2009 Stellar Dendrite Award Winner The Crag Law Center

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Snowrider is pleased to award the Crag Law Center with the 2009 Stellar Dendrite Award, given annually to an individual or organization that demonstrates strong stewardship of the Mt. Hood region. Crag is highly deserving of the award due to its influential work in the expansion of the Mt. Hood Wilderness. H.R. 146:The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama March 30, 2009. The 127,000 acre expansion of Mt Hood Wilderness was approved as part of a hard-fought bill protecting over 2 million acres of wilderness throughout 9 states, which also includes the designation of 80 miles of river in the Mt Hood region as “wild and scenic”. The wilderness designation provides the highest level of protection status available for public lands and intends for the land to be preserved for the “use and enjoyment in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness.” The status prohibits operation of vehicles or mechanical equipment as well as the construction of new roads or structures.

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Crag’s founders, Chris Winter and Ralph Bloemers were instrumental in bringing together key stakeholders during the negotiation process to develop an amenable bill and lobby on its behalf to protect land along Mt Hood’s Cooper Spur. Mr. Bloemers stated that Crag’s success is a product of the tremendous efforts of their clients, supporters, and community groups. In specific reference to the Mt Hood Wilderness success, Mr. Bloemers credits the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition and Mazamas for coalescing support of the outdoor recreation community to lobby for the wilderness area, as well as other stakeholders representing interests in watershed stewardship, timber sales, and ski industry.
The Crag Law Center is a non-profit organization, founded by Bloemers and Winter in 2001, representing over 60 organizations and subsistence native peoples throughout Oregon, Washington and Alaska.  The three program areas under which Crag focuses its actions are Livable Communities, Clean Water, and Public Lands protection. Some of their current projects include assisting native peoples in the protection of their subsistence fishing grounds from oil development along Alaska’s North Slope; halting illegal pollution on the Tualatin, Willamette, Columbia tributary systems in Oregon and Washington and recovering penalties to fund clean up and restoration; and working on behalf of local citizens, conservation groups and public lands advocates to defend roadless areas and old growth forests in Oregon, Washington and Alaska.

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By awarding Crag with the 2009 Stellar Dendrite Award, Snowrider brings attention to the tremendous services Crag Law Center provides in preserving and protecting wild lands and watersheds in the Northwest. Snowrider recognizes Crag as an invaluable asset to the winter recreation and outdoor mountain community and hopes to continue its productive working relationship for protecting the pristine recreation areas of Oregon.

-Michael Harrison

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