Policy Update – May 2023

In this month’s policy update, we share our virtual member meeting, an update on Alaska’s Ambler Road, a recent report on nature-based climate solutions, and welcome our latest grassroots group.

Photo Credit: Ben Kitching

From Hilary Eisen, WWA Policy Director (5/26/2023)

In my mind, May marks the last month of winter and I like to wrap things up by spending Memorial Day weekend skiing in my favorite place, the Beartooth Mountains. It doesn’t always provide a great mental respite from work though, because snowmobile use along the main spring access point for skiing in the Beartooths is a key issue in the ongoing Shoshone National Forest travel management planning process, as highlighted in this recent news article. Even so, I’m looking forward to getting out on my skis this weekend!

Virtual Member Meeting

In light of May being the end of our busy winter season, Winter Wildlands Alliance held our biannual Virtual Member Meetup this past month. If you weren’t able to attend you can watch this recording to catch up on how the Backcountry Film Festival and SnowSchool seasons went, as well as updates on the state of the organization from our Executive Director, David, and a policy update from me.

Nature-Based Climate Solutions

Our friends at Outdoor Alliance published a fantastic new policy report on natural climate solutions this month. The report details 15 concrete actions the U.S. can undertake to simultaneously address the growing demand for recreation, support the outdoor economy, ensure sustainable and equitable outdoor access, and protect nature — all while mitigating the effects of climate change.

Ambler Road – Alaska

And, here’s a little good news for those of you following the campaign to stop the Ambler Road in Alaska.

This week the Department of the Interior announced it is extending the timeline of the supplemental environmental review (SEIS) and will delay the Record of Decision (ROD) until 2024. Previously, Interior had indicated that it would release a draft SEIS this spring, followed by a ROD at the end of this year. Delay is always welcome news when our ultimate goal is to stop a project. For more on the campaign to stop the Ambler Road, check out www.defendbrooksrange.org.

Taos Mountain Alliance

Finally, I want to welcome our newest Grassroots Group – Taos Mountain Alliance! TMA organized in response concerns over how Taos Ski Valley’s proposed new developments might affect access to the neighboring Wheeler Peak Wilderness as well as impacts to the natural environment and socioeconomics in the Taos area.