Winter 2006 Nevada Wilderness Project Newsletter


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Winter 2006 Nevada Wilderness Project Newsletter

  1. 1. Nevada Wilderness Project Winter 2006 Nevada’s Newest AdvocateThis month I’m happy to tell you about our effort to take our sci-ence-based advocacy to a new level. We’re thrilled to announce thehiring of Nancy Beecher of Henderson as our new ConservationDirector. We have always been proud of the sci- entific rationale and quality of our wil- derness proposals, and we believe that quality is crucial to our credibility and effectiveness as advocates. We’ve en- gaged members of the scientific com- munity—through UNR and UNLV, and the Desert Research Institute, among other places—to comment on, inform,and voice support for wilderness proposals that have, in successive Gold ButteCongresses since 2000, resulted in protection for almost 2 millionacres of legal wilderness. information; and 3) work to ensure that wilderness policyWhile 2 million acres represents a great step forward for protecting and partnerships enhance our ability to advocate for areasNevada’s wild heritage, we recognize that’s a small portion of the that have been through a legislative process, but remain un-6+ million acres we’ve inventoried since 1999. We recognize that the next decade or so, the Nevada Congressional delegation, act-ing in a bipartisan county-by-county approach, will be deciding the We will maintain our laser-like focus on inventorying publicfuture of Nevada’s public lands for the next 100 years. We also lands for wilderness qualities and doing the grassroots workrecognize that to meet the challenges posed by working in many necessary to get them protected. However, our ability toregions of this huge state, we’re going to have to do a better job of offer consistent advocacy and grassroots support for areasapplying limited re- like Gold Butte and the Pahranagat Range, will be vastlysources across the board. improved with Nancy’s presence and our new direction.Nancy’s background in Stay tuned for news of some “welcome” events for Nancy inConservation Biology Reno and Las Vegas for our members and the scientific com-(she has a PhD from Indi- munity. If you’d like to drop Nancy a line, her email isana University) and her energy will com- - John Wallin, Directorplement our existingwork in a number of ex-citing ways. In this Issue:Her primary role will bethree-fold: 1) continue Nevada’s Newest Advocate- pg. 1our statewide inventory Volunteer Spotlight - Bill Huggins - pg. 2of potential wilderness Business Highlight - Yoga Loka - pg. 2and develop proposalsbased on the best science; Wilderness Update - White Pine County - pg. 32) work with other Pro- Fieldwork Article - Bluemass / Kerns - pg. 4ject staff to build web- NWP Fundraising - pg. 5accessible databases of Gold Butteour fieldwork and related WILD Calendar - pg. 6
  2. 2. Nevada Wilderness Volunteer Spotlight: Bill Huggins Project 8550 White Fir Street Words to describe our volunteer this month are hard to come by. He is Reno, NV 89523 dedicated, tireless, unassuming, inquisitive, a self starter, sarcastic, lover of small dogs and more. Bill Huggins has lived in Las Vegas for 775.746.7850 the past 14 years working at some of the cities most decadent spots. Bill’s nocturnal hours leave plenty of daylight to roam about the Mojave Desert surrounding Las Vegas. As a child Bill grew up roam- 501 (c) (3) non-profit ing around the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Black hills of corporation South Dakota, and the red rock country in Southern Utah. “My father worked with nuclear weapons in the Air Force, so we always lived far away from large concentrations of people and so we always took to the public land that surrounded us,” NWP Board of Directors as a result a deep seeded love and commitment to America’s public lands was born and nurtured. Bill’s Bret Birdsong, President love and devotion to Nevada’s public lands and wilderness in particular are what make him so unique. Brian O’Donnell, Vice President He understands that public lands in Nevada need a voice and he is more than willing to lend his. Bill Kim Jardine, Secretary tables, writes letters, collects letters, gives slideshows, leads hikes and even travels to Washington when called upon to ensure that our most beautiful places get the protection they deserve. He also provides Chris Todd floor and couch space to weary travelers from out of town. Morlee Griswold Tori King He has been described as “crucial,” “indispensable,” and “automatic” by more than one organizer and his major roles in the passage of both the Clark County bill in 2002 and the Lincoln County bill in 2004 are undeniable. When asked what he plans to do next, plans about a trip up Boundary Peak and other high mountain tops are bounced around. Many of us in the Northern part of the state are trying to coax him up NWP Staff for his first visit to Reno, but he always replies with the same answer, “Ive lived in southern Nevada for John Wallin, Director 14 years, love it, am not going to leave unless Im forced to, and plan to be exploring the state for the restKristie Connolly, Associate Director of my natural life.” Kevin Mack, DC Representative Here’s to you Bill Huggins, a tireless volunteer and committed friend to us all! Nancy Beecher, Conservation Dir. Erika Pollard, Nat’l Outreach Dir.Mackenzie Banta, Development Dir.Cameron Johnson, N. Outreach Dir. Business Spotlight:Cynthia Scholl, Membership Coord. 6135 Lakeside Drive Reno, NV 89513 Coalition Partners www.yogalokareno.comCampaign for America’s Wilderness 775.337.2990 Friends of Nevada WildernessNevada Outdoor Recreation Assoc. In our line of work it is not uncommon to find oneself in some fairly difficult and sometimes even Red Rock Audubon Society uncomfortable positions. Flat tires on the way to meetings, trucks stuck in mud, angry locals yelling Sierra Club - Toiyabe Chapter in your face, a nervous or concerned volunteer. Regardless of the situation, it is important to remem- The Wilderness Society ber to keep breathing and always try to move forward in a way that addresses the immediate situation or concern while building a bridge or relationship for the future. In this way wilderness advocacy work is a lot like yoga. One has to be flexible, cool, calm, and collected in order to achieve success. NWP Nevada Wilderness Project proudly recognizes Kim Orenstein and her excellent crew of teachers at Mission Statement Yoga Loka in Reno for our Business Spotlight this quarter. Kim moved to Reno seeking a warmer and sunnier climate than her previous home in Fairbanks, Alaska. Yoga Loka is located at 6135 Lakeside Dr in Reno and has classes available for students ranging from 8 weeks to 85 years in ageThe Nevada Wilderness and ability. Kim is fond of saying that “yoga can be for everybody,” and she means it! They have Project is committed to been open for almost four years and welcome folks from beginners to the experienced yogi.saving spectacular, rug- Now you may be wondering how yoga and wilderness can be connected? According to Kim, one ofged-and imperiled-public the most important aspects of yoga is prana, also known as the life force, and there are a few select lands in Nevada as ways to absorb it. The food we eat, the sun above, the breath, and nature are the four main ways toWilderness, the strong- enhance one’s prana. Kim sees a direct correlation between designating wilderness and improvingest protection possible. everyone’s prana. This vital life force is the same feeling or experience one enjoys when he or she is gazing up at a sky full of stars or being witness to the glory of a sunrise over snow-covered peaks. We agree and are truly thankful for all of Yoga Loka’s support and kindness!Page 2 Winter 2006
  3. 3. Wilderness Update: White Pine County Political Update: The White Pine County Commission decided on January 28th to recommend approximately 520,000 acres from the Nevada Wil- derness Coalition’s Citizen Proposal. The original proposal found 730,000 acres in the county suitable for wilderness. This recommendation is the result of years of hard work both in the field and on the ground throughout the state and we at the Pro- ject are excited by such a favorable recommendation from the Commission. As the County’s recommendations make their way back to Washington, DC, we will continue to advocate for the Coalition’s entire proposal. Our efforts in White Pine County are far from being over and draft legislation has not even been brought before Congress yet. As legislation begins to take shape and enter the Congressional process, we will need your support Becky Peak to help get ensure that the wilderness areas get the protection they deserve. Stay tuned! Backcountry Adventure! Over the President’s Day Weekend 13 members and 6 dogs traveled to the Schell Creek Range of White Pine County in search of dry powder and big back- country ski lines. We were not disappointed. It snowed roughly two feet while we camped in Berry Creek Canyon and even though temperatures dipped well below zero during the night, we were able to ski for three solid days in complete solitude. New members who had never traveled east of Austin before were literally awe struck by the size and beauty of the Schell Creek Range. With peaks reaching well above 11,000ft, flowing creeks, Basque shepherd carvings with the Aspen stands, and the occasional bristlecone, there is plenty to Schell Creek Range marvel at. And who knew that areas besides the Ruby Mountains received upwards of 40 inches of snow a year? All the more reason to check our website for trips out East, so that you to can unlock the mysterious secrets of East- ern Nevada. Please check our website under “Wild Trips” for a complete story and full range of photos! Schell Creeks Schell CreeksPage 3 Winter 2006
  4. 4. Biking and Fieldwork in Blue Mass / Kern Mountains Proposed Wilderness Areas in White Pine County The Blue Mass/Kern Mountain Proposed Wilderness area encompasses 30,951 acres of the most remote and rugged country in White Pine County. Elevations ranging from 6,500ft to 9,500ft and unique grant spires topping out at 100ft make this place very worthy of wilderness designation. Currently, the White Pine County Commissioners have not recommended this area for wilderness designation. We still believe that Blue Mass should be wilderness and for this edition’s spotlight, we asked loyal member and intrepid fieldworker Mike Colpo to take us all on a brief tour through an area that he spent six weeks inventorying. Before Mike’s story begins, it should be stated that not only did he spend six weeks doing fieldwork for us, he did it all by bike. His reflections are genuine and are the obvious result of time well spent in the remotest wilds of our state. The article be- low offers a glimpse into this wild corner as well as a snap- shot of life as a fieldworker.Bike Mountain, Make WildernessBy: Mike Colpo“Wilderness,” by both popular and political definition, is a large physical space devoid of the artifacts of human interference—nooccupied permanent structures, no motors, no roads. The vast, dramatic landscapes of the American West inspired our modern un-derstanding of Wilderness, drawing hordes of pioneers westward intoxicated with the twin dreams of freedom and adventure. Theopportunity and enigma these open spaces offer continue to challenge our modern understanding. To be something eligible for pro-tection under the law, Wilderness must be a concrete thing, something that can be measured and documented. But in places such asthe wide open stretches of modern-day Eastern Nevada, this much is obvious: Wilderness is quite indifferent to the feeble boundarieswe place around it. It is limited only by imagination. It is a state of mind, a reality that can be entered with an odd mixture ofchoice, conviction, and surrender. And contrary to popular belief, you can go there on your bike.The Kern Mountains are an awfully long way from most people’s definition of “somewhere,” and not what most would consider thetop choice for a bike tour destination. The mountain range is tucked away inone of the most isolated corners of Nevada, a state that itself lays rightfulclaim to being out in the middle of nowhere. To reach the Kern Mountainsfrom my home in the relatively populated western part of the state is nosmall undertaking: First, drive East from Reno for six hours to Ely. Hit Ely,turn north, drive for another hour. Keep a sharp eye out—blink, and you’llmiss your last chance for gas. Keep driving. Look for a dirt road on yourright. Turn right. Drive east, three hours. Yes, three more hours. Oncethere, peel yourself from the sweat-soaked seat, emerge slowly from the car,and plunge headlong into the all-consuming silence of complete wilderness. Blue MassThe article is a tad bit longer than what we can print in our newsletter,so we added the whole article, plus extra photos to our website underthe “Mapping/Inventory Section - From the Field”Page 4 Winter 2006
  5. 5. NWP Fundraising Update from Mackenzie I am excited to share this unique opportunity with you, our dedi- cated members! Two generous donors have provided us with a $30,000 challenge grant. This means that if we can raise $30,000 by March 15, it will be matched for a total of $60,000!I am asking you to seize this opportunity to double your impact on our work throughoutNevada. An additional gift of $50, $100, $250 – or whatever you can afford – will bedoubled!! That means your additional $50 nets $100 for the Project; $100 nets $200; $250nets $500.Today I ask for your help. If you believe, as I do, that everyone should enjoy the wonderof wilderness, please dig deep into your heart and your pocket, and send an additional$50, $100, $250 or whatever you can afford. With your continued support, we cansoon leverage this generous challenge grant into yet another wilderness victory!- Mackenzie Banta, Development Director Ventura Event The Nevada Wilderness Project kicked off this matching campaign with a fundraising event down in Ventura, CA at the Patagonia headquarters. Patagoniacs helped help support our cause via their tum- mies! By donating, they received a pancake breakfast in the morning and started the weekend off early that afternoon with margaritas and smoothies. We raised over $6000 that day with the generos- ity of the Patagonia culture. Many thanks to the hard working volunteers and hungry staff! Your name in print! In effort to inject a little more humor into our daily lives, we’re starting a new section in this newsletter. Below you’ll find a photo, submit the winning caption and receive prize as well as your name and caption in print in the following newsletter. Please email submissions to Enjoy! If you have a funny picture or story from a wild place in Ne- vada, we’d love to hear or see it and possibly print it. Please Insert funny caption here! send those to Cameron using the email address above. Submis- sions may be factual or creative. Paper or Electric? That is the question. NWP would like to know if, You, our great wilderness mem- bers, would rather get the newsletter as a mailed paper newsletter, a html e- newsletter via your e-mail, or both. Please send us a note what you would like, es- pecially if you would like to be taken off the list for paper newsletters. E-mail info@wildnevada.orgPage 5 Winter 2006
  6. 6. NEVADA WILDERNESS CALENDAR WILDERNESS VALUES TRIPS & EVENTS Join NWP staff and volunteers on trips to potential wilderness areas! You can see beautiful places and help protect them at the same time by writing letters and plugging in to our ef- forts in a way that’s interesting and fun. All outings are weather permitting. Please log on to for more information. Northern Nevada Events - March 12th —Wilderness Value Trip to Bald Mountain Photo © Kristie Connolly Cross your fingers for snow! Join us for a day trip to beautiful Bald Mountain in Lyon Co. Bring your favorite pair of snowshoes, skis, toboggan, sled, etc...and come play in the Pine Please join us for our Grove Hills for a day. If interested please contact Cameron Johnson at cam-monthly volunteer night at *This trip is weather permitting and subject to change. Reno’s Great Basin Brewery ( March 19th —Wilderness Value Trip to Pershing County Wake up early and start the week off right by joining the Project for a fun day of hiking and potentially snowshoeing in one of our Citizen Proposal Areas in Pershing Co. Due to Ne- vadas ever changing weather, a destination will not be chosen for a few more weeks. If you have any questions please write to Cameron Johnson at Wilderness Coffee Talk in March— Please check our Events page on the website, this is a new event and details are still forthcoming. April 1st*—Wilderness Values Trip to Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary Please meet at the parking lot on the north end of Katmandu for a fun and challenging day Please check our Web hike up the world’s tallest mountain. This trip is rated as a moderate challenge and group Calendar for dates and size can be no more than 12 due to Nepalese permit restrictions. times. Cover Photo by Howard Booth HELP US PROTECT YOUR WILDERNESS It’s easy to help… Cut out this form and mail it to: NV Wilderness Project, 8550 White Fir St; Reno, NV 89523 Comments:Enclosed is my donation of: I would like to make a recurring donation: Monthly $25.00 Every 3 months $50.00 Annually $100.00 Please include check or money or- Name Phone Number $250.00 der payable to: Nevada Wilderness Project. Address $500.00 For secure credit card Other Amount: ____________ transactions, please visit Email address City State Zip Printed on recycled paper