White House budget includes $3 billion for national parks

President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 — the centennial year of the National Park Service — includes $3 billion for the bureau’s critical conservation, preservation, and recreation mission. The budget boosts the National Park Service’s essential programs and operational needs by $432.9 million. The president’s budget highlights the importance of investing...

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Now BP and Shell will consider the cost of climate change when doing business

BP will support a shareholder resolution calling on the company to release information about how climate change could affect its business. It’s the second big win for climate-conscious investors this year: Shell agreed to support a similar resolution last week. Both the Shell and BP resolutions were submitted by a coalition of activist investor groups representing more...

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NC Wildlife Commission says no more red wolves

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has publicly denounced the red wolf reintroduction in coastal counties, calling for the red wolves to be rounded up — despite being the only wild population of red wolves on the planet. Last week, the Commission adopted two resolutions: one requesting that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service end the red wolf reintroduction,...

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Up close with the Smokies

The Experience Your Smokies program is looking for applicants who want to get an insider’s look at park operations while getting some exploration into their lives as well. Participants will attend five full-day sessions in locations throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They’ll accompany park employees in activites ranging from wetland restoration to fish...

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Carbon Accumulation by Southeastern Forests May Slow

Carbon accumulation levels in the southeastern U.S. may be slowing due to forest dynamics and land use changes, according to findings of U.S. Forest Service researchers published in the journal Scientific Reports in January. The study is the first to isolate the impacts of forest disturbances, such as fire, disease, and cutting, as well as the impacts of land use change...

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Improved access, mapping set to spur water recreation in WNC

After more than a decade of hydropower relicensing negotiations and years more of permitting and construction, Duke Energy is finishing a slate of river accesses that will make the Tuckasegee one of the most accessible rivers in the Southeast. At the same time, a collective effort to create an interactive map showing where and how to recreate on Western North Carolina...

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Grand Teton National Park Crews Clean Up Spray-Paint Vandalism In Homestead Cabin

An historic homesteader’s cabin at Grand Teton National Park that had been vandalized by someone armed with cans of spray paint has had the image removed, though more work needs to be done to restore the weathered patina nearly 100 years of exposure had created. Park officials say that back in September a black and blue spray-painted depiction of a devilish...

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Rocky Mountain National Park celebrates a century of preserving nature

One hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation that created Rocky Mountain National Park, which promoters called “America’s Switzerland,” a massive parcel of pristine wilderness that now includes more than 260,000 acres of panoramic vistas and alpine majesty. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Colorado, receiving...

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Obama Administration Moves to Protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama’s Administration moved to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, widely considered one of the most spectacular and remote areas in the world. The Department of the Interior is releasing a conservation plan for the Refuge that for the first time recommends additional protections, and President Obama announced he will make...

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National Park Service Starting Process To Establish Valles Caldera National Preserve

It won’t happen overnight, but the National Park Service is starting the process to integrate Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico into the National Park System. The national preserve was moved to the National Park Service from the U.S. Forest Service when President Obama signed into law the massive Defense authorization bill passed by Congress in late...

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3-year effort mapping Smokies streams now complete

Great Smoky Mountains National Park geographic information system specialists and scientists in collaboration with scientists from Tennessee, North Carolina, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), have completed a three-year stream mapping project. Park scientists used a combination of aircraft-mounted scanners and a Global Positioning System verification...

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Here Are All the Senators Who Do and Don’t Believe in Human-Caused Climate Change

United States Senators stood up for what they believed in finally—and it wasn’t pretty. During a debate over construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, intended to carry oil from Canada to the United States, the Senate voted on an amendment—just for show, really—on whether climate change “is real and not a hoax.” Easy question—everyone said yes, it’s real. (Well, not...

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Prescribed Burn Planned for Pisgah’s Grandfather Ranger District

The U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a 255-acre prescribed burn in the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, by Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. The agency will conduct the one-day burn near the Avery County-Caldwell County line, northwest of the Globe area near Anthony Creek. The Forest Service is conducting the burn as part of the Grandfather Restoration...

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Could Duke Energy’s coal ash be headed to a mine near you?

A Duke Energy contractor is seeking permission from North Carolina regulators to move millions of tons of coal ash from existing dumpsites at the utility giant’s power plants and place it in abandoned clay mines in Lee and Chatham counties. But should the plan win state approval over the objections of local governments, environmental advocates worry that it could...

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Ancient Trees: Portraits Of Time

Beth Moon, a photographer based in San Francisco, has been searching for the world’s oldest trees for the past 14 years. She has traveled all around the globe to capture the most magnificent trees that grow in remote locations and look as old as the world itself. “Standing as the earth’s largest and oldest living monuments, I believe these symbolic trees will take on a...

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Turns out the U.S. oil boom was just a fairy tale

With one quick drop in the price of oil, the shale oil boom is officially bust. In less than a week, 61 oil rigs across the United States closed up shop, according to the most recent rig count from Baker Hughes. The U.S. has 1,750 oil rigs still pumping, but that number is expected to fall by another 400 rigs by the time spring rolls around. The whole episode is a...

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Obama is cracking down on another climate villain: Methane

This morning the White House announced a new plan to crack down on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The move is the last major piece of President Obama’s domestic climate agenda, following in the footsteps of tougher standards for vehicle emissions and a sweeping plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Like the...

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Senate to vote on whether climate change is happening

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this week he will allow the Senate to vote on an amendment asking if they agree that climate change is impacting the planet. At his weekly press briefing, McConnell said “nobody is blocking any amendments” to legislation that would approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The GOP leader had promised...

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World Heritage Sites in the United States

The United States is proud to preserve and protect its World Heritage Sites. There are a relatively small number of places on Earth that have been formally determined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee to possess “outstanding universal value” to humanity for their exceptional cultural and...

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New Analysis Shows West Virginia’s Chemical Spill Traveled Into Kentucky

The chemical that contaminated West Virginia’s drinking water supply last year traveled father and lingered longer than had been previously recorded, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey researchers. Published online in the journal Chemosphere, the peer-reviewed research shows that the chemical — 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol, also known as crude MCHM — was...

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Archaeological Heritage of Colorado’s Ute Tribe Part of National Forests’ History in Rocky Mountain Region

There are small piles of fallen wooden timbers on national forests in the Rocky Mountain Region that tell a story of the area’s past. They are part of aboriginal wooden structures known as wickiups, a conical-shaped dwelling used by native people. These relics are known to be part of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of southwestern Colorado and are still in use for ceremonial...

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On The Anniversary Of The Elk River Chemical Spill, West Virginians Tell Their Stories

January 9, 2015 marks the anniversary of the West Virginia chemical spill in the Elk River, in which thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical used to process coal spilled upstream from a water treatment plant serving the state capital, Charleston, and surrounding areas. Around 300,000 West Virginia residents were left without potable water as officials scrambled to purge...

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NC Youth Conservation Corps is Now Recruiting for Summer Positions

The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) is accepting applications (www.ctnc.org/ycc) from youth ages 16 to 24 for 2015 summer crews. The crews begin on June 20 and end seven weeks later on August 8. The application deadline is May 15th but APPLY NOW because applications are accepted on a rolling basis and positions are already being filled. The NCYCC is a...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Changes Firewood Rules To Protect Forests

In a further step to help protect the forests of Great Smoky Mountains National Park from non-native insect pests, park officials beginning in March will only allow heat-treated firewood that has been certified by the USDA or a state agriculture department, and dead and down wood collected from the park’s forests, to be used in campgrounds. Heat-treated firewood...

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Fracking’s future is in doubt as oil price plummets, bonds crash

There’s no doubt that US-based fracking – the process through which oil and gas deposits are blasted from shale deposits deep underground – has caused a revolution in worldwide energy supplies. Yet now the alarm bells are ringing about the financial health of the fracking industry, with talk of a mighty monetary bubble bursting – leading to...

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Leave most fossil fuels in the ground, or fry

For the world to meet its climate goals, a third of the world’s oil, half its gas and 80% of its coal must stay underground. The sheer scale of the fossil fuel reserves that will need to be left unexploited for decades if world leaders sign up to a radical climate agreement is revealed in a study by a team of British scientists. It shows that almost all the huge...

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Upper Dry Creek easement allows for conservation, restoration, research

Tim Breuer doesn’t ask the question unless he knows the answer will be “yes.” Sometimes, it takes awhile to get there. In the case of the most recent easement agreements between the city of Boise, Idaho, the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley and Grossman Company Properties, it took 20 years. “The first time I walked on [Upper Dry Creek] with the...

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How oil drilling is threatening Utah’s red rock recreation sites

A different kind of spire is jutting into the iconic red rock vistas of Moab, Utah. It is the scaffolding of drilling rigs, and it heralds a new chapter in Moab’s long history of energy extraction. Moab may have been comfortable with the uranium industry that put it on the map in another century. But having an oil patch in the midst of this area’s popular...

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Land acquisition for Headwaters forest passes halfway mark

Using government grants and private donations, the N.C. Forest Service and its partners have now acquired more than half of the land necessary for a new 8,000-acre state forest in Transylvania County. The Forest Service was able to purchase another 1,018 acres in the East Fork of the French Broad River from former U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor in 2014, bringing the total...

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Land trust adds to wildlife corridor in Jackson County, NC

Located less than 2 miles from Panthertown Valley in Jackson County, a new conservation easement will provide a critical wildlife corridor, connecting three other easements. The 48-acre Black Bear Trail property, now held by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, becomes part of a continuous natural area of more than 1,000 acres, including habitat ranging from forest to...

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Wild buffalo now roam east of the Mississippi for the first time since the 1830s

When David Crites walked out of his apartment last month, he was greeted by a line of six or so bison standing shoulder to shoulder in the front yard. He sidled over to his truck, staring at the huge animals, slipped into the front seat, then closed the door and turned on the ignition. As the pickup slowly made its way down the driveway, the bison lumbered alongside. “It...

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Pope Francis Expected To Instruct One Billion Catholics To Act On Climate Change

At the end of 2015, the nations of the world will meet in Paris and attempt to hammer out a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And Pope Francis hopes that the world’s Catholics, as well as other major religions, will be a big part of serious climate action. This includes a series of steps next year. Francis is expected to tell the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics...

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