News

Forest Rangers tackle the conundrum of protecting loved-to-death wilderness

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 @ 7:03 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Forest Rangers tackle the conundrum of protecting loved-to-death wilderness

Were you to hike nearly nine miles into a wilderness area, paralleling a creek through alpine meadows and woods, you might expect to find solitude. But that’s not the case at Conundrum Hot Springs, an extremely popular area of natural pools at an elevation of over 11,000 feet with views of surrounding peaks in White River National Forest, Colorado. Dozens — and on busy weekends, sometimes hundreds — of overnight visitors hike in. Some even carry speakers and cases of beer. “It’ll be like you’ve gone to someone’s backyard for a pool party,”...

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Collecting Climate Change Data in the Field

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 @ 11:37 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Collecting Climate Change Data in the Field

Since 1957, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) has been at the forefront of preserving our national parks and forests, with the knowledge that these natural “lungs” act as a critical cooling and cleaning mechanism for our planet, pulling carbon dioxide from the air while releasing oxygen. But in recent years, SCA has expanded beyond preservation work, partnering with other organizations to work more directly on the problem of climate change—the overriding environmental issue of our time. In its quest to address climate change and...

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Friends of the Smokies Turns 25 with $2.5 Million Emergency Radio Upgrade in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 @ 7:15 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Friends of the Smokies Turns 25 with $2.5 Million Emergency Radio Upgrade in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In celebration of the organization’s 25th anniversary next year, Friends of the Smokies is delighted to announce a milestone capital campaign to fund a critical radio system upgrade in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). The total cost of the radio system upgrade is $2.5 million. “Our target for this campaign is to raise $1.25 million by this time next year, making it our biggest fundraising goal in a decade,” said Jim Hart, president of the nonprofit organization. Federal funding sources and other grants will be used to match...

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Nine Easy Tips to Stay Safe While Hiking

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 @ 11:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nine Easy Tips to Stay Safe While Hiking

For every trip into nature, you need to be prepared. Whether it is a one-mile hike with the family or a solo trip where you cover more than 20 miles in a day, being prepared is the difference between a great day and a really bad one. Experienced hikers will say to always bring the 10 essentials, and for long treks you should do this. However, for extremely short day hikes, lugging around the 10 essentials will feel like overkill. Instead, think through your trip, and be sure you have everything you need in case of an injury or if you were to...

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Living with Lynx in Scotland

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 @ 6:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Living  with Lynx in Scotland

Many generations have passed since the shy, beautiful, and charismatic lynx roamed the wild forests of Scotland. Today, the possibility of reintroducing this native predator is a tantalizing prospect for some but for others, represents an unwelcome imposition. Until just a few years ago, the lynx or lugh, as it was known in Scottish Gaelic, was virtually unknown as a former native predator of Scotland. Instead, beavers and wolves were the species dominating discussions about reintroductions. Nowadays though, it seems that you can barely open...

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Scott Pruitt is dismantling EPA in secret for the same reason the GOP health care bill was secret

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 @ 11:39 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Scott Pruitt is dismantling EPA in secret for the same reason the GOP health care bill was secret

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has a propensity to operate in secret. The approach of serving industry under cover of secrecy is not idiosyncratic to Pruitt, nor is it distinctively Trumpian. Rather, it is the standard approach of today’s GOP, as reflected in such recent initiatives as the failed health care bill. It is, in fact, the only approach possible to advance an agenda that is unpopular and intellectually indefensible. Despite his often-professed belief in “the rule of law,” he has steadfastly resisted and evaded Freedom...

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Jennifer Pharr Davis hits the trail

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 @ 6:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Jennifer Pharr Davis hits the trail

Jennifer Pharr Davis and her whole crew – husband Brew, daughter Charley, and son Gus – are starting the first steps down Clingmans Dome to begin an epic three-month journey across NC on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail today. The whole family will hike 4 miles, likely with a few M&Ms dispensed to nudge the children along (well, and maybe the grown-ups, too). Tomorrow, Jen will begin the work of logging the serious daily miles that will bring her to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, some 1,175-miles distant, sometime in...

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Fleeing to the Mountains

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 @ 11:57 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Fleeing to the Mountains

In contrast to many advanced countries, the United States has a vast and spectacular publicly owned wilderness, mostly free and available to all. In an age of inequality, the affluent have gated neighborhoods, private schools, backup generators and greater influence on elected officials. But our most awe-inspiring wild places have remained largely a public good to be shared by all, a bastion of equality. This is a magnificent splendor that no billionaire is allowed to fence off. We all have equal access, at no charge: If you can hold your own...

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National parks brace for eclipse crowds

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 @ 8:43 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

National parks brace for eclipse crowds

The U.S. National Park Service is gearing up for some historically large crowds August 21, 2017 when a total solar eclipse will occur over a swath across the nation from Oregon to South Carolina, crossing over 21 national park units and seven trails. If you haven’t planned ahead, be aware that lodging and camping is full around most of the parks, the NPS site warns, and many of the nearby towns have limited services. The park service, along with NASA, universities and other agencies and community organizations are offering a range of events...

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National Parks Are Great Classrooms

Posted by on Aug 13, 2017 @ 12:23 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

National Parks Are Great Classrooms

This summer, millions of visitors will descend on America’s National Parks. National Parks attract visitors of all ages from countries across the globe, but many of this summer’s visitors will be children and their families on summer vacation. And that’s a valuable learning opportunity for both those children and their families. America’s 59 National Parks, 129 national historic parks and sites, and more than 200 national monuments, seashores, and other sites provide abundant learning opportunities for both children...

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Leader of the pack: Former attorney creates doggy hiking club

Posted by on Aug 13, 2017 @ 8:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Leader of the pack: Former attorney creates doggy hiking club

Russ Smith and his canine friends just want to haven fun! Six mornings a week, the Tiverton, Rhode Island entrepreneur and several dogs of various shapes, sizes and ages, pile into a large van to enjoy a three-hour-long outdoor trek in the country to enjoy some fresh air, exercise and what the critters do best – play and have a lot of fun. “I pick them up – door to door – in my van,” begins Smith, a former lawyer who developed the doggie day care business two years ago by word of mouth from friends who learned about the unique service and...

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Arizona Trail to get new management plan

Posted by on Aug 12, 2017 @ 12:34 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Arizona Trail to get new management plan

The 800-mile-long Arizona Trail that spans the length of the state is getting a new level of management. It will come in the form of a comprehensive plan aimed at better protecting and preserving the trail’s resources, whether they are located on federal, state, county, municipal or private land. Federal agencies released an initial draft of the plan earlier this month and as a first step, are reaching out to the public for feedback. Included in the initial draft of the comprehensive plan is: A framework for locating or relocating segments of...

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Bear country hiking tips from a big game biologist

Posted by on Aug 12, 2017 @ 7:05 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Bear country hiking tips from a big game biologist

Hikers in many parts of the West, especially northwest Wyoming, are in carnivore country and should think ahead to what they would do in a close encounter with a bear, wolf or mountain lion, says a wildlife biologist. Annemarie Prince, a hiker as well as a biologist who works with big game and carnivores for the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department recently offered tips for staying safe in bear country. Hikers should be alert for clues that indicate a bear might be nearby, including tracks, scat, prey carcasses or even freshly moved...

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New Science Education Program Brings Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Classrooms

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 @ 12:22 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

New Science Education Program Brings Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Classrooms

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont have been selected to participate in a new science education program, Citizen Science 2.0 in National Parks. Made possible thanks to a $1 million Veverka Family Foundation donation to the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, this new program supports collaborations among select national parks, local environmental science education providers, and local middle and high schools over a three-year period. Great Smoky...

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6 ways to get the best workout of your life while hiking

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 @ 8:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

6 ways to get the best workout of your life while hiking

Modern workout machines, like treadmills, offer flat and predictable workout surfaces. Although you can adjust the incline slightly, it does not offer a consistent challenge. In fact, most people fail to see expected results after months of using their treadmill. Hiking engages the entire body as it requires the use of hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, abdominals, calves, thighs and lower-back, as you navigate the terrain as well as whatever obstacles you may encounter. Every log you climb over during a hike will challenge you in a treadmills...

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Great Plains Trail could put western Nebraska’s premier scenic attractions in national spotlight

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 @ 12:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Great Plains Trail could put western Nebraska’s premier scenic attractions in national spotlight

Walking from Texas to Canada might be a bigger hike than you ever imagined. In 2016, as an energetic 25-year-old, Luke “Strider” Jordan entered Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas, taking his first step on a 2,100-mile journey that ended three months later in the North Dakota ghost town of Northgate, near Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge. He was the first hiker to walk the entire Great Plains Trail, passing through the Wildcat Hills and Mitchell Pass on his way to Agate Fossil Beds and points north. The Great Plains Trail was...

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The real fire and fury is in Greenland right now

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 @ 6:40 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The real fire and fury is in Greenland right now

Thousands of acres of permafrost are burning in what appears to be Greenland’s biggest fire on record. And climate scientists are freaking out not just because the massive fires are unusual, but because they release large amounts of greenhouse gases and speed up the melt of the ice sheet and the carbon-rich permafrost. Greenland is almost entirely covered in an enormous ice sheet, but grassy, carbon-rich peatlands along the coast are heating up and drying out. “These fires appear to be peatland fires,” said a wildfire expert. “They are likely...

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Trekking Through the Rocky Mountains of Iceland

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 @ 12:00 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trekking Through the Rocky Mountains of Iceland

In Iceland’s central highlands the landscapes are often bare, with little more than rocks, snow and distant mountains. Small alpine flowering plants that manage to survive in these harsh surroundings offer a tiny splash of color. It is an area where few people live and that, for most of the year, is closed to vehicles because it would be impossible for them to get through. Yet, even here, at least during the summer, tourists are trekking by the side of the dirt road, spending their days putting one foot in front of the other and their nights...

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Best Hikes on the Oregon Coast

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 @ 6:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Best Hikes on the Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is the most visited region in the state, and the reasons are legion. Tempestuous spring and winter months are perfect for watching waves and weather churn together over dramatic cliffs and headlands; summer and fall can bring mild temperatures that are ideal for beach exploration and a terrific relief from scorching inland weather. Protected lands such as the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and designated areas of conservation such as the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge are models for land and habitat...

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A new study finds 6.5% of global GDP goes to subsidizing dirty fossil fuels

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 @ 6:56 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A new study finds 6.5% of global GDP goes to subsidizing dirty fossil fuels

Fossil fuels have two major problems that paint a dim picture for their future energy dominance. These problems are inter-related but still should be discussed separately. First, they cause climate change. We know that, we’ve known it for decades, and we know that continued use of fossil fuels will cause enormous worldwide economic and social consequences. Second, fossil fuels are expensive. Much of their costs are hidden, however, as subsidies. If people knew how large their subsidies were, there would be a backlash against them from...

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The Appalachian Trail turns 80

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 @ 11:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Appalachian Trail turns 80

There’s something about the Appalachian Trail – or, A.T., as it’s affectionally known by enthusiasts – that draws people to it, from day-hikers, to section-hikers who spend days, weeks, or even months traversing its sections’ ups and downs, to “thru-hikers” who hike the entire trail, from start to finish. “The A.T. is a place that balances me; it grounds me,” says section-hiker Maureen Cacioppo of St. Petersburg, Florida, who has hiked sections of the A.T. in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont...

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Hiking Project app/website helps you head for the hills

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 @ 6:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking Project app/website helps you head for the hills

Sometimes it’s nice to escape the swelter of the city and head for the hills. A shady hike beside a cool mountain stream beats a steamy stroll down the city streets any day. If you don’t know any good hiking trails or are just bored of your usual ones, Hiking Project is a useful app (for iOS and Android) and website that can make suggestions where to go. Best of all, it’s free from the fine folks at REI Coop. The site and app describe thousands of trails around the country and the world. The routes are displayed on interactive maps that...

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When and where to spot the best Autumn scenery in our national parks

Posted by on Aug 6, 2017 @ 11:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

When and where to spot the best Autumn scenery in our national parks

Fall color isn’t always where you expect to find it. Quick story: The assignment, years ago, was to do a story on fall color at Yosemite National Park. Got there, and everything Yosemite was supposed to have was present that day in mid-October: Half Dome, El Capitan, waterfalls, all of it. And from Glacier Point, one of the world’s great overlooks and the logical place to spot anything resembling fall color in Yosemite — no fall color. So we asked a ranger, Where is the very best place to see fall color? He winced. “People...

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Hiking a 110-Mile Jungle Trail — Entirely Within Rio

Posted by on Aug 6, 2017 @ 7:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking a 110-Mile Jungle Trail — Entirely Within Rio

Brazil’s longest hiking trail is 110 miles through Atlantic rainforest along the coast, stopping off at white sand beaches, waterfalls and panoramic viewpoints, where monkeys, toucans and parrots abound. Where is this tropical hiker’s paradise? It’s 100 percent within Rio de Janeiro city limits — a metropolis with more than 7 million people. The newly inaugurated Transcarioca Trail links seven Rio de Janeiro parks from the city’s eastern to western corners, forming one of the most extensive urban hiking experiences on the planet. The trail...

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Here are the most effective stretches to prepare you for the hiking trail

Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 @ 12:02 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Here are the most effective stretches to prepare you for the hiking trail

Even what seems like the most benign hiking trail can result in a twisted ankle, pulled muscle, or worse if you don’t prepare properly. The most effective method of readying your body for the rigors of the trail is consistent stretching. It is important to stretch all of the main muscle groups used in hiking, but also pay attention to your particular needs, and take them into account. If you have weak ankles, make an extra effort to strengthen them. Same goes for calf muscles, tight hamstrings, and any other muscle group you may have...

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Largest dead zone ever hits the Gulf of Mexico

Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 @ 7:05 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Largest dead zone ever hits the Gulf of Mexico

Scientists have measured a dead zone the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico, making it the largest-ever dead zone recorded in the area, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. A dead zone occurs when nutrient pollution — largely from agricultural runoff like fertilizer and manure — makes its way into bodies of water, fueling algal growth. When the algae dies, it decomposes, creating oxygen-free zones that can no longer sustain marine life. A report by the environmental group Mighty suggests that this year’s...

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SAHC Protects 310 Acres in Weaverville, NC Watershed

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 @ 7:16 am in Conservation | 0 comments

SAHC Protects 310 Acres in Weaverville, NC Watershed

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy recently worked with the Town of Weaverville, NC to place a conservation easement on 310 acres of the Weaverville Watershed. The easement protects important headwaters of Reems Creek as well as forested habitat and scenic views from Reems Creek Valley. “This property provided drinking water to the Town of Weaverville for 80 years and is important for conservation because of its water resources,” said Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese. “It contains the headwaters of Eller Cove Branch and 12...

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Taking the Measure of Solitude in the Wilderness

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 @ 11:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Taking the Measure of Solitude in the Wilderness

People are drawn to wilderness areas for many reasons, hiking, bird watching, or camping, but another attraction is solitude. If you’re hiking in southwest Virginia’s Mountain Lake Robbie Harris you may meet a ranger who is actually measuring the amount of solitude out there. David Seisel, who goes by the name ‘Skip’ is a ranger on the eastern divide ranger district of the George Washington National Forest. “I partner with the Forest Service. I work for a nonprofit. It’s called SAWS and it stands for “Southern Appalachian...

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Backpacking Essentials Infographic

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 @ 11:06 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

Backpacking Essentials Infographic

Forgetting travel items is a pain. When you are heading to a big city it’s usually okay if you forget an item or two as you can always grab it at the hotel or a nearby store. But what do you do if you are headed to the middle of nowhere for your next big hiking or backpacking excursion? Chances are you are severely out of luck. That’s a reason you may find this Infographic from Live Outdoorsy to be helpful. They talk about all the essentials to bring with you along with some tips for making it a worthwhile experience. Thanks to...

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The Future of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Belongs to You

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 @ 6:45 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The Future of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Belongs to You

You are the owner of a 1.1-million acre mountain estate. Your property includes cascading waterfalls, ancient forests, and the highest mountains in the East. You can go anywhere you like on your property. You can hike hundreds of miles of trails and paddle, fish, and swim in its pristine streams. You share ownership equally with every other American, and you pay your staff—the U.S. Forest Service—to manage the property. They maintain the trails and enforce the rules that you make. Every 20 years, you write a plan that describes how your...

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At Berryessa National Monument, Wildflowers and Rebirth

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 @ 12:48 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

At Berryessa National Monument, Wildflowers and Rebirth

The fields give way to darkly arching oaks, tree tunnels shading a narrow country road outside Winters, Calif. The early-hour brightness indicates the nearness of summer. Here, an hour and a half northeast of San Francisco, the dense press of civilization lifts, and the open wilderness weaves itself into the landscape. The light is somehow ventilated, given more space. This is Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, one of our country’s newest national monuments. The knobby fullness of the surrounding hills resembles rising bread. Named...

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Lego wants to convert their iconic plastic bricks to a biomaterial that can survive generations of play

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 @ 7:22 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Lego wants to convert their iconic plastic bricks to a biomaterial that can survive generations of play

In March, 2017, the Lego Group unveiled the world’s tallest Lego wind turbine to celebrate having met its 100% renewable-energy target three years ahead of schedule. The 30-ft-tall wind turbine built from 146,000 Lego bricks pays tribute to the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm near Liverpool, UK, one of Lego’s investments in wind energy totaling $940 million since 2012. Companies often meet (or even beat) ambitious renewable energy targets by investing in clean electricity—such as wind power—to offset traditional electricity...

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New Ulster hiking trail will link to 750-mile NY system

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 @ 12:23 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

New Ulster hiking trail will link to 750-mile NY system

Neil Bettez said he saw the future of New Paltz, NY after a recent Town Board meeting. The town supervisor and his deputy, Daniel Torres, were walking along one of the few complete portions of New Paltz’s future River-to-Ridge Trail, which isn’t yet open to the public. It was sunset. The sunlight warmed their faces as the corn stalks bordering the trail stood sentry over the nearby Wallkill River. There, in the Shawangunk Ridge’s foothills, “You feel like you’re a million miles away” from earthly concerns and civilization, Bettez said. In the...

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If Americans Are So Worried About Pollution, Why Are So Few Willing to Speak Up About It?

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 @ 6:35 am in Conservation | 0 comments

If Americans Are So Worried About Pollution, Why Are So Few Willing to Speak Up About It?

Smokestacks billow toxic clouds while crumpled food wrappers dance across the street with the breeze. Given the damage pollution can cause, it’s fair to wonder, how do Americans feel about it? While pollution is a broad term, several different types bother Americans. Based on the survey results, industrial pollution draws the most ire, followed by water waste and civilian pollution (such as littering). What people may not understand, is what exactly industrial pollution is. Perhaps images of massive factories or plants with smoke shooting...

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