Kurt Kornegay won’t tell me where “Fat Man’s Misery” is. “Misery” is the name Kornegay gave to a boulder-choked slot canyon inside Panthertown Valley that very few people have ever explored. “It’s off the side of Blackrock Mountain. That’s all I’ll tell you,” Kornegay says.Apparently, the man still has some secrets. It’s ironic considering he is probably best known for helping to transform Panthertown Valley from a locals-only secret stash of trails into one of the most beloved recreation areas in the Southeast. Kornegay created the first map of the area, the “Guide’s Guide to Panthertown Valley,” which details Panthertown’s user-created trail system and unique bogs, peaks, and waterfalls. The map gives a wide variety of users enough information to explore this remote Western North Carolina valley on their own.Now, the veteran guide hopes he can do it again. Kornegay has recently published an updated map to Panthertown that features two “new” adjacent tracts of land, Bonas Defeat Gorge and Big Pisgah Mountain, large swaths of forests that only locals were privy to in the past. While Kornegay’s desire to introduce more people to these under-used forests is surprising, what’s downright shocking is that there are still pockets of forests in the Southern Appalachians that haven’t been thoroughly explored and accurately mapped yet. Within these two relatively small tracts of land, there are rock faces that have never been climbed, faint trails that have never been mapped, even waterfalls yet to be named.Big Pisgah Mountain is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Brevard, but it’s miles away from the famous singletrack and rock faces that have turned Brevard into a hub of outdoor adventure. Big Pisgah is roughly 1,500 acres of steep slopes and tight mountain streams sitting in the far southwestern corner of the Pisgah Ranger District, where the Pisgah National Forest meets the Nantahala National Forest.On his new map, Kornegay shows only one trail cutting through the northern edge of Big Pisgah. He’s named it West Fork Way because it follows the West Fork of the French Broad as it meanders through a narrow valley floor. The trail begins at a dilapidated Forest Service gate and follows an old roadbed, which has reverted back to singletrack. It contains numerous creek crossings and massive blowdowns left from last winter’s storms. The U.S. Forest Service doesn’t recognize West Fork Way as an official trail, so there is no regularly scheduled forest service maintenance.“I don’t see a lot of people venturing into that area, including the Forest Service,” says Nina Elliott, executive director of the Friends of Panthertown, the volunteer group that works with the Forest Service to manage Panthertown. Even though Big Pisgah is adjacent to Panthertown’s popular trail system, trail crews don’t wander into Big Pisgah.It’s shocking, given the proximity of the mountain to urban centers and popular recreation areas. A luxury second home community sits on the shores of Lake Toxaway, not five miles from the trailhead. Drive 30 minutes farther, and you’ll be in the heart of downtown Brevard. Ten more minutes and you’re sitting at the trailheads for Davidson River and Mills River Recreation Areas, two of the most popular trail systems in the Southeast. Some surmise that the area gets little traffic precisely because of its proximity to such popular trail systems.“People don’t explore,” says Joe Moerschbacher, owner of Pura Vida Adventures, a multi-sport guiding operation based in Brevard. “And around here, they don’t have to. There are so many trails and waterfalls already on the maps and in the guidebooks that most people don’t feel the need to look for new adventures.”Rich Stevenson specializes in finding new adventures—especially new waterfall adventures. The Asheville-based waterfall photographer estimates he’s discovered and unofficially named 40 to 50 significant waterfalls in North Carolina and South Carolina that aren’t listed in any maps or guidebooks. Big Pisgah, which only has one officially mapped and named waterfall (Dismal Falls), is ripe with waterfall discoveries, he says.“We found a 70-footer on accident,” Stevenson says. “It was actually pretty easy to get to, but it’s on an unnamed creek that isn’t on any map, so most people don’t know it’s there.”Stevenson named that 70-footer Rhapsodie Falls. He and a friend had stumbled upon Rhapsodie while bushwhacking towards Dismal Falls, which turned out to be more of a challenge than they’d expected.“Once you get off that main trail, Big Pisgah is a wicked area,” Stevenson says. “Getting to Dismal Creek Falls was brutal. You have to bushwhack steep slopes, then drop into an even steeper gorge, then boulder your way up to the falls.”Stevenson spends much of his time trying to pinpoint those undiscovered treasures by researching topographic maps, looking for a convergence of contour lines.“When you see those lines run together real close, that means it’s steep. If there’s a blue creek running over those steep lines, you’re likely to find a waterfall,” Stevenson says. But you’ve got to be willing to hunt for these treasures through severe terrain. In the book Land of Waterfalls, author Jim Bob Tinsley calls Big Pisgah and Dismal Creek “one of the most foreboding places in the Southern Appalachians.”And Bonas Defeat Gorge is even wilder.“Old timers say it’s like hiking through the barrel of a shotgun,” says Kornegay, referring to the terrain inside Bonas Defeat Gorge. Not only is the gorge narrow and steep, but the river is prone to flash floods and spillover from the dam upstream. It’s as close to a true canyon that you’ll find in the Southeast, with a massive 400-foot rock wall, and house-sized boulders and caves lining the river floor. American Whitewater considered negotiating for recreational releases on the river, which drops 240 feet in under half a mile. After a non-boating test flow of the gorge, some of the best boaters in the state concluded the Bonas Defeat was “inordinately dangerous.”Hiking the gorge can be equally fraught with peril.“There’s no trail, so you’re basically bouldering and spelunking your way up the riverbed,” Kornegay says.Bonas Defeat is dammed, but still has water in it from a few feeder streams, which makes the rocks slick, and any amount of rainfall can raise the water level, making navigation even more challenging. Accessing the gorge can be just as tough, as it is surrounded by private land.“The difficult access and terrain automatically limits the number of people who can enjoy it,” says Mike Milkins, the district ranger for the Nantahala National Forest. Milkins himself hasn’t even been inside the gorge.Professional guide Joe Moerschbacher ran an exploratory trip into Bonas Defeat and concluded that it was some of the best canyoneering in the Southeast. It boasts swimming holes, rock jumps, and a 150-foot waterfall rappel on Wolf Creek Falls.But the Forest Service denied Moerschbacher’s permit request to guide trips in the gorge, presumably because the terrain is too severe.“It’s a world-class day hike, one of the best around,” says Burt Kornegay. “But it’s not for everybody. If a lot of people start trying to hike Bonas Defeat, there are going to be a lot of injuries.”Still, Kornegay hopes his new map will encourage more people to explore Bonas Defeat and Big Pisgah, the way his previous map beckoned them to Panthertown. Of course, dishing local secrets to the masses doesn’t come without controversy. Many local bikers and hikers who had Panthertown’s trails all to themselves still lament the area’s popularity boom.“Old timers who’ve been hiking Panthertown since the mid-80s thought it was their best kept secret. They would’ve liked to build a wall around it and keep it to themselves,” says Nina Elliott of Friends of Panthertown. “But the word is out big time. People know about Panthertown. On a weekend in the summer, it can be a zoo.”Kornegay knows he’s partly responsible for that zoo, but he’s unapologetic.“It’s true, Panthertown is more heavily used now. Some trails show more wear. There are new campsites all over the valley that didn’t used to be there,” Kornegay says. “I know a few people loved it when they had it all to themselves. I’d like to keep these areas to myself too, but it’s unrealistic. In the East, our forests aren’t big enough to keep secrets. Sooner or later, they’re either going to be used or logged. I’d rather see these forests hiked. A thousand backpackers can do some damage to a trail, but nothing like a bulldozer. Try to log Panthertown now. There would be an uproar because it’s so loved. Ten years ago, though, not many people would have known or cared.”Even though Big Pisgah and Bonas Defeat are connected with the now-popular Panthertown, these two outlying tracts are a different animal altogether. More users will inevitably find their ways into the areas because of Kornegay’s map, but it’s doubtful that the masses will respond to Big Pisgah and Bonas Defeat the same way they responded to Panthertown. There may be just as many waterfalls, cliffs, and bogs inside the Big Pisgah and Bonas Defeat tracts, but you still have to bushwhack off-trail to find them.“You’ve got to go rock-hopping up a creek or crawling through rhododendron to find these things,” Rich Stevenson says. “The average person isn’t going to do that.”HIGHLIGHT REELWant to explore these tracts on your own? Kornegay’s map is essential, as is common sense. Be smart, never travel alone, and always pack for the worst. Order a map through Slickrock Expeditions.BIG PISGAHWest Fork Way follows the creek for three miles before connecting with the Devil’s Elbow Trail on the edge of Panthertown Valley.Aunt Sally’s Falls: At .5 miles from the trailhead, you’ll begin to hear this 40-footer from the trail. Take a short bushwhack north through briars and scrub brush to the base of the falls.Rhapsodie Falls: After a mile of hiking West Fork Way, you’ll pass through a tall stand of white pines. When the trail splits, take the left split south and cross the creek and pick up the trail again, passing a small 20-foot waterfall on the way. Follow a faint trail up the right side of the creek to Rhapsodie Falls.BONAS DEFEATWolf Creek Falls: This 150-foot waterfall drops over carved bedrock at the top of Wolf Creek Gorge. From the parking area off Hwy 281, follow the obvious trail to the riverbed, then look for steep scrambles to the top and base of the waterfall.Doe Branch Path: This collection of forest roads traverses the forest south of the gorge, between Tanassee Lake and Rock Bridge Road, where you’ll find a parking pull off.Bonas Defeat Wall: Deep in the middle of Bonas Defeat gorge is a 400-foot rock wall with a handful of established climbing routes.Grandma’s Kitchen: This collection of cascades drops through smooth, perfectly round potholes inside the gorge.
By prohibiting further mining in the Grand Canyon, the U.S. government is effectively protecting more than 1,300 acres from surface disturbance and preventing the diversion and potential pollution of over 300 million gallons of precious fresh water from the region’s aquifers.Dear EarthTalk: I understand that mining was just banned in the Grand Canyon and environs. Why is that an important victory for the environment?— Michael McAllister, Reno, NVYes, in January 2012 Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the federal government was prohibiting new mining claims for the next two decades across more than a million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.In the face of increased uranium mining in the area, environmental advocates have been pushing for the prohibition to stave off the industrialization of the iconic wild lands flanking the park, fearing that new roads, mines, exploratory drilling, power lines and truck traffic would compromise the natural experience most visitors seek, let alone directly pollute and alter the region’s fragile ecology. Pre-existing claims can continue to operate in the parcels in question, but they will have only about a tenth of the surface impacts and a third of the water usage of what mining in the area would cause without the ban on new claims.“The Grand Canyon’s watershed is a complex groundwater flow system that extends miles north and south of the National Park’s boundary,” reports the non-profit Wilderness Society. “If contaminated by uranium mining, those aquifers would be impossible to clean up—a point acknowledged by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.” The group adds that the aquifers in question feed the Grand Canyon’s springs and creeks, which provide habitat for up to 500 times more species than adjacent uplands, including threatened, endangered and even endemic species found only in the national park.“By industrializing the Grand Canyon region and risking permanent pollution of its soil and water resources, uranium mining would also threaten the Southwest’s robust tourism economy—for which Grand Canyon National Park is the primary economic engine,” says the Wilderness Society, adding that the outdoor recreation business in Arizona each year supports 82,000 jobs, generates some $350 million in state tax revenue, and stimulates about $5 billion in retail sales and services.As far as environmentalists are concerned, the Interior Department’s decision couldn’t have come any sooner, with mining companies chomping at the bit to open up over 700 new uranium mining sites and exploration projects on the disputed lands. By halting this development, the U.S. government is effectively protecting more than 1,300 acres from surface disturbance and preventing the diversion and potential pollution of over 300 million gallons of precious fresh water from the region’s aquifers.“The Interior Department’s decision on this ban reinforces the role the agency should play in managing our public lands by evaluating the various uses in the region and safeguarding fragile lands from permanent damage,” concludes the Wilderness Society.Of course, the mining and uranium industries in the U.S. are not lying down so easily. In February the National Mining Association, a trade group representing the interests of the U.S. mining industry, filed suit in federal court to try to overturn the prohibition. While the challenge works its way through the legal system, environmentalists can breathe easy as the ban remains in effect. But only time will tell how long they can keep resource extractors at bay in and around our national parks, especially in light of the lucrative revenues that can be made from uranium mining, logging and other destructive practices.CONTACTS: Wilderness Society, www.wilderness.org; National Mining Association, www.nma.org.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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
As I write this, my legs are sore, my back hurts, and I couldn’t be happier, because it is all due to riding in Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo this past Saturday.Before we get into the highs and more highs of this amazing ride, let’s go over the history of the Gran Fondo. First the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo has three different routes (32, 71, and 104 miles), is in its second year, and is one of pro mountain bike racer Jeremiah Bishop’s favorite training loops. After completing the ride I now know why he is so fit. The best part about the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo is that proceeds go towards prostate cancer awareness and bicycling infrastructure.I got into the friendly city of Harrisonburg on Friday afternoon and stopped by Shenandoah Bicycling Company, one of the local bike shops. Do yourself a favor next time you are in the area, and stop by this one of a kind cycling store. Not only is the staff incredibly knowledgeable, but they are also friendly and helpful. They did a quick check over of my bike, answered my questions, and even gave me a beer! After picking up my race packet, stocking up on some ride food, and drinking my complimentary Dale’s Pale Ale, I strolled over to the Bike Capital Gala. The Gala kicks off the whole fondo weekend with good food, great discussion, raffles and more. It was great to see local bicycling advocates, visiting riders, and others all having a great time and sharing ideas and knowledge about cycling and the community.I could bore you with the rest of my night adventures, but that would take too much time so let’s just say I woke up Saturday feeling a bit on the hung-over side. After a few glasses of water, an amazing acai bowl from Pulp Smoothies, and a few good stretches, I was feeling like a $10 bill and pedaled over to the starting line.First thing you notice at the ALGF is that everything is dialed. The ride seems organized, the atmosphere is relaxed, and you feel like you’re in good hands. Over 450 riders, including 2010 USA national road race champion Ben King, rolled out from Court Square and began the ride. Police escort got everyone safely out of the city and onto the gorgeous country roads that the valley is known for. Things mainly stayed together until we hit the base of 33, our first climb, and riders quickly settled into their own paces.I eased into the first aid station and I thought my eyes were deceiving me. Is that Starbuck’s Frappuccino? Are those danishes? Is that fresh fruit? No, my eyes were not playing tricks on me. Every aid station was amazingly well stocked with not only good food, but helpful and friendly volunteer staff. The aid stations are critical in a ride like this because the Alpine Loop is no joke. 104 miles, 11,000 feet of elevation, two gravel climbs, this is a ride that will challenge even the most seasoned rider. For perspective, it took Ben King over 6 hours from start to finish.I continued on over more gorgeous climbs, down ripping descents, and through peaceful valleys on my way through Franklin, W.Va., and then back to Harrisonburg. I had highs of climbing up the dark side of Reddish Knob, a 17 mile climb, and lows of trying to remember if the ride was called a fondo or fondue. In the end I made it back to town, and settled once and for all that I was on a fondo and that fondue is a melted cheese dish.The royal treatment doesn’t end at the aid stations however, because as I crossed the finish line volunteers came running bearing cold wet towels, bottled water, and a handmade Swiss bell for finishing the ride. To top things off, local cycling club Shenandoah Valley Bicycling Coalition had partnered with New Belgium to serve some post-ride brews. So after a delicious Ranger with some of my riding buddies and a quick pic with Jeremiah and Ben the 2012 Alpine Loop Gran Fondo came to a close.As a two-time finisher of the ALGF, and having partaken in a variety of other mountain and road cycling events, you will be hard pressed to find a better event than this. You can challenge yourself with the 75 or 104 mile options, but also bring along less seasoned riders and try the 32 mile option. You can race to the finish, or ride with your buddies and take in the breathtaking scenery. Jeremiah and his wife Erin have something really good going on here, so start training and I will see you at the 3rd Annual Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in 2013!For a more in depth look at the ride, watch this video!
Get fit for adventure this spring with Chaco!Enter below to win a pair of Chaco sandals, either the Men’s Mighty Sandal or the Women’s Fantasia Sandal.This giveaway is now closed, but sign up for more free giveaways here.Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 noon EST on May 15th, 2013. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and Chaco USA reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before May 30th, 6:00 PM EST 2013. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received.
Temperatures are dropping, the turkey carcass has been picked over, and you might have even seen some snow by now. Welcome back, December!!We are ready to go with another great month of free music for you here at Trail Mix. Consider it our gift to you – nineteen tracks to toss on your iPod as you look to get outside and shed that last serving of pumpkin pie you gobbled down last weekend. Please don’t get us wrong . . . we don’t blame you for that fourth piece of pie. We did it, too. We just highly encourage you to hit a trail near you with Trail Mix buzzing in your ears. We know we will be!Trail Mix kicks off with a new track from Quiet Life, a great band from the Pacific Northwest. These guys were hand picked by The Head & The Heart to open a bunch of shows during the band’s recent run through the Southeast. Quiet Life’s new disc, Wild Pack, is top notch. Be on the lookout for a blog post about them soon.This is the first time, in recent memory, that Trail Mix features an entire month of first-timers! No returning artists this month, but don’t let that keep you from listening. Along with Quiet Life, there are seventeen more brand new artists begging for your attention. Featured this month are great songwriters like Jeremy Squires, Pierce Edens, and Jonathan Wilson, the contemporary folkgrass sounds of The Danberrys and The Stray Birds, a bit of French-Canadian folk with De Temps Antan, and the rustic sounds of Jus Post Bellum.Also be sure to check out The Henry Girls, Tommy & The Ohs, Midlake, and Poor Old Shine, along with the rest of the great artists that round out the December Trail Mix.As always, stream or download until you just can’t stand it anymore. Then stream or download it again. And spread the word about these fantastic artists – take to the Twitter or the Facebook and share the link to Trail Mix. Lastly, considering it is the season of giving, head out to your local record store and grab some of these great albums for the music lover in your life.Happy Holidays!
Here’s what a lot of people won’t tell you about skiing. It sucks. Snowboarding too. Sucks. Okay, skiing doesn’t suck, but learning how to ski does. It’s miserable. You spend most of your time on the ground, trying to figure out how to get up without taking your skis off. Significant bruising is common. I was about 12 when my older brother taught me how to ski. He spent an hour pushing me down in the snow until I could stand up on my own. I spent the next seven years trying to learn how to stop on North Carolina ice. I still don’t think I have it down. Somehow, though, if you can get through all of the learning curve misery, skiing and snowboarding will hook you like “Bolivian Marching Powder” in the back room of an ‘80s disco. So when my twins turned two, I bought them skis and proceeded to teach them how to ski the only way I knew how: systematic pain and suffering. And it worked, kind of, the kids progressing slowly through a mix of joy and tears over the next few years.“Skiing is scary,” says Caroline Conner, who runs the ski school instructor training at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. “A lot of people try it once and they don’t want to do it again. The ski industry as a whole has been talking for a long time about what we can do to make that first ski experience better.”Enter Terrain Based Learning (TBL), a ski-school program that has redefined the beginner slope. Instead of putting new riders on a standard green slope, TBL uses mellow versions of terrain park features like half-pipes, rollers, and berms to introduce new skiers and boarders to the fundamentals of riding.“What we’re doing with TBL is enabling skiers to have fun within their first two hours on the mountain,” says Joe Hession, who helped develop TBL four years ago when he was the general manager of Mountain Creek Resort in New Jersey. Since then, Hession has founded SNOW Operating, a firm that implements Terrain Based Learning parks and trains instructors at resorts across the country. Now, you can find comprehensive TBL programs at almost 30 resorts in the United States, including Cataloochee in North Carolina, Seven Springs in Pennsylvania, and Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia.Last winter, I put my kids into Snowshoe’s TBL program hoping the instructors could do two things: 1) erase any bad habits I had imparted to my children, and 2) instill the stoke for skiing that I had yet to be able to pass on to them. My kids ski willingly, but they never ask to go skiing. This is the exact “problem” that TBL is designed to address.“If we can take away the fear factor by shaping snow features that help control speed, we can give new skiers these fun skiing sensations and hook them early on,” says Conner with Snowshoe.Hession says the data they’ve collected shows TBL retention rates are 30 percent higher than traditional ski schools. In other words, people who learn to ski through TBL are more likely to come back to ski again.Snowshoe’s Terrain Based Learning program is situated at the top of the mountain, adjacent to the village. Kids in the program break off with instructors based on age and skill level, and immediately hit the half pipe, where they begin skiing right away, learning how to use the curve in the snow to slow themselves down. From there, they progress to a short slope with large, mellow berms that guide them down the hill. When they get the hang of that, they move onto a short lift that serves the “perfect slope,” a gentle green run where the kids can practice putting together everything they learned from the lesson.“All of the fundamentals of skiing are still there,” Conner says. “You still work the gear the same way, you’re still learning to turn and stop. But we’ve reverse engineered the lesson, so guests can start sliding and moving firs before they learn how to stop and turn. They can start feeling the fun sensation of sliding on snow immediately. We found that doing away with just a few of those tedious tasks up front really increases the fun factor.”I saw it firsthand with my own kids, who progressed from timid beginners to confident skiers by the end of the first day. On day two, Snowshoe’s instructor had them skiing every green and some of the blues on Snowshoe. They rode the lift with confidence, looked down the mountain instead of at their feet and cruised right past the hallmarks of stopping and turning that I had spent two years trying to teach them, and started skiing with style. We’d make our way down Snowshoe’s Powderridge, a long, winding green that runs from the top of the village to the base of the mountain, with my kids constantly looking for opportunities to duck into the woods or hit little jumps. Every couple hundred yards, one of my children would yell, “watch this!” and fly high up on a berm, or flow through a chute between the trees. Sometimes they’d eat it, but they’d always get up smiling. The stoke was there. At the end of the weekend, my son broke down crying because we couldn’t ski for longer. He didn’t understand why we didn’t live at Snowshoe.I had a permanent grin plastered to my face on the way home, imagining a lifetime of family ski adventures ahead of us. It’s selfish, but if my kids are psyched to ski, that means I’ll get more days on the hill every year. Joe Hession gets it. “If the kids aren’t having fun skiing, then the parents aren’t having fun skiing.”
Grandmother moves into tree in an attempt to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline Blue crabs are making a comeback in the Chesapeake Bay The EPA will stop funding for a network of research centers responsible for studying environmental threats to children’s health, putting at risk a series of long-running studies that look at pollution’s long-term effect on children. There are 13 Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers across the U.S. that are jointly funded by the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. For more than 20 years the research centers have studied things like childhood leukemia, maternal health and autism. The existing funding for the centers is set to run out by the end of the year and many of the center’s programs are now scrambling to make up the funding shortfall. Critics call the move a part of the Trump administration’s effort to downplay science that could lead to stricter pollution regulations. EPA ends funding for kids’ health research centers A 44-year-old grandmother in Montgomery County, Va has taken up residence in a tree near Elliston, Va to protest the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The tree sits in the path of the pipeline, which will run 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Crystal Jean Mello, a mother of two and grandmother of one, climbed the tree last Saturday. She says she has lived in Southwest Virginia for most of her life and, according to Appalachians Against Pipelines (AAP), is concerned about the destruction at the hands of the pipeline company, calling recent protests and ended in felony charges against the protestors “intimidation tactics.” “They want to call these young people terrorists? Well, I’m Nana, and a cleaning lady, and I stand with them,” Mello told the AAP. “They want us to be hopeless and feel like big business will always win. But we can all do little things and create big change together. Change that can beat this pipeline. We are still here.” An annual survey of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay shows that the crustacean has reached the highest population in seven years. The healthy crab population rose 60 percent in the last year to reach an estimated 594 million crabs. A winter survey showed twice as many juvenile crabs this year than last year and spawning-age female crabs have increased by 30 percent. Strict harvesting restrictions were put in place in Maryland and Virginia in 2008 after the blue crab population fell to troubling lows. Efforts to reduce pollution in the watershed have also contributed to the growing population numbers. “The blue crab population is both healthy and thriving,” Maryland’s natural resources Secretary said in a statement. “Which is great news for the entire bay.”
Students at Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia can earn college credits while hiking the Appalachian Trail, thanks to the college’s Semester-A-Trail Program. The innovative program is the only one in the U.S. offering college credit to students thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or undertaking shorter section hikes on the A.T. Students may transfer in from any college to participate in the program and then return to their original institute of higher learning with the credits they received during their hike. There’s a new speed record on the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile footpath that extends from the Utah-Arizona border to the Arizona-Mexican border. Englishman Joshua Perry clocked nearly 55 miles a day to complete the trail in 14 days, 12 hours and 21 minutes. The wife says she reached out her hand and the deer touched her finger with its nose before coming into their yard at a break in the fence line. The deer then walked up to the woman and knocked into her, pinning her against a barbwire fence. When the husband intervened the deer attacked him, knocking him down and dragging him around the yard. The wife ran inside to call 911 and shot a pellet gun in the direction of the deer, allowing the husband to escape and hide behind a boat. The 56-year-old man sustained injuries from the buck’s antlers and was treated at a local hospital. New speed record set on Arizona Trail In addition to undertaking a long and challenging hike, those participating in the Semester-A-Trail Program will also complete a wilderness first aid course and participate in skill-building workshops and training. Backpacking gear, footwear, a hiking budget and on-trail support from program staff are all included in the program. Deer are generally docile, skittish creatures, but a man in Colorado has learned that’s not always the case. A Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a 911 call by a couple that reported seeing a “friendly deer” wearing a fluorescent orange collar behind the fence line of their property. Colorado man attacked by deer that may have been hand-raised by people You can earn college credit for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail Wildlife officials believe that the deer had been raised by humans and was released into the wild after those that were caring for it could no longer handle the animal. After the attack, officials learned that the deer had earlier approached another man and “attempted to push him around” while he was doing yard work. The deer also chased a 10-year-old boy. That attack was thwarted when a driver pulled his car in between the deer and the child. Perry says that along the way he crossed paths with a mountain lion as well as smaller creatures like tarantulas, snakes and scorpions. To keep his energy up he ate every 30 minutes, consuming 8,000 calories per day. “The desert Southwest is incredible,” Perry told azfamily.com. “I’ll definitely be back there.”
Georgia DNR seeks to fund wildlife viewing projects The Citizen-Times reports that park rangers from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the National Mall and Zion National Park, among others, have been ordered to send rangers to the border. Park officials report they’ve been informed that their rangers could be stationed at the border through September 2020. The Georgia State Department of Natural Resources is seeking proposals for its Wildlife Viewing Grants Program. The program funds projects that help Georgians enjoy and understand the state’s animals, plants and habitats. Grants are capped at $3,000 per project and the deadline to apply is January 15, 2020. The goal of the program, said Wildlife Conservation Section Chief Dr. Jon Ambrose, is to provide viewing opportunities that increase awareness and appreciation of native animals that aren’t hunted or fished, native plants and natural habitats. The Trump administration has ordered park rangers from national parks around the country, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to temporarily relocate to Arizona and Texas to patrol the U.S. border. The move comes as the House of Representatives declined to fund President Trump’s $5 billion border security plan. The license-free day over Thanksgiving weekend is one of eight license-free days offered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. During these license-free days, anglers can fish without first obtaining a fishing license. All bag limits, closed areas and size restrictions still apply. To view all fishing regulations visit www.MyFWC.com/Fishing. Grant proposals can include facilities, improvements or other initiatives. Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/WildlifeViewingGrants for details, including instructions on how to apply. Winning grant application will be announced by February 21, 2020. License-free fishing offered in Florida over Thanksgiving weekend Trump sends park rangers to patrol U.S. border Heading south for some Vitamin D this Thanksgiving weekend? If so, anglers will want to take advantage of Florida’s license-free saltwater fishing day on Saturday, November 30. Offered to both Florida residents and visitors, license-free fishing days are a great excuse to get out on the water.
By Dialogo May 14, 2010 Bangladesh will send its first all-female contingent of police officers on a United Nations peacekeeping mission, to help with reconstruction in quake-devastated Haiti, police said Thursday. “A 110-strong battalion of female peacekeepers, will fly to Haiti on May 15,” police spokesman Shyamol Kumar Mukharjee told AFP. “We will become the second country ever, after India, to deploy an all-female peacekeeping contingent,” he said, adding his country was “happy” to be able to help with the post-quake reconstruction effort. The South Asian nation agreed to send additional peacekeepers to Haiti in January when the UN requested help after the massive earthquake struck. Another 100 Bangladeshi male peacekeepers will be deployed on May 19, and will join a 20-member team that is already in place, Mukharjee added. Bangladesh, which makes the second-largest contribution to UN peacekeeping missions after Pakistan, has over 1,600 police currently deployed in seven countries including Sudan, East Timor, the Ivory Coast and Liberia. Since 1989, when the Bangladeshi police force first sent its officers on a UN peacekeeping mission, in Namibia, the total number of police who have served overseas stands at 6,369.