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The Planet

April 1998, Volume 5, Number 3

Activist Outings: See It, Save It

by Vicky Hoover

    Who knew that Illinois residents Clayton Daughenbaugh and Patrick Murphy would be instrumental in gaining protection for Utah wilderness after they went on a Sierra Club Activist Outing in 1995?

    They were so inspired by the southwestern landscape that, armed with tools they gained on the trip, they convinced an Illinois senator to introduce legislation protecting Utah wildlands.

    “I already had an interest in the Utah wilderness, but the outing gave me the opportunity to put my concerns into action by teaching me what to do to protect the land,” says Daughenbaugh.

    Started in 1993, the Club’s Activist Outings program is designed to accomplish just that. Participants don’t just experience the wonders of a threatened place; they learn how to protect it. You learn in-depth about the issue of the land you’re visiting — often from local activists — and then you learn how to promote the issue when you get home, put on slide shows, talk in front of groups, contact the media, write letters to the editor, inspire fellow environmentalists to get involved. Armed with those skills you can go home from the trip and truly make a difference.

    The 1998 schedule offers the following great opportunities to combine advocacy and adventure:

    Midnight Sun Activist Backpack
    June 13-22 (Trip #98-102A) $1,895
    Accomplished leader Wilbur Mills guides this adventure to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There will be several layover days on the trek from the Brooks Range to the North Slope calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd, a remote sanctuary threatened by oil-industry proposals to drill for oil.

    Wild Utah Canoe Trip
    June 27–July 1 (Trip #98-103A) $695
    Wild Utah Raft Trip
    July 1–5 (Trip #98-104A) $795
    Combined price for both trips: $1,410
    Activists will see Utah’s threatened areas — from the water. This unique trip is divided into two segments; join just one or sign up for both. First is the canoe trip, which entails traveling 70 miles of the Green River through the colorful 800-foot-deep gorge of Labyrinth Canyon. Veteran leader Marie Cecchini shows the way. The raft trip follows 100 miles of the Green and Colorado rivers. Enjoy both tranquil Stillwater Canyon and tumultuous Cataract Canyon with leader Muir Macpherson. Both segments emphasize the need for advocacy to promote America’s Redrock Wilderness Act.

    Nevada Wilderness — Our Magnificent
    Hidden Treasure
    July 4–11 (Trip #98-105A) $355
    This trip combines car camping and some vigorous dayhikes in eastern Nevada’s remote, rugged mountain ranges and vast sweeping basins; all are in need of advocates. Zero in on this vital wilderness campaign at its start and be one of the first to carry the message that Nevada is not casinos and wastelands but soaring peaks, volcanic plateaus, rushing streams, and ancient aspen and bristle cone groves. Trip leaders are Vicky Hoover and Marge Sill.

    North Woods Wild
    July 12–18 (Trip # 98-106A) $595
    This canoe trip in Minnesota will be led by Bill Sheppard, veteran of many excursions to this Midwest gem. Participants will learn about proposed motorized use in a designated wilderness area. Legislation to create a loophole in the Wilderness Act has been defeated, but keeps resurfacing. Come paddle a few of the 1,100 lakes of this region and learn the issues.

    Trek to the Tall Trees
    July 19–25 (Trip #98-107A) $395
    In the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada is the stage for a scenic advocacy outing to a real-world wonder — the awesome giant sequoias — threatened by logging. This car-camping trip features dayhikes and probably an overnight backpack. Leaders Bill Evans and John Rasmussen will be joined by dedicated local activists Joe Fontaine and Carla Cloer to spread the word about our proposal for a protective reserve system for the magnificent sequoia habitat.

    Hawaiian Hot Spots
    Nov. 21–28 (Trip #98-108A) $995
    Activists will visit Maui’s Ma- ’alaea Bay, home to humpback whales, sea turtles and other tropical sea life; travel to a rainforest with a local biologist; snorkel at a coral reef; and learn about a project to help eradicate exotic plants and restore native plants. Participants will explore overuse of the island’s main water supply — the ’Iao aquifer — and developments that threaten native plant, animal and sea-life habitats. Jennifer Taddei and Lucienne de Naie lead the way.

    For more information: Contact Vicky Hoover at (415) 977-5527;
    Partial scholarships are available. For a trip brochure and application form, call the Outings Department at (415) 977-5522 or visit

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