Few attend public hearing on DuPont Forest cleanup

A “doughnut hole” of contamination in North Carolina’s DuPont State Recreational Forest likely will be cleaned up in the coming year as a remediation plan moves forward. State officials held a public comment session on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 at the Transylvania County Public Library, but only a half dozen people attended and just one came forward to comment. Most...

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Hiking in Snowmass provides solitude and views that canʹt be beat

Hikers who are looking for a pleasant jaunt in the woods, a steady climb that alternates between patches of forest and open, flower-choked meadows and slogs through dark timber have it all in their backyard in Aspen’s Snowmass Village. The town has done a good job over the years of creating an extensive trail system that now boasts 26 miles of natural-surface...

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7 Essential Items in your Emergency Survival Kit

Whether you are a traveler, hiker, or someone who stays at home most of the time, you should be equipped with an emergency survival kit all the time. Why? Because a critical condition can knock on your door anytime, leaving you in a state of shock. It can be a natural calamity or a small accident in your house or workplace.   But, if you make sure to have these seven...

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Conservation Organizations Saving a National Treasure

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the nation’s longest parkway, stretching 469 miles to connect Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. Created during the Great Depression, this national treasure spans 252 miles and 17 mountain counties in North Carolina. Lands along the Blue Ridge Parkway provide spectacular...

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Solar grid proposed for the Smokies

A plan to replace a 3.5-mile overhead power line with a solar array to deliver energy to communications equipment atop Mount Sterling in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open for public comment through Dec. 13. The existing overhead line extends from the park boundary at N.C. 284, Mount Sterling Road, to the Mount Sterling Fire Lookout Tower in Haywood County....

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Hopewell Lake provides historic setting for late fall hiking in Taos

Hillsides of bare aspen trees, with their alabaster trunks and rocky cliffs shining silent in the sun, mark the coming of late fall to Taos. With many sunny days ahead, this is a good time to visit the forest. Hopewell Lake Trail is located about an hour northwest of Taos past Tres Piedras in the Carson National Forest. In addition to being a beautiful trek through the...

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An estimated 2,000 U.S. veterans are set to protect protesters at Standing Rock

U.S. military veterans continue to arrive at the snowy Standing Rock encampment to form a human shield between protesters and police. By Sunday, camp organizers say, about 2,000 vets will be on site. “Our goal is to stand there and if need be take the rounds for the First Nations people so they can do their thing,” said Mark Sanderson, a former Army Sergeant who served...

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Update on the Appalachian Trail and the Southeastern Fires

From the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Over the last few weeks, fires have raged across the southern Appalachian Mountains and the Appalachian Trail from Georgia up to central Virginia, and many major fires are still burning. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the many people dealing with the loss of life, homes, businesses and other property. We also want to thank the...

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What Do Wild Animals Do in a Wildfire?

Note: this article was originally posted in 2014 but is just as applicable to the Southeast wildfires occurring now. Many animals and other organisms have evolved to cope with—and even thrive in the wake of—the flames. “Wildlife have a long-standing relationship with fire,” says ecosystem ecologist Mazeika Sullivan of Ohio State University, Columbus....

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Manitou Incline: After 3 months of repairs, one of Colorado’s favorite hiking spots reopens

The Manitou Incline, the heart-pounding mile of steps near Colorado Springs, will reopen Friday, December 2, 2016, after three months of repairs. Hikers can return to the challenging workout that has made Manitou Springs a destination for local, national and international visitors, but now they can climb a trail that’s been updated to fend off erosion. “It is by far the...

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EPA’s late changes to fracking study downplayed risk of polluted drinking water

Top officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year made critical changes at the eleventh hour to a highly anticipated, five-year scientific study of hydraulic fracturing’s effect on the nation’s drinking water. The changes, later criticized by scientists for lacking evidence, played down the risk of pollution that can result from the...

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North Carolina man admitted to setting 2 wildfires in Nantahala National Forest, authorities say

Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina man is accused of setting two wildfires. The U.S. Department of Justice says 49-year-old Keith Eugene Mann Franklin was arrested Wednesday, November 30, 2016 on one count of destroying property by means of fire. According to an affidavit, a wildfire was reported on Oct. 27 inside the Nantahala National Forest in Macon County....

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Gatlinburg And Smokies Area Fire Update: 10 Fatalities and 700 Structures Lost

As reported by Incident Information System (InciWeb) Incident Summary: The Chimney Tops 2 Fire was reported in Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at approximately 5:20 p.m. The wildfire began burning in a remote location (Chimney Tops) of the park in steep terrain with vertical cliffs and narrow rocky ridges making...

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Back to civics class: 10 things to know about Standing Rock

What writers don’t know about the world outweighs what we do know by a ratio of 100-1, at best. We get away with reporting the news as if we know something because, as Mark Twain noted, we do the legwork, we interview the colorful suspects, and we buy ink by the barrel. Then comes a sudden, confounding event like the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy at the Hunkpapa...

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Billy Goat’s Never-Ending Thru-Hike

Perhaps the most venerated hiker in PCT history is standing beside the large wooden sign that welcomes visitors to Rainy Pass trailhead. George “Billy Goat” Woodard, a retired railroad conductor from Maine, has hiked the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail eight times and most of the route two additional times. He is 77 years old and, ever since retiring...

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Party Rock Fire officially 100-percent contained

Some good news for a change! The Party Rock Fire is now 100% contained. The much-needed rain over the region serves as a cool and refreshing sendoff for most of the departing fire crews. Crews came from far and wide to help contain the blaze. Oregon’s incident management team will return control of the fire back to the local North Carolina Forest Service district...

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Priebus confirms that climate denial will be the official policy of Trump’s administration

White House chief of staff may be “the second most powerful job in government,” according to James A. Baker III, who had the job under both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. So it matters that the man Trump named his chief of staff, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, embraces Trump’s hard-core climate denial. Priebus appeared on the latest Fox News...

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Fires force evacuations in Gatlinburg, TN; Smokies park closes roads

Fanned by strong winds and the Southeast’s worst drought in nearly a decade, at least 14 fires burned in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, forcing evacuations from the popular tourist gateway and nearby communities. Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said crews battled wind gusts of up to 70 mph. On Monday afternoon (November 28, 2016), a wildfire from the Smoky...

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Congress passes bill to improve trail maintenance and preservation

Congress sent a bill to President Obama that would improve access to America’s National Forests through better trail maintenance and preservation. The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act would make better use of existing resources within the Forest Service to significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in maintaining the usability and...

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Land Grab Congressman Now Wants Trump to Abolish National Monuments

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a fierce anti-public lands Republican in Utah, is urging President-elect Donald Trump to abolish national monuments created by both Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. More than 270 million acres of American land and waters are potentially at risk—an area two and half times the size of California. The action would be unprecedented. No...

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China tries to build a coherent system of national parks

Roughly 18% of China is given over to national parks or protected areas of some sort. But there is no overarching system for managing or even designating such places; instead, they are subject to a complicated, overlapping and haphazard mix of local, provincial and national administration. Laoshan is a case in point. Since its establishment in 1991, its official status...

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Missouri’s Huckleberry Ridge offers ‘knock-the-cobs-out’ hiking

Huckleberry Ridge Conservation Area along Route K, 5 miles east of Pineville, Missouri, offers get-the-blood-pumping hiking up rocky ridges, down steep hollows, along dry creek beds and over fallen trees. It’s an area of dense forest with only vague trail markers, where you must keep your sense of direction and your wits. Occasionally, a compass comes in handy. The...

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Drought, Fire, and Forests

More than 6,300 firefighters from all over the U.S have been fighting forest fires that have now burned more than 119,000 acres in eight states across the Southeast, some of which have burned for over a month. The low humidity and lack of rain for more than three months in some areas has provided what Adam Rondeau from the inter-agency Southern Area Coordination Center...

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Hiking the metal mountains of Scott Mountain Crest

The lovely forested peaks of the Scott Mountain Crest in Siskiyou County, California, are most frequently enjoyed from two vantage points — the popular Kangaroo Lake Campground on the north side of the crest, and from the Pacific Crest Trail on the south side of the mountainous ridge. Both of these viewpoints offer ample scenery, and with a little effort one can enjoy...

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Volunteers key to making Appalachian Trail a success

The millions of people who enjoy the Appalachian Trail each year might not realize just what it takes to make its incredible recreational opportunities available to them. Though it features countless wonders of nature, the trail itself did not come about naturally. It took years of effort to achieve its completion, and in the nearly 80 years since then, it’s...

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Hoosier National Forest mules retire

Two of the Hoosier National Forest’s hardest-working employees, Ruth and Jack, are retiring after a combined 40 years of service. Ruth and Jack are mules, two of the team of four mules that assist Indiana’s Hoosier NF in maintaining trails in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. Without the ability to use vehicles or power tools in wilderness areas, the team of mules...

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Patagonia to donate 100 percent of Black Friday sales to the environment

There’s nothing environmental about Black Friday. While one major outdoor retailer (REI) has elected to opt out of the day entirely, giving its employees a paid day off to spend outdoors, another has decided to opt in — but they’re doing things differently. This year, Patagonia will give 100 percent of its global proceeds from stores and online to grassroots...

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An Important Message from the Executive Director of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy About the Party Rock Fire

Dear CMLC Family, The Party Rock Fire has impacted our community, requiring some of you to evacuate your homes and endangering people, property and natural resources in the Hickory Nut Gorge. You are on our minds and in our hearts. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has held off up until now in sending out our own communications, while public officials have kept us all...

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Black Friday Hiking At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are suggesting you take a break from spending on Black Friday and take a hike with them instead. The hikes will be offered near Smokemont Campground and Sugarlands Visitor Center and provide an outstanding opportunity for people of all ages to #OptOutside and enjoy the park, a park release said. “The Thanksgiving holiday...

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A Modern Day Threat to the AT: The Proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a proposed high pressure natural gas pipeline that would run from Wetzel county, West Virginia to a processing station in Pittsylvania County, Virginia spanning 301 miles of public and private land. Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC has been contracted to do this work for various energy companies including EQT Midstream Partners, NextEra US...

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