Friday, August 29, 2014

Hike your own hike

Sam on St Johns Ledges. Brutal downhill.
You can see the leg to my walker on in the
lower left.
When you're two miles in with thirty pounds on your back you realize two things. First, thirty pounds weighs more on the trail than it did in your dining room. Second, two miles on foot has no relationship whatsoever with two miles in any conveyance. You also realize that leaving behind the rod, reel and fly box just to save a pound or two may have been the wrong decision though that's an easy regret to have when faced with a startling green pool in a fast moving mountain river. Such regrets will evaporate twenty miles onward when the ounces crush your arches and leaden the spirit.

On a recent Friday evening, my son and I camped along the banks of the Housatonic River. The relatively short hike into the Ten Mile River campground allowed us a jump off point for an early start on Saturday. Sam has aspirations to do a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail after high school. He has read alluring tales of the AT penned by AWOL and Bryson and his mind has been captured with the epic adventure of it all. I figured a taste of the reality of an encumbered walk in the woods would provide data for a more informed decision. We planned to go north as far as we could muster. At a minimum we'd get to test out knees and muscles and equipment against a fine summer day or two on the AT.

You can read the rest of this article at Hatch Magazine.

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I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Hubris: The Certainty of the Mining Industry

Mount Polley Mine Tailings Pond Dam. Water almost meets water standards according to mine CEO 
There's a tired old joke about discerning lying politicians by observing the mobility of their lips and there is a close parallel to mines and their assertions about the hazards of their operations.

Before a mine can begin operation in the US, owners must submit Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) to the federal government. The percentage of mines that predict low impacts to water quality in their EISs is 100%, according to a 2008 report by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In actuality, the number that actually pollute ground and surface waters is summed up in the report by a simple phrase: "the majority".
 
You can read the rest of this article at Hatch Magazine.

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I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Trout Magazine


Trout Magazine - Summer 2014 Cover
This past weekend I spent time camping along the Beaverkill nestled deep in a fold of the Catskills. With no cell phone service I had the opportunity to get caught up on my reading in between a little trout fishing, socializing and relaxing with the family. In the stack of dead trees that accompanied me was Trout magazine. Trout was fairly high in the stack, well above the well recognized "how to" periodicals. During the past few years I've come to have a keener appreciation for the writers who are closer to the literary end of the spectrum than the "hook and bullet" end. The Drake, Flyfish Journal and Gray's Fly Fishing issue (though I feel it's aging out) are my new staples. Trout's in that class too though that's a fairly recent development.

I first met Kirk Deeter in 2012 shortly after he was announced as editor of Trout Magazine. Kirk's vision for Trout, the in house magazine of Trout Unlimited, was to be of such high quality that folks would join TU just to get the magazine. That sounded awful ambitious.

You can read the rest of this review at Hatch Magazine.

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I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Connections


Yesterday afternoon I had the water to myself. During the dog days, the Farmington is one of the few local places to reliably find trout. Weekends it can be crowded but mid-week you can still find places to be alone. I fished and caught in solitude until rush hour. The road across the way, unnoticed through the afternoon, suddenly had a spurt of life. It was the only indication of the rhythm of elsewhere.

A little while later I heard commotion in the small lot behind me. Late of some workplace, three guys entered the pool above me. While they were a hundred yards off the quiet of the valley and the reflective quality of lazy water made their banter easily heard. These three took up what seemed like the usual spots and the cliche, stream-side taunts bounced back and forth. Portly guy was into fish quickly and rated a few hoots while his buddies struggled. Before long the abundance of the Farmington yielded bent rods for the lot of them.

You can read the rest of this essay at Hatch Magazine.

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I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.


Friday, July 18, 2014

What Congress has done this week to piss me off!

If you want to know where this bullshit comes from, just follow the money. I love this idea.

Are you friggin' kidding me?

So the EPA is poised to propose limits on mining in Bristol Bay which comes after years of research and science that indicates that, contrary to the opinion of mining companies and politicians bought and paid for by mining companies, the mine would destroy habitat, kill jobs, and threaten the best salmon runs on the planet. Sounds like a good thing.

Sadly, it's too good to be true.

A bunch of representatives on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have prepared a few choice pieces of legislation that would gut the EPA's regulatory powers:

H.R. 5078: Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014: The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently used something that politicians don't understand nor like, we call it science, to determine that headwaters are important to clean water and therefore need to be regulated. The EPA even proposed some rules about that. This bill seeks to set those rules and the EPA's authority aside because.....well, for no friggin' reason other than they don't like the EPA. I suppose they think clean water comes in plastic bottles. Dopes.

H.R. 5077: Coal Jobs Protection Act of 2014: Jobs protection?! More bullshit. This is the Coal Mining Company Profits and Political Donation Protection Act of 2014. When a mining company wants to take a mountain top and put it in a valley in which a stream runs, chock full of wildlife and cold, clean water, this turd of an act limits the time in which regulators can study the problem to determine its impact. I know it's inconvenient for businesses to actually have to deal with the regulations but c'mon. It's not like the coal industry is renowned for their environmental stewardship....

Rep. Bill Shuster
(R-Pennsylvania)
Ensuring all Americans get the
water they deserve.
H.R.4854: Regulatory Certainty Act of 2014: This is the most relevant to the types of situations faced by Bristol Bay. This little beauty of a bill basically kills the process, called 404c in regulatory lingo, that allowed the EPA to develop good science then exercise its power to protect clean water in Bristol Bay for all Americans.

I am hopeful that the battle to save Bristol Bay is in its final phase but that doesn't mean we can no longer be vigilant. While Bristol Bay was a highly visible and important battle, there are many more battles that have to be fought each day to protect less storied watersheds including headwaters streams that may run through our backyards.

Stay vigilant. Stay involved. Write your Congressman. Make smart choices at the polls.

Tight lines.

Notes:
1) When I am king, elected representatives get one term, that's it.
2) And Corporations wouldn't be people
3) And you'd have to wear those sponsor patches on your $1,200 suit. And none of those patches could include the American flag. Politician's wearing the American flag demeans the flag.
4) Can you tell it's a Friday in the summer. I probably need to go fishing.