Wilderness Skills Institute Seeks Trainees Dedicated to Conservation

Dedicated individuals seeking to further their skills and experience in environmental conservation are invited to apply for the 2019 Wilderness Skills Institute (WSI), a two-week training course that provides a variety of instruction on basic to advanced-level skills necessary for working in wilderness environments. Held on May 20-24, 2019 and May 28-31, 2019 at the...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Paving Project on Little River Road

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a pavement preservation project will begin Tuesday, February 19, 2019 on Little River Road. A thin pavement overlay will be applied to the entire length of the 16.5-mile roadway between Sugarlands Visitor Center to the Townsend Wye along with associated pull-offs and parking lots and the 1.5-mile Elkmont Road...

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402 acres added to DuPont State Recreational Forest

DuPont State Recreational Forest continues to grow by leaps and bounds, with Conserving Carolina announcing an additional 402 acres added to the forest. The addition will help conserve key headwater streams along the Eastern Continental Divide and link the forest with more than 100,000 acres of existing conserved lands along the North Carolina-South Carolina border. In a...

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The Senate just passed the decade’s biggest public lands package. Here’s what’s in it.

The Senate today passed the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting millions of acres of land and hundreds of miles of wild rivers across the country and establishing four new national monuments honoring heroes from Civil War soldiers to a civil rights icon. The 662-page measure, which passed 92 to 8, represented an old-fashioned approach to...

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World’s Driest Desert Floods as Extreme Weather Hits Chile

The world’s driest desert is flooding and some of the planet’s wettest woodlands are burning. Welcome to summer in Chile. Rains high up in the Andes Mountains have led to torrents of water pouring into the Atacama desert below, sweeping away houses and roads. Meanwhile in the south, blistering temperatures have fueled forest fires, leading the government to declare some...

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The Green New Deal is here, and everyone has something to say about it

For the past several weeks, there’s been rampant speculation about what would be included in the much talked about Green New Deal, the ambitious plan to tackle climate change and remake much of the American economy. That anticipation came along with trepidation from some corners over whether the deal would include controversial elements that have already led to heated...

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Conserving Carolina working to rehab 100-acre wetland

Conserving Carolina is working on an ambitious project to completely rehabilitate the mouth of Mud Creek where it empties into the French Broad River near Fletcher, NC. The goals are to return the area to a pre-development state that provides a safe haven to musky and other fish, curbs the reach of invasive species, reduces pollution and helps provide a place for all...

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Earth Movers Poised To Erect Border Barrier At Texas Butterfly Refuge

Construction equipment has moved into place to erect Trump’s looming border barrier in southern Texas in the middle of a butterfly refuge, whose operators are furious that their land has been seized and environmental regulations ignored. The barrier is being erected along a levee of the Rio Grande in the border town of Mission. The 18 feet of steel bollards on top...

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Don’t mean to alarm you, but there’s a big hole in the world’s most important glacier

Civilization’s most important glacier has revealed another worrying surprise to scientists. The Thwaites Glacier, the largest outflow channel of the vulnerable West Antarctic Ice Sheet, now has a gigantic subterranean hole. The hollowed-out section is two-thirds the size of Manhattan and 1,000 feet tall — big enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, according to...

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Invasive Feral Hogs Continue to Threaten Roan Highlands

2019 marks the fifth year of coordinated efforts to manage invasive feral hogs in the Highlands of Roan. These hogs damage the fragile, globally important ecosystems of Roan as they “root,” eating rare species and tearing up the terrain. They also spread multiple diseases and pose a safety threat to outdoor recreation enthusiasts. “Since feral hogs can have devastating...

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Park Staff Ordered to Violate Laws and Stand Aside as People Trashed Parks During Shutdown

Rangers describe the despair of watching national parks sustain preventable long-term damage, as well as the terrible effects the historic standoff has had on morale. The partial government shutdown is over, but some of the damage national parks sustained during the 35-day standoff will last long into the future. During the shutdown, the Trump administration directed...

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Let’s say you wanted to escape climate change. Where should you go?

So you want to escape climate change. That’s a reasonable impulse — climate change rivals nuclear war for the greatest threat to human life in the history of our species’ existence. Every survival instinct we’ve cultivated to date should, understandably, make us want to get away from it. Let’s start by evaluating regions of the U.S. based on the basics of what we expect...

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Shutdown thefts and odd animal crimes in Smokies; Tennessee NPS sites “lucky”

Thefts, break-ins, and odd crimes involving animals have surfaced in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) as rangers take stock of any damages during the government shutdown. GSMNP spokesperson Dana Soehn said rangers discovered the theft of several tools from a facility in Cosby. The rangers had not determined the total value of stolen items. There was also a...

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The continental U.S. has warmed 1.8 degrees in a century. Seas are 9 inches higher. Here is what climate change looks like.

Michael Golden has hunted elk on this mountain in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley his entire life. It’s a tradition he shared with his father. But his son is growing up in a starkly different environment. Montana has warmed 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950, considerably more than the United States as a whole. That added heat is contributing to raging forest fires and bark...

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Microplastics in Tennessee River raise health, environmental concerns

  A cubic meter of Tennessee River water contains about 17,000 tiny plastic particles, and scientists’ increasing concern about the health effects of those microplastics when ingested by humans has added urgency to recent cleanup efforts. Tennessee Riverkeeper last week organized a cleanup effort at Dry Branch Creek, a heavily littered waterway that connects to...

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Climate Change Is Already Driving Mass Human Migration Around the Globe

Given the oversized role that migration plays in our current political discourse, you’d think there would be more emphasis on the one factor military and security experts believe will affect future migration patterns more than any other: climate change. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan agency that analyzes and audits federal policy to ensure...

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National Park Service Abandons Defense of Latest Pipeline Permit

The National Park Service has voluntarily abandoned its defense of the agency’s latest permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross the Blue Ridge Parkway. NPS issued the revised permit after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in August 2018, vacated its original authorization for the pipeline. On January 16, 2019 the Park Service asked the Fourth Circuit to remand...

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Huge conservation project paves way to caving, hiking and more in North Georgia

  A perfect collision of forces — an anonymous donor looking for a tax write-off, a failed subdivision that turned out to be a $40 million mortgage-fraud scheme, and strategic purchases by conservationists to protect area caves — paved the way for one of the biggest nonprofit conservation projects in the region. Nearly 2,400 acres on Lookout Mountain and into...

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National Park Superintendents stay mum during ‘blackout on news’

There’s an easy reason to explain why National Park Service superintendents have suddenly gone mum: They’re scared. That’s according to former National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. “In my conversations with folks that are in the field, there is an element of fear that has been conveyed down, that you’ll be punished if you speak...

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Ice loss from Antarctica has sextupled since the 1970s, new research finds

Antarctic glaciers have been melting at an accelerating pace over the past four decades thanks to an influx of warm ocean water – a startling new finding that researchers say could mean sea levels are poised to rise more quickly than predicted in coming decades. The Antarctic lost 40 billion tons of melting ice to the ocean each year from 1979 to 1989. That figure...

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Some Great Smoky Mountains National Park facilities reopen, but park is not back to normal

Locating an open public restroom in Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be easier starting this week but finding someone to suggest a good spot for a family hike or to replace a washed out trail bridge won’t be. Workers are reopening limited facilities and in a few locations around the park that had been closed during the partial federal government shutdown,...

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Fortnite Creator is Buying Thousands of Acres of Forest to Stop It From Being Cut Down

Creator of the online video game Fortnite, Tim Sweeney, has been captivating audiences for decades by developing intricate and interactive digital worlds for players. However, it is his work away from the screen that is currently grabbing attention from gamers and non-gamers alike. Sweeney is best known for founding the video and 3-D software company Epic Games in the...

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Oceans Are Warming Faster Than Predicted

Up to 90 percent of the warming caused by human carbon emissions is absorbed by the world’s oceans, scientists estimate. And researchers increasingly agree that the oceans are warming faster than previously thought. Multiple studies in the past few years have found that previous estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may be too low. A new review of...

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Innovative Park Programs Help Tell Native American Stories to a New Generation

Designated by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, Arizona’s Montezuma Castle National Monument became one of the first national monuments, preserving cliff dwellings in North America and showcasing the Sinagua culture’s ingenious use of the desert landscape to prosper for generations. Sixty years later, Georgia’s Ocmulgee National Monument was added to the National Park System to...

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‘It Belongs to All of Us’: Volunteers Help Clean Up National Parks in Shutdown

The government shut down over two weeks ago, leaving nine departments’ operations affected, about 800,000 workers without pay, and some national parks closed to visitors. Other parks were open with limited staffing, or thanks to help from states, but the National Park Service has warned that “access may change without notice.” As the shutdown continues, edging closer to...

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Oregon experts warn of invasive species that hitched a ride on North Carolina Christmas trees

While families celebrate the New Year, many are getting rid of their Christmas trees this week. With that comes a warning from the Oregon Department of Forestry about an invasive insect that could pose a problem if you don’t dispose of your tree the right way. Experts say roughly 8,000 Fraser Fir trees shipped from North Carolina to big box stores on the West Coast had...

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Park Service takes ‘extraordinary step’ of dipping into entrance fees to bolster operations at popular sites

The National Park Service will take the unprecedented step of tapping entrance fees to pay for expanded operations at its most popular sites as the federal government shutdown threatens to degrade some of the nation’s iconic landmarks. Under a memorandum signed by the Interior Department’s acting secretary, David Bernhardt, park managers will be permitted to bring on...

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A writer’s retreat: GSMA offers writing residency in the Smokies

Steve Kemp moved to the Great Smoky Mountains in 1987 for what would become a 30-year career with the Great Smoky Mountains Association, and following his 2017 retirement GSMA is looking to honor his contributions to the organization through a new writer’s residency. “There is a specific skill in writing in a way that engages the reader and inspires curiosity and passion...

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Five Ways to Make the Outdoors More Inclusive

After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Henry X. Finney came home to Virginia to sort out his future. He didn’t know what he would do, or how he would support his young family—until one day he saw a uniformed park ranger. Instantly, the next chapter of his life unfurled before him. He would be a ranger, and spend his career in the outdoors. “He said,...

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Chronic wasting disease found in Tennessee

Chronic wasting disease has been preliminarily detected in western Tennessee, increasing the threat to deer and elk in Western North Carolina. Tennessee initiated its Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan after white-tailed deer in Hardeman and Fayette counties — which border the Mississippi state line — tested positive for the disease in preliminary results. Tennessee...

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States are out of money to keep national parks safe during shutdown

We are now 11 days into this partial government shutdown, and our beloved national parks are really feeling the hurt. These shutdowns are not without consequences. Key scientists had holiday plans canceled and are being forced to work without pay. The Violence Against Women Act was allowed to expire. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency ran out of money. Many...

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A Year Stronger: Appalachian Trail Successes in 2018

2018 was a big year for the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Despite several major weather events and three partial government shutdowns, 2018 was filled with multiple Trail milestones and the long-awaited completion of several ongoing projects. Thanks to the hard work of conservancy staff, volunteers, members, communities and supporters of the A.T., the Trail will enter 2019...

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