Federal money coming to WNC public lands

Public lands in Western North Carolina are set to get a chunk of the $9.5 billion approved for deferred maintenance projects with the ratification of the Great American Outdoors Act. The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service both released project lists last week. Hailed as the largest single investment in public lands in the nation’s history, the bipartisan act...

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The UK will get more national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Some of the UK’s most breathtaking landscapes will be turned into national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to help protect the country’s rich biodiversity, the government has announced. As part of their 25-year Environment Plan, the project is expected to restore the equivalent of 30,000 football pitches into wildlife-rich habitats, clean...

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DPS Crew Discovers Mysterious Monolith From Air In Remote Utah Wilderness

The Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter was assisting Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officers counting bighorn sheep when the crew spotted something mysterious from above. “One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” said pilot Bret Hutchings. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn...

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Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina

Announcing Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina, the only organization dedicated to the state’s resplendent falling water. Waterfalls are among the few natural wonders that excite all five of our senses at once. We feel the spray against our skin. We hear the calming sound of the falling water. We smell and taste the moisture in the air. And, of course, we see the sublime...

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Guide to 2020 Holiday Sales on Outdoor Gear

Whether you’re shopping for others or yourself, these sales are the best opportunities to save big on gear this year. Holiday sales are a great opportunity to snag gifts for your loved ones—not to mention gear for yourself—but it can be hard to know where to look. To streamline the shopping process for you this year, Outside Magazine has compiled a list of bomber...

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Microplastics found at the highest point on Earth as the glaciers around Mount Everest’s death zone melt

Microplastics are one of the most harmful side effects of humans using the planet, and they’re increasingly being found in hard to reach planes. After being detected in the deepest point on the Earth, the Marina Tech, microplastics have now been found near the Earth’s highest point — the death zone of Mount Everest. It’s called the ‘death...

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Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail soon to open to the public

The long-anticipated opening of the Blue Ridge Tunnel trail will soon be a reality. The roughly 2.25-mile trail is scheduled to open to pedestrians and bicyclists Saturday November 21. A portion of the trail runs through a railroad tunnel that was constructed between 1850 to 1858, which was led by engineer Claudius Crozet. At a distance of nearly 1 mile, it was the...

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Popular hiking guide “100 Favorite Trails” updated for the first time in over two decades

100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and the Carolina Blue Ridge, an essential guide for avid hikers, has been updated for the first time in 25 years. The guide features a full-color map printed on waterproof paper for hikers to keep track of trails. 27 of the trails featured in the guide are found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Originally created in 1966 by...

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Conserving Carolina reaches deal to buy rail line for Ecusta Trail

Hendersonville, NC-based land conservancy Conserving Carolina has reached an agreement to buy the railroad line from Hendersonville to Brevard, marking a major leap forward in plans for the 19-mile Ecusta Trail. In a move that was crucial, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday authorized a $7 million bridge loan that will make the sale possible....

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What’s That Cloud? Your Guide to Cloudspotting

Clouds are grouped into 10 different genera, organized based on shape and the altitude where they’re found. The genera names are all formed from the same five latin terms — cirro, cumulo, strato, nimbo, alto — which are mixed and matched to create names like cumulonimbus, cirrostratus, cirrocumuus…. you get the idea. Learning what each of these Latin roots means is key...

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Two Kansas trails receive national designations

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Flint Hills Trail and Prairie Spirit Trail state parks recently received America’s highest trails honor when they were designated National Recreational Trails by the National Park Service. Both state park trails are operated by KDWPT’s Parks Division. “This is significant, not only for those parks and our state parks...

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Celebrate National ‘Take a Hike Day’ this Nov. 17, 2020

It’s time to celebrate Mother Nature, so lace up your hiking boots, collar your dog, get some water and a snack and hit the trails on National “Take a Hike Day,” which is Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. This is day hosted by The American Hiking Society, whose mission is to envision a world where everyone feels a sense of belonging in the hiking community and has lasting access...

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A Message to All A.T. Hikers in 2021

In March 2020, America began to feel the first impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which would upend almost every aspect of our daily lives. Eight months later, COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise and a widely distributed vaccine or treatment is still not available. We also find ourselves adapting to a constantly shifting political, social, and economic landscape....

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Cleanest air on record: Pandemic accelerates long-term move toward cleaner air in N.C.

When President Richard Nixon ‘s signature on the Clean Air Act of 1970 prompted North Carolina to create its Division of Air Quality, air quality was bad in Western North Carolina. “Back in the ‘80s or the ‘90s, once summer hit your mountains would disappear,” recalled Jim Renfro, longtime air quality specialist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “You’re...

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1,500 acres of historic land added to the Francis Marion National Forest in SC

Located just north of McClellanville, SC, the 1,450-acre White Oak Atlantic Creosote tract contains an extensive network of dirt roads through some of the most beautiful native longleaf pine woods in the Lowcountry. The property was purchased from White Oak Forestry Corporation — a local corporation that stewards and conserves thousands of acres of significant forest in...

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Shattered on the Pacific Crest Trail

When they wake up broke, broken, and far from home, how do thru-hikers find the will to go another mile? We usually focus on the pleasures of a long-distance hike. We tell ourselves the pain will dissolve into a march of panoramas from Mexico to Canada. But the truth of thru-hiking is that it is brutally physical. This excerpt from recently published Journeys North by...

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Lake Lure and More at Hickory Nut Gorge in November – A Photo Essay

Every year in early November I like to visit the Hickory Nut Gorge. It is on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide, and so a good thousand feet lower than most of the valleys in Western North Carolina. As such, the area is one of the last to experience glorious fall colors. You can count on the peak being somewhere between the 1st and the 14th. I made two trips...

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Hikers find message dropped by carrier pigeon in 1910

  A couple hiking in northeastern France came across an unusual historical artifact – a carrier pigeon message dating from 110 years earlier. Jade Halaoui said he was hiking with his partner in the Ingersheim area when they spotted a tiny aluminum cylinder on the ground. “I dug it up and I cut it to see what was inside,” Halaoui recalled....

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Combat holiday stress and weight gain with hiking

The holidays are drawing near, and it should be the season to be merry, but let’s face it — sometimes it isn’t. Unfortunately, the demands and heightened emotions this time of year can occasionally cause stress and anxiety. That stress may also lead to weight gain in addition to other factors such as sleep deprivation and parties with excessive food and alcohol. John...

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A Parent’s Guide to Hiking with a Chatterbox

It’s been a terrible year for all of us, especially kids. The pandemic has eliminated the kind of routine social interaction we’ve all taken for granted. No team sports, no movies, no museums, no sleepovers, no playdates. Parents face the dual tasks of making sure their kids are getting the physical activity they need as well as trying to replace the lost hours of...

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Tallgrass prairie region provides a Minnesota hiking alternative

While wooded hikes are popular in Minnesota, the woods are not required, as the tallgrass prairie region in the southwestern corner of the state offers unique places to get out and view the diverse landscape. Getting lost in the woods while on a walk is a common problem in fairy tales, and in renowned horror stories. Even if you leave bread crumbs behind, in the style of...

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Italy’s New Coast-to-coast Hiking Trail Is Filled With Mountains and Beaches to Explore

The Italian region of Calabria is bookmarked by two seas with mountains and beaches in between. And now a new trail has opened that will allow hikers to explore Calabria from coast to coast and experience the stunning nature that it’s known for. The Kalabria Coast to Coast Trail connects the town of Soverato on the Ionian Sea to the town of Pizzo on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

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Alabama’s leading National Forests advocates announce rebirth of Wild Alabama

Some good news for Alabama’s National Forests. Wild South, the North Carolina based regional forest protection group has announced plans to restructure the organization and form a new independent and separate non-profit organization called Wild Alabama. As part of the restructuring, the group will keep the entire staff and maintain its current programs and office in...

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A detailed road map for building a US energy innovation ecosystem

“Innovation” is a fraught concept in climate politics. For years, it was used as a kind of fig leaf to cover for delaying tactics, as though climate progress must wait on some kind of technological breakthrough or miracle. That left climate advocates with an enduring suspicion toward the notion, and hostility toward those championing it. Lately, though, that has changed....

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A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack

Back in April 2017, a man started hiking in a state park just north of New York City. He wanted to get away, maybe from something and maybe from everything. He didn’t bring a phone; he didn’t bring a credit card. He didn’t even really bring a name. Or at least he didn’t tell anyone he met what it was. He did bring a giant backpack, which his fellow hikers considered far...

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The Best Hiking Pants for Women

Hiking pants are an essential piece of any outdoor kit: they defend your legs against weather, UV rays, and many natural hazards. Some can even serve double duty as acceptable business-casual wear. But a good pair can be hard to find. This is especially true for women, since there are so many variables at play: leg length, hip width, thigh-muscle circumference, butt...

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In a mountain range too steep to cross, DHS is spending millions of dollars on five miles of border wall

Racing to fulfill President Donald Trump’s campaign promises, the Department of Homeland Security is dynamiting cliff sides and carving switchback roads up incredibly steep mountains to build a 30-foot-tall border wall through Guadalupe Canyon. Not only is the construction expensive, it will have little impact on undocumented immigration into the U.S. It will, however,...

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Bridge Repair Work Begins Across Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that the Federal Highway Administration awarded two construction contracts to replace seven bridges and repair seven others across the park. The work will continue through January 19, 2022 and necessitates several single-lane closures and a few full road closures to safely accomplish the repairs. Forge Creek Road in...

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