Smokies vacation haven still thriving in wake of wildfires

It’s a spectacular drive northward along Highway 441 from the small town of Cherokee on the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Gatlinburg on the Tennessee side. In the lower elevations, the spring wildflowers of mid-March, mostly trillium, pop from the ground offering bits of color that soon disappear the higher you climb toward...

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Nearly 80 hikers rescued from Phoenix trails so far in 2017

Phoenix, AZ police, fire and parks officials met at Piestewa Peak this week to promote hiker safety. Seventy-seven hikers have been rescued from Phoenix trails this year through March 20. Last year, there were 279 rescues within Phoenix. Fire Capt. Jake Van Hook said calls for rescue have steadily increased over the past five years. “We train together, we work...

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Dartmouth College Sells Parcel Of Land To Be Added To Appalachian Trail

Dartmouth College and The Trust for Public Land entered into a land deal that promises to protect an old farm estate that offers birding and hiking opportunities just 3 miles from Hanover, New Hampshire’s Main Street. Immediately after purchasing the 175-acre Hudson Farm from Dartmouth, the trust gave it away to the National Park Service so that it could be added...

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Scientists made a detailed “roadmap” for meeting the Paris climate goals. It’s eye-opening.

Back in 2015, the world’s governments met in Paris and agreed to keep global warming below 2°C, to avoid the worst risks of a hotter planet. For context, the planet’s warmed ~1°C since the 19th century. One problem with framing the goal this way, though, is that it’s maddeningly abstract. What does staying below 2°C entail? Papers on this topic usually drone on about a...

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Trump’s big new executive order to tear up Obama’s climate policies, explained

This is it. The battle over the future of US climate policy kicked off in earnest today. In a sweeping new executive order, President Trump has ordered his Cabinet to start demolishing a wide array of Obama-era policies on global warming — including emissions rules for power plants, limits on methane leaks, a moratorium on federal coal leasing, and the use of the social...

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Clean energy employs more people than fossil fuels in nearly every U.S. state

Trump’s upcoming executive order meant to boost fossil fuel jobs may end up harming an even bigger job creator — renewable energy. Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1, according to a new Sierra Club analysis of Department of Energy jobs data. And when it comes to coal and gas — two sectors President Donald Trump has promised to...

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Cradle of Forestry 2017 Season Kicks Off April 8

The Cradle of Forestry in America historic site will begin the 2017 season on April 8 with a living history event, “Old Time Plowing and Folkways.” David and Diane Burnette from Haywood County will demonstrate how their Percheron draft horses work the land the old way. Weather permitting, they will plow the Cradle’s vegetable garden along the Biltmore...

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The top hiking spots in New Jersey

There’s nothing like the feeling of being outside with just a pair of hiking shoes and a backpack. You’re away from technology, out in the fresh air.” There’s this sense of adventure. You’re exploring sights you haven’t seen before. Dawn McClennen, 47, of Middlesex County, has been hiking for a little more than 20 years. She is the...

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Little White Oak Mountain: A Collaborative WNC Conservation Venture

The scenic ridgeline and south facing slopes of Little White Oak Mountain, slated as the site for a 687-unit residential development north of the Town of Columbus, NC known as the Foster Creek Preserve in the mid-2000s, will now be permanently protected thanks to the cooperative action of local organizations. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), working closely...

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Franklin Trail Days welcomes A.T. hikers

Franklin Trail Days is here for 2017 in Macon County, North Carolina with a lineup of activities on tap to rejuvenate tired Appalachian Trail thru-hikers and entertain local trail enthusiasts. • The First Baptist Church of Franklin is offering its annual free hiker breakfast seven days per week through April 9. All-you-can-eat pancakes and bacon are on the menu with van...

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Hiker on journey to set Appalachian Trail record, promote inspiration

Hikers are making their way along the Appalachian Trail in Western North Carolina right now. But one of them is trying to set a special record. The oldest thru-hiker on the AT was 81. Dale Sanders, who will turn 82 at the half way point of his 2,200-mile trek from Georgia to Maine, hopes to capture the title for oldest thru-hiker when he finishes later this year. During...

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Earliest Spring Wildflowers at Little Bradley Falls – A Photo Essay

Some of the earliest wildflowers of the new season can be found on the Green River Game Lands near the North and South Carolina border. The elevation isn’t quite as high here as it is in most of the mountains of WNC, so the flowers get a little bit of a head start. Look for chickweed, rue anenome, wake robin trillium, blue and Canadian violets, robins plantain and...

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California just put serious limits on methane leaks

The California Air Resources Board voted unanimously on Thursday to enact regulations that will curb the amount of methane the oil and gas industry can leak and vent during production and storage. The new rule — years in the making — requires oil and gas companies to monitor infrastructure and repair leaks. It is a massive step forward for California’s air quality...

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New Mexico has sold 4 million acres of land to oil companies and development

  A Wilderness Society report finds that in a little over a century of statehood, New Mexico has liquidated about 30 percent of the land originally granted to it—nearly 4 million acres—and sold it to cattle ranchers, oil and gas companies, railroads and other development interests. The report underscores again why we should be skeptical of politicians’...

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Cougars confirmed in Tennessee

At least nine cougar sightings have been confirmed. Tennesee Wildlife Resources Agency said they will be monitoring the natural expansion of the cougar. All of the confirmed sightings listed are in Middle or West Tennessee. There are several possible reports in East Tennessee, but none confirmed by the TWRA. Zoo Knoxville Director of Animal Care Phil Colclough said it...

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Forest Service seeks input on trail maintenance priorities

The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region is inviting the public to help identify trails that will be part of an effort with partners and volunteers to increase the pace of trail maintenance. Nationwide, the Forest Service will select nine to 15 priority areas among its nine regions where a backlog in trail maintenance contributed to reduced access, potential harm...

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Guide to Hiking Shoes Infographic

Here are a few reasons why hiking shoes have more advantages over boots. Shoes are lighter and feel more comfortable than full boots. Because of additional weight, boots can lead to quicker fatigue. Next, shoes are preferred in hot weather. They cover less of your foot area. Moreover, many hiking shoes have mesh uppers thereby letting your feet breathe. There’s a...

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Labor of love in the wilderness

Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians who frequent the forests and mountain trails outside of Albuquerque and Santa Fe perform a vital role as guardians of these recreational areas. Each year, groups from local clubs put in thousands of volunteer hours to keep the trails clear of vegetation, repair weather- and fire-caused damage or create new routes to enhance the...

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Trump’s Wall Meets Texas’s Biggest National Park

Will political expediency doom one of the Lone Star State’s most beautiful natural wonders? In West Texas, high in the Chinati Mountains — yes, there are mountains in Texas — it is hard to imagine a giant wall smack dab in the middle of this fantastic view. But there it is, in the thick of rugged desert beauty few Americans trek out to see: a gigantic, imaginary line,...

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Driven by heat and high winds, wildfires are 10 times worse so far this year than average

Wildfire season, or the period between spring and late fall when dry weather, heat, and ignition sources make wildfires more likely, is already off to a devastating start, with fires already burning through a combined 2 million acres across the country — ten times the average for mid-March. Record-high temperatures combined with low humidity and high wind have created...

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International Day of Forests: 21 March

This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of woodlands and trees, and celebrate the ways in which they sustain and protect us. This year we highlight the importance of wood energy in improving people’s lives, powering sustainable development and mitigating climate change. Wood is a major renewable...

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Free guided hiking program returns across North Carolina

Blue Cross and North Carolina State Parks have announced the return of Hike NC, a free hiking program that makes it easy to hike and enjoy nature. As part of BCBSNC’s mission to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians, they have partnered with the North Carolina State Parks system and others to offer Hike NC: dozens of guided hikes ready to be explored and...

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Bison Reintroduced to Banff National Park for First Time in 140 Years

Immense herds of up to 30 million bison once thundered across the plains of North America. Like their American brethren, overhunted Canadian plains bison came dangerously close to extinction in the late 1800s. In an effort to reverse the damage, Parks Canada on February 1, 2017 successfully restored 16 healthy bison—transporting them the 280 miles from Elk Island...

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Connecting the 367-mile ‘unfinished gem’ of the Oregon Coast

Few pathways conjure up more conflicting emotions than the Oregon Coast Trail. One moment you’re hiking to the top of a rocky headland and looking upon a vast sweep of ocean. The next you’re risking life and limb on the shoulder of Highway 101 as cars and trucks scream past a few feet away. The 367-mile trail, which stretches from the California state line to Astoria,...

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Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) seeks volunteer Ridgerunners

The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) created a McAfee Knob Task Force in the Spring of 2015 to focus on resource protection and management challenges around the region’s most beloved and iconic A.T. landmark, McAfee Knob. Rapidly increasing visitation, 76,000 people in 2016, has led to an increase in avoidable environmental impacts like litter, graffiti, trail...

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Volunteers needed for hiking trails near Fort Leavenworth

Partnering with the city of Leavenworth Parks and Recreation Department, a nonprofit organization is helping to provide a new mission for military veterans transitioning back into civilian life. Military veterans are invited to join forces with community members in cleaning and creating trails and camp sites in Leavenworth, Kansas. The trail creation and restoration work...

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Grant Will Help Friends of the Desert Mountains Upgrade Hiking Trails

Blooming desert wildflowers served as the perfect backdrop for Friends of the Desert Mountains to receive the $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. Each year more than 20,000 valley residents and visitors enjoy the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center, off Highway 74, and hiking...

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Exploring new heights trekking in India

With the mighty Himalayas and several other locations throughout the country offering trekking choices, India makes for an ideal destination for adventure lovers. Starting from short day trips to longer duration intensive routes, people of various fitness levels can find suitable options. Star gazing, pilgrimage and expeditions to see flowers in bloom are among many of...

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Tompkins Conservation Donates Huge National Parks to Chile

Tompkins Conservation signed an agreement with Chile’s government to donate 1 million acres for new national parks in the largest private donation of its kind for the South American nation. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed the deal with Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the widow of American conservationist Doug Tompkins, who built a legacy protecting...

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Hiker set to finish all Smokies trails in record time

Maybe it’s the beard. “I really enjoy having my beard full of ice,” Benny Braden, 44, said on coming out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after another long hike. “It was that way today – just getting covered head to toe in ice.” Braden, from Harriman, TN has been in the park a lot since Jan. 1. He’s on his way to setting a record March 18th for hiking all of...

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