The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
The outdoor recreation and adventure radio show and podcast about backcountry news and activities, like camping, backpacking, skiing, and snowshoeing. MORE...
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The WildeBeat is a public benefit project of the Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation.
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As featured in an interview on the main page of
Sun, Dec 25, 2005
As an experiment, we'd like to launch a second podcast feed. This second feed, as yet unnamed, will consist almost exclusively of listener-contributions of news and ideas that you leave on our comment line, or e-mail to us as audio or text files. (Please see our contribute page for help on commenting by e-mail.) Shows based on these contributions will be published irregularly, whenever we collect at least a couple of minutes of usable content, or whenever that content contains important breaking news.
We need to hear from you!
We're interested in any comments you'd like to make about the WildeBeat, or about wilderness areas or activities. When we have enough listener-contributed material, we'll announce the new feed.
Thu, Dec 15, 2005
This wild places program is about conflicts over the use of winter recreation areas in national forests. Backcountry skiers and snowshoe hikers can be disturbed by snowmobilers. But are they actually seeking such different things?
Bear Valley, California, is popular with snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoe hikers alike. The National Forest and the community are looking for ways that they can all get along. Find out what happens next...
Thu, Dec 08, 2005
This gear program might give you some holiday shopping ideas. Steve asked three volunteer editors from Backpack Gear Test to pick their favorites: Rick Allnutt1, Jim Sabiston2, and Edward Ripley-Duggan3. Out of thousands of reviews published on BGT this year, they recommended these:
You can provide gear reviews as well. You'll start out by reviewing gear you already own, and then you might be able to get other free gear to review. Read: How to become a tester.
Thu, Dec 01, 2005
This skills program is an interview with Marcus Libkind. Marcus wrote the most comprehensive and widely used trail guides for backcountry ski tours in the Sierra Nevada:
If you want to explore the backcountry on skis, Marcus recommends getting lessons and practice at groomed-track cross-country ski resorts first. The Cross Country Ski Areas Association has a directory of them. One good beginner's guide to winter backcountry skills is Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book.
Fri, Nov 25, 2005
Thu, Nov 24, 2005
This wild places program explores Southern California's most undiscovered National Forest wilderness, the Cucamonga Wilderness. The Cucamonga straddles the border between the San Bernardino National Forest, and the Angeles National Forest. It's the least-visited wilderness in the greater Southern California region.
Steve got into the wilderness with wilderness ranger Sharon Barfknecht, and district ranger Gabe Garcia. They met at the Lytle Creek Ranger Station, and then day-hiked from the Middle Fork trailhead. They hiked a few miles up the canyon of the middle fork of Lytle Creek.
There's another trailhead on the west side in the Angeles National Forest. This trailhead is in Ice House Canyon. It's a much more popular way to access the Cucamonga Wilderness.
Fri, Nov 18, 2005
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) published a press release titled, Congress Examines Drug Trafficking in National Parks. Here's an excerpt:
Illegal marijuana cultivation within Sequoia National Park, for instance… has had serious consequences on the safety of park staff and visitors, the experiences of visitors, and the park’s already-tight budget,” NPCA Central Valley Program Manager Laura Whitehouse testified before the Parks Subcommittee of the House Resources Committee. “The parks are in desperate need of increased backcountry patrols, and helicopter time to patrol and conduct surveillance of these hard-to-find growing areas. Without further investigation of marijuana activities within the parks, park resources—as well as visitors and park rangers—are in danger.”
It's interesting that the NPCA testified before congress on this issue on the same day we issued our edition on the subject.
Thu, Nov 17, 2005
This outings program takes us to California's first state park, Big Basin Redwoods. We explore the problems caused by a five-acre marijuana plantation hidden in the park's backcountry, and follow the volunteer group who provided considerable labor to clean it up.
Photo by Paige Falk
Marijuana cultivation is a growing problem in public lands, especially in the Pacific west. Marijuana demand is increasing, our borders are tightening, and budgets for managing our public lands are being cut. National Parks, National Forests, and State Parks are increasingly attractive to organized crime for use as cultivation sites.
You can help in two ways: 1) By refusing to fund the black market for marijuana production, and 2) by volunteering for or donating to volunteer organizations who provide labor to restore these damaged ecosystems.
Thu, Nov 10, 2005
This gear program presents reviews of three lightweight camp stoves. The reviews are provided by volunteer reviewers from Backpack Gear Test.
Thu, Nov 03, 2005
Ryan Jordan, who I interviewed for this week's show, wrote to remind me that he edited and published a more advanced book on lightweight backpacking techniques than any I mentioned in the show notes. Ryan's book is titled LIGHTWEIGHT BACKPACKING AND CAMPING: A Field Guide to Wilderness Hiking Equipment, Technique, and Style
If you want to read all of the books mentioned in this post and this week's show, I recommend doing it in this order:
This skills program explores lightweight backpacking. Ryan Jordan of Backpacking Light: The Magazine of Lightweight Hiking and Backcountry Travel talks about the lightweight backpacking movement.
Steve interviews Don Ladigin, the author of Lighten Up! (A complete handbook for lightweight and ultralight backpacking.).
Here are some other useful sources of information about lightweight backpacking:
Thu, Oct 27, 2005
This skills program tells the rest of the story of backpacker Mike Bargetto and his three relatives, who were caught in an unexpected snow storm in October of 2004. The story describes their rescue from their Rae Lake camp site, in California's John Muir Wilderness.
Steve wraps up the show by talking about how you can be better prepared for unexpected mountain storms, and how to stay safe in such conditions. See the supplemental links, below, for lots of additional information.
Mon, Oct 24, 2005
You can now give us news tips and reports, or tell us what you think about the show, on our new toll-free listener comment line:
To find out how to leave a message that we're most likely to play on the show, visit our Contribute page.
Thu, Oct 20, 2005
This skills program tells the story of backpacker Mike Bargetto and his three relatives, who were caught in an unexpected snow storm in October of 2004. The story describes their hike in California's John Muir Wilderness from Courtright Reservoir to Rae Lake, and the conditions they encountered there.
In part two, we'll present the rest of Mike's story, and some advice for safely enjoying late season wilderness travel.
Thu, Oct 13, 2005
This wild places program is about the science of night time in wilderness. How does the sky glow from cities, and light pollution in general affect wilderness areas?
Steve interviews Chad Moore, a physical scientist with the National Park Service, and leader of their night sky research team. He talks about measuring light pollution in the parks.
Steve talks with Dr. Travis Longcore, the science director of the Urban Wildlands Group. Along with Catherine Rich, they edited a book, Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting, which contains the definitive collection of scientific papers on the subject.
Both Chad Moore and Dr. Longcore mentioned that the International Dark Sky Association is a good place for all kinds of information related to light pollution, it's prevention, and dark-sky science in general.
Thu, Oct 06, 2005
This wild places program is about places where the wilderness is particularly good at night. Steve talks to some amateur astronomers about their passion for the darkness of the backcountry.
Chad Moore, a physical scientist for the National Park Service, tells us about National Parks where the sky is really dark:
Part 2 will be about the science of darkness in The Wilderness at Night.
Tue, Oct 04, 2005
Eric and Cohry, the hosts, have some fun at our expense. They say that the show is not their cup of tea (or pack of smokes?). But in spite of whatever they're smoking, they generally praised the show overall.
Thu, Sep 29, 2005
This outings show is our first Vox Pop. Does the average person value getting into the wilderness?
Steve recorded the candid thoughts of these hikers on the Pine Ridge Trail, in the Big Sur River Canyon of California's Ventana Wilderness. They hiked ten miles each way to visit the popular hot springs at Sykes Camp.
Thu, Sep 22, 2005
This skills program is about the job of being a backcountry ranger in national forest wilderness. It's a frequently romanticized job with lots of responsibility. Three rangers talk candidly about their experiences.
Sendi Kalcic and Brent Carpenter are professional backcountry wilderness rangers who have worked in the Desolation Wilderness of the Eldorado National Forest near Lake Tahoe, California. Amy McElvany is a volunteer wilderness ranger in the Sierra National Forest, working out of the High Sierra Ranger District.
At the end of the show, there's a correction from last week's show, and a request to offer your feedback and suggestions for the show.
Tue, Sep 20, 2005
Ken Murray, the Public Information and Education Director for the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew wrote:
I wanted to follow up with a correction on the podcast: In it, you referred to the saw used as a "bowsaw". What we use is actually a different type of saw, referred to either as a "buck saw" or a "crosscut saw".
Thank you, Ken, for the correction.