This summer (June –
August 2016) we will be kayaking 700 miles in the protected natural landscapes
of Alaska to raise funds and awareness for the Chesapeake Bay
Our purpose is to shine a light on the importance of conservation and to raise funds for the Chesapeake Conservancy and the critical work they do to ensure a healthy Chesapeake Bay.
Your contribution to this campaign is 100% tax-deductible and all of the proceeds from this campaign will help to protect vital watersheds, forests and wildlife in the Chesapeake Bay region for generations to come.
Please join us by clicking “Contribute Now” and share this with your friends!
We greatly appreciate your support.
- Conor & Kyle
On the remote, rainswept western coast of Chichagof Island, Alaska, rises a mountain with a name that hits home with me in a literal sense. I may not share my last name with Freeburn Mountain, but four generations ago it took its title from my great-great-grandfather, William (“Bill”) Freeburn. A gold mine superintendent and key leader of the now abandoned town of Chichagof, Bill Freeburn led the Chichagof Company’s mining efforts at this isolated outpost for several years in the early 1900s. My great-grandfather, Henry Baumann, joined Bill Freeburn at the Chichagof mine for a few years where he met and married Bill Freeburn’s daughter Louise. Henry Baumann took many photographs of the mine, town, and surrounding landscapes - photos that I have cherished all my life.
Photo of my great-grandparents, Henry and Louise Baumann (c1913), in the mountains above Chichagof, Alaska
Ever since I learned about my family history in this remote region of Alaska, Freeburn Mountain has captivated me, and I put it on my “bucket list” to one day explore the region and the rugged natural landscapes where my ancestors lived and worked.
Until now, I have not had the time or resources saved up to access the West Chichagof –Yakobi Wilderness Area and Freeburn Mountain, but my planned departure as an employee of the Chesapeake Conservancy in Annapolis, MD to attend graduate school in the fall of 2016 offers a perfect gift of time to complete this “bucket list” item!
Kyle Smith, a fellow friend, colleague, outdoorsman and adventurer will also be joining me as he will also be moving on to graduate school in the fall of 2016.
Photo of Kyle Smith on a backpacking trip
Photo of me, Conor Phelan, also on a backpacking trip
To maximize the amount of available daylight, our voyage is planned to span the summer months. The approximately 700 mile route (see map below) is estimated to take two months of paddling including a number of “buffer days” set aside for storms and other unforeseen delays. With a start date set for June 2, 2016, we expect to complete our final paddle strokes in early August, 2016.
Our trip will start in Ketchikan, Alaska and head north towards Juneau to take full advantage of the warming temperatures over the course of the summer. Along the way we will resupply food and cooking fuel at a few small towns. A good portion of the trip will follow the famous Inside Passage boating route; however, much of the paddle will veer towards the more remote and exposed waterways further west in order to access Freeburn Mountain.
This is the 700 mile route we will be kayaking from Ketchikan, Alaska to Juneau, Alaska
Photo of Elfin Cove off the Northwest Corner of Chichagof Island, Alaska where we will be paddling
OUR CAUSE: RAISING FUNDS FOR THE CHESAPEAKE CONSERVANCY
Over 400 years ago Captain John Smith plied the waters of the Chesapeake Bay searching for passage to the Pacific Ocean. In his journals he wrote extensively of the abundant wildlife, and spectacular natural state of the Chesapeake Region. Fish swam so thick he bragged of trying to scoop them out of the water with frying pans, and oysters formed reefs so massive he had to maneuver his boat around them for fear of running aground. The water was so clear that Captain Smith remarked he could see to the bottom at depths of dozens of feet.
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Over the past several years the Conservancy has grown its capacity throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed as a major player in the conservation community. The Conservancy has played a role in the protection of thousands of acres of land, the allocation of millions of dollars towards Bay restoration programs, and is providing cutting edge geospatial data and technological solutions to our partners and stakeholders.
With the support of our great local donors we have made significant progress towards our watersheds, public access and land conservation goals. Among our many accomplishments are the following: we helped secure federal funding to protect 2,100 acres through the Rivers of the Chesapeake LWCF Collaborative, connected over a million viewers to live osprey and falcon nest webcams, and provided critical support for the establishment of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park and Monument.
There are still idyllic landscapes throughout the Chesapeake Bay and the great rivers that feed it.
As Kyle and I conduct our trip we hope to shine a light on the value of conserving and restoring natural and wild places while we still can. Making the right choices now can help to halt the uphill battle we face throughout the Bay and in countless other places due to past decisions.
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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
We want to thank our generous sponsors for their support, including Buff USA, SOG, Arcade Belts, Nalgene, Justin's and Seals Sprayskirts for the gear. We love it!
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