Anti-gay bias lead to deadly shooting on Appalachian Trail in 1988

Maybe they should have looked more closely at the name of the place where they parked… Dead Woman Hollow Road. But bad omens were not on their minds. All they knew on that warm spring afternoon, May 12, 1988, was that they were young, in love, and eager to be alone in the wilderness, hiking the Appalachian Trail. They were also both women, a fact that would later...

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Public comment sought on trail improvement plan for Pisgah National Forest

Popular trails in the Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County, North Carolina are included in a trail improvement plan for the Pisgah National Forest. “Each year, several million visitors come to experience the natural beauty and rich history of the Pisgah,” said Dave Casey, the head ranger for the Pisgah district of the...

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Planning a spring hike? Step carefully when it’s muddy so you don’t damage trails, habitat

The welcome arrival of spring weather will undoubtedly encourage outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage by hitting the many trails in their surrounding communities. It’s a great time of year to see colorful wildflowers blooming in the desert, before the arrival of rattlesnakes and the stifling summer heat, or spring ephemerals that blossom before the greening of the...

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Tips and Tricks for Visiting 26 National Parks, Straight From Park Employees

Each of the National Park Service’s 417 locations, from national parks and monuments, has unique sights and activities — that can be best appreciated with a few insider tips. For example, a hidden gem at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan is Port Oneida Rural Historic District, which is filled with turn-of-the-century farmhouses, beautiful views of Lake...

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Get outdoors with a hike in North Central West Virginia

North Central West Virginia is known for world-class hiking for every skill level. There are a number of picturesque trails winding through forest, across ridge lines or to peaks with stunning views of the surrounding hills. Rail trail systems exist in many West Virginia counties, including Harrison and Marion. At Prickett’s Fort State Park, the rail trail goes through...

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Drilling, one mile outside Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes

Since President Donald Trump was sworn into office last year, the administration has used its “energy dominance” agenda to require states to conduct quarterly sales on public lands across the West. As a result, the Bureau of Land Management is on track to double the acreage open for leasing in 2018, compared to 2017, in six Western states. This September, 11 parcels...

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Closed Oregon Trails In Columbia River Gorge Jam Trailheads On Washington Side

More than 30 popular hiking trails on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge remain closed because of hazards left in the wake of last year’s Eagle Creek wildfire. That has park rangers wrangling crowds on the unburned Washington side of the Gorge. Unsafe conditions will likely keep many trails on the Oregon side of the western Gorge closed until this summer...

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5 great places for spring hiking in upstate New York

With warmer weather finally on its way, hiking can be a great way to break a months-long spell of cabin fever and catch some springtime scenery. Luckily, the Southern Tier offers a variety of hikes that range in length and difficulty, providing outdoors enthusiasts of all ability levels with the chance to view blossoming flowers, chirping birds and flowing streams....

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Reckoning with History: The parks have been fixed before

When the Great Depression and World War II concluded, the national park system was in disarray. The extractive industry sought greater access to resources, such as timber in Olympic National Park, while bureaucrats eyed sites for future dams, including in Dinosaur National Monument. Most importantly, the park system was growing as new units were added and more visitors...

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White House Abruptly Orders EPA To Loosen Clean Air Rules In Polluter Giveaway

With little notice, President Donald Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency on April 12, 2018 to dramatically overhaul national clean air standards and make it easier for industry to pollute in areas where it’s already dangerous to breathe. The executive order puts poor communities and people of color particularly at risk. The executive order ― titled...

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Inspector General: Zinke’s Reassignment Of Native Americans And Climate Scientists Possibly Illegal

The reassignment of dozens of senior career Interior Department (DOI) officials last year may have violated federal law, a damning internal report released April 11, 2018 found. But investigators with the DOI Inspector General’s office said they were unable to say definitively because the agency failed to properly document their reasons for ousting the employees. “Absent...

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Greenland’s ice is melting much faster than we thought. Here’s why that’s scary.

Our planet is warming and its cryosphere — Earth’s frozen regions — is melting. This we know. The Arctic, in particular, is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the planet. And this winter, the sheet of Arctic sea ice that grows and shrinks in an annual cycle was at its second lowest extent since scientists began measuring it with satellites. But the ice that...

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Volunteers take on historic effort to sign the Continental Divide Trail

  It can be hard to find your way along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT), which runs from Mexico to Canada along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. The trail is completely unmarked in some sections and, in others, blown-down trees and bleaching from the sun have made the existing trail markers, or “blazes,” difficult to spot. But, this year, in...

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Rainbow Falls Trail Project Continues on Mt. LeConte

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that the second phase of a 2-year trail rehabilitation project will begin Monday, April 16 on the popular Rainbow Falls Trail. The trail will be closed April 16, 2018 through November 15, 2018 on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. Due to the construction process on the narrow...

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The Future Is the Car-Free National Park

Lately we’ve heard a lot from the bureaucrats at the National Park Service about a looming budget crisis. They urgently need $12 billion for maintenance of roads, bridges, visitor centers, trails, and campgrounds worn thin by an enormous increase in visitation. In 2015, the Park Service logged 300 million visitors, the most in its recorded history. The number rose to 330...

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Bradley Fork and Cabin Flats Trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This is one of my new favorite Spring wildflower hikes in the Smokies. The flowers are brilliant along both the Bradley Fork and Cabin Flats Trails. The Smokemont region of the Smokies is one of the most convenient, located just a short few miles northwest of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center off Hwy 441. It is four miles up Bradley Fork to Cabin Flats Trail, then another...

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Please Don’t Stack Rocks

“Cairns,” Gaelic for “heap of stones” seems to be the new creek art. Surely when you’ve been out on a streamside hike in recent years you’ve noticed a pile or two of someone’s creative intrusion. These temporary natural installations may be an expression of patience and balance to the ego of the builder, but to some naturalists who practice “Leave No...

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Reaching the Pinnacle: Hiking the Ouachita National Recreation Trail in Arkansas

Most Oklahoma hikers are acquainted with the bi-state Ouachita National Recreation Trail’s scenic 46 miles of outdoor adventure in southeastern Oklahoma, which roughly parallels the scenic Talimena Drive roadway. Lesser known to Sooner hikers, the trail’s eastern terminus near striking Pinnacle Mountain in central Arkansas provides a trove of hiking fun and...

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Public can weigh in on proposed improvements to Pacific Northwest Trail

After traversing Montana, Idaho and the North Cascades, hikers on the Pacific Northwest Trail pass through Whatcom and Skagit counties on their way to the Washington coast. Pacific Northwest Trail Association Executive Director Jeff Kish said in this area the trail could use some improvements and that now is the time for the public to get involved. The Mount...

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Hikes in San Fancisco’s Bay Area: 9 trails with waterfall endings

The Bay Area’s abundance of outdoors activities is no secret, and now that spring and springtime rains are here, there’s no better time to get outside, especially if you don’t mind a little mud on your shoes. Uvas Canyon County Park, a formerly obscure South Bay hiking retreat, is now so popular for its Instagram-friendly waterfalls that it now requires reservations on...

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Castle Crags’ spectacular little seen world

With one short jog from Interstate 5 in Northern California, you can discover the state park that is hidden in plain sight. The turnoff is at Castella, bound for Castle Crags State Park. Drivers on I-5 get eye-popping views of the granite spires, pyramids and a missile-shaped dome that poke 6,000-foot holes in the sky. Each hour, about 2,000 vehicles pass by Castle...

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Transcaucasian Trail: Mapping Eurasia’s forgotten hiking routes

Blame it on the region’s tricky geopolitics or the former Soviet Union, but the mountains of the Caucasus – a high and sheer rocky spine soaring between southwestern Russia and Iran – still for the most part lie untouched and undiscovered. That’s all about to change thanks to 34-year-old Tom Allen, who has seen the potential of these peaks and is...

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The Top 5: Avoiding Hiking Injuries and Accidents and What to Do

Unlike many other outdoor activities that require extensive training, a hefty investment in equipment, and oftentimes a superior level of fitness, hiking is a fairly accessible and affordable way to get out and get active for mostly everyone. With that said, seeing a hiker get injured is a good reminder of how quickly a leisurely hike can turn into a dangerous and...

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Accessible only by hiking, Georgia’s Len Foote Hike Inn

The Len Foote Hike Inn is nestled in an exceptionally beautiful stretch of the southern Appalachians. It’s an environmentally sustainable backcountry lodge that’s accessible only by hike, clad in beautiful rustic/modern architecture and a comfortable and welcoming spirit, and dishing fresh and delicious cuisine on a mountaintop with incredible vistas. It’s only...

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Mud Season Hiking Do’s and Don’ts

Mud season can be a challenge for hikers and trail maintainers alike. So if you want to hike in the spring, knowing how to safely enjoy soggy trails without destroying them is an essential outdoor skill. “More and more people are hiking year-round, and while it is wonderful to have people enjoying the trails, [hikers] are also having an impact,” says Alex DeLucia, the...

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National parks to rethink plan to hike entrance fees after widespread anger

The Department of the Interior said that it planned to revise a controversial proposal to drastically increase entrance fees at some of the most popular national parks in the country. The interior department press secretary, Heather Swift, said the Trump administration decided to rethink its proposal after Americans flooded the National Park Service (NPS) with more than...

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Cradle of Forestry 2018 Season Kicks Off April 7

The Cradle of Forestry in America Heritage Site will begin the 2018 season on April 7 with a living history event, “Old Time Plowing and Folkways.” David and Diane Burnette from Haywood County will demonstrate how their Percheron draft horses work the land the old way. Weather permitting, they will plow the Cradle’s vegetable garden along the Biltmore...

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Along the border, 500 miles of desert species

One early March morning in southern Arizona’s Coronado National Memorial, an uneven line of scientists and amateur naturalists in floppy hats and hiking pants crept up a steep hillside through yellowed grasses and dark shrubs. Plant names – scientific and common – flitted through the cool air, as the group covered the terrain, moving at the pace of lichen. The dry winter...

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