Manhunt for armed, dangerous suspect shuts down part of Pisgah National Forest

Law enforcement shut down access to part of Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC on July 23, 2017 during a manhunt for a dangerous suspect. Phillip Michael Stroupe II, 38, of Weaverville, NC is considered armed and dangerous by authorities. He has outstanding warrants in Buncombe County for kidnapping and has pending charges in Yancey County, according to the...

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Hiking is growing more popular, and Oklahoma offers plenty of trails

Fall hiking in the Ouachita National Forest in southeast Oklahoma is a well-loved tradition. “The scenic drive is beautiful, and the mountains make you seriously question if you are still in Oklahoma.” Newcomers might make the assumption that Oklahoma’s landscape is dry, flat and uninteresting. But Oklahoma natives and seasoned transplants know it offers diverse...

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Vail Pass to Uneva Ridge, Eagles Nest Wilderness

This marvelous example of Rocky Mountain vistas starts, oddly enough, directly beside Interstate-70 at Colorado’s 10,585′ Vail Pass. The trail winds through forest and meadow, then climbs steeply above treeline to Uneva Ridge, 1,500 feet above. Along the way you will enjoy breathtaking views of four distinct mountain ranges as you pass into Eagles Nest...

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Whistleblower Case Shows How Trump Tries to Silence Environmental and Climate Science

For the first time since the Trump administration came to office and began dismantling the key science underpinnings of federal climate policy, a senior agency official has invoked the protections of the whistleblower law to publicly object to what he calls an illegal attempt to intimidate him. The official, Joel Clement, had been the director of the Office of Policy...

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Planning a visit to Zion National Park? You might need to RSVP first

This would be a first for a U.S. national park: requiring reservations to get in. But it’s an option that Zion National Park is considering to manage an overwhelming surge of visitors to its sweeping red-rock vistas and canyons in Utah. Zion, which welcomed 4.3 million people last year, is weighing online reservations for those who want to explore its main canyon....

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Hate Hiking on Crowded Trails? You’ll Likely Have This Uninhabited Island of Ancient Cedars To Yourself

Some people hike to get away from the rest of humanity. There’s nothing worse for them than climbing up to a waterfall to discover a gaggle of people posing for selfies, and if there are more than three cars at the trailhead, they start grousing that their pristine woodland is basically a shopping mall. For them, there will always be the ancient cedars of Long...

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Rocky Mountain Summer at Hagerman Pass – A Photo Essay

Highway 4, west out of Leadville, CO offers a driving adventure that takes you past lakes, among a various assortment of summer wildflowers, and over a high mountain pass that tops out just short of 12,000 feet. I needed the drive rather than hiking the first day after recovering from a newly discovered adult-onset allergy to cashew nuts. The annual visit with my brother...

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Jennifer Pharr Davis to start Mountains to Sea Trail Trek August 15, 2017

Follow the adventures of Jennifer Pharr Davis on her three-month, 1,175-mile hike of North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Although Jennifer is most famous for setting hiking speed records, her goal this time is different. She is undertaking this journey on the MST’s 40th anniversary to “encourage a love of the outdoors and help people experience...

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Join Park Rangers for Smokies Service Days

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are excited to announce a new opportunity for the public to participate in service projects across the park. Park staff have coordinated ten Smokies Service Days on Saturdays beginning July 22, 2017 through October 28. Individuals and groups are invited to sign up for any of the scheduled service projects that interest them...

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Mountain Valley Pipeline: An Unnecessary Threat to the Appalachian Trail

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, spearheaded by EQT Corporation, is proposed to carry fracked natural gas for over 300 miles through the Virginia and West Virginia countryside, crossing over dozens of water sources, through protected areas and breaching the A.T. corridor. The pipeline will run parallel to the Appalachian Trail for over 90 miles and carve ugly gashes in the...

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For Exercise, Nothing Like the Great Outdoors

Long walks can improve moods and reduce anxiety, but the benefits may be greatest if the walks take place outdoors rather than in a gym, according to a new study by researchers in Austria. And while the Alps may be a particularly fine place to hike, a vigorous walk in the woods or paths near home may provide the mental boost we need to keep us moving. We all know, by...

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Scotland’s rocky road: a journey to the edge of Lewis

The road to west Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, starting with the A858 in Carloway and passing near the standing stones at Calanais, is probably the longest dead-end in Britain. As it runs into the B8011, and its unclassified extension, plus side turns, it snakes across rocky moors, past scenic sea lochs and on to wonderful white-sand beaches. There’s a...

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The Pacific Crest Trail’s shadow hikers

Against the backdrop of a desert sunrise, two human silhouettes exchange double high-fives. By 8 a.m., a bouncing crowd of a couple dozen has gathered around a group of wooden columns emblazoned with the crest of the Pacific Crest Trail — the monument that marks the start of the 2,650-mile path. These are “thru-hikers,” people who intend to hike from the fence on the...

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NC Wildlife Success Story: American River Otter

Even as one of the most widely distributed mammals currently in the United States, the American river otter (Lutra canadensis lataxina) is an exciting sight for fishermen, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts. With a playful nature (often times seen treading water to take in surroundings, or sliding down mud banks) partnered with the otter’s extreme curiosity, the...

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The Best Secret Spots in America’s National Parks

Each one of America’s 59 national parks has its well-known, must-see stops – for example, you probably aren’t going to hit Yellowstone without swinging by Old Faithful. While those sites became musts for a reason, they also have their drawbacks in the form of insane tourist traffic (and, sometimes, insane tourists) and not a whole lot of tranquility. And yet,...

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Lighten Your Pack with These 20 Ultralight Equivalents

If you’re new to the world of ultralight backpacking, baseweight numbers in the 5-10 lb range can sound like a hoax. These guys had to be skimping on essential gear somewhere to get their packs so light, right? Turns out after years of research, it is possible to have an ultralight pack with the same basic functionality and safety features as a traditional pack....

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The Army Veteran Who Became the First to Hike the Entire Appalachian Trail

      Carry as little as possible,” Earl Shaffer said. “But choose that little with care.” Shaffer was a World War II veteran, who, in 1948, became the first person to walk the entire Appalachian Trail. He was so picky about gear that he ditched his own cumbersome tent, sleeping in a poncho for months instead. He was particularly enamored of his Russell...

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Meet the woman who designs Colorado’s highest trails

What do you see when you look at a trail? Dirt and rocks? A line sketched across the landscape by 100,000 footsteps? The adventure of some not-yet-visible lake or summit or cirque? Master Forest Service trail designer Loretta McEllhiney sees those things, too. But she also believes that a good trail is about controlling two unstoppable forces: People flowing up a...

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Pack it in, pack it out

Summer is the peak time for hiking all across the country. Not co­incidentally it also is the peak time for littering along trails. Hiking has always been a popular pastime in a country rich with majestic forests, breathtaking views and well-maintained trails to suit just about any taste and fitness level. But in recent years use of them has soared for a number of...

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Climate change threatens uninhabitable conditions for the Middle East and North Africa

Climate change means colder winters, heavy rains and lots of environmental hazards for many people. But for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), climate change means uninhabitable weather conditions, forced migration and loss of traditional income. It is a real threat that might make the region uninhabitable. The MENA region is considered the world’s driest: it is...

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How biologists are working to keep the Great Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle off the endangered species list

Among exotic bugs facing mortal threats, few appear better set to survive than the Great Sand Dunes tiger beetle, an aggressive carnivore uniquely adapted to endure super-intense heat and some of the planet’s harshest scouring sand. Its habitat within the wilderness of Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve already is protected from motorized...

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The Rule of 200 Feet and Other Campsite Tips

You’ve hiked all day and you’re ready to create a pop-up home for the night. Maybe you have the perfect backcountry campsite in mind. Maybe not. Maybe it’s already been snagged by other hikers. If you have to set up camp at the end of a day on trail, do you know what you’re looking for? How well do you know your Leave No Trace principles? Try to...

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Lycian Way: Hike through the best trekking route in Turkey

The Lycians built scads of city-states on the coast of the Mediterranean and formed the Lycian League to compete with other naval powers at the time. They were conquered by Alexander the Great and got Hellenized, much like everywhere else in between Athens and India. The Lycian Greeks governed themselves democratically, grew lots of olives, minted coins, and built a lot...

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World Unites Against Trump on Climate

At the conclusion of this year’s contentious G-20 summit, the countries released a communique on climate that placed Donald Trump starkly at odds with every other nation present. The communique noted that every country aside from the U.S. recognizes that the Paris agreement is “irreversible,” reaffirmed their “strong commitment” and will...

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Why Forest Bathing Has Become a Global Health Phenomenon

No, it’s not what it sounds like — forest bathing doesn’t actually involve an exterior physical cleansing. However, it does facilitate a cleansing of the mind and inner body. Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese practice that translates in English to “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” What exactly does that entail, if not a bathtub in the woods? According to...

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66 million trees planted in 12 hours in India

Armed with a variety of garden tools and toting buckets of water, a volunteer army in India planted more than 66 million trees in 12 hours as part of a record-breaking environmental pledge. More than 1.5 million people gathered on July 2, 2017 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to plant saplings along the Narmada River in the state of Madhya Pradesh. State Chief Minister Shivraj...

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Why Hiking Is the Perfect Mind-Body Workout

At first, walking and hiking may sound like two words for the same form of exercise. The footwear and scenery may vary, but the lower-body mechanics seem the same. Surprisingly, though, they’re radically different. Research shows that your joints, heart and muscles perform in distinct ways during a hike compared to what they do during a jaunt around the block. Like...

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More National Parks and Monuments Pushing Fee Increases At Direction Of Interior Secretary

Every week, it seems like another park is asking the public for input on increasing its entrance fees. Turns out, there’s a simple explanation: The Interior Department is telling them to. And at one park, Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, that means implementing two rate increases, ultimately doubling the cost of a seven-day vehicle pass, in just 12 months. The...

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A modern journey on the Oregon Trail tells a story of risk and reward

The sun is low over Wyoming’s South Pass, pinkening the western sky that called thousands of pioneers over this 20-mile basin between high, grassy slopes. It’s beautiful and historic, and the aroma of sage pings feelings of adventure. Most of you know it as the Mormon Pioneer Trail. But the images and place names — Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, Soda Springs....

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Interior Secretary Zinke’s latest gift to the oil and gas industry might be illegal

Attorneys general from California and New Mexico filed a lawsuit July 5, 2017 over Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s postponement of the Bureau of Land Management’s methane waste prevention rule. The suit holds that the Interior Department’s failure to implement the rule will cost California taxpayers substantial royalty payments and furthers the Trump...

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