Special Report: Threatened And Endangered Parks

Special Report by National Parks Traveler National park units in the lower 48 states are being confronted, and in some cases overrun, by issues ranging from climate change and invasive species to energy exploration and overcrowding. Natural and cultural resources are being harshly impacted, and in the case of invasive species in South Florida, some native species are...

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Hike into the New Year with First Day Hikes

Kick 2020 off with an adventure by participating in one of the First Day Hikes offered by N.C. State Parks. Parks across the state, and the nation, will host guided hikes on New Year’s Day. Chimney Rock State Park. A group stroll up the 3.2-mile entrance road will commence at 8 a.m., meeting at the park entrance next to Old Rock Café. Usually restricted to vehicle...

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Australian Prime Minister Dismisses Calls To Curb Coal Use As Wildfires Intensify

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubled down on his government’s climate policy amid a record-breaking heat wave and a devastating weekend of wildfires. Hundreds of fires burned across four states, with the worst conditions in New South Wales, where approximately 100 homes have been destroyed in less than a week. More than 800 total homes have been lost since...

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White Sands becomes New Mexico’s newest national park

December 21, 2020 was White Sands’ first full day as a national park after President Donald Trump signed a bill designating the status into law. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which included North Korea sanctions and procurement for spacecraft and weapons, also made 275 square miles of gypsum dune fields into New Mexico’s second national...

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Harpers Ferry Train Derailment Damages Bridge on Appalachian Trail

Two freight cars fell into the Potomac River near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, early in the morning December 21, 2019 when part of a Maryland-bound train derailed, according to a CSX spokesman. The train was traveling between Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Sandy Hook Road in Maryland when seven grain cars derailed over Winchester and Potomac Railroad Bridge. All the...

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Microplastics contaminate snow, rain, researcher finds

Fibers of polyester and other pieces of microplastic have been found in dozens of snow samples taken over the past year from Big Sky Resort, Teton Pass and other Rocky Mountain sites. Bekah Anderson, a Montana State University senior majoring in chemical engineering, used microscopes and other specialized laboratory tools in MSU’s Center for Biofilm Engineering to...

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Smokies Park Reminds Visitors about Cades Cove Winter Closure

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials remind visitors that Laurel Creek Road, the seven-mile access road leading from the Townsend Wye to Cades Cove, will be closed to all motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 5 through Saturday, February 29 to repair the Bote Mountain Tunnel. The full closure, beginning just past Tremont Road, is...

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A $1.5 million deal will keep Utah’s Zion Narrows open to hikers forever

No one will ever see “no trespassing” signs in Zion Narrows, thanks to a complicated land deal tapping money from myriad federal, state and private sources that will keep a historic property in a farming family’s hands, while preserving public access to one of the nation’s finest hiking destinations. The famed 16-mile Utah trail, which can be hiked by permit only, starts...

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Goldman Sachs to spend $750 billion on climate transition projects and curb fossil fuel lending

Goldman Sachs, a major American multinational investment bank and financial services company, is overhauling its environmental policies, which includes pledging to spend $750 billion on sustainable finance projects over the next decade, as well as implementing stricter lending policies for fossil fuel companies. The $750 billion will focus on financing, investing and...

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A Tribute to Bob Benner – Master Trail Builder, River Guide and Conservation Leader

Over the past four decades of volunteer citizen efforts to create a trail from the mountains to the coast of North Carolina, few individuals are as revered as Bob Benner. Sadly, Bob passed away on December 4, 2019 in Morganton at the age of 89 from ALS. Bob was widely known for his dedication as an outdoor adventure educator and whitewater canoeing guidebook author and...

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The UN Climate Negotiations Are Officially a Disaster and the US Helped Screw It Up

Each year, the United Nations holds a conference on climate change to try to nudge the biggest polluters toward containing warming under well below 2 degrees Celsius. Now, that goal seems more fantastical than ever; the world is on track for the absolute worst-case, business-as-usual scenario of more than twice that warming by the end of the century. The stakes are high...

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Thieves Using Bluetooth Scanners To Target Vehicles At Hiking Trailheads

Thieves are using a simple Bluetooth exploit to figure out which vehicles hold devices like smartphones/laptops, and they are using this technology to target vehicles parked at trailheads knowing their owners are off on a hike. Bluetooth scanners are simply apps you download legally. Choose from one of the dozen or so options, download, turn it on and it displays the...

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Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss Lawsuit Over Deadly Fire At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the National Park Service stemming from the deadly Chimney Tops 2 fire at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, holding that the park’s Fire Management Plan required that area residents be notified of the wildfire. When the Chimney Tops 2 fire was reported atop one of the many ridges of the...

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The first woman to walk all 21,500 km of the Trans-Canada Trail

After two years, 21,500 kilometers and hundreds of pictures, Sarah Jackson has finally made it from Victoria, B.C. to St. John’s, Newfoundland by walking the Trans-Canada Trail. She’s one of a small handful who have decided to tackle the whole length and the only woman to complete the whole thing from one end to the other. The trail (also known as The Great Trail) is the...

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The Arctic may emit billions of tons of carbon into the air, in a long-dreaded climate feedback

The Arctic is undergoing a profound, rapid and unmitigated shift into a new climate state, one that is greener, features far less ice and emits greenhouse gas emissions from melting permafrost, according to a major new federal assessment of the region. The consequences of these climate shifts will be felt far outside the Arctic in the form of altered weather patterns,...

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The world’s supply of fresh water is in trouble as mountain ice vanishes

High in the Himalaya, near the base of the Gangotri glacier, water burbles along a narrow river. Pebbles, carried in the small river’s flow, pling as they carom downstream. This water will flow thousands of miles, eventually feeding people, farms, and the natural world on the vast, dry Indus plain. Many of the more than 200 million people in the downstream basin rely on...

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New Zealand volcano: Hikers were inside crater just before eruption

Dramatic aerial footage shows tourists hiking inside a volcano crater on New Zealand’s White Island just minutes before a violent eruption killed at least five people. The image, shot by New Zealand’s Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, was taken about five minutes before the volcano erupted at 2:15 p.m. local time. A small group of people can be seen in the...

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Yosemite hikes off the well-beaten path

Dappled sunlight kisses the valley floor of Yosemite National Park. Granite monoliths, gushing waterfalls and giant sequoias abound. The wilderness is calling. But instead of hitting the trails in a place John Muir called “by far the grandest of all the special temples of nature,” you’re sitting in a traffic jam, vying for limited parking. More than 4 million visitors...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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‘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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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