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Native American tribes believe Bears Ears is the last of undisturbed sacred lands. Mark Stevens, CC BY-NC-SA

Why Native Americans Struggle to Protect Their Sacred Places

By Rosalyn R. LaPier

Forty years ago the U.S. Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act so that Native Americans could practice their faith freely and that access to their sacred sites would be protected. This came after a 500-year-long history of conquest and coercive conversion to Christianity had forced Native Americans from their homelands.

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An oil field and fracking site in California's San Joaquin Valley. Education Images / Getty Images

Trump Moves to Open 1.6 Million Acres of California Public Lands to Fracking

The Trump administration took the first steps on Wednesday towards opening up 1.6 million acres of public land in California to fracking and oil drilling, The Sacramento Bee reported.

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Halliburton getting ready to frack in the Bakken formation, which underlies North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Joshua Doubek / CC BY-SA 3.0

Zinke’s Real Estate Deal With Halliburton Chair to Be Investigated

Ousted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt isn't the only polluter-friendly Trump appointee with sketchy ethics.

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Politics
Drill pad in Gunnison National Forest, Colorado. Mason Cummings / The Wilderness Society

5 Crazy Ways the House Is Pushing Extreme Drilling on Public Lands

By Katherine Arcement

Congress wants us to drill our lands and waters … or else!

Some members of Congress are trying to rig the system to use public lands primarily for oil and gas drilling, and they are threatening to silence and punish anyone who objects.

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utt73 / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

U.S. Allows Nestlé to Keep Piping Water From Drought-Ridden Southern California

The U.S. Forest Service offered Nestlé a three-year permit on Wednesday to keep taking millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino National Forest in California, the Associated Press reported.

The offer has certain restrictions. Nestlé, which sells bottled water under the Arrowhead brand, can continue piping from the Strawberry Creek watershed "when there is water available consistent with the forest's Land Management Plan," according to the AP, citing the Forest Service offer. The watershed is currently rated as "impaired."

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Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Carol M. Highsmith Archive / Library of Congress

The Hiker’s Guide to Communing With Nature

By Jillian Mackenzie

If you've visited the wilderness recently, you may have noticed something: people. People with walking sticks, people with selfie sticks, people with more people in tow. Surging numbers of visitors are hiking, camping, and all-around loving the outdoors. A whopping 330,882,751 of them spent 1.44 billion hours in our national parks in 2017—up 19 million hours from 2016. Great news, except that all this wilderness enthusiasm does come with a downside. "We're seeing record numbers of people connecting to nature, and that's a good thing," said Dana Watts, executive director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. "But with that comes an increase in the impact to the land."

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Ryan Zinke at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC on Jan. 18, 2018. Lance Cheung / USDA / Flickr

Zinke Caught in Conflict of Interest With Oil Giant Halliburton

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has spent his first 15 months opening public lands to oil and gas drilling, has been linked to a development project with Halliburton chairman David Lesar, POLITICO reported Tuesday.

Lesar is backing a real estate development in Zinke's hometown of Whitefish, Montana and receiving help from a foundation started by Zinke and currently run by his wife, Lola.

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The Fight Is On to Save Program Giving Millions of Fourth-Graders Free Access to National Parks

The Wilderness Society is rallying to save the "Every Kid in a Park" program, which gives fourth graders and their families a pass that allows them to visit national parks for free, according to a press release dated June 4.

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Jonathan Bailey

Trump's BLM Ready to Sacrifice Ancient Rock Art for Gas Drilling

By Sam Schipani

While the Ancestral Puebloan people of the Southwest were building citadels like Chaco Canyon, the Fremont people were carving mysterious petroglyphs depicting horned, broad-shouldered triangular men and sweeping carvings of desert snakes. Nowhere is their legacy more apparent than in eastern Utah's Molen Reef. Fremont artifacts dominate this cultural heritage site, but its rock art ranges from 3,000-year-old panels from the Barrier Canyon tradition to etchings by Mormon pioneers crossing the Utah desert.

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