the conservation alliance
“Public Lands: Valuable to Our Bottom Line and Way of Life,” written by Osprey Packs co-founder & co-owner Diane Wren, originally appeared in the Montrose Press.
Twenty five years ago, my husband Mike and I moved from the coastal redwoods of California to the edge of sandstone canyon country in the San Juan Mountains in the hopes of building a headquarters for our homegrown company – Osprey Packs – that would allow us to test our handmade gear in the most inspiring and rugged of places. After settling in Cortez, Osprey quickly became an international force in the outdoor industry, and we’ve been proud to grow our classic American dream in southwestern Colorado. We now employ over 80 people in Cortez and are still growing. Like many other international outdoor businesses across Colorado, we chose to build a business here because access to public lands makes this the perfect spot for our employees to settle down, for us to try out our next idea in the field, and because so many in our community share our love for getting outside and exploring our wild West.
The same incredible landscapes that drew us to Colorado, though, are now facing a serious threat. Out-of-state special interests like the American Lands Council are pushing legislators across the Rockies to try to seize our national public lands and transfer them into state control, which could bankrupt our states and lead to massive access closures. Colorado is lucky enough to have 24 million acres of federal public lands within our borders, but the state managing them would cost Coloradans over $300 million a year, and a single wildfire could add tens of millions of dollars to the bill. Our state is constitutionally bound to balance its budget – this additional financial burden would likely force the state to prioritize extractive uses or sell off our lands to the highest bidder for private development. (more…)
#KeepItPublic, #OurLand, Canyon of the Ancients, Chimney Rock, Colorado, Conservation, Cortez, Diane Wren, Dolores River Canyon, Osprey Culture, Phil's World, public lands, San Juan Citizens Alliance, san juan mountains, the conservation alliance, the new york times, Uncompahgre National Forest, Western Colorado Congress, Will Rogers
Last Thursday evening, a group of Osprey volunteers hopped into our silver Dodge mini van, loaded down with gear and clothing for what was to be a wet, snowy weekend just outside Boulder, CO, and departed for an event called The Backyard Collective.
The BYC is an effort of The Conservation Alliance, which brings together member company employees (in this case, Osprey, La Sportiva, etc.) and local grantees for a day of environmental action. Projects include trail work, invasive species removal and other opportunities for us to get out of the office and get our hands dirty doing good work to preserve and protect the open spaces in our own backyards.
At this event in particular, there were a few new volunteers (myself included), and we were all anxious to arrive, layer up, get our boots muddy and do our part to help the Boulder community that’s very much in need.
During the more than seven-hour drive from our Cortez headquarters, I thought quite a bit about what trail work really means — and what it would mean for me at this event. The first image that came up was of myself swinging a pickaxe on some dry single track with a weathered pair of leather gloves, sun shining on the hillside with an epic view of early high-altitude snowfall, and a deep blue sky filled with puffy clouds that seem close enough to run across. Then, I imagined, I’d break for a morning Clif bar and refill my green tin cup with a few more ounces of hot John Wayne-style coffee. Oh, I imagined, it’d sure be glorious and rewarding. That’s the definition of trail work right?
We awoke Friday to a rain-snow mix and temps in the low 30s. We sorted our way through a light morning commute toward Broomfield, made a quick stop for coffee and finally arrived at the Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm. After an initial meet-and-greet and a disbursement of tools, we received our group assignment and grabbed the wheelbarrows to head down the path.
The expected turnout of 20 people was a sure underestimation of our group’s commitment to help The Conservation Alliance. I took a quick count of about 50 people dressed in Gore-Tex rain shells, with hats pulled over their ears and smiles on their faces as they huddled around the free hot chocolate.
The trails here at the farm have been closed for some time, and after our work, nearly 125,000 people will regain access to them. We worked seamlessly with great instruction — and nearly four hours later, noticed that we had created one thousand feet of new path for the locals to enjoy. Six hundred more feet was our initial task. We crushed it. My hands were sore, my back a little tight, but I didn’t quite feel exhausted or fulfilled like I had originally anticipated the week before. Hmm…
For myself, I think there were a few greater questions and lessons that I took away from the morning. I certainly contemplated my self-interests in the volunteer day. Why did I really sign up to help? To feel good? To get out of work for a day? It’s cliché to say ‘to help those in need’, but maybe it was just as simple as that?
The reality of the work and location was nothing like the perfect Colorado day I had imagined when I signed up and stepped away from my desk. It frankly reminded me of the days growing up in Michigan and having to help a relative with chores around their acreage. It was flat, grey and damp. Turns out, it didn’t matter.
As the weekend continued in the hustle of downtown Denver, I looked around watching other’s interactions in the city, and it seemed as though our efforts began to sink in on another level. We all love nature for different reasons. Whether we’re taking a personal break from our jobs, on a vacation we’ve filled the money jar with for a few months or simply heading out of town with a group of friends to have great stories to share on Monday morning: it’s all the same.
I realized it doesn’t matter where the trail leads or what the view is. It’s a trail, which means it’s an opportunity to be outside: and it’s that simple. It’s a way to improve someone’s day whether it is used on a lunch break walk or the start of a multi-week adventure of not regularly washing your hair. Whatever the function, we took time out of our lives, our weekends, our days, to help something and someone else. Each of us is capable of, if we so choose, taking advantage of these small opportunities to positively impact the places that we love. And more importantly, help places that other people love.
Tim Calkins / Senior Graphic Designer Osprey Packs
Today, The Conservation Alliance is proud to announce the release of Grand Canyon, the fourth video in its worthWILD series. This film in particular tells the story of the Grand Canyon Trust’s successful effort to convince the Interior Department to impose a 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims on one million acres of land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. This ban now provides long-term protection for this pristine National Park.
Behind it all lies the Grand Canyon Trust, an organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Colorado Plateau. Throughout the process of establishing the protection necessary, the Trust successfully led a coalition of concerned citizens and residents, local and national organizations, and advocates of the National Parks to protect the Grand Canyon from the threats of new uranium mining. The Conservation Alliance funded the Trust’s campaign in 2010, two years into the project.
This film and the Grand Canyon itself depict how these diverse stakeholders’ collaborative efforts resulted in Interior Secretary’s Ken Salazar implementation of a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining on 1.1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon.
“The Trust’s campaign to secure a favorable decision was greatly enhanced through a powerful strategic alliance with national conservation organizations and their members as well as with businesses such as those supporting The Conservation Alliance and Save the Colorado campaign,” said Roger Clark, Grand Canyon Trust Program Director.
“Grand Canyon Trust did a terrific job protecting the Grand Canyon watershed from new uranium mining,” said Conservation Alliance Executive Director John Sterling. “We’re proud to have supported this effort, and are thrilled to tell the story in this short film.”
Produced by Alexandria Bombach’s Red Reel Video, Grand Canyon is the fourth documentary the Conservation Alliance has produced as part of the worthWild series launched in 2012. Four additional films will be made in 2013.
The cold, dark month of January is plodding along after the madness of the holidays and a New Year Celebration. And that can only mean one thing, Winter Outdoor Retailer is nearly upon us again! The show kicks off with an all mountain demo on the 22nd, and the trade show will take place from January 23rd through the 26th. Of course, we’ll be there to showcase our brand-new packs and innovations, roosting at Booth #5011. We hope to see you there!
We’re excited for the show as always, but we’re also stoked to announce that this OR, The Conservation Alliance Breakfast will welcome the incredible Cheryl Strayed, author of the incredibly powerful memoir WILD, which details Strayed’s journey as a 22-year-old solo-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. Strayed will present on Thursday, January 24th from 7 to 9 a.m. at The Marriott, Salons F-I in Salt Lake City. This is a breakfast you won’t want to miss, and we hope to see you there!
From its early days exploring the peaks of the Front Range to its insightful work to protect Rocky Mountain National Park, to the countless first ascents by members all over the world, the Colorado Mountain Club and its members are leaders in exploration, adventure, education and conservation. In its 100th year, the organization continues with its many strong traditions and is poised to become a more dynamic organization for the enjoyment of all who love Colorado’s mountains.
Last week, wildlife photographer Florian Schulz transported us to the Arctic through his collection of beautiful images. We didn’t even have to leave our seats at The Conservation Alliance breakfast at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market to catch the chill of polar wind, hear the cries of migrating birds and feel our hearts thump as we watched baby polar bears fleeing from danger.
via Chris Kassar and Elevation Outdoors:
Schulz is, John Sterling of the Conservation Alliance told us, “a truly gifted story teller who transports us to places we may never otherwise get to visit.”…
He didn’t just “wow” us with images or stories of braving harsh conditions (though he did tell some amazing ones about that). His message was simple, clear, and inspiring: “My connection to the environment is something very emotional; it comes from the heart for me especially now that I have become a dad,” said Schulz getting noticeably choked up when talking about the arrival of his son in December. “I hope we can keep this planet the way it is for a while longer…. Fighting for this is essential.”
On Schulz’s website, he says:
“For many years now there has been strong interest in expanding oil drilling in the Alaskan Arctic, both on land and offshore. Many have considered the Arctic landscape a barren wasteland or a flat, white nothingness.
I take these sentiments as a personal challenge to document an extremely remote and mostly unknown area of North America — for a public that otherwise might never see it. It’s true that at first glance some areas may seem desolate or barren. But those same areas may be teeming with life just days later, with tens of thousands of migrating caribou, or wolves or grizzlies.”
While many of us have never been to the Arctic, as these images show, it’s a special, wild place full of life — and worth protecting. Learn more about what you can do to help protect it by visiting alaskawild.org.
ALL PHOTOS © FLORIAN SCHULZ
Osprey Packs is a proud member of The Conservation Alliance and we’re excited to announce that because of strong member support, we have awarded more than $1 million to conservation groups doing incredible things to protect our wild places. Most recently, we awarded 18 grants totaling $550,000, including a grant to the Access Fund to secure permanent access of Jailhouse Rock climbing above, pictured above.
To see more of the places we’re working to protect, please visit The Conservation Alliance’s website.
It’s always a fantastic feeling to donate a little sweat equity to give back to the places we play in and the 2011 Backyard Collective was no exception. Backyard Collective’s were started back in 2008 as a program of The Conservation Alliance. In essence, they bring Conservation Alliance member companies together with grantees for a day of service work. Put a bunch of outdoor industry people together with environmental not-for-profit folks and that adds up to a LOT of work done in one short day. This is an energetic and motivated demographic that’s not afraid to get dirty!