wilderness

Should Natural Areas Be Preserved — or Conserved for Our Benefit?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | July 17th, 2012 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: arctic, biodiversity, cities, conservation, conservation efforts, conserve, Eco Travel, endangered-species, environment, environmental, environmental activists, environmental awareness, environmental issues, environmentalism, environmentalist, forestry, Galápagos Islands, Gifford Pinchot, Grand Canyon, John Muir, natural areas, nature, people, Peter Kareiva, preservation, preserve, pristine, save the environment, species, The Nature Conservancy, travel, U.S. Forest Service, wilderness, Yellowstone National Park

Yosemite National Park

In the environmental world, it’s characterized as the classic battle: Should wild areas be preserved for their intrinsic qualities or conserved for their resources? In other words, should nature be used for “the greatest good for the greatest number of people for the longest time,” as nineteenth-century progressive environmentalist Gifford Pinchot put it; or should the wilderness be protected and revered without human intrusions, a view espoused by romantic environmentalist John Muir?

Today, with a burgeoning population encroaching on our remaining wild areas and economic help scarce, many would say that Pinchot’s beliefs are more realistic for the modern world. In fact, there are even those, such as Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist, who would take Pinchot’s notion a step further: Natural areas must be managed to benefit humans, if they are to survive at all.

Would You Live Next Door to a (Non-Human) Predator?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | September 16th, 2011 | 54 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: alaska, animals, bear attacks, biodiversity, bison, bison attack, coast, coastal habitats, Eco Travel, ecosystems, elk, encroach, encroachment, endangered-species, environment, food chain, forests, grizzly bears, habitat destruction, humans, Montana, mountains, National Science Foundation, nature, Nebraska, Northwoods, population, predators, sea otters, sea urchins, sharks, shellfish, terriroty, threatened species, travel, trophic cascade, wild, wild animals, wilderness, wildlife, wildlife corridors, wolf, wolf attack, wolves, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bears

This summer — like almost every summer for the past decade or so — was rife with headlines about people being assaulted by wild animals. “Seven teens attacked by grizzly in Alaska’s Talkeetna Mountains,” read a headline in the Anchorage Daily News on July 25, 2011. And, “Two teenagers have life-threatening injuries after being mauled by a grizzly bear while on a survival skills course in the Alaskan wilderness,” the first line of a Guardian feature informed us.

The italics on the words “mountains” and “wilderness” above, however, are mine. I think it noteworthy where these events took place. Against our ever-increasing penchant for developing remote areas and fragmenting wildlife corridors, the world’s largest predators have been squeezed onto smaller and smaller pockets, with nowhere to go but the mountains and the wilderness. Today, grizzlies, wolves, tigers and lions are having trouble finding room to be grizzlies, wolves, tigers and lions. And, without them, our planet is in big trouble.

Top 12 Eco-Beach Escapes

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | March 2nd, 2011 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Adriatic, American Samoa, Antalya, Atlantic, Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park, Australia, Bai Kem Beach, Baiona, beaches, Beaches of Palawan, Best Beaches in America list, Blue Flag, Blue Wave, Brazil, Brela Beach, Caja de Muertos, car-free, Clean Beaches Council, Coffin Island, conservation, coral, Costa Rica, cove, Croatia, Dalmatian coast, Dr. Beach, East Africa, eco-friendly travel, endangered-species, escape, family, Fernando de Noronha, Fiji, Foundation for Environmental Education, Galicia, getaway, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, holiday, island, Koh Libong, Las Islas Cies, lighthouse, Makarska, marine habitat, Mediterranean, National Healthy Beaches Campaign, national park, National Resources Defense Council, nature, nature reserve, Nungwi Beach, ocean, Ofu Beach, Osa Peninsula, Pacific, Patara Beach, Pelícano Beach, Philippines, Phu Quoc, Phuket, Playa Matapalo, protection, Puerto Rico, rainforest, SAD, Sancho Bay, sand, scuba diving, sea, seaside, snorkeling, Spain, Spice Island, sun, surfing, sustainable resorts, swim, Tanzania, thailand, The Blue Lagoon, tourism, tourists, tropical fish, turkey, Turtle Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vietnam, Viti Levu, volcano, water, Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, wilderness, wildlife, winter vacation, Yasawa Group, Zanzibar

Eco-friendly family beach vacation

While I welcome winter along with all the other skiers and outdoor aficionados here in Colorado, by the end of February I’m ready for a surf and sand break. But cramming onto a crowded beach towel-by-cooler with hundreds of other sunseekers is not my vision of restoring my winter-weary spirit.

When you’re a beach lover and a nature lover, the quest becomes to find those pristine stretches of sand that make you feel you’ve discovered a place where time stops; where the rhythm of sea on shore is the primary sound; where the sun’s slow slide behind the horizon is the only marker of day melding into night. A place like, say, Bai Kem Beach on Phu Quoc, one of 105 islands that comprise this idyllic Vietnamese archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Picture a soft, white sugar-sand beach, fringed with slender palms. Phuket, half a century ago. No people. Just total, unspoiled beauty.

Resolved for 2011: Take a Nature Vacation

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 5th, 2011 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: biking, brain health, children, city, climate change, Crystal Cove State Park, diseases of indoor living, eco-tourism, exercise, family vacation, Fitness, focus, hiking, kids, Los Angeles, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, new year's resolution, noise, obama, obesity, outdoors, outside, parenting, protection, Richard Louv, sedentary, stress, urban life, walking, wilderness, wildlife

Trekking in Patagonia

I spent part of the holidays in Los Angeles this year, surrounded by a sea of asphalt and traffic sprawling for hundreds of square miles. Shuttling between relatives and friends on the maze of 14-lane freeways, I soon felt spiritually exhausted by the visual din of billboards, power lines, parking lots, storefronts, neon signs and cars blowing past at 80 mph.

Searching for the Sound of Silence: Finding the World’s Quietest Places

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | November 1st, 2010 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Big Bend National Park, civilization, encroachment, Gobi Desert, Gordon Hempton, Hoh Rainforest, Kalahari Desert, Mother Teresa, National Park Service, nature, noise pollution, Olympic National Park, One Square Inch Project, overpopulation, quiet, silence, silent, sound, travel, Washington, wilderness

Hoh National Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park in northwest Washington

In the first part of this two-part blog series, Wendy Worrall Redal explored our vanishing quiet places and what that loss could mean for us. Now she shares the secrets of some of Earth’s most tranquil spots.

Searching for the Sound of Silence: Earth’s Vanishing Quiet Places

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | October 22nd, 2010 | 3 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Cirque of the Towers, civilization, encroachment, Gordon Hempton, National Park Service, nature, noise pollution, overpopulation, quiet, silence, silent, sound, travel, wilderness, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Cirque of the Towers

In this two-part blog series, Wendy Worrall Redal explores our vanishing quiet places and what that loss could mean for us.

If I Call for Your Attention, Will It Pick Up?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | December 18th, 2009 | 6 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: aluminum cans, David de Rothschild, garbage, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, landfill, litter, marine litter, nature, plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic containers, Plastiki, recycling, trash, waste, wilderness, wildlife

About 80 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comes from trash on land. ©John H. Gaukel.

It usually starts with one plastic water bottle or one beer can, casually tossed aside, just visible in the underbrush off the side of the trail where I’m walking. My thoughts are soon torn away from nature and “What a beautiful place this is,” to “What an eyesore; what the heck was that person thinking?” And then, all of a sudden, what just a moment ago looked to me like a pristine wilderness transforms into a one-item garbage dump. All I can focus on is that one rusty can or bent bottle.

Face to Face with Polar Bears in Manitoba

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | November 27th, 2009 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel | tags: arctic, Churchill, excursions, Manitoba, Natural Habitat, natural world, nature, northern lights, polar bear expedition, polar-bears, wild, wild animals, wilderness, wildlife

Looking-in-windowcropped

Credit: Wendy Worrall Redal

I can still feel the Arctic air, sharp and clean. I can see the late-afternoon sunset, a glowing band of gold, then scarlet, then deep rose, lingering on the horizon. I can hear the yip of the sled dogs, avid to dash across the snow. But what remains most vivid in my memories of the past week is the image of my daughter’s face, nose to nose with an enormous polar bear.

Should You Bring Your Cell Phone on My Nature Trip?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | November 18th, 2009 | 19 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: cell phone, Eco Travel, facebook, Internet, iPod, laptop, nature, nature travel, Out There in the Wild in a Wired Age, solitude, technology, Ted Kerosote, travel, unplugged, vacation, wilderness, wired world

Phone-Talk-14Fin-cropped

I won’t have a computer, an iPod or even a cell phone on my nature trip. So don’t e-mail, voicemail, Facebook or even try to call me. Don’t even phone me on a landline. I can’t be reached. When I travel, I purposely sever all lines of communication with my everyday life. I think you should, too. Because when you don’t, I get annoyed.

What Makes a Nature Photograph “Real”?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | October 16th, 2009 | 9 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: aurora borealis, digital photos, Eco Travel, eco-travelers, images, Matthew B. Brady, nature photography, northern lights, photo illustration, photography, polar-bears, Time magazine, wilderness, wildlife, wolf

Bearfeature

“After” photo: ship is gone; more highlights (see the “Before” photo below). ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

It looked perfect through the lens. I had the shot all lined up: blue mountain in the background, a rocky trail winding through the middle, and wildflowers in the foreground that made up two-thirds of the composition. I rotated the polarizing filter just enough so that I had a bright blue sky. Click.