News

House Moves On Bills That Would Allow States To Seize Millions Of Acres Of Public Lands

Posted by on Feb 24, 2016 @ 4:19 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Less than two weeks after the arrest of Cliven Bundy and the armed militants who were occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider three bills that would dispose of vast stretches of national forests and other public lands across the country. The bills, which will be heard in a meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee on February 24, 2016, represent an escalation of the political battle being waged by the Koch brothers’ political network, anti-government extremist groups,...

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Uniting the Bay: Trails Are Creating Healthy Communities in California

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 @ 12:47 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area have long supported development of trails and greenways throughout the immense and influential nine-county region. This local, grassroots activism has led to creation of some of the best regional trails in the country and positioned the Bay Area as a leader in the trails movement. Despite the tremendous popularity of trails, there are still major gaps in the area’s trail system, due to fierce competition for transportation and park funding, barriers in the built environment and a lack of attention to...

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Help the hellbenders: Don’t move the rocks

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 @ 3:17 am in Conservation | 1 comment

Even though spring is a month away, any warm ray of winter sunshine will get people out and about in the woods and streams, skipping stones and kicking up rocks. But the U.S. Forest Service in Asheville is advising visitors to enjoy the river resources, just leave them as you find them – especially the rocks. Rocks aren’t in rivers just for looking pretty or providing a step bridge across the stream for humans, they serve as vital habitat for many aquatic species, most notably the ancient and odd-looking hellbender salamander. The...

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Looting shuts down parts of Joshua Tree National Park

Posted by on Feb 22, 2016 @ 9:30 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Two areas of Joshua Tree National Park noted for their mining artifacts have been closed indefinitely because of looting, according to the park’s superintendent. The areas include Carey’s Castle and El Sid Mine, in the Eagle Mountains range in the southeast area of the park. The areas will be closed “at least for a month” until cultural artifact teams can inventory and record the areas, and while the park devises an enforcement and surveillance strategy, park Supt. David Smith said. “We had some looting at El Sid...

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Trekking Bali’s three peaks proves the paradise island has more to offer than just beaches

Posted by on Feb 22, 2016 @ 8:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Bali’s trekking trails have long played second fiddle to the island’s renowned beaches and surf breaks, but they’re slowly starting to wrestle a share of tourist attention. Located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, Bali is home to several dormant and active volcanoes, many of which can be scaled on day hikes; particularly energetic visitors can opt to combine two or more, with the help of a local guide and driver. Agung, Batur and Abang are all conveniently situated in the central and eastern region of the island and are no more than a couple of...

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AmeriCorps team discovers pleasure and peril building trails at Casa Grande Mountain

Posted by on Feb 21, 2016 @ 8:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

AmeriCorps team discovers pleasure and peril building trails at Casa Grande Mountain

They’ve encountered scorpions, lizards and the perils of navigating around the abundant cacti that dot Arizona’s Casa Grande Mountain landscape, but a team of 11 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps volunteers say they’re enjoying building a new trail in the city’s most popular hiking park. “Every time we take a break, we sit down and stare across the desert. It’s absolutely beautiful,” said team member Forrest Potter. The AmeriCorps team arrived in Casa Grande in mid-January and will remain through this month. During their...

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Full-moon hike in Charlestown, KY park February 20

Posted by on Feb 20, 2016 @ 8:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Once a month Jeremy Beavin leads Kentucky hikers along one of Charlestown State Park’s six trails by the light of the full moon – and maybe a red-tinted flashlight. The hikes have become more popular over the four years the park has offered them. “On average we’ll have about 30 people on each one,” said Beavin, an interpretive naturalist at the state park. “I’ve had 100 on Halloween and in June, the first warm month.” Hikes in December and January were canceled, but the forecast is favorable for the Saturday, Feb. 20th hike on Trail 2...

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Here’s Some Other Big News From Apple You Probably Missed

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 @ 7:51 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Here’s Some Other Big News From Apple You Probably Missed

Amid the hullabaloo surrounding Apple’s decision to oppose a court order to help the FBI glean data from iPhones belonging to the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists, you may have missed another big announcement from the company. Apple issued a package of bonds worth $1.5 billion for projects related to clean energy, the largest “green bond” ever issued by a corporation. The Cupertino, California-based tech giant said proceeds from the green bond sales will be used to finance renewable energy, energy storage and energy...

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Solar power from big box store roofs could power seven million homes

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 @ 2:37 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Sometimes the answers to big problems are staring you right in the face. Solar energy is expanding rapidly across the United States – increasing more than 100-fold over the past decade. But, there are still many untapped opportunities to harness the nation’s nearly limitless solar potential. The United States has the technical potential to produce more than 100 times as much electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) installations as the nation consumes each year. Given our abundant solar resources, America...

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Arizona hike: Y Bar is a strenuous challenge

Posted by on Feb 18, 2016 @ 8:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Although tame in comparison to some other notoriously arduous Arizona hiking trails, Y Bar has several opportunities to pause for thought. The trail is steep, rocky and requires traversing of talus slopes and narrow, cliff-clinging turns with deep drop-offs. On days when it’s clear of obstacles, this challenging trail in the Mazatzal Wilderness is achievable by most well-conditioned, adequately equipped hikers. The reward is expansive views of the Mogollon Rim. Do not underestimate the slowing power of constant elevation gain and...

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National Park Service Certifies 2015 Visitation at 307 Million

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 @ 3:20 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

President Theodore Roosevelt was reelected in 1904, the same year rangers started counting national park visitors. There were more than 120,000 visits to America’s 11 national parks in the first year of counting. This week, the National Park Service (NPS) certified 2015 national park visitation at more than 307 million. It also released its popular Top 10 list of the most visited national park sites. “The popularity of national parks is well known, but last year’s numbers really are extraordinary,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan...

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8 Life Lessons You Can Learn After Taking Up Hiking

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 @ 8:19 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

by Kaitlin Wylde Growing up in a woodsy suburb, I always felt like I was more of an indoor kid. I wasn’t particularly athletic, I was scared of the woods, allergic to most plants, and sneezed in the sun. While the other kids were trekking through the forests, playing hide and seek, collecting pet rocks, skinning their knees and looking for Big Foot, I was inside. I much preferred to play in the world of Super Mario from the safety of my living room. I wanted to be a part of my surroundings and I wanted to lay in the grass, weave flower...

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Walking and talking in Nova Scotia, a small province with sweeping vistas and welcoming locals

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 @ 8:32 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

When you tell people you’re going to Nova Scotia to hike, many seemed mystified. The province is not very big, and their mental picture may be of a placid landscape on a peninsula better known for high tides than high hills. Mental pictures may come from a vibrant art exhibit by a Canadian cohort of painters known as the Group of Seven, whose works featured dramatic wilderness scenes in vivid colors. Nova Scotia turns out to offer a stunning variety of walks, featuring huge, sweeping views. These meanders come with an unexpected bonus —...

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Fiery Gizzard reroute continues, volunteers needed

Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 @ 9:07 pm in Hiking News | 1 comment

Despite the wet, cold weather, work is steadily moving forward to reroute the Fiery Gizzard Trail on the Cumberland Plateau, but crews need some helping hands. The Friends of South Cumberland State Park just received a $2,000 Tennessee Trails Association grant that will pay for a heaving-lifting system. Park rangers will use the system to move large rocks, bridge lumber and other trail-building materials on the treacherous, steep terrain of the Southern Cumberland Plateau in Grundy County, Tenn. The 13-mile Fiery Gizzard Trail, part of South...

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Hiking near the waterfalls of Marin County’s Cataract Trail

Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 @ 8:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The sound of rushing water floods your ears even before Cataract Creek is fully in view, descending the northern flank of Mount Tamalpais, California amid a riot of boulders, lush moss, graceful ferns and arching trees. Prepare to be amazed by this magical place, where each step along the trail reveals some new variation on the blend of rocks and water responsible for a mile-and-a-half-long series of cascades known collectively as Cataract Falls. Like coastal creeks around the North Coast that have been replenished by regular rainfall this...

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Loving the Wilderness to Death

Posted by on Feb 14, 2016 @ 8:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Loving the Wilderness to Death

Now a research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, stationed at Virginia Tech, Jeff Marion’s specialty is Recreation Ecology, meaning he studies visitor impact to protected natural areas and consults with land managers to make visitation sustainable. By his account, he is one of four such scientists actively conducting research in the U.S., and he has mentored most of his colleagues. The research studies that Jeff and his graduate students undertake are driven by one central question: Are we loving our parks and wildernesses to death?...

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The Pattiz Brothers are at it again – This time in Zion

Posted by on Feb 14, 2016 @ 5:59 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Two brothers spent more than three weeks in Zion National Park to put together a 4-minute video that shows some of the park’s many vistas. Filmmakers Jim and Will Pattiz, who are from outside Atlanta, spent 24 days in the park and shot footage at 16 different sites. The stunning video is part of a project they started called More Than Just Parks, an attempt to draw awareness to the country’s national parks. The Zion video is the sixth in their series. Meanderthals has featured them in the past. “Zion is one of the most...

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Pacolet Area Conservancy fund raising walk and trail run

Posted by on Feb 13, 2016 @ 7:57 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Pacolet Area Conservancy fund raising walk and trail run

Celebrate Earth Day, April 23, 2016 with these two “feel-good” Springtime Fundraising Events at Tryon Estates that will help Pacolet Area Conservancy preserve more of our mountains, farms, forests, waterways & greenspaces! 5K PACRun begins at 8:00 a.m., 7 – 7:45 a.m. Onsite Registration, or pre-register online at: strictlyrunning.com PACWalk, suitable for everyone with three levels, begins at 10:00 a.m. PACWalk is a pet friendly event. 1) PACWalk – 2 mile walk/jog around the lake & through the woods, some gentle hills 2) The Sam...

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Obama designates new national monuments in the California desert

Posted by on Feb 13, 2016 @ 2:24 am in Conservation | 0 comments

President Obama has set aside more of America’s lands and waters for conservation protection than any of his predecessors, and he is preparing to do even more before he leaves office next year. The result may be one of the most expansive environmental and historic-preservation legacies in presidential history. On Friday, February 12, 2016 Obama designated more than 1.8 million acres of California desert for protection with the creation of three national monuments: Castle Mountains, Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow. The new monuments will...

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Road to recovery begins in Porter Ranch as gas leak is halted at last

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 @ 10:30 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Nearly four months of environmental contamination and civic disruption in Porter Ranch, California came close to an end February 11, 2016 when work crews pierced the underground casing of the damaged Aliso Canyon gas well and started injecting it with a mud-like compound. “The well is no longer leaking,” said Jimmie Cho, senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity for Southern California Gas Co. The final step is for concrete to be pumped into the well, a process that has begun, and for state regulatory officials...

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Historical Trails, Cherokees, and the Civil War

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 @ 5:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

At Wild South, a large part of the Cultural Heritage department’s work is focused on researching and mapping historical trails on public lands. These trails tie us to the past, illustrating how ways of life have changed over time. Many trails and roads are directly connected to the history of the United States. For example, travel ways leading from western North Carolina to eastern Tennessee were regularly used during the Civil War. Most of the early roads that were used by Civil War troops were based on the ancient Cherokee trail system that...

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The Koch Brothers Are Now Funding The Bundy Land Seizure Agenda

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 @ 1:02 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The political network of the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch signaled last week that it is expanding its financial and organizational support for a coalition of anti-government activists and militants who are working to seize and sell America’s national forests, monuments, and other public lands. The disclosure, made through emails sent by the American Lands Council and Koch-backed group Federalism in Action to their members, comes as the 40-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is winding to an...

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Vistas of NC: Who Owns the View?

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:07 am in Conservation | 0 comments

On an average morning thousands of North Carolinians wake up to the sight of a dusting of snow on area mountaintops. And while individuals can own much of the land, the state’s 25 land conservancies are working to protect the views for everyone to enjoy. They’re guided by the principle advocated by Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote “None of us owns the landscape,” in his essay “Nature.” Pam Torlina, director of stewardship and land protection with the Pacolet Area Conservancy, says everyone owns the view. “They...

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Prescribed Burn Planned for Grandfather Ranger District Today

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 @ 9:36 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a 120-acre prescribed burn in the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, on Thursday, February 11, 2016. The agency will conduct the one-day burn near the Woodlawn Township, north of Marion, NC along the Clinchfield Railroad. The objective of the burn is fuel reduction. The Forest Service is conducting the burn as part of the Grandfather Restoration Project, a 10-year project designed to restore 40,000 acres of the Grandfather Ranger District. The project is restoring fire-adapted...

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A Hiking Map That’s Got Heart

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 @ 9:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Some lovers write their names in the sand at the beach, capping the eternal gesture with a giant heart drawn around both monikers. (“Eternal” in spirit, of course; when the tide arrives those names will become one with the sea.) Some lovers make heart patterns on grassy hillsides, symbolic gestures writ large courtesy of autumn leaves or the petals of wildflowers. And some, on rare occasion, go the skywriting route, the better to tell one and all of their abiding amour. But lovers ready for quite a “strenuous” hike, of...

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Hiking the Ghostly Tracks of Forgotten Trains

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 @ 8:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Los Angeles used to be covered in train tracks. Their phantom switches, markers, rails, and ties tell stories of travel and transport, history and happenings, and the growth of Southern California, outwards and upwards. But in this age of adaptive reuse, we’re increasingly converting land once dedicated to industrial purposes into parks, bike paths, and hiking trails. Balloonist Thaddeus Lowe was quite a character, and made Mount Lowe quite the destination during the “golden age of hiking.” But if you had money, instead of...

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Duke Energy Fined $6.6 Million For Massive Coal Waste Spill

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 @ 4:57 am in Conservation | 0 comments

North Carolina environmental regulators fined Duke Energy $6.6 million this week for the company’s role in a 2014 coal ash spill that sent millions of gallons of contaminated water into the state’s Dan River. If you ask me, that isn’t nearly enough when you consider one study from 2015 estimated the ecological, recreational, aesthetic, and human health damages from the spill totaled $295,485,000. And that study looked at only the first six months after the spill, meaning the total damage could end up being higher. The fine covers...

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Project to improve access to highest peak in Shenandoah National Park

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 @ 9:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Project to improve access to highest peak in Shenandoah National Park

The highest peak in Shenandoah National Park is on track for some springtime TLC as part of a nationwide flurry of projects marking a centennial celebration. The summit at Hawksbill Mountain – and its panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley – is among the park’s most popular attractions. The National Park Service and a local philanthropic partner will invest $120,000 to improve the historic observation point and access to Hawksbill Mountain, elevation 4,050 feet. The initiative is part of the Centennial Challenge projects...

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Artist-in-Residence at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 @ 8:45 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Artists have long had an impact on our perceptions of national parks. Dramatic photographs, paintings, and essays helped stimulate the establishment of many park sites and continue to foster an appreciation of them today. Artists interpret the American landscape using traditional and contemporary approaches. They share the national park experience in ways that bring enjoyment, appreciation and a sense of connection to special places that many people may not have an opportunity to visit. The Artist-in-Residence program offers an opportunity...

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200-year-old AT landmark falls in Michaux forest

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 @ 11:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A landmark on the Appalachian Trail has crumbled. The stone wall of a barn built around 1800 came down last week, according to Roy Brubaker, district forester of Michaux State Forest. Known, probably incorrectly, as the “Hessian barn” – the three-story wall was a well-known curiosity for hikers on the Maine-to-Georgia trail. The site is located on Michaux Road in Cooke Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. It is not known when the barn burned, according to Rob Schwartz of the Cumberland County Historical Society. It’s been in ruins...

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25 New Projects Getting More Kids & Adults Active In National Parks

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 @ 11:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

25 New Projects Getting More Kids & Adults Active In National Parks

More than two dozen new projects at national parks across the country will give kids and adults the opportunity to participate in recreation and exercise programs thanks to 25 Active Trails grants from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. “From Zumba and yoga, to paddling along the seashore, to guided hikes for veterans, our national parks are places for healthy living, wellness, fun, and healing,” said Susan Newton, senior vice president of grants & programs at the National...

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Trekking through Grenada’s paradise island

Posted by on Feb 7, 2016 @ 9:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The people of Grenada all seem to have spirited gifts. Maybe it stems from the love they feel for their country and the relaxed laid-back lifestyles they share. The paradisiacal island is located in the Eastern Caribbean, just 100 miles north of Venezuela. It boasts 440 picturesque square kilometres, one sixth of which is preserved as parks and natural wildlife sanctuaries. As well as being the island’s central focal point, Grand Etang National Park is home to a 13-acre lake in a volcanic crater 1,740 feet above sea level. It also has...

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North Dakota’s Contributions to Our National Parks’ 2016 Centennial

Posted by on Feb 7, 2016 @ 9:37 am in Conservation | 0 comments

I needn’t tell you North Dakota is not the first place people consider when asked about national parks. Far from it. Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon—these are the places most people picture when questioned by friends and coworkers about memorable places and bucket list destinations. Who could fault them? Americans and people worldwide are flooded with photographs of these and other of the United States’ most cherished lands and places of shared heritage. To care for these places, Congress in 1916 created the National Park Service, one...

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Hiking community fights to save popular North Sound trail from logging

Posted by on Feb 6, 2016 @ 9:06 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Near Seattle, WA, one of the North Sound’s most popular and scenic hiking trails is in danger of being logged. Unless the state can allocate $7.5 million, the 100-year-old trees that cover Oyster Dome — between Mount Vernon and Bellingham – will be cut down by the Department of Natural Resources. Craig Romano tackles the popular hike off Highway 11 on a pretty regular basis. The guide book author has hiked 18,000 miles of Washington trails and says Oyster Dome’s six-plus miles are some of the very best. “It is the only place...

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