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E-M:/ Sierra Club America's Great Outdoors Report Highlights UP River


Date: June 30, 2005

Contact: Anne Woiwode, (517) 484-2372

      Clayton Daughenbach (708)-795-0514


AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS Highlights Efforts to Protect Salmon Trout River

New Sierra Club Report Profiles Ways and Places to Secure Our Natural Heritage


Lansing, Michigan – As summer vacation kicks into full gear with the July Fourth holiday, the Salmon Trout River on the Upper Peninsula’s Yellow Dog Plains is receiving national attention today with the release of America’s Great Outdoors, Sierra Club’s new report outlining a vision for protecting our natural heritage.


The Salmon Trout River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to the last breeding population of Coaster Brook Trout, and a waterway to the pristine Lake Superior.  The Kennecott Minerals Corporation acquired approximately 500,000 acres of mineral rights in the Upper Peninsula and has proposed sinking an underground mine at the river’s headwaters.  The ore from the mine will inevitably create sulfuric acid when exposed to air or water, potentially polluting one of the nation’s purest rivers. 


Stories in America’s Great Outdoors tell of passing legislation and regulations to protect Salmon Trout River and other precious places. People tell of their efforts to revitalize communities and keep them poison-free. Others focus on encouraging the implementation of clean energy sources to protect our coasts and wild places from drilling and free children and adults from the pollution that causes asthma, sewage contaminated water and global warming. There are accounts of neighbors working to build communities where growth is well-planned to create more livable neighborhoods. There are people fighting to see that their taxes are invested wisely to benefit all – not just developers or a favored few. 


“All across America, communities are uniting to protect the neighborhood special places where they camp, hunt, hike, fish and find solace and solitude,” said Anne Woiwode, Michigan Sierra Club state director. ”America’s Great Outdoors outlines ways we can work together to make our neighborhoods safe and healthy places to live and highlights those natural treasures that can still be saved if can summon the foresight to act now.”


The report highlights a variety of landscapes, from the famed Everglades in Florida to those best-kept secrets closer to home like the Salmon Trout River, whose cherished retreat and refuge are not longer guaranteed.


“We are fast approaching the point where no place is sacred, where no part of America is safe from drilling, logging or development,” said Rita Jack, Michigan Water Sentinel who is working with Sierra Club volunteers to monitor water quality on the Salmon Trout River. “Here in Michigan and across the country, Sierra Club is working with others to save open spaces, leave trees standing, keep communities intact, and connect citizens with their neighbors in order to care for our lands and wildlife.”


Nationwide, local faith, labor, and sportsmens groups are finding common cause with the Sierra Club, and communities are coming together to promote solutions that save these extraordinary places, including:


• Preserving our natural heritage by designating lands as permanently protected parks, refuges, forests, and wilderness;

• Restoring forests, riverfronts, wetlands, and community open spaces through the rebuilding and recovery of healthy, natural ecosystems;

• Improving lands to protect wildlife species and their native habitat; 

• Acquiring additional acreage by purchasing threatened land to protect it for future generations;

• Encouraging thoughtful design and planning of development projects to protect open space, reduce traffic, save tax dollars, and create more options for Americans to own a home; 

• Protecting water quality by improving sewage and waste disposal practices as well as keeping sensitive places free from such threats as drilling and commercial logging; and

• Drawing attention to the damage from unmanaged motorized recreation and encouraging federal land management agencies to enforce the laws that allow off-road vehicle use only on designated roads and routes, and to educate riders that wild areas are closed unless posted open for off-road vehicles.


“Protecting America's natural heritage means that we have to protect places big and small,” said Anne Woiwode. “America’s Great Outdoors is Sierra Club’s vision for Salmon Trout River and other backyard treasures as well as national gems like the Arctic Refuge and Giant Sequoias. All of them are beautiful, all of them are threatened, and all of them can be saved.”


On July 4th we celebrate our nation’s birth as a Republic, a system of government designed to encourage and ensure public engagement on the issues and policies that affect them. By crafting such documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, our nation’s founders created a culture in which citizen activism is an act of patriotism.


“The stories in America’s Great Outdoors highlight the threats to national and neighborhood special places, and they show how powerful public participation can be,” said Rita Jack. “Sierra Club members and others are continuing the legacy of democratic participation by working for positive solutions that ensure the protection and restoration of our natural heritage for future generations.”



The places profiled in the report were chosen by citizen conservationists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for the unparalleled recreational opportunities, clean water and wildlife habitat they provide.


The full report, list of places and a photo slideshow are available at http://www.sierraclub.org/greatoutdoors