Hiking News

World Ranger Day Coming This Week

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 @ 9:19 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

World Ranger Day Coming This Week

“World Ranger Day,” one day out of the year to show your appreciation for national park rangers the world over, arrives this week.

The International Ranger Federation (IRF) was founded to support the work of rangers as the key protectors of the world’s protected areas. In 2006, at the World Ranger Congress in Scotland, IRF delegates decided that July 31 of each year, beginning in 2007, would be a day dedicated to world rangers. The first World Ranger Day fell on the 15th anniversary of the founding of IRF on July 31, 1992.

In 1872, Yellowstone National Park became the world’s first federally designated national park. Since then, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, over 100,000 protected areas, representing more than 10 percent of the earth’s landmass, have been established around the world.

The English word “ranger” reflects the guardians of the Royal Forests in 14th century England, protecting the king’s lands from poachers. Today, rangers in protected areas throughout the world continue this role for the public, not just for the royal families.

Rangers are the key force protecting these resources from impairment. They do this through law enforcement, environmental education, community relations, fighting fires, conducting search and rescues, and in many other ways.

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Section of White River National Forest trail to close for repairs

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 @ 9:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Part of a popular trail in the White Mountain National Forest will be closed next month for repairs to damage done during Tropical Storm Irene.

The closure affects part of the Lincoln Woods Trail located off the Kancamagus Highway in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

The U.S. Forest Service said it was able to stabilize the trail for short-term use, but a section of it requires extensive restoration.

The work will start in early to mid-August and affect the west side of the suspension bridge to the Osseo Trail junction. It’s estimated six to eight weeks are needed to make the repairs.

“High water from Irene eroded the river bank, causing the edge of the trail to wash into the river,” said Jon Morrissey, Pemigewasset District ranger. “Approximately 500 feet of the Lincoln Woods Trail, which follows along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River, will be realigned away from the eroded river bank to a safer and more sustainable location.”

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Jockey’s Ridge offers dune, hiking trails

Posted by on Jul 27, 2013 @ 11:58 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Going to the North Carolina Outer Banks? Take time for a climb to the top of Jockey’s Ridge, an 80- to 100-foot sand dune at Nags Head. Nature has provided a gigantic “sandbox” for children and adults to enjoy.

Jockey’s Ridge, the tallest sand dune system in the eastern United States, was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974. The following year, the N.C. General Assembly appropriated money to buy land, and, with matching federal funds, the state purchased 152 acres. The Nature Conservancy secured an additional 266 acres, and the park today encompasses 420 acres of windswept sand.

And sweeping is exactly what the wind does: Jockey’s Ridge is never exactly the same from one season to the next. In winter, the winds normally blow northeast to southwest; during summer, winds blow southwest to northeast. As a result, Jockey’s Ridge is constantly shifting back and forth.

The nature of the dune prevents the construction of traditional trails, but the park does feature Tracks in the Sand, a 1 1/2-mile walk with 14 stations. The trail leads west across the dune, starting at the main parking lot and meandering over to Roanoke Sound. Along the way, you might see the tracks of fox, deer and a variety of shorebirds. Hikers can also look for fulgurites, glass tubes formed by lightning striking the sand.

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The Great Wall, Our Way

Posted by on Jul 27, 2013 @ 8:52 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments


The Great Wall — 5,500 miles by some counts, longer by others — is not one wall, but many that were built starting in ancient times, and were consolidated and reinforced during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The purpose: keeping northern raiders from swooping down into the heart of China. The stretch of wall between Gubeikou and Jinshanling, which we hiked on the first day, is considered a prime example of Ming dynasty construction, built from 1568 through 1583 on top of a 1,000-year-old relic of a wall from the Northern Qi dynasty (550-577). Because the Gubeikou area was a strategic passage to Beijing, the more than 40 watchtowers we passed are closely spaced, and the wall was especially strong and well reinforced, constructed of brick up its 23-foot height.

As we began our hike, I was struck by what felt like an eternal loneliness and loveliness; as far as I could see, nothing but that golden line careening across the crumpled mountains and standing guard alone, whether needed or not, for centuries.

The wall around Gubeikou has been untouched (except for spot repairs on unsafe areas), and part of the thrill is to see this man-made section surviving the war that nature has been waging against it for hundreds of years. Weeds have taken over much of what was once a 13-foot-wide surface, with only a narrow path in places formed by hikers before us. While many watchtowers were merely ghostly shells with window holes, some were surprisingly intact. On several we saw artful brickwork surrounding the arched windows; one tower had a complete domed ceiling.

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Finger Lakes Land Trust to buy land to create Skaneateles Lake hiking trail

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 @ 3:47 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Finger Lakes Land Trust to buy land to create Skaneateles Lake hiking trail

The Spafford, NY Town Board is discussing a Finger Lakes Land Trust plan to buy 205 acres from the Burns family on Route 41 to create hiking trails at the southern end of Skaneateles Lake.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has an agreement to buy the property from Bill and Leonard Burns. “It’s the linchpin property in our goal to create a greenbelt along the south of Skaneateles Lake,” said Andy Zepp, executive director of the land trust. “There’s a lot of it rugged woodland. It includes small meadows and agricultural areas that provide wonderful lake views.”

The town board must make sure the plan conforms to local zoning laws enacted in 2010 and a state environmental review.

The majority of the land is located on the west side of Route 41 near a scenic overlook. About five acres on the east side of the road will be part of a 4,000 foot-long corridor that will connect the property to the Ripley Hill Nature Preserve, a 130-acre preserve owned by the Central New York Land Trust.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust plans to create a 1.5 mile loop trail over the more rugged sections of the property, Zepp said. A second trail of a little more than a mile would be built to connect the property to Ripley Hill, he said.

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Southwest hiking destination gaining deadly reputation

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 @ 3:37 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The luck of a draw had brought Anthony and Elisabeth Ann Bervel coveted hiking permits for The Wave, a region of richly colored sandstone patterns near the Utah-Arizona border. But just hours into their trek, 27-year-old Elisabeth Bervel died of cardiac arrest, becoming the third hiker in a month to succumb to the brutal summer heat and disorienting open country where no marked trail shows the way.

The deaths have prompted officials to reassess the dangers for people who make the hike and perhaps seek an outside investigation of the risks, said Kevin Wright, manager of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

Only 20 hikers are granted permits each day, a limit defended as necessary to protect the rock formations and preserve a sense of wilderness around the signature rock formation said to be one of the most photographed spots in North America.

Hikers are given plenty of warnings about how to survive. They also get pictures of prominent landmarks and access to eight guides who can lead the way.

“It’s not like going to Zion National Park and hiking on an asphalt trail,” said Kane County sheriff’s Sgt. Alan Alldredge. “Once you hit the slickrock, nothing distinguishes the trail.”

“It seems to go well for people going to The Wave,” he added. “But for some reasons on the way back, they end up getting lost.”

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Groups Envision a Shoreline Walk Between Bremerton and Gorst

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 @ 6:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A proposed trail along the shoreline from Bremerton, WA to Gorst could create a new access for pedestrians and bicycle riders while restoring a degraded shoreline, according to experts who attended a weekend planning session in Bremerton.

The two-mile-long paved trail could fit between the shoreline and railroad tracks most of the way between Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Gorst, according to Bryan Bowden of the National Park Service, who is leading the planning effort. Less than half a mile of the trail would cross the tracks and run next to the highway, he said.

“They came up with this notion of a recreational scenic trail on the shoreline side of the tracks that would be 10 to 12 feet wide,” said Bowden, who is connected with the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, which provides technical assistance to community groups. “In some of the narrowly constricted areas, the trail would cross the tracks with a chain-link fence on either side of it.”

At least three areas along the shore are suitable for extensive restoration as well as passive recreation, including possible viewing platforms.

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Blue Ridge Parkway crack is new attraction

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 @ 7:36 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

It’s not the rippling mountain views. It’s not the chance to spot a black bear or a waterfall. The newest tourist attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville, NC appears to be a giant crack in the asphalt.

The crack, running down the center line of the roadway just north of the Tanbark Ridge Tunnel at milepost 374.5 and first noticed nearly two weeks ago, is now more than 300 feet long, more than 6 inches wide and several feet deep. The northbound side is a couple of inches lower than the southbound lane.

A companion crack running along the edge of the slope on the road’s shoulder is more than a foot wide in some places.

For those who can do the hike to see the crack, it’s a hot ticket.

The road is closed to vehicle traffic more than 20 miles, to Milepost 355 at N.C. 128 near Mount Mitchell State Park. It is still open to pedestrians and bicyclists until next week, when work on a temporary road fix begins.

A crew from the Federal Highway Administration began core drilling tests this week to get to the root cause of the slope failure. Engineer Mohammed Elias said the crew will drill five bores, which will each take about a day.

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SLIDE UPDATE 07/29/2013: The Blue Ridge Parkway has closed off ALL access, including pedestrian and bicycle traffic, to the slide area at the southern end of the Tanbark Ridge Tunnel (MP 374.5) indefinitely. In order to keep everyone safe while repair work is underway, please do not proceed past any gates or fences in the affected area. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.



Bend woman completes 800-mile trek on Oregon Desert Trail

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 @ 11:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Bend woman completes 800-mile trek on Oregon Desert Trail

Sage Clegg of Bend this month became the first person to traverse the entire Oregon Desert Trail – hiking and biking nearly 800 miles from Bend to Adrian near the Idaho border in 37 days.

The trip was not without rough moments, the worst of which Clegg said happened two days before finishing the journey.

“I started out in the morning and I was not a minute out of camp when I almost stepped on a huge rattlesnake,” said the 33-year-old wildlife biologist.

Clegg walked just over 600 miles of the trail and biked about 200 miles. (Read Clegg’s trail blog)

The non-motorized trail is being developed by the Oregon Natural Desert Association. It passes over and through Diablo Peak, Fremont National Forest, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, Steens Mountain, the Pueblo Mountains, the Trout Creek Mountains and the Owyhee River canyonlands.

According to ONDA, Clegg holds the women’s record for hiking the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail in less than 18 months. An 8,000-mile commitment, the three trails are called the Triple Crown of hiking. Clegg finished this journey in 2010.

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Long Trail footbridge will finally connect Duxbury and Bolton sections

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 @ 9:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Long Trail footbridge will finally connect Duxbury and Bolton sections

The Winooski River’s 15-mile journey through the heart of the Green Mountains is spectacularly scenic. Dark, stony cliffs and sharp, evergreen-topped peaks rise abruptly from the river, which carves through the mountains from east to west.

It’s also one of the prettiest sections on the Long Trail, the “footpath in the wilderness” that runs the length of Vermont, from Massachusetts to Quebec. Camel’s Hump, one of Vermont’s iconic mountains, can be seen immediately to the south, and the cliffs of Stimson Mountain loom over the river to the north.

However, the Winooski River bisects the Long Trail in Bolton and Duxbury, creating a barrier to foot travel. And so, despite its beauty, the Winooski has posed a tactical conundrum for Long Trail hikers for more than a century.

For three decades after the Long Trail was carved out of the woods, hikers paid 25 cents for a trip across the river on a battered rowboat, manned by a local family. When that service ended in the 1960s, hikers either had to plod 3.5 miles to the nearest highway bridge, in Jonesville, or rely on their own short-term solutions, which included dangerous attempts at wading the river, even crossing on a nearby railroad trestle. The Green Mountain Club, which built and manages the trail, tried several route changes to eliminate the road walk, but no permanent solution ever emerged.

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Plan would eventually link Chambersburg Rail Trail, Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 @ 8:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Talks are under way for the first phase of an 18-mile trail connecting the Chambersburg Rail Trail at Wilson College to the Appalachian Trail in Caledonia State Park, Pennsylvania.

The six-mile section of the Conococheague Trailway would cross the campus of the former Scotland School for Veterans’ Children and the Chambersburg Country Club.

The first phase of the project would connect Norlo Park at Fayetteville in Guilford Township to the Greene Township Municipal Park. The proposed route follows a railroad right of way abandoned in 1976 and the township sewer line.

“There are a lot of areas that are clear,” Greene Township Supervisor Todd Burns said. “It’s a natural progression to open it as a trail.”

The study calls for trails to be about 10 to 12 feet wide for walking, jogging and bicycling. Some sections could be open to horseback riders. The trails generally follow the Conococheague Creek.

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Senate Committee Taking Testimony July 25 On Funding The National Park Service

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 @ 4:22 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A hearing July 25th before the full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will delve into the fiscal needs of the National Park Service for the next fiscal year. Specifically, the senators want to hear about “supplemental” funding mechanisms that could help the Park Service afford the National Park System.

A range of supplemental funding sources was identified earlier this year by the National Parks Hospitality Association and the National Parks Conservation Association. Some of those proposals, if enacted, would mean higher fees to visit and enjoy the parks.

As National Parks Traveler reported back in March, some of the ideas propose tapping existing federal revenue streams, while others would have park visitors pay more for a variety of park experiences. Others call for creating a $1 billion endowment for the Park Service, going after a portion of the state sales taxes collected on visitor purchases, and asking gateway communities to boost their sales tax rates a bit to generate revenue for their parks.

You can offer your thoughts to the committee, but have to act quickly as written comments are being accepted only through 5 p.m. EDT on Friday. Your statement should be submitted, preferably in Word format, as an email attachment to the committee’s staff assistant, John Assini, at John_Assini@energy.senate.gov

You should state in your cover email that you want your attached statement included in the record of the July 25 parks funding bill hearing. Include your full name and address in your statement.

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San Ramon Valley Map Book Features 3-D Mt. Diablo Hiking Trails

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 @ 4:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

San Ramon Valley Map Book Features 3-D Mt. Diablo Hiking Trails

More than 25,000 map books that cover streets, buildings and trails in the San Ramon Valley region will be available for residents or visitors in late July and August.

The magazine-style maps, which cover Danville, Alamo, Blackhawk, San Ramon, Diablo and Rossmoor and downtown Walnut Creek displays 3-D elevations and hiking trails in Mt. Diablo State Park, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness and other recreational areas.

In a recent release, the map creators don’t deny that many residents are probably wondering why bother with a map when most people use a GPS through their phones nowadays.

“They’re right,” said map creator Glen Jansma in the release. “But maps serve many purposes. GPS and internet maps are meant for navigation. Our maps are intended for orientation and community identification.”

The map’s co-creator, Bernard Catalinotto, explained in the release that the problem with street maps is that they don’t cover trails, and trail maps don’t cover streets.

More information…


Quebec’s hiking trails ‘a great secret’ unknown to anglophones, says new guide

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 @ 5:27 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Michael Haynes, author of the new book “Hiking Trails of Montreal and Beyond,” says many of Quebec’s excellent walking routes are “a great secret,” largely unknown to anglophones.

Most websites on trails in the province, as well as printed material and access information, are in French only, he says in his preface.

The book profiles 50 walking trails within 150 kilometres of Montreal, covering city parks, wilderness treks and mountain summits.

“Because of the proximity of the rugged Laurentian Mountains to the north and the Monteregian hills and Appalachians to the south, there are more mountainous hikes available within a 90-minute drive of Montreal than any Canadian city east of Calgary.

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TEENS on TRAIL – Hike Safe Contest

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 @ 8:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking is fun, but inexperienced hikers, especially teens, are most at risk for injury, even death. Teens can enter a digital media contest to help raise awareness about hiking safety and win a backpack filled with the hiking “Ten Essentials.” Youth enter by submitting a link to an entry by Sept. 30 at Washington Trails Association. The entry can be a photo, video, sound clip or animation about teens and hiking safety.

Safe Kids Snohomish County along with the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Service and Washington Trails Association are sponsoring the contest.

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Wind farm lets you bike, hike or hunt among towering turbines

Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 @ 3:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

From Interstate 90, the wind turbines seem like toothpicks. But up close they are massive, and there may be no better place to learn about them than the Wild Horse Wind Farm, Puget Sound Energy’s power plantation 18 miles northeast of Ellensburg, WA.

Its privately owned 11,000 acres of scrubby brush and ravines are accessible to the public for hiking or biking, even hunting; just complete the paperwork. What distinguishes this stretch of rangeland, however, is the opportunity to check out the 149 turbines.

There’s a tour that will take you inside one of the turbine towers, and a ridgetop visitor center packed with displays about the technology and the area’s natural history.

For bikers or hikers, there’s a 5-mile gravel road running along Beacon Ridge, and several rocky side trails and old, unmarked roads that range across the hills and canyons. One trail leads up to the Whiskey Dick peak and a big array of solar panels, another goes down through Bluebird Canyon, which is said to harbor elk, deer and coyotes as well as the birds for which it’s named.

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Lake Superior’s North Shore, Isle Royale hard to beat for hikers

Posted by on Jul 21, 2013 @ 8:37 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Lake Superior contains more water than all the other Great Lakes combined, and all that water has to come from somewhere. More than 300 rivers and streams empty into the lake, including many in the stretch of Minnesota between Duluth and Grand Portage along the North Shore.

The Cascade River drops 900 feet in its last three miles, and even at low water levels prevailing, it is obvious how the river gets its name. Every 10 steps, there is another view of a zigzag corridor of waterfalls.

For ambitious hikers, there is a steep 7.8-mile loop. A 2.6-mile round trip will take you to the top of 600-foot Lookout Mountain, which furnishes views of Lake Superior. Casual sightseers, however, need walk only about 100 yards to mount a platform with a close-up view of a 50-foot fall.

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