Hiking Above the Clouds at World’s Edge – A Photo Essay

August 2005 saw the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (now Conserving Carolina) and The Nature Conservancy purchase a 1,568-acre tract of land south of Lake Lure known as “World’s Edge” for $16 million with the intention of transferring the land as the first to be added to the new Chimney Rock State Park. World’s Edge contains a mile-long set of steep...

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U.S. Forest Service releases draft Nantahala and Pisgah forest plan for public comment

Drafts of the Nantahala and Pisgah forest plan and environmental impact statement (EIS) are now available. A formal 90-day public review and comment period is scheduled to begin on February 14,2020. The proposed plan is built on significant public engagement and the best available science to guide forest management for the next 15 years. It recognizes the multiple uses...

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Catawba conservation purchase to become part of new trail system

  A 68-acre conservation purchase in Catawba County, North Caroina is expected to become part of the planned Wilderness Gateway State Trail, which is intended to meander thorugh Catawba and Burke counties and along the Rutherford-McDowell county line. The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina bought the property from landowners Becky and Wayne Welch. It is...

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The Lost Sierra to gain 300 new miles of trail

The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) is on a mission. With an endgame of building sustainable, recreation-based communities in economically disadvantaged areas, the Connected Communities project and Lost Sierra Master Trails Plan will eventually link 15 towns in Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Butte County, California with more than 300 miles of new motorized and...

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These southern Utah sites were once off limits to development. Now, Trump will auction the right to drill and mine there.

The Trump administration has finalized plans to expand drilling, grazing and other forms of development across a broad area of southern Utah that used to be protected as two national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. The decision comes more than two years after Trump dramatically cut the size of both monuments and will likely intensify a legal battle...

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Conserving Carolina launches 2020 spring hiking series

Conserving Carolina invites the community to enjoy the work that conservation organizations have done over the years to preserve our area’s natural resources and to take in the beauty of the spring season. Starting Friday, March 6, 2020 the first trek will head to Green River Game Lands for a 7-mile, moderate out-and-back hike along the Green River Cove trail. This hike...

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Delta Heritage Trail will be 85 miles when completed

The Delta Heritage Trail will send hikers and bikers through bottomland hardwood forests, into black bear country, by bald cypress swamps, along Mississippi River levees, and over bridges spanning the White and Arkansas rivers. The 84.5-mile Arkansas trail goes from Lexa near Helena-West Helena to Arkansas City. Just over 44 miles of the trail is completed, comprising...

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Rocky Ridge and Stone Mountain Trails, DuPont State Forest

Tucked away in the northeastern corner of DuPont State Forest in Western North Carolina, Stone Mountain is the highest point in the state forest at 3,620 feet. Appropriately named for the exposed granite slab that traverses its summit, Stone Mountain offers a near 270° view of the surrounding terrain to winter hikers. Since the first time I went, nearly 12 years ago,...

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2020 Great Backyard Bird Count

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the...

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The Best Hikes in San Diego Have Stunning Coastal Cliffs, Waterfalls, and Even Views of Mexico

Hiking is the new yoga, and there are stats to prove it. According to Merrell, the No. 1 outdoor rugged footwear brand in the world, participation in hiking is up 22.5% since 2014. And hiking is the fourth most popular outdoor activity in the U.S. with 45 million annual participants. So if you’ve resolved to hike more this year, you’re extremely on-trend, because hiking...

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Environmental analysis completed and decision signed for Twelve Mile Project on Pisgah National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service has completed the environmental assessment process and made a final decision on the Twelve Mile Project on the Pisgah National Forest’s Appalachian Ranger District in Haywood County, North Carolina. Once implemented, the project will help maintain a healthy and diverse forest that supports wildlife, provides a sustainable output of timber,...

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Hiking muddy trails can cause lasting damage

To avoid trail widening, unnecessary erosion, soil damage, higher maintenance costs and labor demands, trail crews ask us to be responsible trail users when the ground is water logged and muddy. Bikes and horses can cause the most damage, but foot traffic is also destructive when the ground is wet. “If people must go out, we want them to stay on the trails. Please avoid...

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Utah Wanted All the Tourists. Then It Got Them.

Utah had a problem. Shown a photo of Delicate Arch, people guessed it was in Arizona. Asked to describe states in two adjectives, they called Colorado green and mountainous but Utah brown and Mormon. It was 2012. Up in the governor’s Office of Tourism, hands were wrung. Anyone who had poked around canyon country’s mind-melting spires and gurgling green springs knew it...

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Havasu Falls: Everything you need to know about the stunning Arizona experience

The dry and barren trail through Havasu Canyon refuses to give up the secret of what waits just eight miles away: an oasis of tumbling waterfalls and lush greenery, with turquoise pools that would seem more at home in Hawaii than in a remote corner of Arizona. That’s precisely the draw of Havasupai Falls, a roughly four-mile gorge in the Grand Canyon carved over the eons...

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‘This is a human tragedy and an ecological tragedy’

At Organ Pipe National Monument in far southern Arizona, the landscape’s ecology confronts its militarization: A migratory corridor collides with a wall, a natural spring could lose water to pumping for concrete, and both migrants and locals who cross the Borderlands are monitored and tracked. Here amid a sea of saguaros, standing tall like giant green tridents, and...

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Smokies Park Sets Visitation Record with 12.5 Million Visitors

Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomed a record 12,547,743 visitors in 2019, which is 1,126,540 more visitors than in 2018. The park’s three primary entrances near Gatlinburg, Townsend, and Cherokee all had increased use, accounting for about two-thirds of the total park visitation. Secondary park entrances experienced tremendous growth, due primarily to the new...

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Vermont hopes to complete 93-mile rail trail by mid-decade

The completion of a 93-mile rail trail across northern Vermont would help link an ever-expanding network of recreation trails across New England and beyond, advocates say. The effort got a big boost this week when Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott asked lawmakers to approve $2.8 million as the state’s share of the estimated $14.1 million cost of completing the remaining...

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6 miles of new biking, hiking, birding trails soon to open in Pickens County, SC

More than six miles of trails for biking, hiking, birding and more are set to open sometime in the late spring this year in Pickens County. The trail system, which is a series of “stacked loop” trails, is tucked into the forest next to Southern Wesleyan University’s Central, SC campus and is a collaboration between the university and the Town of...

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Smokies Park Announces Temporary Cataloochee Area Road Closures

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that the main access road into the Cataloochee area, Cove Creek Road, will be closed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to conduct road repairs from February 10 through May 20, 2020. The county roadway will be closed to stabilize a hillside just outside the park. The secondary access road into the...

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Tarklin Branch Trail to Wintergreen Falls and Thomas Cemetery Trail, DuPont State Forest

Located in the Guion Farm region of DuPont State Forest, this hike will take you to one of the lesser known, but equally memorable, of the exciting DuPont waterfalls. You are surrounded by majestic pine forest nearly throughout, with a walk along Grassy Creek for good measure. Most of the way is excellent double track surface, but that means you should listen for the...

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The 25 Best Accessible Trails in America

There’s stiff competition to get onto any “best of” trail list in the United States. But with sweeping views of towering rock features, ruins of historic railroad towns, and some of the biggest trees in the world, these trails are all worthy on their own merits. Unlike other lists, however, this one takes surface stability, cross slope, accessible parking, and trail...

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RiverLink’s RAD Watershed Plan addresses Asheville’s most impaired waterway

Out of view of the paddleboards and kayaks that meander with the lazy flow of the French Broad River, an orange tube skims oil from a creek’s surface. The tube is a last line of defense preventing oil from flowing directly into the river. The creek is Town Branch, a waterway long believed to be the most polluted stream in Western North Carolina. “Many people still call...

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A Triple Crowner’s Advice for Following Through on Your Hiking Goals

It’s January of a new decade and ’tis the season for ambitious lists, goals, and vision boards for the coming year—adventurous ambitions hopefully among them. We set goals to push toward better versions of ourselves. Maybe it’s a peakbagging list, or getting more miles under those trail shoes so day hikes don’t end so painfully. Or maybe it’s finishing your first (or...

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White Sands is the newest national park. These places might be next.

It’s easy to think of national parks as untouchable—grand, immovable fixtures in our natural environment. But in reality, they come and go: some lose their designation, while others are added. New Mexico’s White Sands National Park hit the big leagues in December 2019, becoming the country’s 62nd national park. It protects the largest gypsum dune on Earth, a remnant of...

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Going With the Flow: How to Tackle River Crossings Safely

Of the numerous hazards that hikers may encounter in the backcountry, rivers are too often overlooked. While seemingly not as threatening as steep, snowy mountains or desolate stretches of desert, rivers can pose the most significant dangers to hikers. Without experience, rivers can easily lure you into a false sense of security before, quite literally, ripping your legs...

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Hiking New Zealand’s New Great Walk: The Paparoa Track

New Zealand’s Great Walks are legendary in the backcountry world. Since launching in 1993 to protect some of the country’s most beloved trails, the three-to-five-day treks have attracted millions of hikers, all eager to traverse the island nation’s iconic landscapes, from the Milford Track’s alpine passes on the South Island to the Tongariro Northern Circuit’s...

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This Hawaiian Island Is Home to Breathtaking Waterfalls, Lush Hiking Trails, and Landscapes You’ve Seen in the Movies

  A verdant jewel towards the northwestern edge of the Hawaiian archipelago, Kauai is commonly known as the “Garden Isle.” It’s a well-earned moniker: nearly 97% of this rugged landscape remains undeveloped. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails hug pristine shorelines and moss-covered canyons. Cathedral-like spires of rock soar above the surf. Honeymooners can...

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New Mexico’s Valles Caldera preserve acquires site with volcanic features

  A 40-acre site that includes volcanic features like steaming mudpots, sulfuric-acid hot springs and fumaroles — openings which emit steam and gases — has been acquired by the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. Valles Caldera officials said the acquisition of Sulfur Springs “was critical to preserving the breadth of...

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Pick Mojave National Preserve over Joshua Tree: Twice the size, a quarter the visitors, all the beauty

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California contains an array of stunning landscapes, dotted by its namesake oddly shaped plants. Mountain ranges, unusual rock formations, desert and wilderness found within its 800,000 acres offer a unique visual and sensory experience. “It’s the rock star of California deserts.” But those in the know say drive past Joshua Tree to...

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Woman with Multiple Sclerosis Will Be Trekking 2,200 Miles on the Appalachian Trail with Her Husband to Raise Awareness

On May 4, 2020 a Beaufort, SC husband and wife team comprised of Bernie and April Hester begin the journey of a lifetime as they embark on a 2,200-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Traversing over mountains, trails, cities and roadways April, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), is hoping that her efforts...

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