Vermont Chamber of Commerce names Top Ten Winter 2010-2011 Events

first_imgThe Vermont Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the highly anticipated 2010 – 2011 Top Ten Winter Events. The 2010 – 2011 award recipients display a wide variety of unique Vermont activities that will provide something fun for everyone in all corners of the Green Mountain State. The winners, in chronological order are: Vermont Holiday FestivalKillington, December 9 – 12Enter into a world of magical holiday fun! Take in the smell of fresh balsam and create special memories with family and friends. Events include the Festival of Trees, where more than 100 themed trees decorated by local businesses will be on display for viewing, horsedrawn sleigh rides, and Santa’s workshop, a satellite workshop of the North Pole, where children can help Santa build toys. Fees vary by event. www.killingtonchamber.com/HolidayFestival.php(link is external), 800-337-1928.Woodstock Wassail WeekendWoodstock, December 10 – 12, events from 10 am – 7:30 pm each day, horse parade at 2 pm on December 11.Wassail Weekend in Woodstock celebrates the twinkling holidays in the quintessential New England village. A festive holiday weekend with a spectacular horse parade and caroling around the village green, holiday house tour, musical events, yule log, luminarias at twilight on the green, Santa’s visit to the winter wonderland. Shop, dine, stay – find gifts for everyone in unique shops or relax in a cozy inn and dine on fine cuisine. Experience the magic of the holidays in Woodstock, Vermont! Many, but not all, events are free. www.woodstockvt.com(link is external), 888-496-6378.Stowe Winter CarnivalStowe, January 17 – 29, hours vary for events.Stowe Winter Carnival 2011 will be a fun-filled, zany winter festival of entertaining events, such as snow volleyball, snow golf, ski races, a kids carnival, ice carving, a village night family block party and live music throughout the last two weeks of January. What better way to celebrate winter, than in picturesque Stowe, VT during the 37th Stowe Winter Carnival! At the Stowe Winter Carnival, there is a winter event for everyone to enjoy! Free for all spectators. www.stowewintercarnival.com(link is external), 802-253-7321.2011 TD Bank Craftsbury MarathonCraftsbury Common, January 29, 9 am – 3 pm.The Craftsbury Marathon is the premier cross-country ski event of the East: a twenty-five kilometer loop course classic technique event traversing Vermont’s spectacular Northeast Kingdom. The marathon features 25 and 50 kilometer races. www.craftsbury.com(link is external), 802-586-7767.Sleigh Ride Week at Billings Farm & MuseumWoodstock, February 19 – 27, 10 am – 3:30 pmClimb aboard the Billings Farm sleigh for a ride through the frosty farm fields and take a turn with a jack jumper sled. On the weekends, in commemoration of Presidents Day, sample favorite cookies of the presidents. On Monday, Feb. 20th at 3 pm, Billings Farm will host the Vermont Humanities Council program “John Quincy Adams: Spirit Unconquerable.” (Free admission to program, reservations recommended.) Sleigh rides: $12 adults, $11 seniors, $6 children 5-15, $3 children 3 & 4. www.billingsfarm.org(link is external), 802-457-2355.Vermont Flower ShowEssex Junction, March 4 – 6, Friday 10 am – 8 pm, Saturday 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday 10 am – 4 pm.Vermont’s premier flower show offers three days of spring the first weekend in March. Visitors see a grand central display filled with flowering plants, bulbs, water features, and stonework. The 2011 theme is “Sweet Dreams” with a focus on relaxing the mind, body, and spirit as well as stirring up wistful memories, and engaging the fantasies of what you are dreaming of. Three days of seminars and educational workshops are held. There is a professional floral competition and amateur floral competition through the Federated Garden Clubs of Vermont. Cooking from the Garden demonstrations will be held all three days. Kids will find a special room all their own devoted to hands-on activities and scheduled performers to entertain them. Vermont Certified Horticulturists are on hand all three days to answer any gardening or landscaping questions. Adults $15, seniors (60+) $12, students (13-17) $6, kids (3-12) $3. www.greenworksvermont.org(link is external), 888-518-6484.Middlebury Winter Carnival & Chili ContestMiddlebury, March 5, 2 – 4 pm.The Better Middlebury Partnership presents the 3rd Annual Middlebury Winter Carnival & Chili Contest. Last year, 43 vendors served 76 different kinds of chili – and this year, you can expect that number to grow! Amateurs and professionals are encouraged to enter – the public votes! Join downtown Middlebury’s beautiful Main Street for chili, live music, dog sled demonstrations, and more. This quintessential Vermont festival is fun for the whole family! Free admission, unlimited chili samples: $1 kids, $2 adults. www.bettermiddleburypartnership.org(link is external), 802-388-4126.9th Annual Mardi GrasJay, March 7 – 13Celebrate the 9th Annual Mardi Gras Week! A week filled with authentic New Orleans food, music, events for kids and adults, ice skating at the new rink, and great spring skiing and riding. New Orleans Chef Marc Uddo will be back in town, and beads will be flying. Laissez les bons temps rouler! www.jaypeakresort.com(link is external), 800-451-4449.U.S. Open Snowboarding ChampionshipsStratton Mountain, March 14 – 20The U.S. Open is the longest running snowboard event on the planet, attracting the world’s best athletes and Vermont’s finest riders. The event’s open format allows qualifiers the chance to compete against Shaun White, Hannah Teter, and Kelly Clark on the same 22-foot pipe. Free admission. www.stratton.com(link is external), www.ttrworldtour.com(link is external), 800-STRATTON.Green Mountain Film FestivalMontpelier, March 18 – 27One of the best film festivals in the region, the growing popularity of the Green Mountain Film Festival derives from the quality of the programming, the caliber of the guests, and the devotion of an audience that knows it will be educated, entertained, and informed. Feature films, documentaries, and short films from around the world are presented in a relaxed and informal atmosphere at numerous venues throughout this vibrant Vermont community. Basic admission $8.50, discounts available, some events are free. www.greenmountainfilmfestival.org(link is external), 802-262-3423.Each year, a panel of independent judges chooses Vermont’s best activities, selected for their diversity and wide appeal. This year’s winners display a wide-range of family-friendly activities and represent many different parts of the state. “Vermont is known for its engaging and unique events. The high quality of events hosted in our state help influence visitors to choose Vermont as a vacation destination,” noted Vicky Tebbetts, Senior Vice President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.  “Each of our Top Ten Winter Events helps set Vermont apart as a great place to visit as well as live.”In order to qualify as a Vermont Chamber of Commerce Top Ten Event, events must appeal to out-of-state visitors as well as Vermonters; appeal to a diverse audience, including children and families; and due to the additional attention a Top Ten Event Award garners, the event must be able to accommodate an influx of visitors up to twice the normal count.  Source: VCC. 6.23.2010. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the largest statewide, private, not-for-profit business organization represents nearly every sector of the state’s corporate/hospitality community. Our mission is to create an economic climate conducive to business growth and the preservation of the Vermont quality of life.###last_img read more

Ohio Lawmakers, at Behest of Utility Industry, Move to Eliminate Mandates for Energy Efficiency and Renewables

first_imgOhio Lawmakers, at Behest of Utility Industry, Move to Eliminate Mandates for Energy Efficiency and Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享John Funk for the Cleveland Plain Dealer:The Ohio House of Representatives will consider eliminating Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.Cincinnati Republican Sen. Bill Seitz said his objective is to eliminate all state mandates and let markets determine whether energy efficiency technologies are adopted here and whether more wind, solar and hydro projects are built.Opponents say ending state mandates will cripple further development of wind and solar, and hamper the adoption of more efficient technologies in manufacturing.Seitz said the point of quick passage is to make certain the suspension of renewable and efficiency standards is in place before the end of the year. Otherwise, the state’s current renewable energy requirements, temporarily suspended by the legislature a year ago, will automatically kick back in.Among the energy mandates that have been suspended is a requirement that power companies annually increase the share of power generated by renewable energy technologies, until renewables account for 12.5 percent of the power sold.Gov. John Kasich has repeatedly vowed that he would veto any legislation that permanently suspends the renewable mandates. He made that promise in response to questions from voters during his presidential campaign.Ohio lawmakers approved the standards in 2008. They required power companies to supply an annually increasing percentage of electricity generated by wind, solar and other renewable technologies, and to help customers annually reduce electricity consumption by adopting energy efficient technologies. Only one lawmaker opposed the legislation.Prompted by the state’s utilities, lawmakers tried to permanently suspend the efficiency and renewable standards in late 2014 and again in 2015. Finally, after Kasich said he would veto any permanent suspension, lawmakers in June 2015 suspended the mandates for two years while they studied the issue. That deadline falls on Jan. 1, 2017, unless lawmakers take action before that date.Full article: Ohio renewable energy and efficiency standards could be frozen indefinitelylast_img read more

Wyoming Lawmakers Push for Higher Taxes on Wind-Generated Electricity

first_imgWyoming Lawmakers Push for Higher Taxes on Wind-Generated Electricity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Laura Hancock for the Casper Star Tribune:A group of lawmakers, accusing wind farms of “seeking to shut down” the coal industry, drummed up proposals Wednesday to increase taxes on the renewable energy source to raise money for education.There are 21 wind farms across Wyoming that on a blustery day can produce 1,412 megawatts of power, and a handful of additional projects in the works. But much of the discussion during the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee meeting at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds was on how the industry has allegedly contributed to the decline of coal.The committee ultimately ordered its nonpartisan staff to draft two bills that would increase taxes on wind. One would increase the tax per megawatt hour of wind produced in Wyoming. The current tax is a dollar per megawatt hour. The actual amount of the change would be decided by the committee later.The second bill that will be drafted would require wind companies to fork over a portion of the federal production tax credit they receive from the federal government – perhaps as much as $12 per megawatt hour. But the exact amount would also be decided later.Wind energy industry representatives told the committee in person and in written communications that increased taxes might prevent development of the industry in Wyoming. That didn’t seem to deter lawmakers.“If it kills a project, it kills a project,” said Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower.Full article: Legislators seek higher taxes on windlast_img read more

Kansas co-op pulls the plug on planned 895MW Holcomb coal plant addition

first_imgKansas co-op pulls the plug on planned 895MW Holcomb coal plant addition FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Wichita Eagle:Two companies that battled for more than a decade to expand coal power in Kansas say they’ve abandoned their plans to build a $2.2 billion coal-fired power plant.Sunflower Electric Power Corp., based in Hays, announced Wednesday that it will let its air permit for a proposed coal-fired plant in Holcomb expire in March, signaling an end to a project that drew criticism from environmentalists. It was first blocked by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2007 and then cleared for construction by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2017.But during that time, coal fell out of favor for environmental and economic reasons. It has been on a decline nationwide for at least a decade as public concerns about coal’s contribution to climate change have risen. At the same time, competing energy sources, such as cheaper natural gas and heavily-subsidized solar and wind energy, have taken off. The Kansas plant would have been the first one brought online in the United States since 2015.Sunflower Electric filed for an 18-month extension with the state on its air permit, which is set to expire on March 27, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment told the company that the permit would lapse at that time if construction had not started. After 15 years and $100 million invested in the coal plant expansion, the company changed its mind Wednesday.Sunflower Electric already operates one plant near Holcomb, and the expansion would have added another 895-megawatts of capacity. Along with its largest development partner, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, more than $100 million was invested in the development plans for the plant, The Eagle reported previously.[Chance Swaim, Jonathan Shorman]More: Kansas energy company abandons plans for $2.2 billion coal power plantlast_img read more

U.S. coal executives grapple with rising ESG concerns, more costly access to financial markets

first_imgU.S. coal executives grapple with rising ESG concerns, more costly access to financial markets FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Contura Energy Inc. executives said the U.S. coal sector is feeling the pinch of investors’ growing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in making investment decisions.Coal producers are struggling as large financial institutions around the world are increasingly severing ties to the sector over climate change concerns. Bankers, insurers and asset managers are exiting their business with the industry at a rapid clip. The movement to divest from coal is “slowly squeezing the entire coal industry like an anaconda,” Benjamin Nelson, lead coal analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, recently said.“ESG issues are very, very real to us right now,” Executive Vice President and CFO Andy Eidson said on a Feb. 11 call discussing preliminary earnings results. In January, BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, announced it would not invest in companies deriving more than 25% of their revenue from thermal coal.“I mean, [ESG issues have] been growing in influence over the past couple of years, and now it seems to have really caught fire,” Eidson said. “It’s almost like a pincer movement that is really creating a lot of cost pressure across the board.”Contura Energy CEO David Stetson said it is increasingly difficult for coal operators to go out into financial markets and obtain the capital to build a new mine, expand an existing mine or get equipment financing. “We really don’t see it changing,” Stetson said.Bonding a coal mine, for example, is becoming “harder and harder,” the executive noted. While much of the coal market is currently in a down cycle, even if prices improve, few companies will be able to put together a supply response due to the inability to economically obtain insurance, finance a mining project, or bond an operation, Stetson said.[Taylor Kuykendall]More ($): Coal exec: ESG trend ‘caught fire’ and is pressuring sector across the boardlast_img read more

Water Wars

first_imgOne out of three counties across the contiguous U.S., says a recent study commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council, should brace for water shortages by mid-century as a result of human induced climate change. Credit: ComstockDear EarthTalk: How is it that global warming could negatively impact water supplies in the U.S.?— Penny Wilcox, Austin, TXClimate change promises to have a very big impact on water supplies in the United States as well as around the world. A recent study commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental group, and carried out by the consulting firm Tetra Tech found that one out of three counties across the contiguous U.S. should brace for water shortages by mid-century as a result of human induced climate change. The group found that 400 of these 1,100 or so counties will face “extremely high risks of water shortages.”According to Tetra Tech’s analysis, parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas will be hardest hit by warming-related water shortages. The agriculturally focused Great Plains and arid Southwest are at highest risk of increasing water demand outstripping fast dwindling supplies.While the mechanisms behind this predicted dwindling of water supplies is complex, key factors include: rising sea levels and encroaching ocean water absorbing lower elevation freshwater sources; rising surface temperatures causing faster evaporation of existing reservoirs; and increasing wildfires stripping terrestrial landscapes of their ability to retain water in soils.Researchers have already begun to notice dwindling water supplies across the American West in recent years, given less accumulation of snow in the region’s mountains as temperatures rise. According to a 2008 study out of the Scripps Institute for Oceanography and published in the journal Science, Western snowpack has been melting earlier than it did in the past thanks to global warming, leading to markedly longer dry periods through the late spring and summer months in states already suffering from extended droughts. Given that the length and strength of these changes over the last 50 years cannot be explained by natural variations, researchers believe human induced climate change is the culprit.The upshot of these changes is that Americans of every stripe need to curtail their water usage—from farmers irrigating their crops to homeowners watering their lawns to you and I taking shorter showers and turning off the tap while brushing our teeth. Even more important, water and resource policy managers need to conceive of new paradigms for the management of freshwater reserves to make the most of what we do have. And all of us need to work together to cut down on the emissions of greenhouse gases that have led to global warming in the first place.Analysts also worry that warming-related water shortages could erupt into conflict, especially in parts of the world where one country or group controls water resources needed by others across national borders, such as the Middle East where already five percent of the world’s population relies on just one percent of the world’s fresh water. Parts of Africa, India and Asia are also at risk for water-related conflicts. American policymakers hope that the situation won’t get that dire in the U.S., but only time will tell.CONTACTS: NRDC, www.nrdc.org; Tetra Tech, www.tetratech.com; Scripps Institute for Oceanography, www.sio.ucds.edu.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

Southern Superlatives

first_imglongest rock scrambleOld Rag, Va. There’s no denying that the nearly mile-long scramble up the side of Old Rag is one long, hand over hand, squirming jungle gym.“You’re not going to find any rock scramble as long as Old Rag,” says Andy Nichols, owner of Shenandoah Mountain Guides and founder of the Old Rag Mountain Stewards, a rescue group that “patrols” the formidable mountain. “But it’s also really crowded.”Squeezing through a slot between two boulders is fun. Waiting in line for 20 minutes to squeeze through a slot between two boulders is maddening. If you want a scramble with similar quality but none of the crowds, head to Strickler Knob on Massanutten Mountain, west of Luray, where you’ll find a good half-mile of hand over hand boulder hopping that leads to an incredible summit view.“You’re rock hopping, then the next thing you know, you’re climbing hand over hand and you feel like you need to rope in,” Nichols says of the summit approach. Once you reach the top, you have 360-degree views at your feet.Explore It Start at the Massanutten Trailhead on Crimson Hollow Road west of Luray. Begin hiking east on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail before finding the pink-blazed Strickler Knob Trail. Be prepared for double-overhead freehand climbs and tight squeezes through slots between boulders. Pink blazes do a good job of keeping you on trail. And as always when hiking and scrambling around rocks, beware of snakes.highest mountainMount Mitchell, N.C. (6,684 feet)Okay, you know Mount Mitchell is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. But do you know it’s only 37 feet higher than the next highest mountain east of the Mississippi, Mount Craig (6,647 feet)? Craig is in the same Black Mountain Range as Mitchell. It’s even in the same state park as Mitchell and is connected by a pretty sweet trail with Mount Mitchell. But what does being 37 feet shorter than the tallest mountain in the East get you? Considerably more solitude. While Mitchell has a cafe and parking lot near its summit (you can request a golf-cart ride to the observation tower, if you like), Mount Craig is still in its wild, rugged state. No golf carts, no restrooms, and a fraction of the visitors.Explore It Park at Mount Mitchell State Park (found off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the end of NC 128) and bag the summit if you haven’t already. The observation tower offers a stellar view and Mitchell has a bizarre micro-climate and ecosystem that’s worth exploring. But spend most of your time hiking the 4.5-mile Deep Gap Trail along the crest of the Black Mountain Range. The craggy summit of Mount Craig is the first mountain you’ll cross after heading north from Mount Mitchell. From Craig’s summit, you’ll enjoy a broad view of Craig’s bigger brother Mitchell and a chunk of the Black Mountain Range of giants.Mitchell Craigwettest trailJacks River Trail, Ga.  As far as traditional trails go, Jack’s River Trail has to take the cake, with at least 42 stream crossings in under 17 miles. It’s a pain in the ass if you’re not wearing the right shoes. But consider the rise of canyoneering routes like Bonas Defeat Gorge in North Carolina, or Red Creek in West Virginia, and the sky’s the limit for river crossings. But then you get into philosophical questions like, “what constitutes a trail?” and we don’t want to go there right now. So long live Jack’s River as the King of Stream Crossings.Explore It Find the Jacks River Trailhead off of Forest Road 62, on the edge of the Cohutta Wilderness in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Other than the river crossings, the trail itself is relatively flat. You’ll find good campsites all along the river, particularly before and after Jacks River Falls. Trekking poles would help during some of the deeper crossings. And bring your fly rod. Jacks runs through the heart of the Cohutta Wilderness and is home to some feisty populations of rainbow, brown, and brook trout. With a fly rod in hand, all those stream crossings become opportunities for success.most remote spotVirginia Coast Reserve, Va.When we say remote spot, we mean specifically the piece of dirt farthest from any road in a given state. In the entire Southeast, the farthest you can get from a road with your feet on the ground is in Florida, on an island in the Marquesas Island chain, roughly 25 miles from the nearest road. If you’re looking for the most solitude in our backyard, look no further than Virginia, where you can stand exactly 8.3 miles from the nearest road. As long as you have a boat.The most remote spot in our region is on an island inside the Virginia Coast Reserve, according to Ryan and Rebecca Means, a biologist duo who’s made it their mission to find the most remote spot in all 50 states. The patch of sand that is farthest from a road in Virginia happens to be Rebecca’s favorite remote spot in the South. “We had a long, isolated beach hike to get to the spot,” says Rebecca Means. “I love a wild beach, and this one was definitely wild.”Explore It The Virginia Coast Reserve is comprised of 14 wild barrier islands between the Maryland border and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, which are owned and protected by the Nature Conservancy. You’re going to need a boat to get there, and you’re going to need permission. Day visitation is generally kosher, but check with the Nature Conservancy’s visitation guidelines to make sure your trip fits the bill. nature.org oldest riverThe New River…or is it? Oldest river in the country, second oldest river in the world, right? Not so fast. Labeling the New as the oldest river in the country isn’t as cut and dried as you’d think, according to studies by the National Park Service and West Virginia University. Even though it’s commonly accepted that the New is damn old, and usually bantered about as the second oldest river in the world, the exact age of the New has been debated scientifically for decades, primarily because there’s no definitive way to date a river. Based on geological studies and analysis with other rivers, most scientists date the river between 3 and 320 million years old. That’s old, but an argument can be made that the French Broad River, and a number of others, are just as old if not older.Explore It Oldest, shmoldest. We love the New for the good, clean fun it offers, regardless of its age. Here are two ways to sample this river. In North Carolina, paddle a multi-day stretch of the river as it passes through New River State Park, which has launches and campsites scattered throughout a 26-mile stretch of the New designated as a National Wild and Scenic River that calmly twists through the North Carolina foothills. Or raft the much more tumultuous stretch of the New that carves the dramatic New River Gorge in West Virginia. The Lower New is a full day of class II-IV rapids. nps.gov/neri Here are the best rivers in the Blue Ridge! Raftinghardest rock climbSouthern Smoke Direct, Red River Gorge, Ky. (5.15a) You might recognize Southern Smoke (5.14c) as being the route that helped catapult D.C. native Sasha Digiulian to stardom last year when she became one of the few women to climb the 5.14 grade. Adam Taylor, a Kentucky local, recently established Southern Smoke Direct (5.15a), which takes the already formidable Southern Smoke route and adds a more direct boulder problem to the beginning. The direct start gets the climber pumped in just a few moves close to the ground. In a previous article, Taylor told BRO that sending the route was like a runner squatting heavy weight before trying to run a 5K. At 5.15a, Southern Smoke Direct is the toughest rock climbing route in the Southeast, but Taylor already has his eye on developing a route inside the gorge that might be a bit harder.Explore It There are only a handful of climbers in the country climbing 5.15 right now. If you’re one of them, you already have the beta. For the rest of us mortals, hook up with a guide at Red River Outdoors (redriveroutdoors.com). They can run you by Southern Smoke Direct on your way to more appropriately graded routes.steepest commercially run riverUpper Yough, Md. Just take a look at the numbers. In 10 miles, the Upper Yough (pronounced “Yock”) has 14 class IV and five class V rapids, dropping 115 feet per mile on average. The gradient maxes out at a whopping 200 feet per mile inside the canyon through a section referred to affectionately as “The Miracle Mile.”Compare that to the Upper Gauley, arguably the most beloved class IV-V romp in our region, which drops an average of 36 feet per mile with a max gradient of 48 feet per mile, and you’ll understand just how steep the Upper Yough truly is.Explore It Block off five hours between April and October and sign up for a trip with Precision Rafting, which has been running the Upper Yough since 1981. The meat of the river is five miles inside a canyon with 20 back-to-back class IV-V rapids. •Size MattersNeed More Superlatives? Try these on for size.Biggest Cave System Mammoth Cave, Ky. At 390-miles of connected passages, Mammoth Cave is the largest cave system in the world, not just the Southeast. Deepest Gorge: Nolichucky River Gorge, Tenn. It’s not your typical stone-wall canyon, but the Nolichucky gorge rises 3,000-feet from the river to the tip of Unaka Mountain, the highest mountain lining the gorge at 5,180 feet.Smallest WildernessAllegheny Islands Wilderness, Pa.371 acres. The Wilderness area is comprised of even islands in the middle of the Allegheny River. But it’s behemoth compared to the Pelican Island Wilderness, in Northern Florida, which is a tiny six acres.Largest National ForestGeorge Washington National Forest, Va./Wva. Call the G.W. a cool mill: 959,414 acres in Virginia and 104,866 acres in West Virginia. Largest Lake: Kentucky Lake, Ky. This manmade wonder covers a whopping 160,309 surface acres with 2,380 miles of shoreline. By comparison, the lake is just 30,000 acres smaller than all of Shenandoah National Park.Curviest RoadTail of the Dragon, N.C./Tenn. In a deep corner of Western North Carolina/Eastern Tennessee, an 11-mile stretch of US 129 has an astounding 318 curves as it winds its way toward the border.last_img read more

National Wildlife Week

first_imgNational Wildlife Week is March 18-24 this year. The theme is “Branching Out for Wildlife,” with a focus on how wildlife depend upon trees for survival. Pictured: A pair of Northern Cardinals on a tree branch. Credit:iStockPhotoEarthTalk®E – The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: What is the purpose of National Wildlife Week, which I understand will take place in March 2013?                                                                                    — Melissa P., Burlington, NJ National Wildlife Week is a program of the non-profit National Wildlife Federation (NWF) that is designed around teaching and connecting kids to the wonders of wildlife. Each year, the group picks a theme and provides fun and informative educational materials, curriculum and activities for educators and caregivers to use with their kids.This coming March 18-24 (2013), the theme of National Wildlife Week is “Branching Out for Wildlife” with a focus on trees. Participating kids will learn about the parts of a tree, the role of trees and how wildlife depend on trees for survival. They can also participate in environmental service projects addressing climate change, healthy habitats, reforestation and connecting with the environment.Teachers, instructors, coaches and parents can sign up with NWF and get a wide range of free resources—lesson plans, posters, trading cards, etc.—to help spread the educational messages of National Wildlife Week into school curricula, after-school and even at-home activities.2013 marks the 75th year NWF has run National Wildlife Week, making it the group’s longest running educational program. To mark the milestone anniversary, NWF has adopted the goal of planting 75,000 trees across the country. School and youth groups can apply to host a tree planting event with NWF, which will provide native trees adapted to the local climate, as well as tree guards, shovels, mulch, watering supplies and gloves.Beyond National Wildlife Week, all year long NWF will feature detailed information on their website about different types of wildlife that live in or are dependent upon trees across the country. Young people are encouraged to stay on the lookout for wildlife near them throughout National Wildlife Week and log their sightings accordingly—and can share them online via NWF’s interactive Wildlife Watch Map.The Branching Out for Wildlife Mega-Poster is comprised of smaller sections that each graphically display the different parts of a tree—roots and soil, forest floor, trunk, branches and leaves/fruit/flowers—and the wildlife that frequent them. At five and a half feet tall, the complete mega-poster is a real attention grabber in any room. Anyone can print out the sections for free as they are all available via the NWF website as PDF downloads.Wildlife Week is not the only way NWF educates kids and inspires a lifelong love of nature. The group has worked with teachers for decades to get kids learning outdoors. Recently NWF launched a campaign to get 10 million more American children out of their indoor habitats and into the great outdoors over the next three years. And its Eco-Schools USA and Schoolyard Habitats programs harness the power of teachers and students to green thousands of K-12 schools across the country.  And the group’s Earth Tomorrow campaign is a multi-cultural youth environmental program that creates opportunities for underserved youth to learn about their world and contribute to the ecological health of their communities.CONTACT: NWF National Wildlife Week, www.nwf.org/national-wildlife-week.aspx.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Outdoor News for May 8, 2013

first_imgYour outdoor news bulletin for May 8, the day Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto reached the Mississippi River just south of modern day Memphis, Tennessee, on his quest to find gold and silver in the new world – and we all know how that turned out:Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hands Out HonorsShe may not be a backcountry ranger or a superintendent, but Heather Wood knows how to make an impact. On Monday, Wood was honored as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Employee of the Year for 2012 for her work as an administrative support assistant for the park’s resource and visitor protection division. Woods, chosen from a pool of five candidates nominated for the award, was acknowledged for her character, hard work, and “willingness to assist any employee within any division at any time.” For her service, Woods received a monetary gift from Friends of the Smokies, a gift basket, engraved clock, and two paintings from the local communities. Not a bad haul for doing something she says comes naturally. Congratulations to Heather and all the other nominees.Speaking of GSMNP, they are still looking for volunteers at the Clingmans Dome Information Center. More details here.Asheville Up for Beer Honor AgainConsidering we just released our annual Southern Brew Guide, and one of our offices is in this town, this story is super relavant. Asheville, North Carolina is once again up for the honor of BeerCity USA in the annual Examiner poll, now in its fifth year. Last year’s poll saw undefeated, 4-time champion, Asheville split the title with Grand Rapids, Michigan, a newcomer. In the article on the BeerCity USA poll, the Examiner emphasizes the poll is “not a measure of beer quality, number of breweries, volume of beer enjoyed nor any kind of ‘best-of-show’ measurement.” So what is it, if not all those things? Good question, and I’m not sure we have an answer. The official word is “it’s an indicator of the coherent nature of beer communities.” Say what? Whatever it is, Asheville has been dominating so scoot over to the poll and vote for your favorite beer city before Friday. Blue Ridge towns also included in the list are: Raleigh, N.C. and Richmond, Va.Got a Green Idea? Call YvonPatagonia has been on the giveback kick pretty much since its inception, with founder Yvon Chouinard at the forefront. It gives one percent of profits to grassroots environmental organizations, last year told outdoor folks to quit buying their stuff unless they really, really need it, and now they are really putting their money where their mouth is while trying to get a little back – they still are a major retail company after all. Monday, Patagonia launched what they are calling $20 Million and Change, an in-house venture capitalist entity that will invest in start-up, for-profit, sustainable, businesses involved in food, water, energy or waste. Companies elegible for the investments – ranging from $500,000 to $5 million depending on company needs – will need to have $1 million in revenue or capital (hedge those bets) and obviously have some sort of green angle. Through this effort, Patagonia will certainly help fund a company that could eventually become a direct competitor, which is crazy enough that it just might work (see the “don’t buy our clothes” movement they started). With over $400 million in annual sales, and a business plan virtually unaffected by the economic downturn (profits have tripled since 2008 and last year was the companies best in terms of sales), Patagonia continues to prove that doing the opposite of what makes sense, makes the most sense.last_img read more

The June Issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine is on stands now!

first_imgHold your breath and dive into June’s Water Issue…which highlights paddling through three of the wildest swamps in the South, swimming rapids on the New, rappelling waterfalls with a tenkara rod, and boating with the fun-loving whitewater warriors of Ohiopyle. You can also view our adventure dog photo contest winners, check out the hottest new paddlesports gear, and meet the wildest woman in America.FeaturesLEGENDS OF OHIOPYLEMeet five paddling pioneers from a world-class whitewater town along Pennsylvania’s Lower Yough.SWAMPEDSwamps aren’t dark and dreary lagoons, but light-filled water wonderlands. Explore three of the country’s largest and wildest swamplands.A WOMAN WITH GUTSWhat happens when a scrappy turtle biologist with road-kill breath takes on one of the world’s wealthiest families to protect a wild island?TENKANYONEERINGRappelling down waterfalls and minimalist fishing are the new peanut butter and jelly.DepartmentsQUICK HITSRx: biking / Paying for mountain air / Two most endangered rivers in the SouthTHE DIRTWhitewater swimming / A big dam mess on the Hazel River / Roots racingTHE GOODSThe hottest items in paddlesportsTRAIL MIXBig Daddy Love takes Appalachian rock on the roadlast_img read more