9th Biennial Conference

Can We Save the Backcountry From Ourselves?

August 24-25, 2021 on Zoom

With record-breaking visitation on public lands, what are the impacts to the backcountry? What new opportunities do we have to protect and share it? Get the latest developments in national policy and planning, share grassroots successes and strategies, and help us find a way forward together.

Panel: Curbing Our Enthusiasm

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.

Panel: The New Era of Winter Travel Management

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.

Panel: Improving Capacity on the Ground

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.

Panel: Funding the Forest Service

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.

Panel: Grow or Die? Ski Area Expansion

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.

Panel: Responsible Influence

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?

Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization working to
inspire and empower people to protect America’s wild snowscapes.