News

Roughing it: Trekking in Nepal offers adventure

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 @ 10:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Dawn’s golden light caught the tops of the snowcapped Himalayas and gradually crept downward as the rising sun lit up a sweeping arc of soaring peaks, at once forbidding and starkly beautiful. The stunning vista from the top of Poon Hill — at 10,475 feet, the highest point of a six-day trek in Nepal — was among many highlights of a “Lord of the Rings”-like adventure through lush forests, terraced fields and traditional villages nestled above plunging valleys. Sometimes the going was tough — like hiking two hours up steep,...

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Parks Canada To Return Plains Bison To Banff National Park

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 @ 7:27 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Plains bison, an icon of wild landscapes, will be returned to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, in an effort to bring the “missing link” back to the park’s wildlife ecosystem. The decision, announced last week, will both support Canada’s National Conservation Plan and also bring a better balance to the park’s ecosystem. Through their grazing and physical disturbance of vegetation and soil, bison helped create and maintain the patchwork of meadows, grasslands and other open habitats upon which they, and many...

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Florida Isn’t The Only State Where Officials Censored The Term ‘Climate Change’

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 @ 6:34 am in Conservation | 0 comments

It may have seemed surprising when four former employees of Florida’s state Department of Environmental Protection said they were forbidden to use the words “climate change” and “global warming” in any official communications. But as it turns out, the alleged practice is not unusual — at least in states with governors who do not accept the scientific validity of human-caused climate change. In fact, two states were accused of implementing a very similar practice with their environmental conservation agencies last year. The most recent...

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Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks receives national honor

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 @ 3:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks receives national honor

Kids in Parks, a signature program of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, is continuing to draw national attention for its work helping to bring kids outdoors and getting them active. Kids in Parks is based in Asheville, NC. The group received the Association of Partners for Public Lands 2015 Partnership Award for Outstanding Public Engagement at a ceremony recently in Atlanta. “Dynamic, effective partnerships are absolutely essential to the preservation of America’s most treasured public lands and the enhancement of their...

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Explosion razes North Dakota fracking waste disposal facility

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 @ 10:32 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A fire so massive that it could not be approached by firefighters erupted after an explosion at an oil waste disposal site north of Alexander, North Dakota. McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karlin Rockvoy said the only thing to do at first was watch the fire burn itself out. The explosion occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. on March 7, 2015. Emergency responders from both Williston and Alexander, ND established a perimeter around the site to ensure the safety of anyone in the area. Five employees at the facility escaped unharmed, one of whom...

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Denali’s squeaky-clean air best among all U.S. national parks

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 @ 9:20 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Fairbanks air turns bitter every winter as Alaskans fill it with wood smoke and other things, but just down the road Denali National Park has the clearest air measured among America’s monitored national parks. Scientists at Colorado State University have taken a close look at Denali air as captured near the park entrance. A monitor there pulls air through a set of four filters, getting samples every third day. A park employee then mails the filters to the Lower 48. Scientists studied the particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size...

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You Think Your Winter Was Rough?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 @ 8:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

In October, two young Americans set off on the most daring and foolhardy wilderness expedition since, oh, maybe Lewis and Clark. They were trying to become the first people ever to backpack from Canada to Mexico on the Pacific Crest Trail in the dead of winter. Once before, in 1983, two people set out to traverse the trail in winter. They never made it. Their bodies were found a month after they fell off an icy cliff. A winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail seemed impossible. The trail is covered by many feet of snow that time of year,...

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Fire-damaged trails in San Marcos, CA reopen

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 @ 10:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Several hiking trails in San Marcos, California that burned in the massive Cocos Fire last year are now open again. “The views up there are just outstanding,” said hiker John Page as he returned from hiking the Double Peaks Trail. It has been 10 months since he or anyone else has hiked it. “They were burnt pretty bad where we had to keep people off,” said park ranger Ron Vinluan. “There are guardrails that kept people from going off the side, those were burnt.” Vinluan says five trails were closed after the...

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Environmental problems on hiking trail to cost Georgia county six figures

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 @ 10:52 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

After a three-year dispute with the state environmental agency, Walker County officials will be in the clear once they absorb one last hit. It’s going to hurt. Like, $100,000 worth of pain. Maybe worse. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division first alerted Walker County in 2012 that there were problems with the construction of the Durham Trail, a hiking route that crosses Rock Creek on Lookout Mountain. EPD officials said the county never told them they were working near the creek, breaking state law. “If they had [requested...

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Consecutive harsh winters hammer hemlock-killing insect

Posted by on Mar 7, 2015 @ 10:24 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

After one of the coldest months on record in East Tennessee, many people are more than ready for some warm weather. But the especially frigid winter has been a life-saver for some of the mightiest trees in the forest. This winter’s sub-zero temperatures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have devastated the once unstoppable Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. The adelgid is an invasive insect from Asia that has killed millions of hemlock trees in the eastern United States. They first arrived in the Smokies in 2002. “You know adelgids...

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This might not be your year to see Delicate Arch

Posted by on Mar 7, 2015 @ 5:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park is one of the icons of the National Park System. It’s showcased on Utah’s license plates, and a must-see for visitors to the park. But construction this year at the arch’s parking area could force you to put off your up-close-and-personal experience with Delicate Arch until another year, say park officials. Simply put, there just might not be enough space for you to park at the trailhead. Parking lots will be full most of the day, a notice on the park’s website says. “You can...

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Horace Kephart Days 2015

Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 @ 12:13 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Join in a celebration of the life and works of Horace Kephart — author, outdoorsman, and a founding father of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park — at The Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, NC on Friday & Saturday, May 14-15, 2015. Kephart wrote the classic study of Appalachian mountain culture (Our Southern Highlanders, 1913) and the encyclopedic guide to outdoor living (Camping and Woodcraft, 1906). Explore a living history demonstration of camping in the early 20th Century style. Saturday’s activities...

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Fontana Dam, North Carolina to be Designated as Newest Appalachian Trail Community™ on March 26

Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 @ 7:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Fontana Dam, North Carolina to be Designated as Newest Appalachian Trail Community™ on March 26

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club (SMHC), invite the public to attend the official designation of Fontana Dam, North Carolina, as the newest Appalachian Trail Community™. The ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 26, 2015, and is free and open to the public. The event will kick off at 11 a.m. with music from the Larry Barnett Duo, allowing attendees to meet and greet each other before the designation ceremony at noon. Following the ceremony, guests are welcome to visit the Mountview...

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Hiking the Great Wall of China, the wild and free way

Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 @ 7:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

We’re in Huairou, a rural district in the mountainous outlying regions of Beijing. It’s here, a two- or three-hour drive from downtown, that you’ll find some of the most spectacular sections of the Great Wall. For hikers across Beijing, the Great Wall is as functional as it is legendary. Thick, dry shrub covers the mountains here, and a trail with a view is a rare find. In contrast, the Great Wall is an elevated highway, although sometimes a disintegrating one. When the Freedom Team comes to the occasional cliff or eroded section, the hikers...

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The Cost of Clean Coal

Posted by on Mar 5, 2015 @ 9:16 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A Mississippi power plant promises to create clean energy from our dirtiest fuel. But it will come at a price. On December 14, 2006, Barbara Correro was at home drinking tea, reading the paper. She had spent the past five years and most of her savings on a long-cherished retirement dream: a small mobile home on 24 acres of pine and hardwood forest, a large organic garden, and a pack of friendly dogs in rural Kemper County, Miss. The acres once belonged to her grandmother, who kept cows and chickens, sold the hand-churned butter and eggs, and...

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The Forest Health Advisory System

Posted by on Mar 5, 2015 @ 9:03 am in Conservation | 0 comments

As our nation’s forests grow older and denser they are at greater risk of attack by pests, which can devastate some of more cherished national wildlands. Healthy forests not only provide a beautiful setting for our outdoor activities, they are at lower risk for catastrophic wild fires, and are more resilient to changes in climate and to insect and disease attack. To address myriad issues facing our nation’s aging landscapes, the U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Protection division recently developed the Forest Health Advisory System, a...

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Volunteers sought to adopt tree plot

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 @ 6:28 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Smokies rangers are looking for tree-lovers who want to try their hand at science to adopt a tree monitoring plot on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A training session will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Oconaluftee Visitor Center just north of Cherokee. Volunteers will take data throughout the growing season to help researchers answer questions like “was spring early this year?” or “when will the fall colors peak?” Volunteers will collect data on their assigned plots multiple...

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10 Things You Should Know About the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 @ 8:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

On March 3, 1925, roughly two dozen outdoor enthusiasts meeting at the Raleigh Hotel in Washington, D.C., formed an all-volunteer organization charged with building the Appalachian Trail. Though work at first proceeded only in fits and starts, the Trail eventually skyrocketed in popularity, attracting the attention of prominent politicians who protected it from development. Today, an estimated 2 to 3 million visitors walk on it each year, including a few hundred who finish the entire thing, an achievement known as a “thru-hike.” Ninety years...

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Meet The Three Hikers Who Saved A Woman’s Life

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 @ 7:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Saylor Guilliams is only alive today because last year she dyed her hair red. One afternoon last March, the 22-year-old was hiking a trail in Santa Barbara, California, with her friend Brenden Vega, also 22. Their inexperience showed: The terrain was more treacherous than they had planned for, and as it began to grow dark, they struggled to find a way back to their car. Then, Guilliams landed badly when jumping off a rock, fracturing her left leg. Things only got worse from there. Their cell phones were dead, and they hadn’t brought...

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Parks Looking For Youth Conservation Corps Applicants

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 @ 8:39 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Parks Looking For Youth Conservation Corps Applicants

High school students interested in spending their 2015 summer in a national park and gaining valuable skills have at least three parks to consider for jobs with the Youth Conservation Corps. Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and Joshua Tree National Park in California all are seeking applications for their YCC programs. At Shenandoah, YCC enrollees work to maintain park trails, roads, buildings and campgrounds while learning about the national parks. This year’s 8-week YCC program begins Monday,...

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A Documentary About China’s Smog Is Going Viral, And It’s Not Being Censored

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 @ 8:20 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Over the weekend in China, 175 million people — more than the entire population of Bangladesh — watched a newly released in-depth and well-produced documentary about the country’s debilitating smog problem. Produced by former Chinese news anchor and environmental reporter, Chai Jing, the 104-minute “Under the Dome” has caught the Chinese public at a moment of intense focus on the wide-ranging impacts of air pollution from coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions. In a country known for spiking any media that paints the government in a...

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More Than Just Parks | Joshua Tree

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 @ 8:45 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Jim and Will Pattiz are media professionals who have a passion for our national parks. Their More than Just Parks plan is to create short films for each of the 59 US National Parks to give people a completely unique viewing experience. They hope that this will encourage folks to get out there and have a one-of-a-kind experience of their own in our national parks. It is also their hope that these videos can help build a greater awareness for all of the breathtaking natural wonders protected by our national parks system. MTJP | Joshua Tree is...

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Tap into Sedona’s ‘energy’ with hikes, memorable dining

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 @ 8:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tap into Sedona’s ‘energy’ with hikes, memorable dining

Sedona has often been proclaimed the “most beautiful place in America.” The natural beauty of the tiny town — halfway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon — nearly escapes description. But, if you put a list together, surely picturesque canyons, rivers, red rock formations met by crimson-colored earth and azure skies paint the splendor of Sedona. Add to that “painting” the allure of the area that challenges mere descriptions: It is a feeling you get when arrive. This elusive, spiritual vibe might be called mystical or metaphysical, whether or...

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The joyous, muddy end of an epic Pacific Crest journey

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 @ 8:32 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A 17 percent chance turned into a sure thing Sunday, March 1st in a remote part of Southern California at the border with Mexico. That’s when Shawn “Pepper” Forry and Justin “Trauma” Lichter trudged up a muddy hillside during a desert downpour to reach the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. The two men had just completed what’s thought to be the first documented, wintertime through-hike of the iconic, 2,650-mile footpath from Canada to Mexico. “My heart is still racing,” said Forry,...

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“Unnatural” Deaths in Yellowstone National Park – And How to Avoid Them

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 @ 4:59 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Back in the early ‘90s, then Yellowstone National Park museum technician Lee Whittlesey had the killer idea to compile all the “unnatural” deaths—that is, those not caused by run-of-the-mill car accidents or heart attacks—that have occurred in Yellowstone through the years. There were enough to fill a book, and so Whittlesey’s fascinating Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park hit shelves in 1995. In 2014, Whittlesey released the second edition of the book, updated with more than 60 new tales of demise....

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Forty Years of Solitude

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 @ 10:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Steven Fuller is Yellowstone’s longest-serving winterkeeper. He might also be the park’s last. His photography portfolio will, however, remain a monument to one of the world’s most unique jobs and also to Yellowstone itself. “Most snow in our contemporary world is plowed, piled, fouled, and messed with as it falls or soon thereafter,” Fuller says. “Here in Yellowstone, I have the great pleasure of enjoying snow as the gods made it and as they intended that we should marvel at the perfection of their creation.” In Steven...

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Jerk Street Artist Defaced Joshua Tree National Park

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 @ 8:54 am in Conservation | 2 comments

After Casey Nocket traveled throughout the West to deface several national parks last year, a notable European street artist has been caught tagging Joshua Tree National Park. André Saraiva, better known as just André, posted a photo to his Instagram account showing him having tagged a boulder with the ‘eyes’ of his trademark “Mr A” stick figure character. His photos revealed he was enjoying a trip in the park. On Instagram, André replied, “This mr was made with love at friends privet back yard and not in your...

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Swannanoa Valley Museum launches 2015 Rim Hike series

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 @ 8:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Swannanoa Valley Museum launches 2015 Rim Hike series

Beginning in March, the Swannanoa Valley Museum will launch the sixth year of its Rim Hike Series, which features 11 hikes across the ridges and peaks surrounding the Swannanoa River valley in North Carolina. The series sprang from museum founder Harriet Styles‘ popular wildflower hikes along many of these same paths. After Styles passed away, the museum decided to continue the tradition and expand it to include various portions of the rim surrounding Swannanoa, Black Mountain, Ridgecrest and Montreat. “It was a way to remember and...

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Hiking New Zealand’s Lake Waikaremoana

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 @ 8:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Anyone who has trekked in New Zealand truly understands that this beautiful, rugged country offers several opportunities to explore a fantasy realm. The nine Great Walks – designated inconic hikes in New Zealand – feature an unparalleled diversity of color that highlights the unique landscape and sets your imagination adrift; it’s like actually living a work of fiction. One of those nine is the four-day, 46-kilometer (28.5-mile) Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, where you can do a little trout fishing and take in the sights along this enormous...

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Interview with the two guys that are nearing then end of a remarkable winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail

Posted by on Feb 28, 2015 @ 11:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry are 180 miles from the Mexican border and the completion of their remarkable winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. They started in October 2014 and have been snowshoeing, skiing and hiking ever since. Journeys on the PCT are remarkably personal. The trail is truly a place to see what makes you tick, from physical to emotional to spiritual. Trauma and Pepper (the duo’s trail names) are longtime PCT hikers and wonderful ambassadors, showing the way for how to use, advocate for and love the Pacific Crest...

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Hiking Safety Tips – What to do when you see a wild hog?

Posted by on Feb 28, 2015 @ 8:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Invasive hogs can be aggressive, especially when defending their young. They may weigh up to 300 lbs, have sharp tusks, and can charge very quickly. Be alert! Know the signs and tracks of hogs and avoid heavily used areas, especially at dusk or dawn when hogs are most active. Avoid water sources that have been used by invasive hogs – humans can contract multiple diseases from water sources contaminated by hogs and their feces. Hogs will generally try to avoid contact with humans, but may become aggressive if surprised, especially if piglets...

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New Browns Canyon National Monument Highlights Recreational, Ecological and Historical Importance

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 @ 9:00 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Our National Forests contain countless special areas – landscapes with awesome vistas, habitat for key wildlife species, areas with boundless recreation opportunities, and grounds that hold important historic artifacts. Last week, President Obama recognized a part of our National Forest System that has all of these attributes and more when he designated Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado. Situated two and a half hours southwest of Denver, in the Arkansas River Valley, Browns Canyon is perhaps best known for its whitewater rafting and...

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The seven hardest day hikes on the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 @ 12:05 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The seven hardest day hikes on the Appalachian Trail

When you picture the mountains that span the Appalachian Trail, what comes to mind? Massive, majestic, daunting peaks? Likely not—and you’d be right. It is for this reason that the uninitiated confuse the 2,189 miles that make up the United States’ original long trail as easy hiking. Some of it is. Most of it, however, is excruciatingly difficult. In fact, of the three long trails in the United States (the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Appalachian Trail), the AT offers the most elevation change on average. Compare some of...

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The Siberian crater saga is more widespread — and scarier — than anyone thought

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 @ 11:39 am in Conservation | 0 comments

In the middle of last summer came news of a bizarre occurrence no one could explain. Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive crater appeared in one of the planet’s most inhospitable lands. Early estimates said the crater, nestled in a land called “the ends of the Earth” where temperatures can sink far below zero, yawned nearly 100 feet in diameter. The saga deepened. The Siberian crater wasn’t alone. There were two more, ratcheting up the tension in a drama that hit its climax as a probable explanation surfaced. Global warming had thawed the...

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Duke Energy pays for dodging coal ash problems

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 @ 11:23 am in Conservation | 0 comments

After Duke Energy reached a plea agreement over its mishandling of coal ash that spilled into the Dan River, Duke CEO Lynn Good said in a statement, “We are accountable for what happened at Dan River and have learned from this event.” What Duke Energy has learned is that it’s expensive to be cheap. The giant utility put off the cost of properly storing the millions of tons of coal ash its coal-burning plants produce. The result was regular leakage at most of Duke Energy’s storage sites at 14 power plants in North...

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The joy of trekking became a book of hikes around the globe

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 @ 8:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Authors Robert and Martha Manning have produced a masterful work in “Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People,” a large format, full-color treasure trove of dream hikes from around the globe. As the subtitle of the book suggests, each of the 30 treks described are indeed extraordinary hikes for ordinary people – super hiker status not required. Amazing scenery, interesting history and rich culture are the rewards for those who follow these very doable pathways. “The trails we describe in this book are well marked and well...

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National Park Service Map Shows The Loudest, Quietest Places In the U.S.

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 @ 8:56 am in Conservation | 0 comments

There’s a new map created by the National Park Service’s (NPS) Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division that shows where the country’s loudest—and quietest—places are located. Not surprisingly, the loudest spots are clustered around cities, while the quietest are relatively wild–but the map also shows that even some rural locations have fallen victim to sound pollution. The map represents 1.5 million hours of sound data from 546 park sites around the country. After recording sound levels at the sites using sound meter gauges,...

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