Category archives for Conservation

Opinion: Protecting the Colorado Watershed’s Last Wild River

The Colorado River Basin is the hardest working and most threatened river basin in America. From headwaters high in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado supplies water to industry, agriculture, and more than 30 million people across the Western United States. Before running its course its flow is so tapped, diverted, and dammed that it no…

Watch Skiers Come Face-to-Face With a Snow Leopard

While leading a group of skiers through delectably deep snow in northern India—the region’s unique “curry powder”—backcountry ski guide David Marchi nearly collided with one of the rarest of the big cats, a snow leopard. Fortunately, the next skier, Australian Owen Lansbury, had a video camera mounted on his helmet and captured the scene moments…

Opinion: A Neighbor’s Plea

Utah’s failure to enforce protections from coal-derived air pollution hurts the West. Last May, I stood on top of 13,824-foot Jagged Peak in Southwest Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness, feeling good. My friends Ted and Christy Mahon and I had just completed the hundredth and final ascent of our Centennial Peaks Project, a seven-year effort to climb…

A Legendary Boiling River Flows Through the Amazon. Can It Be Saved?

As a kid growing up in Peru, Nicaragua, and Texas, Andrés Ruzo heard a legend about a boiling river deep in the heart of the Amazon. Years later in 2011, Ruzo, by then a geoscientist working on a thermal map of Peru, traveled by car, canoe, and foot to a remote swath of the Amazon…

Dancing With an Octopus, or Why We Need Human Exploration

Introducing Way Finding, a new column about our sense of wild places A few months ago, I needed to talk to someone about failure. Not failure generally, but a specific form of human failure. I was thinking about how we—meaning, I suppose, humanity—had given up on ourselves by offloading certain vital, very human work to…

Home on the Ranch: Saddling Up With Hawaii’s Cowboys

I’m glad I didn’t ask the paniolos, or Hawaiian cowboys, to wear flower leis and cowboy hats. That’s a huge pet peeve of theirs. I was in Hawaii for the Waimea Ocean Film Festival, where I was showing Unbranded, a documentary I produced about four guys, included me, who rode 16 wild mustangs across the…

The Best Adventure Films of 2015

This year, we saw adventure films rise above the expected action and adrenaline to tell rich stories of the triumph of the human spirit. With abundant winter storm warnings across the country, what better time to cozy up on the couch with some of the year’s best—after your powder turns and hot tub soaks, of course.…

Watch: See What Inspired National Park Champion Doug Tompkins

Last week outdoor community icon and conservationist Doug Tompkins died in a kayaking accident in Chile (read “Insiders Recount Efforts to Save North Face Founder“). But his legacy and leadership will live on. Watch this tribute to see what inspired his work, then read memories from his friends, including adventurer Jeff Johnson, surfer Dan Malloy, and our…

A Year in the Wilderness: Thanksgiving in the Boundary Waters – Week 9, Post #4

Our 65th day in the Boundary Waters gave us an excuse to celebrate on two accounts. We mused over breakfast that we will be in the Wilderness for 300 more days. More importantly, we were celebrating Thanksgiving in the Wilderness. We have been looking forward to Thanksgiving for several weeks and the stuff sack full…

Our Historic Chance to Protect the Grand Canyon

I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on the Grand Canyon. It was late fall of 1974 and I was driving back east to New York after two months of rock climbing and living in Yosemite Valley, California. I had been behind the wheel of my old VW Bug for most of the…