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Land of No Use is a two year documentary video project using winter recreation to explore the value of Montana's roadless areas. 
Land of No Use is a two year documentary video project using winter recreation to explore the value of Montana's roadless areas. 
111 backers pledged $9,766 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$9,766

111

Check out our website at LONU.org and our trailer from year one of production . . .

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Welcome to our Kickstarter Page! The Land of No Use, Montana Wilderness Ski Project is a video project about backcountry skiing Montana’s protected public lands while documenting the current land management debate.

We originally set out to make an expedition ski film set in Montana, but as we researched the mountain ranges of interest, we found that the majority of them were in congressionally designated Wilderness areas. From that realization, the project evolved into something much more intriguing.

Ry Phipps in the Bob Marshall Wilderness
Ry Phipps in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

A Wilderness designation is the highest form of protection that public lands can receive. It stipulates no mechanized use, no mining or logging, no permanent human structure, and no permanent human occupation. Simply put, Wilderness is a land where humans are mere visitors. With the 1964 Wilderness Act, the United States became the first nation to ever designate and define Wilderness by law. Since then, Wilderness designations have been a topic of heated debate, especially in Montana where a political gridlock has halted the designating of Wilderness for the past 30 years.

photo: John Meyer
photo: John Meyer

The title of our video, Land of No Use, comes from an old bumper sticker and slogan for opponents of wilderness designations (i.e. motorized recreation enthusiasts and timber and mining corporations) that reads, "Wilderness = Land of No Use." We’re using that slogan as a challenge and backcountry skiing and snowboarding as a medium for assessing the recreational value of Wilderness areas.

Cody Perin in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

This video is not meant to be an advocacy piece but rather an objective look at all the different sides to the theoretical debate. We hope that by combining an action sport with the issues surrounding the future of our public lands our video will not only be an entertaining ski flick but also introduce an important dialogue about the future of our country to a younger audience of tomorrow’s skiers, policy makers, and activists.

Chris Bangs in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness
Chris Bangs in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness

In accordance with the Wilderness Act, this project is not only non-profit but also non-commercial, which means that we will not be selling the video or promoting any products or services. Instead, we will be releasing the video for free online and touring through Montana with free showings. This presents a hurdle in that we rely solely on pledges and donations from people such as yourself for our funding. This is also the reason why the video itself is not an incentive for you to pledge.

Our crew is compromised of manual laborers who work overtime half of the year, so we ski full time in the winter. Our low-end fundraising goal will cover basic travel costs of this season as well as a modest post-production budget. However, the more we can exceed our base goal, the more we can enhance production and post-production quality by investing more time and contracting work out to our more professional production friends.

Press

-Powder Magazine, January 2014 (p. 50-51)

-Bozeman Daily Chronicle, January 12th, 2014 (Section E)

Incentives

LONU T-Shirt
LONU T-Shirt

-Our T-Shirts are American made and designed by LONU team members Evan Tennant and Meredith Gardner.  Above shirt is a rough draft.  We will contact you about sizing.

-A phone conversation with the director is an opportunity to get a better feel for the project and our crew as well as give your input and suggestions.  This is a collaborative project, and we want to hear what you have to say.

-Recognition in the Credits.  We're happy to acknowledge your help in the final video, but this has to be a personal acknowledgement.  We cannot put the name of your business in the video.

-Our skis are crafted in Bozeman, MT by LONU team members Zeph Hallowell, Ryan Walters, and Duncan McGovern.  You can pick from a variety of camber and sidecut profiles.  We'll contact you to figure out what size and shape you would like.

Risks and challenges

We are bringing together some of Montana's best, in both athletic and production talent to make a video that we all believe in the importance of far more than the average ski flick. Our forces are large in number and heavy with determination. The act of capturing entertaining ski footage in some of the most remote parts of the lower 48 is not an easy task. On top of that, the additional challenge of objectively documenting the heated land management debate certainly packs extra weight. Furthermore, the project hinges on our ability to tie these two themes together.

The largest PRE-PRODUCTION CHALLENGE, has been fundraising without violating the Wilderness Act and Interim Directive 2709.11 on Wilderness Filming. After spending a large chunk of the '12 summer communicating with all the different ranger districts we wished to film in, it became obvious that we would never obtain all the film permits we wanted as a commercial project. That is when we became a non-commercial project, avoiding the need for film permits all together. In a nut shell, we are allowed to make this video as long as we do not sell the video, charge for viewing of the video, pay "actors," advertise or endorse any products or services, nor conduct any other restricted activities on National Forest such as motorized use in Wilderness or exceeding allowable party size.

As a non-commercial project, we cannot accept prototypical sponsorship, most grants, nor endorse interest groups. We cannot place logos in the video and cannot let any group that sells products and/or services to use the video in any form of promotion for their products and/or services. This cuts off all of the usual fundraising outlets; however, we have been finding that enough individuals believe in what we are trying to accomplish and want to see this video be made that our fundraising goals are absolutely doable.

Our largest PRODUCTION CHALLENGES are the logistics around mitigating the dangerous nature of our sport with safety precautions in remote areas, variable conditions, and hazardous terrain. It helps that Montana is as large as it is. Within this state, conditions can vary greatly from one region to the next, so it is a critical part of our mission to be wherever the snow pack is most stable and the weather is most ideal at any given time. Additionally, we only bring along athletes that have proven themselves wise to the threats they face, team dynamics, and their personal limitations as backcountry athletes. If you are looking for a video with triple corks and huge cliff hucks, look elsewhere, because, we have no interest in stunt progression or ego inflammation.

Another potential setback is that we do not capture enough skiing for a feature length video. This is a total possibility, and in that case we will still produce a video, although it will be a shorter one and more heavily focused on the land management debate. That being said, we have a lot of shots already in the bag from our first season and our crew is large enough in numbers that we can split up and film in multiple Wilderness areas simultaneously.

Our biggest POST-PRODUCTION challenge is to intertwine the story of the skiers with that of the Wilderness debate. We plan to set video up as a give and go between the theoretical arguments presented in the debate and the practical application of recreating in the lands that are the subject of debate. With that in mind, the shape of this project is constantly evolving. As we enter our second year of production, we have found that new discoveries are made in the field and new issues arise within the debate on a rolling basis. We are excited to see how it all comes together and hope that you are as well.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Pika pledge! Formally known as the "little chief hare," the American pika, a smaller relative of rabbits, can be found in boulder fields and above tree line, shreddin' pillow zones and big mountain gnar.
    Enjoy a SHOUT-OUT on the Bridger Brigade Facebook page and LONU.org!

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    Wolverine Pledge! Silent but deadly, the "Skunk Bear" scavenges the high alpine for fresh tracks, preying on mammals more than twice its size.
    In addition to online shot outs, enjoy a LAND OF NO USE T-SHIRT!

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    Big Horn Sheep Pledge. Known for their peak-bagging skills, to impress ewes, the rams will hurl themselves at each other with a speed of 20 mph, much like thick-headed ski bros showing off for ski bunnies.
    In addition to online thank you's and a T-Shirt, leave us your phone number for a PRIVATE CONVERSATION WITH THE DIRECTOR of Land of No Use.

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    Grey Wolf Pledge. Wolf packs are highly territorial, "Locals Only, bro," so don't poach their stash. Join our wolf pack and enjoy a T-Shirt, a phone conversation with the director, and recognition of your help in the ENDING CREDITS of the final video.

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    Cougar Pledge. Agile and solitary, this cat has no friends on a powder day but is a swift, silent, and deep predator.
    Enjoy a director phone conversation, ending credit praise, and a fresh PAIR OF SKIS, handcrafted by the LONU crew.

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    Mountain Goat Pledge. A calculating mountaineer and an iconic forager of high altitude terrain, mountain goats sport a thick, wool coat that help them withstand temperatures down to -50 F and winds as high as 100 mph.
    Enjoy a T-Shirt, director phone conversation, and PRODUCER CREDIT in the opening of the final video.

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Funding period

- (30 days)