Ear to the Ground: June / July 2015

Outdoor News and Notes for the California Region

deanpotter

mikeyschaeferphotography.com

Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping accident in Yosemite
Legendary climber Dean Potter and his friend Graham Hunt died May 16 in a wingsuit jump accident at Yosemite National Park. The free-spirited 43-year old Potter was well known for his daring expression of what he referred to as “outdoor arts” which include solo climbing, wingsuit flying and slacklining. After being let go by sponsor Clif Bar last fall, Potter questioned the “homogenization” of the outdoor industry. ”Outdoor Arts are beyond sport and for many of us it’s our spirituality. The wilderness is infinite in what it offers. Shouldn’t we question when the leaders of our community try to manipulate our culture into a monocrop?” Yosemite has banned BASE jumping since 1980, but that has not deterred those passionate about the activity. Potter professed to BASE jump not to flaunt the law but to express his freedom as a human being. “We are the last of the Wild,” he said. “If we keep excluding the next most-wild-creature, sooner or later there will be nothing left.”

Keen announces grant winners
Keen has announced the six nonprofit organizations receiving $10,000 each from the company’s semi-annual grant program, Keen Effect. This program awards financial support to organizations dedicated to inspiring people to get outside. Spring 2015 grantees include First Descents, Muddy Sneakers, GirlVentures, Open Meadows, Green Thumbs, Growing Kids, and Sustainable Coastlines. Applications are open year round; Fall 2015 winners will be announced on National Public Lands Day, September 26. Learn more about the Keen Effect grant program at keenfootwear.com.

Sierra Buttes and Ibis Cycles give back to Downieville trails
Ibis Cycles once again proves its commitment to the mountain biking community by generously supporting Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship fundraising efforts to give Downieville’s world-class trails some much needed love. Learn more about the Five Bucks A Foot campaign (also supported by FOX and Shimano) and enter for your chance to win the Ibis bike of your choice (valued at over $10,000) at sierratrails.org.

Santa Barbara outdoor industry affected by oil spill
Outdoor adventure companies, hotels and other businesses are working hard to spread the word that the recent oil spill – which leaked over 20,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific, impacting nearly ten miles of coastline just north of Santa Barbara – is no reason to cancel vacation plans to the area. Tourism industry staff have been fielding questions about the spill and assuring visitors that although a devastating occurance, it is not something that has impacted the entire Santa Barbara area. Santa Barbara Adventure Co. leads kayaking trips throughout the area and assures visitors that there are plenty of beautiful beaches that are open and unaffected by the spill.

American Rivers shines spotlight on river pollution
The annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers report is a list of rivers at a crossroads, where key decisions in the coming months will determine the rivers’ fates. The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and the Columbia River are the top two most threatened waterways. California’s Smith River is listed in seventh place due to nickel mining proposals that threaten clean water, wildlife, and outdoor recreation.

American Rivers also organizes National River Clean Up Day, an annual effort to remove litter and debris from America’s rivers and streams. Last year, an outstanding affiliation of organizations and communities worked with American Rivers to clean up their local waterways. California’s largest tract of tidal salt marsh outside San Francisco Bay was one such area that received attention. Working with staff from the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough Reserve together with Keurig Green Mountain volunteers, 800 pounds of plastic agricultural waste and irrigation taping were removed from the slopes of this home to extraordinatry biological diversity.

For the complete list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, and information on National River Clean Up Day, visit AmericanRivers.org.

Photo: Bruce Dorman

Photo: Bruce Dorman

Dream trail opens to worldwide acclaim
The final segment of the eagerly awaited and immensely popular 3.5 mile flow trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) has been completed and the trail opened to the public in its entirety on Friday April 16, 2015. The 3.5 mile feature-laden trail was a project of Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBoSC) and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) SDSF. The final volunteer trail work day was sponsored by Specialized Bicycles and took place on Tuesday April 14, during the week between the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival and the Sea Otter Classic in nearby Monterey. Specialized pro riders from around the world – including Christoph Sauser, Todd Wells, Matt Hunter, Hannah Barnes, Anneke Beerten, and Lea Davison – pitched in alongside Specialized employees and other flow trail volunteers. A Grand Opening celebration featuring refreshments, live music and a volunteer raffle took place on Saturday May 9, 2015. In the opening ceremony, SDSF Forest Manager Angela Bernheisel thanked the project’s volunteers and sponsors, noting “This trail adds more diversity and opportunity for recreation at SDSF.” Learn more about the SDSF Flow Trail at mbosc.org.

Big Sur International Marathon announces lottery registration for 2016
With unprecedented demand for entries, the Big Sur International Marathon will feature a new lottery-driven registration plan for its April 24, 2016 event. The annual race, set along California’s scenic Highway 1, is limited to 4,500 total marathon entrants including all special divisions and categories. Registration for these lotteries runs from July 15th through July 28th. Considered one of the world’s top destination and scenic races, the Big Sur Marathon also offers shorter distances along the “ragged edge of the Western World.”Learn more and register at bsim.org.

Photo courtesy O.A.R.S.

Photo courtesy O.A.R.S.

Chaco / O.A.R.S. team up
Leading outdoor footwear company Chaco has been signed on as the official footwear sponsor for river and sea outfitter O.A.R.S. Guides worldwide will be clad in Chacos, and provide input for product development and testing. Chaco’s Manager Josh Weichhand explains, “Chaco was born on the water, so supporting river enthusiasts is what we do best, which is why our partnership with O.A.R.S makes perfect sense.” Look for this partnership to provide engaging guide stories, videos and interviews, plus contests and giveaways as well. Visit chacos.com and oars.com for more info.

Photo courtesy Northstar California Resort.

Photo courtesy Northstar California Resort.

Bike & Hike at Northstar
Northstar’s Bike & Hike Park is now open Fridays through Sundays (although closed June 12 – 14) and then seven days a week from June 26 through August 16. With a wide array of mountain biking trails for all riding abilities, plus an extensive network of hiking paths, Northstar has something for everyone. Afternoon, all-day and unlimited summer season passes are available. Season passes allow additional access to other Vail Resorts including Kirkwood, Keystone, Canyons, and Vail. Visit northstarcalifornia.com for more information.

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