The Navajo Nation and Utah Diné Bikéyah have offered their vision for the protection and management of natural and cultural resources on federal lands in San Juan County, Utah. After identifying important cultural and biological areas, including Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa, maps were combined to create the boundaries of the proposed 1.9 million acre Bears Ears National Conservation Area which includes wilderness designations and co-managed areas.
More than 100 years ago President Theodore Roosevelt designated the Grand Canyon as a national monument, and since then much more of the Grand Canyon ecosystem has been protected. But the watershed, which includes tributary canyons, grasslands and springs that flow into the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, is still threatened by grazing, increasing motorized use, logging and uranium mining.
Here in Colorado we had a classic Christmas. Snow and bitter cold with picturesque snow-wrapped trees. The sun rarely made an appearance, and clouds provided the backdrop for a cozy and most beautiful holiday season. Checking out the Farmers' Almanac (or more accurately weather.com) we noticed a break in the action for one day and combined a number of flight requests to fly a spectacular route, provide critical footage for the issue at hand and an aerial educational tour that was provocative and revealing.
EcoFlight flew members of the Carbondale Town Council over the Thompson Divide to get the areial perspective of the landscape that contributes $30 million dollars a year to the local economy and supports nearly 300 Colorado jobs. Councilman A.J. Hobbs wrote the following account of the flight, which was published in the Post Independent:
The BLM has been doing vegetation treatment projects on the Dark Canyon Plateau and other areas in an effort to increase big game and cattle grazing habitat. As we saw from the air, these projects are basically clear-cutting up to 100% of the pinyon-juniper forest in the treated areas.
Following a road from the air 1,000 feet above ground level is something we used to do on a daily basis, especially before the advent and routine use of GPS. So when the archaeologist onboard said fly to the Twin Angel Great House and follow the Great North Road south, I thought "piece of cake". The Great North Road leads south down to Chaco Canyon and was the main "thoroughfare", not just for trading and a means to get to other Great Houses like Pierre's Complex (discovered in the 1970s) along the way, but was also thought to be an ancient Pueblo religious pathway leading to their place of origin and along which the spirits of the dead travel.
Solar energy is becoming a promising industry as our country shifts its reliance from dirty fuels to cleaner, renewable sources of energy. The Mojave Desert is an unbroken and intact landscape that provides diverse habitat for endangered wildlife species, outstanding recreational opportunities, and an abundance of natural resources including solar and wind. With growing demand for renewable energy, there is a corresponding demand and pressure to develop energy zones on sensitive landscapes.
Captain's Log 1XE, Day 15 in the month of September in the Earth Calendar Year of 2014, as the earthly mountains winter is quickly approaching, brrrrr.
How often have we heard the expression "can't see the forest for the trees"? I grew up on the East coast, and now when I return in a single engine airplane I can for the first time understand the landscape and the topography.
About 90% of the public land in the San Juan Basin south of Farmington, New Mexico already has been leased for oil and gas drilling, and companies plan to continue expansion of development closer and closer to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. EcoFlight provided an aerial tour of Chaco and the surrounding landscape to local journalists and the Partnership for Responsible Business, a nonprofit arm of the Green Chamber, a Santa Fe-based group of business leaders.