Be a Saturday Volunteer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smokies Service Days begin on June 29th, 2019. Individuals and families are invited to work alongside staff to care for park trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, and historic sites. Make new friends, earn service hours, and gain invaluable experience as you help keep our National Park clean and green. A segment of each Service Saturday is dedicated to insider-enrichment...

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Tips and Tricks to Keep You Safe While Hiking This Summer

With the official start of summer right around the corner many people are excited about hiking in the mountains. “Well it starts with a good plan and research at home, first and foremost,” DEC forest ranger Howard Kreft said. He says the outdoors are full of surprises and you can never be too prepared. “You want to make sure you have good sturdy...

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Visiting the nation’s newest national park: Indiana Dunes

West Beach is sand — and not just a dusting of the stuff either, but the soft, deep, undulating variety you’d expect to find near a beach. In honor of its designation in February as the 61st and newest national park, this would be a good place to work across Indiana Dunes — formerly a national lakeshore. It’s a popular place to catch some rays and swim from Memorial Day...

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Hear the William Bartram story

On Friday, June 21, 2019, a hike along part of the Bartram Trail will impart stories of the man who inspired it, with N.C. Bartram Trail Society member Brent Martin leading the adventure. The hike is one of HCLT’s series of EcoTours available to its members. Anyone can become a member on the hike. Reserve a spot by contacting hclt_ed@earthlink.net or 828.526.1111, or...

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How Much Nature Is Enough? 120 Minutes a Week, Doctors Say

It’s a medical fact: Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is good for you. A wealth of research indicates that escaping to a neighborhood park, hiking through the woods, or spending a weekend by the lake can lower a person’s stress levels, decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of asthma, allergies, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while boosting...

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Celebrating Cosby in the Smokies: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials invite the public to attend “Celebrating Cosby: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” community programs on Fridays beginning June 14, 2019 through August 2, 2019 at the Cosby Campground Amphitheater. The programs honor the rich cultural and natural history of the Cosby area through music, storytelling, and history walks. “These...

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San Diego’s Greatest Hikes for Every Skill Level

San Diego is known around the country as a beach haven, and for good reason: the county does, after all, have more than 70 miles of pristine, world-class coastline. However, those who actually live in the city know that its natural splendor extends far beyond its shores – the county is also home to some spectacular hiking. While San Diego’s mountains might not...

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Smokies National Park Hosts 2019 Women’s Work Festival

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Women’s Work Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum on Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The festival honors the vast contributions made by the women of Southern Appalachia. Park staff and volunteers will showcase mountain lifeways and customs that women practiced to care for their families in the...

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How to keep your tweens and teens interested in hiking and backpacking

Spending time with your children is important no matter how old they get, but how can you keep teens and preteens engaged in outdoor recreation during their sometimes rebellious years? “Kids need to spend time outdoors — a fun, healthy, beyond-the-ordinary place. Backpacking is a great way to help them appreciate all the beauty and adventure that the natural world...

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The Maine Coast Heritage Trust has preserved many acres on Maine’s Frenchboro Island, saving it from second-home development

In the late 1990s, 940 acres on Frenchboro, or roughly two-thirds of the island, was listed for sale. Frenchboro is an island of the coast of Maine, accessible by ferry. Fearing this spectacular property would be purchased for subdivision and seasonal home development, concerned island residents forged a partnership with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Island...

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Hiking Spain’s luminous Lighthouse Way

The Lighthouse Way, Camiño dos Faros in Spanish, traverses a stretch of coast that British sailors in the 19th century dubbed the “Costa da Morte” (Coast of Death) because so many of their compatriots died in shipwrecks there. The route goes between Malpica and Fisterra, Spain. Along the way it is marked by haphazardly painted shamrock-green arrows (that often look just...

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Colorado hikers, one blind and one in a wheelchair, use their strengths to help each other climb mountains

Trevor Hahn has been legally blind since he was born. He suffers from macular degeneration, iritis and glaucoma. “Ten years ago, I could drive a car. Five years ago, it went downhill and I could only see light after that,” Hahn said. “I can only see light now. No shapes, really.” He learned how to hike using adaptive techniques like following the sound of bells or with...

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1 Billion Acres At Risk For Catastrophic Wildfires, U.S. Forest Service Warns

The chief of the U.S. Forest Service is warning that a billion acres of land across America are at risk of catastrophic wildfires like last fall’s deadly Camp Fire that destroyed most of Paradise, Calif. As we head into summer, with smoke already drifting into the Northwest from wildfires in Alberta, Canada, Vicki Christiansen said wildfires are now a year-round...

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Following environmentalist Edward Abbey’s footsteps in the Utah and Arizona deserts

The road trip from Moab, Utah, to Ajo, Ariz., is a sunbaked ramble through about 600 miles of dreamy, lethal desert, beginning with the red rocks of Utah’s Arches National Park, skirting Monument Valley and the Colorado River, and ending in the cactus country of southern Arizona. Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was a desert rat, a chronic contrarian, a serial government...

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Hiking with kids this summer? Follow these safety tips.

If you’re planning on hiking with your children this summer, it’s important to be prepared. Whether you’re sticking close to home or heading to a national park for a day of fun, follow these safety tips for hiking with children: Keep children in your sight. Dress them in brightly colored clothing with multiple layers to accommodate the changing...

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How Tech Has Changed Hiking

Before Jean Taggart left home to conquer the 800-mile Arizona Trail last year, she made a detailed spreadsheet to organize her resupply provisions. To update friends and family on her progress, she bought a Garmin inReach Mini, which is a GPS and satellite messenger. She poured over hiker blogs and absorbed detailed information about each section of the trail on the...

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Hiking the Bay Area’s epic Skyline Trail

Thru-hiking a National Recreation Trail isn’t easy. Preparing for it is even harder. Backpackers need the right combination of fitness, finances, luck and time. A Pacific Crest thru-hike will set you back about $6,000. Considering the John Muir Trail? Permits are assigned by lottery exactly 168 days in advance. Not to mention the Sierra Nevada snowpack is at roughly 160...

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The Great Ocean Walk: 104 Kilometers of Stunning Variety in Victoria, Australia

Starting in Apollo Bay and ending at the Twelve Apostles, this coastal trail packs a lifetime of experiences into four to eight days. Trek through Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks, sharing verdant hills with cows and kangaroos alike. Wind through thick forests and catch a glimpse of a koala clinging to a eucalyptus tree, and marvel at the Southern Ocean in...

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Free, guided National Trails Day hikes planned at sites across West Virginia

Free guided hikes and other outdoor activities will be offered on public lands across West Virginia on Saturday, June 1, 2019, in recognition of National Trails Day. Begun in 1993 by the American Hiking Society as a way to introduce people to trails in their area, National Trails Day drew nearly 110,000 people in 50 states to nearly 1,200 hikes and other activities. This...

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The Big Bend 100: The Newest Long-Distance Trail in Texas

The newest trail in Texas, the Big Bend 100 looks to give the Lone Star State a strong long trail of its own. The brand new route highlights everything the area has to offer with mountain peaks, low lying canyons, sandy desert paths and plenty of desert heat. When most people think of Texas, they cannot help but imagine flat ranch land, cowboy hats and pickup trucks....

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We’ll soon know the exact air pollution from every power plant in the world

  A nonprofit artificial intelligence firm called WattTime is going to use satellite imagery to precisely track the air pollution (including carbon emissions) coming out of every single power plant in the world, in real time. And it’s going to make the data public. This is a very big deal. Poor monitoring and gaming of emissions data have made it difficult to...

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Praise Song for the Unloved Animals

Even the most maligned creatures of backyards and roadsides have a potent purpose in the world. Sing, O muse, of the lumbering opossum, of the nearsighted, stumbling opossum, whose only defenses are a hiss, a hideous scowl and a rank scent emitted in terror. Let us rejoice in the pink-nosed, pink-fingered opossum, her silvery pouch full of babies, each no bigger than a...

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Even avid hikers can find themselves in peril. Here’s how to stay safe on the trail.

By all accounts, Amanda Eller is an avid hiker. The trail she chose the day she disappeared was one she had hiked before. Eller, a Maui resident who went missing for 16 days before being found, is a fit yoga instructor and physical therapist, yet she still found herself in a life-or-death situation on what was supposed to be a pleasant, three-mile hike. No one sets out...

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How to Handle Your Period While Hiking and Camping

Going outside inevitably impacts the environment, whether all that remains are your footsteps—as Leave No Trace (LNT) would encourage—or you’re treating nature as your personal trash can and compost pile. And having your period while backpacking or camping only makes it harder to reduce that impact. In accordance with Leave No Trace principles, don’t leave anything not...

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Littering and Following the Crowd

Loretta Brown walked along Bishop’s Beach near Homer, Alaska, looking for plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, beer cans, cigarette butts, and old fishing nets. “You tend to find things among the driftwood, since the same tide that washes up the driftwood washes up the trash,” she said, stooping to pick up a plastic water bottle. “It’s kind of like an Easter egg hunt.” Brown...

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The one sure way to convince a climate denier

Back in 2007, South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis rebelled against the Republican party and his conservative state: He told the world that climate change was real, that it was caused by humans, and that his party would “get hammered” if they didn’t step up and do something about it. Then, unlike other Republicans who gave the issue lip service at the time, he actually...

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‘Unlikely’ Hikers Hit the Trail

Jenny Bruso is a 37-year-old, plus-size, queer hiker living in Portland, Ore. She went on her first hike seven years ago after a person she was dating asked her to join. On the 5.8 mile loop trail she felt self-conscious, walking slowly and sweating because she wasn’t used to working out. “I really didn’t know what to do except walk,” she said. “But I felt something kind...

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Photography In The National Parks: Is There In Truth No Beauty?

Quite a few stunning photographs have undergone their fair share of editing. For instance, the starry night photos you may see of the Watchman and the Virgin River in Zion National Park with the perfect lighting on both river and mountain even in the dark of night. Those are composites of two or more images blended together. Some photographers will state how many shots...

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Collaborative works to reduce I-40 animal deaths

The Pigeon River Gorge Wildlife Connectivity Project is a joint effort of at least 19 nonprofit and governmental groups working to bring the death rate of wildlife on Interstate-40 through the gorge down. The many groups under the connectivity project umbrella, including the N.C. and Tennessee Departments of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service, Southern Appalachian...

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How to protect yourself on hiking trails

Alarming headlines about missing hikers, or worse, can trigger panic about trail safety and the risks of exploring remote areas. The potential for danger exists no matter where you are, but the best way to guard against it is to be prepared and alert. Here are some tips for how to stay safe while hiking in remote areas, culled from the National Park Service and the...

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The Quest to Complete the Greater Patagonian Trail

In late 2017, German engineer Jan Dudeck was just completing a decade-long quest to create a new long trail through South America. The Greater Patagonian Trail (GPT), as he named it, would come to be 1,900 miles, stretching through the southern Andes from Santiago to the Argentinean climbing mecca of Mount Fitzroy. “This trail rewards the humble,” Dudeck says, “and...

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Plastics are sealing the planet’s fate

It’s impossible to imagine modern life without plastics. From the moment the day begins, we are using plastic. It’s in our toothbrushes, our shower curtains and our phones. We use it on the way to work in bus seats, car dashboards, and bicycle helmets. We see it at lunch in takeout containers and disposable utensils. Whether you’re in your living room controlling the TV...

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