Today is Tuesday. It's a beautiful day in Colorado and I am in my favorite place: my office up at 11,500', eastbound to Meeker where Starship 1XE goes for maintenance. Another 35 hours have 'flown' by and it's time for yet another oil change. With all that's been going on we have flown more hours than in past years. Our flights have been exceptionally productive, but there is more need than ever for the advocacy spurred by our flights
I'm Not sure how many of you have seen the ESPN C'Mon Man segment - it is always entertaining. It highlights a blooper reel of outrageous acts of misjudgment, miscalculations, or plain old fashioned hiccups in routine sporting events. My most recent series of flights overlapped with a number of national and international calamities that brought this show to mind.
The Bears Ears National Monument is severely threatened by Secretary Zinke and Trump's administration, who have said they will significantly reduce the boundaries of the monument. EcoFlight and our partners are committed to fighting efforts to reduce or rescind the monument protections.
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. This pollution will last in perpetuity. The mining company is currently collecting this discharge and treating it, but no money has been set aside to continue water quality treatments after the mine closes.
One of the more interesting aspects of flying is reading an aviation chart. Even though paper maps are fast becoming archaic, soon to be found only in time-capsules, the apps on our iPads still need to be interpreted and understood. Along with topographical designations and airport symbols and relevant elevation markings, there are boundaries that represent where and how high you can fly.
Middle Knob provides spectacular, rugged and colorful landforms, and dramatic viewsheds. It is a key ecological area which supports unusual plant associations not found elsewhere, including one of California's rarest species: Kern buckwheat. Unusual associations occur throughout the area, combining species from coastal scrub, southern mountain chaparral, Sierran foothill woodlands, Great Basin pinyon forests, and Mojavean scrub.
While many public lands in the region have been leased and developed for oil and gas, thus far the development has remained concentrated, leaving large areas of contiguous, undeveloped lands within and surrounding the Guadalupe Mountains. These undeveloped landscapes support hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, caving, sightseeing and many other forms of quiet recreation which enhance the quality of life for local residents, and also draw visitors to the region and support diverse local economies.
A stillness descended as the light flattened and turned to dusk and a temperature drop of 15 degrees brought out the goosebumps, together with a feeling of peacefulness mixed with awe and marvel. It felt prehistoric standing in the middle of a field, with a viewshed of 360 degrees of cloudless Wyoming sky, and a few taildragger aircraft and starship 1XE parked on a sandy dusty airstrip...
Our weather radar has been clear lately, though there is a lot going on under the radar. August is supposed to herald the dog days of summer but you sure couldn't tell by our recent flights from Colorado to Wyoming. As we make our way north in the early morning light we are met with phantasmagoric outlines of island mountain ranges peering ominously out of the gray blue haze...
The Crystal River sustains diverse fish and wildlife and local ranching heritage, and provides outstanding natural beauty for residents and visitors. The river is eligible for federal Wild & Scenic designation, which will protect non-consumptive use for critical fish and wildlife habitat and consumptive uses essential for agricultural and municipal needs. Interest has been growing in seeking designation to protect the river from any dams or new out-of-basin diversions.
In 2014, President Obama designated the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico after ten years of collaborative work and input from a very diverse group of stakeholders: ranchers, recreation groups, local business owners, state agencies, nearby communities, the White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss and the U.S. Border Patrol.
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