A Mile In Her Boots: Women Who Work In The Wild
Jennifer Bové, Editor
Solas House, 2006, 296 pages.
After reading A Mile in Her Boots, I may never again complain about my aching back after a hard day at the laptop.
For the women who contributed to this compilation of true stories, “going to the office” can mean anything from waking at dawn to set nets for the pink salmon run, to jumping from an airplane into a forest fire far below. Editor Jennifer Bové has brought together an inspiring group of smart, strong and gutsy women.
The writing styles in A Mile in Her Boots is as varied as the profiled outdoor jobs and their natural settings. In “Caught for Sure,” a sweet and short story by Mary Jane Butters (of Mary Jane’s Farm) about her days with the Forest Service in the 70s, we are treated to an anecdote about a na•ve young woman with the fishing patience of a hungry bear. I especially loved Leslie Leyland Fields’ visceral “Hurled to the Shark” and the Old Testament passages weaved into a tale of a seasonal battle with herself and the sea.
Bové included a story of her own with “First Night at Field Camp,” a brief glimpse at her work as a field biologist, trying to act like “one of the guys” to get along with the summer crew, while simultaneously praying she remembered to tuck tampons in her backpack.
And I will never forget Lori Messenger’s “Milk.” The image of new mother Messenger sitting behind a tree, on break from setting controlled burns and smoke jumping, desperately cursing her inadequate hand pump while trying to express breast milk into a bottle had me laughing in sympathy and admiration.
The women’s work done in A Mile in Her Boots is all over the map. Literally. But a common theme in these stories is one of the intense satisfaction and the sense of being completely awake to their lives from working in nature and from using their muscles as intensely as they do their minds.
Angie Dierdorff Petro
Blossoms are Ghosts at the Wedding
Empty Bowl Press, July 2006, 165 pages.
Thoughtful people choose words carefully. Writers, particularly those engaged in responding as clearly as they can to the natural world, are fated with a privileged obsession: seeking the precisely right words to best illuminate their experiences.
Tom Jay offers a range of observations on attentiveness to words we choose to enliven our affinities in his new book, Blossoms are Ghosts at the Wedding.
Jay, also an accomplished sculptor and co-founder of long-lasting Northwest salmon habitat restoration projects, juxtaposes poems, essays and commentaries to lead a reader into understanding that an appreciation for the roots of language leads directly to connecting more fully with the place where you live. A surprise is that, for all the complexity in his writing there is not a whiff of abstraction; it is as rich and dense as the soil beneath your feet.
How does a book like this work? A favorite reference by Wendell Berry quoting one of his neighbors on the problem of being unable to tell anybody how to do something practical: “I can’t tell you how to do that but I can put you where you can learn.” Jay’s style achieves an unusual intimacy with the reader and you find you are discovering material that matters. It is very personal storytelling about a love of key ancestor words, about passionate involvements in place-based relationships and luminous poems of all of this nuanced reflection.
And, just a mention about the muse for all of you writers who care about that crucial relationship: Jay provides a definitive commentary on this subject that should be required reading for all introspective people seeking their way home.
Conventional wisdom, with its shallow roots and pathology for detached objectivity, has utterly failed us. Robinson Jeffers: “A little too abstract, a little too wise/It is time for us to kiss the earth again.” Jay shares some things to consider while deepening that intricate courtship with where you live.
Book Reveiws, Magazine Article |
Lately, people in downtown Spokane have been stopping me on the street to ask how the urban outdoorsperson should vote in this month’s election.
“Hey,” the curious voter will often say, “can I have some money to buy a forty or some crystal meth?”
“Good question,” I’ll say. “So what you’re really asking is about our uncertain political future and what we can do locally in the face of such massive problems as global warming or the Iraq war?”
“No. I just want to get wasted.”
“To escape the grim political reality.”
“No. Because I’m a junkie.”
“Because of the failed policies of the last six years.”
“No. I was getting stewed long before that.”
“So you’re saying both parties have failed you.”
“If I say yes will you give me fifty cents.”
With that in mind, here is my 2006 urban outdoor voters guide:
- Initiatives: It’s confusing because for the first time since the late 1800s, there is no initiative floated by Tim Eyman to get Tim Eyman out of paying Tim Eyman’s taxes. (To save trouble, I think we should have an initiative once and for all establishing Tim Eyman as a tax-exempt entity so he can go back to harvesting kittens or whatever he did before he wrote tax initiatives.)
Still there are some important initiatives:
- I-920 would finally repeal the repressive estate tax unfairly put upon multi-millionaires and billionaires whose coke-addled, trust-funded children often have to sell off one of their Sun Valley condos just to pay the taxes on … Uh … NO.
- I-933 seeks to limit government regulation of private property and give every landowner the right to have his cow shit in a wetland, and allow small farmers to turn pastures into sprawling mini-malls with Quiznos and tanning salons. NO.
- I-937 is the green energy mandate, which would require energy companies to have fifteen percent of their energy be “renewable” by the year 2020. Opponents make a pretty good argument this is totally unrealistic and could lead to economic ruin, anarchy and cannibalism. Enough said. YES.
- U.S. Senate: Maria Cantwell vs. Mike McGavick. If you’re a true greenie, or if you’re fed up with mealy Dems like Cantwell who voted for the Iraq war, you might be tempted to vote for the Green Party candidate, Aaron Dixon, but I believe he has a ponytail. Men with ponytails are only qualified to run three things: vans, jazz saxophones and juice bars. Cantwell.
- U.S. Representative District 5: Cathy McMorris is running against Peter Goldmark. While McMorris is no friend to the environment, I wonder about Goldmark’s trademark cowboy hat. I guess he’s a real cowboy, but honestly, who wears a cowboy hat? Do politicians stand before a wall of props, thinking, I could go with the pirate eyepatch? No. How about the suit of armor? Hey, a cowboy hat! You don’t see Republicans wearing tie-dye or growing dreadlocks to looks less conservative, so why do Western Democrats insist on wearing cowboy hats? Still … Goldmark.
Jess Walter’s new novel, The Zero, is available in bookstores
Jess Walters: The Urban Outdoors, Magazine Article |
By Derrick Knowles, Juliet Sinisterra, & Jon Snyder
We’ve compiled five of the coolest outdoor jobs in the Inland Northwest (and one of the worst). Each of these individuals get to spend time outside on a daily basis and get paid for it–we think that is pretty cool. A lot of them are also making the outdoors safe and accessible for the rest of us.
SERE Specialist (USAF Survival Training Instructor), Tech Sergeant Josh Anderson
Home Base: Fairchild Air Force Base,
The 336th Training Group is a tenant unit out at Fairchild Air Force Base, but the sole manager of US Air Force survival training. There are approximately 400 survival training instructors world-wide and 170 are stationed at Fairchild. Named the SERE School (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), 48 classes are taught each year.
“There is a lot of hands-on training in navigation, the primitive arts [building tools, catching food], when people find themselves isolated they need to know how to procure items from nature. Basically, we train anyone that might be in danger of getting in harm’s way,” says Tech Sgt. Josh Anderson.
The varied temperate zones of the Pacific Northwest, make Fairchild an ideal location for the SERE School. Training for the tropics happens in the Olympic Rainforest, for desert climates at Vantage, for coastal training, Tillamook, Oregon and locally, the Colville National Forest. Trainees graduate with skills ranging from rock climbing to whitewater rafting to the ability to eat live slugs off the Oregon Coast.
“When we train on the coast we eat various mollusks, live clams-it’s a sushi-lovers paradise … to get the maximum effect you have to chew the slugs so you can blow bubbles with their mucous,” says Anderson.
The antics of the trainees at the Oregon Coast balances out the serious nature of survival training. SERE instructors regularly get called overseas to train aircrews for combat, and helicopters at the SERE school regularly assist regional search and rescue operations. Tech Sgt. Anderson never underestimates the need to be prepared when heading out there.
Anderson always carries a mini-survival kit-a tiny Altoids tin, jam-packed with everything from a multiple fire starters to a magnetized needle to Micropure water tablets. The Altoid
tin itself can be used as a reflective mirror to signal for help or to boil water. Items with multiple uses are extremely helpful. Even the ubiquitous plastic garbage bag can end up saving your life by providing shelter from the elements.
“The number one killer is exposure. Most people will die of either hypo- or hyperthermia. The need to survive always happens when you least expect it-a few basic items can make all the difference,” says Anderson.
Training: A two-week wash-out training course in Texas followed by a intensive six-month course. Once an individual is qualified as a SERE Specialist, multiple training opportunities open up to them, such as scuba diving, parachuting or free-fall training.
Gear: As trainers, they get to carry a lot of gear-students do not. Trainers are issues several varieties of backpacks, “Usually these are more
tactically oriented like Blackhawk,” says Anderson. Other items that assist trainers are stoves, water filtration, knives and sleeping bags. “We often make trips to Mountain Gear or
REI to see what would help in the field,” says Anderson.
Pay: $40-50,000 (depends on rank).
Forest Service River Ranger, Linda Hagedorn
Home Base: Slate Creek Ranger Station
(near Riggins, ID)
Spending six to seven months out of the year on one of the west’s premier wilderness rivers sounds more like a vacation than a job. But for Linda Hagedorn, the river is her office from April to November each year. Along with a partner ranger, she represents the Forest Service on the 80-mile Wild and Scenic stretch of the Salmon River through the heart of the Frank Church Wilderness. The work includes checking over 100 camp sites for trash; pulling knapweed and other noxious weeds; and naturalizing beaches in the spirit of the Leave No Trace wilderness ethic.
According to Hagedorn, the hardest part is moving all of the rocks people leave scattered all over the beaches. “Campers are constantly lugging rocks out onto the sand to anchor tarps, tents, and boats, and then we’re responsible for hauling them back off the beaches,” says Hagedorn. As the longest free-flowing river in the lower-48 states, the Salmon River is blessed with an abundance of sandy beaches that Hagedorn is charged with protecting. “One of the neatest things about the Salmon River is all of the white, sand beaches. They’re a natural treasure, and it’s our job to minimize the human impact.”
When they’re not hard at work on the shore, the river rangers are out on the water running rapids and talking with floaters to make sure folks are complying with regulations, practicing basic river safety, and generally keeping out of trouble. After a hard day’s work on the river, it’s another peaceful night at home for Hagedorn, camped out on one of the Salmon’s famed beaches. “I’m lucky enough to be out there three seasons of the year with the wildlife and the river and to see things change,” says Hagedorn. “I think I have the best job in the forest service.”
Training & Education: Experience is everything. Knowledge of river skills, low-impact camping and conservation are required. Wilderness first aid, river rescue training and a recreation degree are a big help.
Tools of the Trade: Rafts, kayaks and camping gear. Satellite phone, first aid gear and a “pin kit” (used to rescue stuck rafts).
Favorite Gear: Heavy-duty vinyl sleeping pads that double as raft seats and cooler protectors and a homemade sling for moving rocks off the beach.
Pay: $10-15 hour for seasonal work.
State Park Ranger (Mountain Bike Ranger & Park Manager), Steve Christensen
Home Base: Mt. Spokane, WA
Steve Christensen along with Washington State Park Rangers Gary Johnson and Clayne Perrins, gets to regularly cruise around Mt. Spokane on a mountain bike, grooming and planning for trails, changing out signs for each season and in general, patrolling the mountain scene.
“I like to be out, I need to know what the trails look like. We groom those trails, plus people need to see us out there,” says Christensen.
Christensen and his team of rangers received bikes through the Washington State Law Enforment Division. “Any state park ranger that wanted one got one-ours tend to be heavier than the standard, we have got rugged trails,” says Christensen.
Christensen admits that he does not get out nearly as much as he would like-inside paperwork duties often require him to be at his
desk, but he does get out at least once a day. During colder months, rangers at
Mt. Spokane can be seen cross-country skiing, downhill skiing or snowmobiling around
Training: Need to complete training at the Ranger Academy in Skagit County or a Washington State Police Academy. As a Washington State Park Ranger you are considered a Law Enforcement agent.
Gear: Giant Trans 3 Mountain Bikes outfitted with lights. “They used to be outfitted with bags on the back but we switched over to what the locals do and now we use daypacks,” says Christensen.
Pay: $50-60,000 annually.
USGS Salmon Surgeon, Jamie Sprandow
Home base: Columbia River Research Laboratory, Cook, WA
More proof that the Endangered Species Act and wildlife recovery can benefit rural economies by creating jobs, wildlife biologist Jaime Sprandow and her team of salmon recovery surgeons make their living implanting tiny tracking devices in juvenile salmon, which helps biologists figure out how the fish are making their way through the gauntlet of damns on the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
The job requires travel up and down the river corridor to remote riverside locations where Sprandow and others work out of rustic trailers that have been converted into salmon recovery laboratories. The work may not be all outdoor fun, but it keeps the salmon surgeons in constant, intimate contact with a Pacific Northwest icon: the Snake River salmon.
Sprandow heads up the operation, leading a team of technicians responsible for surgically implanting radio transmitters into juvenile salmon, which make them trackable via solar powered receivers up and down the river. This hands-on, blue-collar biology work is part of larger salmon recovery efforts in the Snake River Basin. “The data from the receivers helps us see how the fish migrate, how they behave in the river,” says Sprandow. “We’re trying to see how they get by the dams, if they’re going through the turbines or using fish passage devices.”
According to Sprandow, the daily grind goes something like this: capture young fish out of the river, haul them in 5-gallon buckets to the trailer labs, knock the little critters out with anesthetic, carefully make incision and implant transmitters into each slippery patient, sew up the wounds and put them into recovery buckets before releasing the cyber salmon back into the sluggish waters of the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
Training/Education: Two weeks of intense training that includes surgical practice on bananas. No advanced education necessary, although a Biology degree helps.
Gear: surgical gloves (very important for avoiding numb hands while working with anesthetic). Needle drivers, scalpels, suture, lots of 5-gallon buckets, anesthetized water, surgical table and recycled trailers.
Pay: $12-20 an hour for mostly seasonal work.
Eric Ewing, Sports Timer, Milliseconds Sports Timing
Home Base: Spokane, WA
During the week, Eric Ewing is home with his 17-month old twins, but on the weekend, he travels the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere to time sporting events using software developed exclusively for Milliseconds Sports Timing based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Milliseconds brought me on board because they were turning down business in the Pacific Northwest. They did not have the crew to do it. My calendar for 2007 is already full for July & August,” says Ewing.
Weekends during the summer, Ewing bounces around between races in Seattle, Spokane, Silver Mountain and Oregon. Race size varies between 100 to 10,000 participants. Once the colder weather arrives, Milliseconds sends Ewing across the country to time events over there. Traveling to new, cool cities is part of the appeal for Ewing.
“The ones I like doing the most, are the ones in cities that I have never been to. I really liked the one [triathlon] I did in Bend, Oregon-the Deschutes Dash,” says Ewing.
Right now, Ewing mostly times triathlons. “Those are the hardest to time. People want to know their integral time,” says Ewing, “they want to know how long it took them to do their swim, how long it took them to get out of their wetsuit and put their shoes on. We can capture transition time.”
Another challenge is impatient competitors. Because Ewing is busy running software during the race, he is not always able to answer everyone’s questions immediately. As a result, he tries to keep a low profile during races, hiding behind the walls of his portable ten by ten tent. Still, Ewing enjoys the service he provides.
“I find a lot of joy in racers in getting their results up so quick. When you are able to hand them [race promoters] unofficial results about a half hour into the race, they can’t believe it. They are used to this army of volunteers doing hand calculations.”
Milliseconds uses reusable chips that are placed in a neoprene padded strap that is wrapped around the racer’s ankle. Ewing recently timed the Bare Buns Fun Run-the annual nudist run held in July at Loon Lake. “They weren’t completely nude,” says Ewing, “they had their ankle straps on.”
Training: “The first thing you would want is computer skills-specifically data base and spreadsheets. We custom write our own software. Being able to know your way around the computer. Having some background in how sporting events work. I have an easier time, since I know what the promoters are going through.”
Gear: Three components are needed. The racer has to have the chip on the ankle, track-side boxes that pick up the signal, and the computer-a Powerbook G4 Laptop.
Pay: In the “$25K Range.” “I’m not getting rich doing what I do. The fact that I love my job is just
as important to me as the money.” //
When OTM first learned someone had a gig diving for golf balls at the Coeur d’Alene Resort we thought it was shoo-in for our cool jobs feature.
And then we actually spoke to the golf ball diver.
Turns out that “cool” is nowhere to be found on the long list of adjectives Bob Hamilton uses to describe his job. Dirty, disgusting, slimy, and cold are more like it.
“It’s brutal work,” says Hamilton. “That’s not water I’m diving into.”
The liquid in the golf course water traps is mix of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer and sewage, that is mucky with stagnation and ice-cold even in the middle of summer because it is fed with tap water. When Hamilton first started golf ball diving he contracted a virus he couldn’t get rid of. That led to acquiring a full environmentally-sealed wetsuit. Which was great, but it didn’t stop the leaches.
Hamilton doesn’t know what makes leaches thrive in water traps but times he’s seen them so thick along the bottom that “they look like grass.” With a conventional scuba mask Hamilton found he still had a couple inches on his face exposed. One day he went down and came up with two leaches on those two inches. That’s when he decided it was time for the environmentally-sealed, positive pressure, full face mask.
Now he dives with $5,000 worth of commercial equipment that weighs around a hundred pounds. “Water does not touch me,” says Hamilton.
Hamilton is a firefighter, who used to own a scuba shop, is master scuba diving instructor, and has worked in water search and rescue. He says you need smart hands to dive for golf balls because you get paid by the ball and the better you can feel for balls in the darkness the more you can get.
The golf courses have a contract Hamilton where they get a percentage of the proceeds he gets from selling the balls. After retrieving them he has to clean them and find buyers. He sells the balls bulk and these days most of them end up in Taiwan or Europe. Even with all the Inland Northwest golf courses under contract he says he wouldn’t be able to make a living off of golf balls diving by itself.
Though he’s had partners dive with him from time to time they rarely come back for a second dive. “I would love to have the help,” says Hamilton. Think you have what it takes? You can contact him through the Coeur D’Alene Resort.
Training: Novice scuba divers can get started with classes at local shops.
Gear: Full Face Positive Pressure Mask made by Interspiro.
Pay: “I’m happy if I get five cents a ball.” You do the math.
Magazine Article |
Take a few road bikes, add a looped hiking trail, preferably one with a few logs across it or short, steep hills, and mix it all together with some drunken pre-WWII Frenchmen who aren’t ready to give up on the summer cycling season, and you have the invention of cyclocross. As local cyclocross competitor Jake McBurns describes the race, in which bikers compete to make the most laps in a set amount of time around a rough-surface track including several 12″-16″ barriers or hills that force a dismount and portage, “it’s the display of physical fitness and technical ability on a bike.” Racers slop through ice, mud and snow during the fall season, so, Mr. McBurns, what’s your cyclocross survival gear?
Bike: The Elephant – a steel, “classic” frame made by McBurns’ friend and local bike connoisseur, Glen Copus. The material harkens back to the original off-road road-biking nature of the sport, and McBurns gets a little more forgiveness out of his steel frame with a carbon fiber front fork. Cross bikes have no shocks, and in cyclocross, you switch your brakes so that when you dismount on the left side to portage, you can keep the bike balanced because the rear brake handle is on the left handlebar, instead of on the right.
Pedals: New Crank Bros. Candies, which have a platform. “You get tired, and sometimes I just miss the pedals.”
Shifters: McBurns rides a nine-speed Shimano 105 shifting system, but he’s “going up to ten as soon as the parts get here” from Sram.
Wheels: Ritchey Zeros. “Wheels are really important because they’re bigger than mountain bike wheels, but you’re treating them the same so they need to be strong, and also very light.”
Tires: “A lot of people use tubular tires – they’re lighter and you can ride them with lighter pressure for more traction,” but McBurns uses Clinchers. “I try to get a midline quality – one with a lot of traction, but one I can also roll very easily with little friction.”
Handlebars: Bell Laps. “They have lateral flare and they’re really comfortable when you’re on the drops.”
Seat: “The seat, like the pedals, is a total personal preference – just make sure it’s comfortable.”
Shoes: “My shoe collection is all in cycling shoes.” For cyclocross, you need mountain bike shoes with cleat systems, “so when you’re running up hill you can really dig in.” McBurns prefers Sidi and Northwave shoes.
Helmet: “It just has to fit. They’re almost disposable because you can crash and then they’re worthless, so I tend not to get attached to my helmet as I do to my bike.”
Clothing: Skin suits are big in cyclocross, according to McBurns. “You want to be slick.” You generate a lot of heat in cyclocross, so you don’t need to wear much, but McBurns keeps his hands warm with Pearl Izumi long finger gloves and Defeet wool socks.
Accessories: McBurns eschews most accessories, including a watch and water bottles. “If you have it on in cross, it’s just going to get broken.” Occasionally, he’ll wear Smith District sunglasses.
“Ice and snow are wonderful for the racing,” McBurns said, but “part of the joy of cross is the spectators,” so keep an eye on the calendar for your chance to catch McBurns in his skin suit and fogged up sunglasses.
“If you like being fit, if you like a challenge, I’d encourage anyone who bikes to try it”
“I have a really nice road bike and a really nice mountain bike, but my cross bike is just the most fun to ride. I take it out in the harshest weather – it’s my pal.”
Magazine Article, What's Your Gear? |
The staid image of “Aprés ski” activities-a round of hot drinks around the fireplace at the ski lodge following a day on the slopes, often while still in skiing attire-is getting made over; at many of today’s ski resorts, visitors can have a good time without ever having to don a pair of ski boots or goggles. Following a trend pioneered by the major “destination” resorts such as Vail and Jackson Hole, many ski areas are adding off-ski activities to the calendar. The region’s Big Five resorts-Mt. Spokane, 49¡ North, Silver Mountain, Lookout Pass, and Schweitzer-have started to get in on the action, too; in fact, several of the resorts have recently created full-time Event Coordinator positions to manage the full slate of activities. Although the number and size of parties vary between area resorts, powder- and party hounds can cherry pick from each resort’s calendar and conceivably book a party for every weekend between now and the spring equinox. And if a savvy skier plans well, between all the bonfires and Mardi Gras parties and carnivals, there might even be time for a run or two.
Mt. Spokane has tentatively scheduled two costume-themed events to close out the 2006-2007 ski season. On March 24, the resort will host Hawaiian Days in conjunction with a Slope Style event in the terrain park. For those long on style, just not on the slopes, there will still be a chance to taste fame the following weekend, March 31, in the Retro Days costume contest.
The resort tucked into the mountains just east of Chewelah, has plenty to celebrate this year with the opening of 400 acres of new terrain in the Sunrise Basin, including 15 new runs. The brush piles remaining from the expansion will fuel the resort’s bonfire November 18, which marketing director James Daugherty says will be “a sacrifice to the snow gods.”
And if skiing is a religion, filmmaker Warren Miller is a one of its pre-eminent apostles, his film screenings an annual ritual for devoted members of the flock. This year, 49¡ North will host its own Warren Miller movie showing, in conjunction with a ski swap, on November 11.
The resort will wind up its winter event season with an all-you-can-eat oyster feed on March 31. Daugherty says the resort will be bringing in “truckloads” of the saltwater shellfish for the event. Yes, oysters. At a ski resort. In Eastern Washington.
Although the Kellogg, Idaho resort has a full schedule of winter events, the highlight of the Silver Mountain season is the Mardi Gras Carnival and Party, March 3-4. Heather Erikson, Event Coordinator for Silver Mountain resort, says the carnival is the resort’s “tried-and-true biggest event of winter.” Expect all (okay, most) of what the name suggests, with live music, drink specials, a microbrew showcase, and plenty of wild costumes. However, Silver Mountain’s version of the festival is decidedly more family-friendly than the New Orleans incarnation, with plenty of kids’ activities, including snow basketball, face painting and a maze. The resort will also host Retro Day on March 29. In addition to a ski-boot dance-off, Erikson says there will be prizes for the best old-school costumes. For one day, at least, the aprs ski fashions of the ’80s (think neon parkas and sprayed-on-tight ski pants) will be cool again.
Although the packed event schedule for the latter half of the winter should guarantee plenty of traffic, cold weather or not, Silver Mountain resort has several signature events prior to the new year, including the annual Dance for Snow Party (November 18), featuring the inaugural Redneck Games-the competition is slated to include a tire-changing race, hubcap tossing, and keg rolling; the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony (November 25); and Jackass Day, Silver Mountain’s anniversary, featuring birthday cake-there will be 39 candles this year-and events in the tubing park.
Lookout Pass Ski Resort has scheduled three larger festival-type events for the 2006-7 ski season. The first is the Winter Carnival on January 21. This is a family-friendly event where mascots such as Daisy the Clown, Powder Pig and Captian Hot Chocolate.
“We try to get everyone involved. We will have outdoor volleyball, downhills races-parents against kids and we will be showing videos inside the lodge all day,” says Jim Schreiber, Marketing Director at Lookout.
The ski patrol will also be passing out hot chocolate vouchers the entire day.
New for Lookout this year, is their own Mardi Gras Festival on February 8 and February 25 is scheduled for the Lookout Beach Party and Big Kahauna Downhill race.
“Depending on the conditions, we ski in summer clothes, there is an overall party atmosphere with outdoor games and volleyball. The Big Kahauna Downhill is a race from the top of the mountain to the bottom,” says Schreiber.
Aside from its annual holiday celebrations-including a Christmas tree lighting on December 2, a visit by Santa on December 24, and a New Year’s Eve celebration with live music by the Clumsy Lovers-Schweitzer Mountain Resort will celebrate two seasons with parties, with “Schweitzer Lights up the Night,” in conjunction with Sandpoint’s Winter Carnival, on January 13; and a Spring Carnival April 7-8. Whereas “Schweitzer Lights up the Night” will feature traditional a fireworks display, live music, a bonfire and parade, the Spring Carnival promises to be a more boisterous affair with live reggae music, games and outdoor snow bars featuring pina coladas and mai tais. Although this year’s theme has yet to be announced, last year saw the resort transformed into a Caribbean island hotspot. Even diehard snowbunnies have to celebrate the arrival of hot spring sun.
For more information, please visit the following websites: http://www.schweitzer.com, http://www.silvermt.com, http://www.ski49n.com, http://www.mtspokane.com and http://www.skilookout.com.
Magazine Article |
Density can be a hard sell. Congestion, hardscape and pollution come to mind when most people think about highly populated urban environments. A lot of people see the single-family residence as a cornerstone of our society. Since WWII our cities, our lot sizes and our homes have been expanding-and, further away from each other.
Right now, Spokane seems to be abuzz about ideas about urban density. The planned University District recently invited Gordon Price (the man who helped make density liveable in Vancouver B.C.) here to speak on these topics. Price believes that communities that fight growth often make many sacrifices for their non-growth ideas and do not fully understand the consequences of their decisions.
“People don’t buy into the simple promise of ‘economic development,” says Price, “instead you have to explicitly show them what they are getting in return for the growth, such as parks, community centers, school sites, childcare centers, non-market housing sites, bikeways, roads, public art and other improvements.”
The City of Spokane has looked hard as to what the acceptable levels of density are in our area. The Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2001, calls for a concentrated mixture of uses in 19 centers and two corridors throughout the city balanced with the preservation of our existing single-family residential neighborhoods. The city aims to focus growth or density in specific areas that will in turn foster stable development patterns throughout the rest of the city.
Density also affects public transportation, and each citizen’s access to equal mobility throughout a city. Cities with higher densities have much higher use rates of public transit. At the Spokane Transit Authority (STA), ridership is up over 15% from a year ago. STA is encouraging our region to begin to plan for more transit-oriented development. According to studies done for The National Business Coalition for Rapid Transit, a steady stream of pedestrians and transit riders around transit stations encourage the growth of employment opportunities and retail. Transit-oriented development focuses on providing housing, work, and retail locations within 1/4 mile of a transit center.
The design of our cities also affects our energy use and our impact on the environment. A commitment towards stewardship of our shared ecology is rarely a result sprawl development patterns. A study recently published by the National Research Council found that in 28 metropolitan areas, 87 percent of the people are driving cars to work, and that people are taking longer to reach their workplaces. Our dependence on fossil fuels is destroying our health, natural resources and are pocketbooks.
Can density then, be considered sustainable? That is the topic for the next Earth & People Sustainability Forum entitled, “Mixed Land Use, Density and Sustainability” on November 8 at the Community Building. Louis Meuler, City of Spokane, Molly Myers, Spokane Transit Authority, Bob Scarfo, Design Institute and Gavin Cooley, City of Spokane will sit on the panel to discuss this topic. Below is a preview of the topic with three of the four panelists.
Louis Meuler, Planner, City of Spokane
Economy: The Public Planning Perspective
“Mixed-use is integrating all the things of life into a common location or nearby each other so you don’t have so much transportation requirements on a daily basis. That lends itself to less energy and more interaction … and which can help out your economy potentially.”
“The city has tried to encourage transition areas between intensity in the center where we tried to encourage a mixture of uses and blending into existing neighborhoods. When we see those nodes of activity develop, we see increased transit opportunities.”
“We are looking into reintroducing a lot of those types of housing forms that were lost, such as cottage housing, mother-in-law or accessory dwellings or townhouses. We are now starting to see the market respond to this. The public is looking for choices.”
Molly Myers, Communications Manager, Spokane Transit Authority
Equity: The Public Transportation Perspective
“It is only as of late that transit is seeing themselves as an equal partner in the whole mixed-use development type process … up until a few years ago transit really saw itself as following-where the development went, transit went. With the onset of lightrail, they are seeing themselves not only as an equal player but a forerunner [to development].”
“Transportation is critical. People have to have that level of mobility to sustain an existence. With transit we want to have options. The cities that really have flourished in these mixed-use development concepts really expose people to a myriad of different transportation options.”
“Timing is everything. It is better to be proactive than reactive, we have a lot more opporutunity to shape rather than to react. We have an immense amount of opportunity here.”
Bob Scarfo, Professor, WSU Design Institute
Ecology: The Urban Visionary Perspective
“In the context of rising energy prices … To move towards walkability, to have transportation at the table, to have small more complete environments, where you can satisfy your daily needs … is going to contribute to sustainability. Not only in terms of saving energy, but having people crossing each others paths more frequently-you are going to increase the social capital of a community.”
“Instead of sitting behind six other people waiting for a latte, you might be standing next to them and eventually smile and begin talking, because you are right there. As a result community becomes stronger because of conversations that we never held in a suburban parking lot.”
The cost of transportation is going to force people to make some pretty hard decisions. Instead of moving entire suburban populations, people are going to ask for a village center, they are going to start asking for land-use changes. People are going to realize the annual costs of oils, energy and obesity to themselves and to their way of life.
Magazine Article |
Decades ago I met a man who claimed to have leaped from a truck and knifed dead a fleeing deer. A steep slope slowed the animal and leveled the killing field. How I admired that guy. Even today, conventional wisdom about the sport of hunting will tell you it pits human wits against beastly wiles to concoct a contest either one can win.
The Nebraska-based Cabela’s, “World’s Foremost Outfitter” of hunting and fishing gear, is considering both Post Falls and Liberty Lake as sites for one of its stores. Cabela’s massive catalogs amaze. Glossy and beguiling, they stuff shut mailboxes every month or two. Beware the friend who signs you up by getting you a Cabela’s gift.
Those catalogs urge wealthy hunters, especially, to keep up technologically. “If you’re like most hunters, your pockets are already bulging with shotshells, pocket knives, calls, and about a hundred other accouterments you can’t possibly live without. That’s where the FS-50A Free Spirit Field Dog Trainer comes in handy.”
The Free Spirit zaps the dog (“provides seven different levels of stimulation”) into submission. If your pointer, retriever, spaniel or hound roams too far, barks too loud, or threatens to fight – give it an electric jolt! Unruly dogs, like spirited kids and janitors in Spokane convenience stores, need periodic correction. Technology affords the means.
Sometimes hounds will stray, like the Walker bitch I saw one day on Lolo Pass during spring bear season. Panting, spent, the antenna on her collar bent, the dog was weary from a battery-driven tracking device that allowed her master to trace her over hill and dale. But she had gotten out of range. A good zap would have fixed that fast.
Laser sights, too, have grand advantages in sport and criminology. The military excels in developing technologies that corporations may co-opt in order to manufacture greedy needs among civilians. The U.S. defense budget is helping corporations profit-and sluggish hunters hunt-with the greatest of ease.
Cabela’s now offers binoculars, monoculars, spotting scopes, and riflescopes that feature Night Vision, formerly available only to enlisted men. Poachers of animals, it stands to reason, need all the after-hours ocular aid they can get. The Yardage Pro Laser Rangefinder” can make you a better hunter, no matter what kind of hunting you do.”
Walker’s Game Ear II, only $199.99, may help the clever huntsman “detect and amplify sounds that would otherwise go unnoticed.” Every snapping twig, chirping bird, every curse, cough, and gunshot will be augmented technologically. But be careful out there. If I were a technophilic hunter, I might worry that the “safety shut-off device” on my Game Ear could fail and the amplified blast of my own gun would deafen me.
Even hunters with enhanced eyes, ears and firepower stand to gain from robotic duck decoys. Motorized wings on remote-controlled waterfowl prove so effective that some state officials want to ban them. A & M Waterfowl commands $200 each through the Cabela’s catalog. The wings on those fake fowl, spinning at 500 rpm and are guaranteed to deceive even the sharpest of avian eyes.
Wildlife feeders available from the Cabela’s convenient mail-order system include a “high-torque motor, electronic microprocessor, memory back-up,” and a “quartz clock that ensures accurate, dependable feeding times.” See how easily you can habituate your favorite prey to free lunch. They belly up to the trough and-boom. When the setting requires feeding after dusk, the Game Call Spotlight should be just the trick.
If jacklighting disappoints, though, an Electronic Game Caller features “20 Hrs. of Continuous Calling.” Picture an October stakeout-er, a stand-your microprocessor spewing food, your speakers playing come-hither plaints, your laser-sighted rifle seeking heat. That’s entertainment and flesh for the cook-pot too.
There are also customized global positioning systems, like those used by cops, to find your way back to that salt lick you discovered before the season began, back to that flocking duck pond in a secret spot. Just call up your stored coordinates and go.
Enough already. Only animal-rights radicals would sneer at the rich tradition of Davy Crockett and Teddy Roosevelt, Ted Nugent and Dick Cheney. Even the father of modern ecology, Aldo Leopold-he who lamented the “fierce green fire” he saw dying in the eyes of the wild wolf he’d shot-kept on slinging lead after his sad epiphany.
In truth, few hunters wallow in all the technocratic gadgetry Cabela’s offers. Some virtuous nimrods even condescend to hunt with pistols or black-powder muskets. But what a different place the outdoors would be if everyone indulged in silent sports.
No snowmobiles whining alongside cross-country ski trails on Mt. Spokane, no jet skis buzzing like steroidal hornets on Priest Lake, no rifles at the crack of dawn on cold October mornings. Lazy lovers of the great outdoors would learn to use forgotten muscles, and tech-dependent hunters might remember how to stalk their prey again.
If we must eat meat-and meat is still a must for many -much better to kill it, bleed it, and butcher it than to pretend it comes Styrofoam-packed and shrink-wrapped straight from the ranch or farm. Return the primal savage to the dietary cycle.
Paul Lindoldt, an English Professor at Eastern Washington University has published numerous articles, reviews, essays and poetry on American culture and environment including co-editing last year’s Holding Common Ground: Place and Self in the American West.
Magazine Article |
In October I had the opportunity to give bike tour of Spokane trails to Ben Gettleman and Heather Deutsch, two visiting directors from the National Rails to Trails Conservancy. At OTM we spend a lot of time banging our heads against the wall trying to convince folks of the importance of everything from bike lanes to backcountry horse trails, so I was eager to get an outside perspective from two trails professionals on the Spokane scene.
I got an earful.
Both Deutsch and Gettleman believe Spokane has “lot’s of new project potential.” It was great to see them marvel at the river views from under the Monroe St. Bridge and on the west end of the Kendall Yards property.
They had specific observations. The Spokane River is our greatest advantage and disadvantage: stunning to look at-but hard to cross in key areas. The size of our community is great for trail development-big enough to have a sizeable base of users, yet small enough to get projects done that couldn’t happen in bigger cities. An unusual amount of abandoned railroads in this area are ripe for trail conversion. The centennial trail has the potential to be a major spine-even more so than it is now-connecting trails throughout the region. Several small-ticket projects on the table offer big connectivity opportunities.
One such project is Iron Bridge just North of Trent. This has the chance to be a terrific bike/ped bridge that can connect G.U. and the Centennial Trail to the Keystone Neighborhood, Liberty Park, and the Ben Bur Trail. Another could be Milwaukee Road Corridor. This rail bed runs from Chicago to Western Washington and includes the Route of the Hiawatha and the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Western Washington. It enters our area near Tekoa and could possibly be connected to Spokane for a major regional connection.
Gettleman said Washington is way ahead of Idaho and Montana in acquiring trail right of way because of forward thinking policy decisions made in the 70s.
Go Washington! I say let’s continue to look to the future. Trails help alleviate problems with obesity, pollution, infrastructure, and sprawl. The Rails to Trails Conservancy has their national conference in Portland, Oregon next August. Let’s get a posse of trail builders to go down there and see what we can learn. There’s nothing to lose but right-of-way.
p.s. Vote for light rail!
Send your letters to: email@example.com, or OTM, PO Box 559, Spokane WA 99210 or visit our discussion forum at www.outtheremonthly.com/otmbb
Editorial, Magazine Article |