What is proper trail etiquette? An expert lays out the do’s and don’ts of hiking

Every trail has rules, and often there are signs not just at the trailhead but also along the trail to remind hikers of what to do and what not to do to respect the environment. However, some of the guidelines for hiking seem to get overlooked time and time again, either out of lack of knowledge or intentionally. The State Trail Programs Manager for Colorado Parks and...

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Tips for Hiking With Young Kids

Going to the grocery store with small children can seem like a monumental task, never mind taking your brood on a wilderness journey. But with a little patience, some practice, and a healthy dose of expectation management, you can make hiking a family affair. Keep in mind, there will be good hikes, bad hikes, and “Why are you rolling in poison ivy?!” hikes. Treks with...

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Possibly the strangest hike you’ll ever take

You’re off for a ramble in the woods. The trail is narrow, the brush is thick. Everywhere you look – trees, bushes, greenery. Then you spot it, half-hidden, nestled against a fallen, rotting log. You go up for a closer look to be sure that what you think you’re seeing is what you’re really seeing. But there it is – a disembodied baby...

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It’s raining plastic: microscopic fibers are falling from the sky

Plastic was the furthest thing from Gregory Weatherbee’s mind when he began analyzing rainwater samples collected from the Rocky Mountains.“I guess I expected to see mostly soil and mineral particles,” said the US Geological Survey researcher. Instead, he found multicolored microscopic plastic fibers. The discovery, published in a recent study titled “It is raining...

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Hiking 101: The Complete Guide to Hiking for Beginners

You’ve got your hiking boots on, your worries left at home and a trail in front of you. You’re surrounded by dense nature, no sounds of buses or chatter, just the calming sounds of birds singing and a breeze whistling through the trees. You can feel the sun on your skin, you fill your lungs with perfectly fresh air and can smell the environment around you. All the while...

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How Jocassee Gorges Was Saved

To appreciate what Bill Thomas did for Gorges State Park, think of it not as a stand-alone property but as part of the larger Lake Jocassee watershed. Also known as Jocassee Gorges, it is a freak of climatological and geologic nature that extends across the North Carolina-South Carolina line southwest of Asheville and has been named by National Geographic as one of fifty...

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Indians Plant 220 Million Trees In A Single Day

More than a million Indians planted 220 million trees on August 9, 2019 in a government campaign to tackle climate change and improve the environment in the country’s most populous state. Forest official Bivhas Ranjan said students, lawmakers, officials and others planted dozens of species of saplings along roads, rail tracks and in forest lands in northern Uttar Pradesh...

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The Controversial Plan to Protect America’s Trails

There are 11 designated national scenic trails stretching across nearly 18,000 miles in the U.S. But there are more than 4,000 miles of privately owned “gaps” in the system that leave routes vulnerable to a change in ownership or a landowner’s whims. Typically, the government or nonprofit trail associations work to fill such gaps by purchasing land from willing sellers....

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‘Honeymoon Hikers’ complete fourth hike of Appalachian Trail

They call themselves the “Honeymoon Hikers” and they just completed their fourth hike of the Appalachian Trail. Winston and Marcia Terry have done a lot of hiking since they got married in 2010. The couple has hiked 14,000 miles together. While there are no official records, Marcia is believed to be the only woman who has made four complete trips on the AT. But how did...

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Great views, smooth ride on new cycling, hiking trail in Columbia Gorge

The long-awaited Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is still at least a couple years from completion, but the latest trail segment to open to the public proves that patience can pay off. A new three-mile section of the trail opened to the public, connecting Wyeth State Park to Lindsey Creek where it meets up with another trail segment that opened in 2016. That...

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Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy Protects 187 Acres at Wilkins Creek

Just beyond the rush of traffic on Interstate 40 near the Tennessee-North Carolina line, steep hillsides and forested knolls shelter a vibrant community of wildlife. Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy recently purchased 187 acres in this part of Haywood County near the Pigeon River to protect a corridor for wildlife grazing and movement. Encircled by the Pisgah...

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Be Vigilant Of Heat-Related Illnesses When Hiking

As the dog days of summer continue, temperatures continually reach or surpass the 90° degree mark. These temperatures bring about dangerous conditions if you don’t pay attention to heat-related illness signs. Heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash. Symptoms of these illnesses can cause nausea, vomiting,...

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Lost on the hiking trail? 6 ways to improve your chances of getting found

It’s the time of year when summer hiking is at its peak — and so are streams of headlines about missing hikers. Wandering off the trail is the most common reason people get lost. You never want to be that person. And if you do get lost, you want to stay safe and get found. Quickly. The best advice, of course, is not to go missing in the first place. “We teach ‘stay...

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Hiking: Making new connections

The world is very connected now because of phones, tablets and computers. This allows people to be almost constantly connected to their families, coworkers and even strangers. While modern technology can help to improve efficiency, broaden knowledge, and widen social networks, it also has increased screen dependence, particularly on mobile phones. Hiking gives everyone...

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Mountain goat relocation is a high-flying balancing act in Olympic National Park

In early July, the loud whirring of a helicopter punctured the quiet of Washington’s Olympic National Park as wildlife specialists scoured meadows, forests, ridgelines and mountaintops for flashes of white fuzz: mountain goats. The cherry-red aircraft kicked up dirt and debris as it lowered two goats, dangling in slings, toward a waiting truck, their feet bound and their...

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The Greenland ice sheet is in the throes of one of its greatest melting events ever recorded

The same heat dome that roasted Europe and broke national temperature records in five countries last week has shifted to Greenland, where it is causing one of the biggest melt events ever observed on the fragile ice sheet. By some measures, the ice melt is more extreme than during a benchmark record event in July 2012, according to scientists analyzing the latest data....

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Science at Sugarlands: Mysterious grassy balds

Mysterious and haunting, Southern Appalachian grassy balds have long fascinated scientists and hikers alike. How many balds are there in the Smokies? How did they evolve? How do they support rare plants? Can balds be found in other parts of the world? These and many other questions will be answered—or at least discussed—on Friday, August 16, 2019 when NPS forester Jesse...

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The Nature Conservancy Preserves Nearly 400 Square Miles of Appalachian Forest

  A 253,000-acre swath in the Central Appalachian Mountains will be protected, thanks to a land acquisition by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced earlier this month. Two parcels, one along the Kentucky-Tennessee state line, and the other in Southwest Virginia, will fill in large gaps between existing public lands and provide a wilderness corridor for...

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Hiking Boots Vs. Trail Runners: Two Loyalists Compare and Contrast

Hiking boots or trail runners? Years ago there wasn’t a choice. Leather hiking boots ruled the trail. But trail runners are now king of the mountains, and they far outnumber boots in outfitters’ displays. Still, footwear is a highly personal choice, and what works for one hiker may not work for another. The outsoles of boots give the bottoms of your feet a solid layer of...

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How to Hike the CDT: Big Agnes Launches Experiential Trail Guide

2018 marked the 40th anniversary of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), the 50th anniversary of the National Scenic Trails Act, and the year Big Agnes became a steward over 75 miles of trail. To celebrate, all 70 employees hiked and biked the 740-mile length of the CDT’s Colorado section. Now a year removed from that epic adventure, Big Agnes launched its own CDT trail...

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Hiking the Longs Pass Trail offers remarkable views of the Cascades

The Longs Pass Trail, on the east side of the Cascades Mountains Range, is seven miles round trip, with a net gain/loss of 2,100 feet. The pass itself is at an elevation of 6,250 feet. The well-marked and well-maintained trailhead is due east from the parking lot. It is a steady climb from its start in the cool forest of the valley. It slowly transitions to exposed rocky...

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How a Thru-Hiking Legend Is Getting City Kids Outside

Liz “Snorkel” Thomas set the women’s fastest known time for a self-supported hike on the Appalachian Trail in 2011 and has since become an urban-hiking advocate. She recently completed a nine-day, 225-mile thru-hike across New York’s five boroughs. Her goal was to visit 100 playgrounds to highlight the Trust for Public Lands’ (TPL) project to build such...

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How Science Got Trampled in the Rush to Drill in the Arctic

Tucked into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a bill signed by President Donald Trump, was a brief two-page section that had little to do with tax reform. Drafted by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the provision opened up approximately 1.6 million acres of the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas leasing, a reversal of the federal policy that has long protected...

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Prescott National Forest Has It All for Recreationists

In the American Southwest, only 120 miles from one of the largest cities in the country, lies an outdoor and recreational wonderland of lakes, mountains, and desert just waiting for those who seek adventure and the chance to bring home a story. This astonishing place where “the desert meets the pines” is Prescott National Forest in Central Arizona, a...

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Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday Party at Cradle of Forestry

Come and join Smokey and all his friends at The Cradle of Forestry for his 75th birthday. This year’s red carpet event is the hottest ticket in Pisgah National Forest, with all new games and events, it’s fun for the whole family. Party Schedule: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm: Smokey’s Birthday Party. Enjoy games, prizes, live children’s music, and birthday cake. 11:30 am: Smokey...

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Help with packing the perfect hiking bag for every adventure

Knowing what to bring with you on a hiking adventure can be daunting, because there are so many factors that might influence what you should pack and such a variety of products to choose from. Beginners may find the process of matching a walk in the woods with the right gear overwhelming at first, but even an expert might be daunted when preparing for a hike that is...

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7 Ways Hemp Plastic Could Change the World

Did you know that it takes between 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade? Plastic pollution is destroying our planet by the minute. In fact, so much plastic is thrown away each year it could circle the earth four times. And these numbers are on the rise. In the United States alone, Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. This plastic ends up in...

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Best Sections of the Appalachian Trail to Hike in the Summer

Say hello to 15+ hours of daylight, refreshing mountain streams, and endless miles of green tunnel. That’s right. It’s summer in the Appalachians which means hiking season is in full swing. While summer on the AT can be one of the best times of year, certain parts of the trail are better than others to hike during the warmer months. With 2,200 miles of trail, it can be...

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Want to go hiking with small kids? Here’s where to take them.

Hiking with a child won’t be the same as hiking with adults. The goal with kids is much more about the journey than the destination. Here are four basic ideas to keep in mind: Modify your goals. You may not reach the end of the trail. You may not even hike a mile. Adjust your hike to the enjoyment and comfort level of children. Pack patience and flexibility. If you see a...

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For 35 years, a team of scientists have studied the decline of glaciers. What does their loss mean?

Walking the icy flanks of Mount Baker—an active volcano in Washington State and one of the highest peaks in the Cascade Range—is probably one of the most untainted wilderness experiences. A high mountain glacier, in its frigid, deadly enormity, doesn’t feel much like a landscape meant for humans. In the European Alps, medieval myths held that glaciers carried curses and...

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Hawaii Struggles To Maintain Its Worn-Out Hiking Trails

By almost any standard, Hawaii’s hiking trails are a world-class recreational resource. The state’s trail system alone encompasses 855 miles of trails and access roads, from epic, remote routes like the Kalalau trail on Kauai’s Napali coast to easily accessible day hikes like the 2.5- mile Makiki loop trail. And that doesn’t count trails run by the counties or the...

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Here’s how hot your hometown will feel by mid-century

Residents of Harris County, Texas are no stranger to heat. The swampy Houston metro area averages nearly 40 days per year with temperatures in the 100 degrees F or higher range. But, according to a pair of papers published this week, if nothing is done about climate change, many more U.S. cities could be feeling a similar kind of heat. A new report released by the Union...

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