2019 Northeastern Alpine Stewardship Gathering Program

11th Northeastern Alpine Stewardship Gathering

October 25-27, 2019

High Peaks Resort, Lake Placid, NY

Friday, October 25th there will be a pre-Gathering reception and opening presentation by Tom Butler, Tompkins Conservation.

From Here to Patagonia: Wilderness, Wildness, and the Call of the Mountains

In a time when most of the action in contemporary environmentalism is focused on climate change and renewable energy, does the idea of wilderness have any relevance? Tom Butler, vice president for conservation advocacy for Tompkins Conservation, which has helped protect more than 14 million acres of new and expanded national parks in South America, argues YES!  In this illustrated presentation, he’ll present photos from the Adirondack Park to Patagonia while exploring the history of wildlands conservation, and ponder the prospects for a potentially resurgent global wilderness movement that seeks to rewild the Earth.

Tom Butler is the vice president for conservation advocacy for Tompkins Conservation and past board president of Northeast Wilderness Trust, a regional land trust. A conservationist and writer, his books include Wildlands Philanthropy, Plundering Appalachia, Protecting the Wild, and Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth. His book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (“OVER” for short), is a photo-format volume depicting how human numbers and behavior are transforming the Earth. Butler co-curated the 2017 exhibit, “Douglas R. Tompkins: On Beauty” at the David Brower Center in Berkeley and coauthored the companion book On Beauty: Douglas R. Tompkins—Aesthetics and Activism, about the way that beauty was an animating force in the life and work of Doug Tompkins, founder of Tompkins Conservation.

Saturday, October 26th the Gathering will consist of presentations, tabling, posters and networking all day. After dinner, the Guy Waterman Alpine Stewardship Award will be presented. The keynote speaker is Ben Lawhon, Education Director for Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

More and more people are seeking to enjoy a finite resource – our shared public lands: How Leave No Trace is addressing increasing impacts for a sustainable future

Guy and Laura Waterman wrote in their 1979 book Backcountry Ethics, “What we should seek and must, if we are to pass along to the next generation the privileges and pleasures we’ve enjoyed, is the demands that accompany freedom inevitably: to respect the place where we are, to try to understand its processes, to think about the effect of our presence and to act responsibly to minimize that effect, and to preserve the mountain world.” There words rang true 40 years ago, and ring just as true today (if not more so) if we are to collectively enjoy the outdoors sustainably for generations to come.
Recreational use of our shared public lands is increasing exponentially – that much is clear. With that increased use comes increased impacts. Though some of those impacts are unavoidable, most are entirely avoidable. However, most people venturing outside are ill-equipped with the basic Leave No Trace skills to minimize their individual but cumulative impact on the places they visit. Join Ben Lawhon, Education Director for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to learn about how Leave No Trace is being used effectively to address impacts from recreation across the country.
This presentation will present the effects of recreation, while also exploring some of the modern drivers of increased recreation on public lands. Additionally, specific case studies will be examined where Leave No Trace is making a real difference for both the land and the people recreating there. This presentation will also show how cutting-edge research is informing Leave No Trace education, outreach, and training. Lastly, the transferability of specific tactics for effectively educating the recreating public will be examined in order to provide tangible solutions for meeting the current challenges faced by our shared public lands.
Ben Lawhon joined the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics staff in 2001 where he serves as the Education Director. His current responsibilities include research, curriculum development, management of national education and training programs, agency relations, and oversight of national outreach efforts. Previously he worked as the Associate Regional Representative for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Asheville, North Carolina. While with ATC he was responsible for trail management, volunteer training, oversight of numerous regional programs and trail crews, and federal agency relationships. He has also worked as an American Canoe Association whitewater-kayak and swiftwater rescue instructor. Ben has served on numerous national and regional non-profit boards. He has a B.S. in Natural Resources Management from the University of Tennessee and an M.S. in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources from Colorado State University. Ben is an avid outdoor enthusiast, spending as much time as possible in our wild spaces.

Sunday, October 27th will be field trips from ADK’s Heart Lake Program Center. Participants need to select field trip preference when registering at the conference (trip sizes are limited). Please bring the necessary clothing and gear to spend a full day in inclement mountain weather.