With a stunning 7 million acres burned so far, the U.S. wildfire situation is looking dire

Wildfires are exploding across the western United States, overstretching resources and, in some states, resulting in tragic consequences. Some 30,000 firefighters and additional support staff are now fighting fires across the United States — the biggest number mobilized in 15 years, according to the U.S. Forest Service. And it’s still not enough. Two hundred members of...

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Hiking Tasmania’s beautiful South Coast track – and how to survive it

The South Coast track is not like the Overland track, Tasmania’s most popular walk. There are no huts and it’s not guided. We would be cooking all our own food, carrying our gear the whole way and carrying out all our rubbish. The only access to the starting point at Melalueca is by light plane. A false start on day one – the fog was too thick for the plane to land –...

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Service that Changes Lives – AmeriCorps Project Conserve: A Decade of Impact

More than a decade ago, Kieran Roe sealed and stamped an envelope and dropped it in the mail. What he got back proved to be far beyond his expectations. “I couldn’t have fathomed everything that would come from it,” said Roe, executive director of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC). Roe’s envelope contained a grant application to the Corporation for National...

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Big chunk of N. Idaho national forest closed for fire danger

The U.S. Forest Service closed a large chunk of the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River drainage in Northern Idaho due to a forecast of hazardous fire weather and because of close to 20 fires already burning on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District. “It’s probably among the most popular forest access in all of the Idaho Panhandle,” said Jason Kirchner, spokesman for the...

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Airman hiking 710 miles to honor fellow soldiers

Tech. Sgt. Stacy Trosine is on the journey of a lifetime. The Fairchild Air Force Base airman is hiking 710 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, much of it alone, in honor of three soldiers she served with in Afghanistan. She started the trek on Aug. 8. Trosine has been deployed seven times in her 18-year military career, including three stints in Afghanistan, but her most...

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Pillboxes at Hawaii’s Lanikai hiking trail deteriorating

A popular Windward Oahu hiking trail sees countless hikers every day. How safe is it? There have been concerns about rocks falling at the Lanikai Pillbox Trail, that danger is currently being addressed, but hikers have brought up new issues about the pillboxes and are worried they could one day come crashing down. Ask any hiker headed up the Lanikai Pillbox trail and...

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How The EPA Plans To Cut Methane Emissions From Oil And Gas Wells

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever federal regulations to curb methane emissions from oil and gas producers. The proposed rule aims to cut methane emissions from the energy industry, the single largest emitter of methane in the United States, by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels within the next decade. Methane is a greenhouse gas 80...

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A Culture Clash Over Guns Infiltrates the Backcountry

America’s cultural divide over guns has gone into the woods. As growing numbers of hikers and backpackers flood national forests and backcountry trails searching for solitude, they are increasingly clashing with recreational target shooters, out for the weekend to plug rounds into trees, targets and mountainsides. Hiking groups and conservationists say that policies that...

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Foot and Ankle Surgeons Offer Safety Tips for Hikers

In the United States, more than 38 million people annually go hiking and the popular recreational activity has recently seen increased interest in its more competitive and extreme forms. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) reminds all hikers, whether avid or recreational, injuries are common and careful planning is essential to reducing the likelihood...

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The thin green line: fighting fossil fuel exports in the Pacific Northwest

There is an effort afoot to use the US Pacific Northwest as conveyor belt for fossil fuels, carrying them from mines and wells in the interior to the coast, to be shipped overseas. Atop a region known for natural beauty, sustainability, quality of life, tourism, and advanced-technology jobs, fossil fuel industries propose to lay a skein of heavy new rail lines,...

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Hiking the Appalachian Trail: Landmarks are reminders of the Civil War

Shenandoah National Park protects 79,600 acres along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains between the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the foothills of the Virginia Piedmont to the east. The Appalachian Trail follows in close proximity to Skyline Drive, the park’s popular tourist road. Most weary thru-hikers, on the trail since Georgia, find the week-long, 105-mile...

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EPA is not the root cause + 8 other things to know about the Animas River Spill

On a scorcher of an August afternoon, a crowd gathered on a bridge over the deep-green waters of the Animas River on the north end of Durango, Colorado. A passerby might have thought they were watching a sporting event, perhaps a kayak race or a flotilla of inebriated, scantily clad inner tubers. Yet the river that afternoon was eerily empty of rowers, paddlers or...

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Hiker gets lost, stays put and waits for rescue

In the middle of the woods, the best moves are don’t move, but do trust the technology. Pennington County, South Dakota Search and Rescue said a young woman who was lost while hiking did the exact right thing by staying put, contacting authorities and remembering that modern electronics mean you’re never really lost. The 18-year-old woman and her friends were...

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Free admission for National Park Service birthday

The National Park Service is almost a century old and that means a gift is in store for citizens. The National Park Service is celebrating its 99th birthday on August 25, 2015 with free admission, not including amenity or activity fees, to its 408 sites nationwide. In preparation for the centennial celebration next year, the National Park Service also partnered with the...

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Popular Fiery Gizzard hiking trail may have to close

The Fiery Gizzard is one of the most celebrated hiking trails in the country, but a land dispute could close the Grundy County, Tennessee trail by Dec. 1, 2015. A private property owner has told the state he will no longer grant access to hikers beginning Dec. 1. “What we have is as land gets sold or passed down to heirs, that handshake agreement, that verbal agreement...

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Shifting Rainfall Patterns May Change Southern Appalachian Forest Structure

A new research study by U.S. Forest Service scientists finds that changes in rainfall patterns in the southern Appalachians due to climate change could reduce growth in six hardwood tree species common to the region. The findings have implications for forest managers in the Southeast, where climate variability (more extreme events or changes in precipitation...

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How to train for high altitude

High-altitude training is important for proper fitness and to avoid health risks like high-altitude pulmonary edema. You’ve signed the dotted line and in a few short months you’re strapping on your boots and heading “into thin air.” Whether it is climbing Mt. Everest or Mt. Evans, you’re going to need to improve your high-altitude fitness,...

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Get Your Kids Hiking by Taking a Llama to Lunch

Any parent who hikes with young kids is bound to hear a fair share of whining. “Why do we have to hike?” or “This is hard!” And the most common, “How much faaaaarther?” But worry not, dear parents. Paragon Guides near Vail, Colo., offers a fun remedy to prevent such protests: Take a llama to lunch. This half-day, family-friendly, guided tour not only serves as a way to...

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In the Heart of the Dolomites, Hiking and Haute Cuisine

The most sensible approach to the Alpine geological wonderland known as the Dolomites is also the most evocative one. Here’s how it’s done: After the three-hour drive from Venice Marco Polo Airport toward Austria, pull off the autostrada into the inviting city of Bolzano. In the pedestrian zone on Piazza della Mostra you will encounter the town’s best restaurant, Zur...

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Exploring Central Jersey by hiking

Although out-of-staters don’t particularly know New Jersey for its hiking prowess, the state offers a diverse range of hiking trails and parks that are fitting for those looking for a rocky mountain hike, a beachy shore run or a stroll through flat meadows, which Dawn L. McClennen, co-founder of njHiking.com, is well aware of. “We don’t have the elevation of something...

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Camp Clayborne Fulfills Wanderlust with Sleeping Bag Hammock

BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 10, 2015–After the successful funding of their first sleeping bag hammock, the couple behind the Bison Bag G1 are back with the next version of their sleeping bag hammock: the Bison Bag G2. The new polyester design features triple layer insulation ensuring that minimal body heat escapes during overnight adventures. The sleeping bag hammock is...

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Girl Scout Gold Award project clears buried hiking trail at Old World Wisconsin

Inspired by a love of the outdoors and memories of a 2010 tornado, Girl Scout Alison Campbell organized a team that worked 30 hours this summer clearing 4,250 feet of trail at Old World Wisconsin that had been untouched for five years. The project, which makes the Old Railroad Forest Trail safe to hike once again, was the culmination of Campbell’s Girl Scout Gold...

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400 Alaskan villagers are set to be the first U.S. climate change refugees

Kivalina is a tiny, remote Alaskan village that sits on a barrier island some 83 miles above the Arctic circle, and the most recent estimates show the village—home to 400 people—will be entirely underwater by 2025. This is far from news for the island’s Iñupiat inhabitants; the village voted in favor of relocating way back in 1992. But as climate change thins the ice...

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Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain – A Photo Essay

Grand Highlands is a real estate development in Henderson County, NC. What sets it apart is location. A location that is described as “an open meadow placed on a mountaintop.” Land that affords you some of the most spectacular views in Western North Carolina. I think of it as a picturesque spot for taking photographs of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and valleys....

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America’s national parks: ‘An empire of grandeur’

One hundred years ago, only about a dozen national parks existed, all of them in the Far West. The departments of Agriculture, Interior and War each claimed some responsibility over them, but in truth, no one was in charge, and the parks suffered as a result. Stephen Mather set out to change all that. An energetic businessman with what reporters called “an...

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The World’s First Floating Wind Farm

Two weeks after passing a law that completely re-envisions the country’s energy system, France is already making moves to bolster its wind potential by inviting companies to submit proposals for floating wind farms off both its northern and southern coasts. France’s environmental agency ADEME posted a tender document calling for proposals for wind farms comprised of...

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Oodles of long stares when a poodle hits the hiking trail

Sean Longstreet witnessed four days of startled reactions when he backpacked over Piute Pass above Bishop, CA this summer in the Eastern High Sierra. The popular Beaumont school district music instructor was not behaving oddly. He didn’t pick his guitar strings or blow his trumpet as he walked the steep trails. Instead, his companion attracted stares of surprise and...

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Long Trails and Wild Spaces

The sign at the trailhead stated: “Beware of mountain lions.” Next to it another sign was posted that warned about the dangers of and correct behavior in a bear encounter. You are entering the Continental Divide Trail, one of America’s longest and most challenging trails.Here on the Continental Divide Trail, mountain lions, bears, wolves-and even the...

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Desert showcase: A look at America’s desert wilderness areas

Unbearably hot. Dry. Lifeless. Those are a few terms that the word “desert” all too often conjures up. While deserts are loved by many wilderness enthusiasts, it’s far too easy for the general public to overlook these areas when thinking about wilderness. No doubt, deserts can be hot and dry, but look a little closer and the life within them is...

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River of No Return

by Isaac and Bjornen Babcock Central Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return is a wilderness of steep, rugged mountains, deep canyons, and wild, whitewater rivers. The Salmon River Mountains, located south of the Main Salmon and west of the Middle Fork, are the most massive range, and dominate the Wilderness. North of the Main Salmon River are the Clearwater...

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