Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Confirmed in North Carolina

Forest health officials with the U.S. Forest Service have discovered declining ash trees due to infestation by the emerald ash borer (EAB) whose presence was confirmed on the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest and on private lands along the French Broad River from the Tennessee state line to Marshall, NC. Decline and death of ash from EAB occurs in...

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Turning 100: Major Milestones in the National Park Service

For a century, the National Park Service has protected our nation’s treasures. Every day, it works to ensure that current and future generations can enjoy national parks – places that belong to all Americans. As we celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday this week, check out the top moments in the National Park Service’s history. 1864: The birth of the...

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“Smoke waves” from wildfires are getting worse — and getting more people sick

Shrouded by smoke from a fire in California’s parched San Bernardino Mountains, schools in the Victor Valley closed their doors earlier this month. The Pilot Fire was contained eventually — shortly before the Blue Cut Fire broke out, billowing soot and ash over the valley afresh, forcing further closures. As the district warned valley residents to “limit time spent...

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The Forest Health Advisory System

Do you want to know what pests are affecting the health of the trees on the national lands you visit or live near? The Forest Health Advisory System developed by U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Protection highlights potential future activities of more than 40 major forest pests and pathogens across 1.2 billion acres of U.S. forestland. Through a simple web interface,...

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The Antiquities Act and America’s National Parks

As Americans anticipate family vacations, many are planning trips to our nation’s iconic national parks, such as the Grand Canyon, Zion, Acadia and Olympic. But they may not realize that these and other parks exist because presidents used their power under the Antiquities Act, enacted on June 8, 1906, to protect those places from exploitation and development. The...

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Alaska Native village votes to relocate in the face of rising sea levels

The coastal village of Shishmaref, Alaska, voted to relocate due to climate change–induced rising sea levels, according to the city council secretary. The community is home to about 600 people, most of whom are Inupiat Inuit, and welcomed votes from tribal and non-tribal residents alike. This isn’t the first time the village has voted to relocate. In 2002, residents...

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America’s natural heritage

National parks are the “spacious skies” and “mountain majesties” of elementary school choirs. They’re living postcards from adventurers who had the foresight to preserve natural wonders for those who followed. The 59 U.S. parks are stark and arid, elevated and lush, watery and forbidding. They’re wild. And perhaps most important, they’re common ground. The vast acreage...

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Rocky Flats: A Wildlife Refuge Confronts its Radioactive Past

A barn owl bursts from the tall prairie grasses. Elk skitter among cottonwood trees near an old stagecoach halt. A shrew crosses a track and hurtles into milkweed, where monarch butterflies feed. Somewhere amid the rare xeric grasses are coyotes, moose, mule deer, a handful of endangered Preble’s meadow jumping mice, and more than 600 plant species....

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NASA: Searing July 2016 Was ‘Absolutely The Hottest Month’ On Record

Yes, it’s hot out there thanks to global warming. NASA reports that last month was the hottest July on record. That follows the hottest June on record, hottest May, April, March, February, and January. It’s almost like there is a pattern…. How hot was it last month? Parts of the Arctic and Antarctic averaged as high as 7.7°C (13.9°F) above average. No wonder we’ve seen...

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A Refuge in the Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park creates space for wildness, adventure, and imagination. When you think of the Smoky Mountains, think of refuge. The Smokies are a refuge for dreams of freedom, of unimpeded rambling, adventure, and of the faraway that was contained within the nearby, a refuge for magic, for wildness, for the imagination. Wilderness is like that. It...

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Marathon man: runner will log 26.2 miles in each of 59 national parks

Bill Sycalik loves to run, and he has a fondness for America’s national parks. Sycalik, 45, is combining those two interests in a unique — and some might say a little crazy — plan to run the length of a standard marathon in each of the nation’s 59 national parks. Sycalik came one step closer to accomplishing this feat when he checked park No. 8 off his list...

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Key tract protected near Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway

For many visitors heading to the Blue Ridge Parkway via the twisting, mountainous ribbon of road known as N.C. 80, the rippling ride and scenic views might satisfy their appetite before ever reaching the national park. But the land surrounding the switchbacks of N.C. 80 have all been privately owned, leaving it vulnerable to development or timbering, and diminished...

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Interior Announces Fastest Successful Recovery of an Endangered Species Act-Listed Mammal

Representing the fastest successful recovery for any Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed mammal in the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the final de-listing of three subspecies of island fox native to California’s Channel Islands. The removal of the San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Island fox subspecies from the List of...

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Forest Service Founder Gifford Pinchot’s story

The life in which U.S. Forest Service founder Gifford Pinchot was born into wasn’t much different than what millions of Downton Abbey fans have come to know through that popular PBS period drama: huge homes, servants and vast expanses of lands were the accoutrements of many in Pinchot’s class. On Aug. 11, 1865, the infant named Gifford, born at the Pinchot family’s...

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At national parks 90 years ago, ‘Don’t feed the bears’ was not the prevailing wisdom

On August 25th, take a moment to say “happy birthday” to the National Parks Service. It’s turning 100 years old. And my, how some things have changed in that century. Take, for example, how the parks deal with bears. Today, the Park Service characterizes the possibility of seeing live bears – black, grizzly or polar in dozens of parks across the...

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The Secrets of the Wood Wide Web

Epping Forest is a heavily regulated place. First designated as a royal hunting ground by Henry II in the twelfth century, with severe penalties imposed on commoners for poaching, it has since 1878 been managed by the City of London Corporation, which governs behavior within its bounds using forty-eight bylaws. The forest is today almost completely contained within the...

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Americans are proud of their national parks and are willing to pay more to preserve them

Researchers from Harvard and Colorado State have found that Americans would be willing to pay 30 times more than the current annual appropriation in order to preserve and maintain the US National Park system. According to the study, the US public would pay more than $90 billion a year to sustain and protect America’s iconic places. Yet the US National Park system...

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Russia spills two Deepwater Horizons of oil each year

The Komi Republic in northern Russia is renowned for its many lakes, but sites contaminated by oil are almost just as easy to find in the Usinsk oilfields. From pumps dripping oil and huge ponds of black sludge to dying trees and undergrowth — a likely sign of an underground pipeline leak — these spills are relatively small and rarely garner media attention. But they add...

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Do Oil Companies Really Need $4 Billion Per Year of Taxpayers’ Money?

What would happen if the federal government ended its subsidies to companies that drill for oil and gas? The American oil and gas industry has argued that such a move would leave the United States more dependent on foreign energy. Many environmental activists counter that ending subsidies could move the United States toward a future free of fossil fuels — helping it...

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Smoky Mountains National Park releases new biodiversity web application

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has partnered with the University of Tennessee to create a new web application that locates more than 1,800 plant and animal species according to their suitable habitats. Everyone from park managers to school groups are expected to benefit from the new biodiversity web application. The “Species Mapper” uses locations...

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LED Lighting Miracle: ‘One Of The Fastest Technology Shifts In Human History’

“The rapid adoption of LEDs in lighting marks one of the fastest technology shifts in human history,” Goldman Sachs stated in a new report. The accelerated deployment of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs is on track to save U.S. consumers and businesses $20 billion a year in electricity costs within a decade, which would lower U.S. CO2 emissions by some 100 million metric...

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AmeriCorps is Accepting Applications

Conservation Trust for North Carolina is the host organization for AmeriCorps, a ten-month national service program in environmental education and outreach. The program is currently accepting applications for the 2017 service year, which will start on October 4, 2016 and end on July 21, 2017. AmeriCorps members will be stationed at host organizations around the state....

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NC Toxicologist: Water Near Duke’s Dumps Not Safe to Drink

North Carolina’s top public health official acted unethically and possibly illegally by telling residents living near Duke Energy coal ash pits that their well water is safe to drink when it’s contaminated with a chemical known to cause cancer, a state toxicologist said in sworn testimony. The Associated Press obtained a full copy of the 220-page deposition...

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Life In The Park: Finding Meaning In Park Service Work

There’s a popular refrain among National Park Service employees, one that doubles as a reminder, of sorts, after a long, wearisome day: “We get paid in sunrises and sunsets.” For many park employees, the pay is seasonal and not great. The hours are long. The question is usually the same (“Where’s the bathroom?”). And no matter how many...

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Feds cancel energy leases in White River National Forest

A much-anticipated Bureau of Land Management decision to move forward with plans to cancel 25 previously issued but never-developed oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide region met with the usual praise from conservation groups and industry criticism. The BLM formally released its final environmental impact statement for its review of 65 existing leases on the White...

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DISMANTLED — The North Carolina Government’s Attack on Environmental Protections

After decades of protecting North Carolina’s natural resources as well as its economy, over the past six years the North Carolina General Assembly and executive branch have begun to systematically dismantle the longstanding, sensible policies that make North Carolina a great place to visit, live, and do business. Attacks on our environment include: Slashing by 40% the...

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What Happens When You Demolish Two 100-Year-Old Dams

Can the largest river restoration project in history serve as a template for other waterways across the country? “A river is never silent…Reservoirs stilled my song.” Narrated from the point of view of Washington’s Elwha River, a new documentary about the largest dam removal project in U.S. history starts off on a somber tone before building toward the best...

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National Park Service Invites Everyone to #FindYourPark During the Centennial Birthday Month

The National Park Service invites visitors of all ages to join in the celebration of its 100th birthday throughout the month of August. With special events across the country, and free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25 through August 28, 2016, the NPS is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque for the centennial. “August – our birthday...

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3 national parks in Oregon that never happened

Oregon is no stranger to National Parks. Since 1902, the state has been home to Crater Lake National Park, and over the last century four other spots have won lesser designations from the National Park Service. But in the mid-20th century, Oregon’s scenic beauty was prized by the park service, which proposed several sprawling national parks around the state. Three...

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German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks Too

In the deep stillness of a forest in winter, the sound of footsteps on a carpet of leaves died away. Peter Wohlleben had found what he was looking for: a pair of towering beeches. “These trees are friends,” he said, craning his neck to look at the leafless crowns, black against a gray sky. “You see how the thick branches point away from each other? That’s so they don’t...

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Cradle of Forestry Celebrates Train History Day

The Cradle of Forestry invites the public to enjoy a Saturday, July 30, 2016 program about western North Carolina’s logging train history and the 1915 Climax logging locomotive on display at the Cradle. Visitors will learn about the locomotive and explore the rich history of a time when many livelihoods depended on logging trains winding their way through the...

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Democratic Platform Calls For WWII-Scale Mobilization To Solve Climate Crisis

This month, the full Democratic Platform Committee approved the strongest statement about the urgent need for climate action ever issued by a major party in this country. The platform makes for the starkest possible contrast with a party that just nominated Donald Trump — a man who has called climate change a hoax invented by and for the Chinese, who has denied basic...

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