Joshua Tree National Park: Into the wild, hours from L.A.

We were surrounded by trees that could have been drawn by Dr. Seuss. A desert hare had just crossed the trail in front of us, its ears translucent in the still-rising sun. But it was something else that caught my 28-year-old son’s attention. “I can’t believe how silent it is out here,” he said. This was an offhand comment. I agreed, but said nothing. We walked on. So I...

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Has Vandalism in Our National Monuments Gotten Worse?

Peter Jensen, an environmental coordinator for Patagonia who’s based in Salt Lake City, embarked with a colleague on a three-day backpacking trip through the Upper Paria River Canyon, a picturesque red rock canyon in southern Utah. “The place is magical,” Jensen said. “It’s a wilderness in the true sense of the word.” Jensen was entranced by the scenery, but dismayed by...

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These are the companies being blamed for creating the most plastic pollution in the world’s oceans

The companies which are blamed for producing the highest amounts of plastic found in our oceans have been revealed. Environmental charity Greenpeace has released data following a nine-month study carried out across 42 countries – as it emerges that a truckload of plastic is dumped in the sea every MINUTE. Researchers found that Coca-Cola is the brand with the most...

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Hiking a new mega-trail in the Balkans

Close to the top of Mount Maglić, on the Bosnia-Montenegro border, a deafening clap of thunder rips across rugged Piva national park. The summit of the 2,386-metre limestone peak is not far away, but with a glance at the darkening sky, the guide decides it’s best to turn back. We weave our way down towards perfectly heart-shaped Lake Trnovačko, just reaching a forest as...

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New Mountains-to-Sea Trail segment completes path from Clingmans Dome to Stone Mountain

Leadership from state and national parks, volunteers, local officials, and trail enthusiasts gathered at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Oct. 3, 2018 to celebrate the completion of a 300-mile connection on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST). State trails staff, members of the Carolina Mountain Club and other volunteers and supporters...

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Huge risk if global warming passes 1.5C, warns landmark UN report

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)...

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The Bay Area Ridge Trail: Bays, Bridges, and Some Really Big Trees

Despite the San Francisco Bay Area being highly occupied, a lot of land within it is protected and set aside for recreational use. Like any loop trail, starting and ending points can be wherever a thru-hiker wants. The Bay Area Ridge Trail’s southern tip sits below farmland in Gilroy, known for its pervasive (and delicious) garlic aroma. Going clockwise, it travels north...

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Jenny Lake, the breathtaking centerpiece of Grand Teton National Park, gets a refresh

Named after Jenny Leigh, the Shoshone wife of British fur trapper Richard “Beaver Dick” Leigh, Jenny Lake is a hole formed about 12,000 years ago by glaciers pushing rock and debris out of Cascade Canyon. The many cascades and creeks in this canyon filled the hole, which is about 420 feet deep, with water. When Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) was founded in 1929 it was...

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Europe’s best wilderness cabins and mountain huts for hikers

From designer dens to remote refuges, there are thousands of – often free – walkers’ huts in amazing locations across Europe. Finland has a huge network of open wilderness huts across its 40 national parks, where hikers, skiers and canoers can spend one or two nights for free. Most are log cabins, some dating back to the 1900s; more unusual huts include a former lifeboat...

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Meet the ‘Art Rangers’ Trying to Save National Parks

Oscar Nilsson and Alex Tatem are trying to save America’s national parks—one photo at a time. Nilsson and Tatem run the Art Rangers, a nonprofit online art gallery that sells national park-inspired works of art, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the National Park Foundation, the official charity of the National Park Service. “At its core, it’s artists...

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Wasting Away

With the naked eye, it’s impossible to discern early signs of chronic wasting disease in elk. For years after they become infected, these monumental animals go about their lives — ambling into the high country in summer and back down to the valleys in winter, mating in fall and calving in spring. But then a few weeks before they die, they become thin, and their ribs and...

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A New, Majestic High Route Through Yosemite

This loop through Yosemite could just be the finest high-altitude thru-hike in the country. Where the boundary of Yosemite National Park overlaps with the Sierra Crest, from Dorothy Lake Pass in the north to Rodgers Peak in the south, there exists a world-class high route around the upper headwaters of the Tuolumne and Merced rivers that stays entirely within the park....

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Marriage Proposal Goes Awry After Hiking Couple Gets Lost

  A marriage proposal in Boulder, Colorado, went awry because of some overly ambitious hiking plans. Joshua Mason, 27, and his girlfriend, Katie Davis, 28, had set out on an eight-mile hike from the Fourth of July Trailhead to the nearly 13,000-foot summit on Jasper Peak. When the two came upon an isolated, scenic spot along the trail, Mason surprised Davis by...

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The global climate refugee crisis has already begun

When Hurricane Florence struck the shores of North and South Carolina and Virginia, more than a million evacuees fled their homes seeking shelter from the storm. For some, there will be no return home, as their homes are damaged beyond repair or beyond what they can afford to repair. All these displaced people are not simply evacuees fleeing a dangerous hurricane. They...

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On the Trail of Interdependence

There may be two approaches to life pervading every facet of our society, extrapolated from long distance thru-hikers. We could call the one “endarkic” and the other “exarkic” (from the Greek word arkeo, “to suffice”). In political science or economics, the word autarky is used to describe a state of self-sufficiency. Endarky is rather the drive toward self-sufficiency;...

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Chile Launches Epic Hiking Route Through Patagonia Region

A new hiking route has been launched through Chile’s Patagonia region. Created to attract more tourists to the area and improve awareness of the need for conservation, the Route of Parks run from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn – a distance of 2,800km in total. The area is known for its lakes and rich array of wildlife and plants. The trail was funded by US billionaire Douglas...

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Property owner in Zion Narrows closure wants to welcome back hikers, but says the feds need to step up

Scott Bulloch wants you — and thousands of other hikers each year — to be able to cross his family’s land in the Zion Narrows. Better yet, he wants the federal government to own or at least hold easements on his 880-acre parcel along Zion National Park’s eastern boundary. He just wants fair consideration for property he and his family have held for 50 years, Bulloch...

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Smokies Park Hosts Stargazing Event at Purchase Knob

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a stargazing event at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center beginning at 7:00 pm on Friday, October 5, 2018. Located on Purchase Knob, the learning center provides one of the clearest views of the sky in the park and in Haywood County, NC. The Astronomy Club of Asheville will lead an exploration of the night sky...

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Cradle of Forestry Hosts Forest Festival Day and Woodsmen’s Meet October 6

The Cradle of Forestry invites people of all ages to celebrate the forest heritage of western North Carolina during the annual Forest Festival Day on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 pm. This is the Cradle’s largest event of the year. This activity-filled, family event commemorates the traditions of mountain living and craft in the Cradle’s unique...

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Ramble On: A History of Hiking

How did hiking evolve from the upper-class European sport of alpinism and the publication of an English travel guide into an activity that now has millions of participants all over the world? Who built the thousands of miles of trails that now crisscross America? What did early hikers wear, and what were some of the key inventions and innovations that led to our modern...

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Study: National Parks Bearing The Brunt Of Climate Change Impacts

Yellowstone National Park escaped the summer without any large conflagrations in its forests, but that could be an anomaly under the current pace of climate change. Pikas could vanish from parks such as Lassen Volcanic and Great Basin. Glaciers and Joshua trees could be seen only in photographs and paintings in their namesake parks, and Virgin Islands and Hawai’i...

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How to Pack a Backpack for a Hiking Trip

Backpacks have come a long way since the 70’s, when hikers swore by (and at) bulky external frames and nifty side pockets were few and far between. Nowadays, there’s any number of high-tech packs that help you lug more gear longer, and farther, than ever before. But it’s still critical that you know how to pack a backpack right. If you’re headed out for a...

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Seeking America’s Quietest Spots: The Quest for Silence in a Loud World

The hiker trudged up a logging road and into a valley, tracing a route that seemed unremarkable. There were no sweeping views of the mountains that towered nearby. There was no summit to scale. Yet he stopped suddenly, jubilant, after about four miles of walking. He had found exactly what he was searching for: quiet. In these loud times — with political foes yelling on...

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5 hikes to find Colorado’s last glaciers before they’re gone for good

Time is running out to see Colorado’s year-round alpine glaciers before they recede into extinction — which is, in some cases, a couple decades off, according to a study from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. In the Ice Age, glaciers carved much of Colorado’s alpine landscape. Wide mountain valleys — now dotted with towns and zig-zagged by hiking trails — are...

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Cat hiking videos are the wholesome escape you need in your life

Things you can reasonably expect to see on a hike: trees; rocks; streams. Thing you might not expect to see on a hike: A cat on a leash walking with its owner. Turns out that hiking cats are more common than you might think. These adventurous felines can be found on YouTube and Instagram, where they explore rough mountain terrain, rocky beaches, and green pastures....

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Fall into Volunteerism with Smokies Service Days

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announce upcoming Fall “Smokies Service Days” volunteer projects. These unique opportunities allow community members and park visitors to get involved and become stewards of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Individuals and groups are invited to sign up for any of the scheduled service projects that interest them...

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Is this Europe’s most underrated hiking destination?

Just over a century ago a chap called Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa and an Asturian senator, returned from a visit to Yellowstone and Yosemite in the US with a burning ambition to introduce the idea of national parks to Spain. “If we do not guard the possessed paradise between the lost paradise and the promised paradise,” he said, “we do not deserve, like Adam, to...

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Shell and Exxon’s secret 1980s climate change warnings

In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internal assessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecast the planetary consequences of these emissions. In 1982, for example, Exxon predicted that by about 2060, CO2 levels would reach around 560 parts per million – double the preindustrial level – and that this would push the planet’s...

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This is what hiking 2,000 miles feels like

Hiking 2,000 miles feels like waking up tired every morning, like eating the same food again and again until it loses all meaning. It feels like wondering with amazement when 20 miles became a short day. Like pushing yourself up the last climb of the day. Going faster and faster while your legs ache and sweat runs down your face and into your eyes, but you don’t slow...

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A Leave No Trace Principles Refresher

Outdoor enthusiasts often prefer visiting different types of locations. Some love trekking high into the Appalachian Mountains, while others enjoy paddling through the river-carved rocks of the Southwest. Some may like to explore the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, while others enjoy ambling about aimlessly amid the grass-dotted dunes of the Gulf Coast. You like...

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The 25th Annual National Public Lands Day is happening on September 22, 2018

Mark September 22 on your calendar and make plans to head to your favorite outdoor spot as NEEF gets set to celebrate the 25th annual National Public Lands Day. No matter what is happening in the world, on National Public Lands Day, outdoor enthusiasts turn out in droves to give back to and enjoy their favorite outdoor places. National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the...

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Wyoming, the country’s top coal producer, is wrangling support for wind power

Just off Interstate 80 in Sinclair, Wyoming (population 415), the Sinclair Refinery processes crude oil from the United States and Canada. Every day the refinery, one of the region’s largest, converts 85,000 barrels of oil to gasoline, diesel, propane, and other petroleum products. But the town may soon become famous for a cleaner sort of energy, as the gateway to the...

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