Welcome to Whitefish, Montana, home to the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, the gateway to Glacier National Park, and 7,436 of the friendliest Montana folks and business owners that you'll ever meet.
This was the site of the Western Governors' Association annual meeting, where all the governors of our Western states and territories and Canadian premiers come to debate many of the issues in the West.
Mining and smelting operations at the headwaters of the Clark Fork delivered copper for electricity to the United States for over a century. Long before environmental laws were in place, a massive flood in 1908 washed millions of tons of contaminated sediment downstream and deposited metals in the floodplain for over 120 river miles. The contamination impacted drinking water wells and agricultural soils, and today the river functions at only 1/5 of its fishery potential.
The unusual and beautiful Bodie Hills are important wildlife habitat for pronghorn antelope, mule deer and sage grouse. This area, bordering Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada Range, provides a recreational haven for local and tourist economies, and includes Bodie State Park, the Mono Lake National Scenic Area and the Bridgeport Valley.
The 378,000-acre Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument was created by President Clinton in 2001 to protect the iconic landscape for its significant historical and cultural importance to Native American tribes and the US. Lewis and Clark traveled through the area and were impressed by the geology and native wildlife they found.
The White Mesa Uranium Mill is the country's only operating conventional uranium mill, just 3 miles from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's White Mesa community. Built in 1979 to process uranium ore from the Colorado Plateau, the mill processes uranium from mines across the Colorado Plateau and has been importing radioactive waste called "alternate feed material" since 1987.
Bruce and Heidi
Bruce and Heidi

As part of the Wyoming Public Land Initiative, EcoFlight has been flying ranchers, snowmobilers, county commissioners, and more over 9 Wyoming counties. These flights are intended to look at a landscape and decide what the most appropriate way to utilize them while at the same time protecting that landscape. Pilot and founder of EcoFlight Bruce Gordon, said that the Bighorns are special.

Gordon, who lives in Aspen, Colorado, is no stranger to the beauty that lies in the Rocky Mountains. He encourages the public to educate themselves on both sides of what should be done with public lands.

The Bighorn Organizer of the Wyoming Wilderness Association Heidi Davidson, said the EcoFlight are all about educating. After a flight around the Johnson County side of the Bighorns on Monday, she shared what there wasto see.

To learn more about the EcoFlight organization follow this link http://ecoflight.org/.

The Wyoming Public Lands Initiative is a county-level initiative to which counties can voluntarily participate in the process of creating a legislative package for the designation or release of Wyoming's 44 Wilderness Study Areas. Counties are forming advisory committees that are required to encompass a broad cross-section of public lands stakeholders.
It's Back to Bodie...and early April was clearly too early this year for flying the Bodie Hills area. Blizzards and 85mph winds. Fortunately though, we were grounded in a pretty spectacular landscape, the Eastern Sierras. Having climbed extensively in Yosemite for a great many years, I had no idea what lay just over that cosmic valley to the east - an unusual landscape called Bodie Hills, surrounding the ghost mining town of Bodie. I have just finished reading Camp 4 by Steve Roper, and watching a Netflix video called Valley Uprising, both chronicling the heyday of Yosemite and the heroes and heroics of that wild and crazy bunch of maniacs.
The Amargosa Basin represents a vast stretch of desert that creates vital habitat connectivity between Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve. With the passage of the DRECP the majority of the California side of the basin is now managed with an emphasis on conservation. The basin drains into Badwater Basin at more than 200 feet below sea level but also encompasses the entire Kingston Range whose peak is over 7,000 feet high.
Captain's Log Starship 1XE, Day 22 in the month of March in the Earth Calendar Year of 2017 and Starship 1XE is "ready for departure".
Well that was certainly plan A, but as aviators and EcoFlighters we always strive to have a plan B or maybe even a C.
The Wyoming Public Lands Initiative is a county-level initiative to which counties can voluntarily participate in the process of creating a legislative package for the designation or release of Wyoming's 44 Wilderness Study Areas. Counties are forming advisory committees that will be expected to encompass a broad cross-section of public lands stakeholders. These committees will conduct collaborative reviews of the WSAs in their region and make recommendations to their county commissioners.
The San Juan Basin contains the nation's highest concentration of methane, which is an 86 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. In 2013, New Mexico wasted more than 250,000 metric tons of methane through leaks, venting and flaring - double the greenhouse gas emissions of the state's 700,000 cars. Oil and gas companies waste nearly $100 million worth of gas every year on tribal lands alone. This is a wasted opportunity to bring much needed revenue to infrastructure, education and health care for tribal communities through royalties on federal minerals.
The GMUG's 33-year old Forest Plan is one of the oldest in the country. It is outdated, increasingly irrelevant, and unable to manage the tremendous user-growth and environmental changes that the landscape has experienced over the past three decades. New Forest Service standards direct Forest Plans to be science-based and developed with extensive public involvement. The new plan, which will direct management for decades to come, is currently being updated and our conservation partners at High Country Conservation Advocates are leading efforts to ensure sustainability and landscape-level wildlands conservation is included in forest planning efforts.
Recently a request arrived at headquarters for a flight down to New Mexico where La Niña has dumped an unusually large amount of snow in the high desert in the northern part of the state, while the southern part of the state continues to be arid. Our flight would prove to be logistically challenging, but well worth the effort as it included a US Senator and the director of New Mexico's BLM...
The Pinto Mountains were recently designated as a California Desert National Conservation Land, making them part of the system of Monuments, Wilderness, and Wild and Scenic Rivers managed by the Bureau of Land Management. However, the designation still leaves open the threat of new mining claims, which could seriously impact the landscape's conservation values.
Recently, it was snowing and snowing, and snowing and I was waiting. And waiting, in a small stark room on a computer looking at weather, the route and contemplating my next flight. The scene reminded me of an old WWII movie as the young pilots filed into the briefing room to get the latest weather and their mission, and then settled down to a long wait in a local pub as storms blew through the area grounding the squadron.
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