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Lack of snowpack leaves the West hung out to dry

Posted by on Mar 15, 2018 @ 7:09 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Lack of snowpack leaves the West hung out to dry

The lack of snow across the West this winter points to a parched summer ahead. In California, Colorado, and across the Southwest, the snowfall has ranked among the lowest on record. The last four months have also been among the warmest throughout most of the region. Parts of eight states are already under “extreme” drought conditions. Snowy, chilly winters are critical when it comes to recharging the West’s mountain snowpack, the source of water for rivers and reservoirs during the increasingly long and hot summer days. Less snow in the...

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Parts of national forest closed for Mountain Valley Pipeline construction

Posted by on Mar 14, 2018 @ 11:55 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The U.S. Forest Service says it is closing parts of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia and West Virginia as construction begins on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The department issued an emergency closure order affecting land in Giles County and Montgomery County in Virginia, and Monroe County in West Virginia. According to a release from the Forest Service, the closure order “was enacted to protect public safety due to hazards associated with constructing the Mountain Valley Pipeline.” The order is...

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At Bears Ears, Trump and Zinke ignored everyone but industry

Posted by on Mar 14, 2018 @ 7:09 am in Conservation | 0 comments

At Bears Ears, Trump and Zinke ignored everyone but industry

In April 2017, Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said of former President Barack Obama and the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument: “In making this unilateral decision, our former president either failed to heed the concerns of San Juan County residents, or ignored them completely.” If Hatch were an honest man, he would say exactly the same about President Donald Trump’s drastic shrinkage of the monument late last year. Documents recently released by the Department of Interior show that when drawing the new boundaries, Trump and...

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How to plan the perfect trip to Sequoia National Park

Posted by on Mar 13, 2018 @ 11:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to plan the perfect trip to Sequoia National Park

Quick – what’s the largest living thing in the world? The honor goes to the giant sequoia – the “god of the woods” to conservationist John Muir – and the best place to see it is in Sequoia National Park in California’s rugged Sierra Nevada mountains. Located some 225 miles north of Los Angeles, the park stretches across 631 square miles of jagged peaks, meadows bursting with colorful wildflowers, canyons that plunge thousands of feet, and marble caverns. But the park’s most famous feature is the...

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Microplastics are ‘littering’ UK riverbeds

Posted by on Mar 13, 2018 @ 7:07 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Microplastics are ‘littering’ UK riverbeds

According to a study that analysed sediments from rivers in north-west England, microscopic plastic beads, fragments and fibers are littering riverbeds across the UK – from rural streams to urban waterways. Scientists from the University of Manchester tested river sediments at 40 sites throughout Greater Manchester and found “microplastics everywhere”. There is evidence that such small particles can enter the food chain. “I think that it is likely that there are even higher concentrations in some of the large rivers...

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Elkmont rehab work resumes next week in Smokies

Posted by on Mar 12, 2018 @ 12:36 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Elkmont rehab work resumes next week in Smokies

Great Smoky Mountains National Park crews will remove 10 buildings from the historic Elkmont site beginning today. The work marks the end of major demolition that began in 2010. The road along the site of the former Wonderland Hotel will be closed to pedestrians during demolition. Officials hope to have the work finished by April 30. Crews plan to preserve the buildings as much as possible by lifting them – foundations, chimneys and all – from their current sites for the relocation. Further work will begin later this year to...

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Active Southern West Virginia starts hiking program in four state parks

Posted by on Mar 12, 2018 @ 8:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Active Southern West Virginia starts hiking program in four state parks

Active Southern West Virginia, which partners with the New River Gorge National River to provide enhanced outdoor exercise opportunities in the region it serves, is expanding into the state parks system to host monthly guided hikes. The four-year-old nonprofit dedicated to improving regional public health offers a variety of group activities in the New River Gorge, ranging from tai chi and yoga to the basics of rock climbing and stand-up paddleboarding. The activities are led by trained “community captains” and are offered free to the public....

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Federal plan to auction mineral rights near Great Sands Dunes National Park opposed by environmentalists

Posted by on Mar 11, 2018 @ 10:31 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Federal plan to auction mineral rights near Great Sands Dunes National Park opposed by environmentalists

Plans by a federal agency to auction off mineral rights on 18,000 acres near Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve to oil and gas drillers has placed Colorado at the center of growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s energy-production initiatives. Environmentalists want to block the federal Bureau of Land Management’s push to lease out the mineral rights of 11 parcels near the sand dunes for energy development. They say drilling on those parcels will disrupt fragile ecosystems, harm tourism and put wildlife species at risk. The...

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Fire and Ice: The Pacific Crest Trail in the Era of Climate Change

Posted by on Mar 10, 2018 @ 12:23 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Fire and Ice: The Pacific Crest Trail in the Era of Climate Change

“Last year was the most challenging year we’ve had in terms of dealing with closures on the PCT,” said Beth Boyst, who for the last 11 years has been the trail’s chief administrator with the U.S. Forest Service (the PCT passes through all different designations of federal and state land, but USFS holds the lead oversight role). Boyst’s tenure has seen the PCT through some tenuous conditions. She watched California’s five-year drought take its toll on the trail, only to be mitigated by last year’s...

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Save our national forests with a simple fire funding fix

Posted by on Mar 9, 2018 @ 12:29 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Save our national forests with a simple fire funding fix

  It should be a simple nonpartisan fix to a budgeting issue that every year strips the U.S. Forest Service of its ability to adequately manage millions of acres of federal land and the trails, roads and structures that allow Americans to enjoy their forests. Instead, for more than two decades the issue has eluded common sense, mired in an unnecessary proxy battle that pits the logging industry against environmentalists. In 1995, fighting wildfires accounted for 16 percent of the U.S. Forest Service’s budget, but last fiscal year...

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2018 Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Posted by on Mar 9, 2018 @ 9:21 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

2018 Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

The eighth class of Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame honorees will be inducted on Friday, May 4, 2018 during the annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, PA. The 2018 Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame class honorees are William Kemsley, Jr. of Taos, New Mexico; the late Elizabeth Levers of New York, New York; the late George Masa, of Asheville, North Carolina; and Robert Peoples, of Hampton, Tennessee. There was no one publication that spoke to the needs of backpackers until Bill Kemsley started...

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Sen. Alexander introduces bill to restore national parks

Posted by on Mar 8, 2018 @ 2:00 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Sen. Alexander introduces bill to restore national parks

Sen. Lamar Alexander has introduced a bipartisan bill to help address the $11.6 billion National Park Service maintenance backlog. The National Park Restoration Act would use revenues from energy production on federal lands to rebuild roads, buildings, campgrounds, trails and water systems in national parks across the country. The Tennessee Republican said the main principle of the proposed legislation is to create an environmental benefit from an environmental burden. “If you place a burden on the land, which energy exploitation does, then...

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Federal court denies Trump’s last-ditch attempt to derail the youth climate lawsuit

Posted by on Mar 8, 2018 @ 12:09 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

A federal court has denied the Trump administration’s last-ditch effort to prevent a landmark climate lawsuit from going to trial. It called the motion “entirely premature” and argued that the administration had failed to reach the “high bar” required for dismissal. “There is enduring value in the orderly administration of litigation by the trial courts, free of needless appellate interference,” wrote Chief Judge for the Ninth Circuit Sidney Thomas, who rendered the decision alongside Judges Marsha Berzon and Michelle Friedland. “If appellate...

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Ever Wanted to Thru-Hike the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail? Here’s Your Guide.

Posted by on Mar 8, 2018 @ 6:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Ever Wanted to Thru-Hike the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail? Here’s Your Guide.

The 170-mile-long Tahoe Rim Trail passes through three wilderness areas and two mountain ranges as it takes hikers from 6,200 feet to higher than 10,000 feet in elevation. In the Desolation Wilderness, you find pristine alpine lakes and granite peaks, in Meiss Meadows, you stroll through hip-high fields of wildflowers, and at the base of Tahoe’s highest mountain, Freel Peak, there is a mountain of quartz and Star Lake, the highest lake in the Tahoe region. But what you will remember the most is the mile-after-mile views of Lake Tahoe. The...

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Feral cattle terrorize hikers and devour native plants in a California national monument

Posted by on Mar 7, 2018 @ 1:01 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Feral cattle terrorize hikers and devour native plants in a California national monument

Sand to Snow National Monument is a quiet place — its mountainous high desert and cascading streams a draw for those seeking panoramic views, tranquillity and solitude. But on a recent morning, the serenity was ruined by a menacing bellowing, making it clear passing hikers weren’t alone. On a ridgeline near a popular stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, five feral bulls, each the size of a small car, were snorting, stomping and pawing the ground — postures indicating they were ready to charge. The bulls gazed down on human observers;...

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8 risks that spring hikers should be aware of before hitting the trail

Posted by on Mar 7, 2018 @ 9:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

8 risks that spring hikers should be aware of before hitting the trail

As the cold winter air turns milder and snow melts from the streets, those sitting inside throughout winter might be itching to get out and go on a hike. “With spring hiking, there’s a handful of additional risks and there’s items that I recommend people take to mitigate those risks,” said Wesley Trimble, program outreach and communications manager for the American Hiking Society. Trimble recommends doing some research before hitting your desired trail. National forest offices, land managers or even local offices can be a great source of...

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The Cold War’s Toxic Legacy: Costly, Dangerous Cleanups at Atomic Bomb Production Sites

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 @ 12:42 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

The Cold War’s Toxic Legacy: Costly, Dangerous Cleanups at Atomic Bomb Production Sites

Seventy-five years ago, in March 1943, a mysterious construction project began at a remote location in eastern Washington state. Over the next two years some 50,000 workers built an industrial site occupying half the area of Rhode Island, costing more than $230 million—equivalent to $3.1 billion today. Few of those workers, and virtually no one in the surrounding community, knew the facility’s purpose. The site was called Hanford, named for a small town whose residents were displaced to make way for the project. Its mission became clear...

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Cat Owners: Let’s Go Hiking! Cats: Yawn

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 @ 9:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Cat Owners: Let’s Go Hiking! Cats: Yawn

Vladimir has seen more of the U.S. than most Americans. For the past two years, he has visited 50-plus national parks, traveling in a renovated 1989 Toyota motor home with Cees and Madison Hofman and their infant son. He goes kayaking, hiking and rappelling. Between adventures, he naps, eats and watches the passing scenery out the RV window. He never has to pitch in for gas. As the Hofmans’ cat, Vladimir is excused from sharing the wheel or any other chore of road travel. American pet owners are taking their cats to the great outdoors,...

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GSMNP prepares for thru-hiking season after record year

Posted by on Mar 5, 2018 @ 12:20 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

GSMNP prepares for thru-hiking season after record year

After another record year in 2017, backcountry managers with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are asking visitors to consider ways to enjoy the park while minimizing their impact. With overall park visitation and Appalachian Trail hiking both growing, the number of people entering the park has grown significantly. “2017 in terms of thru-hikers, we saw the most thru-hikers come through the park on record,” backcountry management specialist Christine Hoyer said. “2015, 2016, 2017 – each year is the new...

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Linking Donors: The Private Funding Behind the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Mar 5, 2018 @ 6:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Linking Donors: The Private Funding Behind the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is an interesting animal in that, not unlike the huge trail itself, it links together a lot of varied parts. The nonprofit is a cooperative of local, state and federal government agencies, and 31 local organizations looking after a footpath that spans 14 states and more than 2,000 miles. As you can imagine, working across that many geographies and entities on such a large task warrants some serious fundraising to provide connective tissue. As with other groups sticking up for treasured public lands, the...

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Long process of revising plans for NC national forests nears crucial point

Posted by on Mar 4, 2018 @ 12:09 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Long process of revising plans for NC national forests nears crucial point

In November 2012, the U.S. Forest Service began work on a comprehensive revision of the Land Management Plan for North Carolina’s Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. It reasonably might have been expected to end in 2016. Instead, the politically complicated process remains underway with some crucial stages just ahead. If the prospect of assisting a large federal agency in developing a comprehensive plan overseeing 1 million acres of public land makes you weary, you may not be alone. The multi-year process of gathering science and public...

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From ghost towns to hiking trails, this is the ultimate guide to Death Valley

Posted by on Mar 4, 2018 @ 9:01 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

From ghost towns to hiking trails, this is the ultimate guide to Death Valley

  If you have ever driven to Las Vegas on Interstate 15 from Southern California, then no doubt you have stopped in or rolled by the small town of Baker, known as the Gateway to Death Valley. It’s also home to the World’s Tallest Thermometer and the Mad Greek, a great place to get some road food as well as fresh strawberry shakes. There are more and more new places opening, like Alien Fresh Jerky, but gas and food is the most there is to see. After filling up your vehicle (best to get gas when you see it as it’s much cheaper here...

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Emails reveal oil and gas drilling was a key incentive to shrink Utah national monuments

Posted by on Mar 3, 2018 @ 11:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Emails reveal oil and gas drilling was a key incentive to shrink Utah national monuments

From the start of the Trump administration’s review of national monuments, agency officials were directing staff at the U.S. Department of the Interior to figure out how much coal, oil, and natural gas had been placed off limits by the Bears Ears’ National Monument designation. Environmental activists and public lands advocates feared Trump was pushing to reduce the size of national monuments to give mineral extractive industries easier access to drill or mine in the protected areas. But they didn’t have any evidence or a smoking gun to prove...

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Interior Secretary Zinke cancels Chaco Canyon lease sale to frackers

Posted by on Mar 3, 2018 @ 7:14 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Interior Secretary Zinke cancels Chaco Canyon lease sale to frackers

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has canceled an oil and gas lease sale near Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico until the agency can further review the impact on cultural artifacts in the area. The sale was set for March 8. Zinke said that “there have been some questions raised” so the Bureau of Land Management will hold off on the sale of about 25 parcels on 4,434 acres within Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and San Juan Counties in northwestern New Mexico. “We’re going to defer those leases until we do some cultural consultation,” Zinke said. The...

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Solar and wind power alone could provide four fifths of U.S. power

Posted by on Mar 2, 2018 @ 12:10 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Solar and wind power alone could provide four fifths of U.S. power

  A new study finds that wind power and solar photovoltaics could by themselves meet 80 percent of all U.S. electricity demand. It’s especially encouraging for two additional reasons. First, the price of solar and wind have been dropping rapidly. Second, the study only examined how wind and solar could power the grid. In doing so, it found these two sources alone could provide 80 percent of the power. This still leaves 20 percent that could be provided by a variety of alternative types of carbon-free power. For this latest study,...

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The Wyoming Public Lands Initiative risks collapse

Posted by on Mar 2, 2018 @ 7:05 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The Wyoming Public Lands Initiative risks collapse

Launched in 2015, the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative seeks local consensus on the future of 42 BLM wilderness study areas and three Forest Service study areas located in 13 Wyoming counties. There are eight committees in nine participating counties, a participant said. The initiative sought to address more than 750,000 acres of federal wilderness-study lands in the state, recommending whether they should be released for multiple use, classified as non-motorized wilderness areas, or have some in-between designation. Once lauded as an...

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A hiking hotel in the Alpine forest of Italy blends seamlessly into the landscape

Posted by on Mar 1, 2018 @ 12:13 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A hiking hotel in the Alpine forest of Italy blends seamlessly into the landscape

  A new hotel that’s hoping to attract hikers to the Italian hills in South Tyrol has been built to seamlessly blend into the surrounding countryside. The Hotel Bühelwirt in South Tyrol, Italy has recently been reconstructed with a beautiful dark exterior and large windows offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forest. Every one of the 20 rooms in the hotel features panoramic views and were designed with the purpose of keeping guests connected to the alpine landscape. The dark wooden exterior belies the bright...

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Hiking the Appalachian Trail through hail and high water

Posted by on Mar 1, 2018 @ 9:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking the Appalachian Trail through hail and high water

Five miles into his 2,200-mile hike, Tom Abel was welcomed to the Appalachian Trail by pelting quarter-inch pellets of hail. The 15-minute storm of stinging ice missiles would not be all that Mother Nature had in store for the 68-year old during his six-month journey from the summit of Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine, to the summit of Springer Mountain in Georgia. As he quickly discovered, hiking through hail, high water, heat waves, and snow would all be required to reach his long-held goal of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail....

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Forest Service turns to volunteers for trail repair

Posted by on Feb 28, 2018 @ 11:29 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Forest Service turns to volunteers for trail repair

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to double the workload of its volunteer helpers as it attacks a backlog of trail maintenance largely in Montana. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex’s 3,200 miles of trail arrived No. 1 on a Forest Service priority list for trail work. So did the Continental Divide Scenic Trail; its largest segment passes through Montana. And the Central Idaho Wilderness Complex listing includes a chunk of the Bitterroot National Forest slopping across the Montana-Idaho border. But no money was attached to any of these priority...

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BLM speeds ahead on Grand Staircase-Escalante plans

Posted by on Feb 28, 2018 @ 6:37 am in Conservation | 0 comments

BLM speeds ahead on Grand Staircase-Escalante plans

Federal authorities at Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are moving forward to create new plans for managing the area, despite several legal challenges to the monument’s boundaries. Conservationists say they are concerned about a rush to create new plans before the courts weigh in on the boundaries. President Donald Trump last year announced he would shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante from 1.9 million acres to 1 million, dividing the Clinton-era monument into three distinct units. Trump’s proclamation stated that certain...

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Hiking trail serves as lasting legacy for fallen Canadian soldiers

Posted by on Feb 27, 2018 @ 11:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Port aux Basques, Newfoundland man continues to combine his love of the outdoors with his respect for fallen soldiers. Colin Seymour is ready to place 158 yellow ribbons – one for each Canadian soldier who lost their life in the war in Afghanistan – along the hiking trail leading to Mark Rock Mountain, just outside South Branch, where a monument honors Sgt. Craig Gillam of that community. Gillam died in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2006. He was 40 years old. When Seymour, his wife Cindy and family friend Donna Stuckless tried to hike the trail...

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Appomattox Court House seeks public input for plans to expand trails

Posted by on Feb 27, 2018 @ 7:06 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appomattox Court House seeks public input for plans to expand trails

For more than 40 years, visitors to the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park have walked among the ghosts of history over seven miles of trails through the park’s historic village and interpretive sites. The park now is seeking public input for plans to expand the current trails to create a comprehensive, site-wide trail system. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park Superintendent Robin Snyder said plans are to add about two miles to the existing system, which serves about 75,000 visitors annually. “The whole purpose is...

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Why scientsts are calling for rewilding to become part of environmental legislation

Posted by on Feb 26, 2018 @ 12:16 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Why scientsts are calling for rewilding to become part of environmental legislation

Rewilding has the potential to help address the current global biodiversity crisis, but its impact will be limited unless agreed definitions can be reached, backed by further scientific research and helped by a policy backdrop that enables greater integration with current environmental legislation. Rewilding – a philosophy that aims to encourage greater diversity of wildlife through practices including land abandonment and reintroducing native species – has become increasingly fashionable among conservation commentators and policymakers in...

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Beech booming as climate changes, and that’s bad for forests

Posted by on Feb 26, 2018 @ 6:50 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Beech booming as climate changes, and that’s bad for forests

Beech trees are dominating the woodlands of the northeastern United States as the climate changes, and that could be bad news for the forests and people who work in them, according to a group of scientists. The scientists say the move toward beech-heavy forests is associated with higher temperatures and precipitation. They say their 30-year study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Applied Ecology, is one of the first to look at such broad changes over a long time period in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. The changes...

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