The High Divide is a patchwork of private, state and federal land that connects Yellowstone National Park with the central Idaho wild lands, including the Frank Church Wilderness, and has been identified as one of the most ecologically important natural landscapes in the United States. The area is famous for its working ranches, abundance of fish and wildlife and outstanding opportunities for recreation and scenic beauty.
The Boulder-White Clouds are a crown jewel of Central Idaho. This is where the headwaters of four major river systems originate, where unique critters are found such as bighorn sheep and the elusive wolverine, where the highest-elevation salmon runs in North America occur, as well as rare plants found nowhere else on earth. The region is one of the last, largest under-protected roadless landscapes in the lower 48 states and supports all types of recreational opportunities.
The Trampe Ranch extends over 30 miles along the East River Valley and provides 6,000 acres of some of the most outstanding scenery and open space in Colorado. The effort to preserve the ranch through conservation easement is an opportunity to protect stream habitat, montane meadows, local food production and the beauty that draw visitors to the area.
From its ancient groves of western red cedars and temperate rainforest, to its sprawling alpine meadows, the Great Burn provides crucial habitat connectivity for elk, mountain goats, and wolverines. The area is in close proximity to Missoula and offers some of the best alpine access for hikers and horse-packers in the Northern Rockies.
The longest ungulate migration ever recorded in the lower 48 was recently discovered by a group of researchers at the University of Wyoming. Migration routes of mule deer were found to extend 150 miles from the Red Desert via the Wind River Range to its northernmost point of Hoback Junction in the Wyoming Range. The future integrity of these herds depends on their ability to migrate seasonally from low elevation winter ranges to high elevation summer ranges.
Sometimes, zooming around in the wild blue yonder can be rather phantasmagoric (a word I learned from my beautiful co-pilot and partner Janey. Definition: having a fantastic or deceptive appearance, as something in a dream or created by the imagination.) One minute you're on the ground in stormy lush green Choteau, Montana, and in the next few hours you are over a totally new environment such as the red rocks of Moab, Utah. Or perhaps the jungles of Belize one day, and a few days later flying over the snowcapped peaks of Colorado.
Our flights also took us over Mt. Tenabo, a region that is sacred to the Western Shoshone and has been used for cultural and traditional purposes. Despite objections from members of the Shoshone, the industry was able to proceed in developing The Cortez Hills mine on the Mt. Tenabo. The impacts of such a mine on a sacred landscape are made grimly apparent from the air.
The Nature Conservancy has acquired 117,152 acres from the Plum Creek timber company, securing another piece of private land that makes up the landscape known as the Crown of the Continent. These acres were the last of the land once owned by Plum Creek within the Blackfoot River Valley.

Starship 1XE sits comfortably in its shelter while conservation flying continues in a TBM 700, a single engine turboprop that can fly at 300 knots and up to 31,000 ft. There are many ways to protect and conserve land. We can legislate, mandate, regulate and even monument-ate it. Or the old fashioned way ... buy it.

This overflight helped us identify conservation sites with the greatest potential for restoration. These were sites with a high diversity of habitat types, pools, riffles and backwaters. It is imperative that these species are conserved, as they are an integral part of the ecosystem, and aren't found anywhere else on the planet.
The BLM released a proposed final plan for its Oil and Gas Amendment to a Resource Management Plan for the White River Field Office in Colorado in March 2015. The plan proposes drilling over 15,000 new oil and gas wells in the Piceance Basin (up from 1,800 wells currently) over the next 20 years...
EcoFlight recently participated in a tribal gathering with members of Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo and Hualapai tribes and flew them over a landscape that is special to all of them in San Juan County, Utah called Bears Ears.
Dunn Road from the air looks like a rugged 30-mile dirt road, stemming off I-74 and winding its way through the middle of the Santa Rosa Mountains. The original intent of the road was a short-cut to private residences in the mountains around Palm Springs, California.
The mission today is a "drive" to Old Snowmass, to meet up with some old friends who are collaborating on the newest John Denver documentary. As one of John's longtime and dearest friends I was invited to "shoot the s*!" and share stories with a few other character gems. The documentary is focused on getting behind all the hoopla, and share things about the man that many people do not know.

EcoFlight flew a group of students from Colorado Mountain College over the Roan Plateau for the aerial perspective of what they are studying. Students had the opportunity to see the intact parts of on the Roan, and the heavy amount of development around its base and the private lands on top, and saw the Thompson Divide, a roadless area that provides important wildlife habitat and is an economic driver for local communities.

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.
There are incredible things about Utah that you see and there are incredible things about Utah that you don't see. As we head to Blanding on this fine winter day the air is smooth as silk and you can see forever. What we don't see are some of the plans afoot in Utah's halls of state government for many parts of this unique and spectacular landscape.
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:
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