News

The locked gate: Road closure decisions complex in the Smokies

Posted by on Feb 28, 2020 @ 7:12 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The locked gate: Road closure decisions complex in the Smokies

Lisa Hendy is an early riser, and when it comes to dealing with snow days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that’s a good thing. As chief ranger, Hendy’s responsibilities are many — but one of them is deciding when, if and for how long to close the roads when the weather gets bad. “Really what it boils down to is a combination of the forecast and observations on the ground,” she said. She rises each morning at 4 a.m., and when severe weather’s in the forecast, the early wakeup allows her to get a jump on the day’s planning. The park...

read more

New Rules Will Help the PCT Combat Overcrowding

Posted by on Feb 27, 2020 @ 7:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New Rules Will Help the PCT Combat Overcrowding

On October 1, 2019, the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) announced a new permitting system that will affect all of the trail’s prospective thru-hikers starting in the 2020 season. Stricter regulations have been added to both north- and southbound hikes to more evenly distrubute crowds in both directions. The changes are intended to combat the significant increase in long-distance trail use over the past five years. Perhaps the most surprising change for the incoming class of PCT hikers is the addition of a required southbound hiking...

read more

Italian hikers rescued in Alaska after visiting infamous bus featured in ‘Into the Wild’

Posted by on Feb 26, 2020 @ 6:42 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Italian hikers rescued in Alaska after visiting infamous bus featured in ‘Into the Wild’

An Italian man suffering from frostbite and four other tourists were rescued in the Alaska wilderness after visiting an abandoned bus that has become a lure for adventurers since it was featured in the “Into the Wild” book and movie. Alaska State Troopers say the five Italians were rescued from a camp they set up after visiting the dilapidated bus on the Stampede Trail near the interior town of Healy. The hikers were found 13 miles from the trailhead, Trooper spokesman Tim DeSpain said. He didn’t know how far they were from the bus. One of...

read more

How to react if you come across a rattlesnake while hiking

Posted by on Feb 25, 2020 @ 7:09 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Snakes will become more active as the temperatures start to warm up. The good news is there are safety tips to keep you on the trail and out of the emergency room. “Rattlesnakes anywhere are most active and most likely to be out…from about 78 degrees on up to about 90 degrees” says Joe Hymes, who is with the Venom Curator at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in Scottsdale, AZ. And Arizona knows rattlesnakes. If you do encounter a rattlesnake on your favorite trail, Hymes recommends staying calm and staying at least three feet away. “Even...

read more

Officials battling fire at popular hiking site at Delaware Water Gap

Posted by on Feb 24, 2020 @ 9:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Officials battling fire at popular hiking site at Delaware Water Gap

Crews worked through the night battling a fire that started in the February 23, 2020 in Worthington State Forest in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Hikers were asked to avoid a section of the recreation area as state and federal agencies responded, and hot spots remain early morning. The fire started on Mount Tammany off the popular Red Dot Trail on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap, according to a post by the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, amid a sunny February day reaching the mid-50s. Officials...

read more

Hikers rescued after more than a week in the forest

Posted by on Feb 23, 2020 @ 8:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

An intense search in Northern California ended joyously when rescue teams found a couple in their 70s who went hiking more than a week ago and got lost in dense forest, said Sgt. Brenton Schneider of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, are now recovering in a hospital after being located near Shell Beach in Tomales Bay State Park. The two suffered from hypothermia but were able to stay alive because “they were drinking from a puddle,” Schneider said. Kiparsky had lost her shoes and...

read more

Knoxville woman takes on Appalachian Trail solo hike

Posted by on Feb 22, 2020 @ 6:32 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Knoxville woman takes on Appalachian Trail solo hike

Gretchen Pardon is a computer programmer, wife, YouTuber and avid hiker. On Thursday, February 20, 2020 in Amicalola Falls, Georgia, she began a journey she has been dreaming about for several years. She is thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail solo. Pardon has always been active but started hiking and backpacking as a serious hobby more than 5 years ago. She became a 900-miler in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and created a YouTube channel called “Hiking With Braids,” which comes from her signature hairstyle and unofficial...

read more

Backpacking for Beginners: Sky Campground in Point Reyes National Seashore

Posted by on Feb 21, 2020 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Backpacking for Beginners: Sky Campground in Point Reyes National Seashore

Backpacking isn’t for the faint of heart—it takes a bit of careful planning and, yes, you have to carry all your stuff. But the rewards are well worth it: no cars, no RVs, no crowds. Take baby steps toward becoming an intrepid backpacker by first setting off on short hikes into campsites that will check all your boxes for privacy, lush foliage, and killer views. A nice one starting with a short trek into Sky Campground, is at Point Reyes National Seashore, California. Most Bay Areans have been to Point Reyes National Seashore, but only...

read more

Greater Zion Is a Multisport Paradise

Posted by on Feb 20, 2020 @ 6:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Greater Zion Is a Multisport Paradise

Few places in the country—or the world—can hold a candle to Utah’s bounty of wild geography and epic natural playgrounds. And within the Beehive State, it’s hard to beat the awe-inspiring dreamscape that is Zion National Park. But you knew that already. What you might not know is that Greater Zion, the region surrounding the iconic park, is similarly blessed and even more ripe for adventure. Take Snow Canyon State Park, often referred to as “Mini Zion,” for example: you can hike it, bike it, climb it, rappel it, SUP it, ogle it....

read more

The Great Smoky Mountains’ iconic clouds are helping to protect the region from climate change – for now

Posted by on Feb 19, 2020 @ 6:42 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The Great Smoky Mountains’ iconic clouds are helping to protect the region from climate change – for now

Long before the Great Smokies became a national park, its mountains peeked out among clouds of haze. The Cherokee called the mountains “Shaconage”: the place of the blue smoke. The iconic clouds in the park – on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee – are as important to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as glaciers are to Glacier National Park and Joshua trees are to Joshua Tree National Park. The blanket of haze is part of the draw for the Smokies’ 12.5 million visitors in 2019, almost twice the number at the Grand Canyon. The...

read more

Acadia National Park is introducing a timed reservation system for visitors

Posted by on Feb 17, 2020 @ 7:29 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Acadia National Park is introducing a timed reservation system for visitors

The only national park in all of New England, Acadia incorporates both coastline and mountains and has a remarkably diverse landscape. There are scenic lakes and ponds to discover too plus plenty of picnic spots. It’s the seventh most visited national park in the US with 3.5m visitors annually, and in order to cut down on traffic and reduce overcrowding, visitors will have to acquire permits from the summer of 2021 to visit certain popular areas of the park. In advance of this, the park’s management plans to trial the system for...

read more

Empire State Trail to Open This Year

Posted by on Feb 16, 2020 @ 6:30 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Empire State Trail to Open This Year

The Empire State Trail was first envisioned in 2017 and is set to open this year. The question still remains of when exactly will the trail open? The Empire State Trail will bring together fellow New Yorkers along with millions of visitors. It allows exercise enthusiasts, nature lovers and travelers to explore all of the beauty throughout New York. Fellow historians will also enjoy discovering the history of this state from the Lower Hudson Valley up to Albany and beyond. The trail will showcase the extensive history of New York along with...

read more

Proposed Budget Cuts Target National Parks

Posted by on Feb 15, 2020 @ 7:24 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Proposed Budget Cuts Target National Parks

The Trump Administration’s budget plan for 2021 proposes serious cuts to the National Park Service and other federal agencies that if enacted, would jeopardize the protection, maintenance and operation of our more than 400 national parks across the country. The administration’s budget calls for a total cut of $587 million (17 percent) to the National Park Service. The budget also proposes a $2.4 billion (26 percent) cut to the EPA, the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing laws like the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act so we can...

read more

Hikes in Los Angeles: 9 trails with spectacular endings

Posted by on Feb 14, 2020 @ 7:01 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikes in Los Angeles: 9 trails with spectacular endings

Los Angeles’s wealth of outdoor activities is no secret, and in Southern California, it’s hardly ever a bad time to get outside. Hiking is a cheap way to enjoy the fresh air sunshine. But for those more reluctant hikers—folks who need a little carrot to dangle in front of them as they trudge up a hill—here is a list of Los Angeles-area hikes that come with spectacular sights. Each of the routes offer beautiful or unique views along the way or at the end: waterfalls, stunning views, leftovers from bygone film shoots. So bribe friends and...

read more

DuPont, Friends seek input on management of wildly popular forest

Posted by on Feb 13, 2020 @ 7:11 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

DuPont, Friends seek input on management of wildly popular forest

Horse safety and the need for trailer parking, overcrowded hiking trails, the desire for single-track mountain bike trails and more trail etiquette education at DuPont State Recreational Forest are just some of the issues swirling around the much loved, multi-use state forest, which is entering its 20th year. The 12,000-acre state forest in Henderson and Transylvania counties, about an hour southwest of Asheville, NC, attracted nearly 1 million visitors from across the country and the world in 2019, leading to a quest by management and...

read more

USDA Forest Service announces challenge to increase focus on problems facing nation’s largest public trail system

Posted by on Feb 12, 2020 @ 6:51 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

USDA Forest Service announces challenge to increase focus on problems facing nation’s largest public trail system

USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen today emphasized the need to find innovative ideas to tackle the nearly $300 million maintenance backlog on the nation’s largest public trail system. Christiansen called on individuals and organizations to work with the agency to address trail maintenance and sustainability to improve access, keep people safe, and support local economies. “In 2019, organizations and individuals contributed more than 1.5 million hours on the maintenance and repair of more than 28,000 miles of trail, and we are...

read more

Emails Show DOI Falsified Fire Data for Political Ends

Posted by on Feb 11, 2020 @ 6:22 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Emails Show DOI Falsified Fire Data for Political Ends

Political appointees at the Interior Department have sought to play up climate pollution from California wildfires while downplaying emissions from fossil fuels as a way of promoting more logging in the nation’s forests, internal emails obtained by the Guardian reveal. The messaging plan was crafted in support of Donald Trump’s pro-industry arguments for harvesting more timber in California, which he says would thin forests and prevent fires – a point experts refute. The emails show officials seeking to estimate the carbon emissions from...

read more

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

Posted by on Feb 10, 2020 @ 7:14 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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 of national forests including recreation, timber, water, wilderness, and wildlife habitat. The draft EIS considers the economic, environmental, and social impacts of forest...

read more

Catawba conservation purchase to become part of new trail system

Posted by on Feb 9, 2020 @ 7:24 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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 made up of woodlands and former pasturelands near Finger Bridge along the Jacob Fork River. The conservancy will transfer the property to N.C. State Parks, which will manage...

read more

The Lost Sierra to gain 300 new miles of trail

Posted by on Feb 8, 2020 @ 6:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 non-motorized trail. Connected Communities will focus on the Northern Sierra Nevada range, home of both the Yuba and Feather Rivers; critical watersheds delivering more than 65...

read more

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

Posted by on Feb 7, 2020 @ 6:41 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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 with tribes and conservation groups who have sought to have the protected areas restored. The expanses of windswept badlands, narrow slot canyons and towering rock formations...

read more

Conserving Carolina launches 2020 spring hiking series

Posted by on Feb 6, 2020 @ 6:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 parallels the Green River with river views, cascades, stream crossings, and perhaps some early blooming spring wildflowers. On Friday, March 20, the next hike will take place...

read more

Delta Heritage Trail will be 85 miles when completed

Posted by on Feb 5, 2020 @ 6:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 two segments at both ends. The middle 40 miles is yet to be built. The completed sections include a 20.6-mile compacted crush gravel section between Lexa and Elaine, a 14.4-mile...

read more

2020 Great Backyard Bird Count

Posted by on Feb 4, 2020 @ 7:07 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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 distribution and abundance of birds. You are invited to participate. For at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 14-17, 2020, simply tally the numbers...

read more

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

Posted by on Feb 3, 2020 @ 6:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 is officially in vogue. One of the (many) reasons for the popularity surge is that hiking, just like yoga, is actually proven to reduce your stress levels. Research conducted...

read more

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

Posted by on Feb 2, 2020 @ 6:31 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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, improves water quality and aquatic habitat, and improves access to the forest. “Many people helped us throughout the planning of this project and I thank them for working...

read more

Hiking muddy trails can cause lasting damage

Posted by on Feb 1, 2020 @ 6:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 walking around puddles because it damages vegetation and creates trail widening,” said a Land Access Manager. He recommends hikers reschedule an outing when storms hit because...

read more

Utah Wanted All the Tourists. Then It Got Them.

Posted by on Jan 31, 2020 @ 6:30 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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 was the most spectacular place on the continent—maybe the world—so why did other states get the good rep? The office hired a Salt Lake City ad firm called Struck. The creatives...

read more

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

Posted by on Jan 30, 2020 @ 6:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 by spring-fed Havasu Creek. The Havasupai Tribe has for years opened its land to those wishing to explore what may well be the Southwest’s most beautiful tourist destination....

read more

‘This is a human tragedy and an ecological tragedy’

Posted by on Jan 29, 2020 @ 7:17 am in Conservation | 0 comments

‘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 organ pipe cacti rising in clusters like their namesake church organ pipes, the voice of local dissent grows louder. Some members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose land...

read more

Smokies Park Sets Visitation Record with 12.5 Million Visitors

Posted by on Jan 28, 2020 @ 6:29 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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 section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley. Over one million visitors enjoyed this new scenic driving experience. “I am very proud of our employees who...

read more

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

Posted by on Jan 27, 2020 @ 7:10 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

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 60 miles of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. It runs from Swanton, near the Canadian border, to St. Johnsbury, not far from the Connecticut River border with New Hampshire....

read more

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

Posted by on Jan 26, 2020 @ 7:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 Central. The trails will be free and open to the public. While most public trail systems can take up to a decade to build out – Greenville’s Swamp Rabbit Trail and...

read more

Smokies Park Announces Temporary Cataloochee Area Road Closures

Posted by on Jan 25, 2020 @ 6:59 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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 area, Highway 284, will also be closed in the park throughout the duration of the construction project. Both roadways will be closed to all vehicles, cyclists, and horseback...

read more

The 25 Best Accessible Trails in America

Posted by on Jan 24, 2020 @ 7:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 grade into account. Help was provided by experts like Accessible Nature creator Cecilia Travis and Disabled Hikers founder Syren Nagakyrie, as well as wheelchair adventurers from...

read more

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

Posted by on Jan 23, 2020 @ 6:39 am in Conservation | 0 comments

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 it Nasty Branch,” says Renee Fortner, watershed resources manager for the Asheville-based nonprofit RiverLink. For her, Town Branch is not just a matter of a single ailing...

read more