The Badlands: The national park’s terrain offers otherworldly experience

Where much of the drive to the Badlands is filled with billboards for kitschy tourist attractions, from the corny Corn Palace to the 1880 Town, the Badlands feel like they haven’t been spoiled by human hands. Rather, they’ve been shaped by years of geological events. Ebbing and flowing of waters and harsh winds have created these towers, ridges and pinnacles...

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Hiking Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail

For an hour we stared at Mount Rainier. Four tired hikers at the end of a long day, settling in at Klapatche Park with our freeze-dried dinners, and watching nature’s version of television. First, Mount Rainier spun a lenticular cloud and donned it like a hat. Then, slowly, the entire scene turned orange before the alpenglow faded to black. The Wonderland Trail in Mount...

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Will ‘Commoners’ Insist on Open Access to Yosemite?

The earliest efforts to preserve Yosemite and California’s other natural treasures were based on the noble idea that people need to spend more time enjoying nature and that we should all form a deeper connection with the mountains and forests. These days, many who champion environmental causes often want to keep out human beings, who they view mainly as despoilers. This...

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Hikers celebrate Margaret Stevenson’s 101st birthday with special hike to Mt. LeConte

The sun shone on high spirits at the top of Mt. LeConte in Great Smoky Mountains National Park as 68 hikers gathered at LeConte Lodge on July 17 to celebrate what would have been Margaret Stevenson’s 101st birthday. Margaret, one of the legendary figures of Mt. LeConte, hiked to Mt. LeConte 718 times, and was the first woman to complete all 900 miles of trails within the...

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Cooperative cajoling on the trail

Written by Jennifer Borch As I sat in the local pizza joint in Gorham, New Hampshire, contemplatively chewing the “house special,” Maple and Bacon pizza, I wondered aloud what I should write about this month. My daughter rolled her eyes and said, “Why don’t you write about how we ALWAYS humor you by going hiking?” I made a concerted effort not to roll my eyes back....

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Shi Shi: Hike to a pristine Washington beach

First there’s a drive through windy seaside and tree-lined roads. Then there’s a peek at the farthest northwest point in the lower 48 states. Finally, after a 2-mile hike along a wilderness trail with a descent down a 150-foot bluff, the reward is one of the most pristine spots on the coastline of Olympic National Park: Shi Shi Beach. Curved conifers stand...

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Trekking in Tasmania is a wet and wild adventure

As appealing as it may sound to get away from the over-connected predictabilities of 21st century life and travel to a place such as Tasmania, the downside is that, at times, unpredictability can feel a lot like misery. Indeed, one moment you’ll be hiking through a tangle of snow peppermints on a sunshine-dappled ridge, glacial lakes glittering beneath you,...

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First aid for snakebite could come in a nasal spray, researcher says

Treating a paralyzing snakebite could one day be as easy as sniffing a nasal spray, according to a California researcher who hopes to curb bite-related deaths that claim as many as 125,000 people worldwide each year. Dr. Matt Lewin, an expedition medicine expert with the University of California, San Francisco, says he has hit on a way to produce a cheap, portable...

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Big Bald Mountain on Appalachian Trail, Cherokee National Forest

Northeast of Mars Hill, NC, the Big Bald Range straddles the Tennesssee/North Carolina border and marks the boundary between Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests. The Appalachian Trail (AT) follows the state line, as it does for nearly all its length between these two states. The destination for this hike is 5,516 foot Big Bald Mountain, another of the grassy balds that...

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Calumet Trail offers 9 miles of adventure

Research shows walking benefits both the body and the mind, and the Northwest Indiana region is full of parks, trails and nature preserves that highlight the beauty and diverse landscape of the area. As one of the region’s longest single walkways, the Calumet Trail is the perfect place for walkers who enjoy trekking a variety of distances. It’s also one of...

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Introducing Gear Up for Geocaching: More Treasure Than August Can Handle

Calling all geocachers, both expert and new! Geocaching HQ is celebrating “31 Days of Geocaching” this August and awarding a new Geocaching digital souvenir for each day during the month that you find a geocache. To help geocachers get out and log their finds during the month of August, Geocaching is sponsoring a new promotion called Gear Up for Geocaching. Three lucky...

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Young hiker walking from North Dakota to New York on North Country Trail

John D Rockefeller, the American industrialist once said: “I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” He might have been talking about 23-year-old Luke “Strider” Jordan, the good-natured Minnesota hiker now walking the entire 4,600 mile North Country...

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Hiking history: Kansas City man marches through Saratoga along historic Knox Trail

A Kansas City man recently traveled to upstate New York to begin walking the historic Knox Trail that passes through Saratoga County. Dave Fagerberg hiked all the way from Ticonderoga to Mechanicville, following the route Col. Henry Knox used in winter 1775-76 to deliver cannon to Gen. George Washington in Boston, which forced the evacuation of British troops and ships...

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Britain’s National Parks: As nature intended

Great Britain has 15 diverse national parks, from the New Forest’s pony-grazed heath and woodland to the high mountain plateau of the Cairngorms. They are spectacular landscapes, and according to a 2012 survey, nine out of 10 English people say national parks are important to them. The parks are also lived in and welcoming. And this is never more true than during...

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Teens aim to open hiking trails along Fort River to people with disabilities

Thirteen teens chose to forgo a summer job with air conditioning, instead braving the heat and fighting off mosquitoes to assemble a universally accessible hiking trail along the Fort River in Massachussetts. “It’s really inspiring to see these kids give up a summer to do manual labor outdoors. That’s saying a lot for them,” said Heather Furman, 27, an AmeriCorps member...

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New Zealander Hopes to Hike North and South Korea

Roger Shepherd, a former police officer from New Zealand, holds the unusual record of being the first foreigner to set foot in many of the remotest mountains of North Korea since at least the 1950-53 Korean War. Now, he is chasing a dream that looks even more daunting, something no one in living memory has attempted. He wants to walk the entire Baekdudaegan, the mountain...

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Trails to Turkish history and culture

Turkey is dense with both history and natural beauty, and much of it remains undiscovered or under-appreciated. The task of bringing these treasures back to the world’s consciousness is often left to enthusiasts, writers, or individual tour operators who have found a love of this region and its people. However, tourism in the country is often concentrated around the...

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With help from Boeing, the Palmetto Trail may finally be finished

Back in 1994, the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF) decided the state of South Carolina needed a greenway. Connecting the sea to the mountains, it would be a sort of interstate highway for hikers and mountain bikers. In those days, South Carolina had a much different kind of state government. Then-governor Carroll Campbell allocated the first funding for what has...

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NC National Forest Swimming Discouraged Due to High Water Levels

FOREST SERVICE ALERT The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina is urging visitors to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests to avoid swimming in the creeks, rivers and streams until water levels recede. Water levels are more than a foot above normal in some waterways. High water levels and strong currents pose a safety risk to visitors. Three...

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World Ranger Day Coming This Week

“World Ranger Day,” one day out of the year to show your appreciation for national park rangers the world over, arrives this week. The International Ranger Federation (IRF) was founded to support the work of rangers as the key protectors of the world’s protected areas. In 2006, at the World Ranger Congress in Scotland, IRF delegates decided that July 31...

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Section of White River National Forest trail to close for repairs

Part of a popular trail in the White Mountain National Forest will be closed next month for repairs to damage done during Tropical Storm Irene. The closure affects part of the Lincoln Woods Trail located off the Kancamagus Highway in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The U.S. Forest Service said it was able to stabilize the trail for short-term use, but a section of it requires...

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Jockey’s Ridge offers dune, hiking trails

Going to the North Carolina Outer Banks? Take time for a climb to the top of Jockey’s Ridge, an 80- to 100-foot sand dune at Nags Head. Nature has provided a gigantic “sandbox” for children and adults to enjoy. Jockey’s Ridge, the tallest sand dune system in the eastern United States, was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974. The following year, the N.C....

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The Great Wall, Our Way

By JEANNIE RALSTON The Great Wall — 5,500 miles by some counts, longer by others — is not one wall, but many that were built starting in ancient times, and were consolidated and reinforced during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The purpose: keeping northern raiders from swooping down into the heart of China. The stretch of wall between Gubeikou and Jinshanling, which we...

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Pink Beds Loop, Pisgah National Forest

Peaceful. If I were to think of a single word to describe the Pink Beds Loop Trail, that would be it. Peaceful. Located in a high valley in the Cradle of Forestry, Pink Beds is surrounded by the tall mountains and lush woodlands of Pisgah National Forest. Home to rare mountain bogs, unique vegetation, and unusual wildlife, this area is ideal for those who like to explore...

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Finger Lakes Land Trust to buy land to create Skaneateles Lake hiking trail

The Spafford, NY Town Board is discussing a Finger Lakes Land Trust plan to buy 205 acres from the Burns family on Route 41 to create hiking trails at the southern end of Skaneateles Lake. The Finger Lakes Land Trust has an agreement to buy the property from Bill and Leonard Burns. “It’s the linchpin property in our goal to create a greenbelt along the south...

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Southwest hiking destination gaining deadly reputation

The luck of a draw had brought Anthony and Elisabeth Ann Bervel coveted hiking permits for The Wave, a region of richly colored sandstone patterns near the Utah-Arizona border. But just hours into their trek, 27-year-old Elisabeth Bervel died of cardiac arrest, becoming the third hiker in a month to succumb to the brutal summer heat and disorienting open country where no...

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Groups Envision a Shoreline Walk Between Bremerton and Gorst

A proposed trail along the shoreline from Bremerton, WA to Gorst could create a new access for pedestrians and bicycle riders while restoring a degraded shoreline, according to experts who attended a weekend planning session in Bremerton. The two-mile-long paved trail could fit between the shoreline and railroad tracks most of the way between Puget Sound Naval Shipyard...

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Blue Ridge Parkway crack is new attraction

It’s not the rippling mountain views. It’s not the chance to spot a black bear or a waterfall. The newest tourist attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville, NC appears to be a giant crack in the asphalt. The crack, running down the center line of the roadway just north of the Tanbark Ridge Tunnel at milepost 374.5 and first noticed nearly two weeks ago, is...

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Bend woman completes 800-mile trek on Oregon Desert Trail

Sage Clegg of Bend this month became the first person to traverse the entire Oregon Desert Trail – hiking and biking nearly 800 miles from Bend to Adrian near the Idaho border in 37 days. The trip was not without rough moments, the worst of which Clegg said happened two days before finishing the journey. “I started out in the morning and I was not a minute...

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Long Trail footbridge will finally connect Duxbury and Bolton sections

The Winooski River’s 15-mile journey through the heart of the Green Mountains is spectacularly scenic. Dark, stony cliffs and sharp, evergreen-topped peaks rise abruptly from the river, which carves through the mountains from east to west. It’s also one of the prettiest sections on the Long Trail, the “footpath in the wilderness” that runs the length of Vermont, from...

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Plan would eventually link Chambersburg Rail Trail, Appalachian Trail

Talks are under way for the first phase of an 18-mile trail connecting the Chambersburg Rail Trail at Wilson College to the Appalachian Trail in Caledonia State Park, Pennsylvania. The six-mile section of the Conococheague Trailway would cross the campus of the former Scotland School for Veterans’ Children and the Chambersburg Country Club. The first phase of the...

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Senate Committee Taking Testimony July 25 On Funding The National Park Service

A hearing July 25th before the full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will delve into the fiscal needs of the National Park Service for the next fiscal year. Specifically, the senators want to hear about “supplemental” funding mechanisms that could help the Park Service afford the National Park System. A range of supplemental funding sources was...

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