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".
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.

What a world! An environmentalist's nightmare, or a testament to man's ingenuity. That is what I felt as I toured the Thompson Creek Mine in Idaho, an open pit molybdenum mine just to the south of the Frank Church Wilderness. If you have ever been to Idaho and seen the remarkable mountain ranges of the Boulders, the White Clouds and the Sawtooths, or flown over these wildest of lands, you will understand the definition of wildness...

As privately owned native prairies are converting to agriculture, natural landscapes and wildlife habitat are diminishing, which places more pressure on public lands to support viable wildlife populations and the recreation economies that depend on them. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is proposing a conservation strategy for managing the largest, most intact and wildlife-rich areas of public lands in the BLM's Lewistown Field Office, Montana.
As part of a youth leadership conference on wilderness, EcoFlight flew high school students over wilderness areas in Colorado. Wilderness plays an important role here in Colorado, providing us with clean air and water, and sustaining our tourism economy. We are fortunate to have wilderness areas like the Maroon Bells, Hunter-Fryingpan and Holy Cross. However, many existing protected wilderness areas consist of 'rock & ice' landscapes.
Twenty-five miles south of Monument Valley, in the heart of the Navajo Nation, are the Black Mesa and Kayenta Coal Mines. These neighboring mines together make up the world's largest strip mining operation. In 2006, the Black Mesa Mine suspended its operations, while the Kayenta Mine remains active, providing approximately 8 million tons of coal each year. This multi-billion dollar operation subsidizes power for Arizona's largest cities including Phoenix, Tucson, Scottsdale, and Flagstaff.
In 1994 it was discovered that acid mine drainage had been forming on the embankment at the tailings facility at the Thompson Creek Mine, since 1987. Agencies and the mine finally took action in the late 1990s to remove and/or bury acid-forming sands on the site...

Here we go again off into the wild blue yonder. We are flying north again working on keeping a bunch of lands wild but the blue yonder unfortunately quickly turns to brown, due to a multitude of fires burning in Washington and Oregon. Distances appear to collapse when you are in the air, and just as our visibility was greatly reduced by the smoke, so the number of untrammeled landscapes in the west appears to be disappearing almost as quickly.

The Rock Springs BLM field office is currently revising its Resource Management Plan, which will impact how a large portion of the Red Desert is managed for the next 20-25 years. Our partners at the Wyoming Wilderness Association are working to ensure that special wild landscapes in the Red Desert are adequately protected during this administrative process so that these landscapes remain intact for future congressional protections.
The flash of lightning and the boom of thunder interrupted our instructor. I was startled back to full consciousness as I had been sitting in a classroom in Denver, Colorado, staring out the window at rain soaked clouds and a deep undercast. My thoughts drifted from my CFI renewal course to our upcoming flights in Colorado Springs, in support of the Western Governors' Association annual meeting at the historic Broadmoor Hotel.
On June 20th, a storage tank attached to an oil well damaged by recent flooding spilled 7,500 gallons of crude oil into the Cache La Poudre River near Windsor. Spring flood waters undercutting a bank caused the tank to drop downward and damage a valve, dumping oil into the river and impacting vegetation a quarter-mile downstream.
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 Wyoming Range campaign, thanks to an unprecedented show of local and national support, has protected much of the Wyoming Range from natural gas development. The Trust for Public Lands, working on behalf of several local groups, including the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Citizens for the Wyoming Range and The Wilderness Society, reached a deal with Plains Exploration and Production in 2012 to sell leases for about 58,000 acres of land in the Upper Hoback Basin.

EcoFlight’s annual student program, Flight Across America (FLAA) brings the aerial perspective of wildlands to students who are studying issues on public lands. EcoFlight hosted a student seminar on wilderness last fall, and recently conducted overflights of wild lands for the students who participated.
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