Environment

Finding Pine Mountain

By Wally Smith | 26 Jul 18
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A largely undiscovered oasis in the coalfields is helping communities rebuild. My hiking partner and I have been walking the Kentucky-Virginia border for an hour across the crest of Pine Mountain, tiptoeing over a knife-edge of sandstone to a rockshelter below the summit. The outcrop is massive, with a hollowed-out area large enough to fit…

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Red Wolf In Crisis: Agency Cuts Protections for the Last Wild Red Wolves

By Will Harlan | 28 Jun 18
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Yesterday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will move forward with a scientifically unsupported plan to reduce the red wolf recovery area by 90 percent. It will also eliminate protections for any wolf that leaves the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge or adjacent federal property. The agency is restricting the wild population to federal lands that can…

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Hidden Treasures

By Wally Smith | 27 Jun 18
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Southern rivers are some of the world’s most biologically diverse. Snorkelers are taking the plunge to see for themselves. Casper Cox sits neck-deep in the middle of the river, a purple snorkel strapped around his head. “We’re all attracted to beauty,” he says to the camera, pausing for effect, “and there is an enormous amount…

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Chasing The Light

By Wally Smith | 24 Jun 18
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Fireflies In The Mountains

A Synchronous Firefly Discovery Raises Questions About How We Experience the Outdoors Night falls in the cove where I’ve set up a camera and tripod, one of those places where the sun sets early thanks to steep terrain and thick tree cover overhead. But the darkness doesn’t last. Not long after twilight, the entire forest…

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Rivers We Love

By Jess Daddio | 18 Jun 18
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The Chattooga River

6 ICONIC WATERWAYS—and the people fighting to protect them In 2018, we commemorate 50 years of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. It’s a good time to celebrate the rivers that sustain us all—especially six iconic rivers in our Blue Ridge backyard. Chattooga River (Featured) North Carolina – Georgia – South Carolina Practically equidistant from…

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Appalachia’s $84 Billion Secret

By Will Harlan | 13 Jun 18
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A development corporation is seeking a $1.9 billion U.S. federal loan guarantee to help build an Appalachian storage hub for natural gas liquids that already has significant funding from Chinese investors. “I have no idea why our government would issue loan guarantees to facilitate foreign investments for a product that is intended to prop up…

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The Tree Sitters’ Last Stand

By Mason Adams | 09 Jun 18
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) in October. Both are intended to run fracked natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in northern West Virginia to markets in the Southeastern United States. After FERC’s approval, MVP was given a green light by Virginia…

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Northam can stop the pipelines right now

By Lauren Bowman Clontz | 06 Jun 18
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Can anyone stop the Mountain valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines? Actually, yes. Governor Ralph Northam could halt construction immediately to conduct a full review of water quality impacts. So far, though, the governor has waivered.

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What’s In Our Rivers?

By Wally Smith | 03 Jun 18
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Most of us don’t know. Here’s a quick guide to the health of the water you paddle, fish, swim, and drink. Kentucky’s Stoney Fork isn’t supposed to run an otherworldly shade of translucent red, but that’s what Matt Hepler found in late March last year. Hepler, a water scientist, says the color was due to…

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The Forest Service Is Protecting Pipelines Instead of Public Lands  

By Lauren Bowman Clontz | 28 May 18
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The Forest Service is supposed to protect our forests. Instead, it’s actively supporting the Mountain Valley Pipeline, infringing upon First Amendment rights, and defying overwhelming public opinion.

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Meet The ATC’s First Female President

By Natalie Stickel | 26 May 18
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Suzanne Dixon is already asking tough questions and taking the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in new directions. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC)’s new first female president and CEO, Suzanne Dixon, is intimately familiar with advocating for open spaces. Growing up in Ireland, she spent time as a youngster in its national parks. After moving to the…

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Man of the Mountains: Hugh Irwin receives Conservation Lifetime Achievement Award

By Will Harlan | 24 May 18
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Hugh Irwin has been safeguarding Southern Appalachia for three decades and has helped protect some of its most beloved and biologically diverse wild places.

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The Hellbender Paradox

By Wally Smith | 24 May 18
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Locals and rural folks know a lot more about the outdoors than we often assume. “I guess you could say we spent our youth on this river.” A trio of fishermen are leading me down an abandoned railbed in Virginia’s Guest River Gorge, talking about waterdogs. Or, more appropriately, we’re talking about hellbenders, a giant…

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98 Percent: The public overwhelmingly wants more protections for Pisgah

By Will Harlan | 22 May 18
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The public overwhelmingly wants more protections for Pisgah. The results are in. Nearly 15,000 comments have flooded the Forest Service as it prepares to release a 20-year management plan for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. This plan will decide how much forest will be cut and how much will be protected. 98 percent of the comments…

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Nutty Hangs Tough: Tree-sitter blocking pipeline for 56 days is being starved by the Forest Service

By Jesse Adcock | 21 May 18
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After 54 days, a tree-sitting protester who has halted pipeline construction slowly starves as the U.S Forest Service prevents any food or water from reaching her.

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