Great Smoky Mountains National Park announces temporary ban of backcountry campfires

Due to extremely dry weather conditions and fresh leaves, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced a temporary ban on campfires in the park’s backcountry. The fire ban applies to campers using the park’s backcountry sites and shelters. It does not affect campers at the park’s frontcountry campgrounds or people using fire grills at picnic...

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North Dakota Oil Leak Proves Native American Protesters Right For Fighting Dakota Access Pipeline

Are you still wondering why so many people support the #NoDAPL protectors? This spill in October, 2015 is part of the reason. Imagine, if you will, tens of thousands of gallons of oil pouring into the river that provides the drinking water for over 10 million people. Would you want to drink it? or swim in it? or eat anything from it? A North Dakota oil well owned by...

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Colville National Forest looking to fill 50 seasonal jobs

The Colville National Forest is looking to fill 50 seasonal jobs in northeast Washington for next summer. Forest officials are going so far as to hold workshops to help applicants fill out forms. Applications must be submitted online at usajobs.gov from Nov. 15-21, 2016. Selections will be made from Feb. 13-17, 2017. Jobs would start anywhere from mid-April to mid-June,...

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Feds issue burn bans for Cherokee, Chattahoochee and Oconee national forests amid high fire danger

The U.S. Forest Service has implemented special fire restrictions due to extremely dry conditions, high fire danger and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. The move comes days after similar restrictions were issued in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests in Georgia, and the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina. Very high wildfire...

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Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Fire Restrictions

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests will implement fire restrictions due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. Effective October 28, 2016, the following fire restrictions are in place for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests until further notice: Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire,...

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New District Ranger Selected for the Pisgah Ranger District

The National Forests in North Carolina announced that Dave Casey will oversee management and operations as the new District Ranger of the Pisgah Ranger District starting October 31, 2016. “Dave has an excellent record with partnerships and collaborative experience and a tremendous background in natural resource management,” said Allen Nicholas, Forest...

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Wildfire burning near Linville Gorge, NC

Firefighters are responding to a wildfire burning along Old NC 105 (Kistler Memorial Hwy / SR 1238) near Linville Gorge, north of Lake James in Burke County, NC. The Paddy’s Creek Fire was reported Monday afternoon, October, 24, 2016 in the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. The fire is located near the south end of Linville Gorge, adjacent to...

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Forest farming can bring economic, environmental benefits to WNC

Farming: For most of us, the word conjures images of geometric rows of vegetables, cows contentedly grazing in well-mown pastures, and carefully pruned and tended orchards bearing grocery-store-bin fruit. In Western North Carolina, however, that traditional image of farming is being met with an alternate view: of the cultivation of ginseng and other medicinal native...

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Why the heck are there pig farms in the path of hurricanes?

Some 2 million chickens and at least 4,800 pigs drowned after Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina earlier this month. The storm inundated massive pools of hog feces and piles of chicken manure, spreading pollution from North Carolina’s thriving pork and poultry industry into the surrounding woods, rivers, and swamps. “I’m seeing a lot of devastation out there,” said...

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Wildfire burning near Sylva, NC

The Dick’s Creek Fire burning on the Nantahala National Forest and private land near Sylva, NC, is estimated at 200-250 acres. The fire is located to the southeast of Dick’s Creek Road. Firefighters are building hand and dozer lines and a helicopter is dropping water. Firefighters are also working to clear brush and leaves away from homes and other structures...

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Reducing Noise in National Parks

The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division at the U.S. National Park Service provides scientific support to all the national park units. Its researchers help park administrators understand the current state of their resource conditions and what the effects of pollution are on visitor experience and wildlife, and give them suggestions for how they might reduce pollution...

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Coming Soon to a Forest Near You

In August, 2016, another 689.67 acres was added to North Carolina’s Headwaters State Forest. Projected to open in 2018, the forest contains the East Fork of the French Broad River Headwaters (for which it is named), making it an important area to protect fresh, clean water. Land acquisition for the forest began in 2009, when landowner and former congressman Charles...

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Another Duke Energy coal ash spill discovered in the Neuse River

Waterkeeper Alliance and Sound Rivers have discovered a large coal ash spill into the Neuse River from the Duke Energy H.F. Lee facility, 10 miles upstream of Goldsboro, NC. A substantial but undetermined amount of coal ash was found floating on the surface of the river in a layer over one inch thick. The spill came from at least one of three inactive coal ash ponds...

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The bid for Bears Ears

One thousand years ago, clusters of pueblos teeming with activity dotted what are now the piñon, juniper and sage forests atop Cedar Mesa. Men tended to hundreds of acres of electric-green fronds of corn, beans and squash. Women ground corn and shelled beans on rooftops, while turkeys gobbled in nearby pens and domesticated dogs roamed village plazas. Groups of runners...

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We are almost assuredly living in the hottest year ever recorded, according to NASA

Last month “was the warmest September in 136 years of modern record-keeping,” reports NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). This follows a record-setting July and August, which were so hot, they tied each other for the “warmest month ever recorded.” Indeed, it now appears 2016 will crush the previous record for hottest year, set in 2015, which itself crushed...

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Nearly 200 Nations Agree To Cut Greenhouse Gases In Landmark Climate Change Deal

Nearly 200 nations have agreed a legally binding deal to cut back on greenhouse gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners, a major move against climate change that prompted loud cheers when it was announced on October 15, 2016. The deal, which includes the world’s two biggest economies, the United States and China, divides countries into three groups with...

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This little-noticed court settlement will probably save millions of wild animals

Somewhere in America, a wild animal is about to die. A leg trap has been set. Bait laced with poison has been laid out. A cage that no one will check for days is open and inviting with food inside. A little-known division of the federal Agriculture Department called Wildlife Services kills about 4,000 animals every day. Many of them are invasive species that don’t belong...

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Foothills Conservancy Protects 208 Acres at Bear Den Overlook on Blue Ridge Parkway

The scenic view from the popular Bear Den Overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway is now permanently protected thanks to Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina. Foothills Conservancy moved swiftly to acquire 208 forested acres along 1.6 miles of the parkway between mileposts 323 and 325 in McDowell County. The conservancy purchased the tract on September 20 from the Moody...

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The Civilized Black Bears of Asheville, North Carolina

Last summer, Colleen Boll was doing some work around the house when she heard her dog barking from a different room. “It was an interesting kind of bark,” she says, “so I looked out.” Right smack in her yard, pacing around inside her chain link fence, was an enormous, glossy black bear. Boll watched the bear puzzle out how to hop the fence....

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Forest Service Asheville Office Temporarily Closing for Renovations

The U.S. Forest Service will temporarily close the visitors lobby in its Asheville office on Zillicoa for renovations during the week of October 24, 2016. The office is expected to re-open October 31. During the closure, visitor services will be available at other U.S. Forest Service offices including: Appalachian Ranger District 632 Manor Road Mars Hill, NC 28754 (828)...

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Great Barrier Reef pronounced dead by scientists

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old. For most of its life, the reef was the world’s largest living structure, and the only one visible from space. It was 1,400 miles long, with 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands. In total area, it was larger than the United Kingdom, and it contained more...

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Fire Danger Increasing in Western North Carolina

The U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are warning the public of increasing fire danger in western North Carolina. Last weekend’s rainfall was not widespread and not enough to alleviate the dry conditions and persistent drought that has resulted from low rainfall in the past few months. Fuels in the forest will readily burn if ignited. Fire...

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Climate Change Is Causing Earlier Springs in National Parks

The National Park Service was created to protect and preserve the United States’ natural wonders. But what happens when climate change starts to alter these sites? U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a new report revealing that three-quarters of 276 national parks are experiencing an earlier onset of spring. Half of the parks studied are experiencing “extreme”...

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North Carolina’s record floods could have unexpected environmental consequences

Hurricane Matthew swept across the southeastern seaboard of the United States this weekend, bringing intense rainfall to North Carolina and triggering record flooding across much of the state. But as the rains subside and clearer weather rolls in, some environmentalists are raising alarm bells about the potential for yet another environmental disaster. Over the weekend,...

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World moves to offset airplane emissions in landmark deal

The aviation industry, long known for eluding emissions standards, will for the first time offset its pollution through carbon credits or funding green projects, the result of a United Nations-sponsored deal approved this week. Delegates at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal sealed the historic plan that some environmental advocates...

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Move To Change Access To Fiery Furnace In Arches National Park Draws Ire

A move Superintendent Kate Cannon believes will lead to better management of visitation to the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park has drawn the ire of guiding businesses and a member of Congress, who see the changes as unnecessary and economically crippling to the guides and damaging to the unique geologic niche of the park. A red rock maze of fins, arches, and...

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A Summer of Meaningful Service

National parks offer a variety of powerful place-based learning experiences including the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. Through this program, youth and veterans work in parks learning technical and leadership skills while also protecting, restoring, and enhancing our national parks. The unique initiative exposes corps members to training as they contribute to...

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Managing Forests for Water: Challenges in the Anthropocene

Humans are enmeshed in an ancient and intricate relationship between forests and water, and as the impacts of climate change are felt across the globe, the relationship will become increasingly important. A special issue of the journal Forests, titled Forest Management and Water Resources in the Anthropocene, examines the interactions between forests, water, climate...

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The best way to fight climate change? Don’t call it climate change.

American cities from Boston to Baton Rouge are getting hammered by hurricanes, torrential downpours, and blizzards amped up by climate change. Maybe that’s why Americans are coming around to the idea that the climate is actually changing. But are all the floods, heat waves, and other disasters spurring cities to prepare for our overheated future? Sabrina McCormick, a...

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Cradle of Forestry Hosts Forest Festival Day and Woodsmen’s Meet

The Cradle of Forestry invites people of all ages to celebrate the heritage of western North Carolina and the Centennial of the Pisgah National Forest during the annual Forest Festival Day on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. This is the Cradle’s largest event of the year. This activity-filled, family event commemorates the traditions of mountain...

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Caesars Head Hawk Watch

From early September through late November of each year, members of the Greenville County Bird Club participate in a count of migrating hawks at Caesars Head State Park. The Hawk Watch is normally manned by volunteers who call themselves “Wing Nuts.” More than 10,000 acres of prime, mountain habitat are protected by a complex of state parks and wildlife...

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FWS decision dooms North Carolina’s red wolves

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its plan for the future of the red wolf recovery program in North Carolina. Rather than confront the real challenges facing the effort to recover the world’s most endangered wolf species, FWS instead presented a roadmap for a disastrous retreat, announcing that it was going to try to save red wolves by pulling them out of...

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