Chest-thumping Interior Department claims one success amid a sea of losses

Last week the Interior Department announced the sale of oil and gas leases covering over 50,700 acres in New Mexico’s Permian Basin for $972.5 million. Like a kid in a candy store, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke celebrated the “historic” lease sale, ignoring the reality of his shortsighted agenda: the rush to lease public lands for energy development has produced more...

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Mountains? Rain forests? Fjords? New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park has them all.

Key Summit is one of many hiking trails — or as locals call them, tracks — that crisscross the South Island near Milford Sound, the green gemstone atop New Zealand’s wilderness crown. Milford Sound sits within Fiordland National Park, which in turn is part of Te Wahipounamu — South West New Zealand, a UNESCO World Heritage site that covers 10 percent of the country’s...

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Spring is Arriving Earlier, Messing With Bird Migrations

Thanks to climate change, spring now comes earlier. But how much sooner the season arrives varies across the U.S. That’s according to a new study that assessed the first appearance of leaves and flowers in nearly 500 U.S. National Wildlife Refuges over more than 100 years. Researchers found the irregular seasonal changes affect migratory birds’ breeding sites, an outcome...

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California pledges carbon-free electricity by 2045

By many metrics, California is way ahead of other states when it comes to renewable energy. The nation’s largest state leads in generating electricity from solar panels and geothermal stations. As of 2016, California got about two-fifths of its electricity from renewable forms of energy. On Sept. 10, 2018, the state’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, signed...

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These folks pick up a truck load of trash every single week along Wilson Creek

A Clean Wilson Creek is a small army of folks committed to protecting this National Wild and Scenic River in Western North Carolina in it’s natural state for future generations. Wilson Creek begins as a small stream on the side of Grandfather Mountain and forms into an incredible national treasure over the next 23 miles. A Clean Wilson Creek provides funding for...

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Sprawling Jenner Headlands Preserve on California’s Sonoma Coast opening to public

Anyone who has ever driven past the hills that rise sharply near Jenner, California from the coast north of the Russian River outlet and wondered about the view from the top need wait little longer. Today the gates to the Jenner Headlands Preserve will be open to the public, adding a large, open space to the mix of protected, accessible lands lining the scenic Sonoma...

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Plains bison roaming free in Canada’s Banff National Park for first time in decades

Parks Canada says wild plains bison that were reintroduced to Banff National Park are now free-roaming animals. Officials say 31 bison were released last month into a 1,200 square-kilometre zone that features meadows and grassy valleys for grazing along the park’s eastern slopes. “Now, they are free-roaming wild bison and their path forward may not be...

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Cradle of Forestry to Celebrate National Public Lands Day

The Cradle of Forestry in America invites the community to take part in NEEF’s 25th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday September 22nd, 2018. National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) supports this annual event and uses the day to...

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How the Rise of Outdoor Influencers Is Affecting the Environment

In 1999, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (LNT) published seven leave no trace principles to “communicate the best available minimum impact guidance for enjoying the outdoors responsibly.” Today, these principles remain largely intact, despite calls for LNT to add responsible social media usage to the list. Groups like Hikers for an 8th Leave No Trace...

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There Could Be A New Normal In The Future Of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

With Tūtū Pele seemingly having come to the end of her latest eruptive run, staff at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park are working to get back to the business of running a national park, not responding to an erupting volcano. But it won’t be business as usual at the park now, or for the foreseeable future, as repairing the damage carries a bill of an estimated...

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North Carolina’s New Headwaters State Forest to open Sept. 6, 2018

After years of work, state and federal officials finally get to cut the ribbon on the Headwaters State Forest in Transylvania County, North Carolina next week. A ceremony will be held Sept. 6, 2018 to mark the opening of the new state forest, the Conservation Fund and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced. Located near the border with South...

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Invasive Species Are Riding on Plastic Across the Oceans

We know plastics are as plentiful in parts of the open ocean as they are in our everyday lives. But, until recently, scientists didn’t consider that such debris could also be carrying a new wave of invasive species to the shores of the United States. Now they’re finding that not only is that happening, but they suspect that some of the species will thrive. Not long...

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Everything Trump said about the Paris climate deal was a lie. His own EPA just confirmed it.

Everything President Trump has said about President Obama’s climate plan and why he had to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord turns out to be a lie. That’s the inescapable conclusion from the EPA’s 289-page “Regulatory Impact Analysis,” (RIA) released by the administration on August 21, 2018 along with Trump’s new “Affordable Clean Energy Plan.”...

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The long, strange trip of Deer 255

Standing in a thick patch of pine and fir, mosquitoes swarming her face, Anna Ortega lifted a radio receiver into the air, angling it back and forth as she listened for the blip, blip, blip of a mule deer collar. A zoology graduate student at the University of Wyoming, Ortega was tracking Deer 255, a doe that had braved road crossings, fences, wolves and other hazards to...

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Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record

The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer. This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere. One meteorologist described the loss of ice as “scary”....

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Fracking is destroying U.S. water supply, warns shocking new study

An alarming new study reveals fracking is quite simply destroying America’s water supply. That means we are losing potable water forever in many semi-arid regions of the country, while simultaneously producing more carbon pollution that in turn is driving ever-worsening droughts in those same regions. The game-changing study from Duke University found that “from 2011 to...

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US poised to allow more mining on land Trump removed from monuments

US officials have announced plans to allow increased mining on land that once belonged to two national monuments Donald Trump shrank, and to sell off some of the land despite pledges not to do so. The two monuments, now significantly smaller in size, are both in Utah. The draft management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument includes a 98-page minerals...

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An army of deer ticks carrying Lyme disease is advancing. It will only get worse.

Across the United States, tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, some potentially lethal, are emerging in places and volumes not previously seen. Climate change almost certainly is to blame, according to a 2016 report by 13 federal agencies that warned of intensifying heat, storms, air pollution and infectious diseases. Last year, a coalition of 24 academic and government...

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Glacier National Park is on fire — and yes, warming is making things worse

This summer has felt like a global warming turning point. Now, another milestone: Saturday, August 11, 2018 was the hottest day in the history of Glacier National Park, and its first recorded time reaching 100 degrees F. On the same day, lightning started three fires in the Montana park, which has since been partly evacuated and closed. On Sunday, hot and dry winds...

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New Land Protection at Yellow Spot in Roan Highlands

This summer Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy purchased 234 acres in the Highlands of Roan, securing high elevation wildlife habitat and permanently protecting a corridor linking Tompkins Preserve with Pisgah National Forest in Mitchell County. This acquisition at Yellow Spot protects rare plant and animal habitat, wildlife corridors, scenic views, and sources...

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Water Tables and Wetlands

Some wetlands won’t stay wet, according to new research that blends long-term observations and climate projections. “By end of the 21st century, all five of the wetland sites studied are predicted to become much drier,” says USDA Forest Service research hydrologist Ge Sun. The five wetlands are long-term research sites located throughout the southeastern U.S. They...

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Suspect in Yellowstone bison incident arrested at Glacier National Park

August 2, 2018 at approximately 10:45 p.m., Glacier National Park rangers apprehended Raymond Reinke, age 55, from Pendleton, Oregon. Reinke was wanted following an incident earlier this week at Yellowstone National Park when he was captured on video harassing a bison. Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said, “We appreciate the collaboration of our fellow...

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The Plan to Restore Hetch Hetchy

Numerous studies, including those by the National Park Service and the University of Wisconsin have confirmed that Hetch Hetchy Valley can be readily restored. The only questions are how much human intervention is desireable and to what degree should we let nature take its course. Removing some dams can be difficult, because sediment can build up behind them. This will...

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A Beginner’s Guide to the National Wildlife Refuge System

The National Wildlife Refuge System is the largest and most diverse network of lands and waters dedicated to ensuring the long-term future of America’s rich fish and wildlife heritage. Think abundant wildlife, clean water, clean air and world-class recreation. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the lands and waters of the National Wildlife Refuge System fall...

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Return of the Ghost Cat

The photo is black and white. It’s 8:02 p.m., according to the timestamp at the bottom of the image. The flash of the game camera extends to a narrow strip of open dirt, worn with muddy boot prints, the deep tread of machinery—and cat tracks. Standing in the open, left of center, is a slender, fit mountain lion. It’s dark and the image is grainy, but it’s obvious the...

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These six species are about to be sacrificed for the oil and gas industry

Republicans in the western United States have been trying to whittle away the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since Donald Trump took office. Under new proposals, wildlife managers would limit protections for species designated as “threatened” (a level below endangered), consider the economic costs prior to defending a species, and de-emphasize long-term threats such as...

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A Hemlock in the Town Square

Throughout the eastern U.S., the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid is decimating hemlock populations. In nursery experiments on young trees, high levels of sunlight reduced the number of adelgids. Researchers are testing that hypothesis in the forest. If the experiment has positive effects, thinning the canopy could supplement other methods like pesticides and biocontrol....

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The Old Way Is the Best Way

The “Ninemile’s” historic collection of buildings is part typical Forest Service ranger district, part tourist destination, and part working ranch. A standard complement of Forest Service employees works at the station—a silviculturist, District Ranger, trail crews, and others who ensure the District resources are maintained and the public is safe. But the other cowboys...

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10 (Truly) Hidden National Park Gems

The wonders of the National Park System don’t generally play hard to get. Want to see the Grand Canyon? It might be a haul to get to the park, but it will be hard to miss once you’re there. Some park jewels, however, are simply out of reach for almost every visitor. The reasons for this are multiple. In some cases, the Park Service consciously keeps the location of...

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The world is hot, on fire, and flooding. Climate change is here.

The worst ravages of climate change are on display around the world. Wildfires have ripped through towns in Greece, floods have submerged parts of Laos, and heat waves have overwhelmed Japan and Great Britain. These are striking examples of climate change playing out in its deadliest forms, and they’re making the term “natural disaster” an outdated concept. People in...

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Trump team stops asking drillers and miners to pay for damage to federal lands

For years, whenever companies wanted to drill for oil and dig for coal on federally owned lands, they often had to pay to offset any damage their activities had on the environment. Now, no more. This week the Trump administration scrapped long-standing requirements that companies undertaking energy development and other work on Bureau of Land Management lands make up for...

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Spring Is Springing Sooner, Throwing Nature’s Rhythms Out Of Whack

There’s a cycle that starts when the snow melts and the earth thaws high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It’s a seasonal cycle based on timing and temperature, two variables that climate change is pushing increasingly out of sync. To the outsider, it can be hard to see: Plants still grow, flowers bud, bears awake, and marmots breed. Broad-tailed...

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