News

It’s Almost Time for Mountains to Sea Trail In a Day

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 @ 11:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

It’s Almost Time for Mountains to Sea Trail In a Day

There will be boots and boats on all 1,175 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on September 9, 2017, from Clingmans Dome atop the Smokies to Jockeys Ridge on the coast. What a great way to celebrate the day 40 years ago when Howard Lee, N.C. Secretary of Natural Resources at the time, first proposed the idea of a statewide trail. As time neared filling all 300 legs of the trail, Friends of the MST noticed that the total of hikers and paddlers was nearing 1,000. Another couple hundred hikers and they could have a hiker for every mile of trail...

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Down with the Glen Canyon Dam?

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 @ 6:35 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Down with the Glen Canyon Dam?

In 1963, Glen Canyon was pronounced dead. Glen Canyon Dam had submerged its fabled grottoes, Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and slickrock chutes beneath the stagnant water of Lake Powell, and forever altered the ecology of the Grand Canyon just downstream. For wilderness lovers, the 710-foot-tall concrete wall stuck out of the Colorado River like a middle finger — an insult that helped ignite the modern environmental movement. In 1981, the radical group Earth First! faked a “crack” on the dam by unfurling a 300-foot-long black banner down...

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Looking Back at the History of Hiking in America

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 @ 12:18 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Looking Back at the History of Hiking in America

“Why would anyone enjoy deliberately walking around in nature?” is an initial question. As a longtime junior high school teacher, it was a challenge to bring 14-year-olds to a mental place where they could appreciate “just walking” around in the backcountry. At first, many wanted to keep riding in cars, skateboarding or at least biking — hiking was rather stupid. Hiking, or leisure walking, began as a chosen social activity only when Americans were freed from the necessity of travel by foot. When public transportation improved after the Civil...

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Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 @ 7:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation needs help maintaining hiking trails near Tucson. Monsoon 2017 has let up for now, but just weeks ago storms dumped lots of rain on southern Arizona. All that rain caused weeds and other plants to grow out of control. County officials are looking for trail stewards to make sure these trails continue looking good. Volunteers are needed to keep an eye on their assigned portion of the trail and clean it up when the trails start looking overgrown. Volunteers will be asked to do minor maintenance...

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Night hiking: Beating the heat in Grand Canyon

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 @ 11:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Night hiking: Beating the heat in Grand Canyon

Below the Tapeats on the South Kaibab Trail is a great place to stop and rest called “Big Shady.” When it is hot, this spot is nice and cool. But folks are here huddled up above the trail in the shelter of a slight overhang in the cliff, trying to stay dry and wishing that there weren’t so many clouds in the sky. Rather odd given that it is the middle of August. But it is 2:30 in the morning and so far the 21 mile rim-to-rim hike across Grand Canyon is unfolding as planned. With daytime temperatures soaring above 100 degrees, hiking the Grand...

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10 Exercises That Will Get You Ready For Any Hike

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 @ 6:29 am in Hiking News | 2 comments

10 Exercises That Will Get You Ready For Any Hike

Preparing your body for a hike is often overshadowed by other hiking preparations, such as what gear to bring, which trail to take, and whether you have the right hiking shoes. As important as these preparations are, it is equally important to prepare your body for hiking by strengthening your muscles, increasing your cardiovascular capacity, and improving flexibility. Hiking is a lot of fun, but it can be a challenge too. In order to make your hiking experience the best that it can be, it is smart to train your body for any hike, whether...

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Greece Beyond the Beaches: The Undiscovered Epirus

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 @ 11:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Greece Beyond the Beaches: The Undiscovered Epirus

Epirus is on the northwest side of the Greek mainland. Multicolored concrete culture in Athens switches into green-blue stone villages, ancient arched bridges, ramshackle castles, quiet mountains topped with snow, and clear river gorges. It’s pretty rugged and was not easily accessible for many years (even now, the only way to reach it is by bus or car.) In Epirus you’ll feel like you’ve entered a realm where the past is charmingly present. 75 beautiful arched bridges are used to connect small villages to each other, and have the ability to...

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7 reasons to be alarmed by record-setting levels of CO2

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 @ 7:13 am in Conservation | 0 comments

7 reasons to be alarmed by record-setting levels of CO2

There was a 2009 analysis in Science that found when CO2 levels were sustained in the 400 to 500 ppm range some 15 to 20 million years ago, it was 5°F to 10°F warmer globally, and seas were also 75 to 120 feet higher. Despite the best efforts of the Trump administration to ignore or contradict scientific reality, carbon dioxide levels continue to soar far outside the bounds of what humans have ever experienced. Monthly levels of heat-trapping CO2 peaked at nearly 410 parts per million (ppm) in May, the month that levels peak each year at...

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Canada’s ‘Great Trail’ Is Finally Connected

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 @ 12:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Canada’s ‘Great Trail’ Is Finally Connected

In 1992, three Canadians, inspired by their country’s 125th birthday celebration, thought up a crazy plan. What if they could connect all of Canada’s hiking trails, footpaths, rail trails, and boardwalks into one giant mega-trail that snaked from coast to coast? It’s now 2017. Canada has celebrated its 150th birthday. And on August 26th, those three dreamers—along with the thousands of volunteers who helped clear brush, fix planks, put up signs, and do all the other little tasks that make wilderness passable—celebrated the coast-to-coast...

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Yosemite fires shut Glacier Point Road, road to park entrance and popular hiking trails

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 @ 9:03 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Yosemite fires shut Glacier Point Road, road to park entrance and popular hiking trails

Should you be traveling to Yosemite National Park for the Labor Day weekend, be prepared for smoky conditions and trail and road closures. Separate fires have shut Glacier Point Road, California Highway 41 leading from Oakhurst to the southern entrance into the park, a campground and popular hiking trails. Yosemite’s website warns visitors about smoke conditions in Yosemite Valley and beyond: “Expect poor air quality and limited visibility due to fires in Yosemite. Avoid strenuous exercise outdoors and remain indoors when possible.” “Dense...

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The 650-Mile Alabama Trail: Coming Soon to a Town Near You

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 @ 11:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The 650-Mile Alabama Trail: Coming Soon to a Town Near You

In 2001, a small group of avid hikers met at the Open Pond Campground in Conecuh National Forest near Andalusia, Alabama. They had with them a state roadmap that they had picked up at an aging rest area along an interstate. Using an orange magic marker, they began to carefully draw a line on the map. The line started in Florence, near the Tennessee state line, then headed south connecting several dots along the way—state parks, national forests, city parks, open public land—and finally ending at Fort Morgan on the Alabama Gulf Coast. The...

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Report: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Staff Not Negligent In Battling Deadly Chimney Tops 2 Fire

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 @ 6:34 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Report: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Staff Not Negligent In Battling Deadly Chimney Tops 2 Fire

The deadly fire fed by kindling-dry forests and whipped out of control by hurricane-force winds at Great Smoky Mountains National Park “overwhelmed” the park staff’s ability to fight it, according to an independent review of the blaze that killed 14 in neighboring communities in November, 2016. Extreme drought conditions and heavy ground fuels – downed and dead hemlocks among them – initially fed the fire, and then hurricane-force winds on November 28 into November 29 blew the conflagration into a firestorm that...

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AT Crushed: ‘Stringbean’ Sets Both Speed Records

Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 @ 9:17 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

AT Crushed: ‘Stringbean’ Sets Both Speed Records

Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughy, a well-known speed hiker, set a new record on the Appalachian Trail today. He hiked the 2,190-mile route in an unofficial fastest known time (FKT) of 45 days, 12 hours, 15 minutes. McConaughy’s hike began the trail on July 17th at 6:31 a.m. EST, in Georgia (South to North). If verified by community-recognized officials who manage FKTs (and it likely will be), Stringbean’s hike breaks both the unsupported and supported records. His new unofficial record would beat the old record of 54 days set by Heather “Anish”...

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Park Service group to feds: ‘Pendulum is swinging too far to the side of development’

Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 @ 11:52 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Park Service group to feds: ‘Pendulum is swinging too far to the side of development’

Retired National Park Service employees spoke about the impacts of oil and gas development on some national parks—particularly from adjacent lands overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, expressing concern over the “alarming” number of oil and gas proposals near parks and what they see as overall efforts by the department to reduce protections for national parks in order to encourage oil and gas drilling. “As...

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Volunteers are Vital Component to Rainbow Falls Trail Rehabilitation Project

Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 @ 7:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Volunteers are Vital Component to Rainbow Falls Trail Rehabilitation Project

Earlier this summer, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials recruited for volunteers to assist the Trails Forever trail crew with a rehabilitation project on the Rainbow Falls Trail. Citizens from across the region responded and their volunteer effort has significantly helped in moving the project forward these past few months. In order to maintain the momentum, officials are now issuing a second request for volunteers. Volunteers are needed every Wednesday from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers must register at least one...

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CO2 is changing the jet stream in ways that will create more Harveys

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 @ 7:15 am in Conservation | 0 comments

CO2 is changing the jet stream in ways that will create more Harveys

Climate science predicted a weaker jet stream, and Harvey stalled because of a weakened jet stream. A 2012 study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded global warming was driving changes in extreme weather in North America. “Our research reveals a change in the summer Arctic wind pattern over the past six years,” lead author James Overland of NOAA explained at the time. “This shift demonstrates a physical connection between reduced Arctic sea ice in the summer, loss of Greenland ice, and potentially,...

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The grim side of long-distance hiking

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 @ 11:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The grim side of long-distance hiking

Thru-hiking conjures imagery of a retreat to Mother Nature, to return feeling fresh and invigorated. For trail neophytes, it’s romanticized with visions of rosy cheeked hikers bounding across grassy knolls and the scent of wild lavender wafting around lean, muscled figures. However, the reality is a little rougher than the Instagram pictures paint it. Sure, you’ll be in the wild, but the wildlife you’ll predominately rub shoulders with will be insects. To keep your pack light, one can ditch the inner bug tent. This allows all sorts of creepy...

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As Finland celebrates a century since independence, a new national park is giving the country something to shout about

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 @ 6:40 am in Conservation | 0 comments

As Finland celebrates a century since independence, a new national park is giving the country something to shout about

The Finnish are not ones to brag about their culture. Reserved and stoical, with an appreciation of dry humor, they prefer to keep things discreet. This year, however, the country will break away from its default shy-and-retiring position as it celebrates 100 years since Finnish independence, marking the occasion when the country claimed sovereignty from Russia, during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. After much fanfare about Denmark’s food and Nordic noirs in recent years, it’s now Finland’s turn to take the spotlight. And, fittingly for a...

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Your 1 Million Acres: The Future of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Belongs to You

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 @ 12:26 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Your 1 Million Acres: The Future of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Belongs to You

Your property includes cascading waterfalls, ancient forests, and the highest mountains in the East. You can go anywhere you like on your property. You can hike hundreds of miles of trails and paddle, fish, and swim in its pristine streams. You share ownership equally with every other American, and you pay your staff—the U.S. Forest Service—to manage the property. They maintain the trails and enforce the rules that you make. Every 20 years, you write a plan that describes how your estate should be managed. You get together with the other...

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Protecting mountain gold: Balsam uses dye to thwart ginseng poachers

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 @ 8:20 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Protecting mountain gold: Balsam uses dye to thwart ginseng poachers

Brian McMahan and Johnny Nicholson can both remember boyhood days spent in the mountains, hunting the elusive ginseng plant. Coveted for its myriad medicinal uses, ginseng root harvest is an Appalachian tradition stretching back through generations. McMahan and Nicholson were both taught to dig it in such a way that its numbers would stay strong for generations more — leaving small plants to grow and planting the seed-containing berries of harvested plants in the earth around the dig. “Most of the time we would ginseng dig to get money to buy...

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Interior Secretary Zinke outlines future of National Park Service while visiting BRP

Posted by on Aug 27, 2017 @ 12:00 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Interior Secretary Zinke outlines future of National Park Service while visiting BRP

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke came to the mountains of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina on August 25, 2017 to celebrate the 101st birthday of the National Park Service and also lay out the department’s future. Zinke said the country’s national parks are facing an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog that he wants to close in five years. This comes on the heels of a proposed budget from President Donald Trump that would cut funds to the department. “Everyone knows you propose a budget, and it’s really Congress that goes...

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Trail work in Arizona’s Rim Country

Posted by on Aug 27, 2017 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trail work in Arizona’s Rim Country

Trails are complicated things. It doesn’t always take the easiest route and sometimes isn’t clear, dwindling into a wash and then sneaking out to the lowlands and zigzagging erratically up a steep slope. For trail builders, forging a path with flow is everything. The way a trail bobs and weaves around trees and rocks should be effortless. It should curve to hide what is coming, making the hiker want to turn one more corner to see what is next. And it should shed water off its banks, not hold it in, so it stays smooth, not rutted and washed...

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Here’s a better vision for the US-Mexico border: Make the Rio Grande grand again

Posted by on Aug 26, 2017 @ 11:41 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Here’s a better vision for the US-Mexico border: Make the Rio Grande grand again

The United States and Mexico have shared their current international border for nearly 170 years. Today they cooperate at multiple levels on issues that affect the border region, although you would not know it from the divisive rhetoric that we hear in both countries. President Trump’s focus on building a border wall threatens to undermine many bi-national initiatives, as well as our shared natural environment. There is an opportunity for Mexico and the United States to work together on a much larger scale. Rather than spending billions of...

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Celebrating the completion of Trekking Catalina

Posted by on Aug 26, 2017 @ 6:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Celebrating the completion of Trekking Catalina

Catalina Island Conservancy is celebrating the recent completion of Trekking Catalina, a new master trails system that includes 27 miles of new and enhanced hiking trails and is the biggest addition to the Catalina trails system since the completion of the Trans-Catalina Trail in 2009. With the completion of Trekking Catalina, the Conservancy now offers 165 miles of recreational roads and hiking trails for visitors and residents to explore Catalina’s more than 42,000 acres of wildlands off the coast of California. The new master trails system...

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Lightning strike blasts clothes off Sierra hiker

Posted by on Aug 25, 2017 @ 12:09 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Lightning strike blasts clothes off Sierra hiker

An Austrian man hiking 9,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada was on a peak taking a photo when he was struck by a lightning bolt that blasted away his clothes, burned a hole in one of his shoes and left him with severe burns. Mathias Steinhuber, who was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with his girlfriend and friend Carla Elvidge had an entry wound on his hand and an exit wound on his foot, Elvidge said in a phone interview from Fairfield, California. “He was taking a picture and the next thing I know, I see this white flash, like an explosion,”...

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Clingmans Dome Tower Rehabilitation Project Begins

Posted by on Aug 25, 2017 @ 6:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Clingmans Dome Tower Rehabilitation Project Begins

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower will be closed beginning Wednesday, August 23 through the remainder of the 2017 season to complete rehabilitation work thanks to funding received from a Partners in Preservation (PIP) grant. The $250,000 grant was awarded last summer to Friends of the Smokies on behalf of the park after being one of the top nine most voted for parks in the Partners in Preservation: National Parks Campaign in 2016. Straddling the North Carolina and Tennessee state...

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The Highest and Lowest Elevation Points of 20 Countries Around the World

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 @ 11:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Highest and Lowest Elevation Points of 20 Countries Around the World

Our home planet is amazing. It’s easy to get wowed by ever-improving pictures of our neighbour planets, but Earth really has it all. Every region has its own astonishing range of terrains at all altitudes. From the depths of dried-out lakes and swamps to the peaks of our highest mountains, how much do you really know about these dramatic extremes? For example, most people know that Mount Everest is the highest place on Earth. Positioned on the border between China and Nepal, it’s nearly 30,000 feet above China’s lowest spot – that’s the...

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Exxon Dared Critics to Prove It Misled the Public. These Researchers Just Called the Company’s Bluff.

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 @ 6:20 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Exxon Dared Critics to Prove It Misled the Public. These Researchers Just Called the Company’s Bluff.

Two years ago, Inside Climate News and Los Angeles Times investigations found that while Exxon Mobil internally acknowledged that climate change is man-made and serious, it publicly manufactured doubt about the science. Exxon has been trying unsuccessfully to smother this slow-burning PR crisis ever since, arguing the findings were “deliberately cherry picked statements.” But the company’s problems have grown to include probes of its business practices by the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general and the Securities and Exchange...

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The National Parks Like You’ve Never Experienced Them Before

Posted by on Aug 23, 2017 @ 11:31 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The National Parks Like You’ve Never Experienced Them Before

Veteran travelers of national parks may think they’ve done it all, but not so fast: There are 417 sites managed by the National Park Service, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy each of them. Non-profit friends groups and NPS officials compilde a short list of National Park activities and spots that are a bit off the beaten path, and just plain cool. Lookout Point Trail at Wind Cave National Park – Most people who go to Wind Cave don’t go beyond the national park’s namesake, but there’s plenty of exploring to do above ground. Lookout Point...

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Court rejects pipeline project on climate concerns

Posted by on Aug 23, 2017 @ 7:14 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Court rejects pipeline project on climate concerns

An appeals court on August 22, 2017 rejected the federal government’s approval of a natural gas pipeline project in the southeastern U.S., citing concerns about its impact on climate change. In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did not properly analyze the climate impact from burning the natural gas that the project would deliver to power plants. The ruling is significant because it adds to environmentalists’ arguments that analyses under the...

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Tony Tooke Is New Forest Service Chief

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 @ 11:57 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Tony Tooke Is New Forest Service Chief

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tony Tooke will serve as the new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Tooke has worked for the Forest Service since age 18 and currently is the Regional Forester for the Southern Region. He is responsible for 3,100 employees, an annual budget exceeding $400 million, 14 national forests, and two managed areas, which encompass more than 13.3 million acres in 13 states and Puerto Rico. His previous position in Washington, DC was Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System; with...

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Science, Solitude And The Sacred On The Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 @ 7:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Science, Solitude And The Sacred On The Appalachian Trail

Solitude can be hard to find in the modern world. Cities are, of course, exactly about mixing it up with our fellow humans. That’s the source of their potent innovation. So, while you can find places in the city to be alone, it is much harder to find true solitude. The difference between the two — being alone and being in solitude — is the secret many people find the wilderness teaches. Now, for a lot of folks, the idea of being alone can be discomforting — if not downright terrifying. That’s understandable because we are, by...

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Trump plan could open Giant Sequoia monument to logging

Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 @ 11:55 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Trump plan could open Giant Sequoia monument to logging

For the largest living things standing on the planet, California’s giant sequoias have an unassuming, almost gentle aura to them. The recognizable cinnamon-colored bark is soft and fibrous. Its cones are modest. When cut down, the trees tend to shatter and won’t produce reliably sturdy timber. These majestic plants have a lineage stretching back to the Jurassic period, but fears over their future have prompted a somewhat counter-intuitive plan presented to the Trump administration – in order to save the giant sequoias, some say, their...

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Arizona Girl Scout troop teaching Hiking 101 class

Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 @ 6:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Arizona Girl Scout troop teaching Hiking 101 class

Last year, more than 350 hikers required rescue in Arizona parks and preserves and at least 10 died. These are statistics that Ahwatukee Girl Scout Troop 1395 passionately hopes to reduce. And while helping hikers learn safety through education, the troop’s eight members are working toward their Silver Award – the highest honor at the Cadette level. The scout’s interviews and research have helped them become more aware of dangers, especially to visitors who don’t realize how Arizona’s summer heat could turn their vacation hikes deadly....

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