News

The allure of hiking and climbing Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks

Posted by on Jul 15, 2020 @ 7:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The allure of hiking and climbing Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks

With snow-capped summits, awe-inspiring faces and inherent danger, Colorado’s Fourteeners — peaks that reach 14,000 feet or more above sea level — have enraptured hikers and climbers for years. Every year, Colorado’s Fourteeners are hiked by more than 500,000 people, with locals and international visitors taking on the challenge. Ranging from well-marked hiking trails to exposed climbs, they offer a difficulty range that allows hikers of all abilities to attempt the high peaks. While Colorado is one of the only U.S. states to embrace the...

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Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest, designates two trails for Kids in Parks Program

Posted by on Jul 14, 2020 @ 6:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest, designates two trails for Kids in Parks Program

The Cheoah Ranger District on the Nantahala National Forest now has two new Kids in Parks TRACK Trails, designed to turn an ordinary hike into a fun-filled, discovery-packed adventure. At the Massey Branch Fitness Trail and the Cheoah Trail, both located across from the Cheoah Ranger District Office in Robbinsville, visitors will now find new trailhead signs with activity guides that allow young hikers to learn about and connect with the natural features found along the trail. On the Cheoah Trail, explore the historic site of the 1940s Civil...

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23 miles of hiking trails await across North Carolina’s beautiful Piedmont Environmental Center

Posted by on Jul 13, 2020 @ 6:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

23 miles of hiking trails await across North Carolina’s beautiful Piedmont Environmental Center

The Piedmont Environmental Center in High Point, North Carolina, could be the perfect place for families to start to explore nature while staying close to several cities, including Greensboro. The Piedmont Environmental Center connects the High Point Greenway with Greensboro’s Bicentennial Greenway where walkers and cyclists can wind their way on wooden paths along a 23-mile stretch. The Piedmont Environmental Center offers an additional 400 acres with seven single track trails, including ones along lakes and streams. This summer, the center...

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The Most Effective Stretches to Prepare You for the Trail

Posted by on Jul 12, 2020 @ 6:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Most Effective Stretches to Prepare You for the Trail

Even what seems like the most benign hiking trail can result in a twisted ankle, pulled muscle, or worse if you don’t prepare properly. The most effective method of readying your body for the rigors of the trail is consistent stretching. It is suggested stretching all of the main muscle groups used in hiking, but also pay attention to your particular needs, and take them into account. If you have weak ankles, make an extra effort to strengthen them. Same goes for calf muscles, tight hamstrings, and any other muscle group you may have issues...

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These Are The Most Dangerous Hiking Mistakes, According To Experts

Posted by on Jul 11, 2020 @ 6:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

These Are The Most Dangerous Hiking Mistakes, According To Experts

Overall, hiking is a relatively safe recreational activity – but when it goes wrong, the consequences can be severe. Hiking is one of the greatest pastimes of the Great Outdoors and with so many magnificent views to be seen, there’s no question why. Some trails are far more difficult than others, while some offer maximum payoff with very little effort. Elevation, distance, and endurance all are factors that play into a hike but, surprisingly, none of these are what can make hiking trails so dangerous. It’s not wildlife,...

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Planning effort seeks to form WNC regional multi-use trail network

Posted by on Jul 10, 2020 @ 7:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Planning effort seeks to form WNC regional multi-use trail network

The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization has a plan that would create a 150-mile-plus trail network through Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties in North Carolina that is now out for public comment. The group has been working with local governments and community stakeholders over the last year to develop plans for the Hellbender Regional Trail, which knits together various bicycle, pedestrian and greenway plans in the region to illustrate existing and planned trails that may someday connect to form...

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California condors return to Sequoia National Park for the 1st time in decades

Posted by on Jul 9, 2020 @ 6:31 am in Conservation | 0 comments

California condors return to Sequoia National Park for the 1st time in decades

For the first time in at least three decades, California condors were spotted in Sequoia National Park, an area that was historically part of the endangered bird’s range. At least six of the majestic scavengers visited the park in late May, including four seen flying near the famed Giant Forest and at least two near Moro Rock, a geologic dome and popular hiking spot, the National Park and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services said in a joint statement. The biggest land bird in North America, California condors once inhabited the length of the...

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Renowned thru-hiker Ryan Sylva maps out new 1,100-mile route, the Great Basin Trail

Posted by on Jul 8, 2020 @ 7:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Renowned thru-hiker Ryan Sylva maps out new 1,100-mile route, the Great Basin Trail

Ryan Sylva, who goes by the trail name “Dirtmonger,” has been busy walking long-distance routes for about 10 years. A thru hiker of some renown, the 43-year-old Colorado resident first hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, a feat he has since repeated twice. He’s hiked the Continental Divide Trail twice. In 2013 he completed a lap around the 3,500-mile Vagabond Loop, which connects the Colorado Trail, the Arizona Trail, the Grand Enchantment Trail in Arizona and New Mexico, and the Hayduke Trail in southern Utah and...

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With Three Pipelines Down, the Future Is Looking Green

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

With Three Pipelines Down, the Future Is Looking Green

On July 5, 2020 it was announced the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), which would have carried fracked natural gas through 600 miles of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, will never be completed. Pipeline owners Dominion and Duke Energy announced they were cancelling the fossil fuel project due to mounting delays and uncertainty. They said the many legal challenges to the project had driven up the projected costs by almost half, from $4.5 billion when it was first announced in 2014 to $8 billion according to the most recent estimate....

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Hiking with kids: Tips and tricks to make hiking fun for the whole family

Posted by on Jul 6, 2020 @ 7:01 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking with kids: Tips and tricks to make hiking fun for the whole family

For many nature lovers enjoyment of the outdoors originates from childhood experiences spending time outside with family and friends. Outdoor passions such as hiking can be passed from parent to child. Hiking can include long days in the sun, inclement weather and tiring exercise, which are not always conducive to making happy kids. Despite its challenges, hiking is a fun and educational way for a family to leave the Wi-Fi connection behind, explore nature, spot wildlife and spend quality time together. While explorations into nature can be...

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Great, now the oceans are filling with COVID trash: Masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer

Posted by on Jul 5, 2020 @ 6:52 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Are oil companies the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic? That’s sure what they’d like you to think. In a recent flurry of “corporate reputation advertising” oil and gas companies, plus the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) — an industry group that counts Chevron, Exxon, Citgo, and many others among its members — put out a series of Twitter ads arguing that, since oil and gas companies supply petroleum to manufacturers of face masks, hand sanitizer, and protective suits, they are helping keep the population safe and...

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Elk Return to Kentucky, Bringing Economic Life

Posted by on Jul 3, 2020 @ 6:55 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Elk Return to Kentucky, Bringing Economic Life

On a bright morning early this spring, David Ledford sat in his silver pickup at the end of a three-lane bridge spanning a deep gorge in southeast Kentucky. The bridge, which forks off U.S. 119, was constructed in 1998 by former Gov. Paul E. Patton for $6 million. It was seen at the time as a route to many things: a highway, a strip mall, housing developments. Today, it spills out onto Mr. Ledford’s 12,000-acre property, which he and his business partner, Frank Allen, are developing into a nonprofit nature reserve called Boone’s Ridge. The...

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Important Pollinator: The Monarch Butterfly

Posted by on Jul 2, 2020 @ 6:26 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Important Pollinator: The Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly is not considered federally endangered yet, however, studies have shown that the monarch populations are declining and are in need of protection. The monarch is commonly considered the “poster child” for pollinator awareness to help bring attention to the general decline of pollinators and insects. The monarch is a beautiful butterfly that is identified by its large size and its bright orange wings with black stripes. White polka-dots line the wing margins and dot the body of the butterfly. To distinguish a...

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What happens when an African American woman decides to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail during a summer of bitter political upheaval?

Posted by on Jul 1, 2020 @ 6:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

What happens when an African American woman decides to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail during a summer of bitter political upheaval?

Heading north from Springer Mountain in Georgia, the Appalachian Trail class would have to walk 670 miles before reaching the first county that did not vote for Donald Trump. The average percentage of voters who did vote for Trump—a xenophobic candidate who was supported by David Duke—in those miles? Seventy-six. Approximately 30 miles farther away, they’d come to a hiker ­hostel that proudly flies a Confederate flag. Later they would reach the Lewis Mountain campground in Shenandoah National Park—created in Virginia in 1935, dur­ing the Jim...

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North Carolina climate plan released

Posted by on Jun 30, 2020 @ 6:39 am in Conservation | 0 comments

North Carolina climate plan released

After 11 months of stakeholder engagement and collaborative work, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has submitted the N.C. Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan to Gov. Roy Cooper. The plan was required by Cooper’s Executive Order 80 and is the state’s most comprehensive effort to date. Based on science and stakeholder input, it aims to address North Carolina’s vulnerability to climate change. “Climate change impacts the health, safety and financial stability of North Carolinians, and we must take it head-on. A resilient...

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National Forest Watersheds, Imperiled Wildlife, Rural Communities Poised for a Much-Needed Boost

Posted by on Jun 29, 2020 @ 6:32 am in Conservation | 0 comments

National Forest Watersheds, Imperiled Wildlife, Rural Communities Poised for a Much-Needed Boost

The U.S. House of Representatives announced the Moving Forward Act, designed to improve green infrastructure and reduce climate impacts. The Act includes a provision called the “The Forest Service Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program.” This much-needed program will address aging and obsolete Forest Service transportation infrastructure to improve fish migration, water quality, imperiled species habitat, and future resilience to storms. The U.S. Forest Service manages a massive road and trail system on behalf of the American public,...

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Zion shuttle returning in Utah’s busiest national park, but you’ll need a reservation

Posted by on Jun 28, 2020 @ 6:47 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Zion shuttle returning in Utah’s busiest national park, but you’ll need a reservation

In recent years, Zion National Park has toyed with the idea of a timed-entry system to reduce overcrowding, but the proposal has never gone over well with Utah’s political leaders who helped scuttle such a plan developed for Arches National Park. Now the coronavirus epidemic is forcing reservation protocols upon one of Utah’s most popular and crowded tourist destinations. Starting on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, Zion will resume its idled shuttle service and require all those visiting Zion Canyon to make reservations to use it, thus...

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Eastern Sierra Earthquake Sent Massive Boulders Crashing Onto Mount Whitney Hiking Trails

Posted by on Jun 27, 2020 @ 7:09 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Eastern Sierra Earthquake Sent Massive Boulders Crashing Onto Mount Whitney Hiking Trails

More than a dozen aftershocks continued to ramble through the eastern Sierra near Mount Whitney, forcing rangers to delay searching for possible victims and assessing the damage done to several popular hiking trails by a 5.8 earthquake that rocked the region. The initial quake struck in a rural area of the Owens Valley Fault System, which is known to occasionally produce big quakes, near the town of Lone Pine — about 45 miles east of Mount Whitney. While it caused little damage to structures in the rural region, the quake did rock the Whitney...

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The Haunting Beauty of a Hut-to-Hut Hike in the Dolomites

Posted by on Jun 26, 2020 @ 7:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Haunting Beauty of a Hut-to-Hut Hike in the Dolomites

  A monumental mountain range in northeastern Italy, the Dolomites — a World Heritage Site since 2009 — are home to some of the world’s most majestic scenery: colossal vertical limestone walls, gloriously green valleys. There are several Alta Via routes, but the AV1, with fewer exposed sections, is ideal for less experienced hikers. Mountain huts called rifugios make it all the more accessible. The trail runs south from Lago di Braies, a chilly Alpine lake in South Tyrol, to Belluno, a town in Italy’s Veneto region. The first few...

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Antarctica’s ‘green snow’ is sucking carbon out of the air

Posted by on Jun 25, 2020 @ 6:24 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Antarctica’s ‘green snow’ is sucking carbon out of the air

Photosynthesis and Antarctica. It may not be the most intuitive combination, but the icy continent — famous for sculptural icebergs and marching penguins — is also home to communities of blooming algae, mosses, lichens, and even one species of grass. They’re rare, of course: Less than one percent of the entire continent is permanently ice-free to begin with. And what terrestrial vegetation does exist must rely largely on melting snow and ice for its water supply. It’s all part of a fragile ecosystem that scientists are eager to understand as...

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Two Community Forests in WNC Receive USDA Forest Service Grants

Posted by on Jun 24, 2020 @ 6:28 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Two Community Forests in WNC Receive USDA Forest Service Grants

The USDA Forest Service has awarded grants to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, from the Community Forest Program, which supports working forests that provide benefits like clean water, wildlife habitat, educational opportunities, and public access for recreation. The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will use their grant to expand and connect the Hall Mountain Community Forest to the Little Tennessee River. The community’s goal is to allow use of the Hall Mountain property for...

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Concern about massive ‘glamping’ resort proposed near Zion National Park

Posted by on Jun 23, 2020 @ 6:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Concern about massive ‘glamping’ resort proposed near Zion National Park

  A sprawling network of camping resorts called Above Zion could soon begin unfolding in the Kolob highlands on Zion National Park’s northern boundary, potentially resulting in an influx of overnight use in a remote and scenic part of southern Utah. Late last year, Ian Crowe, a St. George real estate broker, filed applications with Washington County officials to develop nearly 3,000 camping sites, including yurts, tents, vintage trailers, shipping containers, even treehouses, near Kolob Reservoir and the park’s Lava Point, about 25...

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New kids track opens on the Palmetto Trail

Posted by on Jun 22, 2020 @ 6:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New kids track opens on the Palmetto Trail

The Palmetto Conservation Foundation has partnered with the Kids in Parks program to install a new TRACK Trail along the Palmetto Trail in Peak, SC. Children and families are invited to hike the new TRACK Trail, which was opened in conjunction with National Trails Day. The trail in Peak is located on a section of the Palmetto Trail called the Peak to Prosperity Passage. Like the passage name, this new kids trail is going to help lead kids and families to new levels of prosperity through outdoor recreation, improved physical activity, and...

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Your Guide to Hiking the White and Green Mountains

Posted by on Jun 21, 2020 @ 6:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Your Guide to Hiking the White and Green Mountains

Any visitor to New England looking to escape to the mountains faces one major question: The Whites or the Greens? Both of the Northeast’s dominant ranges offer plenty of opportunities to explore but have markedly different environments. Steep and rugged, the White Mountains are concentrated in north-central New Hampshire, extending from the Connecticut River east to just across the Maine border. The bulk of the range is contained in 796,000-acre White Mountain National Forest, which includes six federally designated wilderness areas and more...

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Over 1,000 trail projects are waiting for funding to help put Americans back to work

Posted by on Jun 20, 2020 @ 7:06 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Over 1,000 trail projects are waiting for funding to help put Americans back to work

Trails have been an established economic driver for some time, with the outdoor recreation industry contributing over $400 billion per year to the economy. Now there are more than 1,000 trail projects in the United States waiting on funding to help put Americans to work building, maintaining, and improving our nation’s trails, and this number reflects only a fraction of the estimated need that exists in our nation. American Trails recently completed a study through Penn State University which found data for 1,028 “shovel-ready” trail...

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The 8 Most Endangered National Parks

Posted by on Jun 19, 2020 @ 6:49 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The 8 Most Endangered National Parks

The U.S. government has failed to protect our national parks in these times of disastrous wildfires, drying rivers, and melting glaciers. The parks also contend with pollution issues, budget shortfalls, a scourge of invasive plant and animal species, and now a global pandemic. In a controversial move made during the spread of COVID-19, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt waived entrance fees at all national parks, which encouraged visitation in mid-March. By late March—as some park employees tested positive for the virus and rangers...

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Estatoe Trail Extension Expands Brevard Greenway

Posted by on Jun 18, 2020 @ 6:40 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Estatoe Trail Extension Expands Brevard Greenway

The Estatoe Trail will soon extend to the historic Rosenwald Community in Brevard, connecting it with downtown Brevard and Pisgah National Forest. This new link in the popular Brevard bike and walk path will improve opportunities for pedestrian and bike travel within the city. It will also put Brevard a step closer to its goal of a greenway network that extends from the Davidson River Campground in Pisgah National Forest, to Bracken Mountain Preserve, to Brevard High School and Brevard Elementary School. The Estatoe Trail currently starts at...

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Bureau of Land Management investigates a new Bundy ranch project

Posted by on Jun 17, 2020 @ 7:13 am in Conservation | 0 comments

During his 2017 trial for charges stemming from an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service near Bunkerville, Nevada, rancher Ryan Bundy described a Western United States built by rugged individualists like himself despite heavy-handed federal interference. His speech to the jury lasted over an hour and evoked longstanding tensions dating back to the 1970s, when the Sagebrush Rebellion emerged as a vocal opponent of federal management of public lands. The case ended in a mistrial, though the Justice...

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U.S. Supreme Court clears way for pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Jun 16, 2020 @ 6:25 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

U.S. Supreme Court clears way for pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail

Ruling against environmentalists, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the federal government has the authority to allow a proposed $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline to cross under the popular Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia. The 7-2 ruling was a victory for Dominion Energy Inc. and the Trump administration, both of which appealed a lower court ruling that halted construction of the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would run from West Virginia to North Carolina. Environmental groups including the Sierra Club and Southern...

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Plastic dust is blowing into U.S. national parks—more than 1000 tons each year

Posted by on Jun 15, 2020 @ 6:50 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Plastic dust is blowing into U.S. national parks—more than 1000 tons each year

Remote wilderness areas and national parks in the western United States are getting a dusting of plastic every year, perhaps 1000 tons or more, according to a new study. Up to one-quarter of the microscopic pieces of plastic—which come from carpets, clothing, and even spray paint—may originate in storms passing over nearby cities, whereas the rest likely comes from farther flung locations. The findings, the first to tease apart geographic origins, add to mounting evidence that such microplastic pollution is common worldwide. “We created...

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Toxic plants of Appalachia

Posted by on Jun 14, 2020 @ 7:06 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Toxic plants of Appalachia

Most white settlers here in the Smokies region avoided mushrooms like the plague. This was because their ancestors arriving here in America had found and ingested mushrooms that were deadly look-a-likes for species they had safely eaten in Europe. On the other hand, many Cherokees still gather and eat mushrooms with gusto. Through the years, they have learned by trial and error the species that are to be avoided. Other highly toxic plants in this region include climbing nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), dolls’-eyes (Actaea pachypoda), false...

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