Don’t Do This

A 70-year-old Grand Rapids, Michigan man has admitted to stealing thousands of black spruce tree tops from the Chippewa National Forest. Black spruce is a North American pine species. It is widespread across Canada and the northern United States, including the Great Lakes region. The popularity of black spruce tops and other forest products that are used in the seasonal...

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Interior cancels oil and gas leases in Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine

This week, as John Murray drove north from his home on the Badger-Two Medicine River to his job as the historic preservation officer for the Blackfeet Tribe, the mountains glowed red. His wife, who drove with him, commented on their beauty. Murray, 69, noted with deep satisfaction, that for the first time in more than 30 years, there are no more oil and gas leases up...

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Exxon ordered to turn over 40 years of climate change research

ExxonMobil has lost a key battle in an investigation into whether the oil giant misled the public about the dangers of climate change. A Massachusetts judge ordered Exxon to hand over more than four decades of the company’s climate change research. The court rejected Exxon’s emergency motion to kill the demand from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey,...

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Smokies sets visitation record for 2016

Despite a late fall wildfire that shut down the park for nearly two weeks and scorched 11,000 acres, Great Smoky Mountains national park drew a record number of visitors last year. Park spokeswoman Jamie Sanders said more than 11.3 million people visited the Smokies in 2016, helping increase a healthy connection to the outdoors while boosting the economy. The visitation...

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Trump taps well of protest with calls for more drilling in national parks

President-elect Donald Trump aims to open up federal lands to more energy development, tapping into a long-running and contentious debate over how best to manage America’s remaining wilderness. The U.S. government holds title to about 500 million acres of land across the country, including national parks and forests, wildlife refuges and tribal territories stretching...

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Where kissing wolves won’t get you killed

Wolves are vicious animals. They have snarled through history as some of the planet’s greatest predators, pouncing on helpless prey all over the world — Russia, Europe, North America — with no mercy. In northern Norway, they’ve been known to savagely attack — with kisses. Narvik is a small town just an hour-and-half flight from Oslo, Norway’s capital. A historic train —...

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Time for Outdoor Retailers to leave Utah and its anti-recreation politics

Op-ed by Peter Metcalf, CEO and Founder, Black Diamond Inc. Over the past several months Utah’s political leadership has unleashed an all-out assault against Utah’s protected public lands and Utah’s newest national monument, Bear’s Ears. It’s time for Outdoor Retailer to leave the state in disgust. Over 20 years ago, I successfully led the...

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Has a young Dutchman found the solution to all that plastic in our oceans?

Ten miles from the Dutch coast, near the top of a concrete high-rise in downtown Delft, is a palatial glass-walled office better suited to Silicon Valley than a 13th-century city. The building is home to the Ocean Cleanup, a foundation created in 2013 that is hoping to deploy a giant 62-mile-wide filtration device in the Pacific Ocean, the initial step in an effort to...

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A Really Big Crack In An Antarctic Ice Shelf Just Got Bigger

Right now, a big chunk of Antarctic ice is hanging on by a frozen thread. British researchers monitoring the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf say that only about 12 miles now connect the chunk of ice to the rest of the continent. “After a few months of steady, incremental advance since the last event, the rift grew suddenly by a further 18 km [11 miles] during the...

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Public-Private effort secures high-stakes land in Grand Teton National Park

On December 12, 2016 the National Park Service purchased 640 acres within Grand Teton National Park from the State of Wyoming. The Antelope Flats purchase was made possible by the successful completion of an eight-month fundraising campaign by Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the National Park Foundation that raised $23 million in private funds. These funds were...

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National Park Service Sets Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy

The National Park Service (NPS) today released its strategy that connects cultural resources and climate change. The Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy (CRCC Strategy) is a landmark statement for the NPS and its historic preservation and climate change partners about how to anticipate, plan for, and respond to the effects of climate change on cultural resources....

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National Park Service to Update Smoking Regs to Include E-Cigarettes

The National Park Service (NPS) proposed revisions to the regulations that address smoking in national parks. The proposed revisions would change the regulation that defines smoking to include the use of electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The proposed revisions would also allow a superintendent to close an area, building,...

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Breakthrough technology turns coal plant CO2 into baking soda

When it comes to mitigating the impact of modern civilization on our planet’s environment, many scientists and engineers have been focused on ways to clean up excess carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change. India-based company Carbon Clean Solutions is making headway in that area, with its unique method for turning CO2 into harmless baking powder. The method...

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Congressional Republicans declare open season on federal lands

House Republicans have changed the way Congress calculates the cost of transferring federal lands to the states and other entities, a move that will make it easier for members of the new Congress to cede federal control of public lands. The provision, included as part as a larger rules package the House approved by a vote of 233 to 190 during its first day in session,...

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Warming crushes global records again in 2016

2016 has crushed the record for hottest year, set way back in 2015, which itself smashed the previous record for hottest year that was set in 2014. Such a three-year run has never been seen in the 136 years of temperature records. It’s but the latest in an avalanche of evidence this year that global warming will either be as bad as climate scientists have been warning...

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Citizen Scientists Invited To Document Biodiversity on Kaibab National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service wants visitors to the Kaibab to snap photos of plants and animals and submit them to an online database. The project will run throughout 2017. Mark Christiano, GIS coordinator, says participants need to download a free app called iNaturalist. “It automatically collects a lot of the data for us,” he explains. “So for example, you’re not just...

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Park didn’t heed Gatlinburg firestorm ‘call to action’

Officials should have doused a 1.5-acre fire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park days before high winds created a megafire that swept into Gatlinburg, former U.S. Forest Service firefighters said . At the very least, said retired employees with almost 200 years of firefighting experience, officials in the National Park should have summoned every resource available...

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White Pines, Hemlocks, and Sunlight

The Blue Valley Experimental Forest (Blue Valley) lies in southwest North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest. Located in Macon County, near the point where North Carolina meets Georgia and South Carolina, the experimental forest was established in 1964. At 1,300 acres, it is the smallest of the three experimental forests in North Carolina and the second smallest...

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Anza-Borrego Foundation has helped protect the California desert for 50 years

Dropping into Southern California’s Anza-Borrego State Park from a twisting ride down Montezuma Valley Road, you get the sense Anza-Borrego is a world unto itself. A world of ancient fossils and mysterious mirages, lush palm oases and hidden waterfalls, ocotillo forests, remote hiking trails and captivating wildlife from tarantulas and chuckwalla lizards to golden...

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President Designates New National Monuments in Utah and Nevada

President Obama has designated Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah and Gold Butte National Monument in southeastern Nevada. Representing the best of America’s natural wonders, these designations complete what tribes, members of Congress, state and local officials, and local business and community leaders have sought for decades. The new monuments protect...

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House Republicans want to ‘repeal and replace’ the Endangered Species Act

After attempts to chip away at the law bill by bill, Utah Rep. Rob Bishop says he’d rather scrap the Endangered Species Act altogether. The delta smelt, a tiny, silvery-blue fish hanging on for survival in California’s San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin estuary, is notorious among opponents of the Endangered Species Act. Efforts to help the smelt have...

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Restoring the trampled land of Utah’s national parks

“What is it about the desert?” “For me, it’s always been the wide open spaces. You know, you’re very small, and so therefore any problems that you might have also feel really small. And so it’s really a place to put things in perspective,” park ranger Liz Ballenger said. “It’s restorative.” But there are times when even the desert needs to be restored. The arches and...

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The Arctic is showing stunning winter warmth, and these scientists think they know why

Last month, temperatures in the high Arctic spiked dramatically, some 36 degrees Fahrenheit above normal — a move that corresponded with record low levels of Arctic sea ice during a time of year when this ice is supposed to be expanding during the freezing polar night. And now this week we’re seeing another huge burst of Arctic warmth. A buoy close to the North Pole just...

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The Park Service’s centennial took a toll

While flashing back to an impossibly busy summer, Kathleen Gonder describes Bryce Canyon National Park as if it had been under siege: “We’re scrambling just to be able to provide infrastructure — and that means the basics, like clean restrooms and parking,” said Gonder, who is chief of interpretation at the Utah park famous for its colorful, spike-like geological...

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Obama’s Mad Dash to Protect the Environment

President Obama and his top aides, who have ushered through an increasingly ambitious set of energy and environmental policies during his second term, have decided to flood the zone during his remaining month in office. For months, they had envisioned finalizing a set of regulations and other executive actions that would set the stage for Hillary Clinton’s presidency;...

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As Trump Signals Climate Action Pullback, Local Leaders Push Forward

The incoming Trump administration appears determined to reverse much of what President Obama has tried to achieve on climate and environment policy. In position papers, agency questionnaires and the résumés of incoming senior officials, the direction is clear — an about-face from eight years of policies designed to reduce climate-altering emissions and address the...

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Obama invokes 1953 law to indefinitely block drilling in Arctic and Atlantic oceans

President Barack Obama on Dec. 20, 2016 moved to indefinitely block drilling in vast swaths of U.S. waters. The president had been expected to take the action by invoking a provision in a 1953 law that governs offshore leases. The law allows a president to withdraw any currently unleased lands in the Outer Continental Shelf from future lease sales. There is no provision...

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U.S. Interior Dept finalizes rule to protect waterways from coal mining

The U.S. Interior Department on Dec. 19, 2016 finalized a contentious rule to protect streams and forests from the impact of coal mining, one of the Obama administration’s last major environmental regulations that the incoming Trump administration is likely to target. The Stream Protection Rule, which the coal industry strongly opposes, updates 33-year-old...

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Canada’s 150th birthday gift to you: Free pass to national parks all year long

On July 1, 2017, Canada turns 150 years old. Kicking off the festivities on New Year’s Day, the stewards of the country’s protected natural treasures, Parks Canada, has a gift for all: a free, multiuse pass to the country’s 47 national parks and national park reserves. Parks and reserves, which indicate areas earmarked as national parks pending native land claim...

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Scientists confirm that warm ocean water is melting the biggest glacier in East Antarctica

Scientists at institutions in the United States and Australia published a set of unprecedented ocean observations near the largest glacier of the largest ice sheet in the world: Totten glacier, East Antarctica. And the result was a troubling confirmation of what scientists already feared — Totten is melting from below. The measurements, sampling ocean temperatures in...

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Solar capacity has increased 99% since last quarter

The U.S. solar industry just experienced a quarter of record-breaking growth, with 4,143 megawatts of solar capacity added between July and September. That’s a 99 percent increase over the previous quarter, and a 191 percent increase over the same time period last year. Those numbers come from a quarterly report issued by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)...

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Proposed National Park System Addition in South Carolina

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis will be in South Carolina Thursday, December 15, 2016 at the invitation of U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn (D-SC) to hear comments on proposals to add Reconstruction Era sites in Beaufort County to the National Park System. The Reconstruction Era began during the Civil War and lasted until the dawn of Jim Crow racial...

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