Words of Wilderness

The Wilderness Act turns 50 this year and this short video is a visually stunning way to celebrate some of our most treasured landscapes. We’re truly indebted to John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, Also Leopold, and the countless other unsung advocates who fought tirelessly to preserve Wilderness for us all. What an amazing legacy to leave.

…on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam—our pale blue dot.

It’s hard to find a more eloquent, humbling, and ultimately empowering statement than the inspired words of Carl Sagan. If you’ve had a bad day recently or need some perspective on your life, here it is. Watch. Listen.

In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, revel in the joy of sharing a planet and an epoch with your friends and family, with neighbors and strangers. With wistful clouds and chirping birds; with streams and rock and dirt.

Because with great fortune, you have the serendipitous opportunity of inhabiting, for a brief moment, a tiny fraction of a speck on our insignificant pale blue dot—a faint pinprick of reflected light suspended in an incalculable vastness. Cherish it. Hold dear the only home we’ve ever known, that solitary mote of dust.

Continue reading

Visiting the Breweries of Metro Phoenix

My friend Jenny and I have embarked on a quest to visit all of Metro Phoenix’s breweries before the end of this year. While I’ve already been to most of these, I plan on revisiting them all as part of this quest. Here’s the list we’re working off of, skipping ones that don’t have a tasting room or are part of a corporate chain.

We’ve currently visited 17 of the (now) 26:

Still left to visit:

Continue reading

Leaving the Conservation Lands Foundation

Yesterday was my last day at the Conservation Lands Foundation.

NCSF

Our board and staff on my second day on the job.

In my nearly six years on staff, we quickly built an effective national organization, developed and supported a vibrant network of grassroots advocates across the West, helped set a strong policy vision for system, and elevated the profile of the National Conservation Lands, among many other hard-fought achievements. And while it required a lot of hard work, it’s impossible not to smile deeply when I think back over how far we’ve come; it’s truly been a remarkable ride. I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing colleagues and partners—most all of whom I now consider friends—on this century’s greatest public lands conservation opportunity…all while having some good fun along the way, too.

Moving on is always bittersweet, but an exciting opportunity also lies ahead that will let me harness and better focus my passion for the Conservation Lands here in Arizona. I’ll have more to announce in the near future.

In the meanwhile, I’m on sabbatical through mid-April, so if you have some free time and want to get together, go for a hike, or take a daytrip, send me a note and get on my calendar.

Happy birthday to the Antiquities Act!

Today is the anniversary of Antiquities Act of 1906. Not many people know much about this law, even though it probably ranks as the most important conservation tool in our nation’s history. Not only did it, for the first time, protect historical and prehistoric structures and artifacts, but it gave the President the authority to designate national monuments, helping to effectively preserve so much of our natural and cultural heritage. Many of these places have since been incorporated into larger national monuments or national parks, and many of them form the basis for the National Conservation Lands.

Continue reading

Goodbye Lovebug and Shadow

Lovebug & Shadow in moving boxLast month, my two cats, Lovebug and Shadow, were unexpectedly pulled out of my life. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. The circumstances surrounding it made it hurt even worse. While I haven’t been able to live with them for awhile now, they were still very important to me and important parts of the only family I’ve had a hand in choosing.

Today is Lovebug’s birthday, and so I am remembering him and Shadow with this post. Continue reading

My #BattlefieldsandBeginnings road trip

15 days. 2,486 miles. 31 new national parks.

In March 2013, I had one of my most productive national park road trips. I called it my #BattlefieldsandBeginnings trip, and it primarily focused on as-yet-unvisited national parks in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. I also snuck in a quick jaunt over the Pennsylvania border to hit Gettysburg and the adjacent Eisenhower National Historic Site.

Continue reading