Appalachian National Scenic Trail Reroute through the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceis pleased to announce the release of the Environmental Assessment for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Reroute through the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge. The Service plans to move a portion of the Trail from where it crosses the Wallkill River via Oil City Road in Orange County, New York, and relocate the Trail within the...

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‘Bad things happen in the woods’: the anxiety of hiking while black

A Guardian Profile by Aaron Jones, 32, Chicago A few years ago, a white friend suggested we go on a hike. All the fears I had about being in nature hit me in the face. It’s a very real fear for black people, especially those from urban communities, that bad things happen to black people in the woods, like lynching. It’s something that you see again and again when you...

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Zion National Park Battered By Monsoonal Rains

Monsoonal rains are taking a toll on Zion National Park, where not only roads are being covered and blocked by debris washed down mountainsides but trails are being torn apart. While Riverside Walk has reopened after a potent storm Wednesday, July 11, 2018 brought flooding, mudslides, and rockfalls to the park, cleanup won’t be easy. As of midday Friday, July 13...

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Mossy Cave Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Arriving at Bryce Canyon mid-afternoon, Dave and I headed for the short Mossy Cave Trail to get our feet wet among the majestic hoodoos. This trail actually begins outside the park at the far northern reaches, then enters the park boundary on foot. The trail is a streamside walk up to a mossy overhang and small waterfall. Mossy Cave isn’t a cavern, but is a grotto,...

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Here’s What It Takes to Hike the John Muir Trail

  A survey of backpackers’ tactics on the 220-mile high-country route offers insights on what works and what doesn’t. A new paper in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine takes a look at this. Over the last few years, a retired San Francisco lawyer has run an annual online survey of people who hike the John Muir Trail, a famous route...

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Mysterious source of illegal ozone-killing emissions revealed, say investigators

  A mysterious surge in emissions of an illegal ozone-destroying chemical has been tracked down to plastic foam manufacturers in China. The chemical, trichlorofluoromethane or CFC-11, has been banned around the world since 2010 and is a potent destroyer of ozone, which protects life on Earth from UV radiation, and strong greenhouse gas. A shock rise in the gas...

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Safety Concerns Lead To Emergency Closure Near Jenny Lake In Grand Teton National Park

  A highly popular area near Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming has been closed to the public for the immediate future due to concerns over expanding cracks and fissures in a large rock formation, park officials said Tuesday evening. The National Park Service implemented an emergency closure in the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas on the...

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Weed Patch Mountain Trail, Town of Lake Lure

The new Weed Patch Mountain Trail offers exciting backcountry adventures for hikers, mountain bikers, and rock climbers. The 8.6 mile trail traverses rugged mountain terrain through a remote wilderness area in the Town of Lake Lure’s Buffalo Creek Park. Along the way, you’ll find yourself at rock outcrops with spectacular long range views, as well as pristine mountain...

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Off the beaten path: Alarka Institute leads quest for rare mountain flower

For even the most woods-savvy of plant lovers, a blooming mountain camellia is a rare to non-existent sight. A member of the tea family, it’s picky about its habitat, easily susceptible to drought and fire, and reticent to reproduce. All that adds up to a tenuous existence in scattered, isolated populations through the Southern Appalachians. To find a mountain camellia,...

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Overlooked No More: Emma Gatewood, First Woman to Conquer the Appalachian Trail Alone

What the public knew about Emma Gatewood was already remarkable. She was the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail by herself in one season. She was 67 years old, a mother of 11, a grandmother and even a great-grandmother when she accomplished the feat in 1955. And she personified the concept of low-tech, ultralight hiking, spurning a tent and sleeping bag,...

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Hike: The Yosemite few people see

Nature has endowed California’s Tuolumne County with such splendor, it almost doesn’t seem fair. That these riches are so easily accessed by hiking trails makes us all the luckier. Before the reservoir was formed by O’Shaughnessy Dam at Yosemite National Park, Hetch Hetchy was a glacier-carved, granite-walled valley complete with a mighty river and waterfalls...

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Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Medicine Bow National Forest – A Photo Essay

The Snowy Range Scenic Byway crosses the Medicine Bow Mountain Range and includes nearly 30 miles of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest portion of Wyoming Highway 130. It passes between the towns of Centennial and Saratoga, but it’s what is in between that is spectacular. Originally a wagon road built in the 1870s, the road was paved in the 1930s and designated...

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Bumble Bee Watch

With the news this week that bumble bees have been added to the endangered species list, you may be asking yourself what you can do to help. Enter Bumble Bee Watch, a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. This citizen science project allows for individuals to: Upload photos of bumble bees to start a virtual bumble bee collection;...

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We’ve entered the era of ‘fire tsunamis’

Life in the Rocky Mountains is frequently extreme as blizzards, baking sun, and fires alternate with the seasons. But fire tsunamis? Those aren’t normal. On July 5, 2018,, one observer described a “tsunami” of flames overnight at the Spring Creek fire near La Veta in the south-central part of the state. And you can’t stop tsunamis. “It was a perfect firestorm,” Ben...

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Devils Tower National Monument – A Photo Essay

Devils Tower, an important landmark for Plains Indians tribes long before the white man reached Wyoming, was called Mateo Tepee or Grizzly Bear Lodge by the Sioux. A number of legends describe the origin of Devils Tower. “One legend tells of seven little girls being chased onto a low rock to escape attacking bears. Their prayers for help were heeded as the rock...

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Sacred Native American Sites Are Not Your Playgrounds

Deep in the Grand Canyon, on land that Havasupai Native Americans have called home for generations, is a place known as Beaver Falls. It’s an unimaginative name for an otherworldly landscape, where turquoise water tumbles over a series of terraces gouged into red desert walls. To legally reach the falls, you have to pay the Havasupai $140, hike ten miles to the tribe’s...

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The State of the Nation’s Forests

Forests are constantly changing with weather, disturbance, and conversion to other land uses, but how do we know if year-to-year changes are just a one-off or part of a larger shift? Annual summaries of forest health are key to our understanding, say the editors and authors that produced Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends, and Analysis 2017. Scientists...

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Swiss Re limits thermal coal coverage

Swiss Re Ltd. will not provide insurance or reinsurance to businesses with more than 30% thermal coal exposure. The Zurich-based reinsurer has started implementation of its thermal coal policy, adopted as part of Swiss Re’s “strong commitment” to adopt the principles of the Paris climate agreement, which reaffirmed a goal of limiting the global temperature increase below...

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Castle Trail and Medicine Root Loop, Badlands National Park

The Castle Trail is the longest in Badlands National Park, but can be broken up with three distinct trailheads. Medicine Root connects with Castle Trail at Saddle Pass and Old Northeast Road creating a loop of about five miles. The terrain is mixed grass prairie and arroyo, with views of the Badlands pinnacles throughout. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. It is...

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Deepwater Horizon disaster altered building blocks of ocean life

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster may have had a lasting impact upon even the smallest organisms in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have found – amid warnings that the oceans around America are also under fresh assault as a result of environmental policies under Donald Trump. Lingering oil residues have altered the basic building blocks of life in the ocean by...

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Cultural hiking in Italy: Tuscany trekking from Florence to Siena

Of all the various modes of travel, by foot is the most intimate and also the most natural. Hiking allows you an often overlooked and underrated relationship with your surroundings. Walking forces you to interact, take your time, and truly inhale the world around. Nowhere else on the globe are these intangible benefits more celebrated than the famed Italian countryside...

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Bumblebee Has Officially Been Added To The Ever-Growing List Of Endangered Species

It’s official, the bumblebee has been added to the ever-growing list of endangered species along with the grizzly bear, the northern spotted owl, the gray wolf, and about 700 other animal species which are extinct. Once abundant in the grasslands and prairies of the East and Midwest, the rusty-patched bee has now been restricted to protections in the continental US...

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Private Investment Will Jump Start Rural Economy

Ringed by miles of abandoned coal mines, the Wayne National Forest is surrounded by some of the most economically distressed communities in southern Ohio. A unique partnership with private investors, local leaders, a university, and nonprofit partners is helping to change that. The Forest Service is working with the National Forest Foundation and Quantified Ventures to...

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Flood Damage Repair at Linville Falls

At the request of the Blue Ridge Parkway Maintenance out of Gillespie Gap, the Crabtree Falls FRIENDS of the BRP Chapter and the NC High Peaks Trail Association assisted in the cleanup of flood damage at Linville Falls on Monday, June 25, 2018. Eleven members and friends of the chapter worked on this project. The team had two goals: Remove flood debris from the upper...

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Hell Canyon Trail, Black Hills National Forest

I think of the Hell Canyon Trail in Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota as two hikes. There’s the stroll through the canyon with lush trees and bushes and a wide assortment of colorful wildflowers. Then, there’s the path along the canyon rim that exposes the devastation of the 2000 Jasper Fire, the largest in Black Hills history. The undergrowth is...

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Husky saves deaf hiker, and dozens of others, on Alaskan trail

This rescue dog is making it his life’s work to rescue others. Nanook, an Alaskan husky, has been known to scout the trailhead of the 24-mile long Crow Pass Trail, about half a mile from Girdwood, Alaska, looking for hikers to assist on their journey. Nanook’s heroics were on full display when he rescued deaf Rochester Institute of Technology student Amelia Milling. She...

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How to Prepare for Your First Backpacking Trip

The thought of backpacking in the outdoors can be scary for some people. The idea of carrying everything you need from water to toilet paper on your back for an extended period of time can be challenging for some to overcome. Especially knowing you have to carry that weight for miles at a time. Say you wanted to go backpacking but had never actually done anything longer...

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How to Prevent and Treat Hiking Blisters

For hikers and backpackers having happy feet means happy trails. There’s nothing worse than painful hiking blisters that get worse with each step and seriously keep you from enjoying your time in the outdoors. The good news is that these annoying injuries can be remedied, but you’re even better off learning how to prevent hiking blisters in the first place. A blister is...

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Climate change is making it harder to revive damaged land

Carianne Campbell remembers the exact moment she fell in love with the Sonoran Desert. As a botany major in college, she joined a class field trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the southern border of Arizona, arriving and setting up camp in the dark. Emerging from her tent the next morning, Campbell, who grew up on the East Coast, caught her first glimpse of...

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20 Mining Claims Have Been Staked On Land Trump Cut From Monument Protection

At least 20 new mining claims totaling about 460 acres have been staked on land President Donald Trump removed from national monument protection late last year. The claims indicate there is interest in extracting minerals from lands that until recently were off limits to such development. Trump signed a pair of proclamations late last year reducing the size of the...

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8 Things to Know Before You Hike the Appalachian Trail

Stretching more than 2,190 miles across 14 different states, the Appalachian Trail may be the best long-distance hiking route in the entire world. Each year, 3 million people trek at least a portion of the trail, with just a fraction of those walking its entire length. Those “thru-hikers” learn a lot during early days of their journey, and most will tell you...

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How to Escape a Wildfire When You’re Hiking

On Labor Day weekend 2017, Oregon’s backcountry ignited, the night sky glowing red from flames. Peter Ames Carlin, his wife, and their three children were among 176 hikers who were surrounded by a wildfire on the Eagle Creek Trail, a short jaunt from Portland in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (NSA). As the blaze blocked a safe exit to the north, to the...

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