Fay’s and Lindsey Holm’s Redwood Transect, a yearlong, 1,800-mile, south-to-north hike through California’s coast redwood forests. Flanking their route, they’d found the world’s southernmost grove at Villa Creek in Big Sur; near the article’s end, one line struck me: “On the last day of their transect, as they hunted for the northernmost redwood near Oregon’s Chetco River….”

    Wait—I lived on the banks of the Chetco. And coast redwood is Oregon’s rarest type of forest.

    Continue reading "Green: The Old Red" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: The Threshold Moment

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    When Kevin Fedarko stepped through the door of the O.A.R.S. boathouse in Flagstaff, Arizona, he didn’t realize he had crossed a figurative threshold as well as a literal one. Kevin had planned on rafting the Grand Canyon for a wilderness medicine course. Then, he planned to go back to his life as a successful freelance writer. But what he saw in that warehouse and in that first week on the Colorado River left him desperate to find a way to keep coming back. Kevin spent the next smelly, humiliating, beautiful and life-altering decade of his life developing a relationship with the Grand Canyon, writing about the Grand Canyon, and, ultimately, fighting to protect it.

    To learn more about the current threats to the Grand Canyon and how you can help, visit Save the Confluence and Grand Canyon Trust.

    Brendan Leonard wrote and narrated this episode. You can find more of his work at Semi-Rad.com.

     


    Listen to "The Threshold Moment" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, music credits and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and DoggCatcher, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter. The Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. Graphic by Walker Cahall.

    Have a great weekend everybody.

    Deep Time in Nevada – A proposal for a Basin and Range National Monument

    By Ron Hunter, Patagonia Environmental Activism Manager

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    In John McPhee’s book, Basin and Range, he talks about time, deep time, in the sense that it is a silent world of austere beauty, of hundreds of discrete high mountain ranges that are green with junipers and often white with snow. The terrain becomes the setting for a lyrical evocation of the science of geology, with important digressions into the plate-tectonics revolution and the history of the geologic time scale. McPhee goes on to say, “If you free yourself from the conventional reaction to a quantity like a million years, you free yourself a bit from the boundaries of human time. And then, in a way you do.”

    I’ve explored the Great Basin for the last 20 years and like nothing better than to poke around the remote places in Nevada, exploring both the natural and historic wonders of the state. When you want to get away from everyone on a holiday weekend, you don’t go into the Sierra Nevada, you wander around in the Great Basin, and more times than not, the only things you share the country with are a few cattle, mule deer, jackrabbits, and howling coyotes. McPhee had it right, there’s a timelessness to the place, somewhere that you can let your hair down and if you’re lucky, soak in a hot springs while counting shooting stars.

    Above: Beholding volcanic chaos in Basin and Range, Nevada. Photo: Tyler Roemer

    Continue reading "Deep Time in Nevada – A proposal for a Basin and Range National Monument" »

    Save the Chuitna – Watch the trailer and join the fight against coal mining on salmon streams

    By Paul Moinester

    There is something intensely visceral and awe-inspiring about the Chuitna Watershed. Deep pools teeming with wild Pacific salmon pervade the vast landscape. Oversized tracks from grizzlies and moose are omnipresent, creating an eerie feeling as you navigate through fields of fireweed. And the spirit of the native Tyonek people, who have called this land home for millennia, resonates with every flight of an eagle and leap of a salmon.

    For the media team privileged to visit this remote Alaskan paradise, the harsh reality that we were experiencing a wilderness slated for destruction proved incomprehensible. Even still, it seems unfathomable that the river we waded could soon be bulldozed to make way for one of the United States’ largest open-pit coal mines and Alaska’s largest coal export terminal.

    Above: Chuitna - More Than Salmon On The Line (Trailer). Video: Trip Jennings and Save the Chuitna.

    Continue reading "Save the Chuitna – Watch the trailer and join the fight against coal mining on salmon streams" »

    In the Land of the Misty Giants – Patagonia Vancouver celebrates grand opening with ‘zine and party

    By Danielle Egge

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    Until recently, our beautiful northern neighbor has gone underserved by the company. Though we’ve fought countless environmental battles in Canada and funded projects such as Groundswell, our brand brick-and-mortar presence has been minimal at best. Gallantly, Patagonia Toronto has held down the fort for us amidst all of the tuques and the, “ehs?”

    This is why we are beside ourselves with stoke to announce that Patagonia now has a second store in Canada! The store is located in Vancouver, British Columbia and sits on the corner of West 4th and Maple, in the heart of Kitsilano, a cozy, walkable neighborhood that’s bustling with folks drinking good coffee and riding cool bikes. While the store can’t boast Cardiff’s ocean views, it is just up the hill from Vancouver’s most popular local beach.

    Continue reading "In the Land of the Misty Giants – Patagonia Vancouver celebrates grand opening with ‘zine and party" »

    Xboundary – Defending Alaska & British Columbia salmon rivers from open-pit mining

    By Ryan Peterson & Travis Rummel 

    An open-pit mining boom is underway in northern British Columbia, Canada. The massive size and location of the mines—at the headwaters of major salmon rivers that flow across the border into Alaska—has Alaskans concerned over pollution risks posed to their multi-billion dollar fishing and tourism industries. These concerns were heightened with the August 4, 2014 catastrophic tailings dam failure at nearby Mount Polley Mine in B.C.’s Fraser River watershed.

    Last summer, as part of production for Xboundary, we completed a 100-mile transect of the Unuk River watershed. What follows is an excerpt and action alert from an interview we did with Trout Unlimited Alaska after the trip, who, along with Patagonia, sponsored our project.

    Video: Xboundary a salmon film by Ryan Peterson.

    Continue reading "Xboundary – Defending Alaska & British Columbia salmon rivers from open-pit mining" »

    President Obama Calls for Wilderness Protection of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    By Ron Hunter, Patagonia Environmental Activism Manager

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    The Obama administration has finalized a sweeping new management plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska that proposes designating millions of acres as Wilderness and off-limits to most oil and gas development. President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell unveiled the Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), recommending a Wilderness designation for the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain. 

    This is big news.

    This CCP recommendation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) recognizes the value of the Arctic Refuge as a wilderness-quality ecosystem that supports a full range of arctic and marine animals and habitats. The coastal plain of the Refuge provides critical habitat for migratory birds, polar bears, wolves, muskoxen, and caribou and for thousands of years has provided sustenance and sustained the lives and culture of the Gwich’in and Inupiat people.

    Above: Rainbow on the Brooks Range, Marsh Fork of the Canning River. Western boundary of the "1002" area of the Arctic National Wildlife Area. All photos: Ron Hunter

    Continue reading "President Obama Calls for Wilderness Protection of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" »

    Protecting Bristol Bay: Smart Money

    By Dylan Tomine

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    President Obama’s recent protection of Bristol Bay from oil and gas exploration may feel like a victory for fish and the environment, but I think it’s really about time and money. Which in this case, is just as good. Here’s why:

    Oil and gas reserves, as we know, are limited by however much is already in the ground and our ability to extract it. Sure, advancing extraction technologies (fracking, etc) can extend the life of a deposit, but unless we’re waiting for more dinosaurs to die, nobody’s making any new oil or gas.

    Salmon, on the other hand, if properly managed, are perhaps the ultimate renewable resource. By all accounts, the Bristol Bay salmon industry is one of the best managed fisheries in the world, producing a sustainable $2 billion annual fish economy.

    Above: Nushagak River, draining into Bristol Bay, Alaska. Photo: AlaskaTrekker (CC)

    Continue reading "Protecting Bristol Bay: Smart Money" »

    Shipping Out for the Environment

    By Gavin Back

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    This summer, the Patagonia Shipping Department in Reno, Nevada helped two local environmental non-profits. We were able to work for the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund and the Sugar Pine Foundation. This was made possible by the environmental internship program Patagonia offers to every employee.

    Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund (HVWHPF) is a group based on the southern edge of Reno. Their mission is “to protect and preserve the wild horses that settle in the foothills surrounding Hidden Valley.” Work includes rescuing and protecting horses that have been captured and are for sale at auction, often to slaughterhouses, and helping to feed these iconic wild animals of the West during the winter months. The wild horses that roam the West play an important role, grazing vast expanses of the desert which, in turn, can help control the proliferation of devastating wild fires.

    Above: Chris shows off his fine Sugar Pine planting skills. All photos courtesy of the Patagonia Shipping Department. 

    Continue reading "Shipping Out for the Environment" »

    Mile for Mile, Part 1 – Arrival at the new Patagonia Park [Updated]

    By Luke Nelson

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    The wind gusts, blowing spray from the water lapping on the banks of Lago General Carrera. Here I stand, eyes closed, feeling the cool mist on my sunburnt cheeks. When I open my eyes it’s still there, it feels like a dream, but it’s not—Patagonia spreads out all around me. I’ve long dreamt of seeing this place and now it’s blowing my mind. After imagining over and over what it would be like, how it would smell, how it would feel, it is far more than I had imagined it would be. The previous 39 hours have been a blur of driving, airports, flying, airports, loading gear, and more driving. But now it’s quiet, except the sound of the wind blowing across the lake.

    A little over four years ago, I finished a very challenging run through the heart of the Frank Church Wilderness area along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Ty Draney and I teamed up with Save Our Salmon to use a ridiculously long run to draw attention to that organization’s work to restore historic salmon runs. Despite our over-confidence and under-planning the run was a success—many people learned of the work being done through the story of our 154-mile journey.

    Above: Patagonia ambassadors Luke Nelson, Jeff Browning and Krissy Moehl get ready to hit the trails in the park for the first time. Patagonia Park, Aysén Region, Chile. Photo: James Q Martin

    Continue reading "Mile for Mile, Part 1 – Arrival at the new Patagonia Park [Updated]" »

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