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Tag Archives: BLM

Big Burns Vs. Forest Thinning

Do public forestlands in the West need to burn in order to be "saved"? Or should they be thinned, toppled, or set off limits to overt human manipulation? The growing recognition of wildfire's importance to ecosystems and the view of some that society should reap an economic and/or commodity return from timber products on public lands are issues at the heart of this latest column from, ecologist, writer and activist George Wuerthner.

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Teton Climbing Ranger Reflects On Mt. Hood and Winter Mountaineering

The tragic end for three climbers on Oregon's Mt. Hood has caused many serious alpine veterans in the Rockies, where winter mountaineering is a popular, cherished sport, to reflect on the risks of climbing, the need for proper seasonal preparedness, and the ever-present wild card of avalanche danger. This week, New West caught up with Renny Jackson, who oversees the world-renowned team of elite climbing rangers in Grand Teton National Park. Over the years, Jackson has organized or been a part of several high-profile search and rescue efforts in the Tetons. The unique corps of public servants has, on several occasions, been awarded special recognition from the federal government for putting their own lives in danger to aid others.

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Hook and Bullet: A New Old Movement Is Rising Again

The founders of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership refuse to accept the premise that wildlife habitat protection is radical. With the clout it is rapidly mobilizing in Washington and across the country, TRCP as much as any other network of groups is bringing common sense, in the old Theodore Roosevelt way, back to thinking about the importance of sustainable healthy ecosystems. Americans, says TRCP chairman Jim Range, are tired of division, name calling and fragmentation. For him, the power of this new old movement will be defined by what outdoorspeople are in favor of, not what they are against. Is the age of "smart advocacy" about to really dawn for the 40 million Americans who hunt and fish?

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Can Lightweight Backpacking Save Hiking As We Know It?

As the face of America broadens in color, becomes more urbanized, and establishes new bases of political power, what will be the fate of public lands whose strongest stewards and user base have traditionally been middle class and white? Who will be the constituents for wilderness a generation in the future? One barometer for thinking about the issue in the West is to consider the trendline in backpacking. Declining numbers have attracted attention not only from public land managers but bean counters in the multi-billion-dollar outdoor gear industry. An emerging but still nascent force is the lightweight and ultralight backpacking movement. Once the domain of tech-heads and minimalists, lightweight has given birth to a growing product line and appeal among older hikers who gave up long-distance backcountry trips because of the loads and the hassles of restocking in route. New West gives readers a look at lightweight as the summer season approaches.

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The Value of the Wyoming Range

Not far from the Upper Green River Basin where full-field natural gas development is rapidly sweeping across the Jonah Field and Pinedale Anticline, the U.S. Forest Service is about to start selling leases for more gas development in the Wyoming Mountain Range. Critics say the Forest Service has never answered the questions of whether energy development there is suitable and what the cumulative effects might be on wildlife, air quality, and solitude. The Wyoming Range is part of a complex of habitat that annually serves as a home to 100,000 wild ungulates and serves as a last refuge for Colorado River cutthroat trout. In a new report from The Wilderness Society, the attributes of the area are trumpeted using sportspeople and conservative voices in the West.

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Wyoming Has 40 Years To Change Its De-populous Destiny

Wyoming just posted unemployment figures that are among the lowest in the nation. Driven by the energy boom in the Upper Green River Valley and across the state in the Powder River Basin, times are bullish for roughnecks. Although the natural gas play is expected to last 40 years or more, what will be left when it ends? Many say that Wyoming, despite billions of dollars worth of gas being pulled from the ground, is not adequately diversifying its economy and laying down a New Economy infrastructure to keep its young people in the state and wooing outsiders to plant roots for the future.

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BLM’s Sweetheart Deal in Wyoming: Let the Embarassment Begin

The Bureau of Land Management cut an inappropriate sweetheart deal with a Thermopolis, Wyoming rancher who had been accused of numerous violations relating to grazing on public lands, according to an Interior Department Inspector General's report. A detailed story in the Billings Gazette seems to confirm the worst fears of those who believe the Bush Administration is selling out public lands for the benefit of business cronies.

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