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The Planet
A New Decade of Activist Outings

By Vicky Hoover
Activist Outing Chair

This year, 2004, marks the fortieth anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the landmark legislation that made it a priority for our nation to set aside—forever undeveloped—significant remnants of natural landscapes and ecosystems. The bill, signed September 3, 1964, by President Lyndon Johnson, established a National Wilderness Preservation System that in 40 years has grown from nearly 10 million acres to about 100 million acres. And we’re not done yet!

Sierra Club outings were started in 1901 to educate and inspire people to protect wild lands. Consider what a large percentage of current club outings occur within designated wilderness! All Sierra Club outings strive to feature some conservation element, but activist trips go one step further: they focus on more specific-issue training, keeping the information and advocacy flowing even after the trip is over. National activist trips not only show off wild areas that need advocates, they train participants to become strong leaders for preservation back at home.

This year, Sierra Club Outings is offering six national activist trips—spanning the country from coast to coast. What better way to herald the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act than to enjoy one (or more) of these intriguing wildlands advocacy adventures.

Rafting Through Utah’s Red Rock Wilderness, San Juan River, Utah

June 3–7. We’ll see more than 300 million years of exposed geologic history on our float through the San Juan’s magnificent canyons. Our 83-mile journey takes us through the incredible Goosenecks to our take-out at Lake Powell. Learn how to protect Utah’s red rock canyons and deserts while exploring the river. We’ll enjoy Ancestral Puebloan rock art, cliff dwellings, swimming holes, hiking, and canyon camping. Minimum age: 14. Leader: Cristina Breen. Price: $895. [04101A]

Big Rocks to Bristlecones: Eastern Nevada Wilderness Adventure

June 20–27. Eastern Nevada holds basins and ranges full of wild roadless areas, most of them unknown to the majority of the American public who actually "own" them. Join us to see these wild places first-hand as we travel via van and on foot, ending in Great Basin National Park, Nevada. This experience should fill you with the wonder of untrammeled nature and inspire you to save these desert and mountain treasures. Leaders: Cal and Letty French. Price: $455. [04102A]

Working for Wilderness in California’s White Mountains

June 27–July 4. Just east of the Sierra Nevada, the lofty White Mountains are the summit of the Great Basin Ecoregion and remain as the state’s largest unprotected roadless area. Icon of the California Wilderness Campaign, this range provides the dramatic backdrop for our car-camping/ backpacking adventure with a variety of hiking—from bristlecone pines to snowy peaks. Join us to learn about efforts underway to protect this remarkable habitat. (Rated M.) Leader: Vicky Hoover. Price: $435. [04103A]

Southeast Alaska Activist Adventure in the Tongass National Forest

August 2–12. Join us as we search for wilderness by ferry, van, kayak, and on foot along the Inland Passage in America’s largest national forest. Many of the Tongass’s old-growth trees remain unprotected, and this prime wildlife habitat of dramatic fjords, pristine islands, and magnificent forests is at a crucial point. We’ll learn about the region’s environmental issues (with a special focus on Prince of Wales Island) while exploring its rich history and scenic wonders. Leader: Jeri Rosenthal. Price: $2,245. [04024A]

Saving the Kootenai National Forest, Montana

August 7–14. On this enlightening trip, we’ll see vivid examples of the serious threats facing the northern Rockies. No other forest in the United States encourages such rampant logging and mining, which continue to reduce the wild character of the area, as well as threaten sensitive species. Our van-supported trip seeks out these unprotected areas on day hikes from established campsites. Leader: Roger Grissette. Price: $575. [04105A]

Everglades to the Coral Reefs: Snorkel and Study in Everglades National Park and Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary

August 22–28. Join us to explore the wonders of marine and terrestrial ecosystems as we learn to identify sea grass, mangroves, coral, fish, and other aquatic organisms. We’ll study the ecology and interdependency of these communities and learn how to protect and improve threatened environments. Combining classroom and field instruction with snorkeling, we’ll have a unique opportunity to learn more about the mysteries surrounding the ocean. Dormitory accommodations included. Leaders: Vivian and Otto Spielbichler. Price: $695. [04106A]

For trip brochures and more information, call (415) 977-5522, or visit sierraclub.org/outings/national. Contact Vicky Hoover at (415) 977-5527 or vicky.hoover@sierraclub.org for details about partial scholarships that may be available for applicants for whom cost is a deterrent. Some chapters may be able to help if you become an official chapter representative.


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