News

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...

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A Triple Crowner’s Advice for Following Through on Your Hiking Goals

Posted by on Jan 23, 2020 @ 6:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Triple Crowner’s Advice for Following Through on Your Hiking Goals

It’s January of a new decade and ’tis the season for ambitious lists, goals, and vision boards for the coming year—adventurous ambitions hopefully among them. We set goals to push toward better versions of ourselves. Maybe it’s a peakbagging list, or getting more miles under those trail shoes so day hikes don’t end so painfully. Or maybe it’s finishing your first (or next) thru-hike or backpacking trip. Whatever it is, these projects can take a lot of preparation and energy to move forward. Often they suck up every ounce of your free time...

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White Sands is the newest national park. These places might be next.

Posted by on Jan 22, 2020 @ 7:05 am in Conservation | 0 comments

White Sands is the newest national park. These places might be next.

It’s easy to think of national parks as untouchable—grand, immovable fixtures in our natural environment. But in reality, they come and go: some lose their designation, while others are added. New Mexico’s White Sands National Park hit the big leagues in December 2019, becoming the country’s 62nd national park. It protects the largest gypsum dune on Earth, a remnant of bygone lakes and seas, a 275-square-mile basin that glitters white and stays cool to the touch. Visitors come to cruise the eight-mile Dunes Drive, hike one of the five...

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Going With the Flow: How to Tackle River Crossings Safely

Posted by on Jan 21, 2020 @ 6:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Going With the Flow: How to Tackle River Crossings Safely

Of the numerous hazards that hikers may encounter in the backcountry, rivers are too often overlooked. While seemingly not as threatening as steep, snowy mountains or desolate stretches of desert, rivers can pose the most significant dangers to hikers. Without experience, rivers can easily lure you into a false sense of security before, quite literally, ripping your legs out from under you. Fast flowing rivers are powerful and can easily knock you off your feet and put you in a dangerous situation. The key hazards in rivers are obstacles that...

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Hiking New Zealand’s New Great Walk: The Paparoa Track

Posted by on Jan 20, 2020 @ 7:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking New Zealand’s New Great Walk: The Paparoa Track

New Zealand’s Great Walks are legendary in the backcountry world. Since launching in 1993 to protect some of the country’s most beloved trails, the three-to-five-day treks have attracted millions of hikers, all eager to traverse the island nation’s iconic landscapes, from the Milford Track’s alpine passes on the South Island to the Tongariro Northern Circuit’s active volcanic fields on the North Island. Many lie in remote, untouched corners. While the nine original Great Walks were based on existing trails, the 35-mile Paparoa is...

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This Hawaiian Island Is Home to Breathtaking Waterfalls, Lush Hiking Trails, and Landscapes You’ve Seen in the Movies

Posted by on Jan 19, 2020 @ 7:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This Hawaiian Island Is Home to Breathtaking Waterfalls, Lush Hiking Trails, and Landscapes You’ve Seen in the Movies

  A verdant jewel towards the northwestern edge of the Hawaiian archipelago, Kauai is commonly known as the “Garden Isle.” It’s a well-earned moniker: nearly 97% of this rugged landscape remains undeveloped. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails hug pristine shorelines and moss-covered canyons. Cathedral-like spires of rock soar above the surf. Honeymooners can have Maui. This place is reserved for those in search of natural wonder. And with the reopening of the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park earlier this year, there’s never been a...

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New Mexico’s Valles Caldera preserve acquires site with volcanic features

Posted by on Jan 18, 2020 @ 6:38 am in Conservation | 0 comments

New Mexico’s Valles Caldera preserve acquires site with volcanic features

  A 40-acre site that includes volcanic features like steaming mudpots, sulfuric-acid hot springs and fumaroles — openings which emit steam and gases — has been acquired by the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. Valles Caldera officials said the acquisition of Sulfur Springs “was critical to preserving the breadth of geothermal features” in the preserve. The property also supports a range of “extremophile” algae and bacteria living in high-temperature acidic pool and stream environments. “As the...

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Pick Mojave National Preserve over Joshua Tree: Twice the size, a quarter the visitors, all the beauty

Posted by on Jan 17, 2020 @ 6:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Pick Mojave National Preserve over Joshua Tree: Twice the size, a quarter the visitors, all the beauty

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California contains an array of stunning landscapes, dotted by its namesake oddly shaped plants. Mountain ranges, unusual rock formations, desert and wilderness found within its 800,000 acres offer a unique visual and sensory experience. “It’s the rock star of California deserts.” But those in the know say drive past Joshua Tree to the Mojave National Preserve. “It’s even more pure and vast. No one is there.” The 1.6 million-acre preserve is exquisite. There are desert, dunes, salt flats, plateaus, mesas...

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Woman with Multiple Sclerosis Will Be Trekking 2,200 Miles on the Appalachian Trail with Her Husband to Raise Awareness

Posted by on Jan 16, 2020 @ 6:55 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Woman with Multiple Sclerosis Will Be Trekking 2,200 Miles on the Appalachian Trail with Her Husband to Raise Awareness

On May 4, 2020 a Beaufort, SC husband and wife team comprised of Bernie and April Hester begin the journey of a lifetime as they embark on a 2,200-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Traversing over mountains, trails, cities and roadways April, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), is hoping that her efforts dubbed the “Finish MS Hike” will bring much-needed awareness to multiple sclerosis and can help and inspire others afflicted with this incurable disease. It’s...

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Wilderness Gateway State Trail to be 100 miles and connect Chimney Rock to South Mountains

Posted by on Jan 15, 2020 @ 6:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wilderness Gateway State Trail to be 100 miles and connect Chimney Rock to South Mountains

Can there ever be too many hiking trails in Western North Carolina? State trail planners, conservation groups, local governments and outdoors enthusiasts tend to think not. At least that seems to be the case as another series of long-distance trails are now in the works by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. The Wilderness Gateway State Trail should be about 100 miles when completed, and connect Chimney Rock State Park in Rutherford County with South Mountains State Park in Burke County, to the towns of Hickory and Valdese, as well as...

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Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health

Posted by on Jan 14, 2020 @ 7:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health

  A growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. Now, policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers are increasingly considering the human need for nature in how they plan and operate. How long does it take to get a dose of nature high enough to make people say they feel healthy and have a strong sense of well-being? Precisely 120 minutes. In a study of 20,000 people, a team from the European Centre for Environment & Human...

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Hiking opportunities abound at Georgia’s state parks

Posted by on Jan 13, 2020 @ 6:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking opportunities abound at Georgia’s state parks

It’s a new year, and if being more active is on your list of 2020 resolutions, there is one way you could hit that goal: head out to nearby Georgia state parks for some hikes in the great outdoors. There are state-run parks and historic sites all across Georgia that offer everything from scenic vistas to insight into the state’s past. These parks offer plenty of opportunities for people looking to work more fitness into their lives to lace up their sneakers and hit some trails. For example, located just 40 miles north of Lawrenceville on the...

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Gator bites Florida college student hiking in Everglades

Posted by on Jan 12, 2020 @ 6:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Gator bites Florida college student hiking in Everglades

[AP] An alligator bit an 18-year-old college student who was hiking with a group at the Everglades National Park, officials said. The Miami Herald reported that a professor and about 15 students were wading through the water on a wet trail near the Pahayokee Overlook southwest of Miami when the reptile bit the young woman’s lower right leg. Everglades National Park’s spokeswoman Allyson Gantt said the student suffered two small puncture wounds and described the injury as “low pain.” Gantt said the trail is a popular...

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Study finds 26,000 lives were saved by shift from coal to natural gas

Posted by on Jan 11, 2020 @ 6:52 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Study finds 26,000 lives were saved by shift from coal to natural gas

The human toll from coal-fired pollution in America has been laid bare by a study that has found more than 26,000 lives were saved in the U.S. in just a decade due to the shift from coal to gas for electricity generation. The shutdown of scores of coal power facilities across the U.S. has reduced the toxic brew of pollutants suffered by nearby communities, cutting deaths from associated health problems such as heart disease and respiratory issues, the research found. An estimated 26,610 lives were saved in the U.S. by the shift away from coal...

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Trump admin writes itself a permission slip to ignore climate change and wreck the environment

Posted by on Jan 10, 2020 @ 6:23 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Trump admin writes itself a permission slip to ignore climate change and wreck the environment

The Trump White House’s Council on Environmental Quality is proposing changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that would not only make it easier to keep the public in the dark about government projects, but give federal agencies a permission slip to ignore how their own actions might contribute to climate change. In short, NEPA makes the government consider how a project will affect the environment and gives the people who will have to live with the consequences a fair chance to weigh in on it. For example, NEPA prevents a...

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Mountain Bog Protected in Burke County, NC

Posted by on Jan 9, 2020 @ 7:08 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Mountain Bog Protected in Burke County, NC

  A 17-acre bog in Burke County is now protected for conservation following purchase by the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina. The Jonas Ridge property borders the Pisgah Loop Scenic Highway and was purchased from landowner Hazel Shell with funding from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Southern Appalachian mountain bogs are rare and contain vulnerable ecosystems. Located at the highest elevations in Burke County, Jonas Ridge Bog is home to a variety of uncommon plant, animal and insect species, including...

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The six best hikes in Spain that aren’t the Camino de Santiago

Posted by on Jan 8, 2020 @ 6:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The six best hikes in Spain that aren’t the Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago, the famous pilgrimage route to the city of Santiago, is a magnet for modern hikers, attracting 300,000 people annually. However, its popularity means it overshadows other equally impressive treks in Spain along with many shorter walks offering spectacular scenery. Spain has around 100 long-distance footpaths or Grandes Recorridos (including the Camino de Santiago, GR65), which are signposted by horizontal red and white stripes, painted on a pine tree, rock or fence post. GR1, the Sendero Histórico, is a remote but...

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These women find empowerment and strength through hiking

Posted by on Jan 7, 2020 @ 6:32 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

These women find empowerment and strength through hiking

Each month over the past year this same group of women from Forsyth County, Georgia has met to hike and build each other up through companionship, friendship and empowerment. “We’re called Warrior Hikers,” said Aswini Oliver, the group’s founder. “It started off with just my best friends, four of us. We just thought, ‘let’s do 12 hikes this year,’ and that’s it.” In January 2019, Oliver and a few friends, all novice hikers, set out to do something for themselves, something not related to their careers and families, to prove to themselves that...

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A hiker went missing in Grand Canyon National Park before Christmas. Almost two weeks later, he was found alive.

Posted by on Jan 6, 2020 @ 8:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A hiker went missing in Grand Canyon National Park before Christmas. Almost two weeks later, he was found alive.

  A Texas man who had not been seen since before Christmas at Grand Canyon National Park was plucked by helicopter from a trail on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 after hikers spotted him. Martin Edward O’Connor, 58, was checked by an emergency medical team, cleared to go and reunited with a family member Thursday night, according to a park spokeswoman. It was not clear by Friday how or where he had spent the previous 11 days or what, if any, injuries he suffered. O’Connor had last been seen Dec. 22, 2019 at Yavapai Lodge, a hotel within the...

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‘You’re all goats today:’ Maine farm opens up to human and goat hiking

Posted by on Jan 5, 2020 @ 8:06 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

‘You’re all goats today:’ Maine farm opens up to human and goat hiking

Each winter, Karl Schatz and Margaret Hathaway, owners of Ten Apple Farm in Gray, Maine, host goat hikes on their 18-acre property. “When you hear me calling to the goats, I’m talking to everyone,” Ten Apple Farm owner Karl Schatz said before leading about a dozen keen hikers and snowshoers on a 1-mile hike through his property. “You’re all goats today, you’re all part of the herd,” said Schatz. Turns out, goats are pretty good hiking partners. They don’t protest or complain but are content with foraging, stripping bark from trees and...

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Hikers in California’s Sierra Nevada found the remains of a Japanese internee from World War II

Posted by on Jan 4, 2020 @ 9:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Late last year, two hikers were traversing an alpine path, high in California’s Sierra Nevada range, when the unexpected happened: they stumbled upon human remains. The hikers reported their surprising find to local authorities. Once the weather cleared up nine days later, officials from Inyo County recovered the remains, sending them to the coroner’s office for examination. That’s where the story takes another unusual turn. The remains belonged to Giichi Matsumura, a Japanese man who had lived in an internment camp for...

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Things to know about Duke Energy’s proposed coal ash landfill at Asheville’s Lake Julian

Posted by on Jan 3, 2020 @ 7:16 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Things to know about Duke Energy’s proposed coal ash landfill at Asheville’s Lake Julian

As the Southern Environmental Law Center announced its historic settlement Jan. 2, 2020 with Duke Energy and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality to clean up coal ash at six North Carolina sites, Duke’s Asheville Steam Plant at Lake Julian is in the midst of a permitting request to build an industrial landfill on the plant site. The settlement, arranged on behalf of Appalachian Voices, MountainTrue, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Sierra Club and other environmental nonprofits, becomes the largest coal ash cleanup in America to date,...

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Land added to Haywood County’s Blue Ridge Parkway section

Posted by on Jan 2, 2020 @ 6:40 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Land added to Haywood County’s Blue Ridge Parkway section

The Blue Ridge Parkway is now 53.3 acres bigger thanks to the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s recent donation of the Pinnacle Ridge tract in Haywood County. Pinnacle Ridge is located at milepost 440 near the Waynesville and Village of Saunooke overlooks. Prior to its inclusion in Parkway lands, the property shared more than 4,000 feet of boundary with the National Park Service unit, including adjacency to the 110-acre Richland Creek Headwaters property that CTNC transferred to the Parkway in 2011. “Conserving the Pinnacle Ridge tract...

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There’s been an apocalypse going on right under our noses – but we can still save their world

Posted by on Jan 1, 2020 @ 6:41 am in Conservation | 0 comments

There’s been an apocalypse going on right under our noses – but we can still save their world

Have you noticed there are fewer creepy-crawlies around these days? Significantly fewer. In fact, over the past 50 years, an insect apocalypse may have killed off half of the planet’s bugs. It poses a serious threat. More than 40% of insect species could permanently disappear. Climate change, loss of natural habitats and overexposure to pesticides are among the factors contributing to the decline of insects, including once-common species of flies, butterflies, beetles, bees and numerous others. More than two-thirds of all caddisfly...

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Test your nerve on this less-used hiking trail in Sedona

Posted by on Dec 31, 2019 @ 6:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Forming a natural divide between State Route 179 and the hyperbusy trails that loop the iconic Bell Rock in the Village of Oak Creek, Arizona, the north-south running ridge line known as the Seven Warriors is home to a pair of trails known for their edge-hugging exposure. The Hiline Trail that’s part of the Yavapai Vista Trail System scoots along the ridge line’s eastern slopes while the newer Transept Trail traces the less congested western side. There are several ways to access the user-created route that was adopted by the U.S. Forest...

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She’s on year 7 of her hiking resolution

Posted by on Dec 30, 2019 @ 6:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

She’s on year 7 of her hiking resolution

Longtime Ranlo, NC resident Linda Benfield hiked Crowders Mountain for the first time in 2010 when a friend asked Benfield to join her for her birthday. Benfield, now 74, exercised all her life, but something was different about hiking to a North Carolina mountain’s peak. The trees, the smell, the view – it captivated her, and she was addicted. With her new resolution in mind, Benfield set out to find a hiking group who hit the trails during the week, with no foreseeable luck. She set out on several trails with another friend in the meantime,...

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Hiking: Death Valley offers more than name suggests

Posted by on Dec 29, 2019 @ 7:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking: Death Valley offers more than name suggests

First-time visitors to California’s Death Valley National Park can enjoy multiple hikes and points of interest within a few days. Artist’s Drive provides a look at marvelously colorful landscape on the western edge of the Black Mountains. A nine-mile drive takes visitors through an explosion of colors, featuring mountains that are red, pink, yellow, green, and purple. There are multiple places to stop and walk around and admire the geology, including the notable Artists Palette, an especially colorful viewpoint. Just south of Artist’s...

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Colorful Trails: The Intersection of Art and Nature

Posted by on Dec 28, 2019 @ 8:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Colorful Trails: The Intersection of Art and Nature

There are many ways to enjoy a trail—a long run, a hard ride, a contemplative stroll. Much like a path winding through the woods, art is also wide open for personal exploration, existing to challenge us, ground us, and encourage discovery. Projects around the Blue Ridge are merging art and nature, offering opportunities to enjoy creativity outside of traditional museum and gallery spaces. In addition to enhancing outdoor experiences, Miranda Kyle, arts and culture project manager for the Atlanta BeltLine, says placing installations outside...

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The Outdoor Books that Shaped the Last Decade

Posted by on Dec 27, 2019 @ 9:15 am in Book Reviews, Conservation | 0 comments

The Outdoor Books that Shaped the Last Decade

Digital media continued its march across the cultural landscape in the past decade, but its proliferation didn’t diminish the importance of books—even if these days we’re thumbing through real pages less often than we’re swiping pixels on our screens. Books challenge our perceptions and paradigms, provoke curiosity, and inspire action. And for many of us, engaging with big ideas felt more important during this decade than ever before. These stories made us marvel at the seemingly impossible limits of the human body and feel enthralled with...

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Special Report: Threatened And Endangered Parks

Posted by on Dec 26, 2019 @ 6:50 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Special Report: Threatened And Endangered Parks

Special Report by National Parks Traveler National park units in the lower 48 states are being confronted, and in some cases overrun, by issues ranging from climate change and invasive species to energy exploration and overcrowding. Natural and cultural resources are being harshly impacted, and in the case of invasive species in South Florida, some native species are being wiped out. These impacts are not the usual park stresses at the road-paving or conservation-fencing level that can be addressed by maintenance or policy tweaks. What the...

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Hike into the New Year with First Day Hikes

Posted by on Dec 25, 2019 @ 6:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hike into the New Year with First Day Hikes

Kick 2020 off with an adventure by participating in one of the First Day Hikes offered by N.C. State Parks. Parks across the state, and the nation, will host guided hikes on New Year’s Day. Chimney Rock State Park. A group stroll up the 3.2-mile entrance road will commence at 8 a.m., meeting at the park entrance next to Old Rock Café. Usually restricted to vehicle traffic only, the road will be pedestrian-only that morning and admission will be free for hikers. A park ranger will lead an informative discussion about the park’s history during...

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Australian Prime Minister Dismisses Calls To Curb Coal Use As Wildfires Intensify

Posted by on Dec 24, 2019 @ 6:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Australian Prime Minister Dismisses Calls To Curb Coal Use As Wildfires Intensify

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubled down on his government’s climate policy amid a record-breaking heat wave and a devastating weekend of wildfires. Hundreds of fires burned across four states, with the worst conditions in New South Wales, where approximately 100 homes have been destroyed in less than a week. More than 800 total homes have been lost since the fire season commenced in October. The disaster has prompted criticism of Morrison’s leadership and inaction on climate change; many also took issue with his decision to...

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White Sands becomes New Mexico’s newest national park

Posted by on Dec 23, 2019 @ 6:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

White Sands becomes New Mexico’s newest national park

December 21, 2020 was White Sands’ first full day as a national park after President Donald Trump signed a bill designating the status into law. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which included North Korea sanctions and procurement for spacecraft and weapons, also made 275 square miles of gypsum dune fields into New Mexico’s second national park. Carlsbad Caverns is the state’s other national park. New Mexico has two historical national parks — Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Pecos National Historical...

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Harpers Ferry Train Derailment Damages Bridge on Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Dec 22, 2019 @ 6:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Harpers Ferry Train Derailment Damages Bridge on Appalachian Trail

Two freight cars fell into the Potomac River near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, early in the morning December 21, 2019 when part of a Maryland-bound train derailed, according to a CSX spokesman. The train was traveling between Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Sandy Hook Road in Maryland when seven grain cars derailed over Winchester and Potomac Railroad Bridge. All the rail cars – including the two that fell into the Potomac River – were empty and no injuries were reported. The cause of the derailment remains unclear and is under...

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Microplastics contaminate snow, rain, researcher finds

Posted by on Dec 21, 2019 @ 6:54 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Microplastics contaminate snow, rain, researcher finds

Fibers of polyester and other pieces of microplastic have been found in dozens of snow samples taken over the past year from Big Sky Resort, Teton Pass and other Rocky Mountain sites. Bekah Anderson, a Montana State University senior majoring in chemical engineering, used microscopes and other specialized laboratory tools in MSU’s Center for Biofilm Engineering to analyze the samples, which also reveal plant pollen and dust. “All the pieces I’ve found so far have been small fibers that seem to be from fabrics like...

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Smokies Park Reminds Visitors about Cades Cove Winter Closure

Posted by on Dec 20, 2019 @ 6:42 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials remind visitors that Laurel Creek Road, the seven-mile access road leading from the Townsend Wye to Cades Cove, will be closed to all motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 5 through Saturday, February 29 to repair the Bote Mountain Tunnel. The full closure, beginning just past Tremont Road, is necessary to allow equipment set-up for the repair of the internal drainage system in the walls and ceiling of the 121-foot long tunnel. Crews will enclose and heat the tunnel,...

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