News

Congressman who introduced national parks drilling bill got $250K from Big Energy

Posted by on Feb 4, 2017 @ 9:25 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Congressman who introduced national parks drilling bill got $250K from Big Energy

It’s safe to say that Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) is no friend of environmentalists. He boycotted Pope Francis’s speech to Congress in 2015 because the pontiff addressed climate change. He received a score of 3 percent that year from the League of Conservation Voters, significantly below the House average of 41 percent. But his latest move came as a surprise to many. Gosar submitted a resolution this week that threatens to repeal the National Park Service’s authority to manage private drilling for oil, gas and minerals at 40 national parks,...

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Nantahala’s Panthertown Valley to grow, improve access

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 @ 1:04 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Nantahala’s Panthertown Valley to grow, improve access

As president of the nonprofit Friends of Panthertown, Margaret Carton has worked for years to protect her beloved Panthertown Valley in Jackson County. As the “feet on the ground,” the group has worked since 2005 to maintain trails, install steps around waterfalls to create safe footing, and give educational programs. With a deal underway with Mainspring Conservation Trust and the U.S. Forest Service, the friends group will get to care for a bigger chunk of Panthertown. If fundraising is successful, the Mainspring land trust is set to...

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How to reset your body clock — and get better sleep — with hiking boots and a tent

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 @ 8:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to reset your body clock — and get better sleep — with hiking boots and a tent

Are you sick of going to bed late and waking up tired? Then grab your hiking boots and a tent. A new study suggests that a couple days of camping in the great outdoors can reset your circadian clock and help you get more sleep. The circadian clock is an internal clock that tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Scientists track this clock by measuring the amount of melatonin circulating in a person’s blood at any given time. In a healthy sleeper, melatonin levels rise a few hours before bedtime, stay high...

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I Was a Black, Female Thru-Hiker on the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Feb 2, 2017 @ 11:42 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The first person to hike the full length of the Appalachian Trail, a white man named Earl V. Shaffer, wanted to “walk the Army out of his system.” That was in 1948. Since the 1970s, when 775 hikers completed the trail, the number of “thru-hikers” has doubled each decade so that in the 2000s, close to 6,000 hikers covered all 2,190 miles. Most of those people still look like Shaffer—they’re white men. Only about a quarter of thru-hikers are women, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and though there’s little information about the...

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House Votes to Repeal Stream Protection Rule

Posted by on Feb 2, 2017 @ 6:06 am in Conservation | 2 comments

House Votes to Repeal Stream Protection Rule

  I am disgusted… for dozens of reasons, but let’s talk about the Stream Protection Rule. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) of the Department of the Interior studied the effects of mountaintop removal coal mining for nearly the entire length of the Obama Administration, fielding more than 100,000 requests for comment. On December 20, 2016 they released the Stream Protection Rule, a regulation of the industry based on the results of their impact studies. OSMRE introduced the Stream...

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10 great hikes to Georgia’s best views

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 @ 3:28 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

10 great hikes to Georgia’s best views

There’s just something magical about a great summit view. Whether the hike spans miles or minutes, a good climb to a spectacular view makes a great workout – and, hey, at least the return hike is (usually) downhill. Hike these great Georgia hikes to a favorite to savor the view from the top and catch some celebration time at the summit. Georgia’s beauty is simply stunning. These 10 trails explore Georgia from places spread all over the map, from the southern Appalachian Mountains north of Atlanta to the sandy Georgia coastline near Savannah....

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A massive climate march is coming to Washington in April

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 @ 6:52 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A massive climate march is coming to Washington in April

The People’s Climate March will descend on D.C. with an intersectional coalition of green and environmental-justice groups, indigenous and civil-rights organizations, students and labor unions. The march will take place on Saturday, April 29, 2017, exactly 100 days into Trump’s presidency. In January, the Women’s March gathered half a million demonstrators in D.C. alone. There have also been talks of an upcoming Science March, which has no set date but almost 300,000 followers on Twitter. April’s climate march is being organized by a...

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The BLM leases lands near Chaco Canyon for $3 million

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 @ 3:04 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

The BLM leases lands near Chaco Canyon for $3 million

On January 25, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management leased nearly 850 acres of land for drilling in northwest New Mexico, netting close to $3 million. The agency offers leases on millions of acres of public land per year, but this latest sale was unusual. Not only was it the first time that the BLM has conducted a lease sale online rather than live in the New Mexico region, the sale had also been postponed three times over the last five years, because its lands are just 20 miles from Chaco Culture National Historical Park (also a UNESCO World...

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National Park Service monitoring new growth after Smokies fire

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 @ 7:12 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A team of scientists has been studying the plant and animal life as regrowth happens following the November 2016 Chimney Tops 2 fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The team has investigated 100 different areas and developed detailed maps of the impact by the fire. “The thing that stands out is the red areas. This is around the Bull Head trail area that a lot of people would be familiar with. These are showing high burn severity areas,” said Troy Evans. “You can see in areas like this that once used to be pretty...

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A message from former Director Jon Jarvis about recent events involving the National Park Service

Posted by on Jan 30, 2017 @ 3:00 pm in Conservation | 1 comment

A message from former Director Jon Jarvis about recent events involving the National Park Service

   “I have been watching the Trump administration trying unsuccessfully to suppress the National Park Service with a mix of pride and amusement. The NPS is the steward of America’s most important places and the narrator of our most powerful stories, told authentically, accurately, and built upon scientific and scholarly research. The Park Ranger is a trusted interpreter of our complex natural and cultural history and a voice that cannot not be suppressed. “Edicts from on-high have directed the NPS to not talk about...

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Improving the Sustainability of Thru-Hiking

Posted by on Jan 30, 2017 @ 10:30 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Improving the Sustainability of Thru-Hiking

Thru-hikers discover how environmentally degrading backpacking can be. They find countless coolers and campsites full of trash, and eating individually wrapped packets of ramen and Pop-Tarts generates an uncomfortable amount of waste. Hikers have ideas for making long-distance backpacking more environmentally sound. Though it’s nearly impossible to avoid creating some amount of trash, many hikers found that making mindful purchases, buying in bulk and adhering to Leave No Trace principles helped mitigate environmental damage. Here are a few...

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A Guide to Kings Canyon National Park

Posted by on Jan 29, 2017 @ 2:03 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Best known for its groves of Sequoia trees, Kings Canyon National Park spans a significant portion of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. But it’s not just these giant trees that attract visitors to the so-called Land of Giants, and neighboring Sequoia National Park. Deep canyons, lush valleys, snow-capped peaks, and terrain ranging from 1,000 to 14,000 feet are all part of the appeal—though the world’s largest trees are certainly a highlight. A visit to Kings Canyon—to the old growth trees that inspired the writings of John Muir...

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Elkmont cabin preservation underway; some to be demolished

Posted by on Jan 29, 2017 @ 6:29 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Elkmont cabin preservation underway; some to be demolished

The evolution of historic Elkmont soon should be taking another step forward. The historic former logging/resort community in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been in an evolving state since 2009 when the National Park Service announced a plan to preserve part of the community after conducting an environmental impact study from 1992 through 2008. The plan has been to preserve 19 structures at Elkmont while razing 55. Two of those structures – the Appalachian Clubhouse and Spence Cabin – have already been renovated and preserved....

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Parks and Recreation: The sudden, widespread resistance of Alternative National Parks Twitter

Posted by on Jan 28, 2017 @ 11:10 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Parks and Recreation: The sudden, widespread resistance of Alternative National Parks Twitter

    If anyone should know that it is, as a practical matter, impossible to force a willful individual to stop tweeting, it’s President Donald J. Trump. So perhaps he was least shocked of all to see that, this week, a new handle popped up on Twitter after the president placed a gag order on his own National Park Service: @AltNatParkSer. By way of introduction, the anonymous founders tweeted: “Hello, we are the Alternative National Park Service Twitter Account activated in time of war and censorship to ensure fact-based...

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Federal hiring freeze to impact WNC

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 @ 1:09 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The federal hiring freeze of all civilian employees, ordered by President Trump on Jan. 23, 2017, could negatively impact employment in Western North Carolina and the public services those agencies provide. According to the executive order, no vacant positions existing at noon Jan. 22 may be filled and no new positions may be created. The order does not include or apply to military personnel or positions with national security or public safety. The order also prohibits the hiring of contract workers who might be hired to circumvent the hiring...

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The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 @ 5:42 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science

It was a year into his life alone in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains when Billy Barr began his recordings. It started as a curiosity, a task to busy his mind during the winter. By no means did he set out to make a vital database for climate change scientists. “Hell no!” he said. “I didn’t know anything about climate change at the time.” In 1973 Barr had dropped out of college and made his home an abandoned mining shack at the base of Gothic Mountain, a 12,600-foot stone buttress. The cold winds blew through the shack’s wood slat walls as if they...

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Adelaide walking trails: Belair National Park

Posted by on Jan 26, 2017 @ 11:12 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Adelaide walking trails: Belair National Park

Belair National Park, near Adelaide, Australia is the ideal place to experience a sense of adventure, with many trail options to explore in a beautiful bushland setting. In 1840, the land was set aside by Governor George Gawler as a government farm. It was later used to farm hay and care for police horses in the gold escort and other services. Through the early to mid-1900s, approaches to the preservation of native flora and fauna in the park changed so that all future planting in the area would be restricted to native South Australian...

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Featured National Recreation Trails: Tunnel Hill State Rail Trail, Illinois

Posted by on Jan 26, 2017 @ 6:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Featured National Recreation Trails: Tunnel Hill State Rail Trail, Illinois

The trail runs for 45 miles from downtown Harrisburg to Karmak in southern Illinois. The tail is managed by Illinois Department of Natural Resouces with an additional 2.5 miles managed by the City of Harrisburg. A 543-foot long tunnel gave the nearby town its name, and now the trail. Beginning in Harrisburg, the trail is at 370 feet above sea level, rising to 680 feet at Tunnel Hill and then dropping to 340 feet at Karnak. The trail crosses 23 trestles ranging from 34 feet long to 450 feet. The longest, Breeden Trestle, is also the highest at...

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John Muir’s Southern Trek, 150 Years

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 @ 5:38 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

John Muir’s Southern Trek, 150 Years

As 2017 is the sesquicentennial year for John Muir’s thousand-mile walk across the southeastern U.S. (1867-68), it is likely that many people will be attempting to trace his path. Chuck Roe, founding manager of the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, founding director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, and Southeast U.S. Region program director for the Land Trust Alliance, was inspired to retrace the path of Muir’s long walk, but with a different focus—that being by telling the story of land conservation along the route of...

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How much Smoke will a Prescribed Fire Produce?

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 @ 6:43 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Prescribed fire is an important and widely used management tool, but the smoke produced can cause air quality issues and health problems. Before conducting prescribed fires, managers typically model the amount of smoke a fire will produce, which is directly related to the amount of fuel available. “Most fire-effects models were developed in the western U.S.,” says U.S. Forest Service forestry technician Virginia McDaniel. “Their accuracy has not been well-tested in southeastern forests.” In the southeastern U.S., prescribed fires are used to...

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48 Hours in Tucker County, West Virginia

Posted by on Jan 24, 2017 @ 5:37 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

In the northeast corner of West Virginia nestled between mountains, lakes, and rivers lies the tiny, quaint county of Tucker. Though the county has a small population of under 5,000, the large sense of community has helped create one of the most beautiful, booming outdoor areas in the United States. Winters filled with an abundance of snow have created a serene mountain setting ideal for skiing and snowshoeing while rugged terrain leaves hikers and mountain bikers with exciting and challenging trails sure to test their ability. And the unique...

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Film tells story of southern Ohio hiking legend Grandma Gatewood

Posted by on Jan 24, 2017 @ 11:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Film tells story of southern Ohio hiking legend Grandma Gatewood

An incredible tale of taking to a long-distance trail to wash away the troubles in the real world was birthed in the hills of Southern Ohio. At age 67, Gallia County, Ohio, native, the late Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, who had overcome decades of spousal abuse, and who was the mother of 11 children and 23 grandchildren, read about the Appalachian Trail in National Geographic. She was so moved by the beauty of the new trail that Gatewood laced up her Keds sneakers, grabbed a small backpack and become the first woman to thru-hike the...

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How the Parks of Tomorrow Will Be Different

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 @ 11:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

When Congress passed the act creating the National Park Service in the summer of 1916, it instructed the agency to leave park scenery and wildlife “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” The law did not define “unimpaired.” To Stephen Mather, the charismatic borax magnate who served as the first director of the Park Service, it meant simply “undeveloped.” Early park managers followed his lead, striving both to protect and to promote sublime vistas. But the arguments began almost as soon as the agency was born. In September 1916...

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Spruce beetle infestation crosses Continental Divide

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 @ 8:58 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Spruce beetle infestation crosses Continental Divide

The devastating spruce beetle infestation in the San Juan Mountains has crossed the Continental Divide, and within the next few years, will spread into the high country around Durango and Silverton, leaving in its wake an expanse of dead trees. “I tell people all the time: you need to get up there before it starts to look different,” said Kent Grant, a Durango-based district forester with the Colorado State Forest Service. “Already it’s increasingly more obvious. It’s just around the corner.” The spruce beetle epidemic started in Wolf Creek...

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Investing in Our National Park Service: A Proposal for the Transition Team

Posted by on Jan 22, 2017 @ 10:43 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Investing in Our National Park Service: A Proposal for the Transition Team

U.S. national parks remain what American author Wallace Stegner once called America’s Best Idea. Our parks enjoy bi- partisan support and are a model for park systems around the globe. By any measure, the idea is a success. But, as we transition to a new administration, it is timely to ask this question: will the System continue to serve its intended purpose in a new century? Will it remain effective and popular in the next fifty or one hundred years? We are a different people than we were in 1916, 1966, or even 15 years ago. We communicate...

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East Coast Greenway: 3,000 Mile Hike or Bike from Canada to Key West

Posted by on Jan 22, 2017 @ 6:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

East Coast Greenway: 3,000 Mile Hike or Bike from Canada to Key West

Maybe you’ve always dreamt of trekking across the U.S., but didn’t have the time, money, or know-how to make the full trip from east to west. Or maybe hiking the Appalachian Trail has been a secret goal, but you’re terrified of sleeping in tents. Luckily, there’s another option. It’s called the East Coast Greenway—3,000 miles of marked trails and roads from Key West, Florida all the way up to Canada. Whether you hike it or bike it, you’re sure to be challenged, but always close enough to civilization to calm your fears of being lost in the...

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Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: Up Close with Silverbacks

Posted by on Jan 21, 2017 @ 1:05 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: Up Close with Silverbacks

Only three countries in the world are home to mountain gorillas: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). About 18,000 permits were given out in Uganda last year to see these gentle giants, with about 30,000 permits given in Rwanda. In total there are fewer than 900 gorillas in the wild—fewer than the white rhino (20,000), and fewer still than the Bengal tiger (2,500). They remain critically endangered due to poaching and humans moving in on their territory, and the chance to see them, to understand them, is increasingly...

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Man’s winter thru-hike a first for the Ice Age Trail

Posted by on Jan 21, 2017 @ 7:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Man’s winter thru-hike a first for the Ice Age Trail

Mike Summers was in good company last week as he relaxed in a leather conference chair, munched on a supreme slice from Tano’s Pizza and sipped a Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer. At the end of the conference table was Tim Malzhan, 59, who thru-hiked the 1,200-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail more than 25 years ago. Across the table to his right was Luke Kloberdanz, 40, who hiked the trail in one continuous trip in 2003. And seated directly across from Summers was Dave Caliebe, 34, who in 2010 thru-hiked the trail that winds through Wisconsin...

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National Park vandals banned from all public lands

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 @ 10:40 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Three men accused of going on a vandalism spree across several western United States National Parks have pleaded guilty and will be banned from all public lands for the next five years. Before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs the three Canadian men affiliated with the group “High On Life” admitted to breaking the law in Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Mesa Verde National Park. This past summer the men, Charles Ryker Gamble, Alexey...

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Tie Your Things with Perfect Knots

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 @ 6:09 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tie Your Things with Perfect Knots

New to fishing? Here are some tips for choosing your first reel.   In our day to day life, knots plays a vital role. Starting from the shoe lace to camping and fishing, a perfect knot can be an essential requirement. There are several steps to tie knots perfectly for various purposes. For example, the square knot is useful for camping and hiking. A clove hitch knot is for securing rope around things. Fisherman’s knot is for sailing and fishing and bowline knot is for securing a boat, mountain climbing etc. Knots are also very...

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700 percent increase coming in cost of senior passes to national parks

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 @ 12:28 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

700 percent increase coming in cost of senior passes to national parks

Perhaps you are 62 or older and think you might want to visit a national park or two before you die. Let us offer you some advice: Get thee to a federal recreation site – be it a national park, national forest or Bureau of Land Management office – and buy a lifetime senior pass that gains you entrance to all federal lands that charge entrance fees, for as long as you live. The cost of one will be increasing by 800%. To be clear, the current price – $10 for a lifetime of access to any and all national parks and federal lands – may be the best...

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Hike highlights unknown soldier, stagecoach route

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hike highlights unknown soldier, stagecoach route

Trickling between Old Fort and Ridgecrest, Swannanoa Creek is a natural passageway into the Swannanoa Valley. Over the centuries, the storied tributary has led many travelers into Western North Carolina. The Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center will lead a moderate-to-difficult, mostly downhill, four-mile hike down this path on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, shedding light on the natural, social, and cultural history of this once major artery into the Blue Ridge and crossroads for tourism, commerce – and calamity. During Stoneman’s...

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Hiking in a Forest Born Out of Mount Fuji’s Lava

Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 @ 6:16 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A thick forest thrives on hardened lava that once flowed down Mount Fuji’s northwestern flank into lakes that reflect the volcano’s snow-capped cone like rippling mirrors. Within it, the roots of hemlock and cypress trees snake out over the ground through a blanket of moss, and trails lead to deep caverns filled with ice. The Aokigahara forest, as this tangle of woods is called, was born on 12 square miles of lava from an eruption in the year 864, the biggest in 3,500 years. The event left Japan’s rulers awe-struck and its countrymen inspired...

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Search and Rescue offers tips to avoid an emergency while hiking

Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 @ 7:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Search and Rescue offers tips to avoid an emergency while hiking

Wherever a Search and Rescue (SAR) member goes; they are trained not to leave home without a 24-hour pack. The pack contains everything they need to stay out for 24 hours including water, flashlight, snacks, extra clothing and maps. Many of the searches conducted by SAR could have been prevented if the hikers had carried a map of the area; those venturing out need to know where they are going and be familiar with landmarks and places around them. A map can be a life-saver if a trail sign is missed or a trail intersection is confusing. It’s...

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