News

Hawaii could soon charge hikers for the cost of their own rescue

Posted by on Feb 27, 2021 @ 7:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hawaii could soon charge hikers for the cost of their own rescue

State lawmakers in Hawaii are considering legislation that would make some hikers pay for their own rescue when they get lost or endangered because of their own recklessness. Senate Bill 700 would allow local governments to recoup the cost of search and rescue operations, which can run upward of $10,000. A second bill, SB 363, also working its way through the state Senate, would go further and impose fines for illegally hiking on closed trails and private property. The legislation, which mimics similar rules in multiple other states including...

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87 Acres on French Broad River in NC Protected

Posted by on Feb 26, 2021 @ 6:51 am in Conservation | 0 comments

87 Acres on French Broad River in NC Protected

An 87-acre former sod farm on the French Broad River in Mills River could be the site of a new floodplain restoration, similar to the nearby Mouth of Mud Creek restoration. The property was recently protected with the support of savvy private investors who are using their money for conservation. In December 2020, Conserving Carolina purchased the King’s Bridge property, named for the bridge on Highway 191 over the river. The land now presents an opportunity for wetland restoration or possibly a public access boat ramp on the river. “This...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Newfound Gap Road Paving Project

Posted by on Feb 25, 2021 @ 6:57 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Newfound Gap Road Paving Project

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a paving project will begin this week on Newfound Gap Road along an 8-mile section of the roadway from Chimneys Picnic Area to Newfound Gap. The project should be completed by November 30, 2021, though work schedules are subject to revision as needed for inclement weather. Visitors traveling on Newfound Gap Road should expect weekday, single-lane closures and traffic delays through June 15 and again from August 16 through September 30. Lane closures are permitted from 7:00 a.m. on...

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The 48 Mountains That Held My Grief

Posted by on Feb 21, 2021 @ 11:30 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The 48 Mountains That Held My Grief

By Carrie Thompson for the NY Times On the first day of 2020, my anxiety roared as I approached the summit of Mount Pierce in northern New Hampshire. At about 4,300 feet elevation, the wind was picking up, the visibility dropping to near zero. I was about to turn around in defeat when I heard faint voices ahead of me: two women, zipping up their coats as I approached. “Are you heading for the summit?” I asked. “Could I tag along?” We left the shelter of the tree line, leaning forward slightly as gusts of wind whirled blinding snow around us...

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Humans force wild animals into tight spots, or send them far from home.

Posted by on Feb 19, 2021 @ 7:34 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Humans force wild animals into tight spots, or send them far from home.

The COVID pandemic has shown us that disruptions to the way we move around, complete daily activities and interact with each other can shatter our wellbeing. This doesn’t apply only to humans. Wildlife across the globe find themselves in this situation every day, irrespective of a global pandemic. Human disturbances, on average, restricted an animal’s movements by 37%. That’s like needing to travel several extra miles to get to work each day. The ability to travel is essential to animal survival because it allows animals to find mates, food...

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Snow Canyon State Park developing new trail to educate visitors about the desert tortoise

Posted by on Feb 18, 2021 @ 7:29 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Snow Canyon State Park developing new trail to educate visitors about the desert tortoise

Supported by community fundraising efforts, Utah’s Snow Canyon State Park is in the process of developing a trail designed to inform visitors about the Mojave desert tortoise. The Tortoise Education Trail is scheduled to be the first new trail built within the park in more than a decade. The trail will showcase perhaps the most compelling and hotly debated creature found in Snow Canyon. Park naturalist Jenny Dawn Stucki said that park managers have spent years brainstorming a way to answer visitor questions about the desert tortoise...

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Appalachian Trail thru-hikers again won’t be recognized this year over coronavirus concerns

Posted by on Feb 16, 2021 @ 7:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appalachian Trail thru-hikers again won’t be recognized this year over coronavirus concerns

  If you’re thinking about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail this year, you might want to think again. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is discouraging people from attempting to hike the entire 2,190-mile trail — called thru-hiking — and has said it will not recognize attempted thru-hikes until the coronavirus pandemic is “under control.” The group — which manages the multi-state trail — also said it will not distribute hangtags, the plastic tags given to aspiring thru-hikers to promote sustainable hiking practices and...

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National Park Service implements coronavirus mask mandate on lands, federal buildings

Posted by on Feb 15, 2021 @ 9:05 am in Conservation | 0 comments

National Park Service implements coronavirus mask mandate on lands, federal buildings

Protective face masks are now a requirement for entry into a national park. The National Park Service announced its new mandate in a press release, which notes that the PPE requirement is in compliance with President Biden’s executive action that states masks must be worn on federal property, including parks and buildings. Mask wear is required for visitors, park employees, partners and contractors due to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. This order remains in effect indefinitely. Face masks must be worn on lands managed by the...

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Hike from Austin to the Alamo: new 100-mile trail project underway

Posted by on Feb 14, 2021 @ 7:06 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hike from Austin to the Alamo: new 100-mile trail project underway

Central Texans may soon have a new outdoor activity available: hiking from Austin to San Antonio. The Great Springs Project is a local nonprofit that’s aiming to build a network of trails connecting the two cities and four springs: Barton, Comal, San Marcos and San Antonio Springs. “You’ll be able to hike or bike basically from the Alamo to the Capitol,” says Deborah Morin, co-founder and board president of the Great Springs Project. “80% of Texans (live) within a three hour drive of this area. So instead of thinking about driving eight hours...

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Interior Announces Plans to Strengthen Land and Water Conservation Fund

Posted by on Feb 12, 2021 @ 8:24 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Interior Announces Plans to Strengthen Land and Water Conservation Fund

The U.S. Interior Department took steps to strengthen the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by rescinding Trump administration policies that significantly undermined the landmark conservation program. Secretarial Order 3396 revokes an order signed on November 9, 2020 (Secretarial Order 3388) that unilaterally imposed new restrictions to inhibit the availability of LWCF funding for federal land and water acquisitions. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been crucial to protecting public lands, conserving wildlife habitats and...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces 2021 Plan for Cades Cove Vehicle-Free Days

Posted by on Feb 11, 2021 @ 10:23 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces 2021 Plan for Cades Cove Vehicle-Free Days

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are extending a pilot project in Cades Cove by continuing vehicle-free access on the Cades Cove Loop Road on Wednesdays from May 5 through September 1, 2021. Park managers implemented this weekly, full-day opportunity in 2020 in an effort to improve the visitor experience and to reduce congestion associated with vehicle-free mornings that were previously offered until 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The park received 47 comments through mail, email, phone, and comment cards regarding the...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Cades Cove Road Projects

Posted by on Feb 10, 2021 @ 10:25 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Cades Cove Road Projects

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that the Cades Cove Loop Road will be fully closed for three weeks in September 2021 to resurface the popular roadway which is used by more than 2 million visitors a year. The one-way road will be closed to all motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and horseback riders from Tuesday, September 7 through Monday, September 27. The road was fully reconstructed and resurfaced in 2010. This preventive pavement treatment will maintain the heavily used road in good condition and extend the service...

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Coming Soon: A New Big Bend Hiking Trail

Posted by on Feb 9, 2021 @ 7:16 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Coming Soon: A New Big Bend Hiking Trail

Future park visitors will have another opportunity to get up, get out and enjoy the wide-open spaces of Big Bend when work is completed on a new hiking trail next year. The Lone Mountain Trail will circumnavigate the base of Lone Mountain, an imposing feature just north of park headquarters at Panther Junction. After a long drive to Big Bend and arrival at Panther Junction Visitor Center to plan their adventure, many visitors seek out hiking in the immediate area, where no trails now exist. The new trail will offer a moderately challenging...

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Back from Hiatus

Posted by on Feb 1, 2021 @ 3:39 pm in News | 0 comments

Back from Hiatus

I’m sure you’ve noticed my nearly two month absence from posting here. Short story: I’ve been traveling and adventuring and building a new relationship. The good news out of all this is that I have tons of new content to share with you. When I left home it was very spontaneous and sudden, I didn’t take a computer with me. I decided not to try to make updates from my mobile phone. Just a bit too tedious with WordPress. However, my best friend dug out her laptop, offering it for my use. So here I am. I can’t...

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A new way to travel across the United States

Posted by on Dec 16, 2020 @ 6:30 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A new way to travel across the United States

The Great American Rail-Trail is the most ambitious biking initiative the country has ever seen. Stretching an extraordinary 3,700 miles from the nation’s capital across 12 states to the Pacific Ocean, west of Seattle, it’s an idea that’s been ruminating for 50 years. The Rail-Trail will connect more than 125 existing multi-use paths, greenways, trails and towpaths. An official route was announced to the public in May 2019 by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the Washington DC-based non-profit leading the effort, when the trail was...

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‘A sisterhood’ | Group of women hike through life’s ups and downs together

Posted by on Dec 15, 2020 @ 8:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

‘A sisterhood’ | Group of women hike through life’s ups and downs together

For the past few years, Amy Eversole and the ‘Trailblazers’ have been hiking all over the Great Smoky Mountains. Some of them have earned their 500-mile pins from the park service. Others are following closely behind. All of them have been supporting each other through life’s ups and downs. “They’re the best women ever,” Amy Eversole said. “They’re like sisters and I don’t know what I’d do without them.” The group tries to organize hikes together at least twice a month....

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New access proposed for Graveyard Fields

Posted by on Dec 14, 2020 @ 6:33 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

New access proposed for Graveyard Fields

Major changes may be coming to to Graveyard Fields. A project is now open for public comment. The National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service are partnering on this effort to improve access at the often-crowded trail system on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County. Under the proposal, the nearby John Rock Overlook would be used as an additional access point for Graveyard Fields with a pedestrian crossing over the Parkway. The crossing would be planned with safety as a priority, connecting the overlook to a short, new trail...

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As pandemic worsens, NPS faces growing load of infections

Posted by on Dec 13, 2020 @ 6:25 am in Conservation | 0 comments

As pandemic worsens, NPS faces growing load of infections

At the National Mall in Washington, at least four National Park Service employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days as the pandemic hit its highest level yet in the nation’s capital. At Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, officials said they’ve had 28 confirmed cases within the park. And in California, parks this week once again started closing campgrounds and other facilities in response to restrictions imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. With the pandemic worsening, NPS is under growing pressure to step up its...

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New park coming to Henderson County, NC

Posted by on Dec 12, 2020 @ 8:08 am in Conservation | 0 comments

New park coming to Henderson County, NC

Frank “Chief” Bell, Sr. was the founder of Camp Mondamin in Tuexedo, NC, one of the very first summer camps in Western North Carolina. Still managed by the Bell family, the camp is entering its 100th anniversary year in 2021. Not only did Camp Mondamin help four generations of children find their place in the natural world, it opened the way for the numerous summer camps in the region that connect kids with nature, strengthen our local economies, and keep land in a natural state. Frank Bell was an intrepid adventurer who is the first person...

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Best easy day hikes in Phoenix: 5 fun, scenic trails for beginners or advanced hikers

Posted by on Dec 11, 2020 @ 6:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Best easy day hikes in Phoenix: 5 fun, scenic trails for beginners or advanced hikers

It’s the season where in Arizona we all want to be outdoors. The desert, so cruel for so long, welcomes us again with open arms. If the blast-furnace heat of summer kept you off the trails for months, you’ll want to ease into things. To work yourself back into hiking shape, start with some easy trails. Just don’t let the rating undersell their attractions. Even trails regarded as easy reward alert hikers in countless ways. Each of these five trails delivers the full desert experience. Watch for wildlife and enjoy plenty of mild winter...

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‘It’s everywhere’: Graffiti vandals at Zion National Park harm protected land

Posted by on Dec 10, 2020 @ 6:36 am in Conservation | 0 comments

‘It’s everywhere’: Graffiti vandals at Zion National Park harm protected land

As visitation at Zion National Park reaches record highs, park officials are asking for the public’s help as they grapple with a rising challenge: unprecedented levels of graffiti along the protected sanctuary’s most popular trails. “We take this very seriously, and it’s becoming a huge problem for us,” chief ranger Daniel Fagergren says. “It’s everywhere.” He says nearly every day at Zion, staff are finding words and shapes painted and drawn with mud, dirt, or pigment or even scratched on rocks or carved within moss. The vandalism has been...

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Interior denies all of New Mexico’s proposed LWCF projects

Posted by on Dec 9, 2020 @ 6:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Interior denies all of New Mexico’s proposed LWCF projects

After cheering the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which secured permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), New Mexico wildlife and conservation advocates were shocked to learn every single project proposed to the Department of Interior for LWCF funds was rejected. The LWCF, created by Congress in 1965 to support public land management using offshore oil and gas royalties, received $900 million annually under the Great American Outdoors Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by Donald Trump...

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Central Virginia is planning a 41-mile trail from Ashland to Petersburg

Posted by on Dec 8, 2020 @ 6:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Central Virginia is planning a 41-mile trail from Ashland to Petersburg

When the Virginia Capital Trail was first proposed back in 1999, critics derided the idea of the 51.7-mile multi-use path as overly-ambitious and too expensive. Today, the east-west trail connecting Virginia’s first capital of Jamestown with the modern seat of government, Richmond, faces concerns about overcrowding, and there’s now a sister trail in the pipeline. Far from being a waste of taxpayer dollars, the Capital Trail has become one of the state’s highest visited amenities. The only other multimodal path to receive more visitors on an...

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Hiking in Maine: Explore the Schoodic Peninsula, for the Acadia less traveled

Posted by on Dec 7, 2020 @ 7:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking in Maine: Explore the Schoodic Peninsula, for the Acadia less traveled

The Schoodic Peninsula is home to a remarkable landscape of dense spruce forests, jack pine woodlands, shrubby heaths, cobble beaches, granite headlands, deep harbors and rugged islands. Bounded by Frenchman Bay to the west, Gouldsboro Bay to the east and the Gulf of Maine along its southern margin, the peninsula is a true natural gem of Maine’s bold Downeast coastline. Two towns make up the Schoodic Peninsula. Winter Harbor encompasses the southern reaches, which feature the extraordinary Schoodic District of Acadia National Park, the only...

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Iowa’s Effigy Mounds park offers hikes of ancient history

Posted by on Dec 6, 2020 @ 6:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Iowa’s Effigy Mounds park offers hikes of ancient history

  If a love of hiking is the only thing that takes you to northeast Iowa’s Effigy Mounds National Monument — where 14 miles of trails wind through the elegant 2,526-acre monument — you won’t come away disappointed. The immaculately groomed trails, 4 feet wide, of fine gravel or wood chips, hairpin up and along 400-foot-high river bluffs, providing views of the Mississippi River and its many verdant islands as stunningly dramatic as vistas anywhere. Happily, the trails are also configured so you can choose the length of your hike....

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Hikers share tips for staying warm on winter walks

Posted by on Dec 5, 2020 @ 6:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikers share tips for staying warm on winter walks

Frigid temperatures and even a flurry don’t have to send people scurrying indoors as a little preparation can go a long way toward enjoying the great outdoors all year long. “I used to hibernate all winter because I was so convinced that there was no way I could ever really enjoy winter adventure,” Kristy Matheson said. “I joined the Dayton Hikers in the winter, so one of my first hikes was in a foot of snow. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it, and winter hiking has now become one of my favorite things to do.” With COVID case numbers a...

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‘Worst work in the world’: US park rangers grapple with tide of human waste

Posted by on Dec 4, 2020 @ 6:12 am in Conservation | 0 comments

‘Worst work in the world’: US park rangers grapple with tide of human waste

At national parks across the US, from the peaks of Denali in Alaska to desert backpacking destinations in Utah and Arizona, managers have struggled to deal with this inevitable byproduct of people eager to get outdoors, a desire that continues amid the pandemic. Unlike a discarded Clif Bar wrapper, human waste carries a slew of bacteria and pathogens when left unbagged or otherwise unaddressed. Colorado’s Rocky Mountain national park has been hit especially hard. There, a surge in visitors meant toilet paper became a more common sight in...

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Oil and gas vets want to clean up the industry’s mess, one well at a time

Posted by on Dec 3, 2020 @ 7:04 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Oil and gas vets want to clean up the industry’s mess, one well at a time

There were more than 50,000 wells on state cleanup lists across the country in 2018, and states estimated there were somewhere between 200,000 to 750,000 more abandoned wells that weren’t in their records. If you include wells that are “idle,” meaning they may still have an owner but haven’t produced any oil or gas in years — and are at risk of getting thrust into state hands if their owners go bankrupt — the count reaches around 2.1 million, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. When wells are left unsealed, they can become...

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Working Together Towards Chestnut Restoration

Posted by on Dec 2, 2020 @ 6:06 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Working Together Towards Chestnut Restoration

On November 3, 2020 about forty people from the USDA Forest Service and The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) gathered virtually. It was the second biennial plan of work meeting between TACF and SRS. Since the 1990s, the two organizations have worked together on American chestnut (Castanea dentata) restoration. In 2017 and in 2019, they committed to a Biennial Plan of Work that strengthens the partnership. At the meeting, foresters, researchers, and organization leaders shared the latest advances in genetics and breeding, restoration...

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Wonders Of Sand And Stone: A History Of Utah’s National Parks And Monuments

Posted by on Dec 1, 2020 @ 6:59 am in Book Reviews, Conservation | 0 comments

Wonders Of Sand And Stone: A History Of Utah’s National Parks And Monuments

The southern half of Utah is canyon country, a land of aridity, sparse vegetation, and unique and scenically spectacular topography and geology. It is a land rich in sites of archaeological importance and parts of it are sacred to indigenous people. It is also mostly public land, owned by the American people, part of their national legacy, and for a century it has been contested terrain. Frederick Swanson, in Wonders of Sand and Stone, tells the story of the century-long battles between those who would preserve large parts of this spectacular...

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The Story Behind the Growing Number of Tribal National Parks

Posted by on Nov 30, 2020 @ 6:54 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The Story Behind the Growing Number of Tribal National Parks

This week brought with it the announcement of a new national park, one which will eventually encompass 444 acres on the border of Nebraska and Kansas. The governing body setting this new park up isn’t the National Park Service, however; instead, it’s being established by the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. The Ioway Tribal National Park “will overlook a historic trading village where the Ioway people bartered for buffalo hides and pipestones with other tribes during the 13th to 15th centuries.” When it’s completed, Ioway Tribal National...

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