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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Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan Comment Period Extended

The USDA Forest Service is extending the comment period for the proposed Nantahala and Pisgah forest plan and draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by an additional 45 days. The public review and comment period, which was previously scheduled for February 14 through May 14, will now end on June 29, 2020. “Since we released the plan in February, we’ve had...

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Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail & The 40 Hike Challenge

Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail is out! Edited by Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail resource manager Jim Grode and published by UNC Press, Great Day Hikes is available from the web store and your local booksellers, many of whom are providing delivery or curbside pick up while their doors are closed. All of Jim’s author events...

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National Park Service asks hikers to be mindful of nature after vandalism incidents

As people head outdoors to escape cabin fever during this stay at home order, local trail systems are seeing more garbage and even vandalism. The National Park Service recently posted pictures on their social media, showing graffiti on trees and rocks. This was done on several parts of popular trails, throughout the United States. NPS Chief of Interpretation and Visitor...

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Public land managers discuss closure decisions and plans for re-opening

While people nationwide are lamenting the loss of bars, restaurants, concerts, festivals and countless other aspects of community life amid the COVID-19 crisis, for many in Western North Carolina the deepest blow has been the loss of access to hundreds of thousands of acres of cherished public lands. “We live in a very risk-averse society, and each agency is considering...

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ATC Begins Planning for Hikers’ Safe Return to Appalachian Trail

In March 2020, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) advised all visitors and volunteers to stay away from the Appalachian Trail. Increased visitor use made social distancing practically impossible and the potential to spread COVID-19 to other Trail visitors and vulnerable Trailside communities — and beyond — posed grave risks. Subsequent stay-at-home orders in most...

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To hike, or not to hike; That is the question

Ironically, through their inconsistency, dogs send a consistent message: The only thing we can control is our own behavior. That’s a good concept to embrace during the global coronavirus pandemic. Because of conflicting messaging, coronavirus stay-at-home orders have been particularly trying and confusing for hikers. We’re being told to both stay home and go out and hike...

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Toxic microplastic hotspots are accumulating on the ocean floor in record levels

Scientists from the U.K. have discovered the highest level of microplastics ever recorded on the seafloor, with up to 1.9 million pieces of plastic covering just one square meter at the bottom of the ocean. The harmful plastic debris has been pulled down by powerful deep-sea currents that transport and concentrate the pollutants within huge sediment accumulations, which...

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Some Perfectly Outdoorsy Things to do in the Black Hills of South Dakota

One of the great things about road tripping around America is that there is always more to discover. One of the the regions of the U.S. that may really blow you away is the Black Hills of South Dakota. Explorations will take you through vast windswept prairies, up pine-forested mountains, and around jagged rock formations carved by elements over millions of years. The...

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Day trips. Hiking with bandanas. What you should keep in mind as outdoors spaces reopen

After weeks of getting creative to stave off cabin fever — backyard grass skiing, living room campouts, retaining wall rappels, neighborhood trip reports — outdoor adventurers finally have some good news. In the next week, some state parks and public lands will reopen for day use in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and a few other states. But as hikers lace...

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Buncombe seeks permanent federal protection of 16,000 acres

The Buncombe County Commission unanimously passed a resolution that asks the U.S. Forest Service to recommend permanent federal protection for a 16,000-acre area near Asheville within Pisgah National Forest. The proposal requests broader, more lasting protections than the U.S. Forest Service’s Proposed Land Management Plan for Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, which...

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This is where some of America’s best hiking boots are made

Rising up from the heart of New Hampshire, where the state’s main highway intersects the Appalachian Trail, are the woodlands and ranges of the White Mountain National Forest: a mix of rolling hills blanketed by trees and exposed ridges dominated by the cathedral of Mount Washington. Standing 6,288 feet above sea level, it’s the largest geological feature in the region,...

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Hiking games that keep kids engaged and motivated on the trail

Hiking with kids can be a wonderful experience that leads to cherished memories. But sometimes, things don’t go so smoothly. You’re about a third of the way into your planned hike. Everything’s going great. Then, all of a sudden, your 5-year-old hiking buddy decides he doesn’t want to hike anymore. Is he hungry? No. Is he tired? No. He just wants to do something else....

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14 ways to turn your coronavirus cabin fever into climate action

In these times of unprecedented uncertainty, a to-do list can help you stay sane. It doesn’t matter that you have no places to go or people to see. With COVID-19 tossing normal life down the drain the world over, the shred of normalcy helps you stave off apathy, paralysis, and a sudden aversion to wearing proper pants. You’re not the only one desperate for a little...

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The Road to Reopening

As superintendent of Glacier National Park, Jeff Mow has grappled with wildfires and wayward bears, flash floods and fatal avalanches. He’s tangled with budget deficits and government shutdowns, climate change and record-setting throngs of visitors that stretch the park’s infrastructure to maximum capacity. He’s modeled scenarios that account for rising temperatures and...

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Border wall construction brings crowds, and COVID-19 anxiety, into Arizona towns

Unlike the rest of the U.S., the sleepy border community of Ajo, Arizona, is busier than ever these days, as hundreds of border wall construction workers pass through each day. “The rest of us are staying at home just the way the governor has ordered,” said Susan Guinn-Lahm, an Ajo resident in her 60s. “We’re taking this seriously. They are not.” Local officials are...

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After decades of devastation, a comeback for western NC forests

On the Spruce-Fir Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a forest that looks like it belongs in a fairytale grows on the slopes of Clingmans Dome. Soft green moss covers logs and rocks and tree trunks, muffling the sound of cars passing nearby. The trees grow so closely together in some places that they’re impossible to walk between. In the mornings...

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