Protect the Arctic Refuge

PROTECT THE ARCTIC REFUGE

TAKE ACTION: IT’S A REFUGE NOT AN OIL FIELD

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

The fight to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is nothing new. Talks of opening the Refuge to oil and gas development have been ongoing since 1977. But a major shift in the discussion occurred in 2017 when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legally opened the Arctic Refuge to drilling. POW has been sending thousands of comments to our lawmakers––working to block forward momentum on oil and gas development in the Refuge––ever since.

And now we have a chance to turn this bill around. A bipartisan group of 100 House lawmakers recently introduced and passed a bill that repeals the section of the 2017 tax-cut law that opened the Refuge for drilling. Now a new bill is off to the Senate and we need help getting it across the finish line. This is a chance for the entire outdoor community to defend the Arctic Refuge and set an example for the rest of our public lands. The oil and gas industry doesn’t own our public lands.

WE DO.

How Did We Get Here:

In 2017, GOP lawmakers introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, sneaking in a small provision that mandated opening Area 1002 (a 1.5 million acre section of the Coastal Plain within the Arctic Refuge) to oil and gas development. It passed along party lines by an ultra-thin margin: 51-48.

Had it been presented as its own bill, it would have required at least 60 votes to move forward, making it unlikely to pass.

 


 

Why Are We Talking About This Now:

A little while ago, representatives Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) recently co-signed a bipartisan bill, along with support from 97 other representatives, that would repeal that section of the 2017 GOP tax-cut law that opened the refuge for drilling in the first place.

That bill, called the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, states that “oil and gas activities are not compatible with the protection of this national treasure.” And in September 2019, it PASSED. Now a new bill has been introduced to the Senate that we’re working to pass.

Will you write to your lawmakers?

 


Why is POW Getting Involved:

Opening the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas development would not only irreversibly destroy the largest national wildlife refuge in the country––and deeply impact the outdoor enthusiasts who seek adventure and solitude there––but would also add significantly to the climate crisis at a time in which it is imperative to curb our emissions and adopt clean energy.

“Drilling in the Arctic is a pristine example that we’re going down the wrong path…It’s not only about the fact that we’re potentially irreversibly decimating a fragile and unique public land but that we’re continuing to extract oil to support our lifestyle when we have other options to put our energy toward.” -Kit DesLauriers, Professional ski mountaineer and POW Alliance member

The IPCC says we have 12 years to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Opening the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas development would not only further us from this incredibly time-sensitive benchmark but set a precedent that removes public lands from the people and places them in the hands of private industry.

The Arctic Refuge is a place of adventure, solitude and consists of a wilderness that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. As outdoor enthusiasts, it’s important that we protect where we play.


“The oil industry argues technology is great so their impact is small. But in Prudhoe bay, just 100 miles away from the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, the environment has been devastated. The north slope experiences an average of 504 oil spills a year, totaling more than 1.9 million gallons of toxic substances between 1996 and 2004 (according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation). The air pollution is worse than in Washington D.C. They are constantly fined for ignoring environmental regulations. The list goes on. Even if you trusted the oil companies when they say it will be different in the Refuge it doesn’t solve the effects of extraction on climate change in a place where average temperatures have already exceeded three degrees. Ninety-five percent of the Arctic is already open to oil and gas. Can we keep just five percent off-limits? ” – Tommy Caldwell, POW Alliance member & professional climber


WHAT WE’RE DOING:

In May 2019, we headed to Washington D.C. for our Arctic Fly-In alongside partner organization The Alaska Wilderness League. We brought leaders from the outdoor community to talk with our lawmakers about the importance of voting yes on the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act.

In September 2019 our sister organization, the POW Action Fund headed back to D.C. to continue to urge lawmakers to protect our public lands, and the bill PASSED the House while the POW Action Fund team was on Capitol Hill.

Now the Senate has a chance to take the next step and pass Arctic Refuge Protection Act (Senate Bill 2462) to not only halt drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but also designate wilderness to keep drilling out for decades to come.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Take Your Kid for A Hike — Any Hike

A mom learns something new about her son on the short, crowded trail to the summit of Oahu’s Diamond Head.

I’ve been to Honolulu numerous times: as a kid with my parents (my Korean-born dad loved vacationing on Waikiki Beach, I think mostly for the readily available Asian food), for high school and college volleyball tournaments, and as an adult. But I’ve never hiked to the top of the iconic mountain that sits at the end of Waikiki, the one in all the postcards.

Of all the hikes on the island of Oahu—many through bamboo forests and to waterfalls—the .8-mile, mostly paved trail up Diamond Head has always seemed like an outing best left to sandal-wearing tourists.

But on a recent trip to Honolulu, I felt compelled to hike the mountain locals think is the true “mana” or, mother, of the island with my 10-year-old son, Sam. I also felt compelled to show him the pearls of Waikiki—like how you can get great sushi and fresh pineapple and shop for a shark tooth necklace in one convenience store.

I knew the short hike would be no problem, physically, for my soccer-playing, 10K-running son. But, he’s a kid, so I never really know whether I’m going to get enthusiasm or moodiness when I take him out.

Thanks to jet lag and the three-hour time difference from our home in Boulder, Colorado, we were up before dawn. And since it was a Saturday morning and I knew the popular hike would be crowded, we arrived at the trailhead when the park opened at 6 a.m. 

“That’s a vulture,” Sam said, pointing out the large bird overhead as we started walking. I’m not sure that it was, but I didn’t care. It was nice to be chatting about wildlife, breathing the humid morning air, and stretching our legs.

A light rain fell, and that felt great. We passed other hikers—a guy in a North Carolina T-shirt, a Japanese family, a large group of Korean tourists. Sam and I talked about how, since Hawaii sits in the middle of the Pacific between the mainland U.S. and Asia, at least half the tourists—and the majority of the locals—are of Asian descent. They look like my son’s grandpa, my dad. They look like me, a hapa haole (half-Asian, from the mainland). And they look like him, also hapa (of mixed Asian descent). I’ve always felt more connected to my own Asian heritage while in Hawaii, and hoped Sam would, too.

The gradually climbing trail became a steep staircase, then led us through a dark, damp tunnel. The manmade features on the mountain were built in 1908 as part of the Army’s coastal defense system, and the hike leads right through concrete bunkers, batteries, and searchlight and fire control stations.

Sam and I talked history as we climbed a steep spiral staircase before squeezing our bodies through a tight opening to follow the trail. “The opening is small to keep the people inside safe during a war,” I explained.

I followed him up the last few steps to the summit, and audibly exhaled at the sight of the sun rising over green fields and the blue Pacific to the east, painting the low clouds gold and pink. To the west bustled Honolulu, the slow-rolling waves of Waikiki Beach paralleling the high-rises.

The concrete observation tower at the top of the trail was already full of people. “Come on, Sam, let’s go up there and get a picture,” I said, and was surprised at the response.

“No, Mom, let’s go.”

Really? I thought. I asked him again, and he gave me some pre-teen attitude I’d not seen a whole lot of before. I’d definitely not seen it on the hike so far. I’d been walking with a pleasant 10-year-old boy, up until this point.

I pleaded with him to climb onto the platform and pose for a picture with me before attitude-laden Sam (who was this kid?) gave me a forceful, “Let’s GO!”

“Okay,” I acquiesced, and followed him down a different, more gradual route than we’d come up (the trail loops).

“You know,” I said, looking at his skinny back as we walked, “You can’t be punky to me like that. Can you tell me what’s going on? Was it the people?”

“No.”

“Then what?”

We sat down at an overlook and I pulled out leftover pineapple spears.

I had to coax it out of him, but he’s afraid of heights. I didn’t know this about him, but that’s why that he didn’t like climbing on top of the platform, on the top of the mountain.

I was struck by how it took this short, touristy hike (albeit, across the ocean) to find this out about my son, and was simultaneously grateful but ashamed that I hadn’t known before. I wondered what else I’d pushed him to do in the past that made him uncomfortable, and resigned myself to plan future outdoor family adventures accordingly. I’ve never been a fan of exposure myself, and I smiled to think that we were more alike than I had realized.

For the rest of the short hike, we marveled at how many people hike with selfie sticks and music playing out of their phones, and talked abou how we’d go to the farmer’s market to buy smoothies and picnic food for the beach. We talked about how his grandpa had done this hike many times and would be happy that Sam and I did it together. And, as I watched his little head bob up and down with every step, I realized that you don’t need a challenging backcountry adventure to transform your relationship with your kid—any hike will do.

Get more tips, trips, and stories about family outdoor adventures on BACKPACKER’s Families Gone Wild.

Drilling in National Parks?

Oil and gas development already is harming dozens of national park sites around the country. It could get much worse.

Just how many national park sites are affected by domestic oil and gas development? 12 have active oil and gas operations on privately owned lands inside their borders, and 30 more parks could follow. At least 68 coastal national parks could be harmed by an offshore drilling plan President Donald Trump’s administration submitted in the beginning of the year. Since the start of 2017, the Trump administration has proposed oil and gas leasing close to more than 18 national parks in the West. At least 14 proposed major pipelines are in the works across the country, and some of them could end up going through national park sites.

Oil and gas development in and around park lands can harm fragile ecosystems, fragment wildlife habitat, pollute air and water, interfere with viewsheds, degrade visitors’ experiences, and ultimately hurt the economies of local communities that rely on park tourism. Pipeline construction requires developers to permanently clear land, and pipes running through parks could explode or rupture, devastating the landscape and jeopardizing human health and safety.

map

 

Author: Mike Wirth

Source: https://www.npca.org/articles/1916-drilling-in-national-parks

BrandBuilders Podcast + ReelTrail

BrandBuilders Podcast with Ryan & Kirk Leaphart from ReelTrail

 

September 13, 2018  |  BrandBuilders  & Dunstan Group
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or weekend warrior, you’ve probably got a bunch of used gear in your garage that you hate to throw out. Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, and even Nextdoor are all options… but they all have their drawbacks, too.
Enter father and son consignment shop owners from Charleston who thought there had to be an easier way — so they designed ReelTrail, a buying and selling website and app that also gives back to environmental causes. Ryan and Kirk Leaphart joins us on the Brandbuilders Podcast with The Dunstan Group!

 

 

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 25:37 — 35.2MB)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | More
http://dunstangroup.blubrry.net/2018/09/13/ryan-and-kirk-leephart-reel-trail/

A Hiking Guide to Easter Island

 

Ask me which Pacific island has the most to offer hikers and I’ll probably answer Easter Island. Here on an island 11 km wide and 23 km long you’ll find nearly a thousand ancient Polynesian statues strewn along a powerfully beautiful coastline or littering the slopes of an extinct volcano.

The legends of Easter Island have been recounted many times. What’s less known is that the island’s assorted wonders are easily accessible on foot from the comfort of the only settlement, Hanga Roa. Before setting out see the sights, however, visit the excellent archaeological museum next to Ahu Tahai on the north side of town (the term “ahu” refers to an ancient stone platform). Aside from the exhibits, the museum has maps which can help you plan your trip.

The first morning after arrival, I suggest you climb Easter Island’s most spectacular volcano, Rano Kau, where Orongo, a major archaeological site, sits on the crater’s rim. But rather than marching straight up the main road to the crater, look for the unmarked shortcut trail off a driveway to the right just past the forestry station south of town. It takes under two hours to cover the six km from Hanga Roa to Orongo, but bring along a picnic lunch and make a day of it. (If climbing a 316-meter hill sounds daunting, you can take a taxi to the summit for around US$6 and easily walk back later in the day.) Once on top, you’ll find hiking down into the colourful crater presents no difficulty. It may also look easy to go right around the crater rim, but only do so if you’re a very experienced hiker and have a companion along as shear 250-meter cliffs drop into the sea from the ridge.

Another day, rise early and take a taxi to lovely Anakena Beach at the end of the paved road on the north side of the island (you should pay under US$10 for the 20 km). A few of the famous Easter Island statues have been restored at Anakena and you could go for a swim, although the main reason you’ve come is the chance to trek back to Hanga Roa around the road-free northwest corner of the island. You’ll pass numerous abandoned statues lying facedown where they fell, and the only living creatures you’re unlikely to encounter are the small brown hawks which will watch you intently from perches on nearby rocks. If you keep moving, you’ll arrive back in town in five or six hours (but take adequate food, water, and sunscreen). This is probably the finest coastal walk in the South Pacific.

Almost as good is the hike along the south coast, although you’re bound to run into other tourists here as a paved highway follows the shore. Begin early and catch a taxi to Rano Raraku, the stone quarry where all of the island’s statues were born. This is easily the island’s most spectacular sight with 397 statues in various stages of completion lying scattered around the crater. And each day large tour groups come to Rano Raraku to sightsee and have lunch. However, if you arrive before 9 am, you’ll have the site to yourself for a few hours. When you see the first tour buses headed your way, hike down to Ahu Tongariki on the coast, where 15 massive statues were reerected in 1994. From here, just start walking back toward Hanga Roa (20 km) along the south coast. You’ll pass many fallen statues and enjoy some superb scenery. Whenever you get tired, simply go up onto the highway and stick out your thumb and you’ll be back in town in a jiffy.

An outstanding 13-km walk begins at the museum and follows the west coast five km north to Ahu Tepeu. As elsewhere, keep your eyes pealed for banana trees growing out of the barren rocks as these often indicate caves you can explore. Inland from Ahu Tepeu is one of the island’s most photographed sites, Ahu Akivi, with seven statues restored in 1960. From here an interior farm road runs straight back to town (study the maps at the museum carefully, as you’ll go far out of your way if you choose the wrong road here).

A shorter hike takes you up Puna Pau, a smaller crater which provided stone for the red topknots that originally crowned the island’s statues. There’s a great view of Hanga Roa from the three crosses on an adjacent hill and you can easily do it all in half a day. A different walk takes you right around the 3,353-meter airport runway, which crosses the island just south of town. Near the east end of the runway is Ahu Vinapu with perfectly fitted monolithic stonework bearing an uncanny resemblance to similar constructions in Peru.

Easter Island’s moderate climate and scant vegetation make for easy cross country hiking, and you won’t find yourself blocked by fences and private property signs very often. You could also tour the island by mountain bike, available from several locations at US$10 a day. If you surf or scuba dive, there are many opportunities here. A minimum of five days are needed to see the main sights of Easter Island, and two weeks would be far better. The variety of things to see and do will surprise you, and you’ll be blessed with some unforgettable memories.

Women In The Outdoors: Female-Focused Programs For a Fuller Life

 

It’s 2018. The world has changed from the closed-minded appeal of businessmen and housewives to an open, joyful, and exhilarating world where everyone has the chance to get active and be rewarded with the fulfilling opportunities nature provides us. As part of the movement to empower and encourage women to get active and start participating in outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, multiple state programs have been founded to educate women on water fowling, fly fishing, big game hunting, and a variety of other activities.

These programs range from one-day outdoor classes to multi-day camping trips. Through these programs, women are becoming engaged in the outdoors and are learning key tactics like wilderness survival. It’s through these programs that many women are beginning to see how fulfilling an outdoor lifestyle can be. Since many women lack good role models to teach them about the outdoors, these programs are excellent for all ages. Younger girls can even find similar experiences through youth hunting courses and other outreach programs.

Local & National Programs

Almost every state now offers a program aimed at women to teach them how to survive in the wilderness, hunt, or fish. The programs include a variety of skills and the are quickly gaining in popularity. One of the fastest growing programs in the country is the Women In The Outdoors Program offered by the National Wild Turkey Foundation. Before implementing the program, NWTF also supported many smaller programs offered through various foundations. With the national program, they are able to reach that many more women.

The issues that used to plague smaller programs—like lack of media attention—are no more. Since popularity of this kind of program began growing a few years back, multiple programs have taken off at the local, state, and national level. For instance, one newly founded organization, Women Outdoors, works across the nation to promote friendship, adventure, and leadership through programs that organize hiking, kayaking, biking, and cross-country skiing events.

 

The purpose of these programs is to engage, inspire, and empower women to get active in the outdoors. Many towns and counties themselves have been inspired by the success of national organizations to create their own activities for women. In fact, there’s a good chance you can find a Women In The Outdoors program in your area to teach all sorts of outdoor skills.

What’s Covered?

Every program varies by interest, region, and the organization running it. Some wildlife refuges have sponsored water fowling and hunting clinics for women, while Fish & Game boards across the country have founded multiple fishing and hunting clinics that range from fowling to big game tracking. But, not all programs are devoted to fishing and hunting activities. Many, such as those provided by the Women Outdoors organization, are focused on athletic outings like biking and kayaking. Other programs are not so much focused on teaching the skill itself, but on teaching other skills—such as communication and leadership—through activities such as skiing and hiking. The latter type of program are taken at the community-level and give women an outlet to find friends and network with other women in their area.

How Can I Join One?

If you’re interested in joining a Women In The Outdoors program, there are many ways to see what’s available to you. Depending on the type of program you’re seeking, you can call up your local Fish & Game office directly to see what they have or check online to see if one of the many national organizations has a program in your region.

If there aren’t any programs being offered yet, don’t be discouraged. In fact, you could be the one to start. Even if you don’t have the know-how to lead the class, you can bring a chapter to your region by getting in touch with an organization who offers programs you’re interested in. Just reach out to them and let them know there are interested people in your area who want a program in your town. They can help you assemble a program and find the people you need to lead it.

You can also contact your Fish & Game office and see about having an Officer or Forest Ranger come speak with you and the other people who are interested in your area. If you can get even a short list of interested women who would like to see a local program, they might even be able to set one up for you.

Before You Go

If you’re planning on joining one of these programs, make sure to get the gear you need! At ReelTrail, you can score great deals on new and used hunting, hiking, fishing, climbing, and snow gear for everyone in your house. Some gear has never been worn while other pieces may already be broken in for you!

Browse ReelTrail for all your outdoor needs, from night vision goggles, to kayaks, snowboards and skis, to backpacking and climbing equipment.

Have a closet full of gear you don’t use? Sell it on ReelTrail for the lowest fees around. Only pay when your item sells, and print discounted shipping labels directly on our website and app! Download the app for free in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Plan a Trip, Get Outside, Enjoy Nature

Are you interested in taking an outdoors trip? Whether you want to your trip to be alone, with your friends, with your family, or even just with your romantic partner, you will need to find a place to visit, as well as activities to participate in. If you have yet to decide what you would like to do for your next trip, have you ever though about going camping and hiking? When alone, camping and hiking are both fun filled activities, but when combined, they are, literally, the perfect combination.

Although it is nice to know that hiking and camping are the perfect combination, you may be wondering exactly why that is. If you are, you will find that there are an unlimited number of reasons as to why hiking and camping are the perfect fit for each other and the perfect way to spend your next vacation. For reasons as to why you should give camping and hiking a try, you will want to continue reading on.

As previously stated, camping and hiking are things that just seem to fit together. This is apparent in a number of different ways. For instance, hiking trails are commonly found in areas or establishments that are referred to as hiking parks. Hiking parks, especially large popular ones, often have their own onsite campgrounds. You will also find that most public campground parks have at least one or two hiking trials on them. The fact that hiking and camping experts automatically pair hiking and camping together is a sign that camping and hiking really are the perfect combination.

Another reason why camping and hiking may be perfect for your next trip or vacation is because they are both designed for individuals of all ages. This is important, especially if you are looking for something to do with your family. Children of all ages, as well as adults, enjoy both camping and hiking. In fact, in the United States, you will find that hiking trials come in a number of different difficulty levels. For instance, it is more than possible to find hiking trails that are designed for beginners. These types of hiking trials would be ideal, in most cases, for young children or elderly individuals.

The cost of hiking and camping are another one of the many reasons why they make the perfect combination, as well as why they may be perfect for your next trip, vacation, or adventure. Hiking and camping are both affordable activities for you to participate in. In fact, if you decide to make a reservation at a public campground park, you will likely find that you are able to go hiking, on an onsite trail, free of charge. The same may even be said for if you visited a hiking park and decided to stay overnight. While many activities may end up being free for you, you will see that it all depends on the establishment in question.

If you are interested in combining hiking and camping to make the perfect adventure for you, your family, your friends, or you and your romantic partner, you may want to think about making your arrangements in advance. Hiking and camping are both popular activities in the United States. While you may not necessarily need to make reservations to go hiking, you may need to make them if you plan on camping overnight at a hiking park or in a public campground. In fact, the earlier that you make your reservations, the more choices you may have, as many establishments allow you to handpick your own camping spots.

As you can see, there are a number of different reasons as to why hiking and camping make the perfect combination, as well as why they would be great for your next vacation, trip, or adventure. Hiking and camping is something that you may at least want to think about discussing with your traveling party. Once it is mentioned, you may be surprised with just how many people would like to give this perfect combination a try.