Find out how to wash, dry and reactivate the Durable Water Resistant (DWR) treatment of your GORE-TEX(R) garment. Routine care of your GORE-TEX(R) products will ensure they look and perform great so that you can enjoy your outdoor activity in comfort.
Each spring, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation invite everyone to celebrate National Park Week. This year, from April 19 – 27 you are invited to celebrate all that America’s more than 400 national parks have to offer with the theme “National Park Week: Go Wild!” From diverse wildlife and iconic landscapes to vibrant culture and rich history, our National Park System has something for everyone.
There’s nothing like the hush of a redwood forest, the echo of a canyon or the crash of a wave on the beach to clear the head and revive the spirit.
From April 19 to 27, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation welcome wilderness lovers across America to celebrate the country’s most breath-taking landscapes during National Park Week.
The week-long celebration, which includes Earth Day on April 22, kicks off with two fee-free entrance days on April 19 and 20. On April 26, National Junior Ranger Day, parks will invite young visitors to “explore,learn, protect” and be sworn in as junior rangers.
Another way to support the National Parks Foundation is to take the family to the new Disneynature documentary, “Bears,” during its opening week, April 18 to 24. The film showcases a year in the life of a brown bear mother and her two cubs, growing up amid the craggy mountains and cold, salmon-filled rivers of Alaska.
The U.S. Forest Service announces the release of their first app for mobile devices, the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests App. Intended for anyone who visits Georgia’s two national forests, the app is equally useful for people who regularly visit the forest and those who are exploring the forest for the first time.
Now you can have all the information you need in the palm of your hand to help you navigate and experience Georgia’s two national forests. This FREE app includes 49 recreation sites and provides information about their facilities and opportunities for hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming, boating, off-roading, horseback riding, mountain biking, and sightseeing. The app is free and is available for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.
Most people’s only view of the small town of Terry in eastern Montana is buzzing by on the interstate. From the roadway, traveling at 75 miles per hour, the area surrounding the town looks flat and unremarkable, but those who venture off the interstate will be amazed by the terrain hiding in the Terry Badlands.
The Terry Badlands are located about six miles west of Terry, which is just off Interstate 94 between Miles City and Glendive.
The badlands encompass 44,000 acres of public lands that are designated as a Wilderness Study Area. The area features sedimentary rocks that have eroded over eons into arches, bridges, spires and tabletops.
Hiking and horseback riding are popular in the badlands. People can take ATVs in, but must stay on designated routes. Some people also opt to mountain bike in. The area is popular for hunters, as well as wildlife and bird watchers and photographers.
The land is designated a wilderness study area, which means Congress has identified it as having wilderness characteristics and may some day be considered for wilderness designation.
Prince George hiker Dana Meise has scored major accolades for his epic trip across Canada. Canadian Geographic magazine has named his ambitious journey the “expedition of the year.” “It’s kind of a dream come true for me,” Meise said. “In my field, that’s about as good as it can get.”
Not only that but Canadian Geographic will provide funding for the final leg – a 4,000 mile walk to the Arctic Circle this year followed by a paddle up the Mackenzie River next year.
Meise has already covered 16,000 miles from east to west, largely via the Trans Canada Trail, dipping his foot in the Pacific Ocean at Clover Point in Victoria in December.
“It’s going to allow me to do the journey in a way I’ve always wanted to,” Meise said this week of the magazine’s support. “For example, I can now afford a way better camera to film it but it just adds a whole aspect of credibility.”
Meise, who grew up in Prince George where he has worked as a forestry technician for about 20 years, is tentatively scheduled to start his walk north in mid-April. He will start at Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and reach Inuvik, Northwest Territories, six months later, following the Alaska and Dempster Highways.
You’ve probably heard it a million times, but rule No. 1 rule in the mountains is: No cotton! Better yet, bring it, but leave it in the car to change into after the hike.
Cotton is soft and comfortable; the trouble is, when cotton gets wet, it tends to stay wet. When it’s wet, it’s a poor insulator and can quickly contribute to hypothermia. Aside from that, dressing for hiking is about comfort and being prepared for changing conditions.
That usually means short- and long-sleeve shirt options, short- and long-leg options, a sun hat, a warm hat, gloves, a hooded shell/jacket, an insulating jacket or parka (puffy?), and appropriate footwear.
Shoes, light hikers or mountaineering boots are dictated by the complexity of the terrain. Wicking socks over a thin liner might help prevent blisters. If you’re in snow, scree or loose soil, gators are a welcome addition.
You’re going to need a place to put those portions of your hiking wardrobe that you might not want to wear at any given time. And then there are the other items: emergency essentials, first aid items, sunscreen, a headlamp, food, some sort of emergency blanket or shelter, water and perhaps a filter or steri-pen.
Hood River’s multifaceted climate is a little like Sochi, home of the recent Olympic Winter Games — only without palm trees.
Popularized as a windsurfing destination in the 1980s, this waterfront town in the Columbia River Gorge is blessed with mild to balmy temperatures nine months of the year, while nearby Mount Hood never runs out of snow.
The result is an outdoor adventurer’s playground, and the saying “the Gorge is my gym” has inspired a blog of the same name, featuring daily wind and snow reports.
The ultimate workout is the hat trick — a sport on snow, water and earth in the same day. It could be ski, paddleboard and bike; or snowboard, windsurf/kiteboard and hike. Or perhaps Nordic ski, white-water kayak and rock climb. And don’t forget fly fishing for steelhead. Once you’re hooked, the hardest part is the decision.
A bill to protect Hawaii from unlimited liability for accidents on public land is in danger of dying for the second year in a row if a key committee doesn’t take up the legislation this week.
The proposal, Senate Bill 1007, has incited a groundswell of support from paragliders, bikers, hikers, rock climbers and others who worry about the potential closure of public trails if the state is left vulnerable to lawsuits.
But the measure has been sitting in the House Finance Committee for more than a month and it’s unlikely that Finance Committee Chairwoman Sylvia Luke will hear the bill before a key deadline.
SB 1007 would make permanent Act 82, a 2003 law that created a system in which the Department of Land and Natural Resources identifies dangerous natural sites and puts up warning signs that protect the state from unlimited liability. The bill would also make it harder for a person to sue the state if she or he gets hurt through “non-natural conditions” on state land, such as a faulty rope on a cliff or a man-made trail.
Hawaii taxpayers have shelled out millions of dollars in settlements for past accidents on state land. Two years ago, Hawaii paid $15.4 million to the relatives of two tourists who died after falling off a cliff on a hike in Kauai. The trail has since been closed.
Let’s say it right up front. This hike has proven risks. In recent memory, at least six people have fallen to their deaths while attempting to ascend this lofty massif. It makes one queasy to imagine that the next person’s body could be found clutching a copy of Zion National Park’s Hike of the Week.
But here’s the deal: Angels Landing already is the most popular hike in Zion National Park. People will go no matter the warnings, and many of the hikers don’t really know what they’re getting into.
Committed tourists were wobbling over the knife-edge spine wearing Crocs, flip flops, unlaced Keds, penny loafers and ballet flats. A couple of acrophobic hikers stalled out in panic, gripping the chain bolted to the rock while partners yelled at them to hurry up (not helpful, partners).
Every hike has risks. All one can do is try their best to help you understand the risks and rewards of a certain hike.
It’s not every day we get more to love of something we love so much. And at a bargain price.
The Pisgah National Forest
— the most beloved of all forests in North Carolina with its 6 million some annual visitors
— just got a little bigger, adding 212 acres of prime real estate to its half-million acres of woods, streams and waterfalls on the eastern edge of Western North Carolina.
The U.S. Forest Service, in partnership with The Conservation Fund, has acquired the important inholding, known as Backbone Ridge in Caldwell County, with funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The property is within the headwaters of Racket Creek in the Johns River watershed in Caldwell County, and will allow for expanded public recreational access, including hunting, fishing and hiking. The newly acquired 212 acres were part of a larger property called Backbone Ridge.
Visible from Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Blowing Rock, Backbone Ridge has been a top conservation priority for the U.S. and N.C Forest Service for many years for its pristine waterfalls and streams that provide ideal habitat for native brook trout.
SHEhike’s mission is to provide women survivors of sexual assault who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a way to heal and empower themselves through hiking.
One in every 6 American women has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape, and victims of sexual assault are 3x more likely to suffer from depression, 6x more likely to suffer from PTSD, 13x more likely to abuse alcohol, 26x more likely to abuse drugs, and 4x more likely to contemplate suicide. Sexual violence against women is a critical problem that needs to be addressed and solved, and one of the ways to tackle this issue is by finding a means for these survivors to heal and to empower themselves; hiking and backpacking and experiencing nature in this more intimate level is a vehicle in which to accomplish both healing and empowerment.
There is something therapeutic and meditative about hiking. Hiking will give SHEhikers time to think and reflect, to come to terms with their experiences, and come out of it simultaneously more humbled at the grandeur and beauty of nature and empowered at the ability to push and challenge themselves out of their comfort zones
—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Getting ready to head to the hills as the snow melts? The U.S. Forest Service now sells its one-day recreation pass for Washington and Oregon national forests online
— and a pass is required for parking at many trailheads and Forest Service sites.
The National Forest Recreation ePass is being sold online, as of April 1, through a partnership of the Forest Service and Discover Your Northwest, a non-profit organization that advocates for public lands.
A day pass is $5, and can be printed at home for immediate use; you must include the date you’ll be using it and the vehicle (and it can’t be changed or transferred). Making the recreation pass available online means outdoor enthusiasts won’t have to find a store or ranger station at which to buy a pass.
National forests in Washington that are participating in the ePass include Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest; Olympic National Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
The City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division will be working every Saturday in April in to remove graffiti, clean up trash and/or perform trail maintenance in the foothills. Volunteers who want to help are asked to meet in time to start work at 9 a.m.
The schedule includes:
⋄ Saturday: Copper trailhead. East of Tramway on Copper Ave.
⋄ April 12: Indian School trailhead. East of Tramway on Indian School Road.
⋄ April 19: Menaul trailhead. East of Tramway on Menaul Blvd.
⋄ April 26: Piedra Lisa Open Space. East of Tramway on Candelaria Road and south on Camino de la Sierra.
Bring gloves, a picnic lunch, a water bottle, sturdy outdoor shoes and sun protection. No registration necessary, unless you are part of a group. Groups of 10 or larger are asked to register by calling 505-452-5213. Children under 18 must have a parent/guardian with them.
Last week, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell issued a Secretarial Order to expand programs that connect America’s young people to the great outdoors.
We’re heavily involved with connecting youth to the great outdoors. In 2013, 39% of the Pacific Crest Trail’s (PCT’s) 81,000 trail maintenance volunteer hours were accomplished by partnerships, youth corps’ and other youth programs. This work not only restores the PCT but it connects youth to nature, develops future citizen stewards and builds professional job skills. Besides the actual trail maintenance skills developed on a trail crew, youths also learn about conserving America’s great outdoors, leadership, teamwork and job safety.
The PCT trail maintenance program is just one of the ways that we’re connecting young people to the great outdoors.
Watch this new video where Secretary Sally Jewell lays out her vision for getting America’s youth to play, learn, serve and work outdoors. We’re doing that on the PCT.
The U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a prescribed burn in the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The agency will conduct the 1950-acre burn North of Lake James Road in McDowell County.
The Forest Service is conducting the two-day burn as part of the Grandfather Restoration Project, a 10-year project designed to restore 40,000 acres of the Grandfather Ranger District. The project is restoring fire-adapted ecosystems by enhancing conditions for a variety of native plants and wildlife, controlling non-native species and protecting hemlocks against hemlock woolly adelgids.
The Mountains to the Sea trail, from the foot bridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River to the Dobson Knob road, will be closed during the prescribed burn.
The safety of the public and firefighters is the highest priority during a prescribed burn. The public is asked to heed signs posted at trailheads and roads and to stay away from burn areas and closed roads and trails. A helicopter will assist in conducting the prescribed burn.
The NC Forest Service, NC Wildlife Resource Commission and The Nature Conservancy are assisting in the prescribed burn.
Devil’s Slide, the mountainous stretch of California coastline between Pacifica and Montara, is a graveyard of transportation infrastructure. The Tom Lantos tunnels, opened last year to carry Highway 1 through the area, are at least the fifth attempt since the 19th century to build a stable north-south route through the steep, landslide-prone cliffs, and that’s not even counting the bankrupt railroad and the planned but never-built freeway. The persistent difficulty faced by road-builders is, however, a boon to hikers and bicyclists. The old routes, which proved impractical for motorized traffic, have been converted to hiking and biking trails.
The newest old route opened recently as the Devil’s Slide Trail, the 1.3-mile stretch of highway bypassed by the tunnels. San Mateo County spent nearly a year transforming the highway into a trail, restriping the road with designated bicycle and pedestrian lanes and building entrances, parking lots, and restrooms at each end.
The natural beauty of the area is astonishing. The trail alternates between narrow defiles and wide-open views of the ocean. The view will be familiar to anyone who took Highway 1 before the tunnels opened, but being there on a bike or on foot, rather than in a car completely transforms one’s experience of the Slide. Now that the route is a trail, you can actually stop and admire the waves crashing on the rocks and the towering green hills just inland, listen to the sea birds perched on the rocks offshore, and smell the salt air.
The English Romantic poet William Wordsworth once penned a sonnet titled “The World Is Too Much with Us.”
As an eyewitness to the First Industrial Revolution, Wordsworth believed the advancement of machines and materialism upon humanity would cause men and women to lose their powers as they distanced themselves from nature. By “getting and spending,” he stated, “we have given our hearts away” and have become “out of tune.”
Two hundred fifty years later, the environmentalist Edward Abbey expressed a similar perspective.
Said Abbey: “One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. … Save half of your lives for pleasure and adventure. … Get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests … climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive.”
Those who call Utah home are richly fortunate to consider the grand recreational spaces afforded to our respectful use. Ranging from its high-elevation alpine lakes, meadows and woodlands to its low-lying red sand deserts, Utah possesses over nine million acres of National Forests. Additionally, Utah is home to five National Parks, the third most of any state.
The word Chadar means sheet, and it refers to the sheet of snow and ice on the Zanskar River, a tributary of the Indus River in northern India.
Trekking the Chadar is only possible during a two-month window in the heart of the Himalayan winter. It is a rugged and dangerous path, not along jagged mountains, but through them on a river turned to ice. For centuries, this ice way has been the only winter trade route that connects the remote villages of the Zanskar region to Leh, the bustling trade center that connects the region to the world at large.
The primary exports of this region have historically been textiles, yak butter and salt. But Leh is also the destination for acquiring education, medical treatment and any other goods and services not readily available in a mountain village.
The newest economic opportunity to enter into the Chadar equation is tourism. Only in recent years have trekking and adventure companies offered tours that range from a couple of days on the ice to multiweek expeditions that include staying in one of the villages.
But this is also a time of year when there are few tourists willing to put out the expense for a trip to brave the cold, which makes for a special time for those who do to visit local monasteries. It can feel rather surreal, gasping for thin, freezing air in the bright Ladakhi sun while listening to Buddhist horns and watching traditional dances.