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Wilderness Podcast
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Wilderness Podcast

Author: Wilderness Podcast

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Wilderness Podcast's mission is to spread contextual awareness surrounding wilderness issues and ideals by helping to facilitate a more in-depth appreciation through long form interviews with subject area experts. Wilderness Podcast is a conservation-based passion project.
47 Episodes
In this episode, I speak with Sally Ferguson, Executive Director of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation (SBFC). We talk about her background, the mission of the SBFC, central Idaho wilderness areas, how Idahoan’s value wilderness, creating advocates by virtue of deep wilderness experiences, how SBFC works with the Forest Service, noise pollution from small engine aircraft in Idaho wilderness areas, SBFC’s trails and stewardship programs and summer volunteer opportunities in the backcountry. Support the show (
In this episode, I interview Dahr Jamail, author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. We talk about Dahr’s life as an investigative journalist, his introduction to the climate crisis through his reporting, climate as the biggest story of all time, his book The End of Ice, coming to grips with our bleak climate reality, how quickly the climate is changing, having difficult conversations about climate disruption, personal rights versus obligations to the planet and future generations, transitioning from an industrial civilization to something new and creating a life of meaning through service to others and all species on Earth. Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with Gary Macfarlane, Ecosystems Defense Director and Katie Bilodeau, Staff Attorney with the Friends of the Clearwater in Idaho. We talk all about roadless areas, their history, RARE I, RARE II (Roadless Area Review and Evaluation), fractures in the wilderness community over RARE II, the National Forest Policy Act, the influence of industry on roadless areas, the nitty gritty of the Clinton 2001 Roadless Rule, state specific roadless rules, loopholes in the Roadless Rule, all about the new Friends of the Clearwater Roadless Report for Idaho and Montana, duplicity in the Forest Service on what constitutes protections, out of control and accelerating timber extraction and why we must begin taking roadless lands protection seriously.Support the show (
In this episode I interview Stephen Wood, a self-described “Wilderness Composer”. We talk about his childhood, what it means to be a wilderness composer, translating his wilderness experiences into music, his time spent in Montana writing compositions and his many residencies across the country. Stephen plays parts of his compositions for us inspired by his visits to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in George and the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon and walks us through what he was feeling when writing his pieces. We also discuss appreciating wilderness and drawing upon our wilderness experiences throughout our lives. Support the show (
In this episode I speak with Christopher Ketcham, author of This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption are Ruining the American West. We talk about Senate Bill 1695 which would amend the Wilderness Act to allow for mechanized recreation (mountain bikes) in designated Wilderness, the recreation industry's grip on self-professed environmental groups, the Wilderness Act and the ban on mechanization, impacts of mountain biking and other recreation on wildlife populations, allowing mountain bikes in Wilderness as a slippery slope, recreation capitalism, recreation as a distraction and cultural pacifier and fighting for wilderness values.This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism & Corruption are Ruining the American WestSupport the show (
In this episode, I speak with James Brundige, an accomplished conservation and environmental filmmaker. We discuss the California and Oregon wildfires, the interconnectedness of the climate and biodiversity crisis, the impacts of climate change across the globe, about his life as a conservation filmmaker working for National Geographic, NOVA, PBS and others, film as the ultimate art form, his early years as a filmmaker, working with Robert Redford and his film Forever Wild, his important film Wildways, Nature Needs Half, The Club of Rome and The Global Safety Net among other topics.Support the show (
Breaking News! On October 29th, the gray wolf lost protection under the Endangered Species Act. In this episode, I speak with Amaroq Weiss, Senior West Coast Wolf Advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity about this news and more. We talk about the history of delisting, the assault on the underlying science, public opinion towards wolves, cultural attitudes, mass wildlife killing programs sponsored by the federal government, regional recovery status, state wildlife agency attitudes, emotionally connecting with wolves, next steps in the courts, Amaroq’s background and all about the Center for Biological Diversity. the show (
In this episode, I interview Phil Knight, a long-time wilderness and wildlands activist in Montana. We discuss Phil’s guiding in Yellowstone, recently watching wolves kill a Bison, the accelerating destruction of wild nature, the fallacies of forest health initiatives, promoting forest resiliency, Phil’s early years, his activist history, his time with Earth First!, his early frustrations learning about how the government was managing public lands, the timber wars and locking his neck to a loading machine, Cove Mallard in Idaho, the evolution of activism, what Phil is up to today, his project to climb all the high points in Greater Yellowstone which he just recently completed, his hopes for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the insane influx of recreationists on public lands this summer and the inordinate influence of mountain bikers on forest planning policy.Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with Joseph Scalia, president of the Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance in Bozeman, Montana. Joe is a practicing psychoanalyst in Livingston and brings a unique perspective to the wilderness movement through his vocation. We talk about the climate, ecological and biodiversity crisis on earth, group psychosis and pathological thought processes, how the Big Greens use propaganda to further their agenda, corporatization of the Big Greens, society’s death drive to “have fun”, misrepresentation of Montanan’s desires to protect Wilderness Study Areas, Joe’s time as president of the Montana Wilderness Association, his awakening and realization that he was participating in a destructive system, how to change hearts and minds within captured conservation groups, the social fallout from leaving the pack and the spiritual gains of speaking the truth and seeking higher purpose. Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with Jon Marvel, public lands activist and the founder of Western Watersheds Project. We talk about his background, his first experiences on public lands in Idaho, what public lands mean to him, looking at ecosystems with fresh eyes, the vast destruction from intensive livestock grazing on public lands, a vision for public lands without the cows, multiple use mandates, the Bundy clan, the contentious founding of the Idaho Watersheds Project (pre Western Watersheds Project), buying grazing leases for conservation purposes, why some conservation groups don’t address the issue of public lands grazing, reflecting back on his time with Western Watersheds, legislative buyout programs, grazing as the most ubiquitous use of public lands and the reasons why grazing destroys ecosystems. Support the show (
In this episode, I am honored to speak with Derrick Jensen. Derrick is a long time environmental activist, writer and philosopher. He has authored dozens of books and essays and is known in the environmental and conservation movement as one of the great movers and shakers of our time. Derrick challenges us to see the bigger picture, question authority and seek new ways of living with ourselves and the planet. We talk about Derrick’s background, his history as an activist, the gaps he discovered in the environmental discourse, our cultural hate of nature, the epistemology of science, how we perceive the natural world, reverting to hunter gatherer societies, the fact that we are in overshoot, the fundamental roles of natural communities, the problem with agriculture, the troubles with talk of sustainability without addressing psychopathy and power, the responsibility of participating in the predator pray relationship, Jevons Paradox, the ridiculous notion that renewable energy will save us, the hypocrisy of the green new deal, the collapse of civilization, why it’s still worth fighting for a future and living with dignity moving forward into terrifying and uncertain times. Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with George Wuerthner, wilderness activist and wildlands ecologist. George is a frequent guest of the program and a prolific writer and advocate for the wild. He has authored more than 38 books on public lands issues and conservation. We talk about predator hunting and the associated ecological and social fallout, wolf hunting exacerbating cattle grazing conflicts, Aldo Leopold and the wolf as told in his Sand County Almanac, changing the direction and missions of state fish and wildlife agencies, taking on “the old boy”hunting  network, predator management and our value systems.We then pivot the conversation and talk about how some conservation groups have kept their mission intact after experiencing changes and growth, groups that have lost their way (and some reasons why), how to help ensure that grassroots groups stay on track, the problem with the Conservation Collaboratives and how to keep the passion going. Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with Adam Rissien of Wild Earth Guardians and Connie Wilbert of the Sierra Club about a massive Forest Service proposal to cut hundreds of thousands of acres of trees (including 80,000 acres in roadless areas!) in the Medicine Bow National forest in Wyoming called the LaVA Project. We talk about Adam and Connie’s organizations and backgrounds, the scale and scope of the LaVA project, its impacts, the harmful effects of road building on the ecosystem, lack of environmental analysis and oversight, similarities to the Four Forests Initiative in Arizona, rewriting the rules of the National Environmental Policy Act to allow for ambiguity, history of fires and logging on the Medicine Bow National Forest, how we should be managing our forests, the false promises of “Forest Heath” initiatives, climate change, forest resiliency and the Forest Service burying scientific information in support of their motives.  Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with David Mattson and Louisa Wilcox, grizzly bear and carnivore scientists and activists who live near Livingston, Montana. We talk about David and Louisa’s background, speaking truth to power in Greater Yellowstone concerning grizzly bear management, attempts to delist the grizzly bear, arguments for delisting, achieving viable population numbers, distrusting state management of endangered carnivores, hunting and conservation and as a business model, juxtaposing domination vs holistic world views towards natures, elk and deer population factors in grizzly country, shifting diets due to climate change, pepper spray vs firearms for countering grizzly attacks, preventing unnecessary grizzly deaths at the hands of hunters, all the positives of having carnivores on the landscape, native American relationships with grizzly bears, our responsibility towards bears, leaving wild things for future generation, the despair of the loss of wildness by Aldo Leopold and openly expressing the love we feel for the wild. the show (
In this episode, we discuss Scott’s background, what Central Oregon was like back in the 1980s, being a gardener vs. letting nature take its course, the Oregon Malheur (Owyhee) Bill, about his organization, Wild Wilderness, Fee Demo (lifting the prohibition of charging user fees for outdoor recreation), the influence of the American Recreation Coalition and the RV Industries Association, the Wise Use Movement, The Blue Ribbon Coalition, the history of motorized recreation on public lands, commercialization and privatization of America’s public lands, promoting undeveloped recreation, the problem with industrial strength recreation, experiencing wilderness through transcendence, the dark side of, Central Oregon Wilderness Reservation System, envisioning a dystopian future of tracking people in Wilderness and the death of the American environmental movement. "Wilderness is a place, a path, and a portal through which those who are willing to throw off their encumbrances are able to connect with their humanity.""When Big “W” Wilderness is treated like little “w” wilderness and little “w" wilderness is treated like parks and parks are treated like playgrounds, the battle for the wilderness will be lost.” Quotes by Scott SilverSupport the show (
In this episode, we discuss George’s background, the greatest current threats to wilderness, practicing restraint as humans, impacts of recreation on wildlife, the value of wilderness beyond human use and enjoyment, sacrificing our enjoyment as recreationalists for the benefit of wilderness, the lesson(s) of wilderness, changing our relationship to the planet, the similarities in the message of the Wilderness Act and climate activists today, recreational demand in the Gallatin Range, the GYE as a special place where we can still protect wilderness on a grand scale, all about the work of Wilderness Watch, the Three Sisters permit system in Central Oregon, noise pollution and its health consequences, noise issues in wilderness, the impacts of livestock grazing in wilderness, retiring grazing permits and climate change and its impacts on wilderness areas. "Founded in 1989, Wilderness Watch is the leading national organization whose sole focus is the preservation and proper stewardship of lands and rivers included in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). The organization grew out of the concern that while much emphasis is being placed on adding new areas to these systems, the conditions of existing Wilderness and rivers are largely being ignored. We believe that the stewardship of these remarkable wild places must be assured through independent citizen oversight, education, and the continual monitoring of federal management activities." Support the show (
“I’ve come to the conclusion that groups like The Wilderness Society are no longer apart of our movement. They’re doing something that is completely different. They have strayed so far from their visionary founders. The Wilderness Society, Montana Wilderness Association and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition… I don’t consider any of these groups to be apart of the Wilderness Conservation Movement any longer.” -Howie Wolke on Wilderness PodcastIn this episode, I interview Howie Wolke and Marilyn Olsen. Howie is a past two time president of Wilderness Watch and has been on and off the Board of Directors over the past twenty five years. He is also a recently retired wilderness backpacking guide. Marilyn is a retired nurse and also a retired long-time wilderness and backpacking guide. We talk about how they met, their Wilderness backpacking business (Big Wild Adventures which now has new owners), the cumulative impact of exposing people to Wilderness and wilderness values, the disconnect of employees in many conservation organizations and their deviation from traditional grassroots wilderness advocacy, influence of corporations and foundations expecting compromise and collaboration from conservation groups that they fund, selfishness of certain recreational users, the Gallatin Range (right up against their backyard), the formation of Montanan’s for Gallatin Wilderness, how to revive grassroots wilderness movements, examples of when the Big Greens sold out and abandoned wilderness principles, a message to the Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance and how to reach young folks and making the wilderness movement relevant to them.Howie and Marilyn continue their crusade by writing articles and letters in defense of wilderness and wild places.Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with Katie Fite, Director of Public Lands with WildLands Defense. We talk about the disastrous new Malheur/Owyhee Wilderness Bill proposed in Oregon and its failings (releases over one million acres of wilderness-suitable lands to multiple use!), the original Owyhee Bill in Idaho and eerie parallels, the livestock industry and their grip on public lands management decisions, the destructive nature of cows and livestock on fragile high desert and canyon ecosystems, the abysmal state of the Wilderness movement and the shortcomings of the organizations at the helm, the Federal Lands Management Policy Act, The Wilderness Idea and inspiring a wilderness ethic in land management across the board. "The new Malheur Bill in Oregon, really elevates the power of ranchers in public lands management decisions and that’s a significant problem. What the land needs is fewer cows or no cows altogether. Everything gets overrun with cheatgrass and is degraded. It just becomes a very, very bleak landscape." - Katie Fite. Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with Bill Hodge, the Executive Director with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation in Montana. We talk about Bob Marshall the man, the history of the founding of The Wilderness Society, The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, Bill’s background, what he learned working on wilderness and trails issues in Tennessee for the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), getting people connected with the Wilderness Idea, Montanan's attitudes towards Wilderness, Mountain Biking in Wilderness, Collaboration and Compromise and what his organization does.Support the show (
In this episode, I speak with Thomas Welch, retired pediatrician, Adirondack guide and amateur historian about early Adirondack history. We begin with the first ascent and expedition up Mount Marcy (the tallest mountain in the Adirondacks) with geologist Ebenezer Emmons (Geologist), William Redfield (Meteorologist), John Torrey (Botanist) and their scientific pursuits. We then talk about Verplanck Colvin and his surveying expeditions which latest from 1872 to 1900 where he mapped and measured the entirety of the Adirondack Park. We also discuss Bob Marshall and his formative years on Saranac Lake and his time climbing and exploring the high peaks, inspired by Colvin’s surveys. Bob’s time in the Adirondacks inspired his essay “The Problem with Wilderness” and led to his deep appreciation of wilderness values and its importance to the human spirit. Thomas also tells the story of Vice President Teddy Roosevelt and his harrowing descent of Mt. Marcy after learning of the assassination of President McKinley.Support the show (
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