The Outside Blog

Skiing and Snowboarding : Dec 2012

In Battle Over Bivavles, Salazar Sides With Environmental Groups

Oysters_bagsBags of oysters. Photo: Orin Zebest

It's been a year of important milestones in Marin County, California. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the Marin Headlands, turned 40. The Golden Gate Bridge hit 75 years. Further north, the Point Reyes National Seashore is 50. Now, an oyster farm's lease to operate on National Park Service land inside the National Seashore has expired. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar rejected pleas to extend and renew the lease, ending a highly charged battle between Drakes Oyster Company, the National Park Service, and environmental groups.

During the 1960s, both the headlands and the beaches along the Point Reyes Peninsula were under threat by developers who wanted to build up and subdivide those landscapes, so locals pushed for protection, fought hard, and won. It's difficult to imagine what Point Reyes would look like today if it had been developed and a planned major freeway cut through West Marine—let alone a proposed nuclear power plant.

But recently, the Drakes Oyster Company has been at the center of a storm over the Drakes Estero, a 2,000-acre, ecologically important estuary in which it operates. In 1962, Point Reyes National Seashore was added to the National Park System and sections of it were later deemed to become wilderness areas. In 1972, the National Park Service bought out the Johnson Oyster Company and granted it a lease to continue operating for 40 years. When Kevin Lunny purchased the company in 2004, his lawyers told him they could likely get the lease extended, according to the Mercury News.

The accusations on both sides have been fierce. In a polished, 20-minute video on its website, Drakes Bay Oyster Company accuses the government of looking for environmental harm where it does not exist and says the National Park Service has hid information that would have exonerated the company from claims that its operations hurt the estero and its federally protected harbor seals. In the video, Corey Goodman, a neuroscientist and biotech entrepreneur who Drakes Bay called in to fact-check the Park Service's findings, accuses the NPS of scientific misconduct.

But the Sierra Club, the Marin Audubon Society, and the Natural Resources Defense Council are among the groups who applaud Salazar's decision, saying that moving forward with a marine wilderness designation for the estero—making it the first such area on the West Coast—is the right thing to do.

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This Week's Missing Links, December 1

The best articles, photos, and videos I didn't post this week—until now. (Sorry for missing last week, I was concentrating on digesting my Thanksgiving meal, unlike this fool, who gave up.)

If you only click on one link this week, make it "Learning to Accept, and Master, a $110,000 Mechanical Arm," from The New York Times.

For the week's best longform journalism, check out "Weekend Reading: Bigfoot Will See You Now."

ADVENTURE
The world's toughest endurance races. Take 3,723.
CNN

The XXL of whitewater kayaking—without the funding, Outside

An ode to climber Patrick Edlinger, The New York Times

An ode to running coach John Cheffers, The Sydney Morning Herald

What does it feel like to win a gold medal eight years later, when you can't monetize it? The Trailer via David Epstein

Get in the van, Adventure Journal

On the future of adventure filmmaking, Explorer's Web

An argument for Usain Bolt as Sportsman of the Year, Sports Illustrated

Guess who's at the front of the list for Anti-Sportsman of the Year? Sports Illustrated

Trying to change the world, one skateboard at a time, Wired

Best POV cam use for showing yard work, YouTube

"Everything wrong with cycling, all in one handy headline and deck," Outside via Keyeser

Skiers like to vote, maybe more than other people, Powder

Backcountry gear sales continue to rise, ESPN

World's newest winter sport? Outside

Suurrry, Wiggins. Marianne Vos is the international cyclist of the year, Velo News

Paula Radcliffe's elite career may be over, Runner's World

Has anyone seen Bigfoot? Anyone? Outside

The story behind Powder's December cover, Powder

"Kiteboarder Chases a Speed Title That He Lost to a Rocket-Shaped Boat," The New York Times

Surfer Chris Malloy's adventure bucket list, Outside

SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Dinosaurs may have had the same view of the Grand Canyon that we do?
The New York Times

Who wants to challenge this guy? North America's best deer tick collector brought in 15,000 last year. NPR

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Peak Design's Leash: The Ultimate Camera Strap

IMG_8716

Last week, on a safari in South Africa’s Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park, I picked up my SLR with the long lens to photograph a lioness and her kill at a watering hole, and the strap simply fell off the camera. I got lucky—my $2,000-worth of electronics didn’t clatter to the floor of the Jeep or fall in the sand. I caught the camera. But luck isn’t what you want to rely on with a camera strap. It’s an accessory that should be functional, comfortable, and, most important, dependable.

Traditional camera straps are often difficult to attach and detach, they're bulky and expensive. That’s why Peak Design is making Leash. Re-defining the classic camera strap, Leash has an elegant quick-connect system, it's made from high-quality and secure materials, and it's rugged and minimalist. Use it as a neck strap, sling strap, safety tether, or video stabilizer, and when you don’t want it, it quickly disconnects from your camera and rolls up small enough to stuff in your back pocket.

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Airstream Thanksgiving, Part I: The Chaco Canyon Saga

Action3 BAirstream in repose, Gallo Campground, Chaco Canyon (note trash bag window). Photo: Katie Arnold

This year we decided to do something different for Thanksgiving. Instead of traveling to be with extended family or entertaining them here, we opted to stay put in Santa Fe and keep it simple. But when we fished around for an invitation to a proper Thanksgiving dinner and came up empty, staying home no longer seemed so festive. What would be more exciting than turkey for four around our dining room table? An Airstream road trip!

All fall, we’d been wanting to go to Chaco Canyon, a rugged valley in northwestern New Mexico that, a thousand years ago, was a major trading center for Native Americans. Today it’s a wild, desolate landscape dotted with crumbling ruins, a campground and visitor center, and not a single tree. From there, we’d head to Canyon de Chelly, a 30-mile-long chasm on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Both are World Heritage Sites and have major historical significance to the native peoples of the Southwest. It seemed a perfect, semi-spontaneous way to celebrate Thanksgiving—deep in the heart of Indian country, immersed in a culture that preceded our own by centuries.

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Greg LeMond to Run for President of the UCI

5030351225_1be5d728c0_bGreg LeMond at Interbike. Photo: Interbike/Flickr

Former Tour de France champion Greg LeMond said he plans to take on Pat McQuaid for the presidency of the UCI after being asked this past weekend at the Change Cycling Now conference in London. The conference included cyclists, drug officials, and sports journalists who met to figure out a way to clean up the sport.

“If we want to restore public confidence and sponsors, we must act quickly and decisively," LeMond told French newspaper Le Monde. "Otherwise, cycling will die. Riders do not understand that if we continue like this, there will soon be no money in cycling.”

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