Changes coming to Superior Hiking Trail

Several changes are in the works for the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail this summer. They include rerouting a portion of the trail in one place and installing a bridge in another location. In addition, the Superior Hiking Trail Association recently purchased land near the Encampment River to ensure the continued path of the trail through that property. On July 21 and 22,...

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10 backpack essentials for summer hiking adventures in Colorado

Colorado summers are as beautiful as they are volatile. Before you head into the high country for a hike this season, check your backpack. A well-packed bag can be the difference between a great day in the mountains and altitude sickness or — worst-case scenario — a rescue. According to a report based on National Park Service data, the most common contributing factors to...

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Retiring Blue Ridge Parkway superintendent reflects on 37 years with the National Park Service

Mark Woods will retire as superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway on July 3, 2017, but on July 4 he’ll don the flathat one last time as grand marshal of the Lake Junaluska Fourth of July Parade. Woods was still in college when he started working for the Park Service, knowing he wanted to do some type of conservation work but not exactly sure what form that would take....

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Empowering women in the outdoors: Why the white-hot interest?

Call it a new wave of feminism, call it a reaction to the current political climate, but there is a concerted push to get women outdoors — women’s-only trips, women’s classes, images and stories of women adventurers. One example: REI’s Force of Nature campaign, launched in April 2017 to “level the playing field,” has crossed from marketing to activism by earmarking $1...

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Elevated arsenic readings close popular San Diego hiking trails

On the northwest side of the one of the City of San Diego’s more popular open space parks is a trail called Miners Ridge Loop. It’s appropriately named because the city says the abandoned Black Mountain Arsenic Mine is located on the north slope of Black Mountain. But, if you had any thoughts of escaping the city life for a hike on a portion of that specific trail you’d...

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Global sea level rise accelerates since 1990, study shows

The rise in global sea levels has accelerated since the 1990s amid rising temperatures, with a thaw of Greenland’s ice sheet pouring ever more water into the oceans, scientists said in a new report. The annual rate of sea level rise increased to 3.3 millimetres (0.13 inch) in 2014 – a rate of 33 centimetres (13 inches) if kept unchanged for a century –...

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Smokies Park Recruits for July 6th Litter Pick-Up at Deep Creek and Smokemont

Great Smoky Mountains National Park seeks volunteers to help care for campgrounds and picnic areas after the July 4th, 2017 Holiday. The maintenance staff does a fantastic job providing clean and safe spaces for visitors to enjoy our amazing National Park; but increased visitation on holiday weekends can be overwhelming. As the Trails and Facilities Volunteer...

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Llama trekking guide works to defend the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument he campaigned to create

Stuart Wilde has spent a couple hundred days each year of the last 25 trekking into the canyons along the Rio Grande, where burnt-black volcanic rock soars for hundreds of feet overhead. Often, pack teams of rescued llamas trail him, and he’s pointing out petroglyphs for tourists hiking along. These desert canyons descend from the gnarled piñon and prickly pear at the...

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The Land Between Two Wildernesses – A Photo Essay

I like to do most of my summertime hiking in the high country to avoid the heat, and the bugs. It’s like getting extra, added months of spring. So when the first week of summer rolled around, I thought of that section of Pisgah National Forest that lies between Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wildernesses, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Parkway, Hwy 215, and Black...

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Hiking back in time to celebrate 100 years of the Long Trail

Dew shines in the early morning summer sun along the network of trails near the Winooski River. It’s where Mike Debonis continues his journey back in time on Vermont’s Long Trail. This year, the trail is celebrating 100 years. Debonis is honoring the anniversary by dressing in traditional 1917 attire – all wool – and spending his vacation on the...

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Forests and oceans seem to be absorbing a lot less CO2

On the best days, the wind howling across the rugged promontory at Cape Grim, Tasmania has not touched land for thousands of miles, and the arriving air seems as if it should be the cleanest in the world. But on a cliff above the sea, inside a low-slung government building, a bank of sophisticated machines sniffs that air day and night, revealing telltale indicators of...

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Volunteers Remove Nearly 150 Tires From Linville Gorge Wilderness

Linville Gorge Wilderness is now a more beautiful place thanks to the efforts of 85 volunteers who worked over 1,800 hours under the lead of Wild South to remove nearly 150 tires from the deep gorge. In the 1970s a large flood washed the tires down into the Linville Gorge Wilderness from a business north of the area. Since that time, tires have been a common site along...

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What To Do If You Sprain Your Ankle While Hiking

Contrary to what most people believe, sprained ankles aren’t one of those things that just happen. Not only can they be effectively treated when they happen, but with a little forethought, and some preparation, they can be prevented. Sprained ankles and other foot injuries are common in hiking. But you can dramatically decrease your chances of a sprain by taking some...

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Trail clearing on North Shore another example that public are future to public lands

Another spring work weekend on the Superior Hiking Trail reinforces a wider story: Some of Minnesota’s favorite footpaths are nothing without the sweat and commitment of volunteers. The morning woke up dry and with promise. It was warming fast in the early sun, which set the North Shore’s boreal tree line in sharp relief against an almost bluebird sky. It was...

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Here’s the company that makes those National Park and Smokey Bear signs

Everyone recognizes Smokey Bear, the lovable National Parks mascot who warns visitors about the dangers of forest fires. But where do those friendly anthropomorphic bear cutouts come from? Today, we talk to the company that makes a lot of the signs that show up at the entrances to National Parks and Forests. About 25-thousand signs and markers last year, actually, all...

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The Crew Building the Next Great American Thru-Hike

In eastern Tennessee, 70-year-old trail builder Peter Berntsen is laying segments of the Cumberland Trail. The path will wend more than 300 miles through deep hollows, spiraling waterfalls, and diverse flora in the heart of Appalachia, at the mountainous edge of the Cumberland Plateau. He lugs an axe and mattock up a rocky and root-riddled stretch meandering through...

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From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots

Seems like it could have been the edge of the Sahara or even Death Valley, but it was the remains of a large orchard in the hills above the city of Murcia in southern Spain last year. The soil had broken down into fine white, lifeless sand, and a landscape of rock and dying orange and lemon trees stretched into the distance. A long drought, the second in a few years, had...

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An American Legend – Horace Kephart – His Life and Legacy

Horace Sowers Kephart (September 8, 1862 – April 2, 1931) was an American travel writer and librarian, best known as the author of Our Southern Highlanders about his life in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and the classic outdoors guide Camping and Woodcraft. Kephart’s vision helped to establish Great Smoky Mountains National Park. His life as...

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Hikes To Explore Colorado’s Western Slope This Summer

Colorado’s Western Slope is rich in backcountry hikes. Knowing where to find them — and what to expect on a trail — just got easier with a new guidebook by Grand Junction outdoor writer Bill Haggerty. The Falcon Guides “Hiking Colorado’s Western Slope” has details on more than 45 trails in Western Colorado. It doesn’t have just...

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Hiking and biking County Mayo, Ireland’s Wild West

When the sun breaks out in rural Ireland, you can almost believe in fairies. County Mayo is the kind of place that visitors imagine when they think of rural Ireland: whitewashed stone houses in impossibly green fields dotted with sheep; rolling hills that tumble into the sea or break off in sheer cliffs; narrow winding roads that lead to villages with pubs and fish...

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White Settlers Wiped Thousands of Miles of Cherokee Trails Off the Map. This Man is Reclaiming Them.

These routes once snaked through the towering woods of Appalachia, before they were lost to history. Lamar Marshall has spent a decade painstakingly mapping them, and their rich history. Marshall cannot make it over the log. It lays across a small creek somewhere in the Nantahala National Forest outside Cowee, western North Carolina, as a bridge. His problem is a bruised...

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What you need to know about wildfire safety

Wildfire season is approaching fast. Poor air quality that limits athletic activity, the devastation of the places where we play, the release of climate change-causing carbons into our atmosphere, the economic impact on rural communities… these terrifying consequences are just some of the negative effects of forest fires. Unfortunately, wildfires are only just increasing...

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Hike in the Footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt

When Theodore Roosevelt took office as the United States’ 26th president, he was only 42, the youngest president in the history of the nation. He was also a fanatic for the outdoors, and was actually heading back from a hike when his predecessor, President William McKinley, took a turn for the worst after an assassination attempt and died. The presidency and life at the...

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Spiritual Adventures to Challenge the Mind and Body

Any quiet walk in the woods can be a spiritual experience, and countless hikers head to redwood groves and high places to find a sense of awe. But if following a dirt track is a kind of prayer—the hypnotizing rhythm of feet and breath an ancient song—some trails are true religious pilgrimages, routes laid down by the faithful. From the high peaks of South Korea to an...

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Stages of heat illness: When you need to go to the E.R.

Did you know that 600-700 people die from heat-related illness every year? The elderly are most at risk, but athletic teens are too. And yes, even us hikers. In fact, heat-related illness is the third highest cause for death in young athletes. Specifically, football players in the month of August are at the top of that list. How sick you get from heat depends on how high...

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Just Another Day at Stunning Roan Highlands – A Photo Essay

Ho. Hum. Just another day at Roan Highlands. Now, obviously I’m being facetious. Roan Highlands is probably my favorite place to go in all of Western North Carolina, especially in mid-June when it is catawba rhododendron and flame azalea time. It’s exciting to hike on the iconic Appalachian Trail, the views of Tennessee and North Carolina on either side of...

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California scores its first big environmental victory of the Trump era

There was one revealing bit of testimony on Capitol Hill recently – from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt told a House subcommittee that the EPA is not reviewing California’s lone-in-the-country authority to set air-quality standards tougher than those found elsewhere in the nation. For months, California politicians, led by...

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Kanarraville Falls: Best kept secret becomes nightmare

For years, Kanarraville Falls was one of Southern Utah’s best-kept secrets. The hidden hike leading to a slot canyon waterfall was seemingly reserved for residents of the small town of Kanarraville. Over the span of a few years, the natural wonder turned into a big problem for the locals. They first noticed the increase during the Fourth of July weekend in 2004. Town...

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American Chestnuts in the Field

By the 1950s, two non-native pathogens had killed almost all American chestnut trees. “There’s a lot of interest in breeding a chestnut that looks like American chestnut with the disease resistance of Chinese chestnut,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “However, there hasn’t been much research on reintroducing disease-resistant trees to the...

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Exploring the Hiking Trails of Olympia’s Priest Point Park

Olympia, Washington has a special relationship with nature and its parks. For generations residents have been taking friends and family members out into nature, enjoying picnics, hiking through forests and strolling along the beaches, connecting with the community and lands they call home. Since 1905, when it was first opened to the public, Priest Point Park has been...

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How dangerous are High Sierra conditions right now? Even experienced hikers say ‘stay out’

High-elevation hiking and backpacking in early summer typically requires a tolerance for snow and swollen creeks. Except conditions this year in the Sierra Nevada, with last winter’s giant snowpack starting to melt, are anything but typical. They’re treacherous and potentially deadly – even for the most experienced and best equipped wilderness travelers. “In a normal...

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The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.

Like cheese in France or cars in Germany, climate change is a business in the Netherlands. Month in, month out, delegations from as far away as Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, New York and New Orleans make the rounds in the port city of Rotterdam. They often end up hiring Dutch firms, which dominate the global market in high-tech engineering and water management. That’s...

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