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    Destination Wild Olympics: Discover world-class outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest

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    To protect a place, you have to know it. You have to explore it and love it. Just a two-three hour drive from Seattle, the Olympic Mountains tower over the Puget Sound. The Olympic Peninsula is an incredible place to explore with some of the largest trees on the planet, dark canyons with wild rivers and fern-draped walls and deep beds of moss that carpet the forest floor. The more time you spend on the Peninsula, the more you fall in love with it. And while Olympic National Park provides protection for the core of the Peninsula, large swaths of incredible forests and rivers remain vulnerable to exploitation.

    Above: A family enjoys the spectacular old-growth forests of the Upper Dungeness Trail. Olympic National Forest, Washington. Photo: Wild Olympics Campaign

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    America’s Great Bears Face a Dire Future: An open letter to President Obama and how you can help

    By Doug Peacock

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    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans in March to remove Endangered Species Act protections from the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Patagonia along with many other environmental NGOs and over 110,000 people have already voiced their opposition to delisting Yellowstone grizzly bears during the public comment period that ended May 10th. With grizzly bears still under threat, we continue to need your voice. Please add your name to those who’ve signed the following letter to President Obama asking that Yellowstone grizzly bears remain on the endangered species list. Photo: R. Bear Stands Last, courtesy of the GOAL Tribal Coalition

    Dear President Obama:

    We are writing to thank you for your leadership on climate change and to ask for your help: Yellowstone grizzly bears are in grave danger.

    Your administration has regrettably taken steps to strip the bear’s federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), opening up a grizzly bear trophy hunt on the edges of Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone’s bears are a remnant and isolated population. They must be allowed to wander safely outside of Yellowstone National Park.

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    Save the Blue Heart of Europe: 23 Rivers, 6 Countries, 390 River Kilometers, 1 Purpose

    By Hans Cole

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    “Jo diga ne Pocem! Jo diga ne Pocem!”

    The rallying cry repeated as anti-dam protestors, activists, kayakers and local people from the Vjosa River valley marched through the Albanian capital of Tirana on Friday, May 20th. Translation: “No dams in Pocem!” This protest, the final event of the 35-day Balkan Rivers Tour, marked the delivery of a “kayak petition” to the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, and demanded an end to new dam development on the pristine Vjosa River, including a major dam project near the village of Pocem.

    The Vjosa, which flows 270 kilometers without barriers from the Pindus Mountains to the Adriatic Sea, is just one of many rivers in the Balkans region that is being threatened by a tidal wave of more than 2,700 new hydropower dam projects.

    Above: Paddlers from the Balkan Rivers Tour gather on the bank of the Vjosa River. Photo: Andrew Burr

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    The Time is Now – Protect Bears Ears [Updated]

    By Kitty Calhoun

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    In southeastern Utah, a battle has been brewing between conservationists, recreationalists and resource extractionists. The pressure on all sides has increased as the stakes grow higher. At risk is the preservation of climbing in Indian Creek, Valley of the Gods, Texas and Arch Canyons, Lockhart Basin, Comb Ridge, and other remote areas collectively known as the Bears Ears region. Not only is climbing at risk but also other recreational resources, the fragile desert environment and priceless Native American heritage.

    Above: Valley of the Gods, Cedar Mesa, Utah. Photo: Andrew Burr

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    Do What You Love to Protect What You Love: Mile for Mile Campaign Surpasses Fundraising Goal

    By Kris Tompkins

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    “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”
    – Edward Abbey

    Scale is a hard thing to get a handle on. We pour over maps to try to understand a landscape. Better yet, sometimes we get to fly over it, circling the valleys and mountains to get a real lay of the land. But sometimes, there’s no substitute for crossing it on foot—learning a place step-by-step, sinking into the real magnitude of wilderness.

    I fell in love with Patagonia by foot. I can remember my first walk through the grasslands of southern Chile—dropped off near the outskirts of a small town, I had just the clothes on my back, a pack on my shoulders and the wind on my face. It only took a matter of days for me to fall in love with the region’s looming peaks and curious creatures. Over twenty years later, using personal funds and the help of many friends and supporters, my husband Doug and I have managed to conserve nearly 2 million acres of threatened wilderness in South America. In 2004, we had the opportunity of a lifetime to acquire one of the largest grassland restoration projects in the world: the future Patagonia National Park.

    Above: Ultrarunners Jeff Browning, Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson join Conservacion Patagonica founder Kris Tompkins on the Avilés Trail. Patagonia Park, Chile. Photo: James Q Martin

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    Floating Through Nowhere

    By Jim Little

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    Most people have never heard of the Owyhee Canyonlands, let alone pulled over to visit. On a map of Oregon, it’s that mostly blank expanse in the southeastern corner of the state near the Idaho/Nevada border—a place most would call nowhere.

    Rome, Burns and Jordan Valley are the nearest towns of any note. The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge—site of a recent 41-day showdown between a group of armed, anti-federalist “occupiers” and the federal government—is the most recognizable nearby landmark for those who follow the news.

    Above: The Owyhee River flows 346 miles from northeastern Nevada before dumping into the Snake River on the Oregon/Idaho border. Photo: Jim Little

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    Paddle Power: The Rise of Kayaktivism

    By Cameron Fenton

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    The house I grew up in was full of art from the Canadian Arctic. From soapstone carvings to caribou tufting and Ted Harrison paintings, my parents had brought it with them when they moved south from their home in Yellowknife on the northern shores of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. But among all of this, it was a small model of a skin-on-frame kayak that captured my imagination.

    Qajaq, the Inuktitut root word for what we now spell kayak translates roughly to “hunter’s craft.” For thousands of years, these boats have been tools used by Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic as tools to pursue whales, seals and other prey across the frigid waters and coastlines of the Arctic. Long, fast and silent, kayaks today are primarily used as pleasure craft, but ever since a massive wave of water-borne protests took place last spring in the Pacific, they are fast becoming a symbol of a new kind of people power in the fight to stop runaway climate change.

    Above: Kayaktivists attempt to blockade coal exports from the Newcastle Coal Port on Australia’s eastern coast. Photo: 350.org

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    Creating Climate-Beneficial Fiber Systems

    By Rebecca Burgess

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    How can we solve the climate crisis? The answer may exist beneath our feet, in the soil. Carbon is a finite resource that moves through soils, oceans, food, fibers and the atmosphere—and ancient carbon is fossilized in Earth’s core. There is no more carbon entering or leaving Earth—we are simply seeing the effects of having too much of it in the wrong place. But if we look to the carbon cycle itself, its movement pattern illuminates significant possibilities for transforming a crisis into a massive opportunity.

    How? By restoring carbon to our global soils. Soil is the second largest source of carbon on the planet and we have lost 50–70 percent of the original carbon, much of which has oxidized upon exposure to air. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age we have brought 136 gigatons of carbon (one gigaton is equal to one billion tons) out of the soil.

    Above: Rebecca Burgess helps fold a handmade American flag woven from industrial hemp and organic cotton, and colored with natural dyes. Rebecca will be teaching a Natural Dye Workshop at Patagonia San Francisco on May 4, 2016. Stay tuned for the story behind this special flag coming later in the month. Photo: Donnie Hedden 

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    Stop the Dams in Portugal

    By Tony Butt

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    Take action and help spread the word about the TUA valley

    Take_action_largeThe Foz Tua dam is being built just metres away from the Alto Douro Wine Region, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Portuguese environmental groups, together with canoeing and rafting clubs and wine producers are urging as many people as possible to sign a letter pressuring UNESCO to take action and stop the dam. Take action at The Last Days of Tua then share the link with your networks using #savetua. Photo: Platform Save the Tua 

     

    How I became involved

    One of the most powerful scenes in Damnation is where a way of life going back over 15,000 years is suddenly brought to an end due to the construction of a dam. When the Dalles dam was built on the Columbia River it submerged Celilo Falls and took the salmon with it, forever changing the lives of the local people. Now, six decades later, it has been called an act of cultural genocide.

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    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: Trespassers

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    “You have to imagine that you’re on the frozen Arctic Ocean. You’re six miles from shore, you can’t really tell where the ocean stops and the white shore begins. All you see is white–and this thing where they’re dumping crap into the ocean to make this island,” says Dan Ritzman. “And, there, stuck in the ice, is a sign that says ‘No Trespassing’.”

    It was 1999, the beginning of the climate movement. Oil companies had started to talk about green energy, but continued their dogged search for fossil fuel. At the time, Dan worked for Greenpeace, who was determined to expose that hypocrisy by any means necessary.

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