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 It is outdated, increasingly irrelevant, and unable to manage the tremendous user-growth and environmental changes that the landscape has experienced over the past three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.
The San Gabriel Mountains provide 70% of the open space and 30% of the drinking water for LA County. The 346,177- acre monument, designated by Obama in 2014 contains rock art from ancient civilizations, an observatory, and recreation opportunities available to the over 17 million people in the region

Hidden wonders. A whirlwind trip filled with surprises, old and new landscapes, timely flights and strange weather. If you have ever flown 50 hours in a couple of weeks you can probably relate to what I am about to say. If you haven't, then hang on. It is always a pleasure facing new challenges especially when you are making a difference.

There are significant public and environmental health concerns related to the White Mesa Mill. Cells 1, 2, and 3 at the White Mesa Mill were constructed with thin plastic liners between two layers of crushed rock. The liners in those cells had a useful life of 20 years when they were installed in the early 1980s and have never been replaced.
Technology will save us. If we use it properly. I was reminded of this on a recent set of flights in the heart of the Northern Rockies. First stop was Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where my Garmin GPS 496 alerted me to a number of fires in the vicinity. Hard to envisage, as two hours earlier we had departed the lush environs of the Roaring Fork Valley, verdant after a wet and short summer season...