Trail clearing on North Shore another example that public are future to public lands

Another spring work weekend on the Superior Hiking Trail reinforces a wider story: Some of Minnesota’s favorite footpaths are nothing without the sweat and commitment of volunteers. The morning woke up dry and with promise. It was warming fast in the early sun, which set the North Shore’s boreal tree line in sharp relief against an almost bluebird sky. It was...

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Here’s the company that makes those National Park and Smokey Bear signs

Everyone recognizes Smokey Bear, the lovable National Parks mascot who warns visitors about the dangers of forest fires. But where do those friendly anthropomorphic bear cutouts come from? Today, we talk to the company that makes a lot of the signs that show up at the entrances to National Parks and Forests. About 25-thousand signs and markers last year, actually, all...

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The Crew Building the Next Great American Thru-Hike

In eastern Tennessee, 70-year-old trail builder Peter Berntsen is laying segments of the Cumberland Trail. The path will wend more than 300 miles through deep hollows, spiraling waterfalls, and diverse flora in the heart of Appalachia, at the mountainous edge of the Cumberland Plateau. He lugs an axe and mattock up a rocky and root-riddled stretch meandering through...

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From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots

Seems like it could have been the edge of the Sahara or even Death Valley, but it was the remains of a large orchard in the hills above the city of Murcia in southern Spain last year. The soil had broken down into fine white, lifeless sand, and a landscape of rock and dying orange and lemon trees stretched into the distance. A long drought, the second in a few years, had...

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Hikes To Explore Colorado’s Western Slope This Summer

Colorado’s Western Slope is rich in backcountry hikes. Knowing where to find them — and what to expect on a trail — just got easier with a new guidebook by Grand Junction outdoor writer Bill Haggerty. The Falcon Guides “Hiking Colorado’s Western Slope” has details on more than 45 trails in Western Colorado. It doesn’t have just...

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Hiking and biking County Mayo, Ireland’s Wild West

When the sun breaks out in rural Ireland, you can almost believe in fairies. County Mayo is the kind of place that visitors imagine when they think of rural Ireland: whitewashed stone houses in impossibly green fields dotted with sheep; rolling hills that tumble into the sea or break off in sheer cliffs; narrow winding roads that lead to villages with pubs and fish...

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White Settlers Wiped Thousands of Miles of Cherokee Trails Off the Map. This Man is Reclaiming Them.

These routes once snaked through the towering woods of Appalachia, before they were lost to history. Lamar Marshall has spent a decade painstakingly mapping them, and their rich history. Marshall cannot make it over the log. It lays across a small creek somewhere in the Nantahala National Forest outside Cowee, western North Carolina, as a bridge. His problem is a bruised...

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What you need to know about wildfire safety

Wildfire season is approaching fast. Poor air quality that limits athletic activity, the devastation of the places where we play, the release of climate change-causing carbons into our atmosphere, the economic impact on rural communities… these terrifying consequences are just some of the negative effects of forest fires. Unfortunately, wildfires are only just increasing...

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Hike in the Footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt

When Theodore Roosevelt took office as the United States’ 26th president, he was only 42, the youngest president in the history of the nation. He was also a fanatic for the outdoors, and was actually heading back from a hike when his predecessor, President William McKinley, took a turn for the worst after an assassination attempt and died. The presidency and life at the...

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Spiritual Adventures to Challenge the Mind and Body

Any quiet walk in the woods can be a spiritual experience, and countless hikers head to redwood groves and high places to find a sense of awe. But if following a dirt track is a kind of prayer—the hypnotizing rhythm of feet and breath an ancient song—some trails are true religious pilgrimages, routes laid down by the faithful. From the high peaks of South Korea to an...

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Stages of heat illness: When you need to go to the E.R.

Did you know that 600-700 people die from heat-related illness every year? The elderly are most at risk, but athletic teens are too. And yes, even us hikers. In fact, heat-related illness is the third highest cause for death in young athletes. Specifically, football players in the month of August are at the top of that list. How sick you get from heat depends on how high...

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California scores its first big environmental victory of the Trump era

There was one revealing bit of testimony on Capitol Hill recently – from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt told a House subcommittee that the EPA is not reviewing California’s lone-in-the-country authority to set air-quality standards tougher than those found elsewhere in the nation. For months, California politicians, led by...

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Kanarraville Falls: Best kept secret becomes nightmare

For years, Kanarraville Falls was one of Southern Utah’s best-kept secrets. The hidden hike leading to a slot canyon waterfall was seemingly reserved for residents of the small town of Kanarraville. Over the span of a few years, the natural wonder turned into a big problem for the locals. They first noticed the increase during the Fourth of July weekend in 2004. Town...

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American Chestnuts in the Field

By the 1950s, two non-native pathogens had killed almost all American chestnut trees. “There’s a lot of interest in breeding a chestnut that looks like American chestnut with the disease resistance of Chinese chestnut,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “However, there hasn’t been much research on reintroducing disease-resistant trees to the...

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Exploring the Hiking Trails of Olympia’s Priest Point Park

Olympia, Washington has a special relationship with nature and its parks. For generations residents have been taking friends and family members out into nature, enjoying picnics, hiking through forests and strolling along the beaches, connecting with the community and lands they call home. Since 1905, when it was first opened to the public, Priest Point Park has been...

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How dangerous are High Sierra conditions right now? Even experienced hikers say ‘stay out’

High-elevation hiking and backpacking in early summer typically requires a tolerance for snow and swollen creeks. Except conditions this year in the Sierra Nevada, with last winter’s giant snowpack starting to melt, are anything but typical. They’re treacherous and potentially deadly – even for the most experienced and best equipped wilderness travelers. “In a normal...

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The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.

Like cheese in France or cars in Germany, climate change is a business in the Netherlands. Month in, month out, delegations from as far away as Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, New York and New Orleans make the rounds in the port city of Rotterdam. They often end up hiring Dutch firms, which dominate the global market in high-tech engineering and water management. That’s...

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Federal judge rejects Dakota Access Pipeline permits, calls for do-over

In a dramatic turnaround, a federal judge has ruled that permits to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline must be reconsidered, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has demanded the flow of oil through the pipeline be stopped. Completion of the controversial pipeline was stopped by the Obama Administration last December, with a call for an environmental-impact statement to...

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‘I’ve never seen that much garbage’: pair of hikers carry out other people’s trash

Two British Columbia photographers stumbled upon the ugly side of Joffree Lakes Provincial Park. Vince Emond and Devin Francis spotted the equivalent of three large garbage bags full of chopsticks, empty sushi containers and red party cups behind a boulder right next to the trail leading to upper Joffree Lakes. “I’ve never seen that much garbage clearly...

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Trump tells mayor of island literally sinking into the ocean ‘not to worry about sea level rise’

President Donald Trump’s supporters have been the subject of countless stories just since election day on the fact that they seemingly “vote against their economic interests.” But few stories note that they voted against their existential interests as well. Trump’s refusal to accept the scientific consensus on the reality and urgency of climate change poses a serious...

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The Shifting Window of Growing Seasons

When winter comes to an end, it’s no mystery that warming temperatures and spring rains bring new life. Wildlife emerges, flowers bloom, and brilliant green leaves begin to fill the ground and the forest canopy—all part of their seasonal cycle known as phenology. Observers know those green leaves don’t appear at the same time every spring, nor do they begin to fade away...

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Despite tribal opposition, Trump’s Interior Secretary wants to shrink Bears Ears National Monument

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended that President Donald Trump cut the boundary of the culturally significant Bears Ears National Monument in an interim report he sent to Trump. Tribes and conservation groups argue that this is a potentially illegal act and that Trump does not have the authority to eliminate sections of a national monument. “The review...

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Dust Bowl-ification of U.S. Southwest leads to 8-fold jump in Valley Fever cases

The infection rate of Valley Fever in the Southwest United States has gone up a stunning 800 percent from 2000 to 2011, as dust storms have more than doubled. New research directly links the rise in Valley Fever to the rise in dust storms, which in turn is driven by climate change. Valley Fever, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “a fungal lung...

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Volunteers Needed for Rainbow Falls Trail Rehabilitation at Smokies Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is currently recruiting for volunteers to assist the Trails Forever trail crew for a rehabilitation project on the Rainbow Falls Trail. Volunteers are needed every Wednesday from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers must register at least one week in advance by contacting Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator, Adam...

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Olympic National Park: Mountains, forests and shores

Olympic National Park is located in the same state as Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains and volcanic Mount St. Helens, but it still holds its own as a tourist attraction and cultural touchpoint. While Rainier, the Cascades and St. Helens are merely mountains, the 922,651-acre Olympic is “three parks in one,” as the National Park Service puts it. Like them, it has...

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California attorney general to Trump: You can’t touch our national monuments

California’s attorney general argues that President Trump has no legal authority to revoke or modify national monuments created by previous administrations. In an 11-page letter to the Interior Department, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra vowed “to take any and all legal action necessary” to preserve six California monuments that the Trump Administration may attempt to...

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Why Spending Time Outdoors Will Simplify Your Life

Think back to the last time you spent some quality time in nature. I mean, really lingered there. Where were you? What did you do? Did you sit among a sea of grasses and listen to the blades softly sway against each other? Did you stand tall on a mountaintop and drink in the solitude? Were you gathered amongst family and friends, simply enjoying each other’s company...

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Federal hiring freeze causing headaches at Rocky Mountain National Park

Every year for over a century, thousands of visitors have trekked to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in search of adventure and beauty, and while 2017 will be no different, many visitors will experience delays and long lines for much of the busy season due to a slow hiring process and budgetary challenges. RMNP has seen record breaking attendance in the last few...

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Oakland’s 510 Hikers Is All About Community

Nicholas Collins is founder of 510 Hikers, a community group that gets together weekly at various hiking spots. Collins is an East Oakland, CA native who grew up in the Hillmont area, and Leona Canyon Regional Park was his backyard. Hikers meet with Collins every Saturday morning, from kids with their parents and couples wanting to get fit to friends, co-workers,...

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Towns to Trails: Creating a 200-mile loop trail in the Columbia River Gorge

In the not too distant future, visitors to the Columbia River Gorge will be able to do all or part of a 200-mile loop trail that connects wineries, breweries, lodging and restaurants. It’s called Towns to Trails. One of the gateway communities on the Washington side of the Gorge is Washougal, where a shiny new trail will be a departure point. Day hiking is already...

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