National Park vandals banned from all public lands

Three men accused of going on a vandalism spree across several western United States National Parks have pleaded guilty and will be banned from all public lands for the next five years. Before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs the three Canadian men affiliated with the group “High On Life” admitted to breaking the...

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Impacts of the Party Rock Fire on Hickory Nut Gorge

Environmental experts will present information about the long-term effects of the Party Rock Fire on the natural environment in Hickory Nut Gorge on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Community Hall at the Lake Lure Municipal Building. Experts include Clint Calhoun with the Town of Lake Lure, Marshall Ellis with NC State Parks, and Michael Cheek with the NC...

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Team Restores 25 More Parkway Overlooks and Vistas in the Roanoke Area

Arborists from the National Park Service Incident Response Team resumed clearing overgrown vistas on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Roanoke area December 4th through December 15, restoring 25 vistas so far with this stretch of the project. The project is a continuation of the vista restoration work launched in the fall of 2014 with the support of Friends of the Blue Ridge...

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Rock slide closes 2 miles of Zion National Park scenic drive

A rock slide has closed about two miles of a scenic drive inside Zion National Park in southern Utah. Nobody was injured, but officials say Zion Scenic Drive is impassable just north of Zion Lodge and will remain closed until further notice. Park officials say the slide occurred late January 13, 2017, covering both lanes of the road with about 200 tons of massive...

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National Parks are free on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees on Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Monday, January 16, 2017. As part of the park service’s centennial, national sites will be free to the public 10 days in 2017. The waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Reservation, camping, and tour fees will still be collected. If you’re...

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Don’t Do This

A 70-year-old Grand Rapids, Michigan man has admitted to stealing thousands of black spruce tree tops from the Chippewa National Forest. Black spruce is a North American pine species. It is widespread across Canada and the northern United States, including the Great Lakes region. The popularity of black spruce tops and other forest products that are used in the seasonal...

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Interior cancels oil and gas leases in Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine

This week, as John Murray drove north from his home on the Badger-Two Medicine River to his job as the historic preservation officer for the Blackfeet Tribe, the mountains glowed red. His wife, who drove with him, commented on their beauty. Murray, 69, noted with deep satisfaction, that for the first time in more than 30 years, there are no more oil and gas leases up...

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Exxon ordered to turn over 40 years of climate change research

ExxonMobil has lost a key battle in an investigation into whether the oil giant misled the public about the dangers of climate change. A Massachusetts judge ordered Exxon to hand over more than four decades of the company’s climate change research. The court rejected Exxon’s emergency motion to kill the demand from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey,...

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Smokies sets visitation record for 2016

Despite a late fall wildfire that shut down the park for nearly two weeks and scorched 11,000 acres, Great Smoky Mountains national park drew a record number of visitors last year. Park spokeswoman Jamie Sanders said more than 11.3 million people visited the Smokies in 2016, helping increase a healthy connection to the outdoors while boosting the economy. The visitation...

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Trump taps well of protest with calls for more drilling in national parks

President-elect Donald Trump aims to open up federal lands to more energy development, tapping into a long-running and contentious debate over how best to manage America’s remaining wilderness. The U.S. government holds title to about 500 million acres of land across the country, including national parks and forests, wildlife refuges and tribal territories stretching...

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Where kissing wolves won’t get you killed

Wolves are vicious animals. They have snarled through history as some of the planet’s greatest predators, pouncing on helpless prey all over the world — Russia, Europe, North America — with no mercy. In northern Norway, they’ve been known to savagely attack — with kisses. Narvik is a small town just an hour-and-half flight from Oslo, Norway’s capital. A historic train —...

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Time for Outdoor Retailers to leave Utah and its anti-recreation politics

Op-ed by Peter Metcalf, CEO and Founder, Black Diamond Inc. Over the past several months Utah’s political leadership has unleashed an all-out assault against Utah’s protected public lands and Utah’s newest national monument, Bear’s Ears. It’s time for Outdoor Retailer to leave the state in disgust. Over 20 years ago, I successfully led the...

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Has a young Dutchman found the solution to all that plastic in our oceans?

Ten miles from the Dutch coast, near the top of a concrete high-rise in downtown Delft, is a palatial glass-walled office better suited to Silicon Valley than a 13th-century city. The building is home to the Ocean Cleanup, a foundation created in 2013 that is hoping to deploy a giant 62-mile-wide filtration device in the Pacific Ocean, the initial step in an effort to...

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A Really Big Crack In An Antarctic Ice Shelf Just Got Bigger

Right now, a big chunk of Antarctic ice is hanging on by a frozen thread. British researchers monitoring the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf say that only about 12 miles now connect the chunk of ice to the rest of the continent. “After a few months of steady, incremental advance since the last event, the rift grew suddenly by a further 18 km [11 miles] during the...

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Public-Private effort secures high-stakes land in Grand Teton National Park

On December 12, 2016 the National Park Service purchased 640 acres within Grand Teton National Park from the State of Wyoming. The Antelope Flats purchase was made possible by the successful completion of an eight-month fundraising campaign by Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the National Park Foundation that raised $23 million in private funds. These funds were...

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National Park Service Sets Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy

The National Park Service (NPS) today released its strategy that connects cultural resources and climate change. The Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy (CRCC Strategy) is a landmark statement for the NPS and its historic preservation and climate change partners about how to anticipate, plan for, and respond to the effects of climate change on cultural resources....

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National Park Service to Update Smoking Regs to Include E-Cigarettes

The National Park Service (NPS) proposed revisions to the regulations that address smoking in national parks. The proposed revisions would change the regulation that defines smoking to include the use of electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The proposed revisions would also allow a superintendent to close an area, building,...

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Breakthrough technology turns coal plant CO2 into baking soda

When it comes to mitigating the impact of modern civilization on our planet’s environment, many scientists and engineers have been focused on ways to clean up excess carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change. India-based company Carbon Clean Solutions is making headway in that area, with its unique method for turning CO2 into harmless baking powder. The method...

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Congressional Republicans declare open season on federal lands

House Republicans have changed the way Congress calculates the cost of transferring federal lands to the states and other entities, a move that will make it easier for members of the new Congress to cede federal control of public lands. The provision, included as part as a larger rules package the House approved by a vote of 233 to 190 during its first day in session,...

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Warming crushes global records again in 2016

2016 has crushed the record for hottest year, set way back in 2015, which itself smashed the previous record for hottest year that was set in 2014. Such a three-year run has never been seen in the 136 years of temperature records. It’s but the latest in an avalanche of evidence this year that global warming will either be as bad as climate scientists have been warning...

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Citizen Scientists Invited To Document Biodiversity on Kaibab National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service wants visitors to the Kaibab to snap photos of plants and animals and submit them to an online database. The project will run throughout 2017. Mark Christiano, GIS coordinator, says participants need to download a free app called iNaturalist. “It automatically collects a lot of the data for us,” he explains. “So for example, you’re not just...

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Park didn’t heed Gatlinburg firestorm ‘call to action’

Officials should have doused a 1.5-acre fire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park days before high winds created a megafire that swept into Gatlinburg, former U.S. Forest Service firefighters said . At the very least, said retired employees with almost 200 years of firefighting experience, officials in the National Park should have summoned every resource available...

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White Pines, Hemlocks, and Sunlight

The Blue Valley Experimental Forest (Blue Valley) lies in southwest North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest. Located in Macon County, near the point where North Carolina meets Georgia and South Carolina, the experimental forest was established in 1964. At 1,300 acres, it is the smallest of the three experimental forests in North Carolina and the second smallest...

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Anza-Borrego Foundation has helped protect the California desert for 50 years

Dropping into Southern California’s Anza-Borrego State Park from a twisting ride down Montezuma Valley Road, you get the sense Anza-Borrego is a world unto itself. A world of ancient fossils and mysterious mirages, lush palm oases and hidden waterfalls, ocotillo forests, remote hiking trails and captivating wildlife from tarantulas and chuckwalla lizards to golden...

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President Designates New National Monuments in Utah and Nevada

President Obama has designated Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah and Gold Butte National Monument in southeastern Nevada. Representing the best of America’s natural wonders, these designations complete what tribes, members of Congress, state and local officials, and local business and community leaders have sought for decades. The new monuments protect...

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House Republicans want to ‘repeal and replace’ the Endangered Species Act

After attempts to chip away at the law bill by bill, Utah Rep. Rob Bishop says he’d rather scrap the Endangered Species Act altogether. The delta smelt, a tiny, silvery-blue fish hanging on for survival in California’s San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin estuary, is notorious among opponents of the Endangered Species Act. Efforts to help the smelt have...

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Restoring the trampled land of Utah’s national parks

“What is it about the desert?” “For me, it’s always been the wide open spaces. You know, you’re very small, and so therefore any problems that you might have also feel really small. And so it’s really a place to put things in perspective,” park ranger Liz Ballenger said. “It’s restorative.” But there are times when even the desert needs to be restored. The arches and...

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The Arctic is showing stunning winter warmth, and these scientists think they know why

Last month, temperatures in the high Arctic spiked dramatically, some 36 degrees Fahrenheit above normal — a move that corresponded with record low levels of Arctic sea ice during a time of year when this ice is supposed to be expanding during the freezing polar night. And now this week we’re seeing another huge burst of Arctic warmth. A buoy close to the North Pole just...

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The Park Service’s centennial took a toll

While flashing back to an impossibly busy summer, Kathleen Gonder describes Bryce Canyon National Park as if it had been under siege: “We’re scrambling just to be able to provide infrastructure — and that means the basics, like clean restrooms and parking,” said Gonder, who is chief of interpretation at the Utah park famous for its colorful, spike-like geological...

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Obama’s Mad Dash to Protect the Environment

President Obama and his top aides, who have ushered through an increasingly ambitious set of energy and environmental policies during his second term, have decided to flood the zone during his remaining month in office. For months, they had envisioned finalizing a set of regulations and other executive actions that would set the stage for Hillary Clinton’s presidency;...

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