Turning Australia’s old rails into new trails

In the Australian countryside, it is not unusual to stumble across the relics of a vast abandoned rail network that once connected the nation before cars and trucks replaced trains as the preferred mode of transport. These remnants of a forgotten past can range from rail tracks hidden in farm paddocks to majestic stations overlooking silent platforms that have not been...

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Planning a Thru-Hike? Here’s Some Insta-spiration

  If you’re among the thousands who will attempt to conquer a long-distance hiking trail in its entirety within the 2018 hiking season, then you’re probably already busy training, saving, planning, and steeling yourself for some serious communing with nature. In the United States, the term “thru-hiking” is most commonly associated with the Appalachian Trail...

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Four Texas A&M cadets raise $5.2K for charity after hiking 1,000 miles

Four students in the Texas A&M Aggie Corps of Cadets raised thousands of dollars for charity after hiking more than 1,000 miles in two weeks. Four cadets from Company H-1 decided to spend 13 days of their holiday break hiking from El Paso to Death Valley, California. Sophomore Hunter Birt, sophomore Jordan Rogers, junior Sebastian Brown and sophomore Ian Morrow...

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Experts Say Hiking Might Surpass Yoga In Popularity This Year

There’s no doubt about it: Hiking is having a moment. By now, we know spending time in nature comes with tremendous benefits. It has a scientifically proven anti-inflammatory effect on the body, it promotes a healthier microbiome, and Japanese Forest Bathing—or shinrin-yoku—has been associated with reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system....

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Forest Society of Maine announces completion of milestone conservation project near Gulf Hagas and Whitecap Mountain

The Forest Society of Maine (FSM) is celebrating the completion of the permanent conservation of thousands of acres of productive forest land and access to popular recreation lands near Gulf Hagas and Whitecap Mountain in Maine’s North Woods in Piscataquis County. After four years of collaboration with the forestland owner, the state Bureau of Parks and Lands, and...

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What Abbey’s ‘Desert Solitaire’ means in these trying times

The book turns 50 this year, and is more relevant now than ever. Fifty years ago, Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire was published to decent reviews but little fanfare. “Another book dropped down the bottomless well. Into oblivion,” wrote a disheartened Abbey in his journal Feb. 6, 1968. Yet it has remained in print for a half-century and created a devoted following. As...

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National Parks to Waive Entrance Fees on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, national park units across the country will offer visitors free entrance into the parks on Monday, January 15, 2018. Martin Luther King, Jr. day will be the first of four fee-free days this year. Those days include April 21 to celebrate the start of National Park Week, September 22 for National Public Lands Day and November 11 in...

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Los Padres National Forest bracing for debris flows

Crews once battling flames of the Thomas Fire in California are facing a new challenge – an influx of rain creating dangerous mudslides. “The fire and then the flood has been going on in this country for at least 100 years, more like 150 years,” National Forest Service Ranger Pancho Smith said running his hand over the Thomas Fire Burn map. As the rain...

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Melting ice on WNC lakes, streams pose serious hazards as visitors fall through surface

The curvy, two-lane Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, aka U.S. 276, which runs along the Davidson River and through the heart of Pisgah Ranger District, looked more like a July 4 traffic jam over the weekend than a cold and lonely winter day. The lure during the chilly temperatures? The rarely seen frozen Looking Glass Falls, a 60-foot-high stunner that can be easily...

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West Virginia Counties Plan Network of New Trails

An almost forgotten railroad could become a big part of a new trail for hikers, bicycle enthusiasts, and horseback riders that are interested in exploring the mountains and forests of Mercer and Summers counties in West Virginia. Mercer County and neighboring Summers County are working on plans to develop hiking trails and water trails. The hope is that an old railroad...

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Quitting after just 20 miles in 2015, hiker is now Triple Crown holder

Eddie Boyd spent months preparing for a 2015 hike of the Appalachian Trail, only to confront a sobering realization just 20 miles in: He wasn’t ready. At a shelter in Maine, 3 miles into the daunting Hundred-Mile Wilderness, dehydration and self-doubt had set in. Boyd contacted his uncle, who was staying with his parents at a cabin in nearby Baxter State Park, to pick...

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Retired U.S. Forest Service employee fights for the future of trees

The lush beauty of the George Washington National Forest in Virginia is apparent to any visitor, but especially to the keen eye of retired U.S. Forest Service employee Brian Stout. During a 34-year career with the Forest Service, Stout had many assignments, including a final one as the forest supervisor of the 3.5 million acre Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. On...

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Bighorn National Forest celebrates 120 years

One hundred twenty years ago, Wyoming’s Big Horn Forest Reserve was signed into existence by President Grover Cleveland. This legislation outlined that reserves had to meet the criteria of forest protection, watershed protection and timber production. In 1905, the Forest Service was established with the same resource protection focus. By 1908, the forest’s name had...

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67-year-old Triple Crown hiker is still going

When Tom Jamrog was a student at the University of Massachusetts in the early 1970s, a friend gave him the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Jamrog put the quest on his bucket list. A move to Midcoast Maine to build a home in Lincolnville with his wife, Marcia, in 1977 and then raising a family and working as a school psychologist in Rockland put off the...

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Rare chestnut find: ‘This tree, it’s a survivor’

Dan Brinkman — a self-described tree nerd — knew he’d hit the jackpot when he was told about a certain tree standing in a cattle pasture near Mount Brydges, Ontario, Canada. To most, the tree looks like any other. But Brinkman was pretty certain this was an American chestnut, a species that once thrived in southern Ontario, and most of the eastern United States,...

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Joshua Tree: where people climb and the cactuses jump

Part of the attraction of Joshua Tree National Park is the contrast in landscape and environment. The park’s landscape exhibits considerable changes as the higher elevations are a mountainous ecosystem and, from the east to the west, the Mojave descends into the hotter and drier Colorado Desert. The western part of the park is filled with Joshua Trees that stimulate a...

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Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn

Ocean dead zones with zero oxygen have quadrupled in size since 1950, scientists have warned, while the number of very low oxygen sites near coasts have multiplied tenfold. Most sea creatures cannot survive in these zones and current trends would lead to mass extinction in the long run, risking dire consequences for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the...

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Deep freeze helps fight tree-killing insect in the Smokies

Biologists in the Great Smoky Mountains say there is a bright side to the recent spell of frigid temperatures. The deep freeze is a life-saver for some of the mightiest hemlock trees in the Smokies. “Definitely, these cold extremes help with the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid,” said NPS forester Jesse Webster. “It will not get rid of them completely,...

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Trump administration plan would widely expand drilling in U.S. continental waters

The Trump administration unveiled a controversial proposal to permit drilling in most U.S. continental-shelf waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic, where oil and gas exploration is opposed by governors from New Jersey to Florida, nearly a dozen attorneys general, more than 100 U.S. lawmakers and the Defense Department. Under the proposal, only...

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Bouncing Around Colorado Springs In The Dead Of Winter

Mention Colorado Springs and you probably think of Pikes Peak, the highest mountain in the southern Front Range of the Rockies, or the Broadmoor Hotel, the historic resort nestled in the hills overlooking the city. But what happens when you take both of those out of the picture, plus most of the other tourists? Colorado Springs is built around hiking, literally. The city...

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What happens when the perils of the wilderness go beyond the forces of nature?

The wilderness outside Nederland, just 30 minutes west of Boulder, holds some of the most beautiful land near a major urban area in Colorado. Pine, aspen, and spruce trees dot the hillsides, and rock promontories provide ample scrambling opportunities from which to view the Continental Divide. Everywhere there are animal tracks, including those from moose, deer, foxes,...

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Yosemite Becomes First U.S. National Park to Purchase Zero-Emission Buses

Yosemite National Park will add two Proterra Catalyst buses to its fleet. Situated in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite represents the first U.S. National Park to permanently add zero-emission buses to its shuttle fleet, offering its visitors a modern, ecologically-friendly transportation option. In 2015, the National Park Service (NPS) recorded 331 million...

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Best walks, hikes and treks in Japan

An exceptional country, in its own and in others’ view, Japan has throughout history been isolated, an island nation out on the periphery of Asia. Heavily influenced by China for centuries, it withdrew from the world from the 16th to the mid 19th Centuries, its ports closed to (almost all) foreigners. This isolation has produced a unique and fascinating culture and an...

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Hong Kong’s mountain warriors seek natural therapy through hiking

Wooded hillsides, craggy ridges and wheeling birds of prey are a world away from Hong Kong’s famous skyscrapers but the city’s country parks are a necessary balm for its stressed out residents. With some of the world’s highest property prices, many can only afford tiny apartments, some living in infamous “cage homes” big enough only for a...

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Refinery Near Theodore Roosevelt National Park Poses Many Hazards

Opposition from local communities is growing against a proposed oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. The Davis Refinery, from California-based Meridian Energy Group, is awaiting air quality and water permits to start construction of its facility near Belfield, ND. Groups such as the Badlands Area Resource Council (BARC), an affiliate of the...

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Trump Administration Repeals Obama Rule Designed to Make Fracking Safer

The Trump administration is rescinding Obama-era rules designed to increase the safety of fracking. “We believe it imposes administrative burdens and compliance costs that are not justified,” the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wrote in a notice published in the Federal Register. The 2015 rule required companies drilling for natural gas...

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Visiting Hanging Lake? You may need to plan ahead

The U.S. Forest Service has released a draft of the environmental assessment of its proposed plan for visitor management of the popular Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs. An iconic Colorado landmark, the lake in the White River National Forest is both a popular destination for hikers and photographers, along with being a spur-of-the-moment stop for people passing by on...

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South Mountain Dobbins Lookout hike puts all of Phoenix at your feet

On clear evenings, the beacons on Mount Suppoa that bleep and flicker above an array of communication equipment are visible from many parts of the Phoenix valley. The spindly forest of red-lighted poles marks the highest point in South Mountain Park. The 2,690-foot summit is off limits to the public but equally swell sights can be had at nearby 2,330-foot Dobbins...

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Outdoor Chattanooga Offers Guided Hiking Series On The Cumberland Trail In 2018

Outdoor Chattanooga’s experienced guides will lead participants on short, section hikes (four to seven miles each) along the Cumberland Trail to explore unique geological formations, discover seasonal flora and fauna, trek over creeks and across suspended bridges to the tops of ridges with waterfalls and scenic overlooks. Along the way, participants will get hands on...

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Wire the wilderness? As cell service expands, national parks become the latest digital battlegrounds

When John Muir helped establish the National Park Service, he argued that such parks were vital to help people unplug from the world. “Break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods,” Muir was quoted as saying in 1915. But these days at Yosemite National Park, hikers to Half Dome are likely to encounter people talking on cell phones...

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Rising CO2 levels are changing the food we eat for the worse

Irakli Loladze was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious...

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First Day Hikes: Start the new year off healthy

With Arizona State Parks’ First Day Hikes on Monday, Jan. 1, you can enjoy a beautiful hike and start the new year feeling healthy. This year marks the sixth annual collaboration of all 50 state-park systems across the country to offer guided First Day Hikes and other activities on New Year’s Day, said Michelle Thompson, chief of communications for Arizona...

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