Conservation & Advocacy

Conservation & Advocacy

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Nature's Way | Orcas of the Salish Sea

Resident orcas of the Salish Sea may be wild creatures, but satellite tags, drone images and individual health profiles are making them as familiar as family to researchers. The distinctively marked, largest members of the dolphin family that comprise the J, K, and L pods, also known as killer whales, are being studied inside and out. While scientists monitor the whales’ whereabouts, new babies, and what’s happening with food sources, they’re also analyzing the whales’ feces and blubber to better understand the health of individuals. Read more…

Behind the Scenes: Pooping in the Wilderness

By the end of the day, I was finally able to look squarely into the camera and say, “poop” without laughing. Our film team let out a collective sigh of relief. We were officially finished with one of the most challenging storytelling tasks of the Backcountry Impact Series film project: human waste. Read more…

The Big Beach Cleanup

The breeze on my face contained the chill of an early spring day, sunny warmth trying to shaking off the last of winter. On this day, with the task at hand, the chill was welcome. I rested on a bleached log long stripped of bark, the waves filling my ears with swaying sound. A member of my Mountaineers group came into view along the water-line, his body bent as he dragged a line of buoys behind him. Smiling, I picked up my garbage sack and started looking for that piece of plastic I noticed earlier. Today was turning out to be a good day. Read more…

Action Alert! Defend the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA)


The U.S. Forest Service is proposing significant changes to its National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) regulations. NEPA is one of the U.S.’s foundational environmental laws that charges land management agencies to evaluate the environmental and possible social and economic impacts of a proposed action, as well as ensuring that the public has the opportunity to review and comment on proposals. NEPA is our voice to how our public lands are managed. Read more…

The Personal Reward of Being an Environmental Steward and Volunteer

Being a huge fan of stewardship and conservation, I’m super proud of the hard hat I earned as a stewardship volunteer with the Olympia Mountaineers. I first became interested in 2014 when Kathy Fox and Jim French approached me to help out on several local projects, and from there I was hooked. Read more…

Action Alert! SOAR Act

You’ve heard from The Mountaineers a lot over the years about the need to improve federal public lands permitting processes so more folks can get outside on public lands in an organized group setting. We’re excited to say that legislation that we helped to shape - the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act - has been introduced in both the House and Senate. We are stoked to see a bill that will help fix the current inefficient, unpredictable recreational permitting system, removing barriers that keep groups from getting outside. Read more…

Action Alert! Dedicated, Full Funding Needed for the Land & Water Conservation Fund

Hailed as America’s best conservation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been vulnerable to a lack of funding and re-authorization from Congress. This past March, LWCF was permanently reauthorized, meaning this important conservation and recreation program will be around for the long haul. However, this does not actually guarantee it will receive funding every year. Since being established over 50 years ago, more than half of its intended funding - over $22 billion - has been diverted for other, non-conservation purposes. Read more…

Youth Outside | Becoming the Leaders Our World Needs

A hush spread over the crowd of 500 well-dressed Mountaineers, all eyes on the stage in anticipation. From behind the curtain emerged Jaydalen Blossom, a 14-year old outdoor enthusiast and participant with Young Women Empowered (Y-WE), a youth-serving mentorship and empowerment organization we partner with as part of our Mountain Workshops program. Jaydalen joined us to speak about the connection to people and place she feels in being outside, and to offer a fresh perspective on why protecting these places and experiences is more important than ever. Read more…

Conservation Currents | Celebrating the Public Lands Package, A Multi-Year, Bipartisan Effort

Cross-country skiing in the Methow. Climbing at Exit 38. Hiking at Ebey’s Landing. There's nothing like the amazing landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, and thanks to your advocacy, they are more protected than ever! Read more…

SOAR Act to Help Groups Get Outside

We’re thrilled to announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation we’ve been working on for over half a decade: the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act. This bill will improve the recreational permitting systems of federal land agencies so more people can experience public lands through volunteer-based clubs (like The Mountaineers!), with an outfitter, guide, non-profit outdoor leadership organizations, or university outdoor programs. We are stoked to see a bill that will help fix the current inefficient, unpredictable recreational permitting system that create barriers for people to experience the outdoors through these types of outdoor programs.  Read more…

Olympia Conservation & Stewardship - Maintaining Our Trails for National Trails Day

Our Olympia Conservation and Stewardship Committee has been championing stewardship for several years through an annual Stewardship Challenge and frequent work parties. We invite you to join us for National Trails day on Saturday, June 1, 2019 to give back to your local recreation areas, and to join us in recognizing the incredible work of the Olympia branch  at Wynoochee Lake on the south side of the Olympics. Read more…

Key Funding Takeaways in New State Budget

You’ve already heard from us a couple times this year about budget processes for Washington State. In February, we shared The Mountaineers funding priorities and in late April, we encouraged you to take action to speak up against proposed budget cuts – thank you to the 1,100 of you who did! Here’s where things landed with funding for state lands and outdoor programs for the next two years: Read more…

2019 Stewardship Challenge: Meet Our Stewardship Partners

As Mountaineers, we enjoy thousands of miles of trails and waterways throughout our public lands. We must set a compelling example as principled stewards who are willing to work hard to maintain the lands we enjoy. That's why our  Olympia Branch is challenging you to dedicate one day (or more!) this year to stewarding our public lands. This challenge is a great way to give back to our outdoor playgrounds and meet a vibrant community of volunteers. Read more…

The Era of Mega Fires - May 30

Join us for The Era of Megafires with Dr. Paul Hessberg, a research landscape ecologist with Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station. In this multi-media presentation, Hessburg explains how over the past decade the number of large, severe wildfires has been on the rise. These megafires burn more than 100,000 acres at a time; they can destroy communities, wildlife habitat, and natural resources. This special presentation conveys the conditions that lead to megafires and how they might be managed or mitigated. Read more…

This Summer, Help Us Sample Watermelon Snow for Science

We are excited to partner with Dr. Kodner and her students from Western Washington University for a third year on a citizen science project related to snow algae! This summer, take your alpine adventures to the next level and help us collect samples of summer "watermelon snow" algal blooms. These samples will support studies related to climate change and algal evolutionary biology. Read more…

Facilitated Access Permitting: What Mountaineers Leaders Need to Know

The complex landscape of permitting rules and regulations can be difficult to navigate as a Mountaineers leader. To help make things clearer, we've created a series of pages describing the various permit processes pertaining to Mountaineers activities, all organized by land manager. Read more…

Action Alert! DNR & State Parks Funding Under Threat

Earlier this year, we shared our funding priorities for state lands and outdoor programs (along with information about how our state budget is created). In a few short weeks, the final state budget will be on the desk of the Governor to sign. In the current proposal, state lands are underfunded, and we need you to advocate for better support for these places and recreational opportunities.  Read more…

Celebrate Earth Day With A Day of Service

Happy Earth Day, Mountaineers! We are proud to be one of Washington’s leading voices for protecting the outdoor experience in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. To achieve our goals, we partner with a number of environmental and outdoor industry groups and coalitions, and work closely with land managers and lawmakers to fight for public lands. Our strength comes from our members, who are inspired by the wild places they explore everyday. Join us in our stewardship efforts by volunteering at one of our many upcoming  opportunities with partners this spring. Read more…

Youth Outside | Growing Up with Nature

A little past noon, the younger members of our group started getting hungry. One of the parents found a small rock outcropping with a nice view for a bite, and I unburdened myself of my backpack and sat down next to my father. Taking in the early autumn air of the Appalachians, we ate the sandwiches he’d prepared earlier that morning. Read more…

Nature's Way | Earthquakes and Tsunamis: The Cascadia Subduction Zone

On February 28, 2001, a friend was being prepped for varicose vein surgery at the Seattle VA Hospital. He was given a mild sedative and began experiencing what he thought was vertigo when his surgeon announced that the procedure was cancelled and he needed to get dressed and leave the hospital immediately. An earthquake later known as the Nisqually, of a magnitude 6.8-7.0 had struck. My friend was disappointed at the postponement of his operation at the time, but it could have been worse. Read more…

Remembering Mountaineer & Conservationist Helen Engle

With sadness we share that Helen Engle, a 66-year Mountaineers member and lifelong conservationist, passed away this week at the age of 93. Helen inspired us all to live a life of purpose. She will be missed by The Mountaineers and the rest of the outdoor community. Read more…

It's Official: Public Lands Package Signed into Law!

Cross-country skiing in the Methow. Climbing at Exit 38. Hiking at Ebey’s Landing. There's nothing like the amazing landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, and thanks to your advocacy, they are more protected than ever! Read more…

Voices Heard | Life as a City Girl Gone Green

I am by nature a city girl. I enjoy bright lights and long walks down populated concrete sidewalks while street musicians fill the air with tunes. I am from Chicago, land of blues and backyard barbecue smells, where as a child I played double dutch near curbs on city streets in my Westside neighborhood. Big-city noises such as loud car motors and high-volume voices drowned out the sounds of pigeons, crows, and ravens, but the city was their home too. Read more…

The Seattle Program Center Solar Panels go live!

With the flick of a switch, our building underwent a transformation. What had been a normal Thursday at the Seattle Program Center - with staff bustling about while members perused our bookstore - changed in an instant. On January 17 our new solar panels were switched on and sunlight was converted into resource-saving energy that powered all the essential mechanisms for running the program center. Read more…

Introducing "We Are Puget Sound"

As Washingtonians, we know firsthand that Puget Sound is home to astonishing wildlife and beauty. This spectacular inland sea is a rich, life-sustaining home shared by two countries, a province, a state, and over 50 Native American Tribes and First Nations. But the vibrant blue waters can be deceiving - hiding stressed wildlife, pollution, and impacts from thoughtless development and climate change. We can change that, but we need your help. Read more…

Public Lands Package Passes the House - Set to Become Law!

The biggest public lands package in a decade passed the House of Representatives and is expected to be signed into law by the President soon. This is huge news for the wild places where we play! Read more…

Two Girls in the Mountains

With a whirlwind of energy, Aisha and Anisah enter The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center, along with their father, Hakim Ali. The program center is a giant playground for them, starting with the basalt columns outside. I’m always proud to share with guests that people actually climb them – but the little Mountaineers, Aisha and Anisah weren’t surprised. Read more…

Take Action: Public Lands Package Passes the Senate, Moves on to the House

A far-reaching public lands package has passed the Senate, and will now head to the House of Representatives. This is a huge step for bipartisan legislation that will benefit wild places and outdoor recreation across the country. The package includes measures The Mountaineers has spent years advocating for, such as the Land & Water Conservation Fund, Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area, and Methow Headwaters Act. Thousands of you answered our calls-to-action on behalf of these causes. Thank you! Read more…

Action Alert! 2019 Washington State Budget & Public Lands

In odd-numbered years (like this one), Washington legislators set the two-year state budget (capitol and operating). Lawmakers are currently negotiating this year’s funding package. Critical provisions for education, human services, infrastructure, and public lands hang in the balance. From the shores of Deception Pass to the Ponderosa pines of Riverside, our state public lands - and the agencies that steward them - need sufficient funding to provide the outdoor experience we know and love. Read more…

Hiking With Dogs - The Basics

There’s nothing like sharing the great outdoors with your best friend. However, it’s important to keep trail etiquette and safety in mind when you explore with a dog in tow. Below are excerpts from the Mountaineers Books title Best Hikes with Dogs: Western Washington by Dan A. Nelson. Learn what to do (and not to do!) when you and Fido hit the trail. Read more…