The Cleanest Line

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    Fear and Self-Loathing in Punta Allen

    By Mike Thompson

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    “Push the button.”

    “No, you push the button.”

    “What the hell, push it Ellen!”

    She did.

    I knew I was going to be profiled as a narcotraficante even though the contraband I was trying to sneak past the customs officer was anything but drugs. In fact, it was several thousand dollars worth of fishing goodies to be given away at the Palometa Club, a fly fishing destination in Punta Allen, Mexico.

    The lodge, named for the permit fish, was playing host to a fundraising tournament to benefit Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, as well as the community school. Somehow—it is now lost to memory—I agreed to act as a mule to carry the merchandise for my friend and client, David. Since the weight of the Patagonia fishing shirts, polarized sun glasses, rods and fly boxes more than exceeded the allowed weight limit, I conscripted my friend and neighbor, Ellen, to haul some of the stuff for me. She naively agreed.

    [Above: Dark skies and rain shells, a sign of things to come. Photo: Matt Jones]

    Continue reading "Fear and Self-Loathing in Punta Allen" »

    Tear Down ‘Deadbeat’ Dams – NY Times op-ed calls on President Obama to restore America’s rivers

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    A note from Patagonia CEO, Rose Marcario:

    In the past month and a half, I’ve been watching DamNation really take off. It’s really not surprising—as a result of this amazing film, people are discovering dam removal is an issue they care about and they’re taking real action to push for change. We've seen it gaining momentum in recent weeks—great audience reception, positive press coverage, more than 23,500 petition signatures—and last week, the publication of an op-ed by Yvon Chouinard in The New York Times.

    Check out Yvon’s piece below if you haven’t read it already.

    In order to continue this great run, we need your help as messengers for DamNation and the critical argument it makes for the health of our rivers. In order for it truly to make an impact, we need to make sure President Obama sees that his constituents care about removing deadbeat dams—and they want him to act.

    [Above: A painted crack and message on Glines Canyon Dam foreshadowed its removal over two decades later. Elwha River, Olympic National Park, Washington in a scene from DamNation. Photo: Mikal Jakubal]

    Continue reading "Tear Down ‘Deadbeat’ Dams – NY Times op-ed calls on President Obama to restore America’s rivers" »

    Solutions Series, Part 4: Solutions in Business

    By Annie Leonard

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    "There is no business to be done on a dead planet." 
    –David Brower

    Back in in the day, an activist colleague of mine liked to wisecrack that whenever corporations talked about environmental solutions everyone could live with, what they meant were "solutions" only a politically acceptable number of people would die from.

    That is so 1980s! Sure, some businesses haven't changed; they're still trashing the planet, wreaking havoc on the climate and endangering our health with toxic chemicals. But those tired old assumptions that pollution is the inevitable price of progress, or that we have to choose between good jobs and a healthy environment, are increasingly outdated.

    Continue reading "Solutions Series, Part 4: Solutions in Business" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: The World By Bike

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    Committed. It’s a word we use to describe people we know, our friends, even ourselves. Committed to a sport. A ski line. An ethic. A lifestyle. It can be relatively easy to commit to those daily or short-term goals. But carving out time to achieve a bigger dream, something that may take weeks or months, even years, it can feel really hard to take that first step – to even know what that first step is. And sometimes, the very goal we set for ourselves can define the duration of our commitment. Twelve years ago, Pablo Garcia left Argentina to pedal around the world. And he’s still pedaling.

    Listen to "The World By Bike" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, featured music and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, RSS, SoundCloud and Stitcher, 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]

    Building Patagonia National Park: A decade-long partnership with Patagonia, Inc.

    By Colin Pile & Alison Kelman

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    Here in the northeast spring is finally here. Flowers are blossoming, the birds are back, and we can finally peel off our winter layers and soak up a little sun. Still, even a month after we’ve returned, a part of us is still in Patagonia. In February and March of this year, Alison and I spent three weeks volunteering with Conservacion Patagonica. We both work for Patagonia, Inc., an outdoor clothing company with a commitment to responsible business and creating solutions to the environment crisis. Though we’d never met in person before our trip, our work connection made us feel like old friends once we joined the rest of our volunteer group in the park.

    Patagonia, the company, took its name from Patagonia, the place, born from the desire to make clothing and gear suitable for such wild terrain. Patagonia’s partnership with Conservacion Patagonica allowed us the opportunity to take that trip-of-a-lifetime. Each year, a select few employees have the chance to take some time away from their work and volunteer with a non-profit environmental organization (up to two months!), secure in the knowledge they have a job to return to after it’s all done.

    [Above: The soon-to-be Patagonia National Park. Photo: Colin Pile]

    Continue reading "Building Patagonia National Park: A decade-long partnership with Patagonia, Inc." »

    Live Stream: 2014 Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge at Mt. Bachelor

    Surf meets snow this Saturday at Mt. Bachelor with the 4th Annual Big Wave Challange. This one-of-a-kind contest – the brainchild of host Gerry Lopez – features a series of huge sweeping banked corners, quarter pipes and spines shaped into wave-like features for a flowing course that brings the surf to the mountain. And you can watch it all right here.

    Live stream: Saturday, April 25, 2014, ~9:30am PT until it ends

    Let Gerry tell you more about the event in the video above and then hit the jump to watch the live stream.

    Continue reading "Live Stream: 2014 Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge at Mt. Bachelor" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: The Treewok

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    The average American spends a third of their income on housing. Almost as much as the next two greatest expenses — food and transportation — combined. So, theoretically, if you just stopped paying for housing, you could earn a living working three days a week. Or two thirds of the year.

    Today, we bring you a story about the pursuit of snow, world domination and cheap rent. It’s imperfect. It comes with inconveniences. Trade-offs. But, at the end of the day, what would you rather trade in? Convenience? Or time spent chasing down dry rock or fluffy snow?

    Listen to "The Treewok" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, featured music and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunesRSSSoundCloud and Stitcheror connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and TwitterThe Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. 

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]

    Imagine

    By Gavin McClurg, photos by Jody MacDonald

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    Sailing around the world isn’t new. Historians recently learned that Chinese merchant ships in the latter 15th century, which were grander, faster, and better equipped than Spanish and Portuguese fleets (Magellan, Columbus, Gama, etc.), used trading routes that vary today only because of the Suez and Panama Canals. These canals eliminate the need to navigate the treacherous Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, respectively.

    Today, we call these routes the “milk run.” When you start at X and sail to Y, there is a very sensible time of year to do it and a very sensible course to take advantage of winds and currents. This is true for all vessels of every size and type. To get away from the milk run takes a lot more effort, skill, patience, fortitude and, yes, imagination – which is, of course, why it’s worth it. It may be true that the oceans of the world have been mapped, but that doesn’t mean they have been properly explored.

    [Above: Finding a barrel at the bottom of the world.]

    Continue reading "Imagine" »

    DamNation: America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2014, Updated Tour Schedule & Recent Awards

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    It’s been a month since DamNation made its world premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas. First and foremost, we would like to thank all of the people who’ve come out to see our film. Your support is greatly appreciated. Moving forward, we have a bunch of news and some important action alerts to share, so let's get to it.

    America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2014

    When, as a young man, DamNation co-producer Matt Stoecker witnessed migrating steelhead jump at, and bounce off, Stanford University’s Searsville Dam on San Francisquito Creek, he recognized the destructive power a single dam can have on an entire watershed and beyond. Matt is now a fish biologist, who has since spearheaded the removal of more than a dozen such barriers to migration and is actively involved in efforts to dismantle several others. When he and Patagonia founder/owner Yvon Chouinard, a long-time “dam buster” who for years has supported groups working to tear down dams, decided to capture such efforts and their healing effects on film, and share them with the world, they teamed up with Felt Soul Media’s Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, and DamNation was born.

    Today, American Rivers announced their annual list of America's 10 Most Endangered Rivers and we’re happy to see San Francisquito Creek and Searsville Dam coming in at number five. San Francisquito Creek is the only nominee with a problem dam to be recognized by American Rivers this year. Making the list of most endangered rivers certainly isn’t a cause for celebration, but it’s a big deal in the river community and should bring national and local attention to the efforts that are underway to remove Searsville Dam.

    [Above: Searsville Dam on San Francisquito Creek, California. Stanford releases no flows downstream for fish and wildlife and the stagnant creek dries out and becomes lethal to the threatened steelhead that are blocked at the base of the concrete wall. Photo: Matt Stoecker]

    Continue reading "DamNation: America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2014, Updated Tour Schedule & Recent Awards" »

    Climbing in Iceland with Loki the Deceiver

    By Kitty Calhoun

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    Iceland is a land of extremes – stark beauty within a harsh, unforgiving landscape and an equally daunting climate. Volcanoes are still erupting, earthquakes are nearly constant, yet the geothermal water provides Iceland with most of its energy needs and natural hot springs ease the cold of winter. Eleven percent of the country is covered with glaciers. Sighting of the aurora borealis is common. The coast is dotted with steep cliffs, overhung by glaciers and blasted by wind off the ocean. Yet over 300 species of birds nest in these cliffs, eider ducks (think eiderdown) float in the ocean and the fishery is Iceland’s largest source of income.

    In such a stark and dramatic landscape, it is easy to imagine events being controlled by the Norse gods. In fact, on our quest for virgin ice climbs, we too felt their power – one in particular: Loki the trickster, deceiver, god of chaos.

    [Above: Sunrise over the fjord. Photo: Kitty Calhoun]

    Continue reading "Climbing in Iceland with Loki the Deceiver" »

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