News

Fortnite Creator is Buying Thousands of Acres of Forest to Stop It From Being Cut Down

Posted by on Jan 13, 2019 @ 6:41 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Fortnite Creator is Buying Thousands of Acres of Forest to Stop It From Being Cut Down

Creator of the online video game Fortnite, Tim Sweeney, has been captivating audiences for decades by developing intricate and interactive digital worlds for players. However, it is his work away from the screen that is currently grabbing attention from gamers and non-gamers alike. Sweeney is best known for founding the video and 3-D software company Epic Games in the 1990’s. Epic Games has given us popular video game titles such as Unreal Tournament, Gears of War and, most recently, the massively popular game Fortnite. In addition to these...

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Oceans Are Warming Faster Than Predicted

Posted by on Jan 12, 2019 @ 8:51 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Oceans Are Warming Faster Than Predicted

Up to 90 percent of the warming caused by human carbon emissions is absorbed by the world’s oceans, scientists estimate. And researchers increasingly agree that the oceans are warming faster than previously thought. Multiple studies in the past few years have found that previous estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may be too low. A new review of the research, published this week in Science, concludes that “multiple lines of evidence from four independent groups thus now suggest a stronger observed [ocean heat content]...

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Cumberland Trail Hiking Series returning after last year’s success

Posted by on Jan 11, 2019 @ 9:00 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Cumberland Trail Hiking Series returning after last year’s success

Outdoor Chattanooga is bringing back its popular Cumberland Trail Hiking Series for a second year. The series will provide guided hikes across the developing trail system throughout 2019. The series featured nine day hikes and three overnight backpacking trips last year. Despite the success of the day hikes, the overnight trips failed to gain interest. Outdoor Chattanooga leaders decided to scrap the overnight trips for the series this year and focus on the day hikes. The half-day hikes will be held once a month on Saturdays with the...

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Innovative Park Programs Help Tell Native American Stories to a New Generation

Posted by on Jan 10, 2019 @ 12:10 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Innovative Park Programs Help Tell Native American Stories to a New Generation

Designated by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, Arizona’s Montezuma Castle National Monument became one of the first national monuments, preserving cliff dwellings in North America and showcasing the Sinagua culture’s ingenious use of the desert landscape to prosper for generations. Sixty years later, Georgia’s Ocmulgee National Monument was added to the National Park System to celebrate the many different Native American cultures that comprise over 17,000 years of history at the park. These are just two of the many national parks across the country...

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‘It Belongs to All of Us’: Volunteers Help Clean Up National Parks in Shutdown

Posted by on Jan 9, 2019 @ 3:49 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

‘It Belongs to All of Us’: Volunteers Help Clean Up National Parks in Shutdown

The government shut down over two weeks ago, leaving nine departments’ operations affected, about 800,000 workers without pay, and some national parks closed to visitors. Other parks were open with limited staffing, or thanks to help from states, but the National Park Service has warned that “access may change without notice.” As the shutdown continues, edging closer to becoming the longest such one on record, several volunteer groups across the country have decided to help clean up trash in national parks. “All of these National Park Service...

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Hikers, check out these new trails in Fountain Hills, Arizona

Posted by on Jan 9, 2019 @ 9:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikers, check out these new trails in Fountain Hills, Arizona

With the restroom plumbing and water lines nearly complete and the access road mostly paved, the new Adero Canyon Trailhead in the Fountain Hills McDowell Mountain Preserve officially opened Nov. 17, 2018. After decades of planning and construction, the roughly 1,000-acre preserve now occupies a mountainous sliver of space between manicured golf communities and the hiking hubs of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and McDowell Mountain Regional Park. The mini but mighty preserve in the far northwest corner of Fountain Hills, Arizona really packs a...

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Oregon experts warn of invasive species that hitched a ride on North Carolina Christmas trees

Posted by on Jan 8, 2019 @ 6:54 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Oregon experts warn of invasive species that hitched a ride on North Carolina Christmas trees

While families celebrate the New Year, many are getting rid of their Christmas trees this week. With that comes a warning from the Oregon Department of Forestry about an invasive insect that could pose a problem if you don’t dispose of your tree the right way. Experts say roughly 8,000 Fraser Fir trees shipped from North Carolina to big box stores on the West Coast had elongate hemlock scale, an invasive species not native to the Northwest. The Oregon Department of Agriculture found the pest and ordered the infested trees destroyed, but not...

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Park Service takes ‘extraordinary step’ of dipping into entrance fees to bolster operations at popular sites

Posted by on Jan 7, 2019 @ 6:42 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Park Service takes ‘extraordinary step’ of dipping into entrance fees to bolster operations at popular sites

The National Park Service will take the unprecedented step of tapping entrance fees to pay for expanded operations at its most popular sites as the federal government shutdown threatens to degrade some of the nation’s iconic landmarks. Under a memorandum signed by the Interior Department’s acting secretary, David Bernhardt, park managers will be permitted to bring on additional staff to clean restrooms, haul trash, patrol the parks and open areas that have been shut during the more-than-two-week budget impasse. In a statement, National Park...

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Hiking the Hayduke: Welcome to the Wild, Wild (South)West

Posted by on Jan 6, 2019 @ 10:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking the Hayduke: Welcome to the Wild, Wild (South)West

The idea of the Hayduke Trail (HDT) was conceived in 1998 and is in fact not a trail at all, but an 800-ish mile route. It was designed by two adventurers who wanted to showcase the rugged, unspoiled beauty of the American Southwest by exploring the many national parks on the Colorado Plateau in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, as well as the seldom seen but equally beautiful land that exists between them. This route stitches together existing trails, jeep track, and the natural land formations. There are no blazes, no purist mentality,...

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A writer’s retreat: GSMA offers writing residency in the Smokies

Posted by on Jan 5, 2019 @ 7:09 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A writer’s retreat: GSMA offers writing residency in the Smokies

Steve Kemp moved to the Great Smoky Mountains in 1987 for what would become a 30-year career with the Great Smoky Mountains Association, and following his 2017 retirement GSMA is looking to honor his contributions to the organization through a new writer’s residency. “There is a specific skill in writing in a way that engages the reader and inspires curiosity and passion in the reader, and that’s what we want to be able to cultivate,” said Laurel Rematore, executive director of GSMA, “because we’re in the business of helping people to connect...

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Five Ways to Make the Outdoors More Inclusive

Posted by on Jan 4, 2019 @ 6:40 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Henry X. Finney came home to Virginia to sort out his future. He didn’t know what he would do, or how he would support his young family—until one day he saw a uniformed park ranger. Instantly, the next chapter of his life unfurled before him. He would be a ranger, and spend his career in the outdoors. “He said, ‘Great, a government job, let me go apply,’” recalled Carolyn Finney, his daughter and the author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to...

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This Is What Happens to Your Body on a Thru-Hike

Posted by on Jan 3, 2019 @ 6:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This Is What Happens to Your Body on a Thru-Hike

The secret to ultimate fitness isn’t all that complicated—just spend a month outside, hiking eight hours per day. Kyle Boelte breaks down how his body evolved into an efficient, fat-burning, testosterone-fueled machine over 29 days on the Colorado Trail. This summer, my wife and I hiked the Colorado Trail, a 486-mile, high-altitude trek from Denver to Durango. While it’s a challenging hike (only about 150 people complete the trail each year), the Colorado Trail Foundation says many hikers finish in four to six weeks. The hike ended up...

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Chronic wasting disease found in Tennessee

Posted by on Jan 2, 2019 @ 9:00 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Chronic wasting disease found in Tennessee

Chronic wasting disease has been preliminarily detected in western Tennessee, increasing the threat to deer and elk in Western North Carolina. Tennessee initiated its Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan after white-tailed deer in Hardeman and Fayette counties — which border the Mississippi state line — tested positive for the disease in preliminary results. Tennessee is the second state bordering North Carolina to detect the disease, with Shenandoah and Frederick counties in Virginia, which border West Virginia, confirming cases. Chronic...

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States are out of money to keep national parks safe during shutdown

Posted by on Jan 1, 2019 @ 6:27 am in Conservation | 0 comments

States are out of money to keep national parks safe during shutdown

We are now 11 days into this partial government shutdown, and our beloved national parks are really feeling the hurt. These shutdowns are not without consequences. Key scientists had holiday plans canceled and are being forced to work without pay. The Violence Against Women Act was allowed to expire. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency ran out of money. Many communities’ disaster relief funds have been held up in political limbo. And while President Trump refuses to back down on his demand for border wall funding, holiday tourists...

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A Year Stronger: Appalachian Trail Successes in 2018

Posted by on Dec 31, 2018 @ 12:05 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

A Year Stronger: Appalachian Trail Successes in 2018

2018 was a big year for the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Despite several major weather events and three partial government shutdowns, 2018 was filled with multiple Trail milestones and the long-awaited completion of several ongoing projects. Thanks to the hard work of conservancy staff, volunteers, members, communities and supporters of the A.T., the Trail will enter 2019 ready for another year of adventure and inspiration. Here’s a look at just some of the things you helped make possible throughout 2018: The Appalachian Trail Conservancy...

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It’s Time for First Day Hikes Once Again

Posted by on Dec 31, 2018 @ 9:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

It’s Time for First Day Hikes Once Again

What better way to kick off the New Year than by getting a jump start burning off those extra holiday calories in the great outdoors? On New Year’s Day, America’s State Parks have all 50 states offering free, guided First Day Hike Programs. These hikes provide a means for individuals and families to welcome the coming year in the outdoors, exercising and connecting with nature. Last year nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country on the guided hikes. Numerous others hiked state...

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Ten Grim Climate Scenarios If Global Temperatures Continue to Rise

Posted by on Dec 30, 2018 @ 7:18 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Ten Grim Climate Scenarios If Global Temperatures Continue to Rise

The summer of 2018 was intense: deadly wildfires, persistent drought, killer floods and record-breaking heat. Although scientists exercise great care before linking individual weather events to climate change, the rise in global temperatures caused by human activities has been found to increase the severity, likelihood and duration of such conditions. Globally, 2018 is on pace to be the fourth-hottest year on record. Only 2015, 2016 and 2017 were hotter. If humankind carries on its business-as-usual approach to climate change, there’s a 93...

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EPA Runs Out of Funds as Government Shutdown Drags On

Posted by on Dec 29, 2018 @ 3:58 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

EPA Runs Out of Funds as Government Shutdown Drags On

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ran out of funds on Friday, December 28, 2018. The EPA had carryover funds to keep up normal operations when the shutdown began Dec. 21, but those funds have run out. What that means is that more than 700 workers considered “essential’ will have to work without pay, while more than 13,000 other employees will be furloughed. Furloughed employees were instructed to change their voice mails, enable out-of-office emails and complete their time cards. All travel for furloughed employees...

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Winter hiking offers a new perspective

Posted by on Dec 28, 2018 @ 8:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Winter hiking offers a new perspective

There are plenty of reasons to embrace hiking in the colder months — among them the fact that there are no biting insects buzzing around, and the heat and humidity of summer are gone. A completely unscientific poll of other hikers yielded three top reasons for hitting the trail in winter: solitude, smoother trekking, and fantastic views. “When it isn’t windy, it’s silent. Real silence is truly a wonderful experience.” Adding to the solitude aspect is the fact that there are far fewer hikers on even the most popular trails in the winter....

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Explorer completes historic Antarctic trek

Posted by on Dec 27, 2018 @ 6:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Explorer completes historic Antarctic trek

American Colin O’Brady has completed the first-ever solo, unsupported, unaided crossing of Antarctica. According to his website, which has been tracking his GPS signal since he departed November 3, 2018, he has arrived at the Ross Ice Shelf on the Pacific Ocean. Using solely his own muscle power, O’Brady skied 932 miles pulling a 300-pound sled over 54 frigid days across the coldest, windiest, most remote continent on Earth, crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean via the South Pole. After a remarkable 80-mile continuous push...

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Hiking is for everyone, but not everyone feels welcome to hike

Posted by on Dec 26, 2018 @ 9:00 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking is for everyone, but not everyone feels welcome to hike

Sirena Rana Dufault has hiked Mount Lemmon, outside Tucson, more times than she can say. But she still has a sense of wonder, noticing little things, including a dust-colored lizard skittering past. Dufault, 44, appears at home here, in a pine forest, on a trail. “I want other people to experience this,” she said. “And I want other people to feel like they’re welcome to experience this.” But she knows not everyone does, for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s about physical ability. Sometimes it’s about transportation. And sometimes it’s...

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On Little White Oak Mountain, A Would-Be Neighborhood Is Now a Public Park

Posted by on Dec 25, 2018 @ 2:07 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

On Little White Oak Mountain, A Would-Be Neighborhood Is Now a Public Park

This mountain once slated for development is now being turned into a public park. The town of Columbus, North Carolina, originally approved the construction of 687 homes on a 1,068-acre parcel on the south side of Little White Oak Mountain, 40 miles southeast of Asheville, near Lake Lure. The development stalled after the economic slump in 2008, and Conserving Carolina, a land trust serving part of Western North Carolina and the Landrum area of South Carolina, purchased the property in 2016 for $2.375 million. This fall, Conserving Carolina...

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Alberta photographer takes shelter dogs on hikes to help them find forever homes

Posted by on Dec 25, 2018 @ 7:00 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Alberta photographer takes shelter dogs on hikes to help them find forever homes

An Alberta, Canada photographer is taking shelter dogs on adventures to show off their personalities and help them find loving families that are a good fit. Rachael Rodgers, of Canmore, has worked with seven or eight local shelters over the past year to photograph around 80 dogs. She’s tried to take out at least one dog every week and sometimes more. “My goal with doing this is to show their character so they have a better match to a home,” she said. “Some dogs are old and they’d love to just go for a small walk...

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Volunteer group earns national recognition for trail sign project, other accomplishments

Posted by on Dec 24, 2018 @ 9:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Volunteer group earns national recognition for trail sign project, other accomplishments

Placing a trail sign may sound like a simple endeavor, but there’s more to it than might be expected. While the cheapest signs might only cost $50, larger ones can be several hundred and a big sign the group bought for the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest cost $1,500. Shipping, posts and theft-resistant hardware also ran up the costs. Signs posted on federal lands must adhere to a slew of regulations, and those regulations are different depending on whether the land in question is a wilderness area, national forest, national park or something...

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Sun City resident is an Arizona Trail yo-yo

Posted by on Dec 23, 2018 @ 7:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Sun City resident is an Arizona Trail yo-yo

Sun City resident Art Huseonica got into the record books Dec. 12, 2018 when he completed a second leg of hiking the 800-mile Arizona Trail. The feat made him the oldest person to yo-yo hike the trail, meaning he has made the trek from south to north, then again from north to south. At 67, he is the oldest hiker to complete the 1,600-mile journey. Only two other hikers completed the round trip adventure, both in their 20s, according to Mr. Huseonica. After overcoming the challenges of extreme weather and uncertain water sources, Mr. Huseonica...

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Great Smoky Mountains Association Commits to Funding Park Visitor Centers During Government Shutdown

Posted by on Dec 22, 2018 @ 7:29 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains Association Commits to Funding Park Visitor Centers During Government Shutdown

During the extended government shutdown in October 2013, the public’s access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park was nearly non-existent. This time, however, if a government shutdown goes into effect at midnight on December 21, Great Smoky Mountains Association is committed to creating a different reality for park visitors during the upcoming holiday week. “We know many people plan a trip to the Smokies during the holidays. Businesses in the surrounding communities also depend on visitors to stay in their hotels and eat at their...

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Crews make improvements to section of Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail

Posted by on Dec 21, 2018 @ 9:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Crews make improvements to section of Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail

Just in time for your New Year’s resolution to spend more time outside, a section of Tennessee’s Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail in Williamson and Maury counties has received some needed restoration. Twenty-five miles of the Highland Rim section of the trail, roughly from mile marker 405 to mile marker 430, just north of Garrison Creek, were improved by the Southeast Conservation Corps, based out of Chattanooga, this past fall. The work was funded through a partnership between the National Park Foundation and granola bar...

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How Native American tribes are bringing back the bison from brink of extinction

Posted by on Dec 20, 2018 @ 6:34 am in Conservation | 0 comments

How Native American tribes are bringing back the bison from brink of extinction

On 5,000 hectares of unplowed prairie in north-eastern Montana, hundreds of wild bison roam once again. But this herd is not in a national park or a protected sanctuary – they are on tribal lands. Belonging to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, the 340 bison is the largest conservation herd in the ongoing bison restoration efforts by North America’s Indigenous people. The bison – or as Native Americans call them, buffalo – are not just “sustenance.” The continent’s largest land mammal plays a major role in the...

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Hikers, bikers, riders, get good news for Santa Susana Mountains trail network

Posted by on Dec 19, 2018 @ 12:25 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikers, bikers, riders, get good news for Santa Susana Mountains trail network

Another step in a plan to add miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails throughout the Santa Susana Mountains in unincorporated northwest Los Angeles County has moved forward after years in the works. Phase II of the Santa Susana Mountains Trails Master Plan was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. It adds 58 miles of trails to the existing 10-mile network abutting the Santa Clara River to the north, the city of Santa Clarita and Interstate 5 to the east, the Santa Susana Mountains to the south and the...

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The Future of Forests & Water in the NC Piedmont

Posted by on Dec 18, 2018 @ 9:22 am in Conservation | 0 comments

We’re all downstream from something. A new modeling study by the U.S. Forest Service shows that forests make very good upstream neighbors. The research focuses on the Yadkin Pee-Dee River Basin in central North Carolina. Senior research ecologists have been studying this area because of its projected rapid population growth and forest loss. Its urban area is likely to double in the future – some land use change models forecast a Piedmont Megalopolis that fully connects Atlanta and Raleigh by 2060. The loss of forested land can lead to urban...

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Quoting ‘The Lorax,’ court tosses permit for pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Dec 17, 2018 @ 9:01 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Quoting ‘The Lorax,’ court tosses permit for pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail

  A permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail, was thrown out Thursday by a federal appeals court that harshly criticized regulators for approving the proposal. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond blasted the U.S. Forest Service for granting a special-use permit to build the natural gas pipeline through parts of the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, and granting a right of way across the Appalachian Trail....

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Hiking Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’

Posted by on Dec 16, 2018 @ 6:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’

Reminiscent of a southwestern US landscape, Providence Canyon State Park’s colorful, sculpted canyon walls carve deep through a sandy, stream-filled landscape near Columbus, Georgia. Soft-bedded, sandy hiking trails wind and weave through vibrantly-colored carved canyons, exploring an ever-evolving landscape of loose sandstone and trickling water. The park’s unusually sculpted, serpentine canyon walls have earned its nickname as Georgia’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’ – and though the Arizona giant dwarfs these canyons, this hike is a unique...

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Just-passed Farm Bill includes protection for 20,000 acres of Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest

Posted by on Dec 15, 2018 @ 7:19 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Just-passed Farm Bill includes protection for 20,000 acres of Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest

Tucked inside the 800-page, $800 million-plus Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill, is a smaller piece of legislation dedicated to the continued conservation of thousands of acres of forested land in Tennessee. The Tennessee Wilderness Act will designate the highest level of protection for 20,000 acres in the Cherokee National Forest. With the bill’s passage this week — and expected forthcoming signature of the president — comes the first new wilderness designation in Tennessee since 1986, when much of the...

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How Stone Stacking Wreaks Havoc on National Parks

Posted by on Dec 14, 2018 @ 7:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How Stone Stacking Wreaks Havoc on National Parks

The stacks look like small shrines to mountain solitude, carefully balanced at the edge of a precipice. But when Zion National Park posted the photo, in September, the social-media coördinators for the park included a plea: “Please, enjoy the park but leave rocks and all natural objects in place.” The post noted the “curious but destructive practice” of building small stone towers, and said, “stacking up stones is simply vandalism.” The balancing of stones is an elementary kind of creation, not unlike the building of sand castles. Stone...

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How the U.S. Forest Service Grows Millions of Seedlings Each Year

Posted by on Dec 13, 2018 @ 3:19 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

How the U.S. Forest Service Grows Millions of Seedlings Each Year

Tucked into the Douglas fir and ponderosa pine forests of Northern Idaho sits the quaint lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene. The former lumber town is now a popular tourist destination drawing families from across the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Gone are the pounding mills, replaced with fancy lakefront hotels and bustling shopping centers. But it’s not hard to find relics of the region’s once-thriving industry: Huge logs chained together to form breakwaters protect marinas and lakeside restaurants scattered around Lake Coeur d’Alene—the...

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Vanishing Nutrients. It’s a hazard of climate change you probably haven’t heard of.

Posted by on Dec 13, 2018 @ 8:54 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Vanishing Nutrients. It’s a hazard of climate change you probably haven’t heard of.

  Is it possible to starve yourself of nutrients while simultaneously gaining weight? It turns out the answer is yes. According to a growing body of research, rising carbon dioxide levels are making our food less nutritious, robbing key crops of vitamins essential to human development. Studies have shown that crops as varied as wheat, maize, soybeans and field peas contain less protein, zinc, and iron when grown under levels of carbon dioxide expected by 2050. Many crops have already suffered losses in these nutrients; one study...

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