Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Removal: Before and After

Weethump, February 2006

Before beginnning, volunteers inspect the debris to be removed.

Friends deconstructs the larger pieces...

And loads the debris onto a flatbed to be taken to a legal dump site.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wingding 2010 Photos Are Here!

Over 250 people attended the 2010 Wilderness Wingding at the Grand Sierra Resort on Friday night! Here are some of the photos, visit our Facebook page to see more!!

Our Blue Helmet awardees - volunteers who participated in three or more trips this field season! (Photo by Graham Stafford)

Musical guests Code Bluegrass rocked the house! (Photo by Graham Stafford)

Volunteer of the Year Caleb with Wes, Pat, and Kurt (Photo by Graham Stafford)

The Dwyers check out the raffle items (Photo by Graham Stafford)

Little Wilderness Warriors (Photo by Graham Stafford)

Jo and Shaaron share a smile (Photo by Graham Stafford)

The Buballas minus Louis (Photo by Graham Stafford)

Louis minus the Buballas (Photo by Graham Stafford)

AmeriCorps volunteers Ursula and Darcy take a moment to smile (Photo by Graham Stafford)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rain in the Black Rock

By Brian Beffort.

"Playa" in Spanish means beach. I've always found humor in exploring the Black Rock Playa, and other dry lake beds across Nevada, often when the land is parched, bare, thirsty, with no water to be seen anywhere--hardly beach.

Not today. The playa this week is living up to its name. Inches of rain have already fallen this week in the Black Rock region, making this desert look more like a marine environment. Volunteer Chris Ripps and I enjoyed a beautiful trip to Soldier Meadows in the calm and beautiful window before the storms hit hard. Here are some pictures.

Sunset at Soldier Meadows...the calm beauty before the storm. (photo be Brian Beffort)

After driving rain on my tent all night long, we woke to see calm weather and fresh snow on Pahute Peak. (Brian Beffort)

After a few dry-but-windy hours, the storm set in. Misty rain first shrouded only the higher reaches of the Calico Mountains. (Brian Beffort)

Then it spread across the entire playa. (Brian Beffort)

After only a couple hour's of rain, every depression on the ground became a drainage. And while I've heard of glacial milk, the mineral rich sediment filling rivers in glacier-scoured mountains, this was my first encounter with alluvial milk pouring toward the playa here in the Calicos.

Photo by Brian Beffort

At 3pm on Tuesday, the playa was a lake. This is the cove just north of the 12-Mile entrance to the playa, a place where I have camped often with lots of other people for National Public Lands Day and other events. Good thing this storm didn't come then. And what will happen when such a storm comes during Burning Man?

Photo by Brian Beffort

Walking among the dune, stepping over rivulets, and staring out into the misty expanse reminded me of exploring the coast at low tide on a misty, rainy day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wilderness Wingding Tomorrow Night!

Fabulous food, amazing prizes, and great live music, all at the beautiful Grand Sierra Resort!

Friday, Dec. 10
from 6 pm until 10 pm
at the Grand Sierra Resort
in the Tahoe Room
Suggested $10 donation at the door

Join Friends of Nevada Wilderness at this community event to honor the hard work of our 2010 volunteers, sponsors, and agency partners!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tonight! Meet the Author: Brian Beffort

Photograph by Brian Beffort

Tonight at 7 pm, Friends of Nevada Wilderness Associate Director Brian Beffort will be sharing a slideshow of his spectacular wild Nevada photography at the REI store in Henderson. An avid hiker and explorer, he will also be discussing and signing his hiking guide, "Afoot and Afield: Las Vegas and Southern Nevada." Southern Nevada Program Director Kurt Kuznicki will also be there with Wild Nevada 2011 calendars.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Restoration: Before and After

Alder Creek, August 2006

Despite a sign barring off-road vehicles, an illegal track has formed (photo by Pat Bruce)

Friends of Nevada Wilderness and volunteers work to remove the traces of the track (Pat Bruce)

After the team is finished and a new sign post up, the lack of a track will deter off-highway riding (Pat Bruce)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Can you name these tracks? Answer!

Did you correctly guess which animal created these prints in the snow?

A coyote! (photo by Philip DeManczuk)

A bear! (photo by Philip DeManczuk)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can you name these tracks?

Snow in Nevada offers a lot of delightful past times, but can be especially helpful to animal watchers and photographers! Can you name the creatures that made these tracks? Check back Monday for the answers!

Photo by Brian Beffort

Photo by Kurt Kuznicki

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Removal: Before and After

North Black Rock

Before Friends of Nevada Wilderness volunteers clean up an abandoned campsite

The team dissassembles a rusted-out fridge...

...and loads it onto a flatbed to take to dispose of.

After the team is done, no trace is left

Monday, November 15, 2010

StorySongs Benefit a Success!

The audience waits for the show to begin (photo by Darcy Shepard)

Thank you to everyone who came out to StorySongs: A Benefit for Nevada's Wild Places on Friday night. Mark Vollmer and Jim Eaglesmith performed for a full house, and all proceeds will go towards conserving and maintaining Nevada's public lands!

A special thanks to Patagonia Reno for hosting the event, and New Belgium Brewery and Cepage Selections of Reno for their generous beverage donations.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Removal: Before and After

North Black Rock, August 2008

Volunteers wind up yards of barb wire

After a long day of work

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Help Get Volunteers’ “Boots on the Ground”

Get your own boots on the ground when you donate! We will be giving away four gift certificates for a pair of Keen shoes or boots through the month of November – no minimum donation required!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Constructing the Birdsong Trail: Before and After

Desert National Wildlife Refuge, November 2010

Daybreak over the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (photo by Kurt Kuznicki)

Volunteers carry supplies along the trail (Kurt Kuznicki)

The team puts in steps on an incline (Kurt Kuznicki)

After the group finishes (Kurt Kuznicki)

The group after a hard day's work (Kurt Kuznicki)

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped for one, two, or all three days - the Birdsong Trail in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is now complete thanks to you!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Trail Building: Before and After

Toiyabe Crest Trail, July 2009

Friends of Nevada Wilderness volunteers begin working on an obstructed portion of the Toiyabe Crest Trail

After the team clears the trail

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Monday, November 01, 2010

Wilderness: A Beacon of Hope in a Changing Climate

Two recent articles have underscored the importance of wilderness areas—and in particular Nevada’s areas—as refugia to help species survive the onslaughts of climate change.

The myriad micro-environments nestled among Nevada's mountain ranges provide greater options for plants and wildlife trying to survive in a changing climate (the High Schells Wilderness, photo copyright Norman Herterich).

On October 27, the Washington Post reported on an article published in the online scientific journal, Nature:

“A growing number of creatures could disappear from the earth, with one-fifth of all vertebrates and as many as a third of all sharks and rays now facing the threat of extinction, according to a new survey assessing nearly 26,000 species across the globe.

“In addition, forces such as habitat destruction, over-exploitation and invasive competitors move 52 species a category closer to extinction each year, according to the research, published online Tuesday by the journal Science. At the same time, the findings demonstrate that these losses would be at least 20 percent higher without conservation efforts now underway.

"We know what we need to do," said Andrew Rosenberg, senior vice president for science and knowledge at the advocacy group Conservation International and one of the paper's co-authors. "We need to focus on protected areas, both terrestrial and marine."

In short, wilderness and other protected areas help minimize species extinction. A recent article, “Dancing with Climate Change” in High Country News explains the why:

“Mountain climate is patchy, explains [Forest Service ecologist Connie Millar]. The American West is warming more rapidly than other parts of the U.S., but that's just on average. Within the 11-state region lie tens of thousands of cooler pockets, due, in large part, to the presence of mountains. Biologically, this translates into resilience. On the flat, for example, an organism might have to travel several hundred miles to find a suitable niche, whereas in the mountains, a hop, skip and jump will often do the trick. "Because mountains are so topographically rough, so heterogeneous, they provide incredible opportunities for movement," Millar observes.”

In short, Nevada’s mountainous wilderness areas hide niches, micro-climates, where species can survive while everywhere else is becoming unsuitable.

Unfortunately, we don't know which species, or how many, will be forced to move to adapt to a changing climate. But by protecting Nevada’s wild landscapes, we ut we can give a fighting chance to those here at home.