Residents terrified as dozens of polar bears invade Russian town
A remote archipelago in northern Russia has declared a state of emergency after an invasion of polar bears has sparked fear among residents. Novaya Zemlya, located in the Arctic Ocean, has been swarmed with polar bears since December. The region’s largest settlement, Belushya Guba, has reported more than 50 polar bear sightings. Local administrators say that the polar bears have attacked people and entered buildings and that parents are afraid to send their children to school. Polar bear and human interactions are increasingly likely as climate change reduces the sea-ice habitats of polar bears, forcing them onto land for longer periods of time.
Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan open for comment
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the draft 2019-2023 Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, which identifies essential issues impacting outdoor recreation and natural resource protection in the state. The plan represents a vision and strategy to provide public outdoor recreation opportunities in Maryland and receives federal funding from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund. Public input is welcome on any part of the plan and can be submitted via the online comment form. The public comment period closes on March 8.
Hurricane force wind sets new record atop North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain
A new record has been set atop WNC’s iconic 5,946-foot Grandfather Mountain. Around 4 a.m. on Wednesday, a three-second gust of wind hit 121.3 miles per hour on top of the mountain, breaking the previous record set on December 21, 2012 of 120.7 miles per hour. In comparison, North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern United States, saw a gust of wind that reached 77.6 miles per hour at the same time. Grandfather Mountain commonly sees high winds and other extreme weather events. In 2018 the mountain received 10 feet of rain. The park sustained no damage from the record-setting gust of wind.