News

Whistleblower Case Shows How Trump Tries to Silence Environmental and Climate Science

Posted by on Jul 23, 2017 @ 6:41 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Whistleblower Case Shows How Trump Tries to Silence Environmental and Climate Science

For the first time since the Trump administration came to office and began dismantling the key science underpinnings of federal climate policy, a senior agency official has invoked the protections of the whistleblower law to publicly object to what he calls an illegal attempt to intimidate him. The official, Joel Clement, had been the director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the Interior Department before he says he was arbitrarily reassigned to an obscure accounting post to punish him for speaking up about protections for native...

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Planning a visit to Zion National Park? You might need to RSVP first

Posted by on Jul 22, 2017 @ 11:52 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Planning a visit to Zion National Park? You might need to RSVP first

This would be a first for a U.S. national park: requiring reservations to get in. But it’s an option that Zion National Park is considering to manage an overwhelming surge of visitors to its sweeping red-rock vistas and canyons in Utah. Zion, which welcomed 4.3 million people last year, is weighing online reservations for those who want to explore its main canyon. National Park Service rangers struggle to cope with overcrowded tour buses and alleviate damage to Zion’s natural wonders, including soil erosion and human waste near...

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Hate Hiking on Crowded Trails? You’ll Likely Have This Uninhabited Island of Ancient Cedars To Yourself

Posted by on Jul 22, 2017 @ 6:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hate Hiking on Crowded Trails? You’ll Likely Have This Uninhabited Island of Ancient Cedars To Yourself

Some people hike to get away from the rest of humanity. There’s nothing worse for them than climbing up to a waterfall to discover a gaggle of people posing for selfies, and if there are more than three cars at the trailhead, they start grousing that their pristine woodland is basically a shopping mall. For them, there will always be the ancient cedars of Long Island, Washington, a trail through 8 square miles of uninhabited forestland where you’re likely to hike for three hours along well-maintained trails without seeing another...

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Jennifer Pharr Davis to start Mountains to Sea Trail Trek August 15, 2017

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 @ 12:26 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Jennifer Pharr Davis to start Mountains to Sea Trail Trek August 15, 2017

Follow the adventures of Jennifer Pharr Davis on her three-month, 1,175-mile hike of North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Although Jennifer is most famous for setting hiking speed records, her goal this time is different. She is undertaking this journey on the MST’s 40th anniversary to “encourage a love of the outdoors and help people experience this amazing trail that’s right outside our back doors.” Jennifer’s hike will be a family affair. Her husband Brew will handle logistics, and he and their two...

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Join Park Rangers for Smokies Service Days

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 @ 6:49 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Join Park Rangers for Smokies Service Days

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are excited to announce a new opportunity for the public to participate in service projects across the park. Park staff have coordinated ten Smokies Service Days on Saturdays beginning July 22, 2017 through October 28. Individuals and groups are invited to sign up for any of the scheduled service projects that interest them including unique opportunities to help care for park cemeteries, campgrounds, trails, roadsides, rivers, and native plant gardens. This new volunteer program will help complete...

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Mountain Valley Pipeline: An Unnecessary Threat to the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Jul 20, 2017 @ 12:46 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Mountain Valley Pipeline: An Unnecessary Threat to the Appalachian Trail

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, spearheaded by EQT Corporation, is proposed to carry fracked natural gas for over 300 miles through the Virginia and West Virginia countryside, crossing over dozens of water sources, through protected areas and breaching the A.T. corridor. The pipeline will run parallel to the Appalachian Trail for over 90 miles and carve ugly gashes in the landscape that will be seen from 20 miles away. The proposed pipeline route would require the creation of a 125-foot swath up and down steep slopes in hazardous areas, which...

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For Exercise, Nothing Like the Great Outdoors

Posted by on Jul 20, 2017 @ 8:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

For Exercise, Nothing Like the Great Outdoors

Long walks can improve moods and reduce anxiety, but the benefits may be greatest if the walks take place outdoors rather than in a gym, according to a new study by researchers in Austria. And while the Alps may be a particularly fine place to hike, a vigorous walk in the woods or paths near home may provide the mental boost we need to keep us moving. We all know, by now, that for optimal health, we need to move. But research and anecdotal experience indicate that people rarely exercise if they do not enjoy it. Workouts, for many, are...

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Scotland’s rocky road: a journey to the edge of Lewis

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 @ 8:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Scotland’s rocky road: a journey to the edge of Lewis

The road to west Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, starting with the A858 in Carloway and passing near the standing stones at Calanais, is probably the longest dead-end in Britain. As it runs into the B8011, and its unclassified extension, plus side turns, it snakes across rocky moors, past scenic sea lochs and on to wonderful white-sand beaches. There’s a diversion to visit the island of Great Bernera and the reconstructed Iron Age huts at Bostadh, before heading to the end of the road at Mealasta. This landscape was part of a very...

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The Pacific Crest Trail’s shadow hikers

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 @ 7:27 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Pacific Crest Trail’s shadow hikers

Against the backdrop of a desert sunrise, two human silhouettes exchange double high-fives. By 8 a.m., a bouncing crowd of a couple dozen has gathered around a group of wooden columns emblazoned with the crest of the Pacific Crest Trail — the monument that marks the start of the 2,650-mile path. These are “thru-hikers,” people who intend to hike from the fence on the California-Mexican border, all the way to Canada. They hug, take pictures and scrawl breathlessly in the logbook: “Wow!! Wow!! Wow!! Let’s do this!” “Dreams come true!” On this...

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NC Wildlife Success Story: American River Otter

Posted by on Jul 17, 2017 @ 9:08 am in Conservation | 0 comments

NC Wildlife Success Story:  American River Otter

Even as one of the most widely distributed mammals currently in the United States, the American river otter (Lutra canadensis lataxina) is an exciting sight for fishermen, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts. With a playful nature (often times seen treading water to take in surroundings, or sliding down mud banks) partnered with the otter’s extreme curiosity, the American river otter commonly approaches boats and people on shore, despite their nocturnal nature. The American river otter is considered an important aquatic predator due to its...

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The Best Secret Spots in America’s National Parks

Posted by on Jul 15, 2017 @ 7:21 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

The Best Secret Spots in America’s National Parks

Each one of America’s 59 national parks has its well-known, must-see stops – for example, you probably aren’t going to hit Yellowstone without swinging by Old Faithful. While those sites became musts for a reason, they also have their drawbacks in the form of insane tourist traffic (and, sometimes, insane tourists) and not a whole lot of tranquility. And yet, sometimes they’re all a visitor sees. During the centennial anniversary year of the park service in 2016, there was a couple who road tripped to all 59 national parks in an effort...

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Lighten Your Pack with These 20 Ultralight Equivalents

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 @ 2:36 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

If you’re new to the world of ultralight backpacking, baseweight numbers in the 5-10 lb range can sound like a hoax. These guys had to be skimping on essential gear somewhere to get their packs so light, right? Turns out after years of research, it is possible to have an ultralight pack with the same basic functionality and safety features as a traditional pack. You’ve just got to think a little outside the box. In the linked article is a stereotypical traditional backpacking gear list. While this certainly won’t be...

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The Army Veteran Who Became the First to Hike the Entire Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 @ 12:28 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Army Veteran Who Became the First to Hike the Entire Appalachian Trail

      Carry as little as possible,” Earl Shaffer said. “But choose that little with care.” Shaffer was a World War II veteran, who, in 1948, became the first person to walk the entire Appalachian Trail. He was so picky about gear that he ditched his own cumbersome tent, sleeping in a poncho for months instead. He was particularly enamored of his Russell Moccasin Company “Birdshooter” boots, which bore him all the way from Georgia to Maine. (By contrast, modern through hikers may chew through two or three pairs of newfangled...

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Meet the woman who designs Colorado’s highest trails

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 @ 9:32 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Meet the woman who designs Colorado’s highest trails

What do you see when you look at a trail? Dirt and rocks? A line sketched across the landscape by 100,000 footsteps? The adventure of some not-yet-visible lake or summit or cirque? Master Forest Service trail designer Loretta McEllhiney sees those things, too. But she also believes that a good trail is about controlling two unstoppable forces: People flowing up a mountain, and water flowing down. “Sideslope,” McEllhiney says helpfully. That’s why she’s picked this route for a new trail on the southern toe of Colorado’s Mount Elbert: The land...

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Pack it in, pack it out

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 @ 9:14 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Pack it in, pack it out

Summer is the peak time for hiking all across the country. Not co­incidentally it also is the peak time for littering along trails. Hiking has always been a popular pastime in a country rich with majestic forests, breathtaking views and well-maintained trails to suit just about any taste and fitness level. But in recent years use of them has soared for a number of reasons, including publicity given to some trails, most notably the iconic long distance trails that was featured in popular books and movies; increased population; increased...

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Climate change threatens uninhabitable conditions for the Middle East and North Africa

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 @ 6:56 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Climate change threatens uninhabitable conditions for the Middle East and North Africa

Climate change means colder winters, heavy rains and lots of environmental hazards for many people. But for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), climate change means uninhabitable weather conditions, forced migration and loss of traditional income. It is a real threat that might make the region uninhabitable. The MENA region is considered the world’s driest: it is the home to six percent of the world’s population yet it contains 12 countries that face extreme water scarcity – including Tunisia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Algeria. According...

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How biologists are working to keep the Great Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle off the endangered species list

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 @ 9:08 am in Conservation | 0 comments

How biologists are working to keep the Great Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle off the endangered species list

Among exotic bugs facing mortal threats, few appear better set to survive than the Great Sand Dunes tiger beetle, an aggressive carnivore uniquely adapted to endure super-intense heat and some of the planet’s harshest scouring sand. Its habitat within the wilderness of Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve already is protected from motorized recreationists and other perils. “Other beetles should be so lucky as the tiger beetle,” said National Park Service biologist Fred Bunch, chief of natural resources at the dunes, who has...

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The Rule of 200 Feet and Other Campsite Tips

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

The Rule of 200 Feet and Other Campsite Tips

You’ve hiked all day and you’re ready to create a pop-up home for the night. Maybe you have the perfect backcountry campsite in mind. Maybe not. Maybe it’s already been snagged by other hikers. If you have to set up camp at the end of a day on trail, do you know what you’re looking for? How well do you know your Leave No Trace principles? Try to plan your route and your intended campsites before you go, and mark them on your map. It’s also not a bad idea to have a few locations in mind, in case one is occupied....

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Lycian Way: Hike through the best trekking route in Turkey

Posted by on Jul 9, 2017 @ 8:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Lycian Way: Hike through the best trekking route in Turkey

The Lycians built scads of city-states on the coast of the Mediterranean and formed the Lycian League to compete with other naval powers at the time. They were conquered by Alexander the Great and got Hellenized, much like everywhere else in between Athens and India. The Lycian Greeks governed themselves democratically, grew lots of olives, minted coins, and built a lot of tombs. They had a thing about death, it is clear even in major cities like Fethiye you can find thousand-year-old sarcophagi in the middle of traffic roundabouts. Fethiye,...

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World Unites Against Trump on Climate

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 @ 1:12 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

World Unites Against Trump on Climate

At the conclusion of this year’s contentious G-20 summit, the countries released a communique on climate that placed Donald Trump starkly at odds with every other nation present. The communique noted that every country aside from the U.S. recognizes that the Paris agreement is “irreversible,” reaffirmed their “strong commitment” and will move “swiftly towards its full implementation in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” The 19...

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Why Forest Bathing Has Become a Global Health Phenomenon

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 @ 8:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Why Forest Bathing Has Become a Global Health Phenomenon

No, it’s not what it sounds like — forest bathing doesn’t actually involve an exterior physical cleansing. However, it does facilitate a cleansing of the mind and inner body. Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese practice that translates in English to “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” What exactly does that entail, if not a bathtub in the woods? According to the definition of the term, coined in 1982 by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, forest bathing “refers to the process of soaking up the sights,...

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66 million trees planted in 12 hours in India

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 @ 4:41 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

66 million trees planted in 12 hours in India

Armed with a variety of garden tools and toting buckets of water, a volunteer army in India planted more than 66 million trees in 12 hours as part of a record-breaking environmental pledge. More than 1.5 million people gathered on July 2, 2017 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to plant saplings along the Narmada River in the state of Madhya Pradesh. State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the news on Twitter. “By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large,” he tweeted. In 2016, volunteers set a...

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Why Hiking Is the Perfect Mind-Body Workout

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 @ 8:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Why Hiking Is the Perfect Mind-Body Workout

At first, walking and hiking may sound like two words for the same form of exercise. The footwear and scenery may vary, but the lower-body mechanics seem the same. Surprisingly, though, they’re radically different. Research shows that your joints, heart and muscles perform in distinct ways during a hike compared to what they do during a jaunt around the block. Like a pendulum, walking on flat terrain allows you to keep moving with little effort. “But when you walk on uneven terrain”—the type you’d encounter on nature trails, deep-sand...

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More National Parks and Monuments Pushing Fee Increases At Direction Of Interior Secretary

Posted by on Jul 6, 2017 @ 11:44 am in Conservation | 0 comments

More National Parks and Monuments Pushing Fee Increases At Direction Of Interior Secretary

Every week, it seems like another park is asking the public for input on increasing its entrance fees. Turns out, there’s a simple explanation: The Interior Department is telling them to. And at one park, Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, that means implementing two rate increases, ultimately doubling the cost of a seven-day vehicle pass, in just 12 months. The National Park Service received direction in May that all parks not aligned with their designated fee group, based on park type, must begin civic engagement to raise fees to...

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A modern journey on the Oregon Trail tells a story of risk and reward

Posted by on Jul 6, 2017 @ 7:19 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A modern journey on the Oregon Trail tells a story of risk and reward

The sun is low over Wyoming’s South Pass, pinkening the western sky that called thousands of pioneers over this 20-mile basin between high, grassy slopes. It’s beautiful and historic, and the aroma of sage pings feelings of adventure. Most of you know it as the Mormon Pioneer Trail. But the images and place names — Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, Soda Springs. Those in the so-called Oregon Trail Generation (born late 1970s to early 1980s) may remember well from elementary-school computers the educational game that simulated a...

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Interior Secretary Zinke’s latest gift to the oil and gas industry might be illegal

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 @ 8:29 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Attorneys general from California and New Mexico filed a lawsuit July 5, 2017 over Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s postponement of the Bureau of Land Management’s methane waste prevention rule. The suit holds that the Interior Department’s failure to implement the rule will cost California taxpayers substantial royalty payments and furthers the Trump administration’s attack on public health. BLM’s methane rule seeks to reduce the wasteful release into the atmosphere of methane — the primary component of natural gas — from oil and gas...

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Forest Service plan could fundamentally change hiking in Oregon’s wilderness

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 @ 6:33 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Forest Service plan could fundamentally change hiking in Oregon’s wilderness

News that the U.S. Forest Service is proposing a way to limit the number of people entering Oregon’s wilderness areas didn’t come as a major surprise. As the number of people hiking and camping in Oregon’s outdoors has skyrocketed, wilderness areas, often in fragile alpine environments, have been particularly hard-hit. What did surprise many was the scope of a plan announced this month by Willamette and Deschutes national forests. They propose a system that would require a permit to hike or backpack in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington,...

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Women of the White Blaze

Posted by on Jul 4, 2017 @ 11:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Women of the White Blaze

The Women of the White Blaze are yawning as dusk falls around them, their tired bodies begging them to lie down for the night. But something more important than sleep beckons on this night. Their shuttle bus driver mentioned that they might get to see the lightning bugs known as “Blue Ghosts” that tend to move down the mountains like fairies carrying lights down the hillside. As the time drew near, Butterfly headed down the trail to the water source. She wasn’t gone long when she quickly reappeared, saying there was something in the bushes....

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Court Blocks E.P.A. Effort to Suspend Obama-Era Methane Rule

Posted by on Jul 4, 2017 @ 6:52 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Court Blocks E.P.A. Effort to Suspend Obama-Era Methane Rule

Dealing another legal blow to the Trump administration, a federal appeals court ruled on July 3, 2017 that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot suspend an Obama-era rule to restrict methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. The 2-to-1 decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is the first major legal setback for Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, who is trying to roll back dozens of Obama-era environmental regulations. The ruling signals that President Trump’s plans to erase his...

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Introducing Femelschlag

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 @ 11:58 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Introducing Femelschlag

Visitors to the Cradle of Forestry (located near Brevard, NC in Pisgah National Forest) learn about the Biltmore Forest School – the first school of forestry in North America. It was started in 1898 by Carl Schenck. A native of Germany, Schenck brought German forestry concepts to the United States. It is fitting that today in Pisgah National Forest, researchers are looking to bring a German forestry practice to Pisgah National Forest in an effort to restore oaks. In 2017 researchers are cutting quarter-acre and one-acre gaps in a 150-acre...

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The man who went on a hike – and never stopped walking

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 @ 9:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The man who went on a hike – and never stopped walking

In his 61st year on this earth, the man who calls himself Nimblewill Nomad left home and walked a very long way through the mountains – about 10 million steps, he estimates, or 4,400 miles. Then, he took another, even longer walk. And then another one. And then another. Soon, he had given away almost all of his money and taken to walking almost year-round, roaming the post-industrial wilderness of North America in what he called “a desperate search for peace”. His fellow long-distance hikers speak of him in mythical terms. They told me that,...

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The thru-hike you’ve never heard of: Oregon Desert Trail

Posted by on Jul 2, 2017 @ 12:38 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The thru-hike you’ve never heard of: Oregon Desert Trail

Photographer Meg Roussos is one of just 290 hikers who have completed all three long-distance hikes in the U.S.: the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails. But this spring she decided to hike a lesser-known path, the Oregon Desert Trail, and rather than hiking with friends, she walked alone. She set out from her hometown in Bend, Oregon, in April to reach the trail’s endpoint near the Idaho border in Lake Owyhee State Park, 750 miles away. Along the trek, Ruossos took pictures of the quiet moments and desert landscapes. She...

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Changes coming to Superior Hiking Trail

Posted by on Jul 2, 2017 @ 8:00 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Changes coming to Superior Hiking Trail

Several changes are in the works for the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail this summer. They include rerouting a portion of the trail in one place and installing a bridge in another location. In addition, the Superior Hiking Trail Association recently purchased land near the Encampment River to ensure the continued path of the trail through that property. On July 21 and 22, a fiberglass bridge will be installed over the Red River near the Minnesota-Wisconsin boundary, completing the final segment of the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota. The...

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10 backpack essentials for summer hiking adventures in Colorado

Posted by on Jul 1, 2017 @ 10:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

10 backpack essentials for summer hiking adventures in Colorado

Colorado summers are as beautiful as they are volatile. Before you head into the high country for a hike this season, check your backpack. A well-packed bag can be the difference between a great day in the mountains and altitude sickness or — worst-case scenario — a rescue. According to a report based on National Park Service data, the most common contributing factors to search-and-rescue incidents are making an error in judgement; fatigue and physical conditions; and insufficient equipment, clothing and experience. Many of these factors can...

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