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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

Help Make History on National Trails Day June 1, 2019

By pledging to improve a trail you’ll join a nation-wide movement to set a world record and (more importantly) sustain America’s remarkable trails system. With your help, we can preserve beloved trails for future generations. Plus, everyone who commits to improving trails will be entered to win weekly giveaways of awesome outdoor gear. How does this pledge work? Make...

Learn More

Bears Ears’ only visitor center isn’t run by the feds

With the monument facing stripped-down protections and sky rocketing visitation, a local nonprofit built its own guerrilla visitor center to educate the masses. The terracotta mesas and umber buttes reveal that this is an exceptional place. Yet not one sign from the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service, the two federal agencies that jointly manage Bears...

Learn More

Study finds 96% of national parks have hazardous air quality

Millions of tourists will head out into America’s national parks this summer in search of fresh mountain air. But according to a new report they should instead expect dangerous levels of pollution; roughly 96% of the nation’s parks are struggling with significant air quality issues. The report, released by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), found that...

Learn More

2 men endure 71-day hike to document the Grand Canyon

This year is the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park. Six million visit each year, but fewer than 5 percent actually hike into the canyon. More people have walked on the moon than have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon, 750 miles, the vast majority without trails. “It’s a hostile place and water is the key,” said photographer Pete...

Learn More

One million species face extinction, U.N. report says. And humans will suffer as a result.

Up to 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with alarming implications for human survival, according to a United Nations report released this week. The report’s findings underscore the conclusions of previous scientific studies that say human activity is wreaking havoc on the wild kingdom, threatening the existence of living things ranging...

Learn More

A Small Town’s Battle Against Radioactive Fracking Waste

After an illegal dumping of close to 2,000 tons of dangerous sludge and contaminated materials across the street from two schools, a Kentucky community struggles with what to do next. Estill County isn’t the kind of place you’d think would have a radioactive waste problem. Half of this quiet, unassuming nook of eastern Kentucky is covered like a quilt with farmhouses and...

Learn More

What is tree crown shyness?

Sometimes trees can be a little too respectful of one another’s boundaries. Or maybe they just stop growing when they get too close. The phenomenon is called crown shyness — when the tops of individual trees avoid touching in the forest canopy, creating separation lines and boundaries in the sky. Experts aren’t exactly sure why the naturally occurring...

Learn More

Couple Spends 20 Years Planting an Entire Forest and Animals Have Returned

Nearly 30 years ago, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado returned from East Africa, where he was on location documenting the horrors of the Rwanda genocide. Following this traumatizing project, Salgado was to take over his family’s sprawling cattle ranch in Minas Gerais—a region he remembered as a lush and lively rainforest. Unfortunately, the area had...

Learn More

Thousands of acres in Kentucky and Tennessee will be protected as wildlife habitat

The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit aimed at conserving land and water, is acquiring 100,000 acres of forest split between southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee. It will be one of the largest land conservation and ecological restoration projects for the organization in the Central Appalachians. It will double the amount of Kentucky acreage the organization has...

Learn More

Smokies Park Announces 2019 Synchronous Firefly Viewing Dates

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the dates for firefly viewing in Elkmont. Shuttle service to the viewing area will be provided on Thursday, May 30 through Thursday, June 6. All visitors wishing to view the synchronous fireflies at Elkmont must have a parking pass distributed through the lottery system at www.recreation.gov. Every year in late...

Learn More

Earlier Springs Heighten Allergy Misery in East Tennessee

In the heart of South Knoxville sits one of eight Allergy and Asthma Affiliates clinics scattered across Tennessee. Allergist and immunologist Dr. Trent Ellenburg is already being kept busy at his family-owned business, where patients have started coming in suffering from spring allergy symptoms. “As we’re seeing warmer, milder weather, and lots of rain, we do see...

Learn More

N.C. Arboretum receives $1 million grant for statewide outreach

All across Western North Carolina, teachers and students are headed outdoors to find, observe and photograph local wildlife as a part of ecoEXPLORE, a citizen science program developed by The North Carolina Arboretum. Kids in grades K-8 who participate in ecoEXPLORE can earn prizes and help professional researchers by cataloging the plants, animals and insects that they...

Learn More

The disease devastating deer herds may also threaten human health

Scientists have called this neurodegenerative disease, which attacks deer, elk and moose, a “nightmare” and a “state of emergency.” Lately, the media’s been calling it “zombie deer disease.” Lawmakers are calling it a “crisis” and currently considering at least three bills at the national level to combat it. Researchers, resource managers and others worry it could hurt...

Learn More

Poetry graces popular park trails

Nature is pure poetry, judging by the artwork on Olympic National Park trails. The North Olympic Library System (NOLS) has teamed up with Olympic National Park to offer a sixth season of Poetry Walks. This year’s will continue through May 31, 2019. It features inspiring poetry along four park trails. During Poetry Walks, poems are placed on signs on the Hall of Mosses...

Learn More

An Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker On The Need To Protect Our Wild Spaces

This year on her birthday, Carolyn Burman decided to do a solo hike in one of her favorite state parks in Connecticut. She has magical memories of that trek. She grew up hiking it — her mother even went into labor with her while walking the path. She looked forward to a peaceful, reflective experience in nature. Instead, she found something else. “There was so much...

Learn More

Bill to preserve 400,000 acres in Colorado would be biggest deal in 25 years

An ambitious effort to preserve mountain wilderness and historic landscapes in Colorado will launch April 8, 2019 with the introduction of a bill in Congress that aims to protect 400,000 acres of public lands in the state. It would pay special homage to Camp Hale, home to the historic 10th Mountain Division. The bill — dubbed the Colorado Outdoor Recreation &...

Learn More