Longtime Breckenridge, CO local works behind-the-scenes to protect Summit’s land

Leigh Girvin’s brand of local environmentalism is inseparable from her strong ties to the land. Other conservation advocates focus on wildlife or water quality from an abstract sense of right and wrong. Girvin, who moved to Breckenridge, Colorado as a kid 43 years ago, points to land protection, especially in her beloved Summit County, as the foundation that encompasses...

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AmeriCorps Project Conserve is Now Accepting Applications for 2015-2016

AmeriCorps Project Conserve is now accepting applications for 2015-2016. AmeriCorps Project Conserve seeks dedicated individuals to fill 32 full-time positions serving critical conservation needs of western North Carolina. The application deadline is May 22, 2015. The program places members in service with one of 17 host site organizations working to protect the unique...

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Cradle of Forestry Kicks Off 2015 Season on April 11th

The Cradle of Forestry in America historic site will kick off its 2015 season, April 11th with a living history event titled, “Old Time Plowing and Folkways.” Visitors to the event will encounter living history volunteers demonstrating their crafts, including wood carving, rope making and crafting corn husk dolls. Haywood County’s David and Diane...

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Why fracking is splitting environmental groups apart

Few things inspire bitter disagreement among green groups and climate advocates quite like the question of how to deal with fracking. It’s one of the more important debates within environmentalism today. To break it down very roughly: The pro-fracking side points out that the US natural-gas boom, driven by hydraulic fracturing, has been one of the big environmental...

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Music Of The Mountains Festival Coming To Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will hold its 11th annual “Music of the Mountains” celebration April 17-19 with a mix of music that harkens to the “Old-Time” music that long has reverberated through the mountains. Spread across a handful of venues, the event tells the story of music in the Southern Appalachians through its diverse history by letting...

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Forest Service Researchers Map Seasonal Greening in U.S. Forests, Fields, and Urban Areas

Using the assessment tool ForWarn, U.S. Forest Service researchers can monitor the growth and development of vegetation that signals winter’s end and the awakening of a new growing season. Now these researchers have devised a way to more precisely characterize the beginning of seasonal greening, or “greenup,” and compare its timing with that of the 14 previous years....

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Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation Commits $600,000 for Improvements and Programs on the Parkway

It’s the time of year when millions of visitors are eagerly anticipating their next adventure on the Blue Ridge Parkway. As they plan their drive, hike, or camping trip, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is preparing to meet their expectations by funding $600,000 in projects critical to the preservation and betterment of this treasured route. Each year, the Blue Ridge...

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Put the forest first!

The U.S. Forest Service rolled out a “draft” management plan last fall after a series of public meetings. The plan, while clearly labeled “draft”, placed around 700,000 acres of the million or so acres of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in management areas deemed appropriate for logging. To say the plan caught some stakeholders off guard is like saying the...

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The unexpectedly weird and beautiful world of lichens

Lichens are not what you think they are. Not plant, not fungus — they are one of a kind. Lichen is something we commonly see growing on rocks or tree branches, on old wood fences and rotting stumps. But how often do you stop to really ponder lichens? Probably not often. And yet lichens are surprisingly fascinating … and weird … and beautiful! Despite their...

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National Parks Traveler Honored By George Wright Society

Kurt Repanshek, founder and editor-in-chief of National Parks Traveler, the top-ranked website dedicated to daily editorial coverage of national parks, has been awarded the George Wright Society’s Communication Award. The award recognizes outstanding efforts in communicating highly technical or controversial park-related subjects to the public in a clear and...

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Our Land, Up for Grabs

It’s difficult to understand why, but a battle is looming over America’s public lands. Given decades of consistent, strong support from voters of both parties for protecting land, water and the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefits these resources make possible, it’s hard to fathom. Last week, the United States Senate voted 51 to 49 to...

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Mitch McConnell Undermines Obama’s Climate Plan With Other Countries

In an effort to undermine international negotiations aimed at combating climate change, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is telling other countries not to trust President Obama’s promise to significantly reduce the United States’ carbon emissions. In a statement released March 31st, McConnell warned other countries to “proceed with caution” before pledging...

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Majestic glaciers in Alaska: Then and now

If you’re looking at something but don’t have anything to compare it to, it’s hard to know what’s really going on. Maybe you meet someone for the first time and think they look a little sick, so you think they’re not doing too well. But if you had met them a year ago when they were terminally ill, you’d think that today’s health was a...

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As the seas rise, a slow-motion disaster gnaws at America’s shores

A Reuters analysis finds that flooding is increasing along much of the nation’s coastline, forcing many communities into costly, controversial struggles with a relentless foe. WALLOPS ISLAND, Virginia – Missions flown from the NASA base here have documented some of the most dramatic evidence of a warming planet over the past 20 years: the melting of polar ice, a force...

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Endangered Bighorn Sheep Moved to Yosemite, Sequoia Parks

For the first time in a century, endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are back on their ancestral range and headed toward recovery, wildlife officials said. During an ongoing relocation effort, hundreds of bighorn have been captured with nets dropped from helicopters then moved to Yosemite and Sequoia national parks. “We’ve got the sheep where we want them...

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Women’s History Month: An Interview with 93-Year-Old National Park Service Ranger Betty Reid Soskin

With Women’s History Month upon us, the Department of the Interior interviewed Betty Reid Soskin, who at 93 is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service. Great-granddaughter of a slave and a file clerk in a Jim Crow union hall during World War II, Reid-Soskin began her career with NPS at the age of 85 at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical...

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National Parks Call on Americans to ‘Find Your Park’

After nearly 100 years, the National Park Service holds some of the most beautiful and historic places in the country, though there’s also an $11 billion backlog of unfunded maintenance and a visitor base that’s aging and mostly white. With its centennial approaching in 2016, the park service will launch a major campaign this week in New York City to raise...

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Strengthening the Connections Between African Americans and National Parks

Since President Ulysses S. Grant signed the first national park, Yellowstone, into law in 1872, the national parks have provided American citizens and visitors from all over the world unique experiences with nature. The arches of Yellowstone National Park at the park entrance displays the Theodore Roosevelt quote, “for the benefit and enjoyment of the...

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Prescribed Burn Planned for Appalachian Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a prescribed burn during the week of March 29, 2015 on 450 acres of the Appalachian Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest. The prescribed burn will take place off of Max Patch Road in Madison County approximately 25 miles northwest of Asheville. The prescribed burn will reduce the amount of dead grasses and woody debris on the...

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Teaming Up to Engage the Next Generation of Stewards

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and Conservation Trust for North Carolina are bringing youth crews to the Highlands District for trail and campground rehab. Imagine working with newfound friends to rehabilitate and build trails by day and bond over a common goal under the stars at night. Sounds pretty great, right? That’s what a crew of teenagers and young adults...

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There Are Really Only Two Big Patches of Intact Forest Left on Earth

Can a forest that exists only in the spaces between roads and patches cleared for human settlement and agricultural development truly be called a forest? Not so much, say researchers studying the growing, global problem of forest fragmentation. The new study found that fragmented habitats lose an average of half of their plant and animal species within twenty years, and...

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National Park maintenance backlog totals $11.49 billion

Like road-trippers with balding tires, Americans are loving their national parks into disrepair. The National Park Service released a list of maintenance projects that have been postponed and put off for years. The backlog of 2014 projects nationwide totals $11.49 billion — up nearly $200 million since 2013. Dave Nimkin, southwest senior regional director for the...

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Park officials call wild hogs a huge problem in the Smokies

If you love to hike in the Smokies, chances are you’ve seen many wild animals. But, there’s one animal that park officials are calling an unwelcome guest. Bill Stiver knows how to read the land like most people know how to read a book. On Wednesday, he was following the tracks of wild hogs. Wild hogs can get up to 300 pounds and while Stiver says he...

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Bark beetles are killing forests — but they might be saving them, too

Mountain pine, spruce, piñon ips, and other kinds of bark beetles have chomped 46 million of the country’s 850 million acres of forested land, from the Yukon down the spine of the Rocky Mountains all the way to Mexico. Yellowstone’s grizzly bears have run out of pinecones to eat because of the beetles. Skiers and backpackers have watched their brushy green...

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National Park Service Transportation Funding – Roads and Bridges

The National Park Service currently receives $240 million through the Federal Lands Transportation Program within the federal surface transportation law. The NPS has estimated that it needs more than four times that amount per year through 2024 to restore its transportation systems into good condition and to meet growing visitor access needs. It is estimated to take $244...

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Does the National Park Service have a youth problem?

In 2014, America’s national parks attracted a record-setting 292.8 million visits, but the typical visitor to the country’s biggest parks is edging closer to retirement age. the average age of visitors to Denali is 57 years. In Yellowstone it is 54. But in the past decade, the number of visitors under the age of 15 has fallen by half. It’s not just the...

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Utility Company To Buy Coal Plant Just To Shut It Down

State utility Florida Power and Light (FPL) wants to buy an old coal plant in Florida just to shut it down, a move that it says would prevent nearly 1 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. FPL filed a petition with the state’s Public Service Commission last week to acquire the Cedar Bay Generating Plant in Jacksonville, which went into...

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Duke’s Asheville coal plant exceeding safe sulfur dioxide levels

For the past several years, the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign has been speaking out publicly and building support for transition off of coal at Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant. They have brought attention to the threat carbon emissions pose to our climate, as well as the coal ash pollution and its effects on our rivers and groundwater. What we now know is that in...

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Blue Ridge Parkway Announces Temporary Road Closures for Routine Maintenance From Milepost 0 to 106

Beginning Monday morning, March 16, 2015,and continuing for approximately one month, Blue Ridge Parkway maintenance personnel will be conducting road shoulder and ditch cleaning operations along Virginia sections of the Parkway. Specific information regarding daily closures in these work zones will be available on the Parkway’s Real Time Road Map, found at here....

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Trial program to remove feral hogs from SC national forest

The problem with feral hogs in the Francis Marion National Forest has become so bad that the state and federal governments are paying three hunters to help remove them. Feral hogs are found statewide and are considered one of the worst animal nuisance problems in South Carolina. The hogs are descendants of livestock that wandered off. The Francis Marion trial program has...

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American Express Announces $5 Million Grant to Increase Volunteering in America’s National Parks

American Express (AXP) and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced a multi-year partnership to increase volunteerism in National Parks and Public Lands. The $5 million grant over four years from American Express will help the Department of the Interior (DOI) and National Parks Service (NPS) build volunteer coalitions to preserve and sustain America’s...

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We’re finding out what’s in fracking wastewater, and it ain’t pretty

On so many issues, California is the green leader, showing other states how it should be done better. But better is not necessarily the same thing as flawless. Right now, California is doing a better job of regulating fracking than any other state that allows it — but, of course, many local activists would rather the state just banned it, as New York has. The federal...

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