News

‘Friends’ groups provide vital support for public lands

Posted by on Feb 25, 2018 @ 11:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

‘Friends’ groups provide vital support for public lands

We all need friends, and public lands in Western North Carolina increasingly receive care in the form of “Friends” nonprofit groups. In an era of shrinking federal budgets for parks and forests, these organizations are stepping up to preserve and maintain public spaces. “Friends groups used to be the margin of excellence; now they’re the margin of survival,” Sally Jewell, then-U.S. secretary of the interior, said in Tennessee in 2014. As just one example of the decreased cash flow for public lands, the 2018 National Park Service budget...

read more

Funding tightens for Vermont’s Long Trail caretakers

Posted by on Feb 25, 2018 @ 9:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Funding tightens for Vermont’s Long Trail caretakers

Hugh and Jean Joudry have spent the last fifty summers atop Stratton Mountain, and the couple, now in their seventies, aren’t planning to descend any time soon. While their tenure at the mountain’s summit began through the State of Vermont’s Fire Watch program in 1968, the two have watched over the peak as Green Mountain Club caretakers since the 1970s. Over the past decade, however, funding for the Joudry’s and other caretakers along the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail has begun to decline — as the amount of hikers...

read more

Earthquake Swarms Are Shaking Yellowstone’s Supervolcano. Here’s What That Means.

Posted by on Feb 24, 2018 @ 12:31 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Earthquake Swarms Are Shaking Yellowstone’s Supervolcano. Here’s What That Means.

Something is rocking the massive supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park. Thanks to a recent earthquake swarm, the Yellowstone supervolcano has seen upwards of 200 quakes since February 8, 2018 along with countless smaller tremors. The largest earthquake was an unremarkable magnitude 2.9, and all of them have hit about five miles beneath the surface. Larger earthquakes have rocked the region in the past, some as destructive as the Hebgen Lake quake and others causing minimal damage. With this most recent swarm, scientists say...

read more

Arizona’s Cave Creek hike is a wonderland of rocks

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

Arizona’s Cave Creek hike is a wonderland of rocks

The site of Cave Creek Regional Park has a storied history. Before there were hiking trails, campgrounds and picnic ramadas, the park, north of Phoenix, and its surroundings were used by the ancient Hohokam people, mine operations, farms and ranches. Yet the park’s relics of human endeavors are transient compared to its geological features. Although the 2,922-acre site has been picked over by prospectors in search of gold deposits that never quite materialized, the peaks, gullies and bizarre curiosities borne of Earth’s disruptive forces...

read more

The One Type of Clothing You Should Never Wear Hiking

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 @ 11:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The One Type of Clothing You Should Never Wear Hiking

Instead of Velcro, buttons, and snap fasteners, magnetic closures are now the trendy alternative for fastening phone cases, gloves, jackets, hoods, and other outerwear. But this seemingly innocuous design feature can actually put your life at risk. A recent incident involving a group of lost hikers and an intense mountain rescue mission could have been avoided had it not been for a misplaced compass and a phone case with a magnetic closure. “[The compass] had been stored in a pocket next to a mobile phone in a case which had a magnetic...

read more

Rare Fossils Discovered on Lands Cut From Bears Ears National Monument

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 @ 6:54 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Rare Fossils Discovered on Lands Cut From Bears Ears National Monument

Researchers have discovered what may be one of the world’s richest caches of Triassic period fossils at an extensive site within the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument. The team’s initial excavation led to the extraordinary discovery of several intact remains of crocodile-like animals called phytosaurs. The findings were publicly announced at this week’s Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists (WAVP) annual conference where researchers warned of a growing threat to their work in the region....

read more

Arizona’s Wild Burro Trail is a gateway into the Tortolita Mountains

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 @ 12:03 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Arizona’s Wild Burro Trail is a gateway into the Tortolita Mountains

Trekking in the Tortolitas, northwest of Tucson, Arizona, is a journey into national park-quality desert country — where some 600 species of plants create a comely, prickly, colorful landscape. Palo verde, ironwood and mesquite trees thrive alongside cacti, including chollas, barrels and grand stands of saguaros. The range boasts a large population of crested saguaros — those with unusual flourishes of growth atop the trunk. Hikers venturing into the range can expect some fascinating wildlife as well — anything from birds, lizards and snakes...

read more

Hut-to-hut systems are growing: let’s plan for them

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 @ 7:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hut-to-hut systems are growing: let’s plan for them

What comes to mind when you think hut-to-hut: probably Europe and New Zealand. With its highly-organized system of 1,000 backcountry huts New Zealand— about the same size (area and population) as Oregon— is the hut capital of the world; Switzerland and Norway each have about 500 huts. By comparison, the USA has about 110 huts operating within 17 different hut-to-hut systems. But American interest in hut-to-hut is quickening. America has a very strong tradition of backpacking (4% of Americans are backpackers). This is consonant with our proud...

read more

Scientists say the fallout from soaring Arctic temperatures will be ‘nasty’

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 @ 11:51 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Scientists say the fallout from soaring Arctic temperatures will be ‘nasty’

It was the warmest December on record in the Arctic, and 2018 has already set a string of records for lowest Arctic sea ice. Unfortunately for America and the rest of the planet, the best science makes clear that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. “We long ago anticipated that warming would be greatest in the Arctic owing to the vicious cycle of melting ice and warming oceans,” said climate scientist Mike Mann. “But what we didn’t anticipate is the way that changing wind patterns could accelerate that process — and along...

read more

The world’s permafrost holds vast stores of carbon. What happens when it thaws?

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 @ 7:03 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The world’s permafrost holds vast stores of carbon. What happens when it thaws?

Like a giant dragonfly, the chopper skims over undulating swaths of tussocky tundra, then touches down at Wolverine Lake, one of a swarm of kettle lakes near the Toolik Field Station on Alaska’s North Slope. Even before the blades stop spinning, Rose Cory, an aquatic geochemist from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, gracefully swings to the ground and beelines to the spot where, four years ago, a subterranean block of ice began to melt, causing the steep, sloping bank to slump into the water. The lake throws back a somber reflection of...

read more

Bitcoin gobbles up clean energy — just when the real world needs it most

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 @ 7:07 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Bitcoin gobbles up clean energy — just when the real world needs it most

One of the biggest near-term threats to our clean energy future doesn’t even physically exist — but the danger is increasingly very real. The stupendous growth of the virtual currency Bitcoin is creating real-world consequences. Massive number-crunching computer facilities for mining Bitcoin have popped up in parts of the planet where renewable electricity comes especially cheap. And now it looks like this mining is starting to siphon green energy away from everybody else. Bitcoin is the best known of countless “cryptocurrencies,” which...

read more

Climate Influences Male-Female Balance

Posted by on Feb 19, 2018 @ 12:02 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Climate Influences Male-Female Balance

For many reptile and fish species, temperature during egg incubation determines whether hatchlings are male or female. In the northern part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, scientists have discovered that 99 percent of immature green turtles hatched in warming sands are female, raising concerns about successful reproduction in the future. U.S. Forest Service scientists have become increasingly interested in a similar idea: the connection between climate and its effects on the male-female balance in trees. In a recent study, USFS Southern...

read more

USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvements for Forest System Trails

Posted by on Feb 19, 2018 @ 9:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvements for Forest System Trails

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands. Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be accessed and safely enjoyed by a wide variety of trails enthusiasts. About 25 percent of agency trails fit those standards while the condition of other trails lag behind....

read more

A simple step toward a sustainable economy: Alaska long trails

Posted by on Feb 18, 2018 @ 12:42 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A simple step toward a sustainable economy: Alaska long trails

Building a new sustainable economy can be complex and have numerous hurdles. But sometimes a simple and easy first step forward stands right in front of you. It’s not a new idea; it’s not expensive; and much of it is already in place. It’s the kind of realization that makes Homer Simpson slap his forehead and say, “D’oh.” That first step for Alaska is trails — long trails, in particular. Long trails are the ancient paths in Alaska that were used for commerce and communication by foot and dogsled and boat....

read more

Alaska’s Bering Sea Lost a Third of Its Ice in Just 8 Days

Posted by on Feb 18, 2018 @ 7:11 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Alaska’s Bering Sea Lost a Third of Its Ice in Just 8 Days

In just eight days in mid-February, nearly a third of the sea ice covering the Bering Sea off Alaska’s west coast disappeared. That kind of ice loss and the changing climate as the planet warms is affecting the lives of the people who live along the coast. At a time when the sea ice should be growing toward its maximum extent for the year, it’s shrinking instead—the area of the Bering Sea covered by ice is now 60 percent below its average from 1981-2010. “[Bering sea ice] is in a league by itself at this point,” said...

read more

A father and son pilgrimage on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Posted by on Feb 17, 2018 @ 11:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A father and son pilgrimage on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Before it was too late, writer Mike MacEacheran made a family pilgrimage to the Alps to connect with his father’s wanderlust and retrace the steps taken 50 years before he was born. It was on a grey winter’s day in my parents’ house outside Glasgow, watching storm clouds gather and sparrows dive for shelter in the garden, that I first suggested Mont Blanc in summer. After what had happened, I knew I should make more effort to spend time with my 74-year-old dad, but what I was proposing at his age was a risk. A 10-day hike around one of...

read more

How to not need rescuing when you hike in Phoenix

Posted by on Feb 17, 2018 @ 6:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to not need rescuing when you hike in Phoenix

In Phoenix, Arizona summer weather usually starts before the rest of the country’s winter ends. As the temperature starts to tick upward and out-of-town guests arrive for springtime merriment, its important to remember how quickly a day hiking in the desert can turn into a nightmare mountain rescue situation. Last year, Phoenix’s fire department had to rescue 259 hikers — 95 of whom required a helicopter evacuation. Contrary to popular belief, Arizona does not have a “stupid hiker law,” that would require hikers who...

read more

The Fight Against a Pipeline Along the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Feb 16, 2018 @ 11:40 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

The Fight Against a Pipeline Along the Appalachian Trail

  A lawsuit hasn’t been enough to stop construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a proposed 300-mile natural gas pipeline that would cross the Appalachian Trail and some of the region’s largest national forests on its way, from starting as soon as this month. The Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Wild Virginia filed a lawsuit in January challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the pipeline. The case argues that the pipeline is...

read more

Oregon state history hikes: 14 trails to celebrate Oregon’s past

Posted by on Feb 16, 2018 @ 6:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Oregon state history hikes: 14 trails to celebrate Oregon’s past

You can trace Oregon’s history on its trails. Ever since Oregon gained statehood in 1859 – and for many years before that – pioneers have cut trails through some of the most rugged and beautiful segments of the state. Some trails were made for travelers to settle there, while others were developed for locals to enjoy public lands. Hiking along the historic trails today can transport you back to various eras in Oregon’s history. They can trace the wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail, take you high above landmark cities, and uncover some of the...

read more

Southern pine beetle on the rise across the South

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 @ 12:16 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Southern pine beetle on the rise across the South

Smaller than a grain of rice, the southern pine beetle (SPB) is considered “the most destructive forest pest in the South”. This menacing label appropriately reflects the devastation it can cause, with outbreaks capable of costing millions of dollars between lost timber and management costs. Fortunately, SPB outbreaks are cyclical, typically occurring every 10-15 years. The last outbreak in N.C. ended in 2002, 16 years ago. Last year, predictive trapping suggested a rise in SPB activity would occur in parts of western N.C. and in Croatan...

read more

At The Wave, competition for hiking permits is fierce

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 @ 7:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

At The Wave, competition for hiking permits is fierce

Ranger Ron Kay glanced at an anxious crowd crammed into a U.S. Bureau of Land Management office in Kanab, Utah. “All these hopeful faces,” he murmured as the minutes counted down to a drawing for permits to hike to The Wave, an iconic basin of striated orange sandstone just south of the Utah-Arizona state line. More than 80 applications were stacked in front of Kay on this Thursday morning in late December, with up to six names on each request. Only 10 people would get permits. Losers could try again, but the next day, nearly 400 applications...

read more

‘Dangerous Drift-Prone Pesticide’ Threatens Millions of Acres, Hundreds of Endangered Species

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 @ 11:44 am in Conservation | 0 comments

‘Dangerous Drift-Prone Pesticide’ Threatens Millions of Acres, Hundreds of Endangered Species

Public interest organizations representing farmers and conservationists made their legal case in a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Monsanto Company last week, challenging EPA’s approval of Monsanto’s new “XtendiMax” pesticide. XtendiMax is Monsanto’s version of dicamba, an old and highly drift-prone weed-killer. EPA’s approval permitted XtendiMax to be sprayed for the first time on growing soybeans and cotton that Monsanto has genetically engineered (GE) to be...

read more

10 Tips for Hiking Downhill

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 @ 6:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

10 Tips for Hiking Downhill

Hiking downhill is often taken for granted. In the minds of some it represents the equivalent of “backcountry gravy“; the reward that follows the exertion of a long, challenging ascent. Yet hiking downhill takes its toll. Twists, slips and tumbles are most likely to occur while descending and no other type of hiking causes more wear and tear on the joints and muscles. By learning how to hike downhill efficiently in all types of terrain, the hiker can minimize impact on the body and decrease the probability of falls and/or mishaps occurring....

read more

A diverse portfolio: Seed bank works to protect genes of WNC plants

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 @ 11:47 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A diverse portfolio: Seed bank works to protect genes of WNC plants

It’s been just about 10 years since the day Joe-Ann McCoy, then living in Iowa and working as the national medicinal plant curator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, got a life-changing call from her home region of Western North Carolina. It was the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville, and they wanted to know if she’d be interested in trading her secure government job for a position funded by grants and contracts, moving to the Asheville area, and starting up a seed bank. “There was nothing here. There wasn’t a single lab,” McCoy said. Since...

read more

Chemours’ GenX pollution worries spread to West Virginia

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 @ 6:58 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Chemours’ GenX pollution worries spread to West Virginia

A Teflon chemical that last year contaminated a North Carolina river that provides drinking water to a region of more than 200,000 people also has been detected at a well under a Chemours facility in West Virginia, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In an apparent effort to determine the extent of the chemical, called GenX, in the area’s water, Delaware-based Chemours this month is complying with an EPA request to collect and test drinking water samples in Ohio and West Virginia for signs of the unregulated chemical....

read more

How the Chattanooga region’s trails are built and maintained

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 @ 11:57 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

How the Chattanooga region’s trails are built and maintained

Mason Boring and Clayton Morgan held adjoining handles of a perforated lancetooth two-man saw, pulling the more-than-70-year-old piece of equipment back and forth. The two were clearing a fallen tree from Fodderstack horse and hiking trail in Cherokee National Forest. Boring estimated it had been five years since a crew came to clear the path. That’s what brought the two men here, miles from civilization, hiking and pulling a saw older than many of the surrounding trees. Boring works for Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) –...

read more

Wildlife habitat, water quality protected in Sandy Mush

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 @ 8:47 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Wildlife habitat, water quality protected in Sandy Mush

When locals speak of Sandy Mush, it’s often in the same breath with words like “sacred land,” “pure,” and “paradise.” So protecting this bucolic expanse of farmland amid North Carolina’s Newfound Mountains of northwestern Buncombe County has been a life’s work for many who live in or who just love the area. The Ellis family recently worked with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy to protect 88 acres of their land in Boyd Cove with a conservation easement that ensures plant and animal habitat and water sources will remain...

read more

The National Park Service is stuck in $11.3 billion hole, but jacking up fees isn’t the way out

Posted by on Feb 11, 2018 @ 12:07 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Three years ago, the National Park Service banned trucks and buses heavier than 10 tons from crossing over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, a major transportation artery connecting Virginia to Washington D.C. And there’s speculation that the U.S. Secret Service now refuses to cross the 82-year-old concrete span, though the agency would not confirm whether this was the case. From afar, the bridge’s neoclassical design — finished with sculptures of eagles and bas relief of bison — looks glorious. But inside, it’s rotting....

read more

Nova Scotia blessed with trails for outdoor adventurers for all ages

Posted by on Feb 11, 2018 @ 8:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nova Scotia blessed with trails for outdoor adventurers for all ages

It’s very easy to take to the warm and cozy of the couch during Nova Scotia winters: ripe with freeze and thaw, rain and snow and bone-chilling cold snaps. However, more often these days there has been a growth in those that dare to venture out of the house and on to the trails that criss-cross the province. For more than 10 years Hike Nova Scotia, a non-profit hiking and walking promotion group, has been offering a collection of guided hikes, walkabouts and workshops to allow those looking for a push into, or a hand-hold alongside, nature....

read more

A hiking trail connecting NYC to Canada is in the works

Posted by on Feb 10, 2018 @ 11:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A hiking trail connecting NYC to Canada is in the works

During his 2017 State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out an ambitious proposal to develop 350 miles of new biking paths and hiking trails that will connect New York City to both Canada and Buffalo through Albany. Dubbed the Empire State Trail, the whole project will stretch 750 miles and include roughly 400 miles of existing trails. It’s scheduled to be completed by 2020, and state officials and developers are beginning to make moves to hit that deadline. Cuomo doubled down on his support for the trail in his...

read more

Nine Tips for Hiking Havasu Falls

Posted by on Feb 10, 2018 @ 9:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nine Tips for Hiking Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls sits atop the desirable adventures for many hikers from the first time they see a picture of the aqua blue water cascading down red rock walls into the crystal pool below. On the hike, you will see Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls which are some of the most picturesque waterfalls and dramatic scenery found in the Grand Canyon. There is also Supai Village, a remote Indian village that is only accessible by hiking, horseback, or helicopter. Havasupai is roughly translated to mean, “People of the blue-green...

read more

Hiking across the greenest island in the Caribbean

Posted by on Feb 9, 2018 @ 11:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking across the greenest island in the Caribbean

“They say: stand still in the soil too long in Grenada and even you’ll start to grow.” The southern Caribbean isle of Grenada, with its volcanic earth and generous lashings of both “liquid” and regular sunshine, is ludicrously lush. Every backyard, mountainside, valley and verge seems rife with nutmeg, cocoa and soursop, banana palms, guava, ginger lilies and dreadlock crotons; the island is like one big Christmas tree, baubled with scarlet immortelles and strung with bougainvillea. The majority of people visit lovely, laid-back Grenada for...

read more

Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct to Close for Repairs

Posted by on Feb 9, 2018 @ 6:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct to Close for Repairs

The National Park Service announces the closure of the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway for surface repaving and bridge maintenance from March 1, 2018 through May 24, 2018. These projects require a full closure of the Parkway, including closure of the trail below the bridge; with the reopening coinciding with Memorial Day weekend. The Linn Cove Viaduct is located at Milepost 304. A traffic detour will be put in place from Milepost 298.6 (Holloway Mountain Rd) to Milepost 305.1 (US 221). Gates will be located at MP 303.6, Wilson...

read more

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Recruits ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Volunteers

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 @ 11:59 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Recruits ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Volunteers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park. In an effort to track nature’s calendar, or phenology, volunteers will collect information as part of an important research project tracking seasonal biological data such as plant flowering dates and the presence of migratory birds. Previous experience is not necessary but an interest in science and love for nature are characteristics of a successful volunteer. A 3-hour training workshop is provided and will include...

read more