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    To Those Who Loved Doug

    By Rick Ridgeway


    In the days since our friend and mentor Doug Tompkins lost his life in a kayaking incident, we have experienced an outpouring of condolences from thousands of people around the world. The sense of loss from people who never knew Doug, but did know his work, is palpable.

    A few days ago, at the headquarters of Tompkins Conservation in the Chilean town of Puerto Varas, we had a service for Doug attended by people from up and down the country and Argentina. Kris, his wife, opened the ceremony and spoke in Spanish of her boundless love for Doug, their love of wildness and their deep commitment to the protection of wilderness and wildlife, and their work to save, then donate, two million acres of land to the people of Chile and Argentina—and to all of us. She spoke with dignity and power, with a force that welled from a place inside her. She gave everything to each sentence and paragraph. Drained, she paused, breathed, and with each breath the power would rebuild until she continued with an even more profound power that none of us had seen before.

    Above: Doug Tompkins, Rick Ridgeway, Yvon Chouinard on the summit of Cerro Kristine in 2008. Photo: Conservacion Patagonica Archives

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    Lago to Lago – Connecting the two great lakes in Patagonia Park

    By Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia VP of Public Engagement


    The official grand opening of the new Patagonia National Park in southern Chile is scheduled for late November but the park, even now, is attracting thousands of visitors including three of our trail running ambassadors who, in January, ran parts of the 100-plus miles of trails already constructed. Patagonia-the-company funded part of that construction but the new park, projected to be nearly 650,000 acres, has entire watersheds currently outside of the existing trail system.  

    Editor’s note: As we continue to expand on The New Localism, it’s important to revisit previous campaigns and breathe new life into them. Today, Rick Ridgeway reconnects with Mile for Mile which is more than halfway to its funding goal. Remember, Patagonia, Inc. will match your Mile for Mile donations through 2015.

    In March, I joined two friends, Jib Ellison and Weston Boyles, to scout a potential route that could provide a more-or-less direct link between the two great lakes that bookend the park: Lago General Carrerra on the north and Lago Cochrane on the south. These two lakes are so stupendous that when people first see them they appear mythical, like scenes from a Maxwell Parrish painting.

    Above: Finding a route above the Aviles Norte on day two. The team had Google Earth maps and an iPhone app that recorded positions that Patagonia National Park will use if they create a permanent trail along the route. Photo: Weston Boyles

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    How to Prevent Oil Spills

    By Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia VP of Public Engagement


    When the oil hit our pristine Santa Barbara beaches in 1969, I remember feeling shocked. We walked the beaches in a kind of haze, scraping up tar without HAZMAT suits or even gloves. The devastation was enormous and we were heartbroken.

    Forty-five years later, Californians have made progress in protecting our coastline from further degradation at the hands of oil and gas extraction. The 1969 spill sparked the modern environmental movement, spurring major pieces of environmental legislation in the early 1970s and resulting in a lot of good work on this coast by local activists to fight off ecological threats.

    Above: Trained workers clean up oil-stained debris from the beach after a recent spill in Santa Barbara County, California. Photo: Linda Krop/Environmental Defense Center

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    Rick Ridgeway Makes the Case for Freedom to Roam at Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

    _MG_6651 By Ethan Stewart

    Before all the memories from Copenhagen fade from our collective consciousness,
    Santa Barbara Independent reporter Ethan Stewart and freelance photographer Kodiak Greenwood remind us of one very positive presentation they witnessed at the conference.

    Last month, the whole world was watching Copenhagen as the United Nation’s held their much hyped Framework Convention on Climate Change. Anticipated by many to be the biggest environmental moment of our lives, the two-week bureaucratic rodeo of world leaders and eco-minded experts concluded just a few days before Christmas without accomplishing much towards its goal of establishing sharp toothed, earth saving carbon emissions policy. However, despite this crucial failure, the COP15 was by no means a lost cause. In fact, even the most cynical observers hanging out in Denmark’s capital city for the groovy green get together had to see hope everywhere they looked. From the passion of 100,000 people strong protests in the streets to the countless mindboggling presentations going down each and every day in the Bella Center about the various ways we can, and are already, trying to heal Mother Earth, the path to a better tomorrow was on full display for all who cared to look and listen.

    [Patagonia's Vice President of Environmental Initiatives, Rick Ridgeway. Photo: Kodiak Greenwood]

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    Patagonia's Freedom to Roam chief to testify before Congress

    Ridgeway Patagonia's own Rick Ridgeway will be addressing the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on "The Role of Federal Lands in Combating Climate Change,"  2 pm EST on Tuesday, March 3. 

    Rick will be speaking on behalf of Patagonia and as a founder of Freedom to Roam, a coalition of businesses, conservation organizations, recreation and sportsmen's groups, and government officials working together to promote wildlife corridors.

    Rick will present wildlife corridors across public lands as a solution to wildlife habitat shifts due to climate change. He will suggest that the federal government should create a legal definition for corridors, identify critical corridors across the United States, designate key corridors, and create funding sources for their protection.

    Check out the link below for a live webcast:

    [Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia's VP of Environmental Initiatives, giving the Freedom to Roam presentation at the Western Governors Meeting in Jackson, WY. Center for the Arts Pavilion. Saturday PM, 6/28/2008 Photo: Joe Riis]


    Rick Ridgeway Presents Freedom to Roam at Western Governors' Association Meeting

    Rick2_3 On June 29, Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia's Vice President of Environmental Programs and Communication, presented the Freedom to Roam initiative at the annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. As host of this year’s meeting, Governor Freudenthal (D-WY) chose wildlife corridors as the main topic, and he invited Rick to make the presentation.

    [Rick Ridgeway presents Freedom to Roam to the Western Governors' Association. Photo: Joe Riis]

    The day started with an evocative speech from Tom Brokaw about why we should save what’s left of the wild American West, and the wildlife that inhabits it. There were over 500 people in the audience, including 14 governors and four premiers from Canada’s border provinces, as well as dozens of high-level executives from companies attending the conference, and many were in tears.

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