Outdoor News August 17, 2018 - Explore! Outdoor News August 17, 2018 - Explore!

Outdoor News August 17, 2018

Montana and the L&WCF

August 13, 2018. HELENA, Mont. – With less than two months before it expires, conservation groups are calling for permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a program that has received bipartisan support in the past. 

Montana has received nearly $600 million since the fund was created more than 50 years ago.  It's helped protect a wide range of landscapes, including Glacier National Park and grizzly bear habitat on the Rocky Mountain Front. 

MT L&WCFDave Chadwick, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation, says the program is crucial for the outdoor recreation economy, which supports more than 70,000 jobs in the state.

"Acquiring crucial parcels that open up access to other areas of public land,” he states. “Of course, 70 percent of the fishing access sites in Montana have been funded in part with LWCF funds, and really these dollars have touched every corner and every community in this state."

The program receives funding from royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas offshore.  Funds also are used to build playgrounds, swimming pools, urban bike paths and other facilities.  The LWCF's Forest Legacy Program has supported timber jobs and sustainable logging in Montana as well. It's set to expire on Sept. 30.

Chadwick says the program has played an "immeasurable role" in keeping Montana the way it is today.  "The need is only going to grow in the future, and fully funding and authorizing the program is really going to help us keep Montana so that in 20, 30, 50 years, future Montanans are going to be able to enjoy everything we love about the Treasure State today," he points out.

Montana's U.S. senators have supported fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In most years, Congress raids the fund to spend on other projects.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service – MT

VF Corp. Moving to Denver

Colorado's Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced on Monday that VF Corporation, one of the world's largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies and owner of outdoor brands including The North Face®, JanSport® and Smartwool®, is moving its global headquarters to Denver.

North Face logo"We are thrilled to welcome a new partner that embodies the values that define Colorado," said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. "VF's move underscores the critical driver that the outdoor recreation industry plays in our economy where business meets lifestyle."

"Colorado is an area with an unrivalled heritage and culture of outdoor and activity-based lifestyles, as well as a thriving business environment," said Steve Rendle, VF's Chairman, President and CEO. "It is a great strategic fit for our business, and we are excited to be relocating our headquarters and several brands to the metro Denver area next year. We believe that the creation of our new headquarters in the area will help us to unlock collaboration across our outdoor brands, attract and retain talent, and accelerate innovation."

Rendle added, "We are grateful to Colorado for the job growth tax credits that represent a long-term commitment to our company and we want to make a long-term commitment to the people of Colorado. For every dollar of job growth tax credit that we receive and use, we will match that dollar in a donation to the VF Foundation and designate those funds to support the charitable interests of the citizens of Colorado. VF's Purpose Statement declares that we will power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet. We will demonstrate that commitment to the Colorado community."

About 85 VF leaders, including members of the company's U.S.-based senior leadership team, will move to Colorado beginning in Spring 2019. Over the course of the next two years, several of VF's Outdoor brands, including The North Face®, JanSport®, Smartwool®, Eagle Creek® and Altra® also will relocate to join VF.

VF Corp TentIn total, approximately 800 employees across VF and its brands are expected to move into the new metro Denver area headquarters beginning in mid-2019, including about 70 from the Smartwool® brand, which already calls Colorado home and is currently headquartered in Steamboat Springs.

"This project is strong validation of the State's role as a leading attractor of industry and it is especially heartening that it comes with VF – a company whose brands and culture align with Colorado's core values," said Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Executive Director Stephanie Copeland.  

VF has nearly 70,000 employees worldwide and operations across more than 170 countries. The company's portfolio of brands also includes Vans®, Timberland® and a stable of workwear brands, including Dickies®, none of which are involved in the relocation to Denver. The company's 2017 global revenues were $11.8 billion.

Refuge Outdoor Festival

King County Washington's Tolt-MacDonald Park is hosting a new event especially for people of color, outdoor recreation, and community conversations – the Refuge Outdoor Festival – September 28-30 in Carnation.

Tolt-MacDonald ParkThis inaugural, three-day camping experience will explore and celebrate diversity in nature – and in life. The festival is a safe space for all participants, with daily outdoor recreation activities, community conversations, nightly concerts, and art exhibits.

All levels of outdoor enthusiasts are welcome. Community partners will lead hikes, facilitate bike workshops, and host panels on topics such as representation and Indigenous rights. Musical acts include Big World Breaks and Sway and Swoon, with more performers to be announced.

“Our goal is to create a space of refuge and rejuvenation for people of color and their allies in the outdoors,” said Refuge Outdoor Festival founder Chevon Powell.

“We are excited to host the inaugural Refuge Outdoor Festival,” said Katy Terry, acting director for King County Parks. “This festival is all about creating a space to explore and celebrate diversity, nature, and life, and we welcome this event to beautiful Tolt-MacDonald Park.”

Ticket information is available now at bit.ly/2ORIYmn. Full-access festival passes are $95, youth passes are $45, and children under 8 are free. Field camping is included in the pass, and a limited amount of premium camping and RV campsites are available from $100 to $450. Detailed festival lodging information is available on the ticket website, refugeoutdoorfestival.com.

Safeguarding Summer

Climate change is altering America’s summers in ways both disastrously large and insidiously small, according to a National Wildlife Federation report released Wednesday. Safeguarding Summer details how rising temperatures are giving a boost to everything from heat waves to ticks to toxic algae outbreaks, and recommends policies for averting the worst effects of climate change.

  • Safeguarding SummerFueling Extreme Weather: Along with monster storms fueled by warmer air and water, heat waves and humidity are on the rise, forcing elderly and low-income Americans to choose between suffering through sweltering heat and higher electric bills. 
  • Beaches Degraded: Not only are beaches at risk of erosion from climate-fueled sea level rise and stronger storms, they’re increasingly being closed by toxic algae outbreaks that get a boost from warmer water. In 2017, 169 algae outbreaks were reported in 40 states, according to the Environmental Working Group. 
  • Pest Boom: Warmer temperatures and fewer freezes are a boon to disease-carrying pests. Illnesses from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have tripled in just the last 13 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease is already being called the “first epidemic of climate change,” and the CDC estimates 329,000 Americans get it each year. 
  • Hindered Recreation: Not only do worsened summer heat waves and pests make it harder to enjoy the outdoors, but climate impacts are changing Major League Baseball. This year, Major League Baseball broke its April record for weather-related delays and cancellations. Home runs fly out of parks more easily in hotter, more humid air, and the global warming-boosted emerald ash borer is threatening the trees used to make bats. 

 “From sea to shining sea, Americans are facing natural disasters that are exacerbated by climate change, from raging megafires in California to toxic algal blooms in Florida,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This new report is a wake-up call for all Americans on the need to act now in order to protect our wildlife, communities, and summer activities by promoting climate-smart conservation strategies and supporting the sensible steps to adopt cleaner energy and vehicles.” 

"This spring I encountered numerous black-legged (deer) ticks while outdoors,” said Doug Inkley, former NWF Senior Science Adviser (retired). “The doctor put me on antibiotics when a classic bull's-eye rash, characteristic of Lyme infection, appeared. This is nothing like when I was a kid running around in the woods of central Vermont. We didn't even think about ticks because there weren't any here! Now, they seem to be everywhere and I take appropriate precautions whenever I go outside."

America’s outdoor recreation economy is an $887 billion business annually, supporting 7.6 million jobs. In 2016, 103 million U.S. residents enjoyed wildlife-related recreation, with 35.8 million fishing, 11.5 million hunting, and 86 million participated in at least one wildlife-watching activity.

To curb the worst harms of climate change, the report calls for actions such as: 

  • Reducing carbon emissions from the power sector — the second-largest source of climate pollution in the U.S.  
  • Continuing to enforce and enhance rules to limit methane pollution from oil and gas infrastructure 
  • Reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector through policies that curb emissions and incentivize cleaner cars and electric vehicles  
  • Encouraging Congress to pass legislation to put a price on carbon pollution 
  • Enhancing natural systems and wildlife corridors to provide wildlife with valuable ecosystems that would also reduce risks from flooding and sea-level rise.

The entire report is available for download at the National Wildlife Federation website.
 

Air Quality at National Parks

On Wednesday, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), represented by Earthjustice, appealed the Washington State Pollution Control Hearing Board (PCHB) decision to decline to order Washington Department of Ecology to reassess an air permit granted to British Petroleum (BP) for the expansion of the Cherry Point oil refinery in Puget Sound. The permit fails to limit air pollution as necessary to protect Olympic and North Cascades National Parks from increased refinery emissions, according to NPCA.

Olympic National ParkThe National Park Service, relying on its extensive air modeling, determined that the refinery’s expansion to process additional dirty heavy crudes would increase air pollution obscuring visibility and harming natural resources in both National Parks. Experts on behalf of NPCA argued that a revised air permit with stronger air quality controls was required under Clean Air Act directives, and that a stronger permit would substantially decrease the likelihood of degraded air quality and negative effects of climate change in protected national parks and surrounding communities. The State of Washington Department of Ecology chose to disregard the Park Service modeling and agreed with BP and Ecology that the expansion should go ahead without stringent pollutant controls to protect the parks. 

Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Program Director for National Parks Conservation Association, said,“We are appealing the PCHB decision to continue fighting for clean air to protect air quality for Puget Sound, and Olympic and North Cascades national parks. Our parks and local communities deserve nothing less than the safeguards mandated by our nation’s clean air laws. The refinery already harms air quality in Olympic and North Cascades National Parks and surrounding communities while also contributing to climate change, and increased pollution from the refinery expansion will only cause greater damage.”

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Video of the Week

North Cascades National Park is in Washington State on the Canadian border.  The most unique feature of the park is its 312 glaciers; about 1/3 of all the glaciers in the lower 48 states.  Since beginning to study the glaciers in the 1950's,  researchers have found that ALL of the glaciers are retreating. You may want to visit them sooner rather than later!  This week's video features Masyih Ford and his experience in the park's backcountry.  Enjoy!

 


 

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