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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Forest Service plan could fundamentally change hiking in Oregon’s wilderness

News that the U.S. Forest Service is proposing a way to limit the number of people entering Oregon’s wilderness areas didn’t come as a major surprise. As the number of people hiking and camping in Oregon’s outdoors has skyrocketed, wilderness areas, often in fragile alpine environments, have been particularly hard-hit. What did surprise many was the scope of a plan...

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Women of the White Blaze

The Women of the White Blaze are yawning as dusk falls around them, their tired bodies begging them to lie down for the night. But something more important than sleep beckons on this night. Their shuttle bus driver mentioned that they might get to see the lightning bugs known as “Blue Ghosts” that tend to move down the mountains like fairies carrying lights down the...

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Court Blocks E.P.A. Effort to Suspend Obama-Era Methane Rule

Dealing another legal blow to the Trump administration, a federal appeals court ruled on July 3, 2017 that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot suspend an Obama-era rule to restrict methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. The 2-to-1 decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is the first major legal setback for Scott...

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Introducing Femelschlag

Visitors to the Cradle of Forestry (located near Brevard, NC in Pisgah National Forest) learn about the Biltmore Forest School – the first school of forestry in North America. It was started in 1898 by Carl Schenck. A native of Germany, Schenck brought German forestry concepts to the United States. It is fitting that today in Pisgah National Forest, researchers are...

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The man who went on a hike – and never stopped walking

In his 61st year on this earth, the man who calls himself Nimblewill Nomad left home and walked a very long way through the mountains – about 10 million steps, he estimates, or 4,400 miles. Then, he took another, even longer walk. And then another one. And then another. Soon, he had given away almost all of his money and taken to walking almost year-round, roaming the...

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The thru-hike you’ve never heard of: Oregon Desert Trail

Photographer Meg Roussos is one of just 290 hikers who have completed all three long-distance hikes in the U.S.: the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails. But this spring she decided to hike a lesser-known path, the Oregon Desert Trail, and rather than hiking with friends, she walked alone. She set out from her hometown in Bend, Oregon, in April to...

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Changes coming to Superior Hiking Trail

Several changes are in the works for the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail this summer. They include rerouting a portion of the trail in one place and installing a bridge in another location. In addition, the Superior Hiking Trail Association recently purchased land near the Encampment River to ensure the continued path of the trail through that property. On July 21 and 22,...

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10 backpack essentials for summer hiking adventures in Colorado

Colorado summers are as beautiful as they are volatile. Before you head into the high country for a hike this season, check your backpack. A well-packed bag can be the difference between a great day in the mountains and altitude sickness or — worst-case scenario — a rescue. According to a report based on National Park Service data, the most common contributing factors to...

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Retiring Blue Ridge Parkway superintendent reflects on 37 years with the National Park Service

Mark Woods will retire as superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway on July 3, 2017, but on July 4 he’ll don the flathat one last time as grand marshal of the Lake Junaluska Fourth of July Parade. Woods was still in college when he started working for the Park Service, knowing he wanted to do some type of conservation work but not exactly sure what form that would take....

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Empowering women in the outdoors: Why the white-hot interest?

Call it a new wave of feminism, call it a reaction to the current political climate, but there is a concerted push to get women outdoors — women’s-only trips, women’s classes, images and stories of women adventurers. One example: REI’s Force of Nature campaign, launched in April 2017 to “level the playing field,” has crossed from marketing to activism by earmarking $1...

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Elevated arsenic readings close popular San Diego hiking trails

On the northwest side of the one of the City of San Diego’s more popular open space parks is a trail called Miners Ridge Loop. It’s appropriately named because the city says the abandoned Black Mountain Arsenic Mine is located on the north slope of Black Mountain. But, if you had any thoughts of escaping the city life for a hike on a portion of that specific trail you’d...

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Global sea level rise accelerates since 1990, study shows

The rise in global sea levels has accelerated since the 1990s amid rising temperatures, with a thaw of Greenland’s ice sheet pouring ever more water into the oceans, scientists said in a new report. The annual rate of sea level rise increased to 3.3 millimetres (0.13 inch) in 2014 – a rate of 33 centimetres (13 inches) if kept unchanged for a century –...

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Smokies Park Recruits for July 6th Litter Pick-Up at Deep Creek and Smokemont

Great Smoky Mountains National Park seeks volunteers to help care for campgrounds and picnic areas after the July 4th, 2017 Holiday. The maintenance staff does a fantastic job providing clean and safe spaces for visitors to enjoy our amazing National Park; but increased visitation on holiday weekends can be overwhelming. As the Trails and Facilities Volunteer...

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Llama trekking guide works to defend the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument he campaigned to create

Stuart Wilde has spent a couple hundred days each year of the last 25 trekking into the canyons along the Rio Grande, where burnt-black volcanic rock soars for hundreds of feet overhead. Often, pack teams of rescued llamas trail him, and he’s pointing out petroglyphs for tourists hiking along. These desert canyons descend from the gnarled piñon and prickly pear at the...

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The Land Between Two Wildernesses – A Photo Essay

I like to do most of my summertime hiking in the high country to avoid the heat, and the bugs. It’s like getting extra, added months of spring. So when the first week of summer rolled around, I thought of that section of Pisgah National Forest that lies between Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wildernesses, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Parkway, Hwy 215, and Black...

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Hiking back in time to celebrate 100 years of the Long Trail

Dew shines in the early morning summer sun along the network of trails near the Winooski River. It’s where Mike Debonis continues his journey back in time on Vermont’s Long Trail. This year, the trail is celebrating 100 years. Debonis is honoring the anniversary by dressing in traditional 1917 attire – all wool – and spending his vacation on the...

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Forests and oceans seem to be absorbing a lot less CO2

On the best days, the wind howling across the rugged promontory at Cape Grim, Tasmania has not touched land for thousands of miles, and the arriving air seems as if it should be the cleanest in the world. But on a cliff above the sea, inside a low-slung government building, a bank of sophisticated machines sniffs that air day and night, revealing telltale indicators of...

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Volunteers Remove Nearly 150 Tires From Linville Gorge Wilderness

Linville Gorge Wilderness is now a more beautiful place thanks to the efforts of 85 volunteers who worked over 1,800 hours under the lead of Wild South to remove nearly 150 tires from the deep gorge. In the 1970s a large flood washed the tires down into the Linville Gorge Wilderness from a business north of the area. Since that time, tires have been a common site along...

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What To Do If You Sprain Your Ankle While Hiking

Contrary to what most people believe, sprained ankles aren’t one of those things that just happen. Not only can they be effectively treated when they happen, but with a little forethought, and some preparation, they can be prevented. Sprained ankles and other foot injuries are common in hiking. But you can dramatically decrease your chances of a sprain by taking some...

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Trail clearing on North Shore another example that public are future to public lands

Another spring work weekend on the Superior Hiking Trail reinforces a wider story: Some of Minnesota’s favorite footpaths are nothing without the sweat and commitment of volunteers. The morning woke up dry and with promise. It was warming fast in the early sun, which set the North Shore’s boreal tree line in sharp relief against an almost bluebird sky. It was...

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Here’s the company that makes those National Park and Smokey Bear signs

Everyone recognizes Smokey Bear, the lovable National Parks mascot who warns visitors about the dangers of forest fires. But where do those friendly anthropomorphic bear cutouts come from? Today, we talk to the company that makes a lot of the signs that show up at the entrances to National Parks and Forests. About 25-thousand signs and markers last year, actually, all...

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The Crew Building the Next Great American Thru-Hike

In eastern Tennessee, 70-year-old trail builder Peter Berntsen is laying segments of the Cumberland Trail. The path will wend more than 300 miles through deep hollows, spiraling waterfalls, and diverse flora in the heart of Appalachia, at the mountainous edge of the Cumberland Plateau. He lugs an axe and mattock up a rocky and root-riddled stretch meandering through...

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From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots

Seems like it could have been the edge of the Sahara or even Death Valley, but it was the remains of a large orchard in the hills above the city of Murcia in southern Spain last year. The soil had broken down into fine white, lifeless sand, and a landscape of rock and dying orange and lemon trees stretched into the distance. A long drought, the second in a few years, had...

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An American Legend – Horace Kephart – His Life and Legacy

Horace Sowers Kephart (September 8, 1862 – April 2, 1931) was an American travel writer and librarian, best known as the author of Our Southern Highlanders about his life in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and the classic outdoors guide Camping and Woodcraft. Kephart’s vision helped to establish Great Smoky Mountains National Park. His life as...

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Hikes To Explore Colorado’s Western Slope This Summer

Colorado’s Western Slope is rich in backcountry hikes. Knowing where to find them — and what to expect on a trail — just got easier with a new guidebook by Grand Junction outdoor writer Bill Haggerty. The Falcon Guides “Hiking Colorado’s Western Slope” has details on more than 45 trails in Western Colorado. It doesn’t have just...

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Hiking and biking County Mayo, Ireland’s Wild West

When the sun breaks out in rural Ireland, you can almost believe in fairies. County Mayo is the kind of place that visitors imagine when they think of rural Ireland: whitewashed stone houses in impossibly green fields dotted with sheep; rolling hills that tumble into the sea or break off in sheer cliffs; narrow winding roads that lead to villages with pubs and fish...

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