Saturday, June 20, 2020

Public Health and the Greater Chaco Landscape
Families living in rural areas south-west of Counselor, New Mexico, are sharing stories about sickly bull snakes and near-death rattlers above ground during the snowy, winter months this past winter and spring.

The people have a theory for what is happening: underground vibrations from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, forced the snakes from their dens and on to the surface.  Over the years, community members of the Navajo Nation have noticed other changes. Vegetation has died off and the climate has became drier. People living in homes with dirt floors have felt vibrations from the ground late at night, from 2 to 4am.

The Navajo and Puebloan lands of north-western New Mexico where Counselor is located are no stranger to drilling. The first oil well in the area was reportedly drilled in 1911 with natural gas following soon after.

Today, the US Bureau of Land Management is considering a plan, known as the Mancos-Gallup Amendment, which could lease land in the region for some 3,000 new wells – many of which would be for fracking oil and gas. The plan would expand drilling into some of northern New Mexico’s last available public lands, threatening the desecration of sacred Native artifacts near Chaco Canyon while bringing in a swath of new public health risks to a place that’s already reeling from one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in the world.

Under the Trump administration, the amount of US lands up for lease to oil and gas companies has soared – 461 milion acres across the country, as of earlier this year. To New Mexico environmentalists and indigenous activists, the new plan is just another instance of the administration’s energy dominance agenda threatening some of the country’s most pristine lands.

Chaco park and other parts of the canyon are protected from drilling through a congressional funding bill. But there are some 250 outlying sites spread throughout north-west New Mexico, said Michelle Turner, an archaeologist studying the region. Many of those sites are connected by ancient roads, she said, which are gradually being erased by drilling-related development.

Covid-19 is making health concerns more prescient. The Navajo Nation and surrounding areas have some of the highest per-capita infection rates in the world. Community members are concerned that air pollution in the region will exacerbate the death toll, pointing to a recent Harvard study showing that people living in areas with higher pollution have a significantly higher death rate.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Friday, March 6, 2020

Looking Back
The New Mexico History Museum will be opening an exhibit called "Looking Back: Reflecting on Collections."  Four photographs from the Naamehnay Project Navajo Nation Four Corners work will be featured in the exhibit.


The exhibit will be up for about a year.  The public opening and reception will be on Sunday, March 8 from 1to pm.
Look forward to seeing you there.
be strong, be safe, Carlan




Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Opening the Entire Chaco Protection Zone to Oil and Gas Industrialization

A yearlong federal moratorium on oil and gas leases within 10 miles of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park ended this past Saturday.  Today the Bureau of Land Management Farmington Field Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Regional Office released a joint Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for lands surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The Trump Administration’s plan envisions opening the entire Chaco Protection Zone to leasing, including lands that directly border the National Park. Even where protections are proposed for Chaco, they will do little to protect the Park, other nearby Chacoan cultural resources, and the Native people who live on the landscape surrounding the Park.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Management Plans for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Open Lands for Extraction
The Trump administration announced it was opening two national monuments to development. The culturally and geologically significant Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments will be available for cattle grazing, mining, and oil and gas development. Five tribes had formed a coalition in 2015 to promote protection of the Bears Ears region; dozens more tribes have expressed support for their effort.

The Interior Department’s release of a formal land-use blueprint for the approximately 861,974 acres of land will allow oil, gas and coal companies to complete the legal process for leasing mines and wells on land that had once been part of Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, established by President Bill Clinton. In December 2017, President Trump cut the monument’s acreage about in half, aiming to open the newly unprotected land for drilling and development. At the same time, he removed about a million acres from another Utah monument, Bears Ears. Together, the moves were the largest rollback of public lands protection in United States history.

Under the plan, much of Bears Ears and nearly 1 million acres in and around Grand Staircase are open to grazing. BLM will also make two new routes in Grand Staircase open to off-road vehicles, which archaeologists and conservationists are concerned could damage vulnerable artifacts and natural features. “These plans represent the lowest common denominator for BLM stewardship,” Stephen Bloch, legal director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, one of the plaintiffs in the monuments lawsuits, said in a statement. “One of the wildest landscapes in the lower forty-eight states will be lost if these plans are carried into action over the next few years.”

be strong, be safe, Carlan
 

Friday, February 7, 2020

New Mexico in Black and White
The light in New Mexico is magical.  Dawn to dusk.  Clear skies to storms.  Each day each moment changing. Stunning landscape to create black and white photographs.  March 22 - 27 I have the pleasure of teaching Expressive Black and White Landscapes and Fine Art Digital Printmaking at the Santa Fe Workshops.  Join me as we travel across the New Mexico landscape capturing once in a life time moments and creating exhibition black and white prints.  For more information and to register visit Santa Fe Workshops.

Look forward to our paths meeting in Santa Fe for an exciting week of making photographs together.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Two Weeks, Two Wheels, and Two Lanes
For the past five years I have been criss-crossing the US, north to south, and east to west, on the old two lane US Highways.  Making photographs, meeting folks along the way, collecting stories.  All on two wheels. On editorial assignments for Harley-Davidson HOG® magazine.  Many of you have followed this blog and have been side by side with me on these incredible journeys.  Thank you all for that special companionship.

This past July I rode, photographed, slept, and ate across America on US Highway 2 dubbed the Great Northern.  Began the journey in St. Ignace, Michigan.  Crossed Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, ending just north of Seattle, Washington.  Just over 2800 miles.

The concept for the story was going Bronson-style "lightening up" as Nancy calls it.  Just the basics: photo gear, cell phone, paper maps, and a duffel with a few essentials.  For two weeks I never turned on the TV.  Sparing myself from everything that appears to be wrong.  By the time I reached Seattle, my spirit had been gratefully renewed with everything that is perfectly right.
My trusty companion on the ride was Ol' Sport.  Simple, basic, lightening up.  Ol' Sport and me - what a ride we had - a couple of buddies traveling down that ribbon of highway that connects us all together.

The published story is in the current issue of Hog® magazine. I was excited to see they used one of my images on the cover as well.   If you would like to read the story click here for a pdf copy.

"Wow! What a Ride".

be strong, be safe, Carlan