Outdoor News August 25, 2017 - Explore! Outdoor News August 25, 2017 - Explore!

Outdoor News August 25, 2017

Last Week’s News

The weekly Outdoor News was not published last week due to illness.  I’m well this week and back at it.  Enjoy!

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse 2017Lot’s of people got outdoors this week to see Monday’s solar eclipse that traversed the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. Those within a 70 mile band along the route were treated to a total eclipse.  With the best weather predicted for the western states, some areas saw traffic jams as visitors arrived in small rural towns and remote ares.  This year, with the wide availability of solar viewing glasses, many more people were able to see the progress of the eclipse and the sun’s corona at totality.

While total eclipses are fairly rare,  there are other celestial happenings that bring many people outdoors.  The best viewing usually requires dark nights – often found in remote areas where star gazing can be combined with a camping trip.  Whether it is a meteor shower, an unobstructed view of the Milky Way, the aurora borealis (or aurora australis), tracking planets, or celestial photography you will find a lot to explore in the heavens while camping.

Park Service Drops Water Bottle Ban

Last week Wednesday, the National Park Service released the following statement:

Firebrand Pass Trail - Glacier National ParkIn its commitment to providing a safe and world-class visitor experience, the National Park Service is discontinuing Policy Memorandum 11-03, commonly referred to as the “Water Bottle Ban.”

The 2011 policy, which encouraged national parks to eliminate the sale of disposable water bottles, has been rescinded to expand hydration options for recreationalists, hikers, and other visitors to national parks. The ban removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks. The change in policy comes after a review of the policy’s aims and impact in close consultation with Department of the Interior leadership.

“While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds.

Currently only 23 of the 417 National Park Service sites have implemented the policy. The revocation of the memorandum, which was put in place on December 14, 2011, is effective immediately. Parks will continue to promote the recycling of disposable plastic water bottles and many parks have already worked with partners to provide free potable water in bottle filling stations located at visitor centers and near trailheads.

Free Guidebooks

Horizon Travel Press and Lost World Adventures have released a series of beautiful guidebooks that you can download free.  Each book has everything you’d expect along with fantastic photos.  The books include:

  • The Northern Lights In Iceland – How to see nature’s greatest spectacle
  • Exploring The Silk Road – Highlights and key routes
  • The Great Wildebeest Migration – Exploring Africa’s biggest wildlife phenomenon
  • Trekking In Patagonia – Best trails and lodges in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park
  • The National Parks Of Costa Rica – Exploring the most biodiverse country on earth
  • South America By Bus – Highlights and recommended routes
  • Alaska Adventures – A guide to exploring the Alaskan wilderness
  • Elephants in Asia, Ethically – Humane experiences with Asia’s sacred animal
  • Trekking To Machu Picchu – Peru’s most popular hikes and treks
  • Skiing In Chile – A guide to Chile’s most popular ski areas
  • Machu Picchu And The Galapagos Made Easy – Demystifying South America’s top two destinations
  • Northern Ontario Fishing Handbook -An angler’s guide to the Canadian wilderness
  • Paraty Bay – Adventures on Brazil’s Costa Verde
  • Round The World Flights Handbook – How to plan an epic round the world adventure
  • The Brazilian Amazon – How to experience the rainforest in style
  • Rio Carnival – A guide to the world’s greatest party
  • Adventures Less Ordinary -How to travel and do good
  • Photography In Burma -A travel photographer’s handbook
  • Birding In Manu – A field guide to birdwatching in Peru’s Manú National Park

Each guide is available in PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats for use on your computer or mobile devices or for printing. Choose the guides of your choice at horizontravelpress.com/guides.

Free National Park Admission TODAY!

Agate Fossil Beds National MonumentTo celebrate the 101st birthday of the National Park Service today, the NPS and the National Park Foundation are inviting visitors of all ages to #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque with free admission to the more than 400 national parks across the country. In addition, to have a little fun with the 101st birthday, a special Parks 101 content series is highlighting lesser-known parks (like Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, shown to the left), stories, and experiences through social media.

With 417 parks across the country, plus national trails, rivers, heritage areas, and more, there are countless ways to celebrate the 101st birthday of the National Park Service. Many parks and programs are planning special events, including:

Park entrance fees will be waived nationwide today only to encourage everyone to celebrate the NPS 101st birthday. Usually, 118 of the 417 national parks charge entrance fees that range from $3 to $30.The entrance fee waiver does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

Tooke Takes Over Forest Service

Tony TookeForest Service chief Tom Tidwell announced his retirement last week after a 40-year career.  U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced on Monday that Tony Tooke will serve as the new Chief. Tooke has worked for the Forest Service since age 18 and currently is the Regional Forester for the Southern Region. Following the announcement, Perdue issued this statement:

“The Forest Service will be in good hands with the U.S. Forest Service’s own Tony Tooke whose knowledge of forestry is unmatched. Tony has been preparing for this role for his whole professional life, and at a time when we face active and growing fires, his transition into leadership will be seamless.  He will oversee efforts to get our forests working again, to make them more productive, and to create more jobs. His focus will be on ensuring we are good neighbors and are managing our forests effectively, efficiently, and responsibly, as well as working with states and local governments to ensure the utmost collaboration. No doubt, the stewardship of our forests is an awesome and sacred responsibility, and no one knows that better than Tony who has dedicated his career to this noble cause,” said Secretary Perdue.

Mike Anderson, senior policy analyst with The Wilderness Society, said: “The Wilderness Society congratulates Tony Tooke on his selection to become the new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.  Tooke has a strong record of accomplishment in bringing together diverse interests and forging new partnerships to help the Forest Service meet the many challenges facing our nation’s forests.  For example, Tooke has provided excellent leadership in the development and implementation of the Forest Service’s new land management planning rule and the agency’s road management policy.”

Ohio to Expand Recreation

Taking an important first step toward what could become the most significant expansion of public recreation opportunities in the state’s recent history, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has signed a memorandum of understanding with American Electric Power (AEP) by which the parties will negotiate for the state to purchase a major portion of AEP’s 60,000-acre ReCreation Land property in eastern Ohio.

ReCreation Land

ODNR Director James Zehringer and AEP Vice President Jim Henry today announced ODNR’s interest in purchasing a large swath of AEP ReCreation Land to be used by the state for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including hunting and fishing.
Praising the agreement, Governor John R. Kasich said, “An opportunity to acquire and protect such a large, open expanse of land for public recreation is rare. Ohioans and out-of-state visitors who are drawn to our great state parks, forests, nature preserves and wildlife areas will potentially have even greater opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors.”

Director Zehringer emphasized that acquisitions would likely be made in separate parcels over a number of years, and much work remains to be done before the first purchase is negotiated and complete. 

“ODNR will now work with AEP to finalize titling and obtain the necessary appraisals, but today’s agreement is a positive step toward preserving this invaluable recreational resource,” Zehringer said. “Our department and AEP have worked in a longstanding partnership to promote public access to AEP ReCreation Land, now we continue as partners to ensure these unmatched outdoor recreation opportunities are preserved for generations of Ohioans to come.”

AEP ReCreation Land spans a total of 60,000 acres in Guernsey, Morgan, Muskingum and Noble counties, which is all company-owned property that in the past had been surface mined for coal. In recent years, AEP reclaimed the land and opened it to public access for camping and other outdoor recreation.

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Video of the Week

This week’s video features Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska. While some were searching Nebraska for gold in the early 1900’s,  others were looking for fossils.  A variety of mammal fossils were found at the Agate Fossil Beds in 1904 and excavations continued to 1923.  Learn more about the fossils and the monument in this video.

This newsletter is compiled by Jerry Haugen and brought to you by
Global Creations EXPLORE!  The eMagazine for Adventure and Exploration

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