Foothills Conservancy Protects 208 Acres at Bear Den Overlook on Blue Ridge Parkway

The scenic view from the popular Bear Den Overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway is now permanently protected thanks to Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina. Foothills Conservancy moved swiftly to acquire 208 forested acres along 1.6 miles of the parkway between mileposts 323 and 325 in McDowell County. The conservancy purchased the tract on September 20 from the Moody...

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The Civilized Black Bears of Asheville, North Carolina

Last summer, Colleen Boll was doing some work around the house when she heard her dog barking from a different room. “It was an interesting kind of bark,” she says, “so I looked out.” Right smack in her yard, pacing around inside her chain link fence, was an enormous, glossy black bear. Boll watched the bear puzzle out how to hop the fence....

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Forest Service Asheville Office Temporarily Closing for Renovations

The U.S. Forest Service will temporarily close the visitors lobby in its Asheville office on Zillicoa for renovations during the week of October 24, 2016. The office is expected to re-open October 31. During the closure, visitor services will be available at other U.S. Forest Service offices including: Appalachian Ranger District 632 Manor Road Mars Hill, NC 28754 (828)...

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Shrine Ridge Trail, White River National Forest

Fog and low-lying mist is very common in the Southern Appalachians. It is a product of the rainforest effect. Fog is highly unusual in the Rocky Mountains, but that’s what greeted Dave and I as we hit the trailhead to climb Shrine Ridge. It was somewhat of a dreary, forlorn scene as we walked from mountain bog to spruce forest to high meadow on our way to the...

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Nearly 27 miles of new trails coming to Catalina Island

The latest, and likely last, major expansion of trails on Catalina Island will give visitors plenty of options to cut a path through the island’s oft-neglected backcountry. The expansion began Oct. 14 with the start of Trekking Catalina, a plan to add nearly 27 miles of new trails throughout the island’s backcountry. The new pathways will be scattered along the island’s...

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Great Barrier Reef pronounced dead by scientists

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old. For most of its life, the reef was the world’s largest living structure, and the only one visible from space. It was 1,400 miles long, with 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands. In total area, it was larger than the United Kingdom, and it contained more...

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Fire Danger Increasing in Western North Carolina

The U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are warning the public of increasing fire danger in western North Carolina. Last weekend’s rainfall was not widespread and not enough to alleviate the dry conditions and persistent drought that has resulted from low rainfall in the past few months. Fuels in the forest will readily burn if ignited. Fire...

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Climate Change Is Causing Earlier Springs in National Parks

The National Park Service was created to protect and preserve the United States’ natural wonders. But what happens when climate change starts to alter these sites? U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a new report revealing that three-quarters of 276 national parks are experiencing an earlier onset of spring. Half of the parks studied are experiencing “extreme”...

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The Three Best Exercises to Get in Shape for Hiking

Hiking seems easy—after all it’s just walking for a while—but it can be a big challenge. From varying and sometimes difficult terrain to the fact that you use different muscles for longer periods of time than normal, a good hike takes working up to. Here are three exercises you can do to make sure you’re in hiking shape. Besides being able to hike hilly terrain without...

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North Carolina’s record floods could have unexpected environmental consequences

Hurricane Matthew swept across the southeastern seaboard of the United States this weekend, bringing intense rainfall to North Carolina and triggering record flooding across much of the state. But as the rains subside and clearer weather rolls in, some environmentalists are raising alarm bells about the potential for yet another environmental disaster. Over the weekend,...

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80-year-old error in land records wipes out popular Minnesota trail

An 80-year-old clerical error has wiped out minnesota’s ownership of a popular area used for hiking, cross-country skiing and boat access to Rainy Lake near International Falls. When the Polar Polers, a local ski club, recently began planning to enhance the Tilson Bay recreational area by building a boardwalk across a tamarack bog, they found a surprise when they checked...

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Spraddle Creek Trail, White River National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service has done a nice job of building trails up the watersheds that drain into the Town of Vail. Included among these is Spraddle Creek, located across I-70 from Vail Village. The reward at the top of the ridge is a mountain meadow that overlooks Vail, Beaver Creek ski mountain, and the Holy Cross Wilderness far, far away. Hike in late September for an...

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Italian Riviera finding new ways to manage tourism impact on historic hiking trails

It’s part of 120 miles of undulating trails that flit through pine-scented forests, flirt with postcard panoramas of the blue Ligurian Sea, and snake alongside terraced vineyards as they crisscross the Cinque Terre National Park. The park, which was established in 1999 and is a UNESCO reserve, encompasses more than 9,500 acres and connects five of the Italian...

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Shelters on the Ouachita National Recreation Trail

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail (pronounced as wosh-i-taw) is a 223-mile backcountry trail, running east and west the length of the Ouachita Mountains. It lies primarily within the Ouachita National Forest, with 177 miles of the trail in Arkansas and 46 miles extending into Oklahoma. Both ends of the trail are in State parks. The eastern terminus is in Pinnacle...

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Mark your Calendars: 2017 is the MST’s 40th Anniversary!

On September 9, 1977, Howard N. Lee, then Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, made an audacious speech to a National Trails Symposium at Lake Junaluska which has fired the imaginations and energy of NC trail enthusiasts ever since. In that speech, Lee recommended that North Carolina build a “trail from the mountains to the coast, a trail...

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World moves to offset airplane emissions in landmark deal

The aviation industry, long known for eluding emissions standards, will for the first time offset its pollution through carbon credits or funding green projects, the result of a United Nations-sponsored deal approved this week. Delegates at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal sealed the historic plan that some environmental advocates...

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What every hiker should know (by now)

People seem to believe that Nothing Will Go Wrong when they hike in the Grand Canyon. They’re just going to dash in and out for just a few miles. Shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Ah, but what if it does? What if someone sprains an ankle? Trips over a waterbar on the trail? In 2015, Grand Canyon answered 318 calls for assistance, involving 271 injured or...

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Best fall hikes in North Georgia

Hike to these North Georgia mountain summits and waterfalls to catch the best fall leaf color in Georgia. Top 10 favorite autumn hiking trails from Atlanta Trails. Autumn is the favorite hiking season of many in North Georgia, as days become cooler, nights become crisp, skies become brilliantly blue, and the cool air triggers a spectrum of leaf color in deciduous trees...

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Move To Change Access To Fiery Furnace In Arches National Park Draws Ire

A move Superintendent Kate Cannon believes will lead to better management of visitation to the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park has drawn the ire of guiding businesses and a member of Congress, who see the changes as unnecessary and economically crippling to the guides and damaging to the unique geologic niche of the park. A red rock maze of fins, arches, and...

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A Summer of Meaningful Service

National parks offer a variety of powerful place-based learning experiences including the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. Through this program, youth and veterans work in parks learning technical and leadership skills while also protecting, restoring, and enhancing our national parks. The unique initiative exposes corps members to training as they contribute to...

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Managing Forests for Water: Challenges in the Anthropocene

Humans are enmeshed in an ancient and intricate relationship between forests and water, and as the impacts of climate change are felt across the globe, the relationship will become increasingly important. A special issue of the journal Forests, titled Forest Management and Water Resources in the Anthropocene, examines the interactions between forests, water, climate...

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Avoid most popular hiking trails in Adirondacks this fall

New York conservation officials are urging Adirondack hikers to stay off the most popular trails in the High Peaks region this fall and range into other parts of the six-million-acre park. Growing numbers of hikers in the Adirondack Eastern High Peaks region are trashing trails, crowding summits and negatively affecting the experience for others. The Department of...

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Tall Trees Trail added to Kaien Island network

The view from the top of the Tall Trees Recreation Trail may arguably offer the best lookout in the Prince Rupert, BC area. The trail itself was built in 1991, but over the years it became overgrown with fallen trees blocking the route at points. In 2005, the trail was decommissioned — although that didn’t stop some Rupertites from exploring it. When Pacific NorthWest...

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The best way to fight climate change? Don’t call it climate change.

American cities from Boston to Baton Rouge are getting hammered by hurricanes, torrential downpours, and blizzards amped up by climate change. Maybe that’s why Americans are coming around to the idea that the climate is actually changing. But are all the floods, heat waves, and other disasters spurring cities to prepare for our overheated future? Sabrina McCormick, a...

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Safety Reminders That Can Save Your Life Outdoors

There are a lot of things that can happen when hiking. Most of the time, a blister and a scraped knee should be the least of your worries. Despite the fact that people have easier methods of getting help or dealing with dangers on the trail, it seems like every time we read the news, someone has sadly lost their life while backpacking. Here are a few safety precautions...

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

The Cradle of Forestry invites people of all ages to celebrate the heritage of western North Carolina and the Centennial of the Pisgah National Forest during the annual Forest Festival Day on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. This is the Cradle’s largest event of the year. This activity-filled, family event commemorates the traditions of mountain...

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Caesars Head Hawk Watch

From early September through late November of each year, members of the Greenville County Bird Club participate in a count of migrating hawks at Caesars Head State Park. The Hawk Watch is normally manned by volunteers who call themselves “Wing Nuts.” More than 10,000 acres of prime, mountain habitat are protected by a complex of state parks and wildlife...

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FWS decision dooms North Carolina’s red wolves

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its plan for the future of the red wolf recovery program in North Carolina. Rather than confront the real challenges facing the effort to recover the world’s most endangered wolf species, FWS instead presented a roadmap for a disastrous retreat, announcing that it was going to try to save red wolves by pulling them out of...

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USGS releases new maps covering Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Newly released topographical maps of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are now available online from the United States Geological Survey. For the first time, the maps covering the Park display trails, campgrounds, visitor centers, boundaries and other visitor information. The maps can be found here. “The nationwide similarity in the look and feel of the maps, as well...

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Fall is phenomenal in Fremont-Winema National Forest, thanks to rare Oregon aspen

Tamara Schmidt is a Colorado native, and knows a thing or two about aspens in the fall. “It’s just spectacular,” she said. “It adds that bright pop of gold to the forest. They’re special.” Schmidt, now the public affairs officer with Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest, is fortunate enough to work within some of the...

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The fight over the Arctic’s future is heating up

The White House Arctic Science Ministerial comes at a pivotal time for the region. While glacial ice hits record lows, the Arctic is more exposed than ever to the ravages of climate change. That’s because the receding ice has oil producers pushing harder than ever for permission to drill in the ecologically sensitive area. The Arctic is often seen as ground zero for...

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10 great fall foliage hikes in Michigan

A myriad of Michigan hiking trails offer at least one of the following — eye-popping Great Lakes beach views, scenic overlooks that stretch for miles, picturesque rumbling creeks, powerfully flowing rivers, a canopy of majestic hardwoods, a peaceful thicket of pines or wide array of wildlife. Come autumn, of course, the state’s pathways add their finest feature,...

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