News

Southern pine beetle on the rise across the South

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 @ 12:16 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Southern pine beetle on the rise across the South

Smaller than a grain of rice, the southern pine beetle (SPB) is considered “the most destructive forest pest in the South”. This menacing label appropriately reflects the devastation it can cause, with outbreaks capable of costing millions of dollars between lost timber and management costs. Fortunately, SPB outbreaks are cyclical, typically occurring every 10-15 years. The last outbreak in N.C. ended in 2002, 16 years ago. Last year, predictive trapping suggested a rise in SPB activity would occur in parts of western N.C. and in Croatan...

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At The Wave, competition for hiking permits is fierce

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 @ 7:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

At The Wave, competition for hiking permits is fierce

Ranger Ron Kay glanced at an anxious crowd crammed into a U.S. Bureau of Land Management office in Kanab, Utah. “All these hopeful faces,” he murmured as the minutes counted down to a drawing for permits to hike to The Wave, an iconic basin of striated orange sandstone just south of the Utah-Arizona state line. More than 80 applications were stacked in front of Kay on this Thursday morning in late December, with up to six names on each request. Only 10 people would get permits. Losers could try again, but the next day, nearly 400 applications...

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‘Dangerous Drift-Prone Pesticide’ Threatens Millions of Acres, Hundreds of Endangered Species

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 @ 11:44 am in Conservation | 0 comments

‘Dangerous Drift-Prone Pesticide’ Threatens Millions of Acres, Hundreds of Endangered Species

Public interest organizations representing farmers and conservationists made their legal case in a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Monsanto Company last week, challenging EPA’s approval of Monsanto’s new “XtendiMax” pesticide. XtendiMax is Monsanto’s version of dicamba, an old and highly drift-prone weed-killer. EPA’s approval permitted XtendiMax to be sprayed for the first time on growing soybeans and cotton that Monsanto has genetically engineered (GE) to be...

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10 Tips for Hiking Downhill

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 @ 6:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

10 Tips for Hiking Downhill

Hiking downhill is often taken for granted. In the minds of some it represents the equivalent of “backcountry gravy“; the reward that follows the exertion of a long, challenging ascent. Yet hiking downhill takes its toll. Twists, slips and tumbles are most likely to occur while descending and no other type of hiking causes more wear and tear on the joints and muscles. By learning how to hike downhill efficiently in all types of terrain, the hiker can minimize impact on the body and decrease the probability of falls and/or mishaps occurring....

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A diverse portfolio: Seed bank works to protect genes of WNC plants

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 @ 11:47 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A diverse portfolio: Seed bank works to protect genes of WNC plants

It’s been just about 10 years since the day Joe-Ann McCoy, then living in Iowa and working as the national medicinal plant curator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, got a life-changing call from her home region of Western North Carolina. It was the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville, and they wanted to know if she’d be interested in trading her secure government job for a position funded by grants and contracts, moving to the Asheville area, and starting up a seed bank. “There was nothing here. There wasn’t a single lab,” McCoy said. Since...

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Chemours’ GenX pollution worries spread to West Virginia

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 @ 6:58 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Chemours’ GenX pollution worries spread to West Virginia

A Teflon chemical that last year contaminated a North Carolina river that provides drinking water to a region of more than 200,000 people also has been detected at a well under a Chemours facility in West Virginia, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In an apparent effort to determine the extent of the chemical, called GenX, in the area’s water, Delaware-based Chemours this month is complying with an EPA request to collect and test drinking water samples in Ohio and West Virginia for signs of the unregulated chemical....

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How the Chattanooga region’s trails are built and maintained

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 @ 11:57 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

How the Chattanooga region’s trails are built and maintained

Mason Boring and Clayton Morgan held adjoining handles of a perforated lancetooth two-man saw, pulling the more-than-70-year-old piece of equipment back and forth. The two were clearing a fallen tree from Fodderstack horse and hiking trail in Cherokee National Forest. Boring estimated it had been five years since a crew came to clear the path. That’s what brought the two men here, miles from civilization, hiking and pulling a saw older than many of the surrounding trees. Boring works for Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) –...

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Wildlife habitat, water quality protected in Sandy Mush

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 @ 8:47 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Wildlife habitat, water quality protected in Sandy Mush

When locals speak of Sandy Mush, it’s often in the same breath with words like “sacred land,” “pure,” and “paradise.” So protecting this bucolic expanse of farmland amid North Carolina’s Newfound Mountains of northwestern Buncombe County has been a life’s work for many who live in or who just love the area. The Ellis family recently worked with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy to protect 88 acres of their land in Boyd Cove with a conservation easement that ensures plant and animal habitat and water sources will remain...

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The National Park Service is stuck in $11.3 billion hole, but jacking up fees isn’t the way out

Posted by on Feb 11, 2018 @ 12:07 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Three years ago, the National Park Service banned trucks and buses heavier than 10 tons from crossing over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, a major transportation artery connecting Virginia to Washington D.C. And there’s speculation that the U.S. Secret Service now refuses to cross the 82-year-old concrete span, though the agency would not confirm whether this was the case. From afar, the bridge’s neoclassical design — finished with sculptures of eagles and bas relief of bison — looks glorious. But inside, it’s rotting....

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Nova Scotia blessed with trails for outdoor adventurers for all ages

Posted by on Feb 11, 2018 @ 8:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nova Scotia blessed with trails for outdoor adventurers for all ages

It’s very easy to take to the warm and cozy of the couch during Nova Scotia winters: ripe with freeze and thaw, rain and snow and bone-chilling cold snaps. However, more often these days there has been a growth in those that dare to venture out of the house and on to the trails that criss-cross the province. For more than 10 years Hike Nova Scotia, a non-profit hiking and walking promotion group, has been offering a collection of guided hikes, walkabouts and workshops to allow those looking for a push into, or a hand-hold alongside, nature....

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A hiking trail connecting NYC to Canada is in the works

Posted by on Feb 10, 2018 @ 11:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A hiking trail connecting NYC to Canada is in the works

During his 2017 State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out an ambitious proposal to develop 350 miles of new biking paths and hiking trails that will connect New York City to both Canada and Buffalo through Albany. Dubbed the Empire State Trail, the whole project will stretch 750 miles and include roughly 400 miles of existing trails. It’s scheduled to be completed by 2020, and state officials and developers are beginning to make moves to hit that deadline. Cuomo doubled down on his support for the trail in his...

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Nine Tips for Hiking Havasu Falls

Posted by on Feb 10, 2018 @ 9:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nine Tips for Hiking Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls sits atop the desirable adventures for many hikers from the first time they see a picture of the aqua blue water cascading down red rock walls into the crystal pool below. On the hike, you will see Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls which are some of the most picturesque waterfalls and dramatic scenery found in the Grand Canyon. There is also Supai Village, a remote Indian village that is only accessible by hiking, horseback, or helicopter. Havasupai is roughly translated to mean, “People of the blue-green...

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Hiking across the greenest island in the Caribbean

Posted by on Feb 9, 2018 @ 11:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking across the greenest island in the Caribbean

“They say: stand still in the soil too long in Grenada and even you’ll start to grow.” The southern Caribbean isle of Grenada, with its volcanic earth and generous lashings of both “liquid” and regular sunshine, is ludicrously lush. Every backyard, mountainside, valley and verge seems rife with nutmeg, cocoa and soursop, banana palms, guava, ginger lilies and dreadlock crotons; the island is like one big Christmas tree, baubled with scarlet immortelles and strung with bougainvillea. The majority of people visit lovely, laid-back Grenada for...

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Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct to Close for Repairs

Posted by on Feb 9, 2018 @ 6:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct to Close for Repairs

The National Park Service announces the closure of the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway for surface repaving and bridge maintenance from March 1, 2018 through May 24, 2018. These projects require a full closure of the Parkway, including closure of the trail below the bridge; with the reopening coinciding with Memorial Day weekend. The Linn Cove Viaduct is located at Milepost 304. A traffic detour will be put in place from Milepost 298.6 (Holloway Mountain Rd) to Milepost 305.1 (US 221). Gates will be located at MP 303.6, Wilson...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Recruits ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Volunteers

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 @ 11:59 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Recruits ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Volunteers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park. In an effort to track nature’s calendar, or phenology, volunteers will collect information as part of an important research project tracking seasonal biological data such as plant flowering dates and the presence of migratory birds. Previous experience is not necessary but an interest in science and love for nature are characteristics of a successful volunteer. A 3-hour training workshop is provided and will include...

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Montana’s Weatherman Draw offers winter hiking, ancient exploration

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 @ 9:27 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Montana’s Weatherman Draw offers winter hiking, ancient exploration

Winter hiking often involves snowshoes, but not if you wander along the southeastern edge of the Beartooth Mountains into Weatherman Draw. Weatherman Draw creases one of the driest areas in Montana — a place where rain and snow are rare visitors. That makes it a great place to hike when more popular mountain trails are snowed in. By summertime, it’s too hot to hike there, so it’s the perfect off-season spot. Also known as the Valley of the Chiefs and Valley of the Shields, the public land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management is protected...

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Idaho legislature votes to remove climate change from new science education standards

Posted by on Feb 7, 2018 @ 5:13 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Idaho legislature votes to remove climate change from new science education standards

Lawmakers in Idaho voted to adopt new science standards for the state, but chose to remove key references to climate science. The vote came just days after public testimony from students and teachers overwhelmingly supported including climate science in the public school standards. “At what point do we trust our teachers?” Rep. Sally Toone, a Democrat who voted against removing the climate references, said during a House Education Committee hearing. “We have great teachers and they have spent thousands of hours on this document.” The...

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First look at Pacific Crest Trail after Columbia Gorge fire

Posted by on Feb 7, 2018 @ 9:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

First look at Pacific Crest Trail after Columbia Gorge fire

Branches flew. Trail tools smoothed the earth. Stones tumbled downhill, crackling like Rice Krispies as gravity took hold. The trail workers are back. Hardhat-clad crew leaders began work last month on a section of Pacific Crest Trail that’s been closed near the Columbia River Gorge tourist town of Cascade Locks since a wildfire ripped through the region last summer. The Eagle Creek fire covered nearly 49,000 acres and left the West’s most famous footpath marred by downed trees and rockslides, among other dangers. But crews have begun to...

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Trekking Patagonia: from glaciers to temperate forest, it’s a world of its own

Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 @ 12:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trekking Patagonia: from glaciers to temperate forest, it’s a world of its own

It’s said that if you eat the berries of the calafate bush you will return to Patagonia. Patagonia is a place that’s wild and windswept and so capacious it could constitute its very own country. There are two Patagonias, the forest-cloaked Andes straddling Chile and Argentina, and the Argentinian steppe that flares eastwards for about 400 kilometres before petering out into the Atlantic Ocean. Capping this tableau like a rough-drawn border between two countries is the Southern Patagonian Icefield, a vast freshwater reserve that...

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Linked to the landscape: Community envisions Plott Balsams’ future

Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 @ 7:00 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Linked to the landscape: Community envisions Plott Balsams’ future

The doors opened, and the room filled — with hikers, bikers, ecologists, conservation workers, economic development professionals and Cherokee tribal members alike who were intent on making their voices heard during a public forum last week, which took input on plans that will impact the future of Waterrock Knob and the Plott Balsams. “What I love is the passion that people bring to conversations like this,” said Leesa Brandon, spokesperson for the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Their love of these places, their hopes for the future and the fact that...

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This coyote was stealing newspapers, so here’s what the delivery man did

Posted by on Feb 5, 2018 @ 12:12 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

This coyote was stealing newspapers, so here’s what the delivery man did

It’s not uncommon to hear about city residents running into conflicts with urban coyotes. Usually it’s because of run-ins with pets, or coyotes getting too close for comfort around people in parks or yards. But sometimes a conflict arises for more surprising reasons. In one San Francisco neighborhood, trouble popped up for the newspaper delivery man when his papers started going missing. He started getting calls from upset clients that their paper wasn’t being delivered, but he knew full well he had delivered one to their...

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Trails in the South Carolina Lowcountry you may not know about

Posted by on Feb 5, 2018 @ 8:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Lowcountry is an ideal place for anyone who loves the outdoors; visitors and resident alike enjoy the subtropical climate while biking, swimming, kayaking and golfing. Both amateur and expert hikers can find many opportunities to hike in the Lowcountry, too. All a hiker needs is a pair of shoes and perhaps some company, and he or she is ready to walk through enormous oaks decorated with Spanish moss under the South Carolina sun. Beaufort County has its fair share of trails. One of the longest trails — the Spanish Moss Trail — will...

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An artist is reimagining the UK’s national parks in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien’s maps

Posted by on Feb 4, 2018 @ 11:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

An artist is reimagining the UK’s national parks in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien’s maps

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are iconic fantasy adventures, and readers return to them time and again because of the rich detail that defines the world. Tolkien’s prose is aided by his beautiful maps of Middle-Earth, which comes with simplified, beautiful forests, mountains, and typography that has set the standard for fictional cartography ever since. That influence extends beyond just fantasy novels: an English artist is using Tolkien’s style to reimagine the UK’s national parks for his own beautiful maps. Dan Bell...

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Nature Conservancy Sets Stage to Add 955 Acres of Public Access to Jones Gap State Park

Posted by on Feb 4, 2018 @ 7:17 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Nature Conservancy Sets Stage to Add 955 Acres of Public Access to Jones Gap State Park

In warmer months, it’s common to see a line of cars waiting outside Jones Gap State Park as early as 9 a.m. on the weekend. Jones Gap has only 36 parking spaces; when those are full, the park is considered “at capacity” and the gates close until more visitors can be accepted. With 415,852 visitors welcomed to the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area last year – a figure that has nearly doubled since 2014 – getting outdoors is getting harder to do. Now, the park’s capacity likely will get a sorely needed boost. The Nature Conservancy has purchased...

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Scientists discover ancient Mayan city hidden under Guatemalan jungle

Posted by on Feb 3, 2018 @ 11:42 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Scientists discover ancient Mayan city hidden under Guatemalan jungle

Researchers using a high-tech aerial mapping technique have found tens of thousands of previously undetected Mayan houses, buildings, defence works and pyramids in the dense jungle of Guatemala’s Peten region, suggesting that millions more people lived there than previously thought. The discoveries, which included industrial-sized agricultural fields and irrigation canals, were announced by an alliance of US, European and Guatemalan archaeologists working with Guatemala’s Mayan Heritage and Nature Foundation. The study estimates that roughly...

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This Woman Is Helping Create Some of the World’s Greatest National Parks

Posted by on Feb 3, 2018 @ 9:59 am in Conservation | 0 comments

This Woman Is Helping Create Some of the World’s Greatest National Parks

Former Patagonia CEO Kristine McDivitt Tompkins has spent a quarter of a century preserving public lands across Chile and Argentina. Last month, news broke that Chile would officially add 11 million acres to its National Park system, thanks to decrees signed by conservationist Kristine McDivitt Tompkins and Chilean president Michelle Bachelet—that’s three times the size of Yellowstone and Yosemite combined. It’s an impressive feat, especially considering the move comes at a time when, here in the U.S., there is talk of public lands being sold...

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North Country Trail Association offering online maps

Posted by on Feb 2, 2018 @ 12:24 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

North Country Trail Association offering online maps

Following the blue blaze markers along the North Country Trail is a good way to stay on the trail, as is a good old-fashioned waterproof, tear-resistant paper map. A little technology, though, can’t hurt. Matthew Rowbotham, the North Country Trail Association’s Geographic Information System coordinator based in Traverse City, also encourages accessing and using the NCTA’s online trail map as well as mobile apps. The reason behind the NCTA’s online mapping efforts is to deliver trail users a unified mapping system and offer map content in as...

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The national monuments slashed by Trump will officially be open to mining today

Posted by on Feb 2, 2018 @ 7:01 am in Conservation | 3 comments

The national monuments slashed by Trump will officially be open to mining today

At 9 a.m. EST Friday, February 2, 2018, the extractive industry will gain drilling and mining access to previously protected American land, according to an order issued by President Donald Trump late last year. Trump took an unprecedented step for a U.S. president in December — signing a proclamation that dramatically reduced the size of two national monuments. Bears Ears National Monument was cut by more than 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was reduced by half. This resulted in the largest elimination of protected...

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Truck driver plows into Peru’s 2,000-year-old archeological enigma

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 @ 12:10 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Truck driver plows into Peru’s 2,000-year-old archeological enigma

Peru’s world renowned Nazca Lines were damaged when a rig plowed into the ancient site, the country’s ministry of culture said. The driver was arrested after he allegedly ignored warning signage and drove over UNESCO World Heritage site, the ministry said. He was later released after a magistrate said there was not enough evidence to prove that he had acted with intent. Authorities found deep tire marks across an area of 50 meters by 100 meters (104 feet by 328 feet) in the site’s grounds and damage to three geoglyphs....

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Arizona elk headed to West Virginia

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 @ 7:10 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Arizona elk headed to West Virginia

Dozens of Arizona elk will soon roam southern West Virginia’s reclaimed coal fields, bugling a call of the wild not heard in the Mountain State since the Civil War. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission last year voted to send 60 elk to help the effort. In late January a team of wildlife managers and volunteers captured and quarantined the animals at a state wildlife viewing area in the piñon-juniper scrublands between Flagstaff and Winslow. The animals will head east on a double-decker cattle truck once they’re confirmed to be...

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Tips for keeping your hiking strength and endurance during winter

Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 @ 3:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tips for keeping your hiking strength and endurance during winter

While we certainly need periods of rest and relaxation to thrive, becoming relatively inactive for months on end is rarely a good idea for your health and well-being, especially when you’ve spent the past several months hoofing it to amazing hiking destinations and building up your strength and endurance. The good news is there are many ways to take the next step in your hiking journey by staying in peak hiking shape throughout the winter months. That way, when warm weather returns and your favorite trails are accessible again, you’ll be...

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Chile Adds 10 Million Acres of Parkland in Historic First

Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 @ 9:11 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Chile Adds 10 Million Acres of Parkland in Historic First

American philanthropists and the Chilean government pledged to protect the land nearly a year ago. Now, it’s official. Chilean president Michelle Bachelet officially declared a major expansion of Chile’s parklands, creating two new national parks and protecting vast swaths of the country’s rainforests, grasslands, and other wild terrains. “With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, we…expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres,” Bachelet said in a statement. “Thus,...

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Wildlife along the Swamp Trail at Francis Beidler Forest, SC

Posted by on Jan 30, 2018 @ 12:14 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wildlife along the Swamp Trail at Francis Beidler Forest, SC

The National Audubon Society’s Francis Beidler Forest located in Four Holes Swamp, South Carolina contains within its 18,000 acres the largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress and tupelo gum swamp forest left anywhere in the world. Wander along an elevated boardwalk that starts and ends at the visitor center past ancient trees, black water swamp, clear pools, and wildlife. Thousand-year-old trees and native wildlife abound in this pristine sanctuary that has been untouched for millennia. A 1.75-mile self-guiding boardwalk trail allows...

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Sentinels of the Swamp: Cypress and Tupelo Trees

Posted by on Jan 30, 2018 @ 6:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Sentinels of the Swamp: Cypress and Tupelo Trees

Rising tall from dark, murky waters, the bald cypress tree is a stately symbol of the swamp. Associated with the bayou, Spanish moss, pelicans, egrets and alligators, the bald cypress is the state tree of Louisiana. Its feathery foliage, wide and buttressed base and irregular crown dominate many southeastern wetlands, and its range extends throughout the southeastern U.S. from southern Delaware to eastern Texas. Bald cypress prefer saturated or seasonally inundated wetland soils, low elevations, flat topography and humid climates; although...

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