Conservation Connection July 2010
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In this issue:
- Safeguarding WA frontier
- Burke Museum exhibit
- Hikers explore Highlands
- Methow power play
We are partnering with the Gotham family ranch to protect valuable wildlife habitat in the Columbia Highlands.
Photo: Paul Bannick
Safeguarding Washington's Last Frontier
Last week, we submitted an application to the federal
Legacy Program on behalf of Ferry County ranchers Bryan and Debra
Gotham, in hopes of securing funds to keep the Gotham's 2,200 acre ranch
and tree farm safe from development indefinitely.
As part of our Columbia Highlands Initiative, we're working with timber interests, cattle producers, recreationists, and others to maintain healthy forests and
wildlife habitat in northeast Washington. "We're proud to partner with good stewards like the Gothams," said staffer Tim Coleman. Bryan Gotham
lauded the effort, "When the property around us starts growing houses instead of grass and trees, that
hurts our ranch, other local ranchers, and the wildlife, This partnership is helping us keep the
land the way it was in our grandfather's time."
Visit the Burke Museum on August 14 for stunning nature photography
Photo: Paul Bannick
Burke Museum Features Conservation Photographers
This summer, Seattle's Burke Museum is featuring inspiring photographs
sure to delight. As a Conservation Northwest supporter, you can enjoy
the International Conservation
Photography Awards exhibit with this
off coupon. On Saturday, August 14th, the museum presents a day
dedicated to the art and craft of photography, with workshops on the
latest techniques led by well-known nature photographers Paul Bannick,
John Greengo, and Mark Turner.
Hikers sign letters to support Columbia Highlands Wilderness.
Photo: Leif Jakobsen
Hikers Explore the Columbia Highlands
Over 170 people of all ages (and some intrepid pooches) have joined Conservation Northwest hikes this summer
highlighting several of the most pristine and threatened wild areas in northeastern Washington.
Along the way, hikers learned the best way to ensure that these areas remain safe and unchanged
for future generations and wildlife is to protect them under the Wilderness Act. Thanks to help
from enthusiastic volunteer hike leaders, participants wrote letters to Senator Cantwell and
Rep. McMorris Rodgers from the trail to protect the very area they were hiking in, and you can too!
Take five minutes today to
short, personal letters to Senator Maria Cantwell and Congresswoman
Cathy McMorris Rodgers urging them to introduce a bill as soon as possible
that will permanently protect roadless areas in the Columbia Highlands
as wilderness. A hand-written or typed personal letter is worth 2,000
emails and is exactly what leadership–and these wild areas–need
from you now.
For some inspiration, visit Columbia Highlands Wilderness'
page to see some great hike photos.
The Okanogan's PUD's proposed power line would cut through habitat in the Methow Valley that is valuable for mule deer and
other wildlife species.
Photo: Alan Bauer
Power Play Over Methow Wildlands
In a rousing match of political tennis, the possibility of a new Okanogan
PUD powerline across pristine, unroaded state trust land has become
a constitutional issue. The proposed powerline and miles of new roads
would cut directly through the largest block of shrub-steppe habitat
in the Methow Valley and degrade crucial winter habitat used by mule
deer-an important food source for many animals, including the local
The Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark, was making a good faith effort to address
an easement request when the Okanogan PUD unilaterally filed a lawsuit to take possession
of state property. Citing concerns about costs to the state for managing the sprawling
network of new roads, and increased risks of invasive species and wildfire, Commissioner
Goldmark wants to continue to fight the PUD's power grab. However, despite having backed
the Commissioner in a lower court case, state Attorney General Rob McKenna refused to
represent the state in an appeal. Until this gets resolved, we've appealed the lower
court's ruling as a "placeholder" for DNR.
The appeal of the lower court's decision on whether the PUD can condemn
state trust lands will not likely move forward until the Supreme Court
addresses the constitutional issues later this year.
Science director Dave Werntz said "Commissioner Goldmark has legitimate and unresolved
concerns about Okanogan PUD's powerline, and we support his efforts to preserve
wildlife habitat and lower the cost for Washington citizens."