Policy Update – October 2022

In this month’s policy update, we share the snow stoke across the West, our Backcountry Film Festival premiere, Camp Hale, and grassroots success in Alaska.

Photo Credit: Jason Hummel (@jasonhummel)

From Hilary Eisen, WWA Policy Director (10/25/2022)

My town of Bozeman saw its first snow of the season over this past weekend, and while it’s melting fast, I did get my first (Nordic) ski day in for the season!

The snow stoke is also high in Boise right now, following the premiere of Winter Wildlands Alliance’s 18th annual Backcountry Film Festival! The films are amazing and the lineup includes our very first grant-funded film project, “Soñadora”. With the season officially underway, be sure to check it out and find a screening near you!

Camp Hale Designation

Another event that had us celebrating this month was the designation of Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument! This National Monument protects the Tenmile Range and Camp Hale Colorado. Not only does this designation protect amazing wild places and spectacular terrain for backcountry skiing today, it celebrates and protects an important piece of American skiing history.

Camp Hale was the main training facility for the 10th Mountain Division and is where they developed many of the modern skiing, mountaineering, and climbing techniques you are probably familiar with and use today. I think it’s safe to say this is the very first National Monument with skiing at its core, and we’re stoked that President Biden issued his first National Monument proclamation to protect this special place.

Grassroots Group Success

Speaking of special places, the BLM is taking a second look at their decision to approve construction of the Ambler mining road in Alaska’s wild Brooks Range. The Trump administration approved the road after a rushed and insufficient environmental review process.

The EIS was challenged in court by conservation groups, including Winter Wildlands Alliance, as well as the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a tribal consortium of 39 villages and 37 federally recognized tribes. This Supplemental EIS is a direct result of those challenges.

Now, we need to ensure the supplemental EIS is thorough, so that the BLM recognizes that the irreparable harms that would result from this road far outweigh its potential benefits. Scoping comments are due November 4. Click here to learn more and to send in a comment today!

Thank you for helping us to protect wild winters. If you haven’t already, I hope you’re able to get out on snow soon!