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A Perilous Shutdown Plan for National Parks

Posted by on Jan 19, 2018 @ 1:44 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

A Perilous Shutdown Plan for National Parks

During the 21-day government shutdown of 1995-1996, an enormous blizzard left up to three feet of snow in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park—and no one was there to shovel the parking lots. But that was the least of Bill Wade’s problems. The park’s superintendent at the time, Wade knew that several campers had entered the Shenandoah backcountry before the shutdown. “They were caught back there, and we couldn’t get to them because we had limited staff,” he recalled. “Fortunately we didn’t have any injuries or fatalities, but it could have...

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Wolves confirmed in Mount Hood National Forest

Posted by on Jan 19, 2018 @ 10:26 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Wolves confirmed in Mount Hood National Forest

After years of whispers and reported sightings, wildlife officials have confirmed at least two wolves caught on trail cameras earlier this month roaming the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon’s northern Cascade Mountains. It is the first time multiple wolves were detected in the area since the species returned to Oregon in the late 1990s. Conservationists cheered the news Wednesday, while local ranchers anticipated further conflict with their livestock. Because they are located west of highways 395, 78 and 95, management of the wolves falls...

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This Tourism Hotspot Could be the World’s First City to Run Out of Water

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 @ 12:20 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

This Tourism Hotspot Could be the World’s First City to Run Out of Water

For the first time, a major city may run out of water this year. South Africa’s city of Cape Town has been grappling with water shortages that are the result of what the Weather Channel calls the worst drought to hit the country in 100 years. The situation may result in Cape Town officials shutting off all of the city’s water taps this April. Irregularly dry winters have created exceedingly low dam levels within the country, leading city representatives to set a “Day Zero” date, which is when they believe the country will see dam levels...

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Ten ‘stealth microplastics’ to avoid if you want to save the oceans

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 @ 6:51 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Ten ‘stealth microplastics’ to avoid if you want to save the oceans

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s new environment plan sets ambitious goals for plastic waste reduction. But there’s lots of room for slippage. One goal is to eradicate all “avoidable” plastic waste, though it’s not clear how “avoidable” will be defined. A few concrete measures are now in place, such as the 5p plastic bag charge being extended to cover all businesses in England. And, in order to tackle the spread of tiny plastic particles, the government recently announced a ban on microbeads in personal care products. But such measures,...

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Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration

Posted by on Jan 17, 2018 @ 12:15 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service abruptly quit January 14, 2018 out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year. The resignation of nine out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump...

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‘Orphaned’ oil and gas wells are on the rise

Posted by on Jan 17, 2018 @ 6:42 am in Conservation | 0 comments

‘Orphaned’ oil and gas wells are on the rise

In March 2015, Joe MacLaren, a state oil and gas inspector in Colorado, drove out to the Taylor 3 oil well near the tiny town of Hesperus, in the southwestern corner of the state. He found an entire checklist of violations. Atom Petroleum, a Texas-based company, had bought out more than 50 oil and gas wells after the company that drilled them went bankrupt. Now, Atom was pumping oil from those wells, but Taylor 3 was leaking crude, and it was missing required signage as well as screens on infrastructure to keep birds away from toxic gunk....

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Serial mountain rescue faker who took a selfie while being winched to safety is jailed for 16 months

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 @ 11:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Serial mountain rescue faker who took a selfie while being winched to safety is jailed for 16 months

As a means of attracting attention, staging accidents on various mountain ranges is not overly common. But that is likely to be of little consolation to the crews who have raced to the aid of Michael Cuminskey, a serial mountain rescue faker with a penchant for taking a selfie as he is winched to safety. Mr. Cuminskey’s antics have cost tens of thousands of pounds, with unnecessary rescues from mountains in Snowdonia, the Lake District and the Scottish borders, a court heard. The 23-year-old, from Darlington, UK pleaded guilty to causing a...

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Under Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, it’s a sell-off from sea to shining sea

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 @ 6:49 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Under Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, it’s a sell-off from sea to shining sea

On his first day as Secretary of the Interior, last March, Ryan Zinke rode through downtown Washington, D.C., on a roan named Tonto. When the Secretary is working at the department’s main office, on C Street, a staff member climbs up to the roof of the building and hoists a special flag, which comes down when Zinke goes home for the day. The department, which comprises agencies ranging from the National Park Service to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, oversees some five hundred million acres of federal land, and more than one and a half...

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Where to go Hiking on Cape Cod

Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 @ 12:05 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Where to go Hiking on Cape Cod

As avid outdoorsy people, we are always looking for hidden-away spaces to explore that aren’t teeming with other people. During visits to Cape Cod, you will find an array of natural areas. The secret is talking to the locals, who are always willing to let you in on the local gems, those places still undiscovered by your average visitor. For example, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature area that spans hundreds of acres. In addition to being a protected area for wildlife, is a wonderland for hikers. With its system of 7-miles of trails,...

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“Arches For The People” Proposes Solution to Arches National Park’s Congestion Woes

Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 @ 7:05 am in Conservation | 0 comments

“Arches For The People” Proposes Solution to Arches National Park’s Congestion Woes

  A group opposed to seeing a reservation system instituted for Arches National Park is pushing a somewhat novel solution: park your car outside the park. Not only would the plan solve the congestion problem at Arches but, its proponents believe, it will create “the first fully sustainable, noise free, and zero emissions national park by 2030.” That’s quite a pitch, one that envisions a massive parking lot on a former uranium tailings dump transformed into “Basecamp Moab,” and self-driving electric...

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Photographer shares what he believes is at stake in ANWR with one image

Posted by on Jan 14, 2018 @ 11:29 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Photographer shares what he believes is at stake in ANWR with one image

There are no photographs of bison spilling by the thousands across the Great Plains. By the time cameras came along, most of the bison were gone. John Wright of Fairbanks believes he has an Alaska version of what that photo might have been. His image, 12 slide frames stitched together to show the Brooks Range rising from northern tundra, is papered on a wall of the University of Alaska Museum of the North. It takes 10 steps to walk past the panorama, a vinyl print mounted at eye level just across the hall from Otto, a preserved brown bear...

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Turning Australia’s old rails into new trails

Posted by on Jan 14, 2018 @ 9:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Turning Australia’s old rails into new trails

In the Australian countryside, it is not unusual to stumble across the relics of a vast abandoned rail network that once connected the nation before cars and trucks replaced trains as the preferred mode of transport. These remnants of a forgotten past can range from rail tracks hidden in farm paddocks to majestic stations overlooking silent platforms that have not been used in decades. This ghost rail network spans thousands of kilometres – a reminder of the population’s shift over the past century from rural townships to bustling...

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Planning a Thru-Hike? Here’s Some Insta-spiration

Posted by on Jan 13, 2018 @ 11:55 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Planning a Thru-Hike? Here’s Some Insta-spiration

  If you’re among the thousands who will attempt to conquer a long-distance hiking trail in its entirety within the 2018 hiking season, then you’re probably already busy training, saving, planning, and steeling yourself for some serious communing with nature. In the United States, the term “thru-hiking” is most commonly associated with the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT)—although there are plenty of other satisfying end-to-end hikes to tackle. Hikers hitting America’s most...

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Four Texas A&M cadets raise $5.2K for charity after hiking 1,000 miles

Posted by on Jan 13, 2018 @ 8:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Four Texas A&M cadets raise $5.2K for charity after hiking 1,000 miles

Four students in the Texas A&M Aggie Corps of Cadets raised thousands of dollars for charity after hiking more than 1,000 miles in two weeks. Four cadets from Company H-1 decided to spend 13 days of their holiday break hiking from El Paso to Death Valley, California. Sophomore Hunter Birt, sophomore Jordan Rogers, junior Sebastian Brown and sophomore Ian Morrow decided to use this hike to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides financial aid, tutoring and counseling to the dependents of veterans who died...

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Experts Say Hiking Might Surpass Yoga In Popularity This Year

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 @ 12:05 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Experts Say Hiking Might Surpass Yoga In Popularity This Year

There’s no doubt about it: Hiking is having a moment. By now, we know spending time in nature comes with tremendous benefits. It has a scientifically proven anti-inflammatory effect on the body, it promotes a healthier microbiome, and Japanese Forest Bathing—or shinrin-yoku—has been associated with reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. Exercise has a similar effect on the body. From greater feelings of happiness to reduced heart disease risk, you’d be hard-pressed to find a medical professional who...

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Forest Society of Maine announces completion of milestone conservation project near Gulf Hagas and Whitecap Mountain

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 @ 7:03 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Forest Society of Maine announces completion of milestone conservation project near Gulf Hagas and Whitecap Mountain

The Forest Society of Maine (FSM) is celebrating the completion of the permanent conservation of thousands of acres of productive forest land and access to popular recreation lands near Gulf Hagas and Whitecap Mountain in Maine’s North Woods in Piscataquis County. After four years of collaboration with the forestland owner, the state Bureau of Parks and Lands, and conservation partner Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, an area used by thousands of people annually is permanently conserved for hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, and...

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What Abbey’s ‘Desert Solitaire’ means in these trying times

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 @ 12:17 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

What Abbey’s ‘Desert Solitaire’ means in these trying times

The book turns 50 this year, and is more relevant now than ever. Fifty years ago, Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire was published to decent reviews but little fanfare. “Another book dropped down the bottomless well. Into oblivion,” wrote a disheartened Abbey in his journal Feb. 6, 1968. Yet it has remained in print for a half-century and created a devoted following. As President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke carved 2 million acres out of Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase-Escalante national monuments, both in the heart of “Abbey...

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National Parks to Waive Entrance Fees on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 @ 6:39 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

National Parks to Waive Entrance Fees on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, national park units across the country will offer visitors free entrance into the parks on Monday, January 15, 2018. Martin Luther King, Jr. day will be the first of four fee-free days this year. Those days include April 21 to celebrate the start of National Park Week, September 22 for National Public Lands Day and November 11 in honor of Veterans Day Weekend. During these dates, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free entrance to all visitors. Fee-free days give more...

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Los Padres National Forest bracing for debris flows

Posted by on Jan 10, 2018 @ 11:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Los Padres National Forest bracing for debris flows

Crews once battling flames of the Thomas Fire in California are facing a new challenge – an influx of rain creating dangerous mudslides. “The fire and then the flood has been going on in this country for at least 100 years, more like 150 years,” National Forest Service Ranger Pancho Smith said running his hand over the Thomas Fire Burn map. As the rain moved in, equipment used to dig and repair fire lines in the Los Padres National Forest moved out. “We really pushed our people hard, did as much as we could and then...

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Melting ice on WNC lakes, streams pose serious hazards as visitors fall through surface

Posted by on Jan 10, 2018 @ 6:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Melting ice on WNC lakes, streams pose serious hazards as visitors fall through surface

The curvy, two-lane Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, aka U.S. 276, which runs along the Davidson River and through the heart of Pisgah Ranger District, looked more like a July 4 traffic jam over the weekend than a cold and lonely winter day. The lure during the chilly temperatures? The rarely seen frozen Looking Glass Falls, a 60-foot-high stunner that can be easily accessed by pulling off the road. But simply Snapchatting from the safely built overlooks wasn’t enough for most of the throngs of people, according to U.S. Forest Service rangers....

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West Virginia Counties Plan Network of New Trails

Posted by on Jan 9, 2018 @ 11:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

West Virginia Counties Plan Network of New Trails

An almost forgotten railroad could become a big part of a new trail for hikers, bicycle enthusiasts, and horseback riders that are interested in exploring the mountains and forests of Mercer and Summers counties in West Virginia. Mercer County and neighboring Summers County are working on plans to develop hiking trails and water trails. The hope is that an old railroad right of way going through part of Mercer County will form a connection with trails in Summers County and beyond. This former railroad line was mostly forgotten until its...

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Quitting after just 20 miles in 2015, hiker is now Triple Crown holder

Posted by on Jan 9, 2018 @ 8:31 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Quitting after just 20 miles in 2015, hiker is now Triple Crown holder

Eddie Boyd spent months preparing for a 2015 hike of the Appalachian Trail, only to confront a sobering realization just 20 miles in: He wasn’t ready. At a shelter in Maine, 3 miles into the daunting Hundred-Mile Wilderness, dehydration and self-doubt had set in. Boyd contacted his uncle, who was staying with his parents at a cabin in nearby Baxter State Park, to pick him up. A few days later, he was back home in Columbus, Ohio. “I remember being absolutely devastated at the decision to turn around,” he said. “I had been planning this trip...

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Retired U.S. Forest Service employee fights for the future of trees

Posted by on Jan 8, 2018 @ 12:02 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Retired U.S. Forest Service employee fights for the future of trees

The lush beauty of the George Washington National Forest in Virginia is apparent to any visitor, but especially to the keen eye of retired U.S. Forest Service employee Brian Stout. During a 34-year career with the Forest Service, Stout had many assignments, including a final one as the forest supervisor of the 3.5 million acre Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. On a breezy fall day, Stout surveyed the maple, oak, hemlock and other varieties of trees in the George Washington National Forest. The retired forester could estimate the age...

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Bighorn National Forest celebrates 120 years

Posted by on Jan 8, 2018 @ 7:30 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Bighorn National Forest celebrates 120 years

One hundred twenty years ago, Wyoming’s Big Horn Forest Reserve was signed into existence by President Grover Cleveland. This legislation outlined that reserves had to meet the criteria of forest protection, watershed protection and timber production. In 1905, the Forest Service was established with the same resource protection focus. By 1908, the forest’s name had been officially changed to “Bighorn.” W.E. Jackson served as the first forest supervisor on the Bighorn from 1897 to 1910. At that time, he oversaw eight districts and their...

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67-year-old Triple Crown hiker is still going

Posted by on Jan 7, 2018 @ 11:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

67-year-old Triple Crown hiker is still going

When Tom Jamrog was a student at the University of Massachusetts in the early 1970s, a friend gave him the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Jamrog put the quest on his bucket list. A move to Midcoast Maine to build a home in Lincolnville with his wife, Marcia, in 1977 and then raising a family and working as a school psychologist in Rockland put off the long-distance hike. But when Jamrog finally got around to the Appalachian Trail decades later, at age 57, he didn’t stop there. Jamrog completed the Appalachian Trail in 2007, then turned...

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Rare chestnut find: ‘This tree, it’s a survivor’

Posted by on Jan 7, 2018 @ 6:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Rare chestnut find: ‘This tree, it’s a survivor’

Dan Brinkman — a self-described tree nerd — knew he’d hit the jackpot when he was told about a certain tree standing in a cattle pasture near Mount Brydges, Ontario, Canada. To most, the tree looks like any other. But Brinkman was pretty certain this was an American chestnut, a species that once thrived in southern Ontario, and most of the eastern United States, but has been nearly wiped out by blight in the past century. “You read in the books about how rare it is and how small most of them are, just a sprout coming off a stump,...

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Joshua Tree: where people climb and the cactuses jump

Posted by on Jan 6, 2018 @ 12:52 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Joshua Tree: where people climb and the cactuses jump

Part of the attraction of Joshua Tree National Park is the contrast in landscape and environment. The park’s landscape exhibits considerable changes as the higher elevations are a mountainous ecosystem and, from the east to the west, the Mojave descends into the hotter and drier Colorado Desert. The western part of the park is filled with Joshua Trees that stimulate a visitor’s imagination with shapes resembling stick figures. The trees (actually yuccas) are pollinated only by yucca moths that lay eggs in the flowers. The larva feed on seeds...

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Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn

Posted by on Jan 6, 2018 @ 6:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn

Ocean dead zones with zero oxygen have quadrupled in size since 1950, scientists have warned, while the number of very low oxygen sites near coasts have multiplied tenfold. Most sea creatures cannot survive in these zones and current trends would lead to mass extinction in the long run, risking dire consequences for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the sea. Climate change caused by fossil fuel burning is the cause of the large-scale deoxygenation, as warmer waters hold less oxygen. The coastal dead zones result from fertiliser...

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Deep freeze helps fight tree-killing insect in the Smokies

Posted by on Jan 5, 2018 @ 12:21 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Deep freeze helps fight tree-killing insect in the Smokies

Biologists in the Great Smoky Mountains say there is a bright side to the recent spell of frigid temperatures. The deep freeze is a life-saver for some of the mightiest hemlock trees in the Smokies. “Definitely, these cold extremes help with the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid,” said NPS forester Jesse Webster. “It will not get rid of them completely, but we will take every bit of help we can get.” The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) invaded the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2002. The tiny insect from Asia has...

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Trump administration plan would widely expand drilling in U.S. continental waters

Posted by on Jan 5, 2018 @ 9:13 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Trump administration plan would widely expand drilling in U.S. continental waters

The Trump administration unveiled a controversial proposal to permit drilling in most U.S. continental-shelf waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic, where oil and gas exploration is opposed by governors from New Jersey to Florida, nearly a dozen attorneys general, more than 100 U.S. lawmakers and the Defense Department. Under the proposal, only one of 26 planning areas in the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean would be off limits to oil and gas exploration, according to Interior...

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Bouncing Around Colorado Springs In The Dead Of Winter

Posted by on Jan 4, 2018 @ 12:00 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Bouncing Around Colorado Springs In The Dead Of Winter

Mention Colorado Springs and you probably think of Pikes Peak, the highest mountain in the southern Front Range of the Rockies, or the Broadmoor Hotel, the historic resort nestled in the hills overlooking the city. But what happens when you take both of those out of the picture, plus most of the other tourists? Colorado Springs is built around hiking, literally. The city is surrounded by 1,200 acres of open spaces designed to be part of the community. These parks are not the tended gardens you’d expect back East, in New York or Savannah, Ga....

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