The National Wilderness Workshop is underway! This week over 120 wilderness professionals from agencies, non-profit wilderness stewardship groups, academia, and students have descended on the University of Montana campus in Missoula Montana to further progress on implementing the 2020 Wilderness Vision document for the National Wilderness Preservation System. Read more...
Day 1 began with an overview of progress in implementing the 2020 Vision by members of the Wilderness Policy Council from the four land management agencies. Members of the Conference Planning committee also gave a description of the week ahead. Morning sessions focused on case studies in current best practices for wilderness management and examining success with wilderness character monitoring. The Forest Service also explained the details behind the new FS Saw Policy which will affect all volunteer groups in the future. (watch this blog for a special post to cover the new policy implementation) The afternoon was filled with networking and report out by the Wilderness Steering Committtee on the status of the 2020 Final Implementation Plan, and the first ever Wilderness Olympics. The Central Idaho Wilderness Warriors took the Gold for their performance in the Crosscut Saw, Manti Packing, and Dizzy tent set-up events.
Day 2 was split into two tracks covering communicating about wilderness values and education, and wilderness field training including a robust discussion around models for wilderness skills building with traditional tools. Participants learned about the Wilderness Explorer field guide and the app that is being developed to expand outreach to youth. There was also a discussion about wilderness trailhead signing standards and messaging that prompted good debate about the types of content that best attract and keep visitor attention. Core qualifications for wilderness traditional skills were also identified in a large group discussion that was both lively and expansive. This is a topic that generates great interest because of the passion around preserving this important wilderness tradition.
Day 3 is underway...starting with laying a foundation for fundraising for your organization, and describing a model for partnerships that will help frame the future for National Wilderness Workshops and other gatherings of the wilderness community. This afternoon will focus on more fundraising strategies as well as hiring and grant authorities. The National Wilderness Workshop will close this evening with a final reception, but the energy that has been generated will continue forward into the days ahead to improve and expand upon wilderness stewardship, implementation of the 2020 Vision, and sustaining of the National Wilderness Preservation System.