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    Media Review (and marg recipe): Eastern Rises

    Eastern_rises_felt_soul_3

    Last night I saw the best outdoor film I’ve seen in awhile. It’s about fly fishing. Huh? I’ve never fly fished and, honestly, I never really “got it.” I know there must be something there, though, because even if it makes as much sense to me as drinking margaritas in Russia, people love it, obsess over it like I do with climbing, and friends do with skiing and surfing. Tons of people at Patagonia go nuts for it. Cool. But still, I didn’t really understand the allure. Until last night. [Photo: Felt Soul Media]

    The 39-minute film is called Eastern Rises, and it showed at the opening night of Adventure Film Festival, the festival created by my friend Jonny Copp that's continuing onward in his memory. In short, Eastern Rises follows a few fly fishing obsessed guys who go to the ultra-remote Kamchatka Peninsula in Eastern Russia to fish (of course), traveling by ancient Russian helicopters, enduring Vodka culture, Sasquatch, Grizzlies, monster fish and encountering a variety of characters at every turn – and these guys fully fit-in, being quite far from the cardboard cutout types themselves. According to the film info, the Kamchatka’s coastline has “the most abundant and biologically diverse population of wild rainbow trout, salmon and steelhead that has ever existed on Earth.” Once they arrived, wow. You don’t have to care about fish to fall in love with the landscape, though I imagine it must be like the fishing version of an undiscovered and unbelievably pristine mountain range made for climbing.

    It takes more than pretty pictures, though, to make a great film.

    Continue reading "Media Review (and marg recipe): Eastern Rises" »

    Conservation Photographers Focus on Canada's Sacred Headwaters

    _MG_3587Nacimiento-de-dos-rios We first learned about the work of the International League of Conservation Photographers through their compelling work on behalf of threatened regions in Patagonia. This summer, they've been lending their honed expertise and incomparable imagery to the fight for some of Western Canada's most treasured landscapes. We're pleased to share this story, from National Geographic Explorer and award-winning author, photographer and researcher, Wade Davis, on behalf of Canada's Sacred Headwaters region.

    * * *

    In a rugged knot of mountains, in the remote reaches of northern British Columbia, lies a stunningly beautiful valley known to the first nations as the Sacred Headwaters. There, on the southern edge of the Spatsizi Wilderness – the Serengeti of Canada – are born in remarkably close proximity three of Canada’s most important salmon rivers: the Stikine, Skeena and Nass.

    [A calm lake in the Sacred Headwaters. Photo: Claudio Contreras, courtesy of iLCP]

    Continue reading "Conservation Photographers Focus on Canada's Sacred Headwaters" »

    Talk About Your Dream Expedition, Win a NOLS Trip

    Dream_Postcard_5 Let’s put this in the simplest possible terms: If you can pick up a video camera and press "record," you have a chance to win a kick-ass trip.

    It really is almost too easy: all you have to do is submit a short video describing your dream expedition. If you’re at a computer, chances are good you’re sitting in front of a video camera right now. Click the “record” button and spill the beans. Tell the world where you dream of going and click “submit.” Make it good, and you can plan on packing your bags . . .

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    So where do you dream of going? A climbing trip to the Karakoram? A carbon-neutral quest for surf along the Baja coast? Perhaps you've got some pow to shred on the shoulders of Kamchatka's temptingly remote volcanoes. Regardless of where you dream your dreams will take you, a NOLS course is the best first step to getting there. That's why the National Outdoor Leadership School, the leader in wilderness and leadership education, is offering their classic Wind River Wilderness course as the top prize for the best Dream Expedition Video.

    Spending a solid month hiking, bagging peaks and catching trout in some of America's most beautiful mountains not your thing? No sweat. The grand-prize value can be applied to any NOLS course you're eligible for - it could be sailing and sea kayaking in the Gulf of California, mountaineering in the Waddington Range, exploring Amazonian rainforests, or losing (and finding) yourself on a three-month expedition to Patagonia. It's up to you. Oh . . . did we mention money for domestic travel expenses is included, as well as all the Patagonia gear you need to stay comfy on your trip?*

    So don't dally: Check out the full contest details, get yourself a camera and give the NOLS folks a taste of your inner Scorsese.

    *visit the NOLS contest page (www.nols.edu/contest) for complete rules and award guidelines.

    Will Obama Dam Salmon to Extinction?

    SalmonIn the midst of rightful concern over the plight of the Gulf, consuming conversations about the latest Supreme Court nominee, and the daily soap opera that has become our economy it's easy to become overwhelmed. Information fatigue is real; each of us can only care so much, and only has so much attention to spare after the job, the family and daily chores are taken care of. It's precisely why we feel the need to bring you this news from our friends at Save Our Wild Salmon. They're in the midst of a campaign that could determine the fate of the Endangered Species Act. At a time when so much attention is immediate and aimed at putting out fires today, lending a hand to a group that's looking out - and fighting for - a precious piece of our future can provide a much-needed tonic of hope.

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    “What is at stake here goes far beyond the issue of salmon recovery. To me, it raises the question of whether we have the courage and the will to reconcile the growing contradiction between the world we say we want to leave our children and the one we are actually creating through the decisions we make today. And it calls into question our capacity to take explicit and intentional action to shape our own future rather than to simply react to circumstances, allowing by default our future to become a matter of chance. It’s time to fight for salmon. It’s time to fight for us. It’s time to fight for our future.”
    — John Kitzhaber, former governor of Oregon, currently running for a third term

    On the heels of the catastrophic oil spill that is crushing wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration is poised to make a decision this week that could change the fate of endangered species in this country.  On Thursday, May 20, the Administration will release a federal salmon plan that will do one of two things for endangered wildlife: protect the Endangered Species Act, or weaken it. A decision to weaken the ESA for the West’s iconic Columbia and Snake River salmon could send an ecological ripple across the country — affecting every endangered species in the nation.And the situation doesn’t look good.  Instead of charting its own path, the administration is working off an illegal Bush administration plan for endangered salmon.

    [Salmon moving upstream. Photo: © University of Washington, Thomas Quinn]

    Continue reading "Will Obama Dam Salmon to Extinction?" »

    The Tin Shed Gets Tuned Up for Spring

    Tin Shed S10 We’re sliding open the doors to the Shed and sweeping it clean this spring. Tune into the season with a fresh batch of stories from our friends and ambassadors out in the wild – in videos, audio and written word. And don’t worry, just like our favorite winter sweaters, we’ve found a place to stash all the cool-weather stories – you’ll find all of them in the Tin Shed archives by clicking "View All Stories" in the top right corner of the Shed.

    Here's a taste of what you'll find this spring:

    Border Country
    Jeremy Collins and Mikey Schaefer had been planning a new route on Yosemite Valley’s Middle Cathedral when they learned of the deaths of their good friends and fellow climbers, Jonny Copp and Micah Dash. Collins said, “They showed us to never give up, to go light, to go bold, and always live with passion.” He and Schaefer sent the route in their honor.

    Mongo Metal Pirates

    In Mongo Fly ’08, Mikey Wier takes us to remote Mongolian rivers in search of the massive taimen. Check out the trailer for Metalheadz, a new video from AEG Media on steelhead fishing in the Pacific Northwest. And see an excerpt from the ESPN series Pirates of the Flats featuring Yvon Chouinard and Bill Klyn pursuing bonefish in the Bahamas.

    Freedom to Roam and Awakening the Skeena

    Freedom to Roam portrays a long-term initiative dedicated to establishing migration wildways in the Americas and elsewhere for animals now threatened by global warming. In Awakening the Skeena, a young woman swims the length of a cold northern river to inspire communities in its watershed to come to its defense.

    Jeff Denholm: Ocean Calling

    A twist of fate changed Jeff Denholm’s life in the mid-90s, but his competitive drive hasn’t diminished. Watch as he trains for, and competes in, his first Moloka’I Challenge – the 32-mile race that’s considered paddleboarding’s unofficial world championship.

    The Simplest Solution

    After seeing a wiry Nepali porter carry a 100 lb load with the aid of a tumpline, Yvon Chouinard followed suit and strapped one over his head to relieve the strain of his heavy pack on his injured neck. Following that discovery, Yvon said, “I learned to try to find a simple solution first, rather than a techno-fix.”

    Patagonia Surfers in Indonesia

    Gerry Lopez, Wayne Lynch, Liz Clark, and Dan, Keith and Chris Malloy set out with Fletcher Chouinard on the Makimba to test his new boards in Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands off the coast of Sumatra.

    Northern Alps Traverse

    In August 2009, Maxime Turgeon set off on his bike and pedaled up the high mountain passes of the northern Alps in search of classic climbs to solo. After three weeks, six peaks, 770 miles of cycling, and over 42,000 feet of elevation gain, he dove into the Mediterranean Sea at the end of this human-powered journey.

    24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell

    Team of two take on the steep, gritty sandstone near Jasper, Arkansas, during a 24-hour climbing competition. Patagonia ambassadors Brittany Griffith and Kate Rutherford team up to show the boys some sass. The self-proclaimed alpinistos gordos, Colin Haley and Mikey Schaefer, used the marathon competition to jump-start their training.

    Drop by the Shed to feed your roots with classic tales, check out fresh footage from the cutting edge, and maybe find yourself a sweet deal on your next Patagonia purchase. Thanks for tuning in!

    Paddle Georgia Celebrates the South's Rivers

    Boats Georgia River Network is a long-time recipient of Patagonia's Environmental Grant support that has been working for years to ensure the health of their watersheds. Over the years, they've increased the number of people involved in the protection and management of Georgia's waters by improving awareness of the issues that threaten the state's waters, setting up a network of resource and information exchange, and most importantly, having fun. Paddle Georgia is the group's annual week-long, on-water festival. Here's more about the event from GRN's Watershed Support Coordinator, Jesslyn Shields:


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    “We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn't ever feel like talking loud, and it warn't often that we laughed—only a little kind of a low chuckle.”
                                                                               --Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
    The boats have spent all night under a Georgia State Highway bridge, resting cheek-to-jowl in the midsummer dew, supervised by an off-duty police officer. There are hundreds of them—kayaks and some canoes—patterning the banks of the Coosawattee River like a psychedelic parquet floor. At about 6:30 AM, a black Volkswagen pulls up and a bluff, sunburned redhead named April gets out, dismisses the cop and starts rummaging around in the trunk of her station wagon.

    Shortly, a school bus arrives, and people file out: surgeons, refrigerator salesmen, a shy German couple, inner city kids, cattle farmers, retired people with high-tech binoculars hanging from their necks, suburban families. They stumble and pick through the aggregate of candy-colored boats, and, finding their own craft, drag it down to the water. They lose their towel-camera-lunch-sunglasses, they shout questions over the heads of others that have to be repeated, they laugh giddily with a friend over a cup of coffee spilled down the front of a bathing suit, they find their towel-camera-lunch-sunglasses, they threaten their kids with the count of three to put on their PFDs and get in the canoe.

    In the meantime, another school bus arrives, and eventually another, and another. During all of thise, April is checking peoples’ names before they get into their boats, and one by one they slide into the water and disappear behind a bend in the river. Today, there will be 15 . . .
    [Canoes and kayaks await their riders at a Paddle Georgia launch site on the Etowah River in 2006. Photo: Joe Cook.]

    Continue reading "Paddle Georgia Celebrates the South's Rivers" »

    Freedom To Roam and Oceans As Wilderness: Eye On Aquaculture

    Salmon_farming-BC Today's post is by Patagonia Fly Fishing Ambassador, Topher Browne, who has dedicated his energies to the protection of salmon for two decades. Says Topher, "A species that requires not one but two entirely separate ecosystems would seem a dubious proposition. The transition from fresh water to salt water and back again . . . requires some fairly elaborate plumbing within the salmon or steelhead. This adaptation is unnecessary in species of fish that do not migrate to the sea. Activism on behalf of anadromous species is a real bang for the environmental buck. As salmon and steelhead lead a bipolar life, you can focus your efforts in both fresh and salt waters. If something is wrong at any stage of their life cycle, the fish will let you know." Today, Topher's letting us know a few things about Atlantic Salmon, and why it makes sense to choose wild:

    They lie glistening on beds of frozen crystals in the great food halls of North America and Europe. Bland and lifeless eyes regard busy shoppers as they push their carts in front of polished displays. Their silver-scaled bodies—plump yet strangely devoid of muscle—advertise the healthful benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and the singular bounty of the sea. Atlantic salmon, the king of fish and the food of kings, is on sale for three dollars a pound.

    Although reared in the ocean, these salmon live a life behind bars. They are raised in cages along the coasts of the United States, Canada, Chile, Scotland and Norway. They are genetically modified to accelerate their growth and liberally dosed with antibiotics and pesticides to mitigate the spread of rampant disease and parasites. They are fed a diet of ground-up fish containing chemical dyes to give their flesh a rosy hue. Some of their tribe escape through holes in their cages and enter rivers where they compete with wild salmon. It’s an old story—greed, disinformation, a willful disregard for the health of our most sensitive and bounteous ecosystems—and one that is unlikely to be told as the butcher hands you a carefully wrapped filet.

    [A British Columbia Salmon Farm, photo courtesy of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. ]

    Continue reading "Freedom To Roam and Oceans As Wilderness: Eye On Aquaculture" »

    What does the Future Hold for the Teton Watershed?

    Early Teton float Patagonia owners Yvon and Malinda Chouinard joined Friends of the Teton River this summer on a trip down a wild stretch of the Idaho waterway. Their trip commemorated a float the Chouinards had taken down the same stretch of river 35 years ago, before construction of the notorious Teton Dam. Unfortunately, the trip was not a celebratory one - Friends of the Teton River's Amy Verbeten explains:
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    Thirty-five years ago, biologist and early Wild and Scenic Rivers advocate Frank Craighead, his son Charlie, Patagonia founders Yvon and Malinda Chouinard, photographer Jeff Foote, and others, organized a multi-day paddling and fishing excursion in Teton Canyon. Photographs from their trip were some of the last taken before the canyon was inundated by the ill-fated Teton Dam.

    The original Teton Dam, authorized by Congress in 1964, was protested on the water and in the courts, but this had little effect on slowing construction. Geology and weather provided a far greater challenge. On the morning of June 5, 1976, as rapidly melting snow filled the reservoir for the first time, water began to gush from the porous rock abutting the sides of the dam. Within hours, the entire structure collapsed. Eleven people perished, entire towns were destroyed, 13,000 head of livestock were killed, and tens of thousands of acres of farmland were stripped of topsoil. Congressman Leo Ryan, chairman of the House subcommittee which held hearings on the disaster, described it as "one of the most colossal and dramatic failures in our national history."

    [Preparing to float the Teton River in protest of the original dam, Yvon Chouinard, Mary Hutz, Jana Craighead, Malinda Chouinard, and Ted Major, Jr. rig boats before winching them down the canyon wall in 1974. Although more accessible put-ins exist, the infamous “Bitch Creek slide,” and the whitewater below it, makes for the most adventurous trip down Teton Canyon. Photo by Frank Craighead.]

    Continue reading "What does the Future Hold for the Teton Watershed?" »

    2009 Adventure Film Festival - Nov. 12-14th - Get to Boulder Any Way You Can

    The Adventure Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado is an international forum for the best and most inspiring independent films of the year. The over 30 films featured in the Festival encompass all aspects of adventure from serious exploration and environmental heroism to gripping tales from the edge of the believable. With award-winning films from around the globe‚ adventure art and powerful speakers‚ the annual Adventure Film Festival in Boulder continues to inspire and awaken us all to the world we live in.

    All of us at Patagonia are very proud to once again be the title sponsor for the event that was started by our late friend Jonny Copp. This will be the first year without Jonny's loving presence at the festival but producer/director Mark Reiner and his amazing staff have busted their butts to bring you an incredible lineup of films and activities. Special events include a family and kids show with Patagonia ambassador Lynn Hill, artwork from climber Renan Ozturk and a filmmakers' workshop with the director of photography for The Cove.  

    Tickets are available now. Please visit http://www.adventurefilm.org for more information, the festival schedule and film trailers. If you can't make the trip to Boulder, please consider sharing news of this unique event with your friends and family on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you. Descriptions of the films and events after the jump...

    Continue reading "2009 Adventure Film Festival - Nov. 12-14th - Get to Boulder Any Way You Can " »

    Fresh Hatch - The Fly Fish Journal is Here

    TFFJ_11_Cover When the fishing’s hot, there’s not much that can stand between you and the water. But we all know fall weather can be a fickle thing; moreso, even, than those finicky browns that have been spurning everything you toss all season long. Colder temperatures, cloudy skies, and an icy driving rain can make it hard to get out after spending a short-sleeved summer dropping dries onto the clear skin of sun-dappled mountain pools. Gone is the warm, and in roll the clouds. . . . Days like this, it’s nice to have something to ease the transition and keep you fired up. Enter The Fly Fish Journal.

    The team at Funny Feelings LLC just cast the first issue out there. Their press release describes this beautiful collection best:

    In development for nearly two years, TFFJ is a coffee-table and collectible chronicle of fly fishing's icons, environments, and culture of adventure. With the industry's highest quality printing, paper (100% recycled) and photo resolution, limited advertising, and clean, classic design, The Flyfish Journal stands apart from the herd. With an emphasis on the landscapes, people, conservation, and less on “Five Dynamite

    Continue reading "Fresh Hatch - The Fly Fish Journal is Here" »

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