Castle Trail to Saddle Pass, Badlands National Park

Our evening arrival to Badlands National Park coincided with a torrential storm that brought rain, wind and hail to the region. We learned the next morning that the campground was flooded, as was every arroyo in the park. We soon learned that the soft clay of the Badlands terrain does not mix well with lots of rain. Think quicksand — you sink inches with each step...

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Retirees wanted a place to hike, so they built their own trails

When it comes to being young at heart, the residents at Tellico Village are trailblazers. In 2017, a group of residents wanted hiking trails, but the cost would have been too substantial to take on. They decided to build trails themselves. “As retirees, it’s great when you accomplish something like this,” said Jim Lilley, a resident and athletics...

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Tower of Trash

Our planet has a population of over 7.5 billion people and as a result we dump a massive 2.12 billion tons of waste per year. This is partly because 99% of the stuff we buy gets thrown out within 6 months of purchasing – this isn’t including food, human, electronic and medical waste either. This waste ends up in a variety of different locations; landfill sites,...

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In Chile, a Gorgeous, Very Rainy and Sometimes Lonely Journey

The “Route of Parks” should be emblazoned in your mind: “Road trip!” Technically, the “route” is a rebranding of a portion of Chile’s epic Southern Highway, or Carretera Austral, which stretches from the industrial city of Puerto Montt in the north to the skinny tip of the country in the south. As part of that, this January, the Chilean government signed an...

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Cradle of Forestry Invites All Ages to Pink Beds BioBlitz

The Cradle of Forestry in America invites nature enthusiasts of all ages and knowledge levels to the Pink Beds BioBlitz on Saturday, June 16, 2018. Be a citizen scientist with naturalists and forest scientists to discover the diversity of life in this special part of Pisgah National Forest, and add to knowledge gained about the area. Those who would like to participate...

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See a black bear while hiking? Don’t panic; follow these steps

  It might be easy to think you won’t run into a bear while on a hike – but it can happen, and it’s important to always be prepared. Colorado Parks and Wildlife gave a few tips for what to do if you run into a bear on the trail. If you surprise the bear, you should: stay calm stay still let the bear identify you before leaving the area When leaving the scene,...

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Crane’s Nest Nature Center & Store: Historical Context

The building that currently houses the Crane’s Nest Nature Center & Store at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon was built in the mid-1930s by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, at the same time as many of the other structures at Refuge Headquarters. In fact, most of the historic infrastructure located throughout Malheur Refuge was installed by...

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Why the loss of amphibians matters

Amphibians matter to humans more than we tend to realize. The number of amphibian species around the world has been plummeting at an incredibly rapid rate in recent decades, and this decline poses a serious threat. About 200 species of frogs have vanished since 1980, according to a 2015 study. These extinctions are due to many factors, including herbicides, habitat loss,...

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Recreation is redefining the value of Western public lands

Once, the West’s public lands were valued primarily for the timber, minerals and fossil fuels they held, which were extracted and then sold around the world. In the 1970s, more than two dozen Western counties relied on timber for at least a fifth of their revenue, while energy companies expanded onto public lands for coal and natural gas. Small communities swelled with...

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The water war that will decide the fate of 1 in 8 Americans

Lake Mead is the country’s biggest reservoir of water. Think of it as the savings account for the entire Southwest. Right now, that savings account is nearly overdrawn. For generations, we’ve been using too much of the Colorado River, the 300-foot-wide ribbon of water that carved the Grand Canyon, supplies Lake Mead, and serves as the main water source for much of the...

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Preparation Tips for First-time Plus Size Hikers

You may be overwhelmed before you even start your first hike. You may also be so worried about your physical ability to hike, your stamina, and safety that you are hesitant to even set foot on the trail. There is plenty of advice on the Internet. As a first-time plus size hiker, accept the challenge to get outside and enjoy nature. Don’t wait until you lose that 20...

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Megafires, Wildland Fires, and Prescribed Burns

Healthy forests are important for clean and abundant water supplies. A recent USDA Forest Service study examined how wildland fires, including megafires, and prescribed burns affect river flow. The study is the first nationwide look at fire impacts on surface freshwater resources. Led by Dennis Hallema, research hydrologist and ORISE fellow, the research team analyzed...

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A Truckload of Plastic Enters Our Oceans Every Single Minute—This Has to Stop

Our oceans are facing a plastic pollution crisis. The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters our oceans every single minute, every day, all year long. Not only are plastics entangling and killing marine life, they are ending up on our plates through the seafood we eat and polluting our tap water. More and more people are realizing that this is a crisis we must...

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You’ve Never Seen National Parks Looking Like This Before

The world’s national parks are a unique natural resource. Not only for their biological diversity but also for their beauty and accessibility – many are otherworldly, an environment alien to our everyday but close enough to travel to with relative ease. Every park is different too. So whether you’re looking to explore waterfalls or lakes, jungles or deserts, glaciers or...

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Hikers’ paradise: walking holidays in Dolomites Val Gardena

The beauty of the Dolomites is beguiling. The minute you set eyes on the towering peaks, the stretch of the Alps that looms over north-eastern Italy, you’ll want to get up close to them. Thankfully the mountain range has some of the finest and most accessible alpine walking routes in Europe. The Dolomites Val Gardena region in the southeast of South Tyrol is the place to...

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Clearing a path: It takes a village to keep North Country trail ready

Leaving civilization behind, hikers on the North Country Trail come for the beauty, the views, the solitude and the forests. “It’s the longest, skinniest National Park in the nation being four feet wide and 4,600 miles long, and people from all across the nation come and they especially come to the western U.P. [Michigan] in general to see our trees,” said Connie Julien,...

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Connecticut Hikers, Are You Up To The Challenge Of These 14 Trails?

Along a hill overlooking the Connecticut River in Cromwell, boys once watched sailing ships ply the waters as they passed a blow hole that shot water from a narrow canyon as the tide rose. Pitch pines and moss-covered rocks fill a craggy hilltop with a sheer drop to a pond covered with lilies and a forested view of two states. Welcome to the state Department of Energy...

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New national parks around the world

Southern Chile is famous for Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia but much more of the region’s spectacular landscape is now being made accessible. Donations of vast tracts of wilderness by foundations run by US philanthropists and environmentalists to the Chilean state has led to the creation of national reserves covering 4.45m hectares. 17 national parks and...

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Hiking in Germany: Wandering as a national pastime

Early morning misty clouds wander around the steep, vineyard-covered hills of Germany’s Ahr Valley, enticing hikers to hit the trails to enjoy nature — and maybe some wine. But it’s not just any day to tie up the boots; it’s national Day of Hiking, marking the German Hiking Association’s (DWV) foundation on May 14, 1883. Hiking, or...

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A dose of nature: doctors prescribe a day in the park for anxiety

For many patients, like Lauren Huddle, 31, a big dose of Mother Nature is exactly what she needs after a stressful day. “I have pretty bad anxiety and depression,” said Huddle of Bellingham, Washington. “And I don’t do well with pharmaceuticals, so my husband Nate would actually tell me all the time, ‘just go outside, you’ll feel so much better.’” And...

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Here Are 7 Ways to Be Sustainable — Without Breaking the Bank

When you have everything, it’s really easy to take things for granted. You know, when you can easily afford to buy a new tube of toothpaste, you don’t need to squeeze every last bit of toothpaste out of the tube, and then cut it open to get more of the paste that didn’t squeeze out, just to keep from having to spend money on more toothpaste in that moment. That might...

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Five Reasons to Hike the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was established in 1996, making it the first national tallgrass prairie and the closest federally protected outdoors area to Chicago. It is less than 50 miles from Chicago down Interstate 55. And yet, despite this, many Chicagoans have not heard about it. Illinois used to be covered in tallgrass prairie. This is why it is called the...

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How Trump’s EPA Is Moving to Undo Fracking Wastewater Protections

Back in 2008, residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas received a notice in the mail advising them to drink bottled water instead of tap water—a move that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) internal memos at the time described as “one of the largest failures in U.S. history to supply clean drinking water to the public.” The...

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When planning a hike on an active volcano, safety before spectacle

Peering over the craggy rim of Erta Ale, Ethiopia’s most active volcano, at the lava lake below. Beneath a gassy haze, boiling, ruby-red, molten rock thickened and rose up, swelling like a tidal wave topped off by a fireworks of crashing surf. Earth is made up of blood and guts just like us. Take the opportunity to hike to the 2,011-foot summit of Erta Ale while planning...

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Adopt a hiking trail on National Trails Day 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018 people across the country will come together to collectively improve 2,802 miles of trails across the U.S. The Laurentian Lakes Chapter (LLC) of the North Country Trail invites you to join this nationwide effort by attending a Trail Adopter Day at the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. A light lunch will be served at noon followed by an overview of...

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23 breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage destinations in the U.S. and why you should visit them

Most likely, you have been to a UNESCO World Heritage site in the United States without knowing it. Remember that Griswoldian summer vacation to the Grand Canyon? The high school field trip to Independence Hall in Philadelphia? The college tour of the University of Virginia? Congratulations! That’s three in your pocket. But don’t stop now. You can collect all 23,...

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Best of the burden: Smokies mules make backcountry operations possible

In popular culture mules get a bad rap, cast as stubborn, ornery and even mischievous. But Danny Gibson, animal packer for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, spends more time with mules than just about anybody around, and he’s quick to jump to their defense. “They have that notorious reputation of being stubborn, but they’re not really stubborn — they just don’t...

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Blue Ridge Parkway traffic in Asheville area will slow for ‘pavement preservation’

The sweet hum of spring and summer on the Blue Ridge Parkway will be slightly stifled with slower traffic and single-lane closures as a major repaving project gets underway. The road work is in an effort to upgrade the more than 80-year-old scenic motor road and keep it from crumbling under the weight of 16.1 million visitors a year. The National Park Service is...

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Friends Helping Friends – Invasive Weed Removal

Friends of Roan Mountain have a great opportunity to assist the Roan Mountain State Park. Japanese Knot Weed Removal on June 2, 2018 This event is part of a new partnership with RMSP with a commitment of service to the park. This is where you get to be an active part of the relationship. Join in on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at the Park to assist in the removal of the...

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Someone, somewhere, is making a banned chemical that destroys the ozone layer, scientists suspect

Emissions of a banned, ozone-depleting chemical are on the rise, a group of scientists reported, suggesting someone may be secretly manufacturing the pollutant in violation of an international accord. Emissions of CFC-11 have climbed 25 percent since 2012, despite the chemical being part of a group of ozone pollutants that were phased out under the 1987 Montreal...

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This could be the biggest advance in aluminum production in 130 years

Apple, the largest publicly traded company in the world, joined a major collaboration last week that could change how it gets one of the key components that makes its ubiquitous gadgets look so sleek: aluminum. And it is looking as though, simply by seeking out a greener component for iPhones and Macs, the tech giant just might push an entire industry in a new direction....

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Are electric cars worse for the environment?

  If you believe the headlines, traditional automobiles are speeding toward a dead end. All those V8s, V6s and turbocharged vehicles we’ve grown to love will soon be replaced by squadrons of clean, whisper-quiet, all-electric vehicles. And if you believe the headlines, the environment will be much better off. Policymakers at every level have done their part to...

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