Because this message bears repeating: Don’t. Move. Rocks!

Drive down any of the roads in a national forest or park that follow a river and you can probably spot a cairn — a stack of rocks balanced carefully on top of each other. The word comes from the Gaelic for “heap of stones” and many can be quite beautiful. Cairns can be good things when they are done right. Properly built cairns help mark trails to keep hikers from...

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Reforestation Doesn’t Fight Climate Change Unless It’s Done Right

Planting trees in an effort to slow climate change is a complicated solution to a complicated problem — and experts caution that countries looking to implement robust reforestation programs need to be extremely deliberate in the kind of reforestation and forest management that they choose. “In general, [reforestation] is all good in the sense that trees, as they grow,...

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Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

“There are two rules when doing a gorilla trek. Keep a distance of at least 7 meters (about 23 feet) from the gorillas and don’t threaten them,” said one of the park guides. We carefully and mentally noted the rules as we began our trek to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, in northwest Rwanda in the shadow of Mount Sabinyo, the largest of the extinct...

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How the National Park Service Is Planning for Climate Change

Five years ago, just after archaeologist Marcy Rockman joined the National Park Service’s new climate change response program, the GOP-controlled Congress slashed its budget by 70 percent. Republicans were determined to squash President Barack Obama’s climate agenda, and many federal officials were deeply discouraged. So Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis convened his...

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With echoes of Wounded Knee, tribes mount prairie occupation to block North Dakota pipeline

Long before Lewis and Clark paddled by, Native Americans built homes here at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, using the thick earth to guard against brutal winters and hard summer heat. They were called the Mandan people. Now, Native Americans are living here again. They sleep in teepees and nylon tents. They ride horses and drive quad cabs. They...

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California is about to find out what a truly radical climate policy looks like

California has long prided itself on being a world leader on climate change — and with good reason. Within the United States, California is No. 1 (by far) in solar power and No. 3 in wind power. It boasts the third-lowest carbon dioxide emissions per capita behind New York and Vermont. Since 2000, the state has managed to shrink its overall carbon footprint slightly even...

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Mount Mitchell: North Carolina’s first park growing, poised for future

The Black Mountains’ Crest Trail scales the spine of the Black Mountains’ most prominent peaks in Yancey County – Mount Craig (6,645 feet), Big Tom Wilson (6,552 feet), Balsam Cone (6,611 feet), and Cattail Peak (6,583 feet), until now, the highest elevation, privately owned peak in the Eastern United States. Thanks to recent events, the maps will change, with a...

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Citizen Science is Sound Science Provided by You

Have you ever seen a cool bird in your backyard and wondered if there was some way to share what you saw with others? Better yet, have you thought about sharing your observations and having them used to help study and conserve those birds? These thoughts are an indicator that you might have the makings of a great citizen scientist. The U.S. Forest Service and National...

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Hiking’s Evolution, and Future Discussed in Book’s 3rd Edition

The breadth of Laura and Guy Waterman’s experience in the backcountry of the northeastern U.S. might lead readers of The Green Guide to Low-Impact Hiking and Camping — the third edition of the couple’s seminal 1979 work, Backwoods Ethics — to view it as authoritative. Yet the new title is fitting, for the Watermans always intended the text to be just that, a guide, no...

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Belgian Man Claims PCT Record

Karel Sabbe, a 26-year-old dentist from Belgium, claims to have set a new record on the Pacific Crest Trail. His GPS track looks legitimate, and, if verified, his time of 52 days, 8 hours, and 25 minutes is the fastest known thru-hike of the 2,660-mile trail that crosses the United States from the Mexican border to Canada. The old record was 53 days, 6 hours, and 37...

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Collaborative Project May Impact Weekday Hiking on Pacific Crest and Summit Lake Trails

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience (ACE), the Truckee Trail Foundation (TTF) and the Tahoe National Forest are working diligently to set the foundation for a major work day involving over 200 employees from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). The project will reconstruct sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) north of California Old Highway 40 past...

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Four Infographics That Show How Climate Change Is Affecting Your Health

The dog days of summer were particularly dogged this year. July clocked in as the hottest month on record, marking the midpoint of what is likely to be the hottest year on record. With sweltering temperatures came a litany of crummy climate news — floods in Louisiana, Zika in Miami, searing heat waves across the Northeast — with dire implications for human health. Last...

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Construction starting on Mountains-to-Sea Trail bridge in Price Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway

On Wednesday, August 24, 2016 construction began on a new 80-foot pedestrian bridge for North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail near Boone and Blowing Rock. The bridge, in the popular Price Lake Picnic Area along the Blue Ridge Parkway, will allow hikers to avoid a knee-deep wade across Boone Fork as they walk from the Boone Fork Trail over to Shulls Mill Road,...

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Mega Work Day Planned for Pisgah Ranger District

The Pisgah Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, and a host of supporting organizations have announced a broad based volunteer work day in the Pisgah Ranger District called “Pisgah Pride Day 2016,” which is being planned in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, September 24, 2016. Work crews will convene at different locations on Saturday, September 24, and...

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LATCH: Live and Relive the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has announced the Kickstarter campaign for the Latch app. For the past year and a half, the ATC have been working with design studio P’unk Ave to come up with a way to let people share their memories from the Appalachian Trail and connect with what’s happening on the Trail. Born from a shared passion for the Trail and based...

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Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument Permanently Protects Mountains, Forests & Waters of North-Central Maine

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, President Obama has designated Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the first national monument to preserve the landscape and honor the history and culture of Maine’s North Woods. The President’s use of the Antiquities Act to make this designation permanently protects 87,500 acres of lands donated...

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National Park Service Director Leads Centennial Celebration

National Park Service (NPS) supporters, visitors and staff are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service this week at 413 parks nationwide. The NPS is inviting everyone to join the celebration by visiting a national park this week. To help everyone find a park to explore, the National Park Service is offering free admission to all 413 national parks...

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Long Bunk Trail at Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The forest north of Cataloochee Valley in the Mt. Sterling watershed has recovered nicely from logging activities a century ago. It is dense, rich and diverse… a verdant testimony to Nature’s ability to reinvigorate herself. This hike starts at the north end of Little Cataloochee on Mt. Sterling Road and meets Long Bunk Trail a mile later. Long Bunk is a near...

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Climate change will mean the end of national parks as we know them

After a century of shooing away hunters, tending to trails and helping visitors enjoy the wonder of the natural world, the guardians of America’s most treasured places have been handed an almost unimaginable new job – slowing the all-out assault climate change is waging against national parks across the nation. As the National Park Service (NPS) has charted the loss of...

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Introduction to Hiking the Cumberland Plateau program set Aug. 27, 2016

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be presenting a ranger talk about several popular and easy hiking trails in and around the Cumberland Plateau. This informative program is being held at the Crossville-Cumberland County Visitor Center, Gateway to the Big South Fork, on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016. at 11 a.m. (Central Time). With the fall season fast...

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Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Confirmed in North Carolina

Forest health officials with the U.S. Forest Service have discovered declining ash trees due to infestation by the emerald ash borer (EAB) whose presence was confirmed on the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest and on private lands along the French Broad River from the Tennessee state line to Marshall, NC. Decline and death of ash from EAB occurs in...

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Turning 100: Major Milestones in the National Park Service

For a century, the National Park Service has protected our nation’s treasures. Every day, it works to ensure that current and future generations can enjoy national parks – places that belong to all Americans. As we celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday this week, check out the top moments in the National Park Service’s history. 1864: The birth of the...

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“Smoke waves” from wildfires are getting worse — and getting more people sick

Shrouded by smoke from a fire in California’s parched San Bernardino Mountains, schools in the Victor Valley closed their doors earlier this month. The Pilot Fire was contained eventually — shortly before the Blue Cut Fire broke out, billowing soot and ash over the valley afresh, forcing further closures. As the district warned valley residents to “limit time spent...

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The Forest Health Advisory System

Do you want to know what pests are affecting the health of the trees on the national lands you visit or live near? The Forest Health Advisory System developed by U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Protection highlights potential future activities of more than 40 major forest pests and pathogens across 1.2 billion acres of U.S. forestland. Through a simple web interface,...

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Trekking In Transylvania, Romania

The Carpathian Mountains run in a great arc across Romania, rising to over 2500 meters in Transylvania and include some of the wildest mountain walking in Europe. A walk in the Piatra Craiului National Park, also in The Carpathians, is a more gentle, rural experience. It’s here that Jude Law and Nicole Kidman filmed Cold Mountain, the park doubling up for Virginia and...

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McAdam, NB hiking trails offer nature and history

New Brunswick, Canada is a province filled with interesting natural destinations that are open for the public to enjoy. One of the most popular activities in the New Brunswick wilderness is hiking, with trails spread throughout the province. One of these is McAdam’s City Camp Trail that starts at the community’s historic railway station, where incidentally...

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Hiking Grand Canyon end to end: How 2 adventurers did it

Few people have hiked the length of Grand Canyon. Fewer still have done it all at once. Last year, Rich Rudow and Chris Atwood completed that walk, taking thousands of photographs in the process. “More than four thousand people have summited Mount Everest,” Rudow writes in a blog post about his adventure. About 250 have completed the “triple...

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The Antiquities Act and America’s National Parks

As Americans anticipate family vacations, many are planning trips to our nation’s iconic national parks, such as the Grand Canyon, Zion, Acadia and Olympic. But they may not realize that these and other parks exist because presidents used their power under the Antiquities Act, enacted on June 8, 1906, to protect those places from exploitation and development. The...

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Lakes Region Hiking — The Adirondacks and Whites, A Contrast of Mountain Ranges

The Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State are not geologically part of the Appalachian Chain, as are the White Mountains. They are much older, formed over a billion years ago when upward doming of bedrock embedded under the earth’s crust was thrust upward to create the mountain mass we know today. The White Mountains, on the other hand, are much younger,...

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Alaska Native village votes to relocate in the face of rising sea levels

The coastal village of Shishmaref, Alaska, voted to relocate due to climate change–induced rising sea levels, according to the city council secretary. The community is home to about 600 people, most of whom are Inupiat Inuit, and welcomed votes from tribal and non-tribal residents alike. This isn’t the first time the village has voted to relocate. In 2002, residents...

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America’s natural heritage

National parks are the “spacious skies” and “mountain majesties” of elementary school choirs. They’re living postcards from adventurers who had the foresight to preserve natural wonders for those who followed. The 59 U.S. parks are stark and arid, elevated and lush, watery and forbidding. They’re wild. And perhaps most important, they’re common ground. The vast acreage...

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After the Olympics, Go Hiking in Rio de Janeiro

Tijuca National Park includes the city’s urban forest and sprawling mountains, where peaks overlook the colorful cityscape and offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Established in 1961, Tijuca was Brazil’s first national park. It is the most visited park in the country and covers 9,768 acres. According to the visitor center, more than 2 million people per year make...

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