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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The Forest Service needs better policies before giving water away to bottling companies

National forests support some of the most pristine groundwater and springs in the country – at least that’s what the most successful water bottling companies advertise. Current policies leave these springs exposed to exploitation, especially during droughts, which are becoming more intense, like in California. Strawberry Creek arises from the ground in San...

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Land, Ocean Carbon Sinks Are Weakening, Making Climate Action More Urgent

We are destroying nature’s ability to help us stave off catastrophic climate change. That’s the bombshell conclusion of an under-reported 2014 study, “The declining uptake rate of atmospheric CO2 by land and ocean sinks.” Based on actual observations and measurements, the world’s top carbon-cycle experts have determined that the land and ocean are becoming steadily less...

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Parks Canada To Return Plains Bison To Banff National Park

Plains bison, an icon of wild landscapes, will be returned to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, in an effort to bring the “missing link” back to the park’s wildlife ecosystem. The decision, announced last week, will both support Canada’s National Conservation Plan and also bring a better balance to the park’s ecosystem. Through their...

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Florida Isn’t The Only State Where Officials Censored The Term ‘Climate Change’

It may have seemed surprising when four former employees of Florida’s state Department of Environmental Protection said they were forbidden to use the words “climate change” and “global warming” in any official communications. But as it turns out, the alleged practice is not unusual — at least in states with governors who do not accept the scientific validity of...

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Explosion razes North Dakota fracking waste disposal facility

A fire so massive that it could not be approached by firefighters erupted after an explosion at an oil waste disposal site north of Alexander, North Dakota. McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karlin Rockvoy said the only thing to do at first was watch the fire burn itself out. The explosion occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. on March 7, 2015. Emergency responders from...

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Denali’s squeaky-clean air best among all U.S. national parks

Fairbanks air turns bitter every winter as Alaskans fill it with wood smoke and other things, but just down the road Denali National Park has the clearest air measured among America’s monitored national parks. Scientists at Colorado State University have taken a close look at Denali air as captured near the park entrance. A monitor there pulls air through a set of...

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Environmental problems on hiking trail to cost Georgia county six figures

After a three-year dispute with the state environmental agency, Walker County officials will be in the clear once they absorb one last hit. It’s going to hurt. Like, $100,000 worth of pain. Maybe worse. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division first alerted Walker County in 2012 that there were problems with the construction of the Durham Trail, a hiking route...

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Consecutive harsh winters hammer hemlock-killing insect

After one of the coldest months on record in East Tennessee, many people are more than ready for some warm weather. But the especially frigid winter has been a life-saver for some of the mightiest trees in the forest. This winter’s sub-zero temperatures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have devastated the once unstoppable Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. The...

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Horace Kephart Days 2015

Join in a celebration of the life and works of Horace Kephart — author, outdoorsman, and a founding father of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park — at The Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, NC on Friday & Saturday, May 14-15, 2015. Kephart wrote the classic study of Appalachian mountain culture (Our Southern Highlanders, 1913) and the...

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The Cost of Clean Coal

A Mississippi power plant promises to create clean energy from our dirtiest fuel. But it will come at a price. On December 14, 2006, Barbara Correro was at home drinking tea, reading the paper. She had spent the past five years and most of her savings on a long-cherished retirement dream: a small mobile home on 24 acres of pine and hardwood forest, a large organic...

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The Forest Health Advisory System

As our nation’s forests grow older and denser they are at greater risk of attack by pests, which can devastate some of more cherished national wildlands. Healthy forests not only provide a beautiful setting for our outdoor activities, they are at lower risk for catastrophic wild fires, and are more resilient to changes in climate and to insect and disease attack. To...

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Volunteers sought to adopt tree plot

Smokies rangers are looking for tree-lovers who want to try their hand at science to adopt a tree monitoring plot on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A training session will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Oconaluftee Visitor Center just north of Cherokee. Volunteers will take data throughout the growing...

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Parks Looking For Youth Conservation Corps Applicants

High school students interested in spending their 2015 summer in a national park and gaining valuable skills have at least three parks to consider for jobs with the Youth Conservation Corps. Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and Joshua Tree National Park in California all are seeking applications for their YCC programs. At...

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A Documentary About China’s Smog Is Going Viral, And It’s Not Being Censored

Over the weekend in China, 175 million people — more than the entire population of Bangladesh — watched a newly released in-depth and well-produced documentary about the country’s debilitating smog problem. Produced by former Chinese news anchor and environmental reporter, Chai Jing, the 104-minute “Under the Dome” has caught the Chinese public at a moment of intense...

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More Than Just Parks | Joshua Tree

Jim and Will Pattiz are media professionals who have a passion for our national parks. Their More than Just Parks plan is to create short films for each of the 59 US National Parks to give people a completely unique viewing experience. They hope that this will encourage folks to get out there and have a one-of-a-kind experience of their own in our national parks. It is...

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“Unnatural” Deaths in Yellowstone National Park – And How to Avoid Them

Back in the early ‘90s, then Yellowstone National Park museum technician Lee Whittlesey had the killer idea to compile all the “unnatural” deaths—that is, those not caused by run-of-the-mill car accidents or heart attacks—that have occurred in Yellowstone through the years. There were enough to fill a book, and so Whittlesey’s fascinating Death in Yellowstone: Accidents...

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Forty Years of Solitude

Steven Fuller is Yellowstone’s longest-serving winterkeeper. He might also be the park’s last. His photography portfolio will, however, remain a monument to one of the world’s most unique jobs and also to Yellowstone itself. “Most snow in our contemporary world is plowed, piled, fouled, and messed with as it falls or soon thereafter,” Fuller says. “Here...

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Jerk Street Artist Defaced Joshua Tree National Park

After Casey Nocket traveled throughout the West to deface several national parks last year, a notable European street artist has been caught tagging Joshua Tree National Park. André Saraiva, better known as just André, posted a photo to his Instagram account showing him having tagged a boulder with the ‘eyes’ of his trademark “Mr A” stick figure...

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New Browns Canyon National Monument Highlights Recreational, Ecological and Historical Importance

Our National Forests contain countless special areas – landscapes with awesome vistas, habitat for key wildlife species, areas with boundless recreation opportunities, and grounds that hold important historic artifacts. Last week, President Obama recognized a part of our National Forest System that has all of these attributes and more when he designated Browns Canyon...

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The Siberian crater saga is more widespread — and scarier — than anyone thought

In the middle of last summer came news of a bizarre occurrence no one could explain. Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive crater appeared in one of the planet’s most inhospitable lands. Early estimates said the crater, nestled in a land called “the ends of the Earth” where temperatures can sink far below zero, yawned nearly 100 feet in diameter. The saga deepened. The...

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Duke Energy pays for dodging coal ash problems

After Duke Energy reached a plea agreement over its mishandling of coal ash that spilled into the Dan River, Duke CEO Lynn Good said in a statement, “We are accountable for what happened at Dan River and have learned from this event.” What Duke Energy has learned is that it’s expensive to be cheap. The giant utility put off the cost of properly storing...

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National Park Service Map Shows The Loudest, Quietest Places In the U.S.

There’s a new map created by the National Park Service’s (NPS) Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division that shows where the country’s loudest—and quietest—places are located. Not surprisingly, the loudest spots are clustered around cities, while the quietest are relatively wild–but the map also shows that even some rural locations have fallen victim to...

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Leaving Only Footsteps? Think Again

Over the last five winters, scientists have been trapping and fitting GPS collars to wolverines in Idaho and Wyoming while also affixing them to snowmobilers and backcountry skiers. Then they’ve tracked the movements. Preliminary findings show that wolverines move faster and more often on weekends when people are playing in their mountain habitat. That may mean trouble...

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