Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Google Earth Blog Highlights Mountain Visions Google Earth Tours.

Wow - Mountain Visions Google Earth Tours are highlighted today on the popular "Google Earth Blog  -  The amazing things about Google Earth." 

Google Earth Blog originated by Frank Taylor has provided important and interesting Information almost daily for the past 10 years.

Included in today's post are links to Mountain Visions Google Earth Tour collection and to these few selected browser plugin tours and KMZ download files:

Potential CuMo Mine Tour - 2012 / Idaho families for Clean Water

Prince of Wales Island Watershed Restoration Projects  - 2006-2011 / U.S. Forest Service & Trout Unlimited

Mores Creek Watershed Tour - 2013 / Trout Unlimited

Boise River at High Water - 2011 / Idaho Rivers United, Lighthawk & Land Trust for the Treasure Valley.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Boise and other Idaho Cities Google Earth 3D imagery has just become available.

For the past few years Google Earth has been adding a new kind of 3D imagery in cities around the world. I looked at the recent update on the Google Earth Blog and found Boise and other cities in the Treasure Valley has just been added.
Other cities in Idaho that contain the new 3D imagery are Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Lewiston and Coeur d'Alene.

 I am adding one screen shot here that shows the area outlined in red where you can see the new imagery in the Treasure Valley, including the Boise River near Boise, Meridian, Nampa and Caldwell when you turn on the 3-D buildings in the Google Earth Browser.

Below  I I will also add a screen shot showing the new imagery near Barber Park and the Boise River.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Path Across Idaho

I just read another article with good photos and information about the Total Solar "Eclipse of a Lifetime" on August 21, 2017. "Start planning for it now!" I will add two screen shot photos here identifying the eclipse path for my friends who live in, or will visit, Idaho during the eclipse.


For friends who live in or visit Idaho, below are 2 static maps showing the path and some of the towns the total solar eclipse will cross in Idaho on Monday August 21, 2017.  It will be interesting to see what these communities do to celebrate this celestial phenomena.  Please comment if you have ideas for these celebrations.

Credit for the Eclipse path that covers the entire U.S.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Natural Wilderness VS Management / Stewardship?

"The Wilderness Paradox" an article by Jordan Fisher Smith in Orion Magazine provides an important perspective wilderness advocates might consider.   

The article quotes Roderick Nash in his 1978 text book "Wilderness Management."
"A designated, managed wilderness is, in a very important sense, a contradiction in terms. It could even be said that any area that is proclaimed wilderness and managed as such is not wilderness by these very acts! The problem is that the traditional meaning of wilderness is an environment that man does not influence, a place he does not control."
My 1971 Photo on West Buttress of Denali  published in "The Smithsonian Magazine" article about clean up efforts on the mountain.

The 1964 Wilderness Act was a significant event in American culture and has been celebrated by wilderness advocates now for 50 years.  However the act itself included a number of well documented political and economic compromises that   were necessary for contemporary congressional representatives to seriously consider passing it.  These compromises by themselves severely limited what the concept of wilderness could have been. By 1964 one hundred short years of grandfathered livestock grazing, mining, guided hunting, floating, back county airports and other uses were built into the act. And recently we have seen accepted helicopter spraying for weeds, wolf control and other federal and state management actions that I believe most wilderness advocates would not believe to have been possible some years ago.

Even the fixed boundaries where some popular access roads started to cause overcrowding resulting in the perceived need for wilderness permit requirements, and law enforcement by managers.  If the wilderness boundaries had been made flexible and popular access roads closed, requiring wilderness users to walk more distance these management tools would not be as necessary.  Even the act of maintaining trails for easy access for horses and hikers eliminates some of the naturalness of a wilderness, not to mention the maintenance of existing wilderness airfields and buildings.

Two examples of wild areas that have become overcrowded because of easy access that could be moved back include the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho and the West Buttress Route on Denali.  At one of the Wilderness Conferences it was revealed that the existing road into Dagger Falls was originally supposed to be only temporary in the 1931 designated primitive area that then existed.  Punched in with the notion that mankind could engineer a way to "help" salmon get up Dagger Falls more easily than they had for milenia, the primitive area rules required that this road would not be permanent. However, as we now know thousands of trucks, vans,and  busses carry boats, gears and guided customers of private companies and self organized public groups to the well constructed put in point just below Dagger Falls.  If this road did not exist, floating the Middle Fork would require at least on more day and would also require a portage of Dagger Falls that most guides and paying customers never like to do.  On Denali, the most popular West Buttress route requires permits because the Park Service allows bush pilots to ferry people into a close approach on the Kahiltna Glacier.  Just eliminating the airplane access and helicopter rescues would require a much larger effort and commitment to climb this highest wild peak in North America.  In 1975 I was involved in a 60 day "Clean Climbing" Expedition that attempted to demonstrate this concept.

Personally, I have been an active participant in Wilderness issues and activities during this 50 year period, in Idaho, Oregon and Alaska and other western areas.  In my youth I hiked and hunted in the primitive areas that later became the Selway Bitterroot and Frank Church Wilderness Areas in Idaho.   In the late 1960's at the University of Oregon Outdoor Program we initiated actions help to Save the French Pete Wilderness.  I helped organize a several year effort to manage trash and access Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska and on the Lower Salmon River in Idaho.  We organized "Wilderness Use Ethics" and "Wilderness and Individual Freedom" conferences and also published "Free Country Times" and "Cooperative Wilderness Adventures" for several years at the University of Oregon. I have also hiked, backpacked, photographed and produced many multimedia programs and web site projects that have wilderness and natural environment themes over the past 35 years with Katy Flanagan and Mountain Visions.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Unique online conference with live streaming and collaborative dialogue opportunities.

Nov. 5-7, 2014 A unique online conference and separate collaborative dialogue project for the "The Next Stepp: Sage Grouse and Rangeland Wildfire in the Great Basin" conference being held in Boise, Idaho.


I am now watching the "live stream" at the conference


A few days ago I logged in and provided some online ideas and comments on the Mindmixer dialogue for this conference.  You can also sign up and add your own.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Polarized Americans and what we can do in our neighborhoods, cities and towns.

I read this recent depressing article by Don Hazen, editor of AlterNet for 20 years but was inspired by comments he made at the end of the piece.

On page 7 he notes he was struck by the statistics showing steady polarization going on in our country today that seems to be paralyzing our government.

We..."are not prepared for a future where politics is even more dicey and dangerous than it is now. So we have to stop going through the motions of not producing change and get down to the basics where and when we can make a difference." 
"Let's do more political action with friends and colleagues. Let's agree that a higher level of popular political education and self-reflection is necessary. Let's build up ways in our neighborhoods, cities and towns, where progress can be made...."

In Boise, Idaho organizations, neighborhoods and the city provide opportunities for discussions of this type that we can participate in.  Below are just a few examples:
Vistaboise Nextdoor Network
Vista Neighborhood Association Public Facebook Group
City of Boise Energize our Neighborhoods
Boise River Enhancement Network

Monday, October 06, 2014

Kimi, Our Alaskan Malamute, wears a GoPro Camera

We were canoeing on a lake near Yellowstone National Park and put a GoPro camera on one of the dogs, Kimi our Alaskan Malamute. The dogs ran through the brush and swam out to the canoe a few times. A second GoPro camera was used to shoot some underwater shots of the dog swimming.  We also used an iPhone to capture the dogs swimming alongside the canoe.

This first video has been edited with several cuts pieced together and a background music track added.  It is about 3 minutes 23 seconds in length.  Posted to YouTube.

This second video is about 8 minutes and 45 seconds long and has not been edited.  It shows Kimi's movements with the GoPro camera connected to a a Fetch harness running through the brush , swimming out to the canoe and greeting us back at the takeout point at the end.  The GoPro is enclosed in a waterproof case and the sound is generally muffled.  But the sounds of the brush and rain hitting the camera and Kimi whining when she sees the canoe are interesting.    Posted to YouTube.