A massive Canadian fossil trove reminds us how fleeting life on Earth can be — and how much peril we’re in

We ascend a sheer mountainside in the Canadian Rockies. Our destination, high on the cliff face, is a jumble of 510-million-year-old rocks known as the Burgess Shale. Formed during the middle part of the Cambrian period, the shale boasts tens of thousands of perfectly preserved fossils from the dawn of the animal kingdom. Many were soft-bodied organisms whose existence...

Learn More

Critical Wildlife Corridor in WNC State Natural Area Protected

In 2019, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) completed the purchase of an assemblage of properties in the Cane Creek Mountains totaling 456 acres, to permanently protect an important ridgeline corridor through the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area. SAHC’s acquisition of the land protects habitat for rare plants and animals, clean water sources and scenic...

Learn More

Conservation and Affordable Housing Fit Together at Little White Oak Mountain

What’s the opposite of saving land? For some people, what comes to mind is a housing development: the felled forests, bulldozers scraping over raw dirt, roads and buildings replacing trees. That seemed likely to happen at Little White Oak Mountain, in Polk County, near Columbus, NC. Not long ago, the mountain was slated for an upscale development of over 700 houses....

Learn More

‘Monumental’ NSW bushfires have burnt 20% of Blue Mountains world heritage area

More than 10% of the area covered by New South Wales national parks has been burned in this season’s bushfires, including 20% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area, state government data obtained by Guardian Australia has revealed. The amount of bushland destroyed within NSW national parks dwarfs that of the entire previous fire season, when 80,000 hectares were...

Learn More

A pipeline runs through it

The pink ribbons start in northern West Virginia. Tied to flimsy wooden posts stuck a few inches into the earth, they’re easy to miss as they whip in the crisp, fall wind. Heading south, they dot landscapes for 600 miles, marking the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. They pass over cave systems and watersheds, climb up and down densely forested Appalachian...

Learn More

Exxon knew — and so did coal

“Exxon knew.” Thanks to the work of activists and journalists, those two words have rocked the politics of climate change in recent years, as investigations revealed the extent to which giants like ExxonMobil and Shell were aware of the danger of rising greenhouse gas emissions even as they undermined the work of scientists. But the coal industry knew, too — as early as...

Learn More

Hikers united by lost hat connect over healing power of outdoors

Two men say a chance encounter on Mount St. Helens has given them a renewed perspective about the healing power of hitting the trails. Scott Brown made a post on a hiking Facebook page Friday hoping to return someone’s hat. The post said, “did you or your friend get hurt on Helens on Thanksgiving? I found your hat!!” Brown had no idea how special the hat was when...

Learn More

British Army Veteran Becomes First Double Above-Knee Amputee To Climb Kilimanjaro

  A British Army veteran who lost most of both his legs in an incident in Afghanistan recently became the first double above-knee amputee to make it to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro. James Rose was on a tour of Helmand Province with the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in 2009 when he stood on the pressure plate of an improvised...

Learn More

6 Trails with the Worst Weather—And Why You Should Go Anyway

You may want to plan your next hike for a warm, sunny day—but where’s the adventure in that? Besides, the most memorable hikes are rarely the picture-perfect ones. If you want real solitude, and a raw, visceral experience in nature, go where everyone else refuses. These six weather-beaten, heat-blasted, totally untamed trails are the perfect place to get started. A word...

Learn More

Winter Middle Tennessee hikes offer stark beauty and some good exercise too

Lots of people think the primo Middle Tennessee hiking is in the fall with all of the color of the changing leaves. Or maybe in the spring when the trees are starting to leaf out with their new growth. But there is a lot to be said for a winter hike too, according to state naturalist Randy Hedgepath, who says winter walks can offer some stark beauty and a few other...

Learn More

A Nighttime Walk to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

To celebrate the winter solstice – the longest night of the year – a nighttime walk to Hooker Falls will be hosted by Conserving Carolina on Saturday, December 21, 2019 in DuPont State Recreational Forest, at 7 p.m. Meet at the Hooker Falls parking lot on DuPont/Staton Road in DuPont State Recreational Forest. There is no charge for this event and it is open to the...

Learn More

UN calls for push to cut greenhouse gas levels to avoid climate chaos

Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases in the next decade to avoid climate chaos, the United Nations has warned, as it emerged that emissions hit a new high last year. Carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, also accounting for deforestation, rose to more than 55 gigatonnes, and have risen on average by 1.5% a year for the past...

Learn More

Hiking the Sandias in central New Mexico

From climbing massive mountains then skiing down them up north, to desert backpacking and rock climbing down south, there are outdoor activities year-round in New Mexico. For many students at the University of New Mexico, these outdoor activities are popular, but it is not always necessary to take a three-hour drive to have a good time outside. Exploding 5,000 feet above...

Learn More

The Problems with the BLM Moving to the West

On November 12, 2019, more than 300 employees at the Bureau of Land Management’s Washington, D.C., headquarters received letters saying they had 30 days to decide whether to move to Grand Junction, Colorado, or other regional offices—and then 90 more to pack up and go. This was part of a plan, announced in July by Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, to move...

Learn More

Smokies rangers will patrol Mexican border, arrest migrants

The Trump administration has ordered rangers from national parks around the country to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration and drug traffickers. The directive has seen park rangers from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and Zion National...

Learn More

A Complete Guide to Grand Canyon Hiking: The Best Tours, Trails, and Tips

Hiking in Grand Canyon National Park isn’t for the faint of heart (or weak of quads). The canyon is a vast, desert landscape, full of cliffs, steep drops, and loose, rocky earth. Weather is a mixed bag that can range from intense heat to severe thunderstorms, depending on the season and which part of the canyon you choose to explore. “There is no easy trail in the Grand...

Learn More

Wildlife refuges suffer under budget cuts and staff shortages

The National Wildlife Refuge System, a branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, protects more than 850 million acres of land and water. From the marshy Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida to arid landscapes like the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada, the Refuge System is home to nearly every species of bird, fish, reptile and...

Learn More

Smokies outdoor education center turns 50, plans expansion

As it nears the end of its 50th anniversary year, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont has its eyes set on the half-century to come. Within five years, the nonprofit aims to build out a second campus to supplement its existing facilities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Walker Valley. “It’s a big project and we don’t want to rush it,” said Caleb...

Learn More

Easy Ways to Break in New Hiking Boots

You’ve got plans for a big hike—a multi-day backpacking trip or a long day hike to a high point—but your suitable footwear is either worn out or nonexistent. Here’s what not to do: buy brand-new hiking boots right before your outing, ensuring you have no time to wear them before you start trekking up a mountain. That almost guarantees trip-ruining foot problems like...

Learn More

Evidence of Many Varieties of Economic Benefits Linked to Trails

Trails and greenways impact our economy through tourism, events, urban redevelopment, community improvement, property values, health care costs, jobs and investment, and general consumer spending. Americans do spend a great deal on outdoor recreation. A 2006 Outdoor Industry Foundation study found that “Active Outdoor Recreation” contributes $887 billion annually to the...

Learn More

Panthertown Valley in Nantahala National Forest selected for recreation impact intervention

Panthertown Valley is one of 14 locations nationwide to be selected as a 2020 Leave No Trace Hot Spot. Hot Spots identify areas suffering from severe recreational impacts that can thrive again with Leave No Trace solutions. Each location receives a unique, site-specific blend of programs aimed at healthy and sustainable recovery. Since 2012, Leave No Trace has carried...

Learn More

Coastal Forests Face Rising Sea Levels, Increased Salinity

Ghost forests aren’t some spooky legend. They’re patches of dead and dying trees that haunt the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia where sea levels are rising and land is sinking. USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service scientists are working with partners across the coastal plain to understand where these watery graveyards...

Learn More

Explore the great outdoors by hiking

Why not get outside and take a hike this Sunday on National Take a Hike Day? Your mental and physical health might depend on it. If you knew that nature could make you happier, healthier, and more creative, would you make more of an effort to spend time outdoors? In her book, “The Nature Fix,” Florence Williams shows that nature does in fact make us happier, healthier,...

Learn More

The Best Day Hiking Near Seattle

Within an hour or two of downtown Seattle, you can be in desolate wilderness, hiking through evergreen forests with views of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic range. The Seattle, WA area is full of great hikes, but some of them are more well-known and crowded than others. The hike up Mount Si is hardly a secret. You can find half of Seattle here on sunny...

Learn More

Get big views of downtown Phoenix on this less-used South Mountain hiking trail

South Mountain cuts an impressive profile in the skyline south of downtown Phoenix. The “mountain” isn’t a singular massif as the name implies, but a conglomerate of three parallel ranges that sit within the park boundaries and dovetail in a way that creates a fascinating environment of canyons, washes and rugged pinnacles. Over 50 miles of trails explore the park’s...

Learn More

Ghost Ranch provides a prime fall hiking destination

Scenes from more than two dozen films and television specials have been shot here, and it’s no wonder why. Taking in the majestic views while traversing the expansive ranch in the high desert of New Mexico, visitors feel immersed in a cinematic Wild West setting. The Ghost Ranch offers multiple trails that guide hikers along the area’s brilliant red, white and...

Learn More

How Egypt’s Red Sea Mountain Trail set new tracks into the wild

Finding a way to experience a country away from other groups of tourists is a challenge in 2019. It doesn’t take long for once underexplored areas to become popular as the word gets out. A surge in interest in long distance trails has seen long-established hikes such as Spain’s Camino de Santiago and even parts of the vast Appalachian Trail in the United...

Learn More

New Orleans veteran becomes first African American male to earn hiking’s Triple Crown

The Triple Crown is a fabled summit in sports, a seemingly impossible trio of wins in horse racing and an even more impressive collection of batting stats in baseball, but when it comes to hiking, few people have ever achieved that summit, known as the Triple Crown. “There are less than 450 Triple Crown hikers. More people have gone into space, more people have climbed...

Learn More

Taking a hike has many implications

The phrase “Take a Hike” no longer carries the same connotation as it did when you were young and your older siblings just wanted you to make a quick, and extensive, exit. It was defined simply as: buzz off. Today, that hiking expression more often means you have received an open invitation to explore a park, discover what is around the next bend, work on your cardio...

Learn More

All National Parks Are Free on Monday, Nov. 11 (For the Last Time in 2019)

Consider it your free national parks pass: On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 all national parks across the nation will be free to enter. Every Park Service site that usually charges an entrance fee will offer free admission to all visitors as part of NPS’ Free Day program. This last free National Parks day of 2019 also marks Veterans Day. In addition to the role national parks...

Learn More

WiFi, Amazon and food trucks: Trump team’s vision for national parks

  A team of Trump administration advisers – consisting mostly of appointees from the private industry – are urging “modernization” of national park campgrounds, with a vision of food trucks, WiFi and even Amazon deliveries. “Our recommendations would allow people to opt for additional costs if they want, for example, Amazon deliveries at a particular campsite,”...

Learn More

Here’s the top reason unprepared hikers need to be rescued

  A hiker found herself in the dark, alone and lost for a second night in a row. She lacked a basic, fairly cheap piece of equipment: a headlamp. The night before, New York forest rangers found her in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks after she called 911, escorted her out and gave her some friendly advice: A headlamp would have saved her — and the...

Learn More