Jackson Hole resident Forrest McCarthy will testify at a hearing on the Role of Federal Lands in Combating Climate Change before the US House of Representatives Sub Committee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on March 3.
Recently named as the Public Lands Director for Winter Wildlands Alliance, a Boise-based national nonprofit organization working to protect winter ecosystems and opportunities for backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, McCarthy will deliver testimony on behalf of the Outdoor Alliance a coalition of six national, member-based organizations devoted to conservation and stewardship of public lands and waters through responsible human-powered outdoor recreation. The Outdoor Alliance includes: Access Fund, American Canoe Association, American Hiking Society American Whitewater, International Mountain Bicycling Association, and Winter Wildlands Alliance, and represents the interests of the millions of Americans who hike, paddle, climb, mountain bike, ski and snowshoe on our nation’s public lands, waters and snowscapes.
“The outdoor community’s interest in climate protection is multi-faceted,” says McCarthy. “The places where we pursue our outdoor activities and that support the $730 billion outdoor recreation economy are impacted by a warming climate. Not unlike indicator species, human-powered outdoor pursuits can be seen as ‘indicator activities’ with respect to the impacts of climate change on federal lands and waters because outdoor recreationists are usually the first to experience the impacts of climate change on public lands.” He explains further, a declining snowpack can shorten ski and snowshoe seasons, make alpine climbing more dangerous and can eliminate ice climbing altogether. Less snowpack also means less water in creeks, rivers and lakes for paddling. Higher temperatures and draught increase the risk of wildfires and stress native species often degrading the quality of hiking and mountain biking activities.
McCarthy’s testimony will focus on the Outdoor Alliance’s perspective that public lands are vital in combating climate change for their role in ecosystem adaptation, their natural ability to sequester carbon, renewable energy projects like wind farm and solar arrays, and providing the opportunity for Americans to stay connected to the natural world. “Only by maintaining our connection to our environment will we have the awareness and commitment to achieve the goal of stabilizing our climate,” McCarthy concludes.
Forrest McCarthy will be testifying at 2:00 pm (eastern) on Tuesday March 3. The hearing can be viewed on a live web cam at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/. The full written testimony is available at http://www.outdooralliance.net/.