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Richard West Sellars

Another interesting article from good ol’ High Country News, this time about Richard West Sellars, a former NPS employee whose 1997 book, Preserving Nature in the Natural Parks, showed the “gaps” in the National Park Service belief that it was a preservation agency. The book is widely credited for inspiring the Natural Resource Challenge, a 1999 initiative that made resource management and preservation the agency’s top priority. Read the article in full here.

MP3: Citay – Little Kingdom

February 6, 2012 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Obama And The Grand Canyon

Yesterday, the Obama administration enacted a 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims in northern Arizona. Opposition groups claim that it will cost jobs, but according to this article in The Guardian, the measure does not affect some 3,000 existing mining claims around the canyon.

In the final years of the George Bush presidency, when uranium prices were rising worldwide, mining companies filed thousands of new claims in northern Arizona, on lands near the Grand Canyon. Sadly, one creek in the park is known to be contaminated by uranium, and the government’s environmental impact review found high levels of arsenic from old uranium operations.

But of course, like anything in the realm of politics, the ban is undoubtedly dubious. If you want more information, head on over to Adventure Journal and read a great article by Michael Frank on the issue. And for further insight, read the speech that Teddy Roosevelt made at the Grand Canyon on May 6th, 1903.

January 10, 2012 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

National Trail System

On the wake of the record detailed in the post below, I’ve written a little history lesson on our National Trail Systems for the weekly rag over at Outside. Read it here.

MP3: Hogarth – Suzie’s Gettin’ Married

October 27, 2011 | From The Lean To, Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

National Forest Roads

Via Adventure Journal:

In one of the most important decisions for public lands in decades, a federal court ruled Friday that the Clinton administration 2001 national forest roadless rule is legal and should be implemented immediately. The state of Wyoming and others charged that the rule, which bans new roads, timber harvesting, and upgrading of existing roads in almost one-third of national forest lands, violated federal environmental regulations and created de facto wilderness, but the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals sweepingly rejected that in a unanimous decision.

For more on the story, click here, and don’t forget to check back towards the end of the week for the continuation of Cold Splinters’ Trail Mix featuring Steve Casimiro of Adventure Journal.

October 24, 2011 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

MONKEY WRENCHER: Tim DeChristopher

On February 28, Tim DeChristoper goes to trial in the state of Utah. One month prior to President Bush leaving office, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) intended to auction off thousands of acres of southern Utah wilderness to private oil and gas companies. Twenty seven year old student and environmental activist Tim DeChristoper threw a stick in the spokes, and that stick was a bidders paddle.

In their mad rush to sell the land before President Obama was sworn into office, the BLM failed to properly clear each bonded bidder, something that DeChristopher quickly understood when attending the auction. DeChristoper, intending only to protest and stir things up, realized his chance amidst the haphazard operation to stall the sale by buying as much land as possible. In the end, DeChristoper had bought over 22,000 acres of land surrounding Arches National Park, land that he never intended to pay for. The truth quickly surfaced that he bid falsely to save the land from sale, but his ploy worked. The BLM, now under the Obama administration, is still sorting out the sale.

Abbey’d be proud.

Check out this article for more info on DeChristopher, and his upcoming trial.

February 22, 2011 | Politics, Public Lands, The World Is On Fire! | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }


This is happening right now, West Virginia Mountaintop Removal.

“This is the second most bio-diverse area in the world, and unfortunately, we need what’s under these mountains, and we’ll do anything to get it.”

Get the full scoop over at VBS. Get informed!

February 3, 2011 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }


The Sierra Club is helping to lead a petition to establish the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as a National Monument. This year marks 50 years since President Eisenhower signed the papers to protect Alaska’s upper-most reaches and it’s wildlife. Established in the northeastern extremes of Alaska, the ANWR holds the largest variety of flora and fauna of any reserve north of the arctic circle. Growing concerns about oil drilling in this sensitive area of our nation and the building effects of climate change are the Sierra Club’s cry for establishing this area as a new National Monument, with more restrictions on such private interests. And for good reason. Pictured above are Sierra Club Conservationists Edgar and Peggy Wayburn, who in 1980 were instrumental in the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which expanded the Arctic Refuge and effectively doubled the size of the US National Park System.

December 2, 2010 | Politics, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

National Park Quarters

Starting next month, the United States Mint will issue the first of 56 quarter-dollar coins featuring designs depicting national parks and other national sites. The first coin to be released is Hot Springs National Park, which was set aside by Congress in 1832. Four other coins will be placed into circulation this year—Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon. (via Joel S.’s OhRanger! blog)

March 12, 2010 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

14 New National Monuments?

Obama’s administration is considering 14 potential national monuments in 9 states, according to a leaked Department Of The Interior document. And whenever there’s talk of turning a place into a federally protected national monument, there’s going to be debate. Some are happy with the idea of federal protection, thus helping to save these beautiful places for our kids, but with national monument status comes more regulation as to what types of activities are allowed in the area.

In addition, government officials in Utah are angry because they claim that no state or local officials were contacted about the proposal. Utah Governor Gary Herbert claims, “I will challenge federal officials to explain to me how they could possibly be in a better position to know what’s best for our rural lands than those of us here on the ground in this state.” Below are the areas being considered for national monument status.

San Rafael Swell, UT
Montana’s Northern Prairie, MT
Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve, NM
Berryessa Snow Mountains, CA
Heart of the Great Basin, NV
Otero Mesa, NM
Northwest Sonoran Desert, AZ
Owyhee Desert, OR/NV
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, CA (expansion)
Vermillion Basin, CO (pictured above)
Bodie Hills, CA
The Modoc Plateau, CA
Cedar Mesa region, UT
San Juan Islands, WA

More info at The Adventure Life.

February 22, 2010 | Politics, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Half Dome Permits

In an effort to be better regulate the number of hikers using the Half Dome cable system, Yosemite will begin requiring day-use permits when the cables are put back in May. Last year, Manoj Kumar, 40, of San Ramon, Calif., fell to his death from the cables, and the following weekend, a woman fell during a rainstorm and sustained serious injury.

The Half Dome day-use permits (they’re “free” with a 1.50 service charge) will only be required on weekends, including Fridays, as well as holidays. Four hundred will be issued per day, with 100 of those to be included in wilderness permits. Last summer, the daily visitor numbers on peak days were around 1,100.*

At least people are getting out of their cars…

MP3: Allen Toussaint – The Chokin’ Kind

February 2, 2010 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }