101 things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the country for a good reason: there are countless things to do spread across two states and thousands of acres. But sometimes it can be difficult to pick just one thing to do in the park. Other times you may find yourself in a rut doing the same thing over and over. So here is a list of 101 things...

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Earlier Springs Heighten Allergy Misery in East Tennessee

In the heart of South Knoxville sits one of eight Allergy and Asthma Affiliates clinics scattered across Tennessee. Allergist and immunologist Dr. Trent Ellenburg is already being kept busy at his family-owned business, where patients have started coming in suffering from spring allergy symptoms. “As we’re seeing warmer, milder weather, and lots of rain, we do see...

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Hiking through history: Little Cataloochee offers a window to the past

One hundred years ago, the parking area and campground just past the fields in Cataloochee Valley where elk often hang out was better known as Nellie, a remote community in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As anybody who’s ever driven the steep and narrow access road from Jonathan Creek can imagine, it was hard to get in and hard to get out in the...

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Hiker’s Handbook: Best U.S. Hiking Cities

Most of us will never have the time for a 6-month thru hike, but a good day hike can be as refreshing as a week in the backcountry. And if you know where to look, trails abound—even near a concrete jungle. Here are some of the best U.S. cities for getting that backcountry fix in easy-access doses. Portland Smack in the middle of town, Forest Park, Portland’s 5,200-acre...

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N.C. Arboretum receives $1 million grant for statewide outreach

All across Western North Carolina, teachers and students are headed outdoors to find, observe and photograph local wildlife as a part of ecoEXPLORE, a citizen science program developed by The North Carolina Arboretum. Kids in grades K-8 who participate in ecoEXPLORE can earn prizes and help professional researchers by cataloging the plants, animals and insects that they...

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The disease devastating deer herds may also threaten human health

Scientists have called this neurodegenerative disease, which attacks deer, elk and moose, a “nightmare” and a “state of emergency.” Lately, the media’s been calling it “zombie deer disease.” Lawmakers are calling it a “crisis” and currently considering at least three bills at the national level to combat it. Researchers, resource managers and others worry it could hurt...

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Time’s running out to hike this amazing hot springs trail near Las Vegas

Las Vegas visitors who like a challenge will find rejuvenating hot springs, spectacular vistas and, right now, abundant wildflowers on an arduous hiking trail along the banks of the Colorado River that’s about an hour’s drive east of the Strip. Go now if you want to catch spring because the trail closes in mid-May and doesn’t reopen until September. The Gold Strike Hot...

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Hiking to the Summit of Bulgaria’s Belogradchik Fortress

One of Bulgaria’s most interesting historical monuments is the Belogradchik Fortress. It’s located on the slopes of the Balkan Mountains, and the area’s phenomenal rock formations serve not only as natural protection but also as an integral part of the fortification itself. It’s believed that these ancient rock formations were formed over a period of more than 200...

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Who is responsible for Hong Kong’s disappearing trails?

Hong Kong is dense with trails criss-crossing the territory. There are the major ones, like the MacLehose, Wilson, Hong Kong, and Lantau trails, then the minor ones and their tributaries. What we may be less aware of is that many unofficially designated trails are at risk of disappearing for good. For centuries, residents of the territory have inscribed their marks onto...

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Next Level Trails in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee, may have the coolest backyard ever. Less than 10 miles from the city center, Mountain Creek Park will offer the community an urban recreation experience with 8 to 12 miles of natural surface trails for beginner to expert mountain bike riding, exceptional bouldering, and hiking trails for scenic exploration. With 800 feet of vertical drop and...

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Poetry graces popular park trails

Nature is pure poetry, judging by the artwork on Olympic National Park trails. The North Olympic Library System (NOLS) has teamed up with Olympic National Park to offer a sixth season of Poetry Walks. This year’s will continue through May 31, 2019. It features inspiring poetry along four park trails. During Poetry Walks, poems are placed on signs on the Hall of Mosses...

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An Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker On The Need To Protect Our Wild Spaces

This year on her birthday, Carolyn Burman decided to do a solo hike in one of her favorite state parks in Connecticut. She has magical memories of that trek. She grew up hiking it — her mother even went into labor with her while walking the path. She looked forward to a peaceful, reflective experience in nature. Instead, she found something else. “There was so much...

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The Adirondacks: Hiking America’s Original Wilderness

Many are those who say the Adirondacks are unique. That may be an overused word, but in numerous ways the region is distinctive, and in some cases even certifiably unique. Let’s consider some of those ways. The Adirondacks are big. Not vertically, which is what most people think of when they hear the word “big” associated with mountains, but horizontally. Consider the...

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Hiking Mississippi’s Scenic Trails

Searching for the best places in Mississippi for hiking and camping? A University of Mississippi staff member knows exactly where to find the best trails. Shannon Richardson, assistant director of campus recreation, has been supervising Ole Miss Outdoors for the past 14 years. Through her position, the Oakwood, Georgia, native has been on countless Mississippi trails....

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‘The Hiking Vikings’ Make Appalachian Trail Signs

Appalachian Trail thru-hikers agree that the sign on Mount Katahdin in Maine signifies the pinnacle of a journey that changes you forever. A local couple who completed their thru-hike in 2015 found there were signs along the way that held life-altering messages too. Nate and Sharon Harrington, known to those on the trail as “The Hiking Vikings,” started their hike on...

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What are the Best Restaurants on the Appalachian Trail?

From the perspective of a thru-hiker, there are few things that matter more than the meals to be devoured upon reaching the next town. After a few consecutive days of cold tuna, ramen, and beef jerky, hikers’ dreams are infiltrated with visions of bacon cheeseburgers, pepperoni pizzas, and Ben and Jerry’s. When you’re few hundred miles south of Catawba, you start...

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Bill to preserve 400,000 acres in Colorado would be biggest deal in 25 years

An ambitious effort to preserve mountain wilderness and historic landscapes in Colorado will launch April 8, 2019 with the introduction of a bill in Congress that aims to protect 400,000 acres of public lands in the state. It would pay special homage to Camp Hale, home to the historic 10th Mountain Division. The bill — dubbed the Colorado Outdoor Recreation &...

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Five hikes in Colorado that are best done in the spring

As temperatures gradually warm up and flowers peek through the snow, Coloradans know what time of year has arrived. No, not springtime: hiking time. Snow-wary outdoorsmen are beginning to dig out their hiking boots again, ready to stretch their legs across the state’s many trails. But with all those options, it can sometimes be difficult to choose which trail to set out...

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Smokies Park Hosts Trail Volunteer Opportunities in April

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced several volunteer workdays during the month of April, 2019 on popular trails as the park prepares for the busy summer season. These opportunities are ideal for people interested in learning more about the park and the trails program through hands-on service alongside experienced park staff. Volunteers will help...

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Here’s a closer look at what Trump cut out of Bears Ears National Monument

When President Trump reduced the size of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument by more than 1.1 million acres, his administration assured the public “important objects of scientific or historic interest” would still be protected. Many areas the Trump administration removed from Bears Ears are rich in uranium and oil deposits and may eventually become more accessible...

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North Carolina orders Duke Energy to excavate all coal ash

The country’s largest electric company was ordered to excavate coal ash from all of its North Carolina power plant sites, slashing the risk of toxic chemicals leaking into water supplies but potentially adding billions of dollars to the costs consumers pay. Duke Energy Corp. must remove the residue left after decades of burning coal to produce electricity, North...

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Yosemite is changing Half Dome hiking permits this year

The route up Half Dome that John Muir climbed in 1875 is the same one you’ll ascend today — if you’re lucky enough to score the special permit required to hike Yosemite’s most recognizable feature. After years of traffic jams on the cable-lined path up Half Dome — and several related deaths — the park put in place a permitting system in 2010. That eased the crowding...

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Springtime in the Great Smokies means synchronous firefly extravaganza is coming soon

Synchronous fireflies – the hottest ticket outside the flashing lights of Broadway – are about to get the party started. The chance to see Photinus carolinus, a firefly species whose males display synchronous flashes to attract mates, is so hotly anticipated and so rare, that the National Park Service had to limit the hordes of humans and now holds a lottery for tickets...

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‘Doomsday vault’ threatened by climate change

The site of the so-called ‘Doomsday vault’, designed to safeguard millions of the world’s most genetically important seeds from nuclear war, asteroid strikes and other disasters, is at threat from climate change, a new report has warned. Longyearbyen, the Arctic home of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, faces potentially devastating avalanches, rockfalls,...

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Walking in Wales: New trail complete as final stage opens

For more than 150 years, the Heart of Wales railway has meandered through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Britain. Now walkers can enjoy one of the UK’s longest fully-waymarked footpaths, loosely following the line, from Shropshire to Carmarthenshire. The last stage of the 141-mile trail opened this week. One tourism expert said Wales was...

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National Park Week 2019: Celebrating America’s National Parks

National Park Week, running from April 20 through 28, 2019, has something for everyone. Join the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation for nine days of fun, including National Junior Ranger Day and National BARK Ranger Day. Visit www.NationalParkWeek.org for more information and a list of special events. “National parks are sources of inspiration,...

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Why Hiking Is Surging in Popularity in the U.S.

Hiking is now the fourth most-popular outdoor activity in the U.S., after running, fishing and biking, according to The Outdoor Foundation’s 2018 Outdoor Participation Report. The report noted that 44.9 million people hit the trails in 2017, up from 30 million in 2006. The biggest jump in participation came between 2015 and 2016. Trail experts say no definitive...

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Smokies Park and Eastern Band Cherokee Indians Finalize Agreement Allowing Sochan Gathering

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI) finalized a gathering agreement that allows the gathering of sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata) for traditional purposes by 36 permitted tribal members. Park Superintendent Cassius Cash and Principal Chief Richard Sneed were joined by tribal council members as they signed the historic...

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Three decades after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Alaska’s coast faces an even bigger threat

For three days in March 1989, the oil — at least 11 million gallons of it, though some say much more — had lain like a still pool around the ship, virtually untouched by cleanup efforts. Now the storm clawed the oil across the sound’s tracery of rocky islands, into their infinite crevices, and ultimately over more than 1,000 miles of rich coastal wilderness. The story...

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Linville Gorge: A Sparkle of Rekindled Joy

That faraway gaze sprinkled with a sparkle of rekindled joy in his eyes was becoming more familiar these days as he reflected and reminisced of past memories – memories of a simpler time when laughter, friendship, and camaraderie was never in short supply, especially when in the presence of those who did life together – a family in a sense. That family consisted of Dad...

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The Cradle of Forestry in America historic site will begin the 2019 season on April 6

The Cradle of Forestry’s living history demonstrators and crafters will bring the Pink Beds community along the Cradle’s Biltmore Campus Trail to life by re-creating an early 1900’s community busy at work and play. Guests can visit the cozy King House to smell the wonderful aromas of open-hearth cooking, help with laundry without the modern...

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New Verde Valley hiking trails show off views all the way to Flagstaff

Just a few miles north of Camp Verde, Arizona, Wet Beaver Creek cuts a meandering course through high-desert plains and sparse mesas on its way to the Verde River. For thousands of years, the perennially flowing stream has been the life blood for peoples who settled near its green corridor. The communities of Rimrock and Montezuma Lake are the most recent to evolve...

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