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Hells Bells, January 2018
Protecting Spalding's Catchfly in Hells Canyon
2018 is here, and we've hit the ground running! On January 10th, GHCC filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service to protect Spalding's catchfly in the heart of our mission area.
So, what's this all about?
Spalding’s catchfly is both a federally listed threatened species and a rare and endemic plant species found within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA). It's found only in the bunchgrass and sagebrush-steppe communities of eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, west-central Idaho, and western Montana, with a small sliver of its historic range also extending into British Columbia, Canada.
In 2015 the Forest Service conducted the Lower Imnaha Range Analysis (LIRA), which looked at the environmental impacts of grazing in four allotments in Hells Canyon. It found a large population of the threatened Spalding's catchfly, nearly 1,000 plants. It also found that grazing here was clearly having a damaging effect on the catchfly.
Despite its findings, the Forest Service reauthorized grazing in the LIRA area at the same stocking levels, and even reopened grazing in the Hells Canyon Wilderness on an allotment that had been rested--all without taking any substantive measures to protect the catchfly they found.
The HCNRA is special. It is not to be managed like a National Forest. The 1975 Act that created it states its management must be compatible with “all features and peculiarities believed to be biologically unique including, but not limited to, rare and endemic plant species.” The HCNRA's management plan further specifies that if a threatened species is found there, the Forest Service must implement the species' recovery plan, if one exists.
Not only does Spalding's catchfly have a recovery plan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services also gave the Forest Service a list of specific recommendations to protect the catchfly in the allotments in question. The Forest Service decided to ignore every recommendation.
We all want this plant to be "delisted"--removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. If managed properly, the LIRA population of Spalding's catchfly could be an important part of this process; for Spalding's catchfly to be delisted, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services needs to identify 27 Key Conservation Areas (stable and large populations), including populations in canyon grasslands habitat, like the LIRA population. Unfortunately, as it stands, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services may not consider the LIRA population as a Key Conservation Area due to degradation from grazing as reauthorized by the LIRA decision.
We are not seeking an injunction on grazing while the case is pending. This isn't about a rancher doing something wrong--it's about the Forest Service ignoring its duty to protect a threatened plant in Hells Canyon. 
To learn more, you can read the press release. If you really want to deep dive into the issue, check out our FAQ. Or, view photos of the LIRA allotments, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
GHCC to Partner with GO-ASAP
We’re excited to announce our Wild Connections program is partnering with Eastern Oregon University’s Get Outside - After School Activity Program (GO-ASAP), headed by Kelly Rice, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physical Activity and Health at EOU.
GO-ASAP’s mission is to cultivate positive lifestyle behaviors in adolescents. Dr. Rice introduces her students to outdoor activities and healthy lifestyle habits, all of which significantly improve long-term health.
The GO-ASAP team coordinates all logistics and gear for the kids, taking them to various places around our region for weekly snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, biking, and climbing trips. The team also embarks on a backpacking trip at the end of the program.
Our Wild Connections program seeks to connect people to people by forming new relationships in our beloved region; people to place by increasing access to our region for all; and place to place by creating physical connections between major wilderness areas in the Greater Hells Canyon region by way of wildlife corridors. These connections all increase our ability to protect this incredibly unique landscape for our future generations.
We’ll join Rice and her students on GO-ASAP’s outings, providing education and engagement on the region's ecology, wildlife, and habitat connectivity.
We strongly support Rice’s focus on physical activity and healthy lifestyles, and we believe in increasing access to the outdoors and the sciences for all of our kids. Who knows where these eye-opening opportunities will take them! 
You can check out a heart-warming video of last year's GO-ASAP program here.
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GHCC works to connect, protect, and restore an extraordinarily diverse and beautiful wild area and its native inhabitants in the Northwest.  Your support makes our work possible.  Thank you!
~ Darilyn Parry Brown, Executive Director 
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Seeking Event Committee Members
Love teamwork and a good cause? Looking to support GHCC in one of the most meaningful ways possible?
Look no further! We are currently seeking supporters based in the Portland area to serve on our Portland Event Committee.  We're planning a kick-a** "Hellraiser" for 2018 and want YOU to be a part of the dream team. Please email Kirsten to learn more. We hope you join us!
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