News

Feds issue burn bans for Cherokee, Chattahoochee and Oconee national forests amid high fire danger

Posted by on Oct 30, 2016 @ 10:22 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

The U.S. Forest Service has implemented special fire restrictions due to extremely dry conditions, high fire danger and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. The move comes days after similar restrictions were issued in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests in Georgia, and the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina. Very high wildfire danger continues across much of the Tennessee Valley and Georgia because of the hot, dry weather combined with dead and dry vegetation. Fall leaves have started to drop, which can...

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Haunted hikes in Maine for spooky fun this Halloween

Posted by on Oct 29, 2016 @ 11:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The state of Maine has long been known as a place of ghost stories and otherworldly happenings. Perhaps it’s the landscape that inspires such tales. What makes the state beautiful — it’s jagged coastline, fog-socked harbors, mossy woods and old quaint towns — can also appear spooky and ethereal. Or maybe — just maybe — Maine truly is a hotspot for the supernatural. Whatever the reason, Maine is home to some of the nation’s oldest and most elaborate ghost tales, as well as host of modern spectres. Most of these stories take place in old homes,...

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Black Mesa provides an exotic Oklahoma hiking destination

Posted by on Oct 29, 2016 @ 8:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

From trail’s end at 4,973 feet above sea level, resting hikers can view the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to the west in New Mexico and to the north in Colorado. The buttes, mesas and bristling cholla cacti provide scenery reminiscent of remote areas of the rugged West. Few would recognize this arid terrain as a part of Oklahoma, but exotic Black Mesa Summit in the extreme northwestern corner of the Oklahoma Panhandle rewards adventurous hikers with stunning western vistas. A part of Black Mesa Nature Preserve, the state’s...

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Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Fire Restrictions

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 @ 4:39 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests will implement fire restrictions due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. Effective October 28, 2016, the following fire restrictions are in place for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests until further notice: Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire is NOT ALLOWED outside of developed campgrounds where a fee is paid. The use of portable lanterns, stoves, or heating equipment that utilize gas or...

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New District Ranger Selected for the Pisgah Ranger District

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 @ 2:52 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

The National Forests in North Carolina announced that Dave Casey will oversee management and operations as the new District Ranger of the Pisgah Ranger District starting October 31, 2016. “Dave has an excellent record with partnerships and collaborative experience and a tremendous background in natural resource management,” said Allen Nicholas, Forest Supervisor of the National Forests in North Carolina. “He also has lived and worked in western North Carolina previously so understands the forests and communities we...

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New iPhone app showcases Seattle’s hiking trails

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 @ 12:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

New iPhone app showcases Seattle’s hiking trails

Want to go for a hike in the Seattle area, but not sure where to go? There’s now an app for that. Seattle Parks boasts nearly a hundred miles of hiking trails. But, with that many options, it can be hard finding the right one for you. “We have destination parks with tons of trails, but we also have lots of neighborhood parks with trails,” said Seattle Parks and Recreation. With the new Seattle Trails app coders and civic leaders came together. The volunteers came up with an app that tells you what types of trails are in...

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Arches, narrows and waterfalls: Canyoneering and extreme hiking in Moab

Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 @ 4:45 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Moab, Utah, surrounded by Arches National Park to the north, Canyonlands National Park to the southwest and the La Sal Mountains to the east, is a hub for desert adventures from rafting to mountain biking and so much more. For some visitors, the act of squeezing through narrow canyons, rappelling into open pools and clawing through loose dirt and bushes — canyoneering — is one of the most memorable and scenic ways to enjoy the area. pend an epic day scrambling and rappelling through canyons in the backcountry and then cooling off in isolated...

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A Guide to the National Parks of Florida

Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 @ 3:19 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Bill Reynolds has been with the national parks service for a decade, and has visited a ton of them—particularly in Florida. It’s fair to say the spokesman is a super-fan. Of the famed Everglades, he crows, “If the National Parks are America’s crown jewels, the Everglades are some of the shiniest!” But it’s not the only gem in the Sunshine State. Florida’s national parks aren’t just vast stretches of wilderness. Some of the best sites guarded by the National Park Service include national monuments, memorials, and trails. In...

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Hike NC! will help North Carolinians explore state’s parks

Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 @ 7:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hike NC! will help North Carolinians explore state’s parks

Even as the changing fall scenery gives us picture-perfect views, many North Carolinians are still reluctant to explore the outdoors. Some people don’t venture out to North Carolina’s parks, forests and trails because they don’t know about all that the state has to offer. Others are worried they aren’t in good enough shape to take on nature, or that they might get lost by themselves out in the woods. This fall, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the North Carolina State Parks system launched Hike NC!, a new community initiative...

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Wildfire burning near Linville Gorge, NC

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 @ 2:32 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Firefighters are responding to a wildfire burning along Old NC 105 (Kistler Memorial Hwy / SR 1238) near Linville Gorge, north of Lake James in Burke County, NC. The Paddy’s Creek Fire was reported Monday afternoon, October, 24, 2016 in the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. The fire is located near the south end of Linville Gorge, adjacent to the Wilderness Area. The total size of the fire is currently estimated at 10 acres. Firefighters worked through the night yesterday to construct containment lines and hold the...

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Forest farming can bring economic, environmental benefits to WNC

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 @ 11:21 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Farming: For most of us, the word conjures images of geometric rows of vegetables, cows contentedly grazing in well-mown pastures, and carefully pruned and tended orchards bearing grocery-store-bin fruit. In Western North Carolina, however, that traditional image of farming is being met with an alternate view: of the cultivation of ginseng and other medicinal native plants, and apple trees replaced by chestnuts; of acorn gathering and even kudzu harvesting — all accomplished not in wide-open fields and pastureland, but beneath a wild forest...

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Why the heck are there pig farms in the path of hurricanes?

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 @ 7:06 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Some 2 million chickens and at least 4,800 pigs drowned after Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina earlier this month. The storm inundated massive pools of hog feces and piles of chicken manure, spreading pollution from North Carolina’s thriving pork and poultry industry into the surrounding woods, rivers, and swamps. “I’m seeing a lot of devastation out there,” said Rick Dove, senior advisor to the environmental group Waterkeeper Alliance, after flying over North Carolina’s coastal plain last week to survey the hurricane’s destruction, which...

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Wildfire burning near Sylva, NC

Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 @ 6:11 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

The Dick’s Creek Fire burning on the Nantahala National Forest and private land near Sylva, NC, is estimated at 200-250 acres. The fire is located to the southeast of Dick’s Creek Road. Firefighters are building hand and dozer lines and a helicopter is dropping water. Firefighters are also working to clear brush and leaves away from homes and other structures along Dick’s Creek. Drivers on US 74 will encounter smoke near Sylva. Smoke is expected to settle in to the valley near Sylva tonight. The fire was discovered on Sunday...

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A legendary journey: calendar year triple crown

Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 @ 9:05 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

When it was all over, Jeff Garmire couldn’t quite believe he had actually done it. Around 5 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2016, the 25-year-old Oregon State University graduate found himself standing at the Mexican border somewhere southeast of Lordsburg, New Mexico, where a concrete monument marks the southern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail. Running along the spine of the Rockies for more than 3,000 miles from Canada to Mexico, the CDT is one of America’s great long trails, along with the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail and the 2,100-mile...

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Paralyzed hiker completes Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Oct 23, 2016 @ 8:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Paralyzed hiker completes Appalachian Trail

At first glance, Stacey Kozel looks like any other serious hiker: strong and completely in her element in nature. The 41 year old from outside Cleveland is both of those things but she’s also incredibly determined. Because unlike most hikers, Stacey is paralyzed from the waist down but has, amazingly, accomplished what many able bodied people don’t even attempt. Stacey just completed the Appalachian Trail, in its entirety. “It feels pretty amazing, actually,” she explained. It took seven months for Stacey to hike from...

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Reducing Noise in National Parks

Posted by on Oct 22, 2016 @ 11:47 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division at the U.S. National Park Service provides scientific support to all the national park units. Its researchers help park administrators understand the current state of their resource conditions and what the effects of pollution are on visitor experience and wildlife, and give them suggestions for how they might reduce pollution and mitigate its consequences. Kurt Fristrup, Ph.D., of Natural Sounds and Night Skies, said, “Noise and light pollution are interesting because most of the forms of pollution...

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Catawba Falls Trail closed October 24-28, 2016

Posted by on Oct 22, 2016 @ 7:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Catawba Falls trail and parking lot in McDowell County will be temporarily closed beginning Monday, October 24, and is expected to reopen Saturday, October 29, 2016. A contractor will be delivering and placing a new trail bridge across Chestnut Branch. The Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest has been working to improve access to Catawba Falls this summer and fall. Work is expected to be completed in October. The Catawba Falls Trail is a popular hiking trail near Old Fort, NC. Chestnut Branch is the last creek...

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More trails to blaze with Kids in Parks

Posted by on Oct 21, 2016 @ 11:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

More trails to blaze with Kids in Parks

With its cooler days and colorful foliage, fall is an ideal time to hike one of the Kids in Parks TRACK Trails. Now there are even more to explore. Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation just added trails at Mount Mitchell State Park (off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 355), Shenandoah National Park, and Prairie Ridge EcoStation in Raleigh, North Carolina. At Mount Mitchell, the hike starts at the upper summit parking lot. From there, hikers can quickly reach the top of Mount Mitchell or explore the trails that cut through some of the most unique...

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Building Bridges Together

Posted by on Oct 21, 2016 @ 6:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Join the celebration for the opening of the Boone Fork Bridge on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in the popular Price Lake Picnic Area, milepost 297 Blue Ridge Parkway, this Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 10 a.m. This 80-foot pedestrian span allows hikers to avoid wading across Boone Fork as they trek from the Boone Fork Trail to Shulls Mill Road, where the path continues to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. The festivities begin with remarks from Kate Dixon, Executive Director of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail; Scott Crocker, Manager of the...

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Florida’s national hiking trail is at crossroads

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 @ 11:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Florida’s national hiking trail is at crossroads

Carving out the Florida National Scenic Trail began in 1966, and now the hiking path from the Everglades to the western Panhandle visits springs, manatees, wetlands, alligators, white beach, turquoise ocean and bird life not seen in more famous wilderness walks. But the 1,300-mile adventure also has 300 miles of gaps, where hikers are now routed away from nature to trek along highways. Those gaps are going to be harder to complete than the 1,000 miles blazed so far. Its builders, who fear Florida’s growth, already at 20 million...

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Coming Soon to a Forest Near You

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 @ 7:02 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

In August, 2016, another 689.67 acres was added to North Carolina’s Headwaters State Forest. Projected to open in 2018, the forest contains the East Fork of the French Broad River Headwaters (for which it is named), making it an important area to protect fresh, clean water. Land acquisition for the forest began in 2009, when landowner and former congressman Charles Taylor approached Carolina Mountain Land Cconservancy. What resulted was a multi-party partnership dedicated to protecting nearly 8,000 acres of land in Transylvania County....

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Another Duke Energy coal ash spill discovered in the Neuse River

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 @ 4:51 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Waterkeeper Alliance and Sound Rivers have discovered a large coal ash spill into the Neuse River from the Duke Energy H.F. Lee facility, 10 miles upstream of Goldsboro, NC. A substantial but undetermined amount of coal ash was found floating on the surface of the river in a layer over one inch thick. The spill came from at least one of three inactive coal ash ponds containing more than one million tons of exposed coal ash. The ponds had been submerged by Hurricane Matthew flood waters for more than seven days until flood waters receded over...

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The bid for Bears Ears

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 @ 11:38 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The bid for Bears Ears

One thousand years ago, clusters of pueblos teeming with activity dotted what are now the piñon, juniper and sage forests atop Cedar Mesa. Men tended to hundreds of acres of electric-green fronds of corn, beans and squash. Women ground corn and shelled beans on rooftops, while turkeys gobbled in nearby pens and domesticated dogs roamed village plazas. Groups of runners followed wide, carefully constructed “roads” from here to Chaco, perhaps the political and cultural center of the Pueblo world. Near the solstice, Kachinas emerged from...

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Trekking across Colorado’s fragmented wildernesses

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trekking across Colorado’s fragmented wildernesses

The Colorado Trail Foundation boasts that it’s the state’s “premier long-distance trail. Stretching from Denver to Durango … it travels through the spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountains among peaks with lakes, creeks and diverse ecosystems. Trail users experience six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges topping out at 13,271 feet, just below Coney Summit at 13,334 feet. The average elevation is over 10,000 feet and it rises and falls dramatically. Hikers traveling from Denver to Durango will climb 89,354 feet.” Typical backpacking...

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We are almost assuredly living in the hottest year ever recorded, according to NASA

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 @ 7:35 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Last month “was the warmest September in 136 years of modern record-keeping,” reports NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). This follows a record-setting July and August, which were so hot, they tied each other for the “warmest month ever recorded.” Indeed, it now appears 2016 will crush the previous record for hottest year, set in 2015, which itself crushed the previous record for hottest year that was set in 2014 — a three-year run never seen before in the 136-year temperature record. And this means the recent bouts of extreme...

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New hiking trails at Buckeye, Arizona’s Skyline Regional Park

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 @ 11:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Attention hikers: Be on the lookout for new trails in the coming weeks. The Phoenix West Valley’s newest hiking destination is rolling out fresh dirt just in time for fall hiking season. As of the end of September, Skyline Regional Park in Buckeye will have added five new trails for a total of 17 miles of non-motorized routes. Since it opened in January, the 8,700-acre mountain preserve just north of Interstate 10 has become a busy hub for hiking, riding, camping and picnics. The park also hosts stargazing events and educational...

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Health Benefits of Walking in the Forest

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 @ 7:01 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Health Benefits of Walking in the Forest

There’s no better time to go for a hike than during autumn when the weather starts to cool down and the trees start to change color. Aside from being able to appreciate the beauty that nature has to offer, there are many health benefits that one could gain from a simple stroll among the trees. The following infographic outlines four health benefits that have been suggested from past research studies.     Stress & Depression Several studies related to this topic have shown that being around trees may help alleviate stress....

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Nearly 200 Nations Agree To Cut Greenhouse Gases In Landmark Climate Change Deal

Posted by on Oct 16, 2016 @ 11:56 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Nearly 200 nations have agreed a legally binding deal to cut back on greenhouse gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners, a major move against climate change that prompted loud cheers when it was announced on October 15, 2016. The deal, which includes the world’s two biggest economies, the United States and China, divides countries into three groups with different deadlines to reduce the use of factory-made hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases, which can be 10,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as greenhouse gases. “While diplomacy...

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This little-noticed court settlement will probably save millions of wild animals

Posted by on Oct 16, 2016 @ 7:37 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Somewhere in America, a wild animal is about to die. A leg trap has been set. Bait laced with poison has been laid out. A cage that no one will check for days is open and inviting with food inside. A little-known division of the federal Agriculture Department called Wildlife Services kills about 4,000 animals every day. Many of them are invasive species that don’t belong in the United States, but to the dismay of conservationists, native animals such as beavers, bears, wolves, bobcats, alligators, prairie dogs, otters and owls are also being...

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Foothills Conservancy Protects 208 Acres at Bear Den Overlook on Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 @ 11:28 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Foothills Conservancy Protects 208 Acres at Bear Den Overlook on Blue Ridge Parkway

The scenic view from the popular Bear Den Overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway is now permanently protected thanks to Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina. Foothills Conservancy moved swiftly to acquire 208 forested acres along 1.6 miles of the parkway between mileposts 323 and 325 in McDowell County. The conservancy purchased the tract on September 20 from the Moody family, who own the popular Bear Den Campground. The land trust’s acquisition was made possible by a generous gift of $898,000 from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury, a...

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The Civilized Black Bears of Asheville, North Carolina

Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 @ 11:10 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Last summer, Colleen Boll was doing some work around the house when she heard her dog barking from a different room. “It was an interesting kind of bark,” she says, “so I looked out.” Right smack in her yard, pacing around inside her chain link fence, was an enormous, glossy black bear. Boll watched the bear puzzle out how to hop the fence. “Eventually, it grabs the trunk of a tree and climbs over,” she remembers. “And I see the pipe at the top of the chain link fence bend way down under the weight of...

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Forest Service Asheville Office Temporarily Closing for Renovations

Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 @ 7:48 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The U.S. Forest Service will temporarily close the visitors lobby in its Asheville office on Zillicoa for renovations during the week of October 24, 2016. The office is expected to re-open October 31. During the closure, visitor services will be available at other U.S. Forest Service offices including: Appalachian Ranger District 632 Manor Road Mars Hill, NC 28754 (828) 689-9694 Grandfather Ranger District 109 Lawing Drive Nebo, NC 28761 (828) 652-2144 Pisgah Ranger District 1600 Pisgah Highway Pisgah Forest, NC 28768 (828) 877-3265 The...

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Nearly 27 miles of new trails coming to Catalina Island

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 @ 11:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nearly 27 miles of new trails coming to Catalina Island

The latest, and likely last, major expansion of trails on Catalina Island will give visitors plenty of options to cut a path through the island’s oft-neglected backcountry. The expansion began Oct. 14 with the start of Trekking Catalina, a plan to add nearly 27 miles of new trails throughout the island’s backcountry. The new pathways will be scattered along the island’s existing trails, creating smaller loops out of major hiking thoroughfares like the Trans-Catalina Trail. It’s a perk for the visitors looking to take advantage of the 42,000...

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Great Barrier Reef pronounced dead by scientists

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 @ 7:33 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old. For most of its life, the reef was the world’s largest living structure, and the only one visible from space. It was 1,400 miles long, with 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands. In total area, it was larger than the United Kingdom, and it contained more biodiversity than all of Europe combined. It harbored 1,625 species of fish, 3,000 species of mollusk, 450 species of coral, 220 species of birds, and 30 species of whales and...

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