The world has lost a tenth of all its wilderness in the past two decades

Wilderness areas on Earth have experienced alarming losses in the past two decades, a new study suggests. By comparing global maps from the present day and the early 1990s, researchers have concluded that a 10th of all the world’s wilderness has been lost in just 20 years. The study, published in the journal Current Biology, finds that just over 30 million square...

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Reseachers start long-term hunt for huckleberry secrets

We know the least about the plant we love the most in the mountains. When Tabitha Graves took up carnivore research for the U.S. Geological Survey base at Glacier National Park, one of the biggest puzzles needing attention was the role huckleberries play in the food chain. Although creatures from grasshoppers to grizzlies like the purple fruit, we know little about what...

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The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust

Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech. The city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Stretching into the distance lies an artificial lake filled with a...

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Elk killings lead to NC Wildlife rule changes

On a February, 2016 morning, biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission visited a Waynesville dairy farm where the landowner said he had shot three elk damaging his property — a bull, a cow and a calf. While walking the farm’s wheat fields and ridge lines, the biologists found even more dead elk, some gruesomely decomposed, some buried, which were not...

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Report Shows How Many Asthma Attacks Are Caused By The Oil And Gas Industry

New analysis from the Clean Air Task Force shows that by 2025 America’s children will experience 750,000 asthma attacks each summer that will be directly attributable to the oil and gas industry. The report, Gasping for Breath, is the first to quantify the effects of smog caused by oil and gas production and distribution. The authors used industry data submitted to the...

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Frackers told to shut wells after quake

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is telling operators to shut down 35 disposal wells that may have played a role in a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that shook at least six states September 3, 2016, Gov. Mary Fallin said. The disposal wells, which are linked to fracking and other industries that need to dispose of toxic waste water by injecting it deep into the earth, have...

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More of the ‘Little Smokies of Ohio’ saved

Two hours to the east of Cincinnati lies Ohio’s only state-designated wilderness area, the largest contiguous protected forest in the Buckeye State. Now, it’s getting bigger. A U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy project has resulted in the addition of 929 acres – known as the “Little Smokies of Ohio” – to the forest’s current 63,747 acres,...

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Sustainability: Giant Salamanders? Hell, Yes!

Any creature with a name like “hellbender” is bound to raise some eyebrows. But what if this animal was also one of the oldest, most interesting, and least known creatures to inhabit the creeks and streams of southern Appalachia? The eastern hellbender, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, is our region’s largest salamander species with adults reaching up to two and a half feet...

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Forest Service to Hold Open Houses at WNC District Offices

The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses at district offices on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in September and October, 2016 to provide the public with opportunities to talk with forest staff about local issues, district projects, and forest plan revision. The open houses will have a flexible format allowing the public to come at any time during the...

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Because this message bears repeating: Don’t. Move. Rocks!

Drive down any of the roads in a national forest or park that follow a river and you can probably spot a cairn — a stack of rocks balanced carefully on top of each other. The word comes from the Gaelic for “heap of stones” and many can be quite beautiful. Cairns can be good things when they are done right. Properly built cairns help mark trails to keep hikers from...

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Reforestation Doesn’t Fight Climate Change Unless It’s Done Right

Planting trees in an effort to slow climate change is a complicated solution to a complicated problem — and experts caution that countries looking to implement robust reforestation programs need to be extremely deliberate in the kind of reforestation and forest management that they choose. “In general, [reforestation] is all good in the sense that trees, as they grow,...

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How the National Park Service Is Planning for Climate Change

Five years ago, just after archaeologist Marcy Rockman joined the National Park Service’s new climate change response program, the GOP-controlled Congress slashed its budget by 70 percent. Republicans were determined to squash President Barack Obama’s climate agenda, and many federal officials were deeply discouraged. So Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis convened his...

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With echoes of Wounded Knee, tribes mount prairie occupation to block North Dakota pipeline

Long before Lewis and Clark paddled by, Native Americans built homes here at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, using the thick earth to guard against brutal winters and hard summer heat. They were called the Mandan people. Now, Native Americans are living here again. They sleep in teepees and nylon tents. They ride horses and drive quad cabs. They...

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California is about to find out what a truly radical climate policy looks like

California has long prided itself on being a world leader on climate change — and with good reason. Within the United States, California is No. 1 (by far) in solar power and No. 3 in wind power. It boasts the third-lowest carbon dioxide emissions per capita behind New York and Vermont. Since 2000, the state has managed to shrink its overall carbon footprint slightly even...

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Mount Mitchell: North Carolina’s first park growing, poised for future

The Black Mountains’ Crest Trail scales the spine of the Black Mountains’ most prominent peaks in Yancey County – Mount Craig (6,645 feet), Big Tom Wilson (6,552 feet), Balsam Cone (6,611 feet), and Cattail Peak (6,583 feet), until now, the highest elevation, privately owned peak in the Eastern United States. Thanks to recent events, the maps will change, with a...

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Citizen Science is Sound Science Provided by You

Have you ever seen a cool bird in your backyard and wondered if there was some way to share what you saw with others? Better yet, have you thought about sharing your observations and having them used to help study and conserve those birds? These thoughts are an indicator that you might have the makings of a great citizen scientist. The U.S. Forest Service and National...

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Four Infographics That Show How Climate Change Is Affecting Your Health

The dog days of summer were particularly dogged this year. July clocked in as the hottest month on record, marking the midpoint of what is likely to be the hottest year on record. With sweltering temperatures came a litany of crummy climate news — floods in Louisiana, Zika in Miami, searing heat waves across the Northeast — with dire implications for human health. Last...

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Mega Work Day Planned for Pisgah Ranger District

The Pisgah Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, and a host of supporting organizations have announced a broad based volunteer work day in the Pisgah Ranger District called “Pisgah Pride Day 2016,” which is being planned in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, September 24, 2016. Work crews will convene at different locations on Saturday, September 24, and...

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Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument Permanently Protects Mountains, Forests & Waters of North-Central Maine

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, President Obama has designated Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the first national monument to preserve the landscape and honor the history and culture of Maine’s North Woods. The President’s use of the Antiquities Act to make this designation permanently protects 87,500 acres of lands donated...

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National Park Service Director Leads Centennial Celebration

National Park Service (NPS) supporters, visitors and staff are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service this week at 413 parks nationwide. The NPS is inviting everyone to join the celebration by visiting a national park this week. To help everyone find a park to explore, the National Park Service is offering free admission to all 413 national parks...

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Climate change will mean the end of national parks as we know them

After a century of shooing away hunters, tending to trails and helping visitors enjoy the wonder of the natural world, the guardians of America’s most treasured places have been handed an almost unimaginable new job – slowing the all-out assault climate change is waging against national parks across the nation. As the National Park Service (NPS) has charted the loss of...

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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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