This month, the Sierra Club launches its second annual Serve Outdoors initiative. Throughout the month of September, the Sierra Club is proud to join Americans in communities across the country in honoring those who bravely serve our nation by volunteering to help clean up and preserve our great outdoors for future generations.
America's great outdoors is a cornerstone of our national heritage, but it's also a refuge for armed services members returning from overseas, firefighters taking a much needed break from work, and families facing tough economic realities. Here at the Sierra Club, we will honor the service of our fellow Americans by committing our own time and effort for the protection of these precious wild places.
Last year, Serve Outdoors engaged Sierra Club members, partners, and supporters nationwide at more than 100 events in 36 states, DC, and Puerto Rico on September 11th, the National Day of Service and Remembrance. This year's projects will be largely youth-driven, ranging from watershed restoration around streams to weatherization in low-income neighborhoods to cleaning up neighborhood parks.
Serve Outdoors is an important part of our efforts to honor those who serve and provide opportunities to reach new communities through service. Please take a moment to check out the Serve Outdoors events page and share it with your neighbors and community allies.
Here are the Alaska Subcommittee Co-Chair Holly Wenger's thoughts:
By now likely most of us have heard about this incident in the Talkeetna mountains. I have been reading other accounts as well. Some things I am thinking about in regards to discussing bears and our travel in bear country with participants: 1. It seems the bear in this incident did not perceive the group size, and likely perceived just the lead hiker as an individual threat at the first startled moment. 2. The "group" in the incident was actually a single-file line of hikers, 2 out in front of others. In general, I still believe that a bear who is presented with a group (all together) of 4 or more will cause the bear to move away from the group. 3. It was reported that the group was "yelling." I am not sure what this means. They were in a stream and needed to be heard over the noise of water. Clear human conversation rather than misc. yelling, ringing of bells, etc is what clues a bear to the presence of humans, whom bears will then generally respond to as co-predators they want to avoid. 4. When hiking in areas where we cannot clearly see what's afoot, and bears cannot clearly see us, we must really think: Which way is the wind blowing? Can any bears smell us coming? Are there "blind" curves, and if so is the group making appropriate human noise to announce its presence, and is the group truly together? Is there any alternative to risky routes? 5. Bears hate surprises. Do everything possible to avoid surprising a bear. 6. No one in the group had time to get out their pepper spray. Are we carrying ours outside of packs, truly ready? 7. After attacking one person, that boy then moved to try to set off an emergency beacon (I assume something like an e-pirb). The bear returned to resume the attack. This person was the most seriously injured. We need to tell folks that if a physical attack ever occurs from a grizzly, they must play dead and remain in that pose for quite some time: 5 - 10 minutes. There have been a number of incidents of grizzly attacks where the person moved or got up too soon after the attack, and the bear was right back on them, usually more viciously than the first time. 8. These young people did a great job with first aid. One was a WFR. 9. Even with all best training, intent, etc, traveling in bear country has inherent risks. By being as best informed as possible we can diminish the risks greatly, but they will never be zero. 10. My favorite book on the topic is a slim, quick read I go through every year before I head into the field: backcountry Bear Basics: The Definitive Guide to Avoiding Unpleasant Encounters. Dave Smith. The Mountaineers. Dave shares my philosophy of being appropriately pro-active in bear country, yet understanding the need that bears have to fatten up and to experience solitude free of human disruption to their routines. We don't need to chatter mindlessly everywhere we go and at every moment: the terrain and wind/weather conditions dictate what our behavior should be.