Fees proposed for North Carolina’s DuPont State Forest to help manage growth

DuPont State Recreational Forest’s popularity has been increasing rapidly, and forest leaders say that growth is putting a strain on their ability to accommodate visitors. At the annual meeting of Friends of DuPont State Forest, members heard about a fee proposal that would bring in revenue for more amenities to help shoulder the growing load of visitors. The...

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Fire Danger High Across North Carolina

The U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are warning the public of high fire danger across North Carolina. Fire danger is high across the state due to lack of rainfall in recent weeks and low humidity. Conditions across North Carolina are forecasted to remain dry for the next couple weeks. April typically marks the height of wildfire season in North...

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Volunteer work day at the Blue Ridge Music Center

We’re at the beginning of another Blue Ridge Parkway season, and it’s time to start preparing the Blue Ridge Music Center area for visitors. The Fisher Peak Chapter of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway is planning a workday on Saturday, April 30, 2016 from 10 a.m. til noon with a hot dog cookout immediately following the work activities. FRIENDS will be...

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5 state parks that should go national

For nearly 40 years, Craig Pugsley has worked at Custer State Park in South Dakota’s magnificent Black Hills, greeting guests and answering their many questions as they enter the visitors center. Other than asking about the bathrooms, one of the most common comments is, “I can’t believe this isn’t a national park.” “People are struck by the size, the diversity of...

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We Just Crushed The Global Record For Hottest Start Of Any Year

NASA reports that this was the hottest three-month start (January to March) of any year on record. It beat the previous record — just set in 2015 — by a stunning 0.7°F (0.39°C). Normally, such multi-month records are measured in the hundredths of a degree. Last month was the hottest March and February the hottest on record by far. It followed the hottest January on...

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Greenland is melting way ahead of schedule

To say the 2016 Greenland melt season is off to the races is an understatement. Warm, wet conditions rapidly kicked off the melt season this weekend, more than a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule. It has easily set a record for earliest melt season onset, and marks the first time it’s begun in April. Little to no melt through winter is the norm as sub-zero temperatures...

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Fracking’s Total Environmental Impact Is Staggering, Report Finds

The body of evidence is growing that fracking is not only bad for the global climate, it is also dangerous for local communities. And affected communities are growing in number. A new report details the sheer amount of water contamination, air pollution, climate impacts, and chemical use in fracking in the United States. “For the past decade, fracking has been a...

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The Goat Whisperers of Roan Mountain

With the help of human herders, some hungry goats are saving the sensitive balds of Roan Mountain. Sixteen goats have gone missing, lost in one of the hardwood forests lining Roan Mountain’s southern Appalachian balds. Treeless and naturally occurring, the balds straddle two national forests: the Cherokee in Tennessee and the Pisgah in North Carolina. The balds existed...

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How to make coal companies pay to clean up their messes

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, is not in great financial shape. Last month, it casually skipped a $71 million interest payment, and analysts are speculating that it may be edging toward bankruptcy. Standard and Poor’s recently downgraded Peabody’s credit rating to a “D.” The company has $6.3 billion in outstanding long-term debt. If...

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Tea Party Wave Washes Up ‘Anti-Parks Caucus’ In Congress

A group of 20 senators and representatives has formed a de facto “anti-parks caucus” in Congress and is waging the most significant legislative and ideological challenge to America’s national parks in decades, says a new report by the Center for American Progress. The analysis finds that this anti-parks caucus is composed of less than five percent of Congress but is...

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Obama’s National Monuments Have Been An Economic Boon For Local Economies

The national monuments that President Obama has created or expanded are generating more than $156 million in local economic activity annually, according to a study published April 6, 2016. The report, which was conducted by Colorado-based BBC Research and Consulting on behalf of an organization representing small businesses, looked at the economic activity of out-of-town...

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Yosemite Gets $15M for Hiking Trails, Grove Upgrades

Rebuilding hiking trails and restoring the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias are among nearly three dozen projects being funded by a $15 million donation to Yosemite National Park from The Yosemite Conservancy. The project to protect the Mariposa Grove will improve natural water flows, re-establish sequoia habitat and create accessible trails. Conservancy donors are also...

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Cradle of Forestry 2016 Season Kicks Off April 9

The Cradle of Forestry in America historic site will begin the 2016 season on April 9 with a living history event, “Old Time Plowing and Folkways.” David and Diane Burnette from Haywood County will demonstrate how their Percheron draft horses work the land the old way. Weather permitting, they will plow the Cradle’s vegetable garden along the Biltmore...

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Which one of Colorado’s treasured landscapes could stage the next chapter of conservation?

Flowing from the top of the Rockies to the Mississippi River, the Arkansas River is one of America’s mighty river systems. Its headwaters make up an ecological wonderland and a recreational hotspot, cutting through rugged canyon country full of hair-raising land features like rock hoodoos and rough crags. This breathtaking Colorado landscape could be protected for future...

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Climate Model Predicts West Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Melt Rapidly

For half a century, climate scientists have seen the West Antarctic ice sheet, a remnant of the last ice age, as a sword of Damocles hanging over human civilization. The great ice sheet, larger than Mexico, is thought to be potentially vulnerable to disintegration from a relatively small amount of global warming, and capable of raising the sea level by 12 feet or more...

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New Study Confirms Fracking Contamination That The EPA Walked Back On In 2011

A new study out of Stanford University offers residents of Pavillion, Wyoming a little more clarity on an issue that has been plaguing them for nearly a decade: is hydraulic fracturing to blame for years of contamination in their drinking water? The town initially made headlines in 2008, when residents began complaining of strange odors and tastes in their drinking...

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Bison coming “home” to Montana Indian reservation after 140 years

Descendants of a bison herd captured and sent to Canada more than 140 years ago will be relocated to a Montana American Indian reservation next month, in what tribal leaders bill as a homecoming for a species emblematic of their traditions. The shipment of animals from Alberta’s Elk Island National Park to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation follows a 2014 treaty...

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Thousands of Ancient Petroglyphs, ‘Dramatic’ Solar Calendar Reported in N. Arizona

Archaeologists exploring the remote mesas of northern Arizona have uncovered a trove of previously undocumented rock art, including more than 1,500 petroglyphs, and confirmed the presence a prehistoric solar calendar, which has been marking the seasons for more than 700 years with a striking “shadow dagger” that travels across its sandstone face. Researchers made these...

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4 myths about America’s parks and public lands

Fact-checking four of the most pervasive myths used by anti-conservation land takeover proponents. As presidential hopefuls tour the country, some candidates are spreading false rhetoric about our national public lands, how they originated and to whom these lands “rightfully” belong. The standoff at Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has shed light on the...

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After 115 Years, Scotland Is Coal-Free

After some 115 years, Scotland has burned its last lump of coal for electricity. The Longannet power station, the last and largest coal-fired power plant in Scotland, ceased operations March 24th. What once was the largest coal plant in Europe shut down after 46 years before the eyes of workers and journalists, who gathered in the main control room. “Ok, here we go,”...

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Congress Should Confront the Rise of Violent Extremism on America’s Public Lands

Congress has the power and responsibility to investigate the threat of anti-government extremism to America’s public lands, public servants, and nearby communities. Since 2014, when Cliven Bundy led hundreds of anti-government militants in an armed standoff with federal law enforcement officials near Bunkerville, Nevada, anti-government activists have organized and led...

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Free Admission and Festivities for All during National Park Week April 16-24, 2016

As the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of protecting and preserving the nation’s parks and monuments, all Americans are encouraged to get out and FindYourPark during National Park Week, April 16 through 24, 2016. All National Park Service entrance fees will be waived for the week so choose a park, near or far, and discover what makes it unique. Each of...

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What is Wilderness Worth?

In 1964, Congress protected areas where, according to the Wilderness Act, “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Wilderness areas now cover approximately 5 percent of the United States – over 100 million acres. While the ecological and aesthetic value of these lands is apparent, their economic...

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Well owners in disbelief about NC’s decision to lift tainted water warning

Hundreds of well owners near Duke Energy coal ash pits received letters last spring from state health officials warning them not to drink their own well water. Last week, a letter signed by Randall Williams, the state health director, and Tom Reeder, the assistant state secretary for the environment, lifted the warning. Now, well owners such as Bonita Queen, Deborah...

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GOP Politicians Planned And Participated In Key Aspects Of Malheur Refuge Occupation

On a cold January morning, a posse led by a former Army company commander named Matt Shea rolled into the Harney County Courthouse and wanted to speak to the sheriff. But this wasn’t a group of militants, or outlaws. They were state lawmakers from four western states, including Oregon. Most of them were members of a group called the Coalition of Western States, or COWS....

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Taking Back the Native Land

In the Yukon, Carcross/Tagish First Nation youth are building world class singletrack trails and ski touring, redefining their people’s mountain culture and leading their elders toward a new future. The preamble and aftermath of the Gold Rush, and manic rush of the Alaska Highway some 45 years later, changed all of this. Endless streams of people and riches flowed...

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The wild, complex world of wilderness rangers

When Drew Peterson tells people he works as a U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger, they may assume his job is defined by solitude. But that is not always the case: On a busy summer day, a wilderness ranger may stop to talk with as many as 300 people, such as on a recent day patrolling the popular Green Lakes Trail off the Cascade Lakes Highway. “It can take up to six...

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Shell worries about climate change, but decides to continue making it worse

Shell Oil released its 2015 annual review last week, and the most surprising thing in it may be how concerned the company is with climate change. It’s hardly what you’d expect from Big Oil, and yet the words “climate change” occur 15 times in the 228 page report. While this may seem minor, it’s a lot more than climate change is discussed by most other oil monsters...

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February spike in global temperatures stuns scientists

Global temperatures leapt in February, lifting warming from pre-industrial levels to beyond 1.5 degrees, and stoking concerns about a “climate emergency”. Unusual warmth in waters off northern Australia also prompted an alert by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority about the risk of widespread coral bleaching. According to NASA analysis, average...

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“Bears Ears” region of Utah needs protection from drilling, mining and vandalism

A stretch of starkly beautiful wildlands in Southeast Utah is at risk due to energy development, looting and vandalism, but a movement led by Native American tribes could lead to its permanent protection as a national monument. Nestled immediately to the south and east of Canyonlands National Park, the region known as “Bears Ears”—named for two sandstone-fringed buttes...

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The Arctic Just Got A Huge Boost From Obama And Trudeau

Washington, D.C. has been hit with “Justin Fever” as Prime Minister Trudeau is in town to meet with President Obama — and attend the first U.S.-Canadian state dinner in nearly two decades. But the real impact of his visit might be felt less by the capital’s celebrity-starved journalists and more by the polar bears. Under a new plan for the Arctic — the “shared Arctic...

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Settlement Gives Utility The Go-Ahead To Dump Coal Ash Wastewater Into Virginia Rivers

A utility company that will legally dispose of coal ash water in two Virginia waterways agreed to treat waste going into the James River to a more stringent standard than the state required, though legal appeals to the controversial plan remain. The settlement agreement between Dominion Virginia Power and the James River Association comes a day after the company reached...

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