Some Of The Best Places In The United States To Plan A Hiking Trip

Many Americans are rediscovering favorite pastimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, including exploring outdoor areas. Because you can breathe fresh air (so long as you aren’t in a crowd) and get away from enclosed spaces, this can be a great time to plan a hiking trip. Being outdoors is one of the most effective ways to avoid close contact but enjoy exercise and...

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National Parks Are Getting Trashed During COVID-19, Endangering Surrounding Communities

Many national and state parks, supposed to be untouched swaths of time-proof wilderness, have been overrun by first-time visitors seeking refuge from quarantine, joblessness, or the inability to take far-flung vacations. And as people have flooded into the parks, new crises have arisen for rangers and nearby communities, including indigenous populations who were already...

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

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...

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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...

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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...

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Appalachian Trail reopens to day-trippers but urges thru-hikers to stay home

Back in mid-March, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail started shutting down sections and services to hikers of all ambitions. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), which oversees the 2,193-mile route, implored day hikers and “thru-hikers” to temporarily hang up their hiking boots. Last month, the organization revised its message and released guidelines that...

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Tribal leaders question wisdom of reopening national parks without measures

Arizona tribal leaders told House lawmakers that moves to reopen national parks are being made without needed health safety measures to protect tribal members or park visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The comments by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Havasupai Council Member Carletta Tilousi come as the Interior Department is moving to reopen parks. That...

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Do you need to wear a face mask while hiking?

Outdoor spaces have begun to reopen while the coronavirus pandemic carries on, bringing up an important question for hikers eager to get back outside: Do you need to wear a face mask while hiking? As hiking trails and other outdoor space reopen across the country, some researchers and medical experts, as well as state park officials, now recommend hikers carry face...

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Smokies air quality ‘noticeably clean’ during pandemic

The dark cloud created by coronavirus came with a silver lining: cleaner air and fresher streams. “We’ve had really good days,” said Jim Renfro, the air quality program manager for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “It’s been pretty clean,” Renfro said. “Noticeably clean.” There’s a reason the Great Smoky...

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New hiking permits for Oregon’s central Cascades are delayed until 2021

Those hoping to set off into Oregon’s central Cascade Mountains this summer won’t need to scramble for a hiking permit after all – once trailheads closed due to the coronavirus reopen to the public. New hiking permits set to roll out this month in Oregon’s central Cascades will be delayed until 2021, the U.S. Forest Service announced, due to the ongoing pandemic. “Given...

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Public land managers discuss closure decisions and plans for re-opening

While people nationwide are lamenting the loss of bars, restaurants, concerts, festivals and countless other aspects of community life amid the COVID-19 crisis, for many in Western North Carolina the deepest blow has been the loss of access to hundreds of thousands of acres of cherished public lands. “We live in a very risk-averse society, and each agency is considering...

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ATC Begins Planning for Hikers’ Safe Return to Appalachian Trail

In March 2020, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) advised all visitors and volunteers to stay away from the Appalachian Trail. Increased visitor use made social distancing practically impossible and the potential to spread COVID-19 to other Trail visitors and vulnerable Trailside communities — and beyond — posed grave risks. Subsequent stay-at-home orders in most...

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To hike, or not to hike; That is the question

Ironically, through their inconsistency, dogs send a consistent message: The only thing we can control is our own behavior. That’s a good concept to embrace during the global coronavirus pandemic. Because of conflicting messaging, coronavirus stay-at-home orders have been particularly trying and confusing for hikers. We’re being told to both stay home and go out and hike...

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Day trips. Hiking with bandanas. What you should keep in mind as outdoors spaces reopen

After weeks of getting creative to stave off cabin fever — backyard grass skiing, living room campouts, retaining wall rappels, neighborhood trip reports — outdoor adventurers finally have some good news. In the next week, some state parks and public lands will reopen for day use in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and a few other states. But as hikers lace...

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14 ways to turn your coronavirus cabin fever into climate action

In these times of unprecedented uncertainty, a to-do list can help you stay sane. It doesn’t matter that you have no places to go or people to see. With COVID-19 tossing normal life down the drain the world over, the shred of normalcy helps you stave off apathy, paralysis, and a sudden aversion to wearing proper pants. You’re not the only one desperate for a little...

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The Road to Reopening

As superintendent of Glacier National Park, Jeff Mow has grappled with wildfires and wayward bears, flash floods and fatal avalanches. He’s tangled with budget deficits and government shutdowns, climate change and record-setting throngs of visitors that stretch the park’s infrastructure to maximum capacity. He’s modeled scenarios that account for rising temperatures and...

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Border wall construction brings crowds, and COVID-19 anxiety, into Arizona towns

Unlike the rest of the U.S., the sleepy border community of Ajo, Arizona, is busier than ever these days, as hundreds of border wall construction workers pass through each day. “The rest of us are staying at home just the way the governor has ordered,” said Susan Guinn-Lahm, an Ajo resident in her 60s. “We’re taking this seriously. They are not.” Local officials are...

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Thinking of Hitting the Trail During COVID-19? Answer These 5 Questions First.

Whether hiking, bicycling, riding on horseback or participating in motorized recreation nearly everyone uses trails for a similar goal – to spend time outdoors. This time outside, whether a short walk down a paved trail to work in an urban setting, or a hike to a point reachable to only a few Americans makes trail users happier people. We all know that spending time...

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50 States, 50 Trails: The Ultimate Hiking Guide For When The Trails Reopen

You’re sick of sheltering in place. We’re all sick of sheltering in place. But it’s what is necessary right now to flatten the curve, and we’re all in this together. So, while we’re all reading this in our pajamas, completely unsure what day it is, and even though all trails might be closed until further notice, here are some of the best hikes in all 50 states based on...

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Pisgah National Forest Temporarily Shutting Down Dispersed Camping and Several Roads and Trails

In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health and safety of its employees, visitors and volunteers, Pisgah National Forest will temporarily shut down dispersed camping and the roads and trails listed at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD724408 effective April 13, 2020. Forest order number...

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Deadly Coronavirus Concerns Have National Parks Being Cautious In Planning Reopenings

Overarching concerns for the health of staff, concession workers, and visitors are complicating the reopening of national park sites shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Business won’t return to normal quickly or uniformly, with many parks confronting a unique set of issues they must resolve before they can welcome the public’s return. Exactly when...

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Farmworkers are risking their lives to feed a nation on lockdown

You can’t pick strawberries over Zoom. As strawberry-picking season kicks into high gear in April and May, farmworker advocates fear that a lack of worker safety protections, combined with a lack of access to health care and crowded living conditions, could lead to a major COVID-19 outbreak in farmworker communities across California. As other crops are harvested...

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It’s Important to Keep Talking About Climate Change Now

In the midst of a pandemic with an immediate and visible toll on human life and the economy, other ongoing crises have fallen lower on the public’s radar. But environmentalists are finding ways to keep climate change relevant by advocating loudly for an agenda that protects people as well as the planet. A consensus seems to be emerging from environmental groups that...

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Some common sense tips to keep you (and others) safe when hiking

Good hygiene and maintaining the appropriate social distance are central themes in this checklist of recommendations for hikers during this time of COVID-19: Keep your hands clean. Use wet wipes and hand sanitizer. Better yet, use biodegradable soap and water to scrub your hands, well away from water sources, of course. Don’t share anything. Your utensils, cup, bowl and...

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‘We’re closed for your hiking business.’ Communities near national parks urge non-locals to stay away.

Josh Berman, a Spanish teacher from Boulder, Colo., had been looking forward to his rafting trip with his 12-year-old for more than a year. As a father of three daughters, he annually alternates taking each one on an outdoor adventure. This year’s 45-mile rafting trip on the Green River from Colorado to Utah was easily the most off-the-grid excursion yet, and he and his...

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Is life during coronavirus how we will live during climate change?

So will this animation around COVID-19 translate to a climate revolution? The difficult thing about climate change, versus coronavirus, is that, until very recently, it appeared to be a far-off probability versus an impending threat. It’s really hard to get people to do things that are challenging or even just inconvenient to preemptively address a distant, not-certain...

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No, Sheltering in Place Doesn’t Include Hiking in Crowds

In locked-down America, the outdoors is one of the only places left to go. And everyone seems to be going. Leaders and health officials around the country are struggling to balance the need for separation with the need for escape and exercise. Southern California’s always-jammed roads were eerily quiet the first weekend of a statewide lockdown meant to slow the spread of...

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The Leave No Trace Recommendations for Getting Outside During Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly altering our daily life. It is important to be aware of the most current information from the CDC on these changes, and that goes for changes to the way we spend time outside as well. To keep ourselves, our communities, and our outdoor spaces safe and healthy during this time, please consider these recommendations. Where COVID-19 is...

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