Come see forests and peaks, but clean up, New Zealand says

New Zealand has a message for the visitors drawn by its deep mossy forests, bubbling mud pools and magnificent peaks: clean up after yourselves. A new campaign called the “Tiaki Promise” is telling everybody traveling to the country to take responsibility for looking after it. The country wants visitors to pick up litter and otherwise take care of their surroundings so...

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Yet-to-be-discovered dinosaur fossils may be at risk after Trump slashed the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante

Southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument may have originally safeguarded untapped troves of ancient fossils, but the Trump administration’s unprecedented reduction of the monument has exposed vast deposits of these scientific treasures to potential energy development. Areas removed from the Staircase are nearly as rich in fossils as those that remain,...

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Startling new research finds large buildup of heat in the oceans, suggesting a faster rate of global warming

The world’s oceans have been soaking up far more excess heat in recent decades than scientists realized, suggesting that Earth could be set to warm even faster than predicted in the years ahead, according to new research published Wednesday. Over the past quarter-century, the Earth’s oceans have retained 60 percent more heat each year than scientists previously had...

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900 acres of Little White Oak Mountain become public land in Polk County

Conserving Carolina made 900 acres of North Carolina’s Little White Oak Mountain public, donating 600 acres to the state to expand the Green River Game Lands and 300 acres to Polk County for a local park. Conserving Carolina said that together, the 900 acres of conserved land in Mill Spring protect views of a local scenic landmark, approximately 13 miles of streams...

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When nature hurls your garbage right back at you

As long as geysers are treated like garbage cans there remains the possibility of a trash eruption. Ear Spring geyser, located in Yellowstone National Park, had long been engorged by years of trash left inside of it by ill-mannered tourists. So naturally when the geyser erupted in September, unleashing its usual blast of searing-hot water and air, a nasty wave of dreck...

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WNC Public Asked To Report Hellbender Sightings

With fall fishing in full swing, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is asking the public, in particular hikers and anglers, to report any sightings of hellbenders (water dogs) to the agency. Reported sightings are an important part of a long-term inventory and monitoring project for hellbenders that agency staff, along with partners, began in 2007. Agency biologists...

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A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history. Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor...

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The Sailing Stones of Death Valley

Death Valley National Park is a strange place by any standard. Famously known for being the hottest place on earth, Death Valley also sits at the driest and lowest elevation in North America. Its strangest feature of all is the mysterious Racetrack Playa. Here, rocks drift across the flat desert landscape, seemingly propelled by no power other than their own. Located on...

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Inside the New Battle for the American West

Deep in a box canyon in Utah, in the heart of the fractured land known as Bears Ears National Monument, there is a cave—a swooping, mineral-streaked alcove in a sandstone cliff. In December 1893 a rancher-explorer named Richard Wetherill pushed his way through dense reeds and discovered inside that alcove a stacked-stone ruin where a prehistoric group of Native Americans...

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Is Resistance Futile? Cigarette Butts Still Dominate Public Lands Litter

Smokers burn through 6 trillion cigarettes every year, and most are tossed into the environment. Butts contain microplastics and harmful chemicals, and new research suggests they may be directly toxic to wildlife. Efforts to curb butt litter have been largely futile. For the environmental advocacy group Surfrider, a plan to curb the littering of cigarette butts began...

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Biodiversity Inventory Reaches 1,000 New Species Mark at GSMNP

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its non-profit partner, Discover Life in America (DLIA), recently celebrated the 20th year of the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) with the announcement of a major milestone of the project – 1,000 new species to science! Over the last 20 years, many species have been documented in the park for the first time, but the...

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’Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss

Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, the study found, and the forest’s insect-eating...

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Huge reduction in meat-eating ‘essential’ to avoid climate breakdown

Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and lentils. The research also finds that enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid...

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Has Vandalism in Our National Monuments Gotten Worse?

Peter Jensen, an environmental coordinator for Patagonia who’s based in Salt Lake City, embarked with a colleague on a three-day backpacking trip through the Upper Paria River Canyon, a picturesque red rock canyon in southern Utah. “The place is magical,” Jensen said. “It’s a wilderness in the true sense of the word.” Jensen was entranced by the scenery, but dismayed by...

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These are the companies being blamed for creating the most plastic pollution in the world’s oceans

The companies which are blamed for producing the highest amounts of plastic found in our oceans have been revealed. Environmental charity Greenpeace has released data following a nine-month study carried out across 42 countries – as it emerges that a truckload of plastic is dumped in the sea every MINUTE. Researchers found that Coca-Cola is the brand with the most...

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Huge risk if global warming passes 1.5C, warns landmark UN report

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)...

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Meet the ‘Art Rangers’ Trying to Save National Parks

Oscar Nilsson and Alex Tatem are trying to save America’s national parks—one photo at a time. Nilsson and Tatem run the Art Rangers, a nonprofit online art gallery that sells national park-inspired works of art, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the National Park Foundation, the official charity of the National Park Service. “At its core, it’s artists...

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Wasting Away

With the naked eye, it’s impossible to discern early signs of chronic wasting disease in elk. For years after they become infected, these monumental animals go about their lives — ambling into the high country in summer and back down to the valleys in winter, mating in fall and calving in spring. But then a few weeks before they die, they become thin, and their ribs and...

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The global climate refugee crisis has already begun

When Hurricane Florence struck the shores of North and South Carolina and Virginia, more than a million evacuees fled their homes seeking shelter from the storm. For some, there will be no return home, as their homes are damaged beyond repair or beyond what they can afford to repair. All these displaced people are not simply evacuees fleeing a dangerous hurricane. They...

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Cradle of Forestry Hosts Forest Festival Day and Woodsmen’s Meet October 6

The Cradle of Forestry invites people of all ages to celebrate the forest heritage of western North Carolina during the annual Forest Festival Day on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 pm. This is the Cradle’s largest event of the year. This activity-filled, family event commemorates the traditions of mountain living and craft in the Cradle’s unique...

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Study: National Parks Bearing The Brunt Of Climate Change Impacts

Yellowstone National Park escaped the summer without any large conflagrations in its forests, but that could be an anomaly under the current pace of climate change. Pikas could vanish from parks such as Lassen Volcanic and Great Basin. Glaciers and Joshua trees could be seen only in photographs and paintings in their namesake parks, and Virgin Islands and Hawai’i...

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Seeking America’s Quietest Spots: The Quest for Silence in a Loud World

The hiker trudged up a logging road and into a valley, tracing a route that seemed unremarkable. There were no sweeping views of the mountains that towered nearby. There was no summit to scale. Yet he stopped suddenly, jubilant, after about four miles of walking. He had found exactly what he was searching for: quiet. In these loud times — with political foes yelling on...

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Fall into Volunteerism with Smokies Service Days

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announce upcoming Fall “Smokies Service Days” volunteer projects. These unique opportunities allow community members and park visitors to get involved and become stewards of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Individuals and groups are invited to sign up for any of the scheduled service projects that interest them...

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Shell and Exxon’s secret 1980s climate change warnings

In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internal assessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecast the planetary consequences of these emissions. In 1982, for example, Exxon predicted that by about 2060, CO2 levels would reach around 560 parts per million – double the preindustrial level – and that this would push the planet’s...

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A Leave No Trace Principles Refresher

Outdoor enthusiasts often prefer visiting different types of locations. Some love trekking high into the Appalachian Mountains, while others enjoy paddling through the river-carved rocks of the Southwest. Some may like to explore the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, while others enjoy ambling about aimlessly amid the grass-dotted dunes of the Gulf Coast. You like...

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The 25th Annual National Public Lands Day is happening on September 22, 2018

Mark September 22 on your calendar and make plans to head to your favorite outdoor spot as NEEF gets set to celebrate the 25th annual National Public Lands Day. No matter what is happening in the world, on National Public Lands Day, outdoor enthusiasts turn out in droves to give back to and enjoy their favorite outdoor places. National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the...

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Wyoming, the country’s top coal producer, is wrangling support for wind power

Just off Interstate 80 in Sinclair, Wyoming (population 415), the Sinclair Refinery processes crude oil from the United States and Canada. Every day the refinery, one of the region’s largest, converts 85,000 barrels of oil to gasoline, diesel, propane, and other petroleum products. But the town may soon become famous for a cleaner sort of energy, as the gateway to the...

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Chest-thumping Interior Department claims one success amid a sea of losses

Last week the Interior Department announced the sale of oil and gas leases covering over 50,700 acres in New Mexico’s Permian Basin for $972.5 million. Like a kid in a candy store, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke celebrated the “historic” lease sale, ignoring the reality of his shortsighted agenda: the rush to lease public lands for energy development has produced more...

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Mountains? Rain forests? Fjords? New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park has them all.

Key Summit is one of many hiking trails — or as locals call them, tracks — that crisscross the South Island near Milford Sound, the green gemstone atop New Zealand’s wilderness crown. Milford Sound sits within Fiordland National Park, which in turn is part of Te Wahipounamu — South West New Zealand, a UNESCO World Heritage site that covers 10 percent of the country’s...

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Spring is Arriving Earlier, Messing With Bird Migrations

Thanks to climate change, spring now comes earlier. But how much sooner the season arrives varies across the U.S. That’s according to a new study that assessed the first appearance of leaves and flowers in nearly 500 U.S. National Wildlife Refuges over more than 100 years. Researchers found the irregular seasonal changes affect migratory birds’ breeding sites, an outcome...

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California pledges carbon-free electricity by 2045

By many metrics, California is way ahead of other states when it comes to renewable energy. The nation’s largest state leads in generating electricity from solar panels and geothermal stations. As of 2016, California got about two-fifths of its electricity from renewable forms of energy. On Sept. 10, 2018, the state’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, signed...

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These folks pick up a truck load of trash every single week along Wilson Creek

A Clean Wilson Creek is a small army of folks committed to protecting this National Wild and Scenic River in Western North Carolina in it’s natural state for future generations. Wilson Creek begins as a small stream on the side of Grandfather Mountain and forms into an incredible national treasure over the next 23 miles. A Clean Wilson Creek provides funding for...

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