Yosemite

Destinations, Environmental Protection, Interview, National Parks, PBS, Podcast, Television, Yosemite / 19.04.2011

01 Lee Stetson 1 Yosemite Valley California, president day: I’m walking with my recorder along a wooded path with a long bearded man wearing period clothing circa 1890, a tweed coat, a wool vest with a red pocket square and wide brimmed hat. Ahead of us is Yosemite Falls, a massive flowage of water running white and fast, churning with melted snow from the high country upstream. The man describes a fanciful vision of what we see. "Can you imagine? Can you imagine if in the midst of its headlong descent with all this whirling fairy springtime spray and those rushing comet tails that the fall was suddenly frozen solid and then carried bodily out into the middle of the valley that we might go around it and see it from all sides in the sunshine,” he says. “Oh was a show it would make. This colossal white pillar half a mile tall adorned with airy flowing drapery as if chiseled out of white marble.” Who better with whom to tour one of America’s greatest National Parks than the man himself John Muir. As if transported back in time I had the rare opportunity to get his impressions on Yosemite today.
Adventure Media Review, Environmental Protection, National Parks, PBS, Television, Yosemite / 18.04.2011

The idea of wilderness conservation would seem to be a foregone conclusion. But at the turn of the last century private interests of corporate greed may well have developed the wild and scenic places we enjoy today well out of existence. Prized then for their vast resources of timber, fresh water and minerals these lands are valued now more for their intrinsic beauty and awe-inspiring tranquility. Had it not been for the passionate and articulate voice of a Scottish-American from Wisconsin our system of National Parks and Conservation Areas may have never been established. John Muir will long be remembered as the founder of the Sierra Club and a great advocate for the protection of the natural world. A new PBS American Masters documentary of his life tells the story of early experiences that formed his character to become the man we know today. Directed by Catherine Tatage John Muir in the New World provides the back-story that details many of the little known influences of his upbringing that inspired him to venture west and explore what remained of the North American frontier.
Banff, BASE Jumping, Climbing, Film Festival, Film Review, Yosemite / 25.03.2011

In the best mountain adventure films a successful summit bid is never a forgone conclusion. Throughout the 15-pitch climb of The Asgard Project, a movie by Alastair Lee, you’re left wondering, “Are these guys are going to make it?” That riveting sense of anticipation will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. And though it received the prize for Best Film on Climbing at the 2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival even those with no alpine aspirations will enjoy The Asgard Project. It’s simply a great piece of cinema.
Diversity, National Parks, Outdoor Recreation, Yosemite / 18.11.2010

Can the power of celebrity bring more people of color into the National Parks? Yosemite Ranger Shelton Johnson thinks so and now that he’s grabbed the attention of talk show host Oprah Winfrey momentum is building to invite the rap star Snoop Dogg to go camping. A petition is being circulated in the hopes of enticing the urban music icon into the wild.

Breaking News, Destinations, Diversity, Environmental Protection, Yosemite / 29.10.2010

Yosemite National Park  Ranger Shelton Johnson was as surprised as anyone. “I was more than surprised,” he said in a recent phone conversation. “I was shocked. When the EMTs resuscitated me I was pretty much flat-lined.” Standing outside the south entrance to Yosemite National Park, Johnson thought he was awaiting the arrival of six African-American women, all about to have their first camping experience. “I was told they’ve been friends since college and they were being reunited at a spa,” he said. “But unbeknownst to them they were being taken to Yosemite Valley for a camping trip instead. At least that’s what I thought.” Johnson thought he was in on a clever plot to welcome a group of nature neophytes into the great outdoors. But the joke was on him. “Here I’m expecting to meet these six African-America women and who shows but Oprah Winfrey and her friend Gayle King,” Johnson said. “I knew this was a project affiliated with her show, but to have Oprah right there in front of me was something else entirely. So yeah I was surprised, surprised in the best possible way.”
Africa, Charitable Giving, Climbing, Destinations, Ethiopia, Yosemite / 18.09.2010

I turned 44 today. And while I write this I'm sitting on a toilet with my laptop in the lavatory of a dark hotel room in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Don't draw any salacious implications from my current predicament. I needed a quiet place to work so as not to wake my roommate, climber and writer Majka Burhardt. She’s asleep in the next room. And don’t get any funny ideas about that either. I’m on the roll away. For the next several days she’s my friend, guide and traveling companion through not only the wild outback of Ethiopia, but the convoluted path toward fulfilling my wayward dream of  becoming a professional adventure journalist.