Humans once thought they were smarter than forests, and began to manage them, i.e. cut them into smaller and smaller fragments, before we really understood how they worked. It turned out humans were dismantling a perfectly-functioning, exceptionally healthy ecosystem which had long ago figured out how to “manage” itself. Today we’re faced with the legacy of those ill-informed decisions, which can sometimes be used as an excuse to justify additional logging and bad timber sales, sometimes within sight of a national icon.
If passed, the California Desert Protection Act will protect over one million acres of the Mojave Desert’s last wild areas, with the creation of two new National Monuments: the Mojave Trails National Monument on former railroad lands adjoining historic U.S. Rt. 66, and the Sand to Snow National Monument, which would include areas from the desert floor of the Coachella Valley to the high country of the San Bernardino Mountains, along with several new Wilderness areas providing greater species connectivity across the region.
When the state of California set aside Yosemite Valley for protection as a park in 1864, it marked the beginning of California’s state park system, and the beginning of the idea of preserving a landscape and an environment as a wholly protected, public place. Eventually, the California State Park system became the model upon which the National Park Service would be built. Filmmakers David Vassar and Sally Kaplan talked with Tommy about California Forever, their new, two-part PBS special on the history and current challenges of California’s state parks.
Once again back by popular demand, Treehuggers International returns with coverage of state, federal and local races, and propositions on the ballot for California’s November 6th general election (NO on 32, YES on 37), including U.S. House races in California and the all-important mayoral race for the city of San Diego (vote for Bob Filner!). Also, at no extra charge, a completely cranky essay on being a Democrat from Treehuggers International founder Tommy Hough.
Boasting an incredible coastline, several mountain ranges, high desert, thousands of square miles of forest, one of the most iconic National Parks in the west, and the Columbia River Gorge to the north and Hell’s Canyon to the east, Oregon makes a strong case as one of the world’s great outdoor destinations. The Executive Director of Oregon Wild talks about the issues wilderness advocates face in the Beaver State, from the future of former railroad lands to the slow return of wolves.
If you’re a fan of the trails and the variety of environments and ecosystems found at all elevations in the four Southern California National Forests, please lend your help to Treehuggers International and our friends with the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Los Angeles office of The Wilderness Society, Wilderness4All, Friends of the River, the California Wilderness Coalition and San Gabriel Mountains Forever in rallying to ensure protection and appropriate management of wilderness-quality public lands.
Though not a technical climb, and comparatively smaller even before its catastrophic 1980 blast than its Cascade neighbors Rainier, Adams and Hood, Mt. St. Helens is no slouch. Like all Cascade peaks St. Helens is a weather maker, and remains unpredictable as moist air, fresh off the Pacific, is jammed up several thousand feet by the spine of the Cascades, super-cooled, and condensed. This results in a gamut of meteorological goofs, including sudden storms at high altitudes any time of the year.
A proposal to build a freeway-style off ramp from the Cabrillo Bridge at San Diego’s Balboa Park is raising more than a few eyebrows among preservationists and park advocates. Even the National Park Service is voicing its concern, stating the development threatens Balboa Park’s status as a National Historic Site. Bruce Coons of the Save Our Heritage Organisation talks about the proposed redesign’s threats to the integrity of one of the nation’s great urban spaces.