- JJ McGinnis
In the Bridger-Teton area, relationships are the focus of 2022 – engaging and strengthening the connections between people and place, through our organizational pillars of advocacy, education, and stewardship. Since transitioning into the role of regional organizer last December, I’ve connected with longtime supporters, agency partners, and other nonprofit allies. Those foundational relationships have created a roadmap for the year, highlighting where we can lean into existing bonds and where we need to cultivate new connections with communities and landscapes to further our work.
The upcoming Bridger-Teton National Forest Land Management plan remains a top priority and a critical opportunity to achieve additional protections for existing Wilderness Study Areas and remaining roadless lands. In preparation for that planning process to begin, we are working alongside diverse stakeholders and reaching out to the region’s oldest stewards, Indigenous Tribal nations, whose extensive knowledge and living heritage have been absent from these discussions for too long. We are also staying apprised of other proposals that threaten regional public wildlands. This includes the release of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Grand Targhee Master Plan expansion expected in May.
This summer represents the third year of our citizen science Solitude Monitoring initiative in partnership with the BTNF and CTNF, and I look forward to meeting our returning volunteers and new recruits out on the landscape. Solitude Monitoring is an opportunity to give back to our Wilderness areas through simple data collection gathered while hiking. Visit the Outings section of this newsletter or our website to get involved in this impactful stewardship program. If you are interested in becoming a Solitude Monitor but can’t make an on-site event, please reach out and we can set up a small group training.
Let’s prioritize reconnecting with our communities and revisiting our favorite wildlands this season. After all, our work depends on strong bonds between community and the wild places we seek to protect. If we can take time to reestablish our own connections and inspire another person to responsibly do the same, we’ve moved one step closer to achieving that goal. If you have any comments, questions, or simply want to say hello, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a wild and wonderful summer!