Photo by Dally Hue
September 25, 2023
Thank you to all of the attendees, sponsors, speakers, and panelists from our 10th Biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference!
The 2023 Conference brought 80 humans together for inspiring discussions about nature-based climate solutions and the past, present, and future of our public lands. Together, we experienced the power of listening, conversation, unplugging from the all-pervasive digital networks, breathing and walking in the crisp fall air, and sharing face-to-face our collective commitment to protect and steward America’s wild snowscapes.
Since 2002, Winter Wildlands Alliance has hosted our biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference to bring together policy makers, athletes, grassroots activists, scientists, mountain guides, elected officials and other recreation and conservation stakeholders from across the country for two full days of engaging workshops, panel discussions and informal networking on issues important to winter recreation, conservation, climate and public lands.
This year’s program showcased educational panel discussions and workshops led by grassroots partners, outdoor industry experts, and leadership at various levels of the United States Forest Service. Attendees participated in conservations around wildfire, forest health, the importance and challenges of recreation data, sustainable ski resort development, wildlife and recreation, Forest Service planning, equitable access, and athlete advocacy. By sharing diverse perspectives and exploring critical issues to America’s snowscapes, we all left this year’s Conference inspired, engaged, and empowered.
Highlights included our two keynotes delivered by Pete McBride and Luis Benitez, as well as Connor Ryan’s opening recognition speech on “Connection and Commitment.” The venue—CU Boulder’s Mountain Research Station—was highly appropriate and grassrootsy, nestling us all together at 9500 feet up in the Rocky Mountains for every meal, rain, mud, frost and sunshine, a bull moose sighting, and backcountry buskers jams to close out each evening.
We are so grateful to everyone who attended and supported our 10th Biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference, giving us and our partners invaluable networking opportunities, connections to forge new partnerships, and strengthen existing relationships. We’ll see you in 2025! Meanwhile, stay tuned for upcoming Trail Break Radio podcast episodes produced from recorded panel discussions.
Thank you to our sponsors:
Photographer Pete McBride talks about his adventures through the world’s threatened natural soundscapes. Photo by Dally Hue
Luis Benitez, the first director of the Colorado outdoor recreation office, talks about the fierce political potential of a trillion-dollar outdoor recreation sector. Photo by Dally Hue
Connor Ryan, Natives Outdoors and Ikon athlete, talks about traditional ecological knowledge and the opportunity we have to set new standards for ourselves and the wild and beautiful places we love. Photo by Dally Hue
Loose entertainment by the world-famous Backcountry Buskers. Photo by Dally Hue
In-person, connected and internetwork-free at the Mountain Research Station’s historic Megaron building. Photo by Dally Hue
(Left to right) Outdoor Alliance Policy Associate Jamie Ervin, Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Jason Kuiken, Catamount Trail Association Executive Director Matt Williams and WWA Executive Director David Page discuss the potential for improved recreation opportunities through landscape-scale fuels reduction and forest health projects. Photo by Dally Hue
Longtime WWA ambassador Caroline Gleich talks about the challenges, pitfalls and opportunities of athlete advocacy and direct climate action. Photo by Dally Hue