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    Tenkara with Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia [Updated with Video]

    By Jess McGlothlin, Fire Girl Photography

    DFC-8-Sep-1

    My watch battery died within ten minutes of setting foot on the plane about to whisk me out of Great Falls, Montana.

    I should have realized it for what it was: a sign things were about to change.

    I had left behind an increasingly weird existence on the Missouri River front and hopped a plane to Salt Lake and then on to Jackson Hole. The job was to cover a Patagonia women’s fly fishing press event held near Ashton, Idaho. For my part, I hopped on that plane feeling sick, stressed and generally pretty damn tired.

    Forty-eight hours later found me tenkara fishing and wading on an Idaho river with Yvon Chouinard, arguably the founding father of outdoor retail as we know it today, feeling better than I have all year. Yvon, or YC as the Patagonia team calls him, founded the company in 1972 as Chouinard Equipment. He’s an old-school gentleman; patient, soft-spoken, full of incredible knowledge and incredibly, undeniably quotable.

    Continue reading "Tenkara with Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia [Updated with Video]" »

    Tributaries – An International Fly Fishing Film of Contrast and Commonality

    By RC Cone

    IMG_8431

    Here I am in the middle of the hair-pulling, eye-bulging screen time that is post production. Another 14-hour day and I need fresh air. I go for long walks under the stars and think about the night skies of the Bahamas, Iceland and Patagonia.

    After my last film, Breathe, I really wanted to explore the wider implications of fly fishing. How does our sport fit into the world? What is this worldwide community like? What are the differences and similarities on a global scale? Instead of a personal journey, I wanted to explore the world’s waters and the cultures that inhabit them.

    I thought about the places and fish that enticed me – and booked flights. I put 90% of my belongings in storage, cancelled my cell phone service and disconnected the battery from my truck, consumed goodbye beers.

    [Above: Prescott Smith chases bonefish on the flats of Mastic point, Andros Island, The Bahamas. All photos courtesy of RC Cone]

    Continue reading "Tributaries – An International Fly Fishing Film of Contrast and Commonality" »

    Chuitna Mine – Pebble is Not the Only Mine Endangering Salmon

    By Paul Moinester

    Chuitna-1

    Peering out the window of the plane, I took a deep breath and tried to soak it all in. The sun was glistening on the expansive mudflats, casting a bright glow over the pristine landscape. To the west, the Alaska Range was commandeering the sky, its snowcapped peaks piercing the clouds. Everywhere the eye could see, serpentine rivers were snaking through the flats on their journey to the Cook Inlet. And though too small to be seen from the sky, the rivers were teeming with salmon, beckoning me to immerse myself in these pure waters and pursue that heart-stopping tug.

    It’s hard to fathom a place so raw, so barren, and so untouched. But it’s even harder to acknowledge the disturbing reality that this landscape is endangered and could soon become an industrial wasteland if the proposed Chuitna coal strip mine is given a green light.

    [Above: View from the plane of the pristine Chuitna watershed. All photos by Paul Moinester]

    Continue reading "Chuitna Mine – Pebble is Not the Only Mine Endangering Salmon" »

    Help Protect Bristol Bay – Watch Sea-Swallow’d and Take Action Today

    By Ryan Peterson



    As with any creative endeavor, the process of building is fraught with self-doubt. But when I showed a draft of my film, sea-swallow’d to my friend Teplin Cahall 5 months ago, I got a boost. You see, Tep can't talk. He was born that way. Because of this and some associated developmental issues, he sees the world a little differently than do the rest of us.

    One gauges Tep’s thoughts and feelings on a matter by the glints of ecstasy or tears of rage that accumulate in his eyes, and the alternately soothing or garish noises that his vocal chords are able to emit. His emotions are pure, raw, unfiltered by the complications of the wide world. He’s like an animal - innocent, instinctual, knowing only truth. In this way, if you can decipher his notes and read his analyses, Tep is the best critic a friend could ever have. To date, according to his dad, Fitz, Tep has watched sea-swallow’d several hundred times. I take this as approval.

    Continue reading "Help Protect Bristol Bay – Watch Sea-Swallow’d and Take Action Today" »

    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]

    Continue reading "A Watershed Moment for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness" »

    Cooking Up a Conservation Victory in Canada’s Sacred Headwaters

    By Shannon McPhail

    We Did It!

    It's not often that a small, rural region of communities declares victory against one of the largest corporations on the planet, so when it happens - WE NEED TO CELEBRATE!

    Editor's note: I remember hearing Shannon speak back in 2010 when she, Ali Howard and a group of kayaking filmmakers visited Patagonia HQ to screen Awakening the Skeena. Shannon was passionate, funny and full of fight. We've published a number of posts on this issue – from protests to photos to film – so it's with great joy that we share this wonderful news today.

    The problem? Royal Dutch Shell wanted to drill 1,500-10,000 coal bed methane gas wells in the Sacred Headwaters, where three of Canada's greatest wild salmon and steelhead rivers, the Skeena, Stikine and Nass are born.

    These rivers are among the last surviving intact, kick-ass, grizzly bear chasing 30-pound salmon over waterfalls kind of rivers. Native and white families harvesting enough food for the winter kind of rivers. Dip your head in and drink the water without tablets or filters because it’s so clean kind of rivers. Not a single dam anywhere kind of rivers.

    Continue reading "Cooking Up a Conservation Victory in Canada’s Sacred Headwaters" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Magic of Serendipity – The Year of Big Ideas 2013

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    Dbd_YOBI_2012You might remember a story about climbers in the Magic Kingdom. It sounded like a dream job- climbing, secret lairs and cutting to the front of the roller coaster line. Our inbox flooded with emails about how to apply. But the program was canceled in 2005. Until last year. In an audition room filled with sponsored climbers and underground crushers, Susanica Tam felt her resume paled in comparison. Could climbing a mini-Matterhorn change Susanica's outlook on climbing?

    Today, we present our annual Year of Big Ideas. We went out into our community and listened to what you want to do in 2013. Here's to saying yes to new opportunities, stretching ourselves, and embracing a little spontaneity.


    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "The Magic of Serendipity"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)


    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to download the music from "The Year of Big Ideas 2013" or to hear past episodes of the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]


    DamNation – A River Reestablishes Itself

    By Katie Klingsporn

    Creek

    In September of 2011, machines began chipping away at the Elwha Dam in Washington’s lush Olympic Peninsula, kicking off the largest dam-removal project in United States history.

    The dam has since been completely removed from the section of the Elwha River it had occupied since 1913. Another dam upstream, the Glines Canyon Dam, located in Olympic National Park, is partially dismantled and expected to be a thing of the past by early next summer, freeing the river for the first time in 100 years.

    [Above: The 210 foot Glines Canyon Dam in Olympic National Park has illegally blocked spawning habitat for an extraordinary chinook salmon run since 1927. Photo by Ben Knight/DamNation]

    Continue reading "DamNation – A River Reestablishes Itself" »

    Read an Excerpt from "Closer to the Ground" by Dylan Tomine – Now Available in Hardcover and eBook

    by Dylan Tomine

    Closer_coverBefore reading the excerpt, see what Patagonia's founder, Yvon Chouinard, has to say about
    Closer to the Ground.

    A note from the publisher: Why I love this book

    Dylan Tomine’s Closer to the Ground is a lot more than your usual tribute to local food or to a local sense of place, or how to manipulate your kids into doing what you want them to do. Closer is a good-humored guide to teaching our kids how to learn from nature as teacher and mentor. Chief among nature’s lessons is self-reliance. You can see in Dylan’s kids, the more time they spend foraging and fishing with their dad, just how different their relation is to the food they eat, and how they develop a confidence anyone of any age could envy.

    Patagonia Books is discriminating. Every one of our titles has to be written with strength and clarity, and deliver a message that fits our reason for being—to publish work that supports the conservation and restoration of the natural world (that in turn underpins and sustains human life).

    Closer to the Ground is my favorite so far.

    —Yvon Chouinard

     

    From the Introduction

    During our first years of living together in Seattle, Stacy and I were dedicated urbanites, working, eating, sleeping downtown and taking full advantage of everything the city had to offer. But gradually, we found ourselves shifting to a strange, part-time rural existence, motivated by our quest for wild foods we could only find out in the country. The life of a city-based dilettante hunter-gatherer, though, is not easy. Try parking a drift boat in a crowded underground garage or finding a place to dump crab guts in a high-rise apartment. Step into an elevator stinking of tidal mud and lugging a bucket of geoducks and your neighbors press against the back wall with fear in their eyes.

    Continue reading "Read an Excerpt from "Closer to the Ground" by Dylan Tomine – Now Available in Hardcover and eBook" »

    America: the DamNation

    by Katie Klingsporn

    Davis_t_0822_2

    Despite their imposing numbers and size, most people never give dams a second thought.

    Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard is not one of those people.

    When he sees dams, he sees broken waterways, an antiquated way of thinking and a means of generating energy that is far from green. He also sees the potential to mend the damage by taking down dams.

    “I’m a fisherman, and I want to see fish come back to these rivers,” Chouinard said. “I want to establish that when you put in a dam or when you dig an open-pit mine or scrape down a mountain, that you have to restore it. There’s a public trust there and you have to restore it.”

    [Above: Executive Producer of DamNation and Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, has long been an advocate of dam busting and protecting free flowing rivers. Photo: Tim Davis.]

    Continue reading "America: the DamNation" »

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