At the intersection of snow, community, and human-powered recreation comes the Backcountry Film Festival. Created in 2005 as a way to gather the winter tribe in celebration of all things human-powered, the film festival is the common ground where similar interests and diverse skill-sets meet. The Backcountry Film Festival is renowned for its collaboration with filmmakers from all corners of the globe, ranging from grassroots to professional. The festival provides a fresh lineup committed to get you stoked on powder turns as well as environmental initiatives happening all around the world.

What is featured in the Backcountry Film Festival This Season?

The films feature awe-inspiring stories, aimed to connect with and gain insight to what is happening in the places we go to get fresh air and fresh powder.

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Who attends the Backcountry Film Festival?

From polar explorers to weekend warriors, ages of three to one-hundred and three, the Backcountry Film Festival is attended by anyone with interest in the outdoors. Each year, the Festival is viewed by over 10,000 outdoor enthusiasts.

Where is the Backcountry Film Festival Held?

The Backcountry Film Festival is shown all over the globe. The World Premiere is in Boise, November 19th and 20th. Every show thereafter is posted at www.backcountryfilmfestival.org with location, date, venue, ticket information (if provided) and host organization information.

Who Sponsors the Backcountry Film Festival?

Black Diamond
Dynafit
FlyLow
Clifbar
Backcountry Magazine

Mountain Khakis

Outdoor Research

Elemental Herbs

Voile

Osprey

Ambler

Goal Zero

Atlas Snow Shoe Company

YakTrax

Odell Brewing Co

Often, host organizations work with local businesses to host screenings in their respective communities. If your local hosting organization has a website or social media site, you can check in to see who is sponsoring within your community!

Where can I Find More Information?

Find the showing nearest you at www.backcountryfilmfestival.org. The website is updated daily and will give you venue and host information. You can also follow news, updates, and articles on the Backcountry Film Festival facebook page.

Winter backcountry recreation is on the rise. Advances in backcountry skiing and snowboarding equipment, improved access and the relentless search for fresh snow, solitude and adventure have driven more people into the backcountry in recent years. As is so often the case, increased use can lead to greater impacts to the landscape as well as on others seeking the same experiences. Trash, human waste issues, excessive noise and disturbances to wildlife have all been cited as issues that can be addressed successfully with relevant Leave No Trace education.

In July of 2014 the Vermont Backcountry Alliance, a Winter Wildlands Alliance grassroots group, contacted the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (the Center) about the development of a “winter backcountry code of ethics” for use in Vermont. They chose to align their proposed code with Leave No Trace to ensure a unified, science-based set of minimum impact guidelines.  After the Vermont-specific guidelines were completed, Winter Wildlands Alliance worked with the Center to adapt the Vermont guidelines as set of Leave No Trace practices for backcountry winter snowsports that would have more national relevance.

Through this collaboration, both Winter Wildlands Alliance and the Center are able to promote relevant and area-specific Leave No Trace information to help skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and others to enjoy the backcountry responsibly and safely. With backcountry winter use increasing, Leave No Trace information is imperative for ensuring long-term protection and stewardship of these shared lands. Because of the Center’s partnership with federal and state land managing agencies, this set of winter backcountry Leave No Trace practices is already vetted and approved for use on signs, maps, etc. and is the standard for recreating in our national parks, national forests and other public lands during winter.

The long version of the national guidelines are available for download here.  You can also download a “short” version, which is better suited for signs and other displays, here.

Theses guidelines are designed to be widely disseminated and heavily utilized by both land managers and the backcountry snowsports community. Appropriate uses of the guidelines include: signage, trailhead kiosks, backcountry access points from ski areas, websites, trail maps, guidebooks, etc.  For information on how the guidelines can be used, posted, reprinted or disseminated, please visit the Center’s website.

If you, other organizations, or your agency partners want to create signage, or other products using the guidelines, please contact Ben Lawhon at the Center for more information.

By Hilary Eisen, Recreation Planning Coordiator

Last October, I met up with WWA board member Mike Fiebig and member Chris Ennis for our first turns of the season in the Bozeman backcountry. Had you asked us that day, with noses red from cold and grins plastered on our faces after a fantastic day in the mountains, what we would be doing a year later, none of us would have anticipated that our next joint adventure would involve wearing suits. As it turns out, Mike, Chris, and I found ourselves in Washington D.C. this week moonlighting as advocates for our public lands on behalf of the Outdoor Alliance.

October in Montana, a far cry from Washington D.C.!

We went to D.C. as part of a larger group of Outdoor Alliance representatives – skiers, climbers, paddlers, and mountain bikers – from all over the country who converged on the Capitol to lobby in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, is one of the most important tools in the conservation toolbox. The program is funded with revenue generated from oil and gas development on public lands. It helps to acquire, maintain, and develop public lands for recreational use. If there’s a city or state park, bike path, or fishing access site near you, chances are the LWCF helped make it happen. LWCF also pays for wildlife habitat improvement projects and helps states and federal land agencies acquire small parcels of land that deliver big gains for public access. Over the past 50 years LWCF has protected and improved public lands in all 50 states. The benefits of LWCF don’t stop at acres protected or numbers of parks, fishing access sites, or public pools developed either – for every $1 invested through LWCF, local communities see a $4 return.

WWA representatives meeting with Montana’s senior Senator, Jon Tester. Senator Tester is a big supporter of permanent re-authorization and full funding for LWCF!

Unfortunately, the legislation authorizing LWCF expires at the end of the month. This program, which has been almost universally applauded and has the support of 82% of Americans, will disappear forever if Congress doesn’t act to reauthorize the program in the next two weeks. While many Senators and Representatives, as well as President Obama, are in full support of LWCF, we need Congress to actually vote on legislation to re-authorize the program. Chris, Mike, and I are proud of Montana’s delegation because both of our Senators – Jon Tester and Steve Daines – as well as our Congressman – Ryan Zinke – recognize the value of LWCF and are working hard to keep this program alive. Click here to see whether your representatives have signed on to support LWCF.

Next week WWA’s Executive Director, Mark Menlove, along with other Outdoor Alliance representatives from Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado are heading to D.C. to continue advocating for the urgent renewal of LWCF. Of course, you don’t have to put on a suit and fly across the country to make a difference. You can help by contacting your Congressional representatives today and asking them to support permanent re-authorization and full funding for LWCF. Let them know how much this program benefits outdoor recreation and what it means for you and your community. If your representatives are already LWCF supporters give them a virtual high five and then ask them to work with their colleagues to save LWCF. Congress needs to hear from you!

Winter Wildlands Alliance representatives with Senator Daines. It’s not often you find four people in a room in DC who have climbed Montana’s highest peak (which we are posing in front of)!

 

 

Have you heard about the upcoming Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) re-authorization recently and wondered what the fuss is all about?  Are you scratching your head wondering what exactly LWCF is in the first place?  If you’ve never heard of LWCF, you’re not the only one. Although it’s been called “America’s most successful conservation program,” it’s not very well known.  We’re here to help, with a brief primer on this critical program – LWCF 101:

  • This bipartisan program began in 1965 when Congress agreed that a small portion of federal leasing revenues from energy development should be reinvested to protect public land.
  • LWCF is funded by a percentage of the more than $6.7 billion in annual offshore oil and gas lease revenue, not taxpayer dollars.
  • Every year, LWCF can receive up to $900 million of offshore gas and drilling revenue to spend on conservation efforts, though Congress often appropriates it at a much lower amount.
  • LWCF provides funding to acquire land from willing sellers and make it part of local, state, or national public lands.
  • Money intended for this program continues to be diverted for other purposes, and recently the fund has received only one-third of its authorized funding level.
  • LWCF needs permanent authorization and full funding (at $900 million).
  • The funds go to protecting national treasures in and around national parks, forests, monuments, and refuges.
  • LWCF Stateside dollars provide crucial support to create and enhance state and local parks and to develop close-to-home recreation facilities across the country.
  • Full and dedicated funding is needed for LWCF to fulfill its promise to protect local, state, and federal outdoor recreation and natural areas in America.

On September 30, LWCF will expire forever, meaning that all the funds that we need to protect important trails, national parks, and urban recreation centers, will be gone. LWCF has been used since 1965 to create new parks in urban environments, complete national parks, and protect recreation across the country.  Without your voice this critical conservation tool may be lost forever.  Please email your Representative today telling them to reauthorize LWCF.

 

 

 

Right now, a battle is being waged over the West’s public lands, including many of the places we love to ski. Out-of-touch politicians backed by private interests like the American Lands Council want to transfer millions of acres of your land to states or private interests, a move that would almost certainly shut down your access to these beloved areas.

Public lands belong to all Americans. They are home to stunning landscapes and recreational opportunities that everyone can access. Together, Americans care for these special places, protecting them so that everyone can enjoy them, including the next generation.

Some politicians would like to sell off public lands to generate profit for individual states or private entities. Elected officials – state legislators and county commissioners – in 11 western states have written bills or passed resolutions proposing that individual states “take back” America’s parks, national forests, BLM lands, wildlife refuges, and open spaces, arguing that these lands and the profits that they generate should belong to the states. If their efforts were to be successful access to millions of acres of land would be lost, including some of the world’s most iconic backcountry ski destinations. Wyoming’s Teton Pass, Utah’s Wasatch, Turnagain Pass in Alaska, Colorado’s San Juan Mountains – these are just some of the countless peaks, passes, and ranges across the West being eyed for takeover.

If our public lands were sold to state governments, they would be the responsibility of state taxpayers to maintain and protect. State governments could privatize, sell, develop, or auction off our public lands to the highest bidder. Even if a state didn’t intend to sell off these lands it may not have a choice. A single wildfire can cost $100 million to fight. This expense would bankrupt most state budgets, forcing them to sell or auction off land to cover the costs. Imagine if the places you love to ski were suddenly privatized.

Although some state legislatures voted down land transfer bills, the idea of selling off public lands is gaining momentum. Most state legislatures have adjourned for now but in Congress, a symbolic amendment supporting the sale of public lands passed this spring. Just recently Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul stated that he supports relinquishing federal management of public lands. These actions challenge the foundation that underpins National Parks, National Forests, and public access to wild places. The Public Land Heist is the most serious threat that has faced our public lands in a generation.

If our mountains, forests, and rivers are privatized or sold off, there’s no replacing them. We need to speak now to protect the places we love to play. Winter Wildlands Alliance is working closely with our partners at Outdoor Alliance and other recreation and conservation groups to fight this legislation and ensure our public lands remain accessible to everyone.   Visit www.protectourpublicland.org to learn more and sign up for regular updates on our campaign to protect access to public lands.

The only way to keep our public lands in public hands is for the American people to speak up. If enough of us rally together, we can put an end to these terrible proposals and protect the incredible landscapes and backcountry areas we love. Please sign the petition and send a clear signal to your elected officials that America’s public lands are not for sale. By signing, you will become part of a growing movement of people who are working together to keep public lands public.

Curious which recreation areas are threatened in your state?

Alaska

Alaska

Arizona

Arizona

Colorado

Colorado

Idaho

Idaho

Montana

Montana

Nevada

Nevada

New Mexico

New Mexico

Oregon

Oregon

Utah

Utah

Washington

Washington

Wyoming

Wyoming