Trump administration plan makes drilling and fracking easier in national forests

The U.S. Forest Service released a proposal that would fast-track fracking and drilling across the country’s 192 million acres of national forests and grasslands. The proposed rule would reduce requirements that the Forest Service approve oil and gas leasing plans, sidestep National Environmental Policy Act review, and prevent public involvement before the public lands...

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North Carolina Young Adults Work with Volunteers to Restore Black Mountain Crest Trail

  A Conservation Corps North Carolina (CCNC) crew of young adults worked with volunteers from the North Carolina High Peaks Trail Association to complete high priority trail work on the Black Mountain Crest Trail in the Nantahala National Forest. The CCNC crew consisted of five 18 to 24 year-old AmeriCorps Members led by a trained Crew Leader. The crew worked...

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USFS And CDC Issue Safe Hiking, Mountain Biking Guidelines For Virus

Hiking is a wonderful way to see and experience the many wonders of the nation’s forests. As summer transitions into fall, the weather and scenery this time of year provide near perfect hiking conditions. It is important to consider however, that the weather at higher elevations may be much colder, harsher and wetter, especially as the season changes. The best way...

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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,...

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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...

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USDA Forest Service announces challenge to increase focus on problems facing nation’s largest public trail system

USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen today emphasized the need to find innovative ideas to tackle the nearly $300 million maintenance backlog on the nation’s largest public trail system. Christiansen called on individuals and organizations to work with the agency to address trail maintenance and sustainability to improve access, keep people safe, and support...

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U.S. Forest Service releases draft Nantahala and Pisgah forest plan for public comment

Drafts of the Nantahala and Pisgah forest plan and environmental impact statement (EIS) are now available. A formal 90-day public review and comment period is scheduled to begin on February 14,2020. The proposed plan is built on significant public engagement and the best available science to guide forest management for the next 15 years. It recognizes the multiple uses...

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Forest Service might limit public comments

Under President Donald Trump, federal agencies have chipped away at the reviews and permitting required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws. Earlier this month, the Forest Service proposed a significant overhaul of the NEPA process for logging and development on millions of acres of federal forest and...

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1 Billion Acres At Risk For Catastrophic Wildfires, U.S. Forest Service Warns

The chief of the U.S. Forest Service is warning that a billion acres of land across America are at risk of catastrophic wildfires like last fall’s deadly Camp Fire that destroyed most of Paradise, Calif. As we head into summer, with smoke already drifting into the Northwest from wildfires in Alberta, Canada, Vicki Christiansen said wildfires are now a year-round...

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The Future of Forests & Water in the NC Piedmont

We’re all downstream from something. A new modeling study by the U.S. Forest Service shows that forests make very good upstream neighbors. The research focuses on the Yadkin Pee-Dee River Basin in central North Carolina. Senior research ecologists have been studying this area because of its projected rapid population growth and forest loss. Its urban area is likely to...

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Quoting ‘The Lorax,’ court tosses permit for pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail

  A permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail, was thrown out Thursday by a federal appeals court that harshly criticized regulators for approving the proposal. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond blasted the U.S. Forest Service for granting a special-use...

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How the U.S. Forest Service Grows Millions of Seedlings Each Year

Tucked into the Douglas fir and ponderosa pine forests of Northern Idaho sits the quaint lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene. The former lumber town is now a popular tourist destination drawing families from across the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Gone are the pounding mills, replaced with fancy lakefront hotels and bustling shopping centers. But it’s not hard to find relics...

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The Old Way Is the Best Way

The “Ninemile’s” historic collection of buildings is part typical Forest Service ranger district, part tourist destination, and part working ranch. A standard complement of Forest Service employees works at the station—a silviculturist, District Ranger, trail crews, and others who ensure the District resources are maintained and the public is safe. But the other cowboys...

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The State of the Nation’s Forests

Forests are constantly changing with weather, disturbance, and conversion to other land uses, but how do we know if year-to-year changes are just a one-off or part of a larger shift? Annual summaries of forest health are key to our understanding, say the editors and authors that produced Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends, and Analysis 2017. Scientists...

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Forest Service apologizes for damage to Appalachian Trail during patrols of pipeline protests

The U.S. Forest Service apologized for damaging the Appalachian Trail with all-terrain vehicles during its patrols of a pipeline protest. In a news release, the agency admitted that its law enforcement officers used the ATVs from April 11 to April 30 on a short stretch of the scenic footpath that follows the ridgeline of Peters Mountain in the Jefferson National Forest...

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Fire funding fix comes with environmental rollbacks

Congress accomplished something unprecedented last week: They passed a bipartisan solution to a knotty budget issue that has hobbled the U.S. Forest Service’s ability to do restoration and fire-prevention work in Western forests. The $1.3 trillion federal spending package included a long-sought funding fix for wildfire response. Starting in 2020, the Forest Service will...

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Omnibus spending bill would increase funding for national parks and wildfire suppression

The spending bill passed by the House and Senate on March 22, 2018 would increase funding the National Park Service needs to address its nearly $12 billion maintenance and repair backlog. Under the proposal the Park Service would receive a 9 percent increase to its budget. The measure includes about $160 million to make repairs that would help growing numbers of visitors...

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Graphene is the most conductive material on earth; it could charge a cell phone in just five seconds.

Measuring one million times less than the width of a human hair, graphene is harder than diamonds and 200 times stronger than steel. Small, strong, and flexible, it is the most conductive material on earth and has the potential to charge a cell phone in just five seconds or to upload a terabit of data in one. It can be used to filter salt from water, develop...

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Former Senator’s Wyoming Ranch Purchased for National Forest

The Bridger-Teton National Forest has acquired a sprawling former ranch that had been the largest remaining private inholding along the Upper Gros Ventre River valley in northwest Wyoming. The $3 million purchase of the 990-acre property roughly 30 miles east of Jackson was recently announced by the U.S. Forest Service and The Trust For Public Land. The land had been...

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Parts of national forest closed for Mountain Valley Pipeline construction

The U.S. Forest Service says it is closing parts of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia and West Virginia as construction begins on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The department issued an emergency closure order affecting land in Giles County and Montgomery County in Virginia, and Monroe County in West Virginia. According to a release from the...

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Save our national forests with a simple fire funding fix

  It should be a simple nonpartisan fix to a budgeting issue that every year strips the U.S. Forest Service of its ability to adequately manage millions of acres of federal land and the trails, roads and structures that allow Americans to enjoy their forests. Instead, for more than two decades the issue has eluded common sense, mired in an unnecessary proxy...

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Forest Service turns to volunteers for trail repair

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to double the workload of its volunteer helpers as it attacks a backlog of trail maintenance largely in Montana. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex’s 3,200 miles of trail arrived No. 1 on a Forest Service priority list for trail work. So did the Continental Divide Scenic Trail; its largest segment passes through Montana. And the Central...

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Funding tightens for Vermont’s Long Trail caretakers

Hugh and Jean Joudry have spent the last fifty summers atop Stratton Mountain, and the couple, now in their seventies, aren’t planning to descend any time soon. While their tenure at the mountain’s summit began through the State of Vermont’s Fire Watch program in 1968, the two have watched over the peak as Green Mountain Club caretakers since the 1970s....

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USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvements for Forest System Trails

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands. Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be...

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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...

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Visiting Hanging Lake? You may need to plan ahead

The U.S. Forest Service has released a draft of the environmental assessment of its proposed plan for visitor management of the popular Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs. An iconic Colorado landmark, the lake in the White River National Forest is both a popular destination for hikers and photographers, along with being a spur-of-the-moment stop for people passing by on...

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Forest Service closes in on plan to protect Oregon wilderness areas from overuse

After eight months and more than 500 comments from Oregonians, the U.S. Forest Service is closing in on a proposal that could protect central Oregon’s most scenic areas from overuse. The Forest Service kicked off the project in the spring by holding public meetings to gauge interest in changing the way trails and campgrounds in five popular wilderness areas,...

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U.S. Forest Service increases leash-law enforcement in NC

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service remind the public that a dog leash law is in effect in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, including roads and trails. Forest Service personnel have stepped up enforcement recently. Due to the area’s high popularity and intensive recreational use, unleashed dogs have become a safety issue, officials said in a news...

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