GoLite's Andy Skurka Wins Adventurer of the Year Award
Honoree to Meet with US Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne To Share First-Hand View of the Effects of Global Warming on National Parks
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Washington D.C. (November 19, 2007) – Just two weeks after finishing his nearly 7,000-mile â€œGoLite on the Planetâ€ walk through the American West, Andy Skurka was in Washington D.C. to accept the National Geographic Adventure’s â€œAdventurer of the Yearâ€ award. He will also provide his unique perspective on the effects of global warming on the country’s national parks in a sit-down session with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne on Friday, November 16.
This meeting comes at a time when the House and Senate are considering â€œThe National Park Service Centennial Challenge Fund Act,â€ landmark legislation to help repair our ailing National Parks system.
National Geographic Adventure’s Adventurer of the Year
On Thursday, National Geographic Adventure magazine named Skurka, 26, as 2007 â€œAdventurer of the Yearâ€ for his epic seven-month, 6,875-mile hike though the American West to call attention to its magnificent landscape and the environmental and ecological threats affecting it. This first-of-its-kind journey took him through five major mountain ranges, 12 national parks and 75 wilderness areas.
â€œThe National Geographic Society exists to inspire people to care about the planet. Adventure’s role within the Society is to inspire people to experience the natural and cultural wonders of the world in exciting ways. We are proud to honor the sponsors, adventurers, outfitters, destinations and manufacturers who have supported our mission and put National Geographic Adventure on such a remarkable trajectory,â€ said National Geographic Adventure’s Vice President and Publisher Francis X. Farrell.
Meeting With Secretary of the Interior: First Hand Accounting of Damage
On Friday, Skurka meets with Dirk Kempthorne to discuss his journey. In addition to witnessing the sheer splendor of our parks during his hike, Skurka also witnessed shrunken glaciers in the northern Rockies and Cascades, prolonged drought in the Southwest, abnormally low snow pack in the Sierra Nevada, record-breaking heat in the Northwest, intense wildfires in Montana, and devastating beetle infestations in Colorado. On their own, each of these events could be blamed on cyclical patterns. When viewed as a whole, however, it becomes more difficult to dispute that global warming is vastly changing Western landscapes, and most experts agree that these changes are the direct or indirect result of global warming.
During the meeting, Secretary Kempthorne will hear directly from Andy about these observations.
â€œWe greatly appreciate Secretary Kempthorne’s willingness to hear about the lands he stewards through the eyes of a great adventurer,â€ said Demetri Coupounas, co-founder and President of GoLite, the lead sponsor of Skurka’s expedition. â€œAs a non-scientist who covered the West by foot, Andy can provide the Secretary with a unique perspective…what does it look like, up close, on the ground to the average person? And not in a carbon-particle-per-million perspective, but in simple, natural terms.â€
Since 1970, temperatures in the West have risen about two degrees, helping to explain why the wildfire season is now 50 percent longer and why peak snowmelt dates are now as much as three weeks earlier than historical averages, among other things. Some of these impacts, like the loss of glaciers in Glacier National Park, have little economic or ecological costs but they are nonetheless a loss for visitors to wild lands and a sad testament to man’s poor stewardship of the Earth.
Skurka’s expedition was made possible by GoLite, an outdoor gear manufacturer committed to reducing its environmental footprint through sustainable business practices. GoLite supported Skurka’s hike because of its athletic focus, its efforts to increase people’s interest in the outdoors, and its motive to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on America’s backcountry.
For more about Skurka’s trip and GoLite’s environmental initiatives, go to www.golite.com.
GoLite is the world’s premier producer of lightweight clothing and equipment for active, outdoor sports. Inspired, designed, and tested in Boulder, Colorado, GoLiteÂ® products offer uncompromised head-to-toe performance, durability, and versatility at the lightest possible weight to maximize a person’s enjoyment and performance in the outdoors. Since 1998, GoLite has been pushing the envelope of theory, practice, & design innovation and has led a â€œlightweight revolutionâ€ that has changed an entire industry. GoLite is more than a name: it is philosophy, a lifestyle, and a commandment to do more with less. Environmental stewardship and social responsibility have been fundamental to GoLite’s mission and core values since its founding. GoLite is humbly committed to minimizing its environmental footprint â€“ to GoLite on the Planet – through innovation, resourcefulness and partnership. GoLite Athlete Ambassadors regularly share â€œHow to GoLiteâ€ techniques in outreach seminars around the world. For more information on GoLiteÂ® products, ambassadors, environmental or outreach efforts, visit their exciting new website at www.GoLite.com or call 888-5-GoLite toll-free within the U.S.