Great Smoky Mountains National Park To Mark 80th Anniversary Of Civilian Conservation Corps

Saturday, September 14 at Great Smoky Mountains National Park a look back at the Civilian Conservation Corps is planned for the 80th anniversary of the workers’ program. The day’s events will take place in and around the Sugarlands Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All the activities are free to the public. The activities will include an interpretive...

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Family-friendly hiking trails in Maryland

It was pretty much a given that Joe Vogelpohl’s kids would love hiking. As a ranger at Patapsco Valley State Park, Vogelpohl spends most of his days on trails and often takes his children, Isaac, 4, and Cecelia, 1, along on weekends. Cecilia is usually strapped to Vogelpohl’s back, while Isaac can hike four miles, walking most of the way and being carried...

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Bridges & Structures for Trails: A Tribute to Carroll Vogel

If, as trailbuilders and advocates, we believe that trails form a critical piece of our green infrastructure, an essential component in the fabric of American life, then suspension bridges make a unique contribution to that fabric and infrastructure. They carry us over rivers, valleys and through treetops. They link together important destinations and communities. They...

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Fall is prime time to view new stretch of Superior Hiking Trail

Working alongside geologists and ecologists to complete the last two segments of the Superior Hiking Trail taught volunteer Leon Pitzen to see the 296-mile-long footpath along the North Shore ridgeline in a new light. “Most people come up and run from one vista to the next,” said Pitzen, a former St. Cloud resident who retired to Two Harbors. He’s learned to appreciate...

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Reed “Sunshine” Gjonnes youngest to complete hiking’s Triple Crown

Reed “Sunshine” Gjonnes has successfully completed the Continental Divide Trail. Following her completion of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011 and the Appalachian Trail in 2012, Gjonnes (age 13) is now the youngest hiker to complete the Triple Crown of hiking. Look here for more information as it becomes available. Update 09/19/2013: Gjonnes, 13, hiking with...

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Chest-Compression-Only CPR

Because of the sometimes extreme exertion involved with hiking, it is very possible for your companion or another hiker to go into sudden cardiac arrest. Researchers at the University of Arizona have found that chances for recovery improved with chest-compression-only CPR techniques vs. traditional mouth-to-mouth methods. You owe it to yourself, and your friends and...

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Switzerland: Graubünden’s walking trail of epic scenery and enduring art

Swiss hiking trails often lead you into and over colossal mountains, out of the tree line, up towards snowy peaks, but a newly created route in the spectacular Graubünden region sticks close to the tumbling river Flem, travelling through sedate valleys and wooden ravines as well as Alpine pastures. In addition, seven impressive and elegant footbridges over the river have...

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PAC kicks off fall hiking series Sept. 20 in WNC

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for five Friday hikes offered this fall, free of charge. Starting Sept. 20, PAC’s first hike will head to the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah District) near Brevard, NC, a 5.4-mile, easy/moderate loop hike around a mountain bog located in a unique, relatively flat, high-elevation valley. On Oct. 4, hikers will head to...

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Muddy Sneakers – The Joy of Learning Outside

The original idea behind Muddy Sneakers came to life out of the imagination and experience of Sandy Schenck, owner of the summer camp Green River Preserve near Brevard, North Carolina. Sandy had witnessed, summer after summer, the invigorating effects of the outdoors on young people, as well as the importance of passed-down stories that define a sense of place, community...

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Bent Creek Experimental Forest

After World War I, when the Forest Service sought to establish an experimental station on a site that represented the diversity of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Bent Creek area of western North Carolina seemed the logical choice. Named for a bend in the creek near the French Broad River, Bent Creek typified the upland hardwood forests that spread across much of...

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Big Glassy Mountain Trail, Carl Sandburg’s Connemara

Carl Sandburg’s wife Lilian discovered the mountain farm named Connemara in the community of Flat Rock, south of Asheville, NC. From 1945, until his death in 1967, the famous American poet, biographer, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author lived and worked on the 264-acre estate. The family then sold the property and donated the contents to the National Park Service...

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Must-See Mileposts on the Blue Ridge Parkway

A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other, a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. Protecting a diversity of plants and animals, the Parkway meanders for 252 miles in North Carolina, providing opportunities for enjoying all that makes...

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We mourn the passing of Andy “Astro” Lyon

Last summer, we were brought to tears by Astro’s inspirational story. We’ve followed the turns of his journey ever since. Artist and PCT community member Kolby Kirk shares with us the news of Andy Lyon’s passing. A journal documenting Andy’s life and travels can be found at Andy’s Big Adventure. R.I.P., Astro. On Friday, August 30th, Andy “Astro” Lyon passed away....

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A Room With a View – Lookout Stations

Picture this: from your front door, the world unfolds around you, mountains and valleys forming an imposing and impressive topography that stretches for miles. Sound tempting? Well you too can wake up to such a view when you rent a U.S. Forest Service fire lookout. America’s lookouts have a rich history deeply tied to our nation’s legacy. Lookout numbers spiked during...

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The Pacific Crest Trail in 60 Days – An Interview with Heather “Anish” Anderson

25 national forests and 7 National Parks, beginning at the Mexico/US border and terminating at the Canadian/US border. From sea level, up 13,000+ feet, down, and up – over and over. Desert, old-growth forests, fissured rocks and snowy meadows. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a magnificent journey, and completing it in entirety is a gorgeous grueling task. Last month,...

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Don’t get caught out by rising river levels, mountain experts warn

Mountain experts are warning walkers heading for the hills in Scotland to think ahead if their route involves a river crossing. The Mountaineering Council of Scotland said as autumn approaches, the risk of flooded burns and rivers is likely to increase, and unwary walkers could get stranded if levels rise. A spokesperson said: “The increased rainfall, especially...

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“Elk Bike Patrol” Pedaling At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Park the rig and ride the bike. That’s the tack being taken in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park this fall to better manage visitors and elk. Thanks to a grant from the Haywood County (North Carolina) Tourism Development Authority to Friends of the Smokies, the Elk Bugle Corps is a more visible presence in Cataloochee Valley this year...

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Hiji waterfall: Trekking through Okinawan national park takes effort, but it’s worth it

Few sensations match being surrounded by falling water — a river splashing around rocks, a waterfall in the distance and small streams trickling down mountainsides. That is the essence of the one-mile hike up to the Hiji waterfall on the northern side of Okinawa, Japan. Hiji is part of a national park and it takes stamina to walk the river valley trail. “We weren’t...

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Help Sought To Clean Up National Forest In Ohio

Volunteers are being sought to assist in the cleanup of an illegal dump site on a national forest in southeast Ohio. Officials with the Wayne National Forest say help is needed to remove more than 400 scrap tires, construction materials and other household waste that has been dumped in the area. The cleanup is scheduled for Sept. 7. The forest service says volunteers...

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Hiking trail opens at Pepacton Reservoir in Delaware County, NY

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Catskill Mountain Club have opened a new hiking trail on property near the Pepacton Reservoir that the city bought in 2010. TThe club established and will maintain the 5.3-mile trail, which includes an outlook with a view of the reservoir. The Department of Environmental Protection, which operates the...

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Diverse group of Nevadans came together to forge a plan for the proposed Pine Forest Range wilderness area

On approach from the desert, the Pine Forest Range looks much like any other arid stretch of tumbled mountains in northwestern Nevada. It’s anything but. Just north of the Black Rock Desert, Pine Forest offers a diverse landscape of rolling slopes of sagebrush, dense stands of aspen and otherworldly clusters of rock formations. There are scenic lakes and reservoirs that...

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Former Oregon Symphony cellist combines hiking with concerts along the Pacific Crest Trail

Performers routinely travel long distances to concerts, but how many can say, “I walked”? Mark Votapek, principal cellist of the Oregon Symphony from 1996 to 1999, can. In 2008, Votapek hiked almost all the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. But he missed his cello. So, this summer he has combined both. The lauded cellist is hoping to complete the entire trail...

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How A Bookworm Broke A Hiking Record

The first conversation Heather Anderson had with a mountain lion was a short one. On the 14th night of her record-breaking hike from Mexico to Canada, when a lion’s face appeared in the beam of her headlamp, Ms. Anderson obeyed her first instinct. She barked. “I just was like ‘Woof! Woof!’ at the top of my lungs, I didn’t even think about it,” she said. The mountain lion...

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Forney Creek Cascade and Andrews Bald, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Most people who head out Clingmans Dome Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are there to climb the half mile to the summit of the 2nd highest mountain in the East. But here at Meanderthals, we aren’t most people. Below Clingmans Dome are trails that explore the ridges and drainage on the south face. Included among those are Forney Creek Cascade, a classic...

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Hike with Sure Footing

Hiking, like any outdoor sport, comes with some inherent risk. Making sure you pack the Ten Essentials, leaving your itinerary with family and friends, and other common sense precautions go a long way toward minimizing that risk so you can just enjoy the wonder of your hiking experience. But accidents, sometimes truly tragic ones, do happen. We’ve all had those...

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Geography in the News: The Long Trail of Tears

There are a few people each summer who seek to follow some of the many famous trails that crisscross the United States in memory of epic journeys of the original travelers. These include the Oregon Trail, the Lewis and Clark route and the Trail of Tears. Many of our ancestors experienced hardships in the settlement of this country, particularly Native Americans. Although...

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Continental Divide trail construction planned

The Leadville Ranger District and Volunteer Outdoor Colorado will build approximately 1 mile of new trail to connect the Continental Divide Trail from Winfield to the Lake Ann Trail. Dates for the project are scheduled Aug. 30-Sept. 1, Sept. 6-8, Sept. 13-15 and Sept. 20-22. The new trail that is being constructed is located in designated wilderness but the campsite for...

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Three North Carolina Mountains to Hike in the Fall

Autumn is a spectacle no matter where it happens. The northeast has its own dramatic display of fall colors, as does the Midwest, and the Rockies as well. But in the Southeast, particularly in mid- to late October, North Carolina offers hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds some of the most rewarding mountaintop views in the country. With all 10 of the country’s...

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Building a Trail from Scratch

Arnold “Skip” Sheldon has volunteered since 1992 to work with a trail maintenance crew along the Appalachian Trail. He’s been a crew leader for the past five years. Describe what’s involved in creating a new section of trail from scratch. Building a new trail falls into three general phases. First you need to lay out the route, which includes deciding how to...

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Special Backcountry Hikes Coming To Mesa Verde National Park This Fall

This fall you have a chance to see some parts of Mesa Verde National Park that aren’t normally accessible to park visitors. But you have to be in shape. Rangers will be leading backcountry hikes to Upper Navajo Canyon, Wetherill Mesa, and Spring House. Mesa Verde National Park offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their...

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A beginner’s glossary to hiking and camping

That pile of rocks and gravel on a mountainside? There’s a word for that. Wilderness travel takes more than a pair of strong legs; it requires common sense. An ability to read the land and a basic understanding of trail conditions can be the difference between embarking on a hard slog and pure bliss. Learning the lingo is part of the process, saving novices from grief...

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Oregon Trail section damaged by artifact-seekers

Portions of the Oregon Trail in south-central Idaho near Burley have been damaged by people using metal detectors and shovels to illegally search for artifacts, federal officials said. Bureau of Land Management officials said they recently found about 400 holes over several miles of the trail, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and protected...

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