I have been a member of Great Old Broads for Wilderness for more than 10 years. Not only do they embody many of my core values, including wild place protection, humor, hiking, and helping, but people who are attracted to the Great Old Broads are some of the most fascinating and productive wilderness advocates I have ever met. Their organization is very well run and the staff is knowledgeable and helpful. I look forward to many more years as a Great Old Broad for Wilderness. The organization is currently expanding its range and training leaders for new chapters throughout the nation.
I've been an active, participating Great Old Broad twenty years since the beginning (1990). My favorite Broad's experience was in 1995 when Orin Hatch announced to America that for no other reason, we need roads in the wilderness for the aged and infirm. In response, the Broads organized a month walk across Utah, from Moab to St George, to let the world know otherwise. Each day we walked in precious wilderness without roads. Much of this land was wild public BLM land, magnificent but without permanent protection. Experiencing this cause and rare beauty changed my life forever. We changed other lives forever by bringing attention to these wild places. Local media responded and we attracted PBS crews, both radio and TV, at several locations. Most years I participate with the Broads at a carefully chosen sensitive wild site -- our purpose is to educate ourselves, perform service projects in wild places, take the word to the world that these lands need permanent protection, from the grass-roots up AND TO HAVE FUN WHILE WE'RE DOING IT. Following the WALK ACROSS UTAH, I worked for five years with the Escalante,Utah BLM and cattle ranchers monitorina long-term grazing issues on wild lands that cry for protection. Each year I participate in our Broad's on-line auction, our major fundraiser -- last weekend I hosted a trailhead breakfast at my mountain home in Sonoma Valley and led an all day hike in now-protected wilderness. Linda Liscom
The presentations included historians from the nearby national park presenting costumed cameos of various Spanish settlers and native Americans. The speakers included Forest Service representatives and members of environmental organizations who had differing views on making the lands we hiked Wilderness. Our service project for the Forest Service included picking up trash and mending barbed wire fences, and while we were working in the hot noon-day sun seeing groups of undocumented workers carrying their gallon jugs of water moving from their space under a tree where they were waiting for transport and running across the road to a canyon trying to escape. Our hikes included those to the top of a ridge staked out by environmental heroes and near the motion-activated camera which had recently captured photos of two different highly endangered jaguars extant on the US side of the border. The variety of experiences and meaningful interchange among the Broads and Bros there were both informative and life-enriching.
My experiences with the Broadwalks where we go to an area, learn about the environmental issues from the locals, and participate in a service project have been wonderful.
As a senior woman I have canoed rivers such as the Green and Colorado and explored remote canyons that I would never have seen without Broads. I have learned how to assess the health of riparian areas so vital to western ecology. Best of all I have been able to help keep wild public lands wild and have fun doing it.
I first learned about the Great Old Broads through one of our founders, Dottie Fox. Off we would go on a hike. Dottie knew all the wildflowers. She knew cheat grass and why it appears when there has been cattle overgraxing the area. I envied that knowledge and wanted to learn more. As soon as work allowed, I followed her off to Broadwalks around the west and met a group of independent, thoughtful women who wanted more than just hiking beautiful lands. They wanted these lands to have protection and be there for the future generation. As my daughter has told me,
This group of dedicated Great Old Broads and Great Old Bros work to protect public and wild lands for future generations, and have fun doing so! Broadwalks (campouts) provide the opportunity for camraderie, service, and exploring areas that need protection for future generations. Local Broadbands (chapters) provide opportunities to work in our communities, giving voice to elders to protect public and wild lands and to explore local or regional wilderness.
Great Old Broads is one of a kind: effective, empowering, and fun. They give a voice to the older, impassioned, experienced, wise female, and thus fill an important niche in the environmental and wilderness movement. In a time of large environmental organizations caving to corporate money (see The Nation, March 4, 2010 The Wrong Kind of Green), Great Old Broads remains staunchly independent, grassroots, and true to their mission of protecting wild places. Their campaigns to combat abuse from off-road vehicles and overgrazing on public lands have led to more responsible management plans protecting our public lands for future generations. Their many activities to engage people in both national and local issues are always imaginative, collaborative, non-confrontational, and great fun. As the name suggests, all is done with a sense of humor, and a constant eye towards protecting our pristine public lands for future generations.
My husband and I attended a Healthy Land Project Training in Arizona and learned about monitoring public lands for motorized vehicle and human use effects. We learned how to document degradation of public lands and noted the resulting consequences for wildlife and fragile ecosystems. We saw beautiful country and the company of other trainees was terrific. Lots of laughter. now we can apply our training in our home state of New Mexico
The Broads are the only land-protection non-profit that I know of that focus more on helping and communicating than litigating. They try to work with local public land management agencies to ensure proper practices but also do field work to find both healthy and unhealthy land management occurring on our nation's land. They protect our home turf! The agencies have so much paperwork to wade through, that to give them a head start as to where the problem areas are, and where things are working, has so far been an invaluable volunteer resource. PS. They have a sense of humor. Clearly, given the name.