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A forest of trees with green leaves standing tall on green grass. Blue sky and a body of water peek out from behind the trees.

Springtime at Tongue Mountain overlooking Lake George in New York. Photo: Jonathan Ampersand Esper

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood

Friends of the East,

We are not far from the start of spring. As the warm sunshine will undoubtedly draw thousands of people outdoors, it is worthwhile to consider the importance of outdoor recreation in connecting people to nature. If people don’t experience wildlands and waters, why would they fight to protect them? There are so many places to go and celebrate in the East—Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country, Shenandoah National Park is just a couple hours from the D.C. metropolis, and New York’s Adirondack Park is one of the crown jewels of wildlands in our region. That’s not to mention the Appalachian Trail, the icon of outdoor recreation.

But, while opportunities abound to get outside, there is still much at stake. Development continues to encroach on our last remaining patches of forests, new and expanding roadways create bigger barriers to landscape connectivity and hotspots of wildlife mortality, and energy infrastructure, like pipelines and fracking, threaten some of the most important, existing protected areas we have.

So, I wonder, how does your organization interact with or promote outdoor recreation? What outdoor activity do you personally feel has affected your passion for conservation? What, as a collaborative, can we be doing to promote more opportunities for people to get out on our wild landscapes? And how can we better understand and manage outdoor recreation impacts on wildlife?

For the wild,

Maggie and the Wildlands Network team

Have news or updates to share? Email Maggie at maggie@wildlandsnetwork.org.

Network Updates

Are you a formal member of the Eastern Wildway Network? If you are committed to doing your part to reconnect, restore, and protect the East, formalize your participation on our website.

Not sure about becoming a member but want to receive our bimonthly e-newsletter? You can sign up on our website

Have questions or concerns? Reach out to maggie@wildlandsnetwork.org.

Take Action

Bare tree branches and bushes with red leaves frame the image. A body of water reflects the the mountain with green, yellow, red, and orange trees surrounding it. The sky is blue with faint, wispy clouds.

Wayne National Forest is threatened by fracking, potentially destroying Ohio's only national forest. Photo: Tim Gladeau

Ohio’s Only National Forest Threatened by Fracking
Ohio’s only national forest, Wayne National Forest, is threatened by fracking leases. In December 2016 and March 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leased 1,900 acres to fracking operations and plans to continue to lease up to 40,000 acres to oil and gas interests. Keep Wayne Wild is working to stop this from happening. You can sign their petition here.

The left side of the image shows a before picture of Mountain Valley. Bare branches frame the the picture. Dark mountains extend to the horizon. Beneath the mountain in the front is a valley. The sky is blue with fluffy, white clouds. The right side of the image shows an after picture. It is identical to the before picture except for a pipeline traversing the mountains and valley.

Visualization of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline through Knob Creek. Photo: Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Fight the Proposed Pipelines in Virginia
The fight against the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines continue with Virginia at the epicenter. Sign Wild Virginia’s petition to stop the looming destruction of habitat, water and air quality. In addition, you can also upload photos and stories from your favorite places along the proposed pipeline routes to raise awareness of what is at stake.

News from the Eastern Wildway

$1.3 Billion Committed to Canada’s Land and Water in Budget for 2018
Last month, the Trudeau government committed an unprecedented $1.3 billion in their budget for 2018 to protect land and water in Canada over the next five years. The funds will help Canada meet its target to protect 17 percent of land and 10 percent of oceans by 2020 under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. In addition to significant financial investments, the budget also outlines a new model for collaborative conservation efforts bringing Indigenous, provincial, and territorial governments together.

A forest of bare trees and evergreen trees is visible for as far as the eye can see. The ground in the front is covered in white snow. The sky is white.

NCC protects 422 acres in the Gaspe Peninsula. Photo: NCC

Key Corridor Protected in Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) recently protected 420 acres in an essential wildlife corridor between Forillon National Park and other public lands. Although protected, Forillon National Park is insufficient in size to sustain the long-term health of its wildlife populations. NCC plans to continue efforts to protect additional habitat in this critical area. Contact Kateri Monticone to learn more.

A grainy, black and white image of a man squatting next to a taxidermic puma.

New Brunswick wildlife biologist, Bruce Wright, poses with what is believed to be the last puma recorded in the northeast, trapped in Maine in 1938. Photo: John Holyoke, Northeastern Wildlife Station

Eastern Puma Declared Extinct
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service declared the Eastern Puma extinct and removed it from the endangered species list this past January, more than 80 years after the last confirmed sighting. There is 
significant debate within the conservation community as to whether this move will help or hinder recovery efforts for this species. In recent years, there have been confirmed sightings of pumas dispersing east from western states and promising northward movements by Florida panthers.

Three people canoeing down a river with green trees on both sides.The back of a long-haired person is seen in the bottom left corner of the image. The back of two people in blue life vests canoe on the other side of the river. Bits of blue sky peek out from white, fluffy clouds above.

People recreating along the Black River, newly protected by the Couchiching Conservancy. Photo: Couchiching Conservancy

New Protections Along the Black River in Ontario
The Couchiching Conservancy in Washago, Ontario has protected 728 acres of habitat inside Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park. The area includes 4.4 km of shoreline along the Black River, the last wild river in southern Ontario, and supports several endangered species including Blanding’s turtle, snapping turtle, eastern hog-nosed snake, and the five-lined skink.


New Hampshire’s Proposed Transmission Line Rejected
Northern Pass's application to build a controversial 192-mile transmission line from Pittsburg to Deerfield in New Hampshire has been rejected. The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee voted unanimously on Feb. 1 to deny a Certificate of Site and Facility, saying the project fails to meet the criteria of not negatively impacting orderly development of the region. The decision ends eight years of controversy and opposition and is a victory for land conservation efforts in the region.


New book by John Davis explores the Split Rock Wildway in Adirondack Park. Photo: Essex Editions

New Book about Split Rock Wildway Supports Local Conservation Groups
The East’s favorite 
wildways trekker, John Davis, has a new book out called Split Rock Wildway: Scouting the Adirondack Park’s Most Diverse Wildlife Corridor. The book covers some of the charismatic and enigmatic wildlife thriving in the Split Rock Wildway and will help to better protect these lands and waters and those surrounding the Adirondack Park area. Sales will benefit Champlain Area Trails, Northeast Wilderness Trust, and other conservation groups.


New York Furbearer Sighting Surveys
New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation is collecting furbearer sightings in an effort to learn more about their occurrence and distribution throughout the state. In Upstate New York, they are interested in reports of bobcat, otter, fisher, and weasel, and in NYC/Long Island they are interested in reports of beaver, gray fox, otter, weasel, mink, coyote, and skunk. You can submit observations here.


Pennsylvania Named Top State in Dam Removals for 2017
In a recent report by American Rivers, 86 dams were removed across the country in support of public safety and in an effort to create new recreation opportunities and improve fish and wildlife habitat. Many eastern states were involved in these removals, including Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont. Pennsylvania came in at number one for dam removals with 16, remaining at the top spot for the past fifteen years.

A closeup of a red wolf with light brown, black, and white fur facing the camera.

Red wolf. Photo: Becky Bartel, USFWS

Washington Post Covers the Red Wolf Recovery Story
In a national feature article that took up an entire page of the newspaper, the Washington Post lays out some of the arguments over whether the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service should or should not end the Red Wolf Recovery Program in northeastern North Carolina. While the article paints a relatively bleak outlook for the 40 remaining wild wolves, conservationists argue that there is still time to turn the tide and to prevent this species from going extinct in the wild once again.

A map highlighting corridors in North Carolina.

Wildlife corridor priorities for western NC. Protected areas are shown in green, highest priority corridors in red, and secondary corridors in yellow. Photo: Wildlands Network

Mapping Habitat Connectivity Priorities for Western North Carolina Land Trusts
In cooperation with the Blue Ridge Forever Coalition and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Wildlands Network recently completed a habitat connectivity assessment for western North Carolina. This data prioritizes important wildlife corridors in the region and also identifies possible locations for wildlife crossings over major roads. The goal of the project was to enable the 10 local land trusts that comprise the BRF coalition, representing 25 counties, to make conservation and protection decisions that would stitch together a broader network of habitat for biodiversity in the southern Appalachians. To learn more, contact Ron Sutherland.


TNC-Georgia Champions the Outdoor Economy
The Georgia chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is championing a new bill in the state legislature called the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act. This bill would dedicate a portion of existing sales tax on sporting goods to establish an estimated $40 million in annual funding for the protection and management of conservation lands and community parks. You can learn more about the proposed bill at www.georgiaoutdoorstewardship.org.


LCV Scorecard Now Out
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) publishes an environmental scorecard for each legislator each year. The scorecard tracks votes on any legislation relating to energy, climate change, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, and spending for environmental programs. Check out your representative’s score here.

Science Corner


Translational Ecology special issue free from Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Programs and Tools for habitat connectivity analysis from Conservation Corridor

Monitoring the use and effectiveness of wildlife passages for small and medium-sized mammals along Highway 175

Connectivity as a proxy for gene flow to infer local adaptation

Does transportation infrastructure provide habitat and movement corridors for insects?

Urban riparian corridors spread both native and non-native plants

Call for papers in LAND special issue: “Biodiversity and Protected Areas”


Wildlands Social Club
Wednesday, March 21st at the 21C Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, OH
Hosted by Kentucky Natural Lands Trust

74th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference
April 15-17 in Burlington, VT

Wild & Scenic Film Festival hosted by Wild Virginia
Sunday, April 22nd in Staunton, VA at Visulite Cinema
Wednesday, April 25th in Charlottesville, VA at Violet Crown Cinema
Friday, May 4th in Harrisonburg, VA at Court Square Theater
Help sponsor this great event!

Appalachian Trail Days Festival
May 18-20 in Damascus, VA

Northeastern Transportation and Wildlife Conference
September 9-12 in Amherst, MA

Have news or updates to share? Email Maggie at maggie@wildlandsnetwork.org.


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