Thursday, January 10, 2019

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 1/10/19

Big Picture National Parks Shutdown News:

--The Washington Post is reporting that, "The National Park Service will take the unprecedented step of tapping entrance fees to pay for expanded operations at its most popular sites, officials said Sunday, as the partial federal government shutdown threatens to degrade some of the nation’s iconic landmarks. Under a memorandum signed Saturday by the Interior Department’s acting secretary, David Bernhardt, and obtained by The Washington Post, park managers will be permitted to bring on additional staff to clean restrooms, haul trash, patrol the parks and open areas that have been shut during the budget impasse that has lasted more than two weeks. In a statement Sunday, National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith acknowledged that the administration’s practice of keeping parks open but understaffed has become unsustainable at some of its most beloved sites." To read more, click here.

--There have been three fatalities in the National Parks since the Shutdown began:
  • December 24 - A 14-year-old girl fell to her death at Horseshoe Bend in the Glen Canyon Recreation Areain Arizona.
  • December 25 - A man died of a head injury after slipping at Silver Apron in Yosemite National Park. This went unreported by the NPS for a week.
  • December 27 - A woman was killed by a falling tree in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in the Southeast (North Carolina and Tennessee).
  • There were at least four additional deaths by suicide in the National Parks since the Shutdown began.
There's no evidence that the shutdown is responsible for these deaths, but how they were handled due to the lack of resources is an open question. To read more, click here.


--Gripped is reporting that, "A skier died from their injuries after being caught in an avalanche at Pebble Creek near Pemberton on Thursday. The 42-year-old man from Squamish was skiing with a group who was equipped and prepared for backcountry situations. They were reportedly staying at a backcountry cabin, possibly the Pebble Creek Hut." To read more, click here.

--This is a cool piece on a couple that created a new long distance trail link-up in the Pacific Northwest.

--This is an excellent retrospective on an avalanche that took place on the Shuksan Arm near Mt. Baker Ski Area last spring.

--Sierra is reporting, "Rose Freeman and Anastasia Allison think nothing of waking up in the dead of night and hauling a violin and a piano up a snowy mountain. Once they find the right spot for a serenade, they each change into full-length recital gowns and break the solemn silence by beginning to play just as the sun appears. The two women call themselves the Musical Mountaineers, and they perform in remote wilderness settings for the sheer joy of it all." To see a video of the pair, click below. To read more, click here.


--Outside posted a piece from a longtime Yosemite resident about how the Government Shutdown is affecting people. Here's a quote from a ranger within the piece: "People are screaming about paying their taxes and having rights,” my friend wrote, quoting the ranger. “Keeping parks accessible is reasonable if people can fend for themselves and care for the park themselves, but the large majority can’t. … That is why they hire the National Park Service. To provide a service to the vast majority who don’t know how to be a true steward for their land or don’t care to be. I beg all of you to stay home and not visit your parks until everyone comes back to work. Your experience will be ten thousand times better.” To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--The Nevada Current is reporting some very serious news about Red Rock Canyon. "Documents filed with Clark County confirm rumors that the owners of Bonnie Springs Ranch are seeking to divide up the 63-acre property in order to build residential housing. On Dec. 13, land-use plans were submitted to the county. They show the 63-acre property being broken into 22 different parcels. The largest would be an 8.5-acre property directly off Bonnie Springs Road that would encompass a restaurant, motel and event barn. The other 21 are residential properties ranging from 1.84 to 3.39 acres each." to read more, click here.

--Joshua Tree National Park is closing today, due to maintenance issues that have festered during the Shutdown. To read more, click here. UPDATE: Joshua Tree avoided closure. UPDATE II: Our local guide states that the gate is closed.

--The Las Vegas Review Journal is worried about human waste in Red Rock Canyon during the Government Shutdown. "If you’re heading out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area during the partial federal government shutdown, be sure to bring your own toilet paper." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Denver Post is reporting that, "One skier died and four others were rescued Saturday night after the group got caught in an avalanche on Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan Mountains." To read more, click here.

--A new avalanche mitigation system is being implemented to protect the roadway near Berthound Pass. To read more, click here.

--ABC4 is reporting that, "Zion National Park is getting some help staying open through the government shutdown. The City of St. George, roughly 40 miles away, says it, Washington County and two other groups are each writing a check for thousands of dollars, to fund basic services at the park through Saturday." To read more, click here.

--In non-Shutdown news, the Star Tribune is reporting that, "A family that owns land along the northeastern boundary of Zion National Park has agreed to let hikers continue to wade through their section of the narrowest stretch of Zion Canyon." To read more, click here.

--The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that, "After a hard-won and historic victory that will shift the body from a long-standing white Republican majority to a Democratic and American Indian one, the new San Juan County Commission took the oath of office in a packed ceremony Monday. The occasion was met with celebration from many in southeastern Utah who hope the change will improve conditions for the county’s majority American Indian population." This is important because this group has had some sway over the decisions regarding Bears Ears. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--A 35-year-old snowmobiler was killed in an avalanche near Wyoming's Teton Pass on Monday. It is believed that the snowmobile triggered the slide. To read more, click here.

--The San Gabriel Valley Tribune is reporting that, "The rifle-toting man with a history of gun crimes who was found hiding in Malibu Creek State Park last year was charged Monday in a series of mysterious shootings in the area, including one that killed an Orange County father of two as he slept at a campground." To read more, click here.

--Black Diamond isn't too happy with Walmart for using images of their products on the Walmart website. Black Diamond sent them a cease and desist letter. To read more, click here.

--There is some controversy about the unassisted crossing of Antarctica that just took place. The controversy is that it probably happened 30 years ago. To read more, click here.

--The Outdoor Alliance is reporting that, "last week, the new House majority abandoned a rule of the last Congress that made it easier to transfer or sell off public lands. The old rule, enacted by Republican leadership in 2017 at the start of the 115th Congress, established that that “certain conveyances of federal lands” would “not be considered as providing new budget authority,” basically meaning that the House could transfer or sell off of public lands and treat them as valueless for the purposes of budgetary accounting. In reality, public lands are a large source of government revenue, second only to taxes. And we know that our National Parks, Forests, and Wildlife Refuges are invaluable for the climbing, hiking, camping, paddling, mountain biking, and skiing opportunities they provide." To read more, click here.

--The Burlington Free Press in Vermont is reporting that, "Jay Peak Ski Resort, which was at the center of one of the biggest EB-5 frauds in history, moved a giant step closer to being sold Friday with the selection of an investment bank to represent it to potential buyers. Federal receiver Michael Goldberg said he would file a motion in federal court late Friday or early Monday to retain Los Angeles-based Houlihan Lokey to "assist us with the sale of Jay Peak Resort." He said the resort would be on the market "within a few weeks." To read more, click here.

No comments: