9th Biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference
August 24-25, 2021
Get the latest developments in national policy, advocacy and planning issues, share regional grassroots successes and strategies, meet with public land managers and fellow activists, and gain new advocacy tools. Help us find a way forward together.
WWA grassroots groups, backcountry partners, Alliance members, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds are welcome to join.
Curbing Our Enthusiasm: Managing Increased Recreation Use on Public Lands
Tuesday, Aug 24 at 10:00am MST
This past year has seen record-breaking visitation numbers and increased user impacts on public lands across the country. In this segment we discuss Recreate Responsibly, Ski Kind, and a variety of other efforts to instill responsible use ethics, exploring the difficult balance between equitable access and responsible (limited?) use.
Speakers: Corey Lewellen, Bozeman District Ranger, Custer Gallatin National Forest; Dana Watts, Leave No Trace; Danica Carey, Serius Innovations; Haley Caruso, Brand and Impact Manager at REI
The New Era of Winter Travel Management: Implementing the Over-Snow Vehicle Rule to Bring Balance to the Backcountry
Tuesday, Aug 24 at 12:00pm MST
The Over-Snow Vehicle Rule was finalized in 2015, ushering in a new era of managing winter motorized use on Forest Service lands. Finally, after 6 years, the first forests to adopt this new rule have published winter travel plans. We’ll dive into lessons learned and see how winter travel planning has brought balance to the backcountry on forests in the central and northern Sierra.
Speakers: Chris Carlton, Plumas National Forest; Darrel Jury, Friends of Plumas Wilderness; Hilary Eisen, Winter Wildlands Alliance
Improving Capacity on the Ground: Meeting Visitors Where They Are
Tuesday, Aug 24 at 2:00pm MST
Snow rangers and trail ambassadors educate winter visitors, track user data, and in some cases enforce winter travel restrictions. They have traditionally been Forest Service employees, but new partnerships between NGOs and the Forest Service are expanding what it means to be a snow ranger – increasing capacity to meet growing demand as winter recreation numbers climb and Forest Service budgets shrink.
Speakers: Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund; Julie Mach, Colorado Mountain Club; Kate Demorest, White River National Forest
Investing in Our Greatest Asset: Why Funding the Forest Service is More Important Than Ever.
Wednesday, Aug 25 at 10:00am MST
The Forest Service manages 154 National Forests across the country, home to some of the best places to backcountry ski, snowshoe, cross country ski, and play in the snow. But as the popularity of outdoor recreation and use of public lands increases, funding for the Forest Service and other land management agencies has not kept up. We’ll discuss the history behind the Forest Service funding crunch, and what might be done to fix it.
Speakers: Betsy Roblee, The Mountaineers; Mike Splain, Resources Legacy Fund; TBA
Grow or Die? Ski Area Expansions on National Forest Lands
Wednesday, Aug 25 at 12:00pm MST
Ski areas across the country are looking to expand and in many cases this means developing places that are currently used by backcountry skiers and/or wildlife. Ski area expansions can impact nearby communities, too, for better or worse. Join us to discuss ski area expansions, learn more about how the Forest Service makes decisions about these projects, and help us brainstorm how the decision-making process around ski area management could be improved.
Speakers: Carl Fisher, Save Our Canyons; Geraldine Link, National Ski Areas Association; Shawn Hill, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development; Don Dressler, USFS Rocky Mountain Region Mountain Resort Program Manager
Responsible Influence: Creating an Ethic of Inclusion and Conservation through Social Media
Wednesday, Aug 25 at 2:00pm MST
With more and more people catching the outdoor recreation bug by way of their social media feeds, what is the role of the influencer (and their sponsors) in shaping behavior and protecting special places?
Speakers: Ailsa Walsh, Leave No Trace; Connor Ryan, Natives Outdoors; Dani Reyes-Acosta, Athlete, Advocate, and Narrative Strategist and Educator; Vasu Sojitra, WWA Ambassador / Disability Access Strategist / Athlete