For Love, Not Money
(page 3 of 5)
Photography: Courtesy of Citizens for Smart Growth and Kris Olenick, Yellowstone to Yukon and Gary Glass
Living in a place like ours, it is not hard to embrace the Native American theology that all humans have an animal spirit within. It’s why the wolf’s cry sends shivers to our souls, and the change of seasons drives us wordlessly through the rituals required to prepare for each one. There are people more connected than we who take the time to make sure the eagle flies, the groundhog sees a shadow and the food we eat and water we drink nourish us to the strength required to appreciate it all. These are a few of them.
Snake River Alliance
Snake River Alliance was founded 30 years ago by a group of Idahoans who were concerned about the nuclear waste being pumped into the aquifer at the Idaho National Laboratory. Since then, they have defeated projects others thought impossible including: INL no longer injecting nuclear waste directly into the Snake River aquifer; beating back three nuclear weapons plants and a plutonium incinerator; ensuring high-level waste is no longer abandoned in underground tanks, unlined pits and trenches; and working to cancel the 700-ton Divine Strake Bomb Test. The guiding philosophy is simple: The state of Idaho must protect the air, land and water from nuclear waste and promote clean and affordable sources of energy. The effort the Alliance makes, with Andrea Shipley serving as executive director and John Gifford as board president, is on behalf of all Idahoans, the state’s precious natural resources and wild places, and the health and well-being of the air, land and water across the globe. The majority of this organization’s resources go to fund experts to run programs in two distinct and vital programs: clean energy and nuclear watchdogs. Their mission is to conduct the research and educate the public on their findings and to aid in finding alternatives. This is a membership-based organization with volunteers providing much-needed support in the areas of promoting sustainable solutions to our energy crossroads. The Alliance’s position is that: “There is no solution to nuclear waste. The cost of renewable resources like wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, conservation, and energy efficiency are still proving to be the cheapest, fastest and safest way for us to reach energy independence.” For more information visit http://snakeriveralliance.org/.
Citizens For Smart Growth
By 2025, it is estimated that the Valley will grow by 12,000 residents. New residents will add about 5,000 homes and more than 9,000 vehicles to our roads. For more than a decade, Citizens for Smart Growth has been at the table when growth and development discussions take place so that Blaine County grows in a sustainable and equitable way. CSG was founded in 1997 to give local citizens a voice in development issues at a time when well-funded, big-time developers were, as CSG saw it, “outmanning and outmaneuvering local government.” The organization works to preserve Blaine County’s natural assets—rural charm, open space, air and water quality and wildlife habitat—while encouraging economic prosperity. The organization does this by evaluating development projects according to the 10 Smart Growth Principles and community values. CSG representatives then meet with developers to help mold projects into valuable community assets and mitigate potential problems, advise local government and report on pertinent issues to members and the general public. CSG also works to codify Smart Growth Principles into law and as a regional collaborator on various sustainability projects. CSG has worked with cities and the county to: protect our night sky and historic features; keep development off of critical lands; establish maximum retail building size in order to protect the small businesses we value; limit berm sizes along our roadways that block scenic views and increase wildlife fatalities; promote affordable housing and access to public lands and water. For more information call 208.788.8813 or visit www.citizensforsmartgrowth.org.
The Sawtooth Society
The Sawtooth Society is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization formed in 1997 to work on behalf of the 756,000-acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area (Sawtooth NRA) and those who live, work and visit there. Bethine Church, widow of Senator Frank Church, inspired the Society’s creation because she believed in a need for a citizens’ organization to serve as an advocate for the Sawtooth NRA, preserve open space and prevent inappropriate development in the Sawtooth Valley and Stanley Basin, and enhance recreational facilities and services in the area. With a small staff and volunteers, the Society has accomplished much in the past decade, including: mobilizing policymakers and the press to address the threats facing the Sawtooth NRA; lobbying Congress to appropriate nearly $17 million to the Forest Service for the purchase of conservation easements in the area, resulting in the protection of 13 properties totaling nearly 3,000 acres; negotiating an end to the most immediate threat of high-density development in the Stanley Basin; investing nearly $500,000 for trails, camping areas, interpretive programs, emergency medical services and wildlife protection; and initiating Sawtooth Vision 20/20, a long-term collaborative management strategy for the Sawtooth NRA. The Society is currently addressing three potentially serious threats to the Sawtooth NRA: inappropriate development, in particular the use of lands owned by the State of Idaho in the Sawtooth Valley; catastrophic wildfire; and out-of-bounds motorized recreation. For more information visit http://sawtoothsociety.org/.
Yellowstone to Yukon
Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) was officially established in 1997 by conservationists and scientists who believed that true conservation requires both an understanding of the landscape and the ability to set conservation priorities for the region. Through the integration of scientifically sound research, stewardship and strategic partnerships, Y2Y seeks to maintain and, where needed, restore the wildlife, native plants, wilderness and natural process of this ecosystem, which stretches 2,000 miles from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon. Based in Canmore, Alberta, Canada and Bozeman, Montana, the organization connects and supports a network of organizations, agencies, and individuals doing on-the-ground conservation work across the region. Every year Y2Y provides grants to organizations in support of their conservation efforts and in 2008 the organization provided $38,000 in funding to groups in Canada and the U.S. Y2Y receives support from U.S. and Canadian foundations, private donors, and its emerging membership program. Y2Y has been named by the International Union for Conservation of Nature-World Conservation Union as one of the planet’s leading mountain conservation initiatives. For more information on this large-scale conservation initiative, and to check out employment and volunteer opportunities across the region, visit www.y2y.net or call 800.966.7920 ext. 7. >>>