The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
The outdoor recreation and adventure radio show and podcast about backcountry news and activities, like camping, backpacking, skiing, and snowshoeing. MORE...
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As featured in the June/July 2006 issue of the magazine
Thu, Jun 07, 2007
Listening to Parks, part 1
This wild places program explores sounds in national parks. Do you go to parks for the peace and quiet? Should you expect peace and quiet at national parks?
Steve starts out in a relatively remote campground in Yosemite National Park, and discovers some noises he wasn't counting on. He interviews two campers, Maria Mustanen and Bill Garcia, about how they feel about man-made noise in parks.
Steve interviews Kurt Fristrup, a scientist for the Natural Sounds Program of the National Park Service. Kurt explains the mission of the Natural Sounds Program, and how they monitor the parks for noise pollution. He plays clips recorded by their audio measuring equipment, which they place in remote locations in the parks. Kurt mentions the park service's Night Sky Program, which we covered in our Wilderness at Night, part 1 (#13) and part 2 (#14).
So what have Kurt and his colleagues found out about noise in parks? How can you help their efforts, and collect sounds for yourself? We'll explore those questions in part two.
Thu, May 31, 2007
Out in front on the PCT
This wild places program presents an interview with the first of the class of 2007 through-hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to reach Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.
Charlie Guyer and his companions Ryan Kern and Lee Neil started on their hike of the entire length of the trail on March 9th. The majority of PCT through hikers usually start later, around the end of April. These guys are far ahead of the pack, and so they have helpful news on conditions for the hikers who will come after them.
A long-distance hike like this is a major undertaking. It requires considerable planning and preparation. A lot more information about the Pacific Crest Trail, and planning for a long-distance hike, is available at the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Many long distance hikers on the trail maintain journals on the site, Trailjournals.com. (Charlie and his group are not maintaining online journals.)
Members of the WildeBeat can download an additional bonus segment, in which Charlie and his companions tell about some of their most harrowing incidents. Look for the link in our insiders newsletter.
Thu, May 24, 2007
Using All Fours, part 2
This skills program is part 2 of our look at the science and skills, myths and fact around trekking poles. Is hiking with poles a trendy gimmick, or a valuable skill?
Julianne Abendroth-Smith talks about the results of research into the effects on the body of hiking with trekking poles. She's a biomechanics professor at Willamette University in Salem Oregon.
We hear from Jayah Faye Paley, an author and educator, and co-host of an educational DVD, POLES for Hiking, Trekking & Walking. Jayah's web site, Adventure Buddies, provides more information about her educational products and services. Jayah describes basic skills for using trekking poles.
Trekking poles can have a destructive effect on the trails that shoes alone don't have. Ben Lawhon, the education director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, talks about those effects.
Members of the WildeBeat can download an additional bonus segment, featuring Jayah Faye Paley in a beginner's tutorial about proper pole use. Look for the link in our insiders newsletter.
Thu, May 17, 2007
Using All Fours, part 1
This skills program is part 1 of our look at the science and skills, myths and fact around trekking poles. Is hiking with poles a trendy gimmick, or a valuable skill?
Steve talks to Julianne Abendroth-Smith of Willamette University in Salem Oregon. She's a biomechanics professor studying the physics of hiking, and how hiking with various poles and walking sticks affect the body.
Steve talks to Jayah Faye Paley, an author and educator, and co-host of an educational DVD, POLES for Hiking, Trekking & Walking. Jayah's web site, Adventure Buddies, provides more information about her educational products and services.
We'll hear more from Julianne Abrendroth-Smith and Jayah Faye Paley in part two. We'll find out Jayah's techniques for using poles, and about what science says about those techniques.
Thu, May 10, 2007
Orestimba Wilderness Updated
This wild places program revisits the Orestimba Wilderness of California's Henry W. Coe State Park. It's an amazingly remote wilderness surprisingly close to the San Francisco Bay Area. A new entrance to the park will make this remote wilderness more easily accessible.
Steve rode with backcountry ranger Cameron Bowers on a patrol trip to the wilderness. Volunteer park historian Teddy Goodrich came along. They stopped for lunch and to talk along Red Creek, in the heart of the wilderness area.
The Pine Ridge Association provides a lot of volunteer help to operate and maintain the park, and they maintain a comprehensive informational web site. Several years ago, the wilderness area was threatened by a proposal to route a high speed rail line through it.
Traveling into the Orestimba Wilderness is a challenging trip. But no where is California's inter-coastal range so well preserved and undeveloped. And you could have it all to yourself!
This is an update of our edition number 44 of June 1st, 2006. At the time of our original story, the Ortestimba Wilderness was indeed difficult to get to. But as of next week, a new entrance will provide a trailhead much closer to the edge of the wilderness. Steve talks to C. L. Price, a sector superintendent for the California State Parks responsible Henry Coe State Park. He explains the new entrance that opens up on May 19th.
Thu, May 03, 2007
Sheep Watering Holes
This wild places program looks at a proposal to provide artificial water sources for California desert bighorn sheep. Are we going to have to ruin a wilderness to save them?
We hear from Steve Tabor, who taught us desert backpacking skills in edition 34, and helped introduce us to the Sheephole valley Wilderness in edition 81. Steve mentions a plan to build roads and dams in the Sheephole Valley Wilderness to provide water for desert bighorn sheep.
Dan Abbe, a wilderness specialist from the Needles office of the Bureau of Land Management, explains these artificial watering holes for the sheep, which are called big game guzzlers.
Brent Schoradt, the deputy policy director for the California Wilderness Coalition, explains why he thinks this plan is a bad idea.
What do you think? Will it ruin this wilderness to save the sheep? We'd love to hear your comments.
Tue, May 01, 2007
Amy Racina called to tell the story of her first mountain lion sighting in the wild. Amy also appeared our edition numbers 78 and 79, Counting Up Essentials. We hear a clip from our edition number 80, Fighting Animal Terror, about safety around mountain lions, and Steve relates his first experience with a mountain lion.
Sun, Apr 29, 2007
Our New Nonprofit Status
The WildeBeat Adopted as a Project of Earth Island Institute
Earth Island Institute (a nonprofit incubator of environmental organizations) has adopted the WildeBeat as one of its projects, providing us the opportunity to support our efforts through tax-deductible donations and corporate underwriting, as well as foundation and government grants. This new relationship gives us a nonprofit structure that allows us to keep doing what we have been, and more.
We're excited about the future under this new organization. We hope to expand out efforts to produce more shows and make them available to a wider audience.
On our new support page, you'll find a link to a membership form where you can make a tax-deductible donation to support production of future programs. We'll be looking for ways to make that membership even more valuable to you. You might also notice that the Google Ads have been removed from the web site — they're not compatible with our nonprofit status.
Thank you for listening and participating, and for your continued interest.
— Steve Sergeant
Thu, Apr 05, 2007
This gear program presents reviews of three base-layer shirts. A lot of us don't give much consideration to those layers we wear closest to our skin.
Kevin Hollingsworth reviews the Drimove L/S Top by Go Lite. Coy Starnes reviews the Outdoor Research Men's Sequence LS Tee. Kathy Waters reviews the women's version of OR's Sequence shirt, the Outdoor Research Women's Essence LS Tee.
If you're interested in reviewing for Backpack Gear Test, read: How to become a tester. Manufacturers provide too much gear for the reviewers they have.
Steve announced that we need to take a break to make some changes in what we're doing. Please watch our web page for updates.
Thu, Mar 29, 2007
Reprise: Mountain Rescuers
This outings program joins a training exercise of the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit (BAMRU). The rescuers practice their winter alpine rescue skills in the Carson Pass area, just south of Lake Tahoe, California.
Most search and rescue teams in the U.S. are all-volunteer. BAMRU is just one example. To find out about the mountain rescue teams near you, you can look at the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA).
This is a reprise of our edition #32 of March 9, 2006. We followed it with a companion edition #33, Wilderness Rescuing, where talked more to John Chang of BAMRU and Tim Kovacs of MRA about how you can get involved and volunteer for mountain and wilderness rescue teams.
Thu, Mar 22, 2007
Sheephole Valley Wilderness
This wild places program profiles the Sheephole Valley Wilderness in the Mojave Desert. This may be the largest waterless wilderness in the 48 states.
We hear from Steve Tabor, the president of the Berkeley, California based outings group, the Desert Survivors. Steve Tabor has extensive experience in the Sheephole Valley Wilderness, and may be one of the first in recorded history to cross it, unsupported, on foot. Dan Abbe, the Wilderness Specialist for the Needles Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management provides the official perspective on the area.
If you're considering visiting a desert wilderness, there are some things you should know. Steve Tabor got us started in our edition #34, Desert Backpacking Tips. Steve Sergeant visited the Sheephole Valley with the Desert Survivors last year, and produced our editions #35 & #36, Surviving the Desert, as a report on that trip.
Tue, Mar 20, 2007
The Best Wilderness At Night
In our editions 13 & 14, titled The Wilderness at Night, we talked about the value of dark skies, and the detrimental effects that artificial night lighting can have on natural ecosystems. We interviewed Chad Moore, a physical scientist with the National Park Service, and Program Manager of their Night Sky Research Program. In that interview, Chad Moore said that the darkest skies in the National Park System are at Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah.
According to our friend Jeremy Sullivan, editor of the Park Remark site:
Natural Bridges National Monument, in the southeast corner of Utah, has been named the world's first ever International Dark-Sky Park, as designated by the International Dark-Sky Association.
You can read the rest of Natural Bridges is World's First Dark-Sky Park at Park Remark.
We'd like to congratulate Chad Moore and the rest of the NPS Night Sky Research Team for this well deserved recognition of their work.
Thu, Mar 15, 2007
Fighting Animal Terror
This skills program looks at how to handle potentially dangerous animals in the wilderness. How afraid of them do you really need to be? Is this something that should prevent you from getting into the wilderness?
Steve interviews Dave Smith, a former backcountry caretaker at Yellowstone National Park, and the author of two books, Don't Get Eaten, The Dangers of Animals that Charge or Attack, and Backcountry Bear Basics, the Definitive Guide to Avoiding Unpleasant Encounters. Dave talks about ways to handle bear, cougar, and large herd-animal encounters.
Two great sources of information about bears are the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group, and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. Also, check out our earlier edition titled Keeping Bears Hungry.
Thu, Mar 08, 2007
Counting Up Essentials, part 2
This skills program is the second half of a look at the ten essentials. Are there ten, and why are they essentials?
Since it's mysterious introduction by the Mountaineers early in the twentieth century, the 10 Essentials have been the list that everyone should know, and few could recite with certainty. In this edition, Doug Ritter, the executive director of the Equipped To Survive Foundation, and Amy Racina, author of the book Angels in the Wilderness, compare notes on some of their ideas of the 10 essentials. Amy finishes her story about her rescue from a life-threatening emergency in a remote location of Kings Canyon National Park. Doug completes his list of the Ten Essentials.
There's additonal information about the ten essentials, and a bonus audio clip, under the To find out more... link, below.
Thu, Mar 01, 2007
Counting Up Essentials, part 1
This skills program is the first half of a look at the ten essentials. Are there ten, and why are they essentials?
Since it's mysterious introduction by the Mountaineers early in the twentieth century, the 10 Essentials have been the list that everyone should know, and few could recite with certainty. In this edition, Doug Ritter, the executive director of the Equipped To Survive Foundation, and Amy Racina, author of the book Angels in the Wilderness, compare notes on some of their ideas of the 10 essentials.
Next week, in part two, we'll finish Doug's list, and you'll find out what happened to Amy.
Mon, Feb 26, 2007
While we were away snow camping in our first good Sierra Nevada blizzard of the year, Jeremy Sullivan, editor of the Park Remark site, called in with some comments. His comments were in reference to the interview of Steve by Bob Cartright of the U.K.-based Backpacking Light podcast.
Thu, Feb 22, 2007
Yosemite Snow Vox Pop
This outings program is a Vox Pop where we ask: Are snow campers and winter wilderness visitors super-human?
Steve recorded the candid thoughts of several skiers, snowshoe hikers, and snow campers at Summit Meadow along the Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park. Summit Meadow is about a mile from the Badger Pass downhill ski area, a popular trailhead for winter access to the Yosemite backcountry.
First, we hear from Howard Weamer, the Hut Master for Yosemite Park's backcountry ski hut at Ostrander Lake (who we heard from in edition 72), about the history of cross country skiing in Yosemite. Then we hear the intermingled comments of Kevin Schwartz, Tazuo Han, Ken Branson, Karina Schwag, Rich Rasmussen, Chris Gorton, and Chris Clay.
At the end, Steve invites listeners to contribute their comments to Vox WildeBeat, our companion podcast of community conversation.
Wed, Feb 21, 2007
Steve Interviewed by Bob Cartright
Steve was interviewed a couple of weeks ago by Bob Cartright of BackpackingLight.CO.UK. Bob produces a podcast about backpacking in the U.K. and Europe. Bob did this as part of a series of shows interviewing other podcasters who focus on outdoor recreation topics.
Here's a link to the Backpackinglight.CO.Uk podcasts. Here's a link directly to the audio:
Thu, Feb 15, 2007
This outings program is a visit to the WildLink program, a partnership between the Yosemite Institute and the Sierra Nevada Wilderness Education Project. This is the first follow-up to our original program on ethnic diversity among wilderness users.
WildLink is a program to expose teens from low-income, ethnically-diverse families to a wilderness experience. Nina Roberts, Ph.D, assistant professor at San Francisco State University, explains why a program like WildLink is necessary.
Steve visited one of WildLink's family weekends in November of 2005. He goes on a day hike to the Tuolumne Grove of giant sequoia trees, and talks to:
In the bonus interview segment, linked below, Mandy Vance talks about the origin of WildLink, why she thinks minorities are under-represented in the wilderness, and her thoughts on how others can help her efforts.
Thu, Feb 08, 2007
Winter OR 2007
This gear program is a report on the Winter 2007 Outdoor Retailer's Expo. When the outdoor industry gathers, it's a major expedition for the folks at Backpack Gear Test; but it isn't all about the toys.
Jason Boyle1, Raymond Estrella2, and Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd3 report on the most interesting gear they hope to test for BackpackGearTest.ORG. They comment on products by: GoLite1, Snow Peak1, MSR1, Primus1, Fox River1, Injinji1, Sierra Designs2, Osprey Packs2, Blue Desert3, MontBell3, and Go Pro3.
Backpack Gear Test has more gear to review than reviewers. You might be able to get free gear to review. Read: How to become a tester.
As a wrap-up, we invited Kurt Repanshek to comment on a larger issue facing the outdoor industry. His commentary includes a statement by Peter Metcalf, president of Black Diamond Equipment. More of Kurt's commentary is available on his web site, National Parks Traveler.