Winter Wildlands Alliance Gives Solitude a Voice

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Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization with a mission of promoting and preserving winter wildlands and a quality human-powered snowsports experience on public lands.

Formed in February, 2000, Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA) works on behalf of snowshoers, skiers, snowboarders, winter hikers, and other outdoor adventurers by addressing local, regional, and national issues that impact winter ecology and winter recreation. The organization's primary objective is to use education and collaboration to work toward responsible stewardship of winter landscapes, while ensuring quality opportunities for a diverse range of winter recreation.

Public Lands

Winter Wildlands believes winter wildland adventurers and future generations should have sizable areas of public land on which to experience the natural sights, sounds, and winter beauty of public lands free of motorized vehicles, and that our backcountry wildlife habitat should be protected from the negative impacts of motorized intrusion such as snowmobiles. We also believe it is the mandate of federal land-management agencies to responsibly manage motorized access to these cherished assets to ensure their protection for future generations.

At a national level, Winter Wildlands Alliance works with the Forest Service to develop better guidelines for winter management. At the same time, we seek legal recourse to the regulatory loophole that leaves most National Forest units with no management of motorized use in the winter.

Grassroots Network

Winter Wildlands Alliance also supports small grassroots groups across the nation with policy expertise and mentoring. Contact a group near you to learn more about winter wildlands issues in your area:

Backcountry Film Festival

Winter Wildlands Alliance presents the Backcountry Film Festival annually as a low cost and fun event to attract like-minded winter recreationists and raise money for local causes. Both grassroots and professional filmmakers show audiences their love of the winter outdoors. 

See if the 2012-13 Backcountry Film Festival is coming to your area and watch this year's trailer:

 

 

 

SnowSchool

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Building a quinzhee shelter at SnowSchool in Bogus Basin, Idaho.
(Top photo by Kris Erikson)

Winter Wildlands Alliance's national SnowSchool program is the largest national program devoted to on-snow winter ecology field trips for elementary school students.

The SnowSchool program provides snowshoes (thanks to sponsors Atlas and MSR) and links schools with nearby public land managers to bring the snow into the classroom and the class into the snow.

At nature centers, museums, and National Parks, students experience the winter environment firsthand on snowshoes, study their local landscapes and ecological community, and hopefully become future stewards of our remaining wild places.

For more info visit www.snowschool.org.


About the Winter Wildlands Alliance
Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization with a mission of promoting and preserving winter wildlands and a quality human-powered snowsports experience on public lands. It and its Backcountry Film Festival are among the outdoor and environmental nonprofits that Trailspace supports.

Learn more at WinterWildlands.org. The author is the Programs Director of Winter Wildlands Alliance.

Filed under: People & Organizations

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Atlas  |  MSR

Comments

ppine
21 reviewer rep
1,071 forum posts
January 16, 2013 at 11:43 a.m. (EST)

Sounds like an anit-snowmobiling organization.  Winter solitude is easy to find on public lands in the West.  Even in areas that might be full of people in the summer.

pillowthread
REVIEW CORPS
1,195 reviewer rep
1,063 forum posts
January 17, 2013 at 10:43 p.m. (EST)

It SOUNDS like a nonprofit that understands that while US public lands should be free and open to all, there is not, in fact, any clause anywhere which requires the government to provide motorized access to those lands, and furthermore, that "solitude" is a value quite worthy of protecting within their bounds...by the way, we are talking about "solitude" here, right? The deeply-penetrating sense of aloneness? Like "The Monk By the Sea" vulnerable and alone? Praytell, due tell me where all these areas are out west? I'd love to visit a few!!

hotdogman
0 reviewer rep
606 forum posts
January 17, 2013 at 11:20 p.m. (EST)

The reason that snowmobiles are not regulated is the minimal impact they have on the land. Many trails in nh and elsewhere are only open when the snow cover reaches a certain depth, this is to control erosion, if you arent touching the ground, you cant hurt it. I hate them myself, I think two stroke motors should be outlawed. They are loud and smoke like chimneys. Some of the newer snowmobiles are four stroke and they have much lower pollution levels, sound and smog. That doesnt mean I think people who like them should have less rights to enjoy the backwoods.

Pathloser
52 reviewer rep
312 forum posts
January 18, 2013 at 5:49 a.m. (EST)

The problem with sound/noise regulation is enforcing it. In the UK, motorcycles are supposed to have mufflers/exhaust pipes that keep it below a certain threshold; that does not stop people sounding (and looking and acting) like they are on a race track instead of a country road. Fun and meaning to some is having noise precede, surround, announce you.

I honestly think people don't notice it as much, as the average house with music and tv and computer, together with high levels of traffic outside, conditions people to expect it, even in the countryside. Wider tyres make the roads even louder perhaps? It is only when you have experienced the contrast of 'genuine quiet', do you then experience the noise as pollution. Electric cars and insulated houses might change things but somehow I doubt it, as we now have headphones wreaking kids' ears.

And then there's military jets...

Speaking as a longtime tinnitus sufferer, I can only remember what it was like to have 'genuine quiet'. "Hello darkness, my old friend..." I have never actually checked to see what that song is about but I like it.

Seth Levy (Seth)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
411 reviewer rep
1,022 forum posts
January 18, 2013 at 10:17 a.m. (EST)

Unfortunately, winter solitude is becoming harder and harder to find on America's western public lands. I think that, 5 years ago, most of us would have accepted ppine's statement as unquestionably true. As more of us snowshoe, hike, ski, snowmobile and fatbike (wheee!) on the same lands, user conflicts increase and it's harder to get that feeling of absolute solitude. This affects motorized and non-motorized recreationists alike. Most of the snowmobilers I know like to turn off the motor for a while, look around and feel themselves expand into the landscape...

ppine
21 reviewer rep
1,071 forum posts
January 18, 2013 at 2:40 p.m. (EST)

I can find lots of winter solitude by stepping outside the back fence.  I don't even have to get in a vehicle.  Five miles from the nearest road, it would be hard to find another person in this part of the country except for a few popular snow mobile areas.

Seth Levy (Seth)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
411 reviewer rep
1,022 forum posts
January 18, 2013 at 4:31 p.m. (EST)

You're a lucky guy ppine! There are still a few places in Maine like that, but not as many as in your neck of the woods. I really hope that the next generation can get that experience too.

pillowthread
REVIEW CORPS
1,195 reviewer rep
1,063 forum posts
January 18, 2013 at 6:36 p.m. (EST)

Right Sounds like you've got a nice piece of property abutting some kind of public land? Good on you!

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