This handout prepared for an open to the public gathering of the Kachemak Bay State Park Citizens Advisory Board at the Islands and Oceans Visitor Center on September 28, 2012 at 7pm.
A discussion and visual presentation; Challenges and Opportunities--Alaska State Parks and the Upemba and Kundelungu National Parks in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
http://www.alaskawildernesslodge.com Here you can see how a wilderness lodge, surrounded by the State Park represents itself in images, links and film. Links to both of the blogs above are on the home page. There were no lodges, no B&B’s and not one kayak in l966.
http://michaelpetermcbride.blogspot.com/ Here you will find a series of several reports from the Congo written while I was working there
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/author/mmcbride/ When the editor in chief of National Geographic heard about my Congo blogs, he asked me to communicate this information to a larger audience through the National Geographic News Watch; my plan is to begin an Alaskan series soon
As an Advisory Board member I engaged Lighthawk, “Volunteer Pilots Flying for Conservation” Lighthawk.org in the fight to save the State Park from the industrial clear cut logging of 23,000 acres of the heart of the Park. I became LightHawk’s first Alaskan pilot and my first passenger was the conservation patriarch David Brower (John McPhee, Conversations with the Arch druid and former head of the Sierra Club and founder of Earth Island Institute), who went on to help us force the legislature to appropriate $23 million to buy back the logging rights.
When I told my friends in Africa about the involvement of Lighthawk in saving the State Park, I helped them clone Lighthawk in Africa as The Bateleurs, “Volunteer Pilots Flying for Conservation in Africa”
http://www.bateleurs.org/about-us.html (I am thus a patron and founder with the well known African conservation icons Ian Player and Nora Kreher). Bateleurs figured prominently in saving the Saint Lucia wetlands from titanium mining of beach sands. Subsequently I’simangaliso became a United Nations World Heritage Site
The Wilderness Foundation http://www.wild.org/ is the US grandchild of the International Wilderness Leadership School started 50 years ago in Africa by Ian Player and Magqubu N’Tombela. Every 4 years it sponsors a United Nations like gathering. As a Wild board member I facilitated the 8th World Wilderness Congress in Anchorage in 2005. 1,200 delegates came from 60 nations. In 2009 the Congress met in Merida the Yucatan, was convened by Pres. Calderon, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle, Amory Lovins and a host of distinguished conservations made presentations, l3 year old McKenzie Haber of Homer brought the audience to its feet with his stunning presentation and advocacy for young people’s engagement in the search for a sustainable future. Visit wild.org and please join us in Salamanca Spain in October 2013 for the l0th World Wilderness Congress, it will be magnificent!
My engagement with the Wilderness Foundation over the past 30 years put me repeatedly on a course of intersection with elephants and rhino, lions and leopards (and yes, snakes) I became friends and trekked the African bush with Ian McCollum, medical doctor, Jungian, Springbok rugby player, poet and consummate wilderness man. His book Ecological Intelligence is a must read and has been called one of the 100 most important books of our time.
My friend at Oxford in England, Dr Susan Canning has for years championed the plight of the desert elephants of Mali. She walks in the tracks of Jane Goodall. Her site is informative and inspirational as together we try to save these magnificent animals. http://www.wild.org/where-we-work/the-desert-elephants-of-mali/
http://rmi.org Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Aspen Colorado is brilliantly leading an international conversation called “The Reinvention of Fire” and the search for a sustainable future for America that can save money, put more people to work while weaning us away from fossil fuels that are compromising basic life forms in the ocean and on land.
The Frankfort Zoological Society (FZS) in Germany was awarded a $5million grant from the European Union in 2011 to create a Master Plan for the reconstruction of two war torn National Parks in the Congo. The Upemba Park was created in the l930’s during the Belgian colonial era and the Kundelungu Park before independence and the renaming of the country to Zaire. Both once teemed with animals that represented the best of Africa. The tourism infrastructure as been burned and looted and the animals killed. I was invited to participate as a member of the FZS team and came with some African and international experience in the protection of large animal migration corridors and trans boundary parks creation.
After a month of meetings and field visits to remote ranger stations it was difficult to see how one person could help. I decided that helping the children of the rangers made most sense. Their 127 children were going to school in a burned out colonial building and had NOT ONE BOOK, teachers rarely paid and no one well fed.
You can help me to help them by making a donation at the Wells Fargo Branch in Homer, tell the attendant that the savings account is under my name, Michael McBride-Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge and is listed as the Congo Children’s Fund #5791687915. I will in turn transfer the funds to Lusinga Game Ranger Station FZS staff member Alan Deverel.