National Trails Day 2020

National Trails Day is held annually on the first Saturday in June (this year June 6th), and recognizes all the incredible benefits federal, state and local trails provide for recreation and exposure nature. Events held throughout the United States help promote awareness of the wide variety of services the trails systems offer. We’ve temporarily experienced life with...

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#BlackBirdersWeek takes on systemic racism

Sheridan Alford’s love of bird-watching stems from a simple fact: “Anybody can do it.” Old or young, through expensive binoculars or with the naked eye (or ear), in a bucolic park or from a city window, anyone can connect to the avian world around them. Alford, a graduate student in natural resources at the University of Georgia, studies African American participation in...

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The Trump Presidency Is the Worst Ever for Public Lands

Six hundred and forty million acres of land in the United States—about 28 percent of our nation’s total land area—are owned by the American people and managed on our behalf by the federal government. The foundational principle of that management is called multiple use. Public lands are used for resource extraction, but that extraction must be balanced with ecosystem...

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Representatives Case, Gabbard pursue first National Forest for Hawaii

U.S. Representatives Ed Case and Tulsi Gabbard jointly introduced in the U.S. House H.R. 7045, a measure to pursue creation of Hawaii’s first-ever National Forest. The National Forest System comprises 154 national forests, 20 national grasslands and several other federal land designations containing 193 million acres. Its mission is to conserve land for a variety of uses...

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You Should Be Downloading Your Trail Maps

On most trips and in most locations, to navigate hikers rely primarily on my paper topographic maps, ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass) or GPS watch, and magnetic compass. As both a backup and supplement to these tools, smartphones have GPS apps like CalTopo (good) or Gaia GPS (better), or AllTrails that you can use to access downloaded map data for offline use. A GPS...

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Hiking Guide Gives New Meaning to ‘Rails to Trails’

In many ways, “Chicago Transit Hikes” is like any other trail guide on the market. It provides information on trail length, natural features and highlights, and difficulty level. Options range from short walks that are great for people with kids in strollers to multi-day backpacking adventures, and suggested itineraries even include routes for “the social...

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Paradise Falls Hiking Spot Closed Indefinitely After Crowds Leave Behind ‘Truckloads Of Trash’, Human Waste

  A scenic hiking destination in Thousand Oaks, CA has been shut down after visitors left behind large amounts of trash and human waste, authorities said. Paradise Falls in Wildwood Park has been overrun with crowds “in the hundreds” in the past two weeks as the weather has started warming up and residents cooped-up by COVID-19 look to get outdoors. According...

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New Mexico Wild Launches New Online Hiking Guide Featuring More Than 100 Trails

New Mexico Wild has launched an online Hiking Guide featuring descriptions of more than 100 trails, at least one in each Wilderness area in the state. The New Mexico Wild Hiking Guide is the first known online resource dedicated exclusively to hiking trails in New Mexico’s Wilderness areas. The New Mexico Wild Hiking Guide provides a detailed description of each hiking...

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Tips for handling harassment on the trail

Numerous reports in recent years provide staggering numbers on the amount of sexual harassment in the outdoor community: A 2016 investigative report by the Department of the Interior showed that women in the rafting industry have been the victims of sexual misconduct for years; In a 2016 poll, Runner’s World found that 84 percent of women surveyed have been harassed...

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Microplastic pollution in oceans vastly underestimated – study

The abundance of microplastic pollution in the oceans is likely to have been vastly underestimated, according to research that suggests there are at least double the number of particles as previously thought. Scientists trawled waters off the coasts of the UK and US and found many more particles using nets with a fine mesh size than when using coarser ones usually used...

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All hikers trapped by rising flood waters at Devil’s Bathtub rescued

All hikers stranded by rising flood waters at a popular hiking trail in southwest Virginia have been rescued. According to Duffield Fire Chief Roger Carter, all of the hikers were rescued on trails around the Devil’s Bathtub before 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, 2020. Emergency crews responded to the scene around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. Emergency crews say 20 people were...

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On prairie hiking trails, social distancing comes baked into the experience

It’s not just out-of-staters finding a new experience at the vast Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. As the pandemic has shut down most other attractions and public spaces, more locals and first-timers are making their way out to hiking trails, which wind through some of the last remaining tallgrass prairie in the world. Randy Bilbeisi, superintendent at the preserve...

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How to identify different types of bees

When was the last time you were in your garden, saw a bee, grabbed it and squeezed it? Probably never, right? Unless you’ve done that, there’s a good chance that if you’ve ever been stung it wasn’t by a bee, said Becky Griffin. And she would know. Griffin teaches classes on bees to children and adults through the Center for Urban Agriculture at...

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Conservation easement protects resources in Macon County

  A recently conserved piece of land in Macon County, NC includes a federally significant marsh, a scenic view and a portion of the Nantahala River. Mainspring Conservation Trust has conserved more than 205 acres in the Rainbow Springs area of the county’s western portion, and that land is now part of a larger node of privately conserved property that totals...

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Do you need to wear a face mask while hiking?

Outdoor spaces have begun to reopen while the coronavirus pandemic carries on, bringing up an important question for hikers eager to get back outside: Do you need to wear a face mask while hiking? As hiking trails and other outdoor space reopen across the country, some researchers and medical experts, as well as state park officials, now recommend hikers carry face...

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Smokies air quality ‘noticeably clean’ during pandemic

The dark cloud created by coronavirus came with a silver lining: cleaner air and fresher streams. “We’ve had really good days,” said Jim Renfro, the air quality program manager for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “It’s been pretty clean,” Renfro said. “Noticeably clean.” There’s a reason the Great Smoky...

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This well-dressed trio serves free drinks on hiking trails, bringing joy to hikers

Talk about your fancy trail magic. What if someone was magically able to greet you with a refreshing beverage at the end of a strenuous hike? It’s not something you see every day. But that’s what David Weber, Jack Petros and Dylan Skolnik do. They formed the Summit Sippers, and even they say the concept is absurd. Dressed in suspenders, and even top hats, the...

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Walk this way: Carolina Thread Trail

  If you’re getting bored from spending too much time at home and need a change of scenery, outdoor exercise is permitted under North Carolina and South Carolina COVID-19 community safety guidelines. If you’re ready to get in some steps, go for a hike or just connect with nature, here is just the thing for you: The Carolina Thread Trail. The thread trail, a...

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Hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is the trip of a lifetime

Because it’s one of the most famous national parks in the country, hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a prize on most outdoor lovers’ lists, and overnight permits must be secured well in advance. Getting to the bottom is like stepping back in time—two billion years back in time—to be precise. To reach your destination, you have to descend nearly a vertical mile...

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Grant to bring new mountain bike and hiking trails to Foothills Parkway in Cocke County, TN

Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) announced a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will be used to design mountain bike and hiking trails along a section of the Foothills Parkway in Cocke County. The goal is to transform an area along the stretch between Cosby and I-40 to help increase tourism and economic development in Cocke County. “Cocke County is...

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How to Prepare for Your First Day Hike

Spring is in the air, and now is the perfect time to pull on your best hiking boots and get on the trails. If you’re new to hiking, check out this infographic guide for top tips on how to plan your first day hike. This guide offers advice for beginners on hiking footwear, gear and clothing. It also gives 20 tips to bear in mind before, during and after your first day...

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Watch for giant hornets

The Asian giant hornet has yet to be detected in North Carolina, but the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is asking residents to keep an eye out and report sightings of the pest. The world’s largest species of hornet, the insects measure 1.5 to 2 inches long and have an orange-yellow head with prominent eyes, and black-and-yellow stripes on their...

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The AT Legend Passing on Wisdom to Young Thru-Hikers

With nine thru-hikes and nine section hikes of the Appalachian Trail under his belt, Warren Doyle, 70, is a legend in the trail community. When he set the first known speed record of 66.3 days on the AT in 1973, he did it wearing blue jeans. The 38,000-miler has even been arrested for civil disobedience, an incident that occurred on Mount Katahdin in the late 1970s when...

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Flash flood in Utah slot canyon sweeps two young hikers away

  A 7-year-old girl has died and her 3-year-old sister is missing after flash flooding sent torrents of water into a narrow canyon in the Utah desert on May 11, 2020. At least 21 others escaped the flooding in Little Wild Horse Canyon, where the curving sandstone walls are so close at points that hikers must turn sideways to walk through. The girls were hiking...

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The indigenous fight to stop a uranium mine in the Black Hills

Regina Brave remembers the moment the first viral picture of her was taken. It was 1973, and 32-year-old Brave had taken up arms in a standoff between federal marshals and militant indigenous activists in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Brave had been assigned to guard a bunker on the front lines and was holding a rifle when a reporter...

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A California Utility Announces 770 Megawatts of Battery Storage. That’s a Lot.

Battery storage is a vital part of a cleaner grid because it helps to fill in the gaps left by the fact that wind and solar are intermittent resources. And, like wind and solar, the growth of battery storage is closely tied to a decrease in its costs. The combination of high need and falling costs means we are seeing new projects on a scale we’ve never seen before,...

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How to tell if it’s time to replace your old gear

Spring is finally here, bringing longer days and warmer weather along with it. Normally, that means it’s time to lace up your boots, hit your favorite trail, and enjoy a nice long hike. But hitting the trail for that first hike of the season isn’t the only spring tradition that outdoor enthusiasts look forward to each year. For many hikers, this is a time to...

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The world is on lockdown. So where are all the carbon emissions still coming from?

Pedestrians have taken over city streets, people have almost entirely stopped flying, skies are blue for the first time in decades, and global CO2 emissions are on-track to drop by … about 5.5 percent. Wait, what? Even with the global economy at a near-standstill, the best analysis suggests that the world is still on track to release 95 percent of the carbon dioxide...

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New hiking permits for Oregon’s central Cascades are delayed until 2021

Those hoping to set off into Oregon’s central Cascade Mountains this summer won’t need to scramble for a hiking permit after all – once trailheads closed due to the coronavirus reopen to the public. New hiking permits set to roll out this month in Oregon’s central Cascades will be delayed until 2021, the U.S. Forest Service announced, due to the ongoing pandemic. “Given...

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