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wilderness

Call of the wild

A special editorial initiative for Rotary

Do wild places still matter? It’s a big year for wilderness. South of the border Americans are wrestling with what it means on the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s landmark legal definition of wilderness. Eyes are on Isle Royale National Park, an island in northern Lake Superior, not far from Thunder Bay. The wolves in this wilderness park are in trouble and top thinkers from across the country are deep into a debate on what to do. Should park rangers introduce new breeding stock and save the pack? Or let the wolves die out since wilderness is what happens when people aren’t involved? Or let them wither, die and

then introduce a new pack? What happens on Isle Royale will test our ideas about wilderness and our relationship with nature. Similar debates are underway here at home. Should park managers allow bison in Wood Buffalo National Park to inter-breed? Two distinct herds are mating across ‘racial’ lines and producing a hybrid species but is what nature allows what the park officials and biologists want to allow? Elsewhere in Canada there’s growing pressure to keep people out of wilderness areas altogether because even no-trace camping is altering the

1964-2 14 50 years of wilderness

character of special places. Many are saying that we need a new definition of wilderness beyond simply the absence of humankind? And all kinds of players are trying to shape the word in ways that benefit them. Decisions will be made this year that decide the future of wilderness.

Creating social capital through storytelling

Wilderness: areas where the earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control, and where people themselves are visitors who do not remain.


Cost The cost to create this editorial package is $5,750. Your sponsorship means these stories will be written. They will be sold to major media and published. This can only happen with your help. While there is no guarantee you will be credited in print you will receive a variety of sponsor benefits (see next page).

Editorial content 1. Main article with photos 2. Sidebar on why Parks Canada attendance is down? 3. Sidebar on the wilderness industry and camps are adapting to new trends? 4. Sidebar on why only Alberta has defined wilderness in Canada?

"Wilderness is a necessity... there must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls."

John Muir Sierra Club

Telling a great story Island wolves, mating bison and no trespassing restrictions are some of the questions I’ll be exploring in a major feature article on wilderness. But there are also bigger issues to explore: What is wilderness? Why does it matter and how are our views of it changing? The hook for the article will be the US 50th wilderness anniversary and the Isle Royale decision. But then I will quickly bring the story home and explore what wilderness means in Canada. The story will have several sidebars including one on why Parks Canada attendance has plummeted 60% over the past two decades and how park officials are trying to stop continued decline. Another sidebar will look at the outdoor industry: with fewer people heading into the bush many outfitters, retailers, and camp owners are feeling pain. How is this sector adapting to new trends and who is helping change things (eg: Rotary canoe camps). And finally, a short sidebar on why only one jurisdiction in the country has an official definition of wilderness Alberta. I am a veteran journalist and an avid wilderness adventurer. This topic matters to me and I know it will be of interest to others. Once the piece is complete I’ll be pitching original and rewritten versions to Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Postmedia and weeklies in several provinces. I estimate that more than a million readers will see the stories.

...this is a way for Rotary to be part of a storytelling opportunity Random wilderness fact According to the University of Chicago a definition of wilderness is an area with less than 5 people per square kilometre. Population density of Canada - 3.5 people/km2


Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. Rachel Carson

Sponsor benefits Editorial use The article, sidebars and images for posting on your website. Advertisements One print ad & one web ad drawing people to these stories on your website and identifying Rotary as the sponsoring entity. Rich email design A designed email with the story, photos, links, sponsor rationale and special thanks, to be distributed to your mailing list.

Rotary A Thought Leader This is your opportunity to support the creation of an exciting project. Without your help, getting a robust discussion of the value of wilderness into the mainstream media will be tough. Frankly, it may not happen at all. National print media has huge reach but tight revenues. That means they no longer have the ability to commission major stories. These media outlets still want high quality and topical content but the onus now is on independent journalists to find supporters who will champion these vital stories. You can birth this important editorial package. Doing so will centre Rotary in a national discussion about the need to redefine wilderness and rediscover this national treasure. Rotary’s involvement may attract new members, drawn by your participation in the public square. It may bolster your ability to raise funds for your wilderness canoe camp. It may draw Rotary into fruitful alliances. The fact this is media of consequence but without ideological camps means

Rotary can offer support without alienating constituents. The goal of most brand name NPOs/service organizations is to become part of the story of their community. One way of doing that is to be part of creating the stories with which we animate our lives - the stories with which we build our dreams, sketch our goals and seize the future. Every NPO wants to be part of that passion and energy. Traditionally those stories have been told by the media. In the past the only way for an NPO to associate itself with those narratives was to buy space in the media vehicle. But the media is in trouble. Its ability to create such grand stories is waning. However the need for these tales is as acute as ever. The wilderness story is compelling and Rotary can help tell it and build social capital. This editorial initiative will position Rotary as a thought leader on the protection, promotion and use of the wilderness.

iBook A branded iBook with the article, sidebars, photos as well as an intro video of you explaining the sponsoring rationale, Rotary ads embedded in the product and thanks from the journalist; this will be uploaded to your own iBook distribution account for free download by your members and others. Club talk A club presentation/talk and Q & A on this topic with a specially prepared and printed editorial package available to all attendees. Can be videotaped for web delivery too. Social good The satisfaction and social benefit of getting a key message into the public square. Credit Whereever possible editorial credit naming Rotary as the one who “made this possible”.

By sponsoring this project Rotary will ‘own’ this topic it as it moves into public conversation.


About Dispatches Dispatches is owned by Bramwell Ryan, an independent journalist with a special interest in wilderness and outdoor issues. Visit the Dispatches website for Bram’s bio and samples of his writing, photos, video and audio. Of the many wilderness-related stories Bram has researched and written perhaps the most rewarding was his major cover package on the George River caribou herd of northern Labrador and Québec. Hunger for Survival can be found online. Bram is an avid paddler. He’s a summer and winter camper, hiker, snowshoe tripper and is preparing for a September 2014 hike of the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. He is also shooting a gallery of time lapse winter sequences of some of Manitoba’s iconic wilderness locations.

Bramwell Ryan | Dispatches 204-298-4932 | ryan@dispatches.ca dispatches.ca | @BRyanDispatches | DispatchesNews (fb)

This proposal (and links to Dispatches portfolio material) is available online at dispatches.ca/rotary Timeline The US Isle Royale decision is due by the end of March. My hope is to have this story package published by early May. The plan is to have these stories published at the beginning of the primary outdoor season.

I would be delighted to welcome Rotary as the backer of this timely editorial package. As the sponsorship of your wilderness canoe trip attests, you have an interest in introducing and equipping young people to engage with our national wilderness treasure. Your international profile and service/education orientation makes this project a good fit. I look forward to working with you on this assignment. Due to the time sensitive nature of this proposal, and the final products, I hope to have a positive response from you by March 31, 2014.

Rotary wilderness proposal  
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