Outdoor News January 5, 2018 | Explore! Outdoor News January 5, 2018 - Explore!

Outdoor News January 5, 2018

Obed Wild & Scenic River Expands

On Tuesday the National Park Service announced that the Obed Wild and Scenic River in Tennessee grew by 161 acres with a donation of an inholding by Mary Ann Gibbons, a former resident of East Tennessee.

Obed River NPS PhotoThe Gibbons family immediately fell in love with the beauty and grandeur of the Obed River, acquiring the land more than 50 years ago. The protection of its spectacular scenery and biodiversity has been a crucial goal for not only Mrs. Gibbons and her late husband John H. Gibbons, but for the entire Gibbons family. Over the years the Gibbons family worked directly with the Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, and The Nature Conservancy to protect the land parcel.

The property contains over two miles of river frontage along the heart of the Obed River, which includes some of the park’s most notable rapids, such as “Widowmaker” and “Keep Right.” It features some of the highest cliffs in the park, riverside cascades, major waterfalls, sandstone arches and chimneys, mature hardwood and hemlock forests and a remarkable diversity of plant and animal species. The property dominates the view from many overlooks along the Obed segment of the Cumberland Trail, and was featured prominently in the park’s award winning film, The Obed: Find Yourself Here.

“By donating the largest addition to the park in 30 years, this generous donation by the Gibbons Family demonstrates their longstanding commitment to the protection of the Obed River and desire to ensure that this special place will remain a part of our nation’s public lands open to all who want to experience its beauty and sense of wildness,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas.

Pforty Mile Challenge

Pflugerville TrailsPflugerville, Texas, is encouraging people to get out on the community’s trail system to get some great exercise.  The Pforty Mile Challenge began Monday and continues through March 24.  Anyone that covers 40 miles or more on the trail system on foot or bicycle during that period gets some free swag – if they can prove they did it. The organizers recommend using the MapMyRun app to record the adventure and prove that you really did it.

Total mileage of the whole trail system, listed at the right, amounts to 43 miles, so one could walk every trail without covering any part twice.  Of course one could put on a lot more miles walking from one short trail to the next.

All in all, it looks like a good commitment device to help Pflugerville residents improve their health.

Learn more about the challenge at the Pflugerville Parks’ website.

Leadership Summit

The Children and Nature Network is presenting their International Leadership Summit May 21 and 22 in Oakland, California.

Children and Nature NetworkLeadership Summit participants will be selected in two ways: approximately half of participants will be invited, based on their areas of expertise, current projects and/or leadership in their fields. Anyone interested in increasing nature access for children can apply for the remaining conference spots; a selection committee will choose applicants who can round out the Action Area teams with a wide range of perspectives, skills, diverse voices and strategic thinking.

Teams will work on city government, green schoolyards, next generation leadership, grassroots leadership, health care, and nature-based learning research.  Participants will develop shared goals and strategies, and explore methods for measuring progress for the collective work in bringing children together with nature.

Action agendas developed at Leadership Summits will drive programmatic and policy work in communities around the world — and serve as platforms for International Conferences, to be held during odd years in the same geographic location as Leadership Summits. International Conferences will advance big ideas, engage the broadest audience, and identify strategies needing further development and potential participants for Leadership Summits.

Summit attendance will be capped at 400 to facilitate productive working sessions so if you are interested, it’s time to apply.  Get more information and register on the summit’s website.

 

Land & Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress in 1964 to fulfill a bipartisan commitment to safeguard our natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. Using zero taxpayer dollars, the fund invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help strengthen communities, preserve our Land & Water Conservation Fundhistory and protect our national endowment of lands and waters.

The LWCF provides matching grants to States and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. Seventy-five percent of the total funds obligated have gone to locally sponsored projects to provide close-to-home recreation opportunities that are readily accessible to America’s youth, adults, senior citizens and the physically or mentally challenged. In addition to the thousands of smaller recreation areas, grants have helped to acquire and develop new parks of statewide or national significance such as the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (Maine), Liberty State Park (New Jersey), the Willamette River Greenway (Oregon), Platte River Park (Denver), Herman Brown Park (Houston), and Illinois Beach State Park (Chicago). The State side of LWCF is administered by the State and Local Assistance Programs Division.

Some states are now starting the process that will identify, develop, and recommend 2018 funding for projects. For example,  Oregon began accepting applications on Tuesday (due March 2 – check for details). To learn how your proposal could get considered for funding, contact the Land and Water Conservation Fund Assistance program office or your state’s recreation office.

Guide To Backcountry Equipment

Professional outfitter Brad Groves has written a book titled, “A Conversational Guide to Backcountry Equipment: How to choose & use your gear & apparel.” 

Converstaional Guide to Backcountry EquipmentGroves says, it “is a nonfiction book, written to help people significantly learn about and use the gear we tote and the clothing we wear. My years in the industry have made it clear that people want and need a resource that actually teaches them how things work, focusing both on tiny details and how those details play into the broader scheme. Instead of just talking about a few styles of tent, for example, we’ll go through every step of pitching a tent, from figuring out where the poles go and how to attach them, to how to get the rainfly on, use the guylines, and how tent stakes work and how to properly use them. We’ll talk about why different types of shelter exist, where they excel and where they won’t, and also get into figuring out your own needs and budget priorities. Detailed, full-color photos support the text. And when a task has several steps, there’s a photo for each step and a caption that helps you bring that step to life.”

This sounds like a great book if you want to get outdoors, but don’t have experience with the equipment you will need.  It could also serve as a textbook for students in an outdoor adventure class or even a college level recreation degree program.

The 400+ page book is not available yet because Groves lacks the funds for printing, publishing, production and distribution.  To solve that problem he has instituted a Kickstarter campaign with a $12,000 goal that must be reached by January 28.  For just a $10 pledge,  you will get a digital copy of the book.  Pledges of $25 get an autographed paperback of the book.  A $50 pledge gets a hardcopy of the book.

Check out the Kickstarter page to make your pledge.  If the campaign fails to reach $12,000 in pledges,  you will not be billed.

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Video of the Week

The Obed Wild and Scenic River looks much the same today as it did when the first white settlers strolled its banks in the late 1700s. While meagerly populated due to poor farming soil, the river was a hospitable fishing and hunting area for trappers and pioneers. The Obed stretches along the Cumberland Plateau and the Park Service has a visitor c in Wartburg, Tennessee. The river offers visitors a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.  This week’s video highlights a 3.8 mile, roundtrip, hike on the Point Trail.  There are several other trails in the same area if you would like to go farther (see the Lilly Bluff Trails brochure).


This newsletter is compiled by Jerry Haugen and brought to you by
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