One Dirty Magazine

Protecting Trails is Climate Action

How does protecting trail access help the climate?

Zoë Rom November 4th, 2019

Protecting Trails is Climate Action Austin Siadak

Accomplished trail runners Clare Gallagher, Stephanie Violett and Luke Nelson visited the nation’s capital in September to support clean energy and public lands with Protect Our Winters (POW), a climate advocacy organization for the winter sports community.

They met with congressional members and senators about protections for the Arctic Refuge and the CORE Act, which sets aside 400,000 acres of public lands in Colorado for outdoor recreation. That bill cleared the House of Representatives last week.

Why should trail runners care?

This July, Gallagher and Nelson saw firsthand what’s at stake. The duo explored the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and met with Gwich’in leaders to better understand their relationship to the land.

“These policies protect federal lands, so every American is a stakeholder,” says Gallagher.

Both the “Arctic Bill” and the CORE (Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy) Act have yet to clear congress, and trail runners are urging action.

“There’s no better way to connect with public lands than your own two feet,” says Nelson, “and these laws protect that”.

POW equates any public-lands protections as climate action, since it limits the land available for resource extraction.

“When you’re running, you’re breathing air. Lots of air,” says Gallagher. “Runners who want clean air to breathe should want to protect public lands.”

Gallagher, Violett and Nelson urge their fellow runners to advocate for access, clean air and climate action by getting politically active.

Get Your Reps In

Tips for Getting (Politically) Active
  • Follow Your Leaders: Find your representatives on social media. Get in the habit of knowing what they’re up to. Representatives work for you, and it’s up to you to make sure they’re doing their jobs.
  • Make the Call. Add your senators and representatives to your contacts. Put them on speed dial. Call them often.
  • Read Up. Use a variety of news sources to keep tabs on what’s up on public lands.
  • You’re the Boss. Leverage your authority as a runner. You breathe the air, you experience the land. Lean on your expertise when contacting representatives or discussing public lands with friends.
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