Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Outdoor retailers vs the GOP

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

The twice annual Outdoor Retailers Show has announced that it will pull out of its long time home in Salt Lake City Utah in protest of Utah officials support of eliminating federal lands by transferring them to the states.

Outdoor Retailers is the largest show of its kind, and has been held in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City for two decades. It was however, facing boycotts by industry leaders such as Patagonia, North Face and REI should the show continue in Utah.


Photo by Outdoor Retailers

At issue are proposals by the Utah congressional delegation to cede large portions of federal land to the states, and Utah governor Gary Herbert’s vocal attempts to rescind the newly designated Big Ears National Monument.

The Outdoor Industry Association (the major organizer of the show) complains:

Despite Utah’s robust outdoor recreation opportunities, elected officials, in Utah from Governor Herbert and the state legislature to its congressional delegation, most notably Representative Bishop, the Chairman of the House Resources Committee, have all actively embraced the idea of transferring America’s public lands to the state. A move, that in many states, has already resulted in the outright sale or restricted access to the very public lands that have provided hunting, angling, hiking, skiing, and camping to generations of people seeking to skirt the urban hustle for the outdoors – a uniquely American experience.,policy


Gov. Herbert’s spokesman, Paul Edwards, said not letting Salt lake City even put in a bid for future shows is “offensive on many levels.”

“It suggests that the political agenda instead of merit and reason has taken over the decision making at the outdoor industry association,” Edwards said in a widely released e-mail.

In the first few days of this congress, House  republicans pushed through a rule change (on party line vote) that would disqualify federal land sales from consideration when calculating the federal budget or debt.  This would allow measures selling or ceding national forest or BLM land to states or other parties to bypass the more challenging voting requirements involved in budgetary bills.

Proposals of this nature have been floating around for years, gaining measurable juice since 2013. The Utah congressional delegation has indeed been leading the charge.

Utah Rep Rob Bishop claims in his op-ed:

For decades, unsettled land-use designations, such as wilderness study areas, have fueled distrust and acrimony. The uncertainty about the future of these lands created conflict amongst those favoring differing types of uses. The diverse uses of public lands have an important role in making Utah healthy, viable, and inviting. The future of the state depends on a responsible balance of both conservation and development.

He concludes:


Rep Bishop along the Arizona border, via his website.

There appears to be a growing consensus amongst county and state leaders, conservation groups, industry, non-governmental organizations, and the public, that Utah is ready to move away from the standard gridlock of the past and toward a sensible resolution. This begins with a reassessment of land management and ownership patterns in Utah.


If you were wondering, assigning and managing the various uses of public lands is the job of the Department of Interior. At least, for now.

Donald Trump has spoken against public land transfers – but he is also a vocal friend of the energy and mining industry – which is hotly promoting this sort of thing. So who knows.

Wyoming Governor Matt mead (not a liberal snowflake) is not a fan. He told the Caspar Star Tribune last December,

“Then you get into the policy,” the Republican said. “And I reflect back to 2012. We spent as a state $45 million fighting fires… If the federal lands that had fires on them would have been state lands, we would have spent another $45 million – in one summer. That’s a significant amount.”

As it stands, it is not hard to imagine big stoopid land cessions slithering through congress to his desk. I personally hope the president yields to his developer instincts to never give real-estate away. But I have been wrong about Trump – a lot.

Meanwhile, the Outdoor Retailers show has two more contracted appearances in Salt Lake City (the next one being in July 2017), and proposals to redistribute public lands are getting marked up in Bishop’s committee. We will watch the latter developments in this space.

Colorado is already lobbying to take over the giant outdoor show:


Little Bear Trail reopens

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Little Bear Trail was definitely a Five Star trail before the Schultz Fire. Now it’s at least open again.

From the Coconino National Forest:

Little Bear Trail reopens after being closed for 6 years

Flagstaff, Ariz., Oct. 20, 2016, For Immediate Release — The Flagstaff Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Little Bear Trail in the Schultz Fire burn area after many donations and years of volunteer efforts.

The trail was closed in 2010, when the entire area was closed for public safety concerns after the Schultz Fire impacted the area. Following the Schultz Fire, numerous hazards along the trail such as falling trees, rolling rocks and unstable trail conditions kept the trail closed, and monsoon storms continued to severely erode and flood the trail.

“Without the amazing efforts of our Flagstaff trail volunteer community, this re-opening would not have been possible,” said Sean Murphy, Flagstaff Ranger District Trails and Wilderness Technician.  “It is a privilege to work for, and with, such a dedicated and involved community!”

The trail’s revitalization was a huge effort from multiple partners with the Forest Service. Individuals and businesses within the community stepped forward, and more than $40,000 was spent to employ American Conservation Experience (ACE) crews in the interest of seeing the trail stabilized and made safe for public enjoyment.

Flagstaff Biking Organization (FBO) and the U.S. Forest Service used grants and work days to repair treacherous rocky terrain to once again provide a safe trail for bikers, equestrians and hikers.  Not only did Flagstaff Biking Organization have three volunteer events in 2016 to work on Little Bear Trail, but they collected $10,000 in grants and funds garnered from events managed by the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona (MBAA). This allowed for additional ACE crews to help realign one of the most problematic spots on the trail. Additionally, the Flagstaff Ranger District obtained another $30,000 in grant funds to keep ACE working through the fall.

Other organizations assisted in repairs, sponsored trail events and helped provide refreshments to those working on the trail. This included the Coconino Horseman’s Alliance, Coconino Trail Riders, Cosmic Cycles, Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution and Run Flagstaff. Fratelli Pizza, Kickstand Coffee and Biff’s Bagels graciously provided refreshments.

“Some of the things that ACE has completed on the trail are, quite frankly, works of art,” said Deborah Soltesz, volunteer trail worker and Coconino National Forest webmaster. “The work involved not just major rehabilitation labor, or the moving of dirt and rock sloughed over the trail, but fixing some washed out drainages and trail rerouting by building new trail near the old one, where repairing the old eroded trail was unfeasible.”

During the last trail day sponsored by Flagstaff Biking Organization on Oct. 15, more than 45 people participated, representing all types of forest users and community volunteers.

“The trail closure is one of the little wounds left by the Schultz Fire,” said Soltesz, “and the process of reopening it has been part of the community’s healing following the [Schultz] fire’s devastation.”

Little Bear Trail climbs the Dry Lake Hills from Little Elden Trail to meet Sunset Trail in a quiet nook between the Dry Lake Hills and Mount Elden.

The trail climbs through the skeletons left behind by the Schultz Fire and patches of surviving ponderosa pine and Gambel oak. It gradually winds through Douglas-fir, limber pine, and pockets of aspen trees at the top. The trail offers outstanding views of the San Francisco Peaks, Sunset Crater, several prominent volcanic peaks, and in the distant background the Painted Desert acts as a colorful backdrop.

Many wildlife species make their home in this area including mule deer, elk, porcupine and black bear for which the trail is named. In addition, red-tailed hawks, raven and the occasional turkey vulture will dazzle you with their aerial acrobatics.

The Coconino National Forest would like to thank all of those who helped support this effort over the years it took to rehabilitate this trail.  “This was a true multi-partner effort!” said Murphy.

For images of the Oct. 15 Trail Day, please visit the Coconino National Forest Flickr site at

More information and a map showing the location of Little Bear Trail is located on the Coconino National Forest public website at



Lost in Light

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Elsewhere, I blogged about a time-lapse video demonstrating how proximity to civilization affects your view of the night sky. Seems relevant here.

Lost in Light

Northern Arizona wonder road trip

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016



That is all.

Time Lapse Monsson

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

They don’t come on quite as fast as they do in this time-lapse film, but it sure seems like that when you’re on foot.

From filmmaker Mike Oblinski



The Pacific Northwest National scenic Trail is a thing

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

The newly designated Pacific Northwest Trail is a 1200 mile march from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean (just beyond Olympia National Park), effectively linking the Pacific Crest Trail with the Continental Divide Trail.

Photo from US Forest Service



Since I just stumbled onto this, I’ll let the official websites explain:

First proposed in the early 1970s, the Pacific Northwest Trail was designated by Congress as one of eleven National Scenic Trails in the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. The National Trails System Act calls for these trails to be located to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential as well as the conservation and enjoyment of the scenic, historic, natural, and cultural resources in the areas through which these trails pass.

US Forest Service

This carefully chosen path is high for the views and long on adventure, ranking among the most scenic trails in the world.

It includes the Rocky Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and Wilderness Coast. The trail crosses 3 National Parks and 7 National Forests.

Pacific Northwest Trail Assosciation


Swiss Glamping kitchen

Friday, May 13th, 2016

I felt pretty proud of myself that I have organized my camping kitchen into a couple of smallish plastic bins (one for the kitchen, and one for the actual food), but now I feel shame at my feeble efforts.

Of course, my bins didn’t cost much. I don’t know how much this Camp Champ costs, but it weighs 150 pounds and is hand-made in Switzerland, so…

Link Dump of Daring Do

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

A few links I’ve run across that explore the line between fun and crazy:

Not for the weak of heart – or bladder.

This is the group campsite of the 3rd annual Highline Meeting last September in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy. The Highliners are, it appears, a loose collection of high-wire athletes. Their website:

Video from here:


Backpackerverse listicles the 25 most dangerous trails in the world.

Outside online gushes over the Earthcruiser Adventure RV

And finally French hikers breaking a bridge in New Zealand with their Go-Pro going:

You’re welcome.



Time Lapse Arizona

Monday, October 6th, 2014

With a lot of footage from in and around Sedona.




No smoking or campfires in … well … Arizona

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Just about every public recreational land is currently under some form of fire restriction, and is likely to remain so until the monsoons later this summer.

This is from AZ Game and Fish:

Fire restrictions now in effect for most public lands in state

Outdoor recreationists are advised that fire restrictions have gone into effect on most federal and state lands throughout Arizona due to extremely dry conditions and high risk of wildfires. This includes Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Areas.

In general, these restrictions mean that no open fires are allowed — including campfires and charcoal-burning barbecues. Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building. Welding or operating acetylene or other torch devices with open flames is prohibited, as are fireworks.

So no matter where you are recreating outdoors, be extremely careful out there and help protect our natural resources from wildfire.

For a list of fire restrictions in Arizona, visit


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