John Sterling from The Conservation Alliance here. Well, after many months of planning, the Hybrid.Pedal Bike Tour is finally upon us. And for those of us who will be riding from the KEEN offices in Portland to the flanks of Mount Hood tomorrow (65 miles and 4000 vertical feet gain), a few extra days of preparation might be in order!
I want to thank the folks at KEEN for conceiving of Hybrid.Pedal. The tour route will connect the dots of special wild places between Portland and Salt Lake that Conservation Alliance grantees are either working to protect, or have already protected. Places like: Mount Hood, Skyline Forest, and Steens Mountain in Oregon; the Payette River and the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness in Idaho; and Logan Canyon in Utah. Hybrid.Pedal is a brilliant way to showcase these places, and the local organizations that are working to safeguard them for future generations.
It is easy to take our wildlands and rivers for granted. Threats to these places can arise quickly -- like when the North Fork Payette was slated for a new dam -- or they can prey slowly on a place -- as with the intrusion of motorized recreation in Southern Utah or Central Idaho -- gradually diminishing their wilderness qualities.
It is also easy to take for granted the organizations that work tirelessly to protect these wildlands. Seven of those organizations are partners in Hybrid.Pedal, and they deserve full recognition here: Oregon Wild; Deschutes Basin Land Trust; Oregon Natural Desert Association; Idaho Rivers United; Idaho Conservation League; Winter Wildlands Alliance; and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Each of these organizations represents thousands of people who care about protecting the special wild places in their back yard. These groups thrive on a passion and commitment to the land, and from a sense of responsibility to save special places for future generations. For that, we honor them.
So, tomorrow, an intrepid group of cyclists will leave Portland, and ride 60-70 miles per day for two weeks until they reach Salt Lake City. Along the way, they'll be joined by dozens of additional riders for a day or two. They'll see the places Conservation Alliance funding is helping to protect, and they'll meet the organizations behind those protection efforts. Fortunately, you can follow their exploits here each day. And, a film crew will capture the Hybrid.Pedal experience and distill it into a documentary to be released shortly after the ride ends.
On behalf of The Conservation Alliance, thank you to everyone who has helped make Hybrid.Pedal happen. And thanks especially to the riders. Enjoy the journey, and we'll see you in Salt Lake!
-John Sterling, Executive Director
The Conservation Alliance