Special post today for you, greenies,
These words and images come to you from author, alpine climber, mountain runner, and friend David Moskowitz. He is a biologist, photographer, outdoor educator, and adventure junkie with a particular fondness of big trees, granite, and glacial ice - though recently he's developed a committed relationship to with the Selkirk's mountain caribou.
If you read this blog you should be a conservationist: we love the mountains, trees, animals, and people therefore it is our responsibility to promote nature's health and eventual recovery. Here David provides a much more eloquent case for mountain athletes to give a damn about conservation than I.
Whether you donate to the Mountain Caribou Initiative like I did, share this post with your climbing partner, or simply internalize David's message, thank you for doing your part.
In the summer of 2015 I launched a new photography and conservation project, revolving around the crumbling world of mountain caribou in western Canada and the northwestern continental United States. As their habitat has been steadily altered or destroyed by a myriad of human activities, mountain caribou have been declining rapidly. Unsure of whether this project would be documentation of the end of a distinct ecotype of this iconic species or possibly a step along the path to inspiring the change in human behavior that will need to happen to save these animals, I set out to learn about and capture images of these reclusive animals across the Selkirk, Columbia and Rocky mountains in British Columbia and Alberta.
These mountains and this animal touch the lives of many people. For the outdoor adventure crowd, there are a few reasons to learn more about mountain caribou and their conservation.
Their Home is your Playground
Many of the things affecting the survival of mountain caribou are things that are affecting your potential recreational experience…if you're a skier, a climber, a hiker of old growth forests, a wildlife watcher, or a naturalist.
Your Playground is their Last Refuge!
Let's be realistic: even if your entire profession revolves around outdoor adventure activities, our use the mountains of Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and Alberta represents the privileged use of a society with expendable income and a desire for thrill seeking in the natural world. As visitors to a landscape it behooves us to take some interest in the plight of the communities we are traveling through and make sure our own actions, while in the mountains or out of them, are not causing undue harm to the places we are taking a voyeuristic pleasure in exploring.
Conservation Is Adventure
As some of the few people on the planet that has the ability to make it into the remote and inaccessible landscapes that animals like mountain caribou call home, you are a natural ambassador for the animals and ecosystems that you have a personal connection to. Who will speak for the mountains, rainforests, glaciers, and wildlife? Hopefully you will.
For Outdoor Professionals: Paying it Forward
For those of us that make a living adventuring in the mountains comes an added responsibility. The natural world is our business partner, our office space, and in many ways, an investor in our own personal economic livelihood. In the long run, good business practices must take care of the resources they depend on in large and small ways. Wild ecosystems are at the heart of much of what we do as guides, educators, and professional athletes. Let’s make sure we aren’t just drawing down our capitol but instead, making sure we are investing not just in our own careers but the facilities that make our professions possible.
Please pass the stoke and support Mountain Caribou Initiative.
Find us and join in with your observations from caribou country on Instagram: #mountaincaribouinitiative