Events

Oct06

“Safeguard the Elliott!” — Come Testify at the October 8 North Bend Hearing

Kelsey:Sheena adjustedFuture management of the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest located northeast of Coos Bay is at a pivotal crossroads. The State Land Board (made up of Governor John Kitzhaber, Treasurer Ted Wheeler, and Secretary Kate Brown) is the trustee of the Elliott and will be hosting a special "listening session" in North Bend on October 8 to take public testimony on the future management of the forest. There are a number of proposals currently being considered by the state, including a reckless one that would dispose of the entire Elliott to Big Timber. The session will provide a tremendous opportunity to encourage a conservation solution for the Elliott that safeguards the forest for its outstanding values, like clean water, wild salmon, carbon storage and recreational opportunities.
 
Special State Land Board "Listening Session" on the Elliott State Forest
Wednesday, October 8, 3-6 pm
Hales Performing Arts Center (1988 Newmark Ave.), North Bend, OR
 
Carpools from Portland, Eugene and west of Roseburg are being planned. For more information and to RSVP for the Portland carpool, email Micah Meskel. The Eugene carpool will leave at 12:30 pm from behind FedEx Office on 13th and Willamette St.. Email Josh Laughlin for more information and to RSVP. The carpool from west of Roseburg will leave at 1 pm. Email Francis Eatherington for meeting location and to RSVP.
 
Preparing your testimony: Please consider preparing three-minute (maximum) testimony on behalf of yourself or the organization you represent. You should also plan to leave a hard copy of your testimony with Land Board staff after you testify. If you can't make it to the meeting on October 8, consider submitting your comments to the Land Board by email.
 
Possible talking points include:
       Decouple old-growth clearcutting from school funding on the Elliott
       Protect the Elliott's remianing native forests, wild salmon and imperiled wildlife
       Safeguard the Elliott for its hunitng, fishing and recreational opportunities and potential
       Promote timber jobs on the forest by restoratively thinning the dense second-growth tree farms and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat
       Oppose the privatization of the Elliott State Forest
 
It is encouraged that you personalize your testimony and remind the State Land Board why the Elliott is so important to you or your organization. Thanks for speaking up for this outstanding public resource!
 
(School kids stand in the threatened Elliott State Forest. Photo by Josh Laughlin)

Sep26

Practicing for Two Talking Wolves

By Bob Ferris
 
I had a short talk with Todd Wilkinson yesterday morning. These chats are becoming more frequent as our book and lecture tour becomes more real and concrete.  We talk logistics but we also talk current events and philosophies. 2019372475 On some level we are like musicians trading guitar licks in preparation for a set of concerts after not playing together for decades.  The good news is that we are pleased and comfortable with the sound.
 
This morning we talked about wolves—huge surprise.  Specifically, we opined about the joyous Wyoming decision and the sadness and anger over the Toby Bridges incident—one playing off the other like bass and lead guitars.  The song that emerges is that many states are just not ready to be responsible for wolves—philosophically, culturally or operationally.  
 
The Wyoming wolf experience and the judge’s ruling reinforces the reality that many state fish and wildlife agencies—particularly those heavily influenced by timber, energy and trophy hunting interests—cannot tackle this important undertaking without serious revision and retooling.  This really runs deep with the wildlife commissions as well as the agencies they oversee. And the public clearly sees through the rhetoric to the underlying and often contradictory attitudes and actions.  
 
The physical manifestation of this wink-wink-nudge-nudge approach to post-federally listed wolves (that does not really fool anyone) is Toby Bridges of Missoula, Montana running over two wolves and bragging about it on Facebook.  Yes this is Montana and not Wyoming, but I cannot help but think that these seeds of wolf hatred would grow less easily and spontaneously if these state agencies did not create such fertile soil through their treatment of wolves and messaging.  
 
wolf-110006State agencies need to demonstrate that they are serious about wolf recovery prior to taking over the reins on this.  And that conversation cannot start with “this how we will manage wolves,” it has to start with “this is how we will continue recovery of wolves.”  Until this cultural shift happens we will continue to do this dance in states that want to manage a “problem” rather than demonstrating that they are serious about restoring an important ecological actor.  Hopefully at some point these states will realize that holding on to their out-of-date and biologically indefensible culture is the reason they spend time in court and why the global public sees them as a region full of folks just like Toby Bridges.  
 
Now we certainly see areas within wolf country try to distance themselves from the Toby Bridges’ of the world like Ketchum, Idaho recently did by passing a resolution urging co-existence with the wolf.  But for every “Ketchum” there seems to be an “Idaho for Wildlife” style derby or website.  
 
My sense is that those looking after the reputations and also tourism revenues of their respective states should take a moment to examine the public’s reactions to those diverse actions.  Some serious thinking about which public face leads to more filled chairs, beds and rooms is likely in order, as I have yet to see studies indicating that ignorance, hatred and illogical persecution of wildlife “sell” a particular tourist destination.  Moreover, I remain unconvinced that the actions of Toby Bridges, Idaho for Wildlife or others represent the majority sentiment in those states so the many are being financially penalized for the loud and out-of-scale voices of the few.
 
More later as we get ready to take the stage in less than a month.  Hopefully we will see many of you as we travel north from Ashland on the 14th of October towards BC.  Bring your friends and questions.
 
 

Aug21

OR-7 The Journey : Film Premiere

"OR-7 The Journey"

September 18, 2014 at 7:00pm

Bijou Art Cinemas on 13th Ave. Eugene, Oregon

 
OR-7 The Journey, documentary film presented by Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, and film producer Clemens Shenk. Eugene, OR film premiere at Bijou Art Cinemas on 13th Avenue on Sept. 18, 2014 at 7pm

Join Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild on September 18, 2014 at 7pm in welcoming Oregon filmmaker Clemens Schenk for the Eugene premiere of "OR-7: The Journey".

 

 

RSVP HERE on the event page.

 

Buy TICKETS ONLINE.

 

"OR-7: The Journey" is an inspiring documentary chronicling the remarkable dispersal of a young male wolf – OR-7, also known as Journey – from northeast Oregon down into California who has recently formed a pack southwest of Crater Lake to become the first wolf pack in the Oregon Cascades in nearly 70 years.
 
Come celebrate wolf recovery, wildlife, Oregon's conservation values, and OR-7's epic journey. This film tells the story not just of Journey, but also of his species. It is a story of survival and inspiration. But even as most Americans have come to appreciate native wildlife and wild places, 21st century science and values are coming head to head with old prejudices that put the future of wolves – and OR-7 – in jeopardy.
 
  • The showing will be held at the Bijou Theater at 492 E. 13th Ave in Eugene, OR at 7:00pm. 
  • Tickets are $10 and are available through the Bijou’s website HERE. There is limited seating and the show is expected to sell out, purchasing tickets in advance is strongly encouraged.
  • A Q&A session will take place after the movie with wolf advocates and the filmmaker. 
  • Cascadia Wildlands merchandise will be available for purchase at the event.
 
For more info about the movie specifically, please follow this link.
 
Learn more about OR-7.
 

 

Maximize the impact of your donation to our wolf fund today, by taking advantage of the

 

Mountain Rose Herbs Matching Gift for Wolf Donations!
 
 
 
 
Donations_Wolf_MtnRoseHerbs_graph_DRAFT_C.3_21AugTry

Aug07

Bull of the Woods High Point: Battle Ax Mountain

Guest Post by John Williams (at right)
 
Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek share a boundary, so I thought they would make a good start. Battle Ax Mountain is the highest point in Bull of the Woods Wilderness at 5,566 feet. The trail to the top of Battle Ax Mountain is John Williamsstraightforward once you reach Beachie Saddle look to your right and follow the trail to the top. Driving into Elk Lake Campground I was surprised to see so many cars. The road in is incredibly rocky and riddled with large holes. A truck or high clearance car is suggested. I made the mistake of driving to the start of the hike where Forest Road 4697 turns into a trail. Parking is no longer allowed here, so save your time and tires; park near the campground. There is a longer (15.5 miles)  loop option that will take you to past Twin Lakes and back to the Elk Lake Campground. Despite the fairly large number of people camping at Elk Lake, I only came across two people on the trail. Awesome, friendly people often make hikes around Oregon an even better experience.
Elk Lake
 
Nearing the top I discovered that clouds had set in around the eastern side of the mountain. This made Elk Lake (photo above by John Williams) look pretty incredible, but obstructed views of the high cascades. After talking for awhile a top Battle Ax Mountain we parted ways. The people from Portland made their way around the rest of the loop and I set out for Beachie Mountain. There are over 75 miles of trails to explore in Bull of the Woods. Whether you're out for a day hike or setting out for a few days Battle Ax Mountain is a great jumping off point into a lush and beautiful area.  
 
Directions from Detroit: Turn left onto Forest Road 46, follow for 4.5 miles, turn left onto FR 4696, follow for .7 miles, turn left onto FR 4697, follow for 9.5 miles. Parking is on the right just before the campground. 
Hike Distance:  4.38 from the start of the trail miles round trip
Hike Type: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 1500 Feet
Trailhead Elevation: 4000 Feet
Usage: Moderate
Difficulty: 3 out of 5
Fees: 5 dollar day pass or Northwest Forest Pass
 
For more pictures and a map of the area please visit John's blog here and please stay tuned for more hikes from John and others.
 

May16

Lowdown on the Hoedown

By Bob Ferris
 
My older brother had his wedding videotaped by a rather intrusive photographer.  And then after the wedding and before the honeymoon they rushed home and watched the video.  I never understood that until this week when I was going through the Hoedown videos and images.
 

Putting on an event like this puts you into a blur and you miss so much.  Certainly I had fun at the event and it was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones, but I didn’t realize how much fun we all had until I looked the videos and checked out the pictures.  
 
 
Now I will freely admit that when board member Paul Kuck and I were unloading tables at 2AM after hauling and bucking straw to the good folks at Aprovecho by moonlight, I was a little less optimistic about doing the event again next year.  But when I looked at the images of happy faces and dust kicking cowboy boots, all of my weariness and misgivings evaporated.
 

I also realized how grateful I was to all who attended and made it the event that it was.  And also how thankful I was that the band, Blue Flags & Black Grass were spectacular and that Pedal Power Music jumped in at the last second with a sustainable sound option that we hope to use next year too.
 
I was also grateful for our sponsors like Ninkasi who along with Oakshire provided quality social lubrication for the event.  And the food was simply amazing too and we are so appreciative of our in-kind donors.
 
But most of all it was the people.  Board members like Paul Kuck, Sarah Peters and new board member Anne Dorsey who kicked it into high gear to make this happen.  The staff too from gimpy Josh Laughlin who served as a Chester-like limping emcee and Nick Cady who turned teamster to help haul truckloads of materials and Kaley Sauer who t-shirted, flasked us and bumper-stickered us in style.  Francis Eatherington was there welcoming and there was spanking-new staffer Carolyn Candela plying us with coffee, tea and lemonade.
 

And then there were the volunteers like Misha English, Jessica Southwick, Carlene Ramus, Steve Witten, Max Coslow and cast of unnamed folks from hither and yon.  Big thanks too to Janine Nilsen at Avalon Stables for providing the venue (and dancing above with Sheriff Dan Kruse).  All of you were essential just like the trees we work so hard to save and the wolves we labor to protect.  
 
THANK YOU All!
 
 

May07

Ninkasi T-shirt: Art Imitates Life But Also Inspires Action

By Bob Ferris
 
Our new collaborative T-shirt design with Ninkasi speaks symbolically and literally for rivers (at right). Ninkasi T Shirt
 
For instance, the river flowing out of us on the shirt and into a Ninkasi pint glass graphically represents our work to protect waters and Ninkasi’s significant support for efforts to keep our region’s waterways clean and wild.  This makes perfect sense as both our entities are headquartered in Eugene on the banks of a river and we operate in a region—Cascadia—that is defined by its cascading waters.  We are in water people.
 
the-narrows-viewpoint-north-umpqua-river-myrtle-creek-300x186Cascadia Wildlands' water work is sometimes pretty obvious and upfront such as our efforts to get suction dredgers out of our precious salmon steelhead waters, our work to protect tree-lined, riparian corridors from harm and our advocacy against harmful public lands grazing. And sometimes our water work is a little more cryptic like our battles against coal exports, LNG pipelines and carbon export facilities.   But all of it is directed towards keeping the water that we live near, play in and depend on for life in a wild state.
 
This shirt design should be taken literally as well, because Cascadia Wildlands works to protect the McKenzie and other nearby watersheds which is where Ninkasi other local breweries gets their water.  Our recent, successful lawsuit on the Goose Timber Sale and our efforts now on the ill-advised Green Mountain Project (please click below to take action) all act to protect this globally-known watershed for people, fish and even beer.  
 
 
For all of the above reasons we are proud of this shirt for all it represents.  And we happy that we will be able to start offering this shirt this coming Saturday May 10th at the Hoedown where we celebrate our partners in all of these efforts: You.  
 
So get your tickets now to come square dance, drink some Ninkasi (and Oakshire) brews, play games, eat monumental vegetarian chili and cavort around a campfire with the finest bunch of people found in Cascadia.  Yee Haw!
 

 

Apr08

Cascadia Wildlands and Sound Choices

By Bob Ferris
 
The_Rosannas_With Seth Plunkett-Libby Fenstermacher-Andrew Mosman-Joshua Heying
So much of what we do to keep things wild involves sound—embracing the good ones versus fighting the offensive.  For instance, we want wolves howling in the wilderness but don’t want to hear the constant lawnmower-motor burping of suction dredge engines in our wild spaces.
 
Similarly, we much prefer to listen to the wind whistling through tall trees in the Elliott State Forest and the gentle “keer”of marbled murrelets to the rip-snort of a chainsaw.  The same is true for rushing waters and waves as opposed to off-highway vehicles and jet boats.  
 
We all have similar catalogues of good and bad sounds.  What we hear and experience through our auditory senses seems almost as important as what we harvest in wilderness through our eyes, nose, feet and fingers.  
 
This importance of good sounds is probably why we at Cascadia Wildlands convene so many events over and around music.  Good sounds bring us together.  Take Pints Gone Wild hosted by Ninkasi Brewery on the first Monday of each month.  That gathering is all about good sounds—old favorites, new artists and those making joyful or innovative noise for the wildlands we love.  All of them generously donating their time to help us keep it wild.
 
_MG_0112But it does not end there because we also have special events such as the upcoming one at Luckey’s Club on April 12 and our barn-burner (figuratively not literally) Hoedown for Ancient Forests on May 10th.  
 
And it is not just about our own music events.  We will also be at the Oregon Country Fair and String Summit again this summer.  So please come to these events and tell your friends. There is really no rule out there that says we cannot have major amounts of fun while taking material actions to keep it wild.  
 
 
 

 

Nov25

Press Release: Cascadia Wildlands to Celebrate 15 Years at the 11th Annual Wonderland Auction on Dec. 14

November 25, 2013
For Immediate Release
 
Contact: Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.434.1463
               Alyssa Lawless, Mountain Rose Herbs, 541.741.7307
 
Eugene—On Saturday, December 14, Cascadia Wildlands, in conjunction with Mountain Rose Herbs, the University of Oregon Outdoor Program and other community sponsors, hosts a 15-year celebration at the 11th annual Wonderland Auction. This event is from 6-10 pm at the University of Oregon’s EMU Ballroom and promises to be a night to remember.
 
The evening will feature live jazz by the Liaisons Duo (Eugene’s Sean Peterson and Laura Kemp), a gourmet dinner by Ring of Fire, Ninkasi brews and local wines, exciting live and silent auctions and abundant holiday cheer. Proceeds from the event directly support the conservation work of Cascadia Wildlands, including restoring gray wolves back into the Pacific West, safeguarding threatened old-growth rainforests, and recovering wildLiaisonsBlack&white(small) salmon and steelhead.
 
“This event is to celebrate our first 15 years of conservation successes with the community members and businesses that helped us realize our goals,” says Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director of Cascadia Wildlands. “It is also an event to raise operating revenue for our lofty conservation plans and help usher in the next 15 years.”
 
Nearly two hundred businesses have contributed to the event, from cash and in-kind sponsorship to those who donated goods, services and other products. Mountain Rose Herbs, with headquarters in west Eugene, is the event’s lead sponsor for the seventh consecutive year.
“It’s such a pleasure to partner with a local non-profit that both works to protect endangered species like the gray wolf and throws a great party!,” says Alyssa Lawless, Director of Sustainability at Mountain Rose Herbs.  “Over the years, our relationship has grown, and we continue to be impressed with Cascadia Wildlands’ efforts to conserve the unique bioregion that we value and rely on to make our business successful.”
 
Exciting live and silent auction items include a three-night stay at the Cliff House on the beautiful McKenzie River, a three-night getaway at Orca Adventure Lodge on Prince William Sound, rafting trips on the McKenzie and Umpqua Rivers, fine wine and vineyard tours, flyfishing trips, a gourmet dinner with Cascadia’s President and First Lady, lunch for two in an old-growth tree top, and much, much, more.
Other Wonderland Auction sponsors include: Back to the Roots Landscaping, Café Mam, Eugene Weekly, Genesis Juice, Kore Kombucha, Coconut Bliss, Marché, Vanilla Jill’s and Green Solutions Printing.
 
The cost of the event is $40/person in advance, $50 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free. Admission includes dinner, drinks, live jazz, live and silent auctions, and holiday cheer. Advance tickets, a live and silent auction preview, and more event information can be found at www.CascWild.org.
 
*** A high-resolution image of the Liaisons Duo is attached for press use. (Photo courtesy of Sean Peterson)
 
About Mountain Rose Herbs
Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been known for its uncompromising commitment to organic agriculture, sustainable business practices, and a steadfast focus on the pure aesthetics and freshness of botanical products. Their wide range of product offerings includes bulk herbs and spices, aromatherapy and essential oils, tea and tea supplies, and natural health and body care. Every aspect of product creation is carried out in accordance with strict quality control and organic handling procedures by employees who care. From fragrant and beyond-fresh organic herbs and spices, to soothing essential oils and delicious herbal teas, the quality and integrity of Mountain Rose Herbs is unparalleled – with smiles guaranteed. To learn more about Mountain Rose Herbs please visit www.mountainroseherbs.com.
 

Oct29

Author! Author!

By Bob Ferris
Outdoor writers have selected their field not because it is a pathway to fame and riches but because they love the subject matter.  Being a successful outdoor writer demonstrates a level of skill and personal dedication that few of us will ever possess or aspire to.  That is why it is so significant when these writers elect to donate their written works to our annual auction.   Their gesture—like their words–says so much.  And this year we are particularly touched by the stature and the assortment of authors who have offered up their works to help support Cascadia Wildlands.
 

Collared

 

Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon’s Wolf Country by Aimee L. Eaton introduces readers to the biologists, ranchers, conservationists, state employees, and lawyers on the front lines, encouraging a deeper, multifaceted understanding of the controversial and storied presence of wolves in Oregon.

THe Wolf's Tooth

 

In The Wolf’s Tooth, scientist and author Cristina Eisenberg explores the concept of “trophic cascades” and the role of top predators in regulating ecosystems. Her fascinating and wide-ranging work provides clear explanations of the science surrounding keystone predators and considers how this notion can help provide practical solutions for restoring ecosystem health and functioning.
Salmon in the TreesA 2011 Nautilus Book Award winner and a 2010 Independent Publisher Book Award winner, Salmon in the Trees tells the story of the Tongass, a 17 million-acre temperate rain forest fringing the coastal panhandle of Alaska and covering thousands of islands in the Alexander Archipelago. With some of the world's highest densities of grizzly bears, black bears, and bald eagles, the Tongass National Forest is a place that time hasn't quite caught up to yet. Here, millions of wild salmon are the crucial link between the forest and the sea, and shape both animal and human lives. But can the great forest's biological treasures withstand the modern pressures of a globalized world?

Leaf

 

 

Childrens author Jo Marshall is donating two sets of her popular three-book Twig series.  These books are wonderful educational adventures for young readers that teach about nature and environmental issues such as climate change.

final-cover-wolfer

 

Wolfer-A Memior. His plan was to stay in Iowa, maybe get a job counting ducks, or do a little farming. But events conspired to fling Carter Niemeyer westward and straight into the jaws of wolves. From his early years wrangling ornery federal trappers, eagles and grizzlies, to winning a skinning contest that paved the way for wolf reintroduction in the Northern Rockies, Carter Niemeyer reveals the wild and bumpy ride that turned a trapper – a killer – into a champion of wolves.

The Homeward Wolf

The Homeward Wolf.  Wolves have become a complicated comeback story. Their tracks are once again making trails throughout western Alberta, southern British Columbia and the northwestern United States, and the lonesome howls of the legendary predator are no longer mere echoes from our frontier past: they are prophetic voices emerging from the hills of our contemporary reality.
Kevin Van Tighem's first RMB Manifesto explores the history of wolf eradication in western North America and the species recent return to the places where humans live and play. Rich with personal anecdotes and the stories of individual wolves whose fates reflect the complexity of our relationship  
LastStandfnl2013cover237

 

 

Last Stand: Ted Turner's Quest to Save a Troubled Planet.  A highly regarded environmental journalist, Todd Wilkinson, turns his attention to one of the most compelling personalities in American business. Last Stand gives us a new, unexpected lens through which to view a previously unsung hero of conservation and offers prescriptions for the future of conservation. (Our copy is signed by the author and Ted Turner)
The Death and Life of Monterey BayAnyone who has ever stood on the shores of Monterey Bay, watching the rolling ocean waves and frolicking otters, knows it is a unique place. But even residents on this idyllic California coast may not realize its full history. Monterey began as a natural paradise, but became the poster child for industrial devastation in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row,and is now one of the most celebrated shorelines in the world.
 It is a remarkable story of life, death, and revival—told here for the first time in all its stunning color and bleak grays by Stephen Palumbi and Carolyn Sotka. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay begins in the eighteenth century when Spanish and French explorers encountered a rocky shoreline brimming with life—raucous sea birds, abundant sea otters, barking sea lions, halibut the size of wagon wheels,waters thick with whales. A century and a half later, many of the sea creatures had disappeared, replaced by sardine canneries that sickened residents with their stench but kept the money flowing. When the fish ran out and the climate turned,the factories emptied and the community crumbled. But today,both Monterey’s economy and wildlife are resplendent. How did it happen?
The High Sierra of California

 

Combining the dramatic and meticulous work of printmaker Tom Killion–accented by quotes from John Muir–and the journal writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder, The High Sierra of California is a tribute to the bold, jagged peaks that have inspired generations of naturalists, artists, and writers.
For over thirty years, Tom Killion has been backpacking the High Sierra, making sketches of the region stretching from Yosemite south to Whitney and Kaweah Crest, which he calls ''California's backbone.'' Using traditional Japanese and European woodcut techniques, Killion has created stunning visual images of the Sierra that focus on the backcountry above nine thousand feet, accessible only on foot.
 
Accompanying these riveting images are the journals of Gary Snyder, chronicling more than forty years of foot travels through the High Sierra backcountry. ''Athens and Rome, good-bye!'' writes Snyder, as he takes us deep into the mountains on his daily journeys around Yosemite and beyond.  Winner of the California Book Award Medal.
Please come to the 11th Wonderland auction on December 14th and bid on these wonderful literary works written by authors who are true friends to Cascadia Wildlands in all respects.  We thank them and other auction donors who value our work and our shared love of wildlife and wildlands,

Sep02

Of Zombies, Zane Grey and Western Rivers

By Bob Ferris

Forlorn_River_Book_CoverI became convinced yesterday that actors who play zombies in movies learned their walking techniques from fly fishermen wading in swift rivers on slippery and slimy cobble.  I came to that conclusion as I “gingerly” crossed the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River—it is all in the balance or lack thereof.  But this summer seems to have been a season of lessons taught or inspired by the rivers my wife and I roamed in July, August and September. 

Our first plans this summer were to go down the Wild and Scenic portion of the Rogue. Since this is the site of Zane Grey’s cabin and we tend to get regionally inspired recorded books for our trips we checked out Grey’s Forlorn River for a listen.  But this year’s fires forced a migration to the Lower Salmon and Snake Rivers of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.  As this was sort of last minute we still took the story of Ben Ide and Ina Blaine along with us for a listen.

Forlorn River is certainly about rustlers and romance but it is also about drought and the over-riding importance of water.  It is a tale of how little weather blimps—like a six-year drought—can make profound differences when it comes to the livelihoods and welfare of people and wildlife.  We got about a third through the CDs on our trip to the launch site at White Bird, Idaho.  Grey’s descriptions of fried landscapes and denuded slopes around a de-watered Tule Lake resonated as we rowed past hillside after hillside rich with cattle hoof prints and cow flops but much bereft of plant life.  

IMG_5887
We spent a layover day after our second day of raft rowing and the five of us in our party hid in the thorny locust trees and watched the REI thermometer top 112 degrees in the shade.  The steep, dark canyon walls seemed quite capable of turning our little refuge into the Neolithic equivalent of an easy-bake oven.  It made me think—as I often do—about the implications of climate change and the importance of doing all that we can to limit the use of fossil fuels.  Parboiling in our shady version of Hades somehow gives special validity to all our efforts to stop pipelines and coal terminals.  

We also ran into a BLM fellow during our series of siestas.  In amongst the chit-chat and his questions about our compliance with poop-rules and other river regulations, I asked him about suction dredgers on the Salmon.  His response was similar to other responses that I have received from other agency folks in that unarmed officers are understandably reticent to perform enforcement actions on heavily armed public lands users.  Strikes me as a sad state of affairs.

 
It is about weather but also water too.  Our boats clanked and clunked through the various rapids as they were festooned with water bottles of all ilks.   And you can tell a lot about people by their water bottles.  Ours bespoke folks who supported energy conservation programs in Oregon and Washington, wildlife preservation and organic farming—mostly metal, well used and dented.  These are the modern day equivalents of the saddle blanket-sided canteens of Ben and Ina’s days.  

IMG_5943
We drank deep and often in the searing heat along our 75-mile trip (see water bottle above from business partner Mountain Rose Herbs).  And it was so easy to imagine the craziness and desperation experienced by those without water in these conditions.  Our Tully’s and booney hats replaced the big, broad sombreros of the Forlorn River crew, but it was clear that without water their personal shade would be but a short stopgap.

IMG_5969
My thoughts returned to climate change again on our last night on the Snake—the day we rowed from Idaho to Oregon and then into Washington.  We stopped short of our goal on a tiny little beach because a head wind was beating the current and our rowing.  My friend Martin and I were building shoulders, but not making progress.  Tired as we were we both hopped up when we looked at the quickly blackening sky and scrambled to erect tents and batten down whatever “hatches” were open.  My wife questioned our haste and my bossiness as I shoved her and our gear into the tent, but when the angry skies unleashed the need for speed became readily apparent.  

Our once quiet, sweltering and a little buggy beach quickly became like the stormy deck of a besieged ship as the wind and rain whipped us.  I became a giant, wet tent stake as I held on to top of our tent to prevent ripped fabric and sprung poles.  Then the calm came and we took a breath only to have the trailing edges of the storm blow us just as hard in the other direction.   

IMG_5965
We emerged wet and much cooler, but suspected that gear from some camps that afternoon flew miles before stopping.  The bugs too were gone and there was a freshness felt.  But I could not help but think about storm intensity and climate change essentially: What have we wrought though our consumptive ways and how justified the sky is in giving us the grief it does.  

Following our return from the Salmon and Snake Rivers, the rest of Forlorn River CDs sat unspun until Carlene and I finally traveled down to the Rogue.  This time we went to go rafting from Hog Creek to Grave’s Creek with a bunch of environmental law students from University of Oregon.  When I say bunch I mean 70 or so.  This is always a rowdy trip and not because of the river which only slaps us with Class I & II rapids in this stretch.  It is a good float and nice to see this potential crop of environmental lawyers out in the habitats they will work so hard to protect in the future.  

It is also a time for discussions and bonding; for the river opens as well as it binds.  Paddling is a team sport as people have to paddle together to make progress and also have to develop both as leaders and followers to make it work in the manner that it should.  No one is going to die but there are consequences when it does not work.  It is also intriguing to see—one by one—why each of the students is there and what makes them special.  It could be the shy talker who belts out a ballad next to the campfire or the timid and hesitant leaper who seems hesitant to jump off the lower level of the rock plunge only to nail a bold backflip with a perfect entry.  I am along as mentor and guide, but in truth I do very little of either.  I learn much from the discussions and their commitment deepens my own resolve.

 
And again the CDs sit, but only for less than a day for we soon scoot off to spend an afternoon on the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette up past Westfir.  We are midway through Forlorn River at this point and we revel at Marvie Blaine’s enthusiasm over fishing as the rainbows stack up in the last spring holes of Forlorn River.  Knowing what I do about Zane Grey’s life and his dedication to angling, I suspect that there is a lot of him in young Marvie and his willingness to take a “licking” in pursuit of his passion.  I get that because I was bitten by the same bug.

The last spring hole is also a contemporarily appropriate metaphor.  We are in so many areas down to our last spring hole and the fish really have no place else to go.  In my own North Fork wading and wandering looking for that legal-sized keeper native, I stumbled onto about a dozen or so nearly yard-long salmonids beaten and bruised from their long journeys.  My emotions upon seeing these great fish were mixed.  I was at once excited and empathetic as well as depressed and resigned when it dawned on me that these fish—brave and majestic as they were—represented some of the problem and our folly as these were most likely summer run steelhead from hatcheries judging from their lack of adipose fins.  It is kind of like looking up a slope and seeing shapes you hope are elk and finding they are cattle—not completely the same but similar.  Elation and deflation.

The CD spun to romance as we drove home and a coming together for Ben and Ina with hopeful undertones for the triumph of good over evil and right over wrong.  I hope as we re-enter the world of wolves, O&C lands and salmon recovery that this Forlorn River theme can prevail.  We still have about twenty percent of the book to hear so we are obviously obligated to visit another river or two soon.  I wonder which waterway it will be and what lessons it will teach?  

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