Go OutsideDaily Dirt: Skier Numbers Down, Climate Change Affecting Mascots, Conservation Alliance Awards

Daily Dirt: Skier Numbers Down, Climate Change Affecting Mascots, Conservation Alliance Awards

Your weekly news blog from the most trusted source in the Blue Ridge…

Eagles Nest Outfitters, Black Diamond Equipment and The Forest Group win The Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Award for 2014

Eagles Nest Outfitters, Black Diamond Equipment and The Forest Group were the selected winners of The Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Award for 2014. The award recognizes member companies who go above and beyond in building relationships with Conservation Alliance grantees.

Wild South and ENO have worked together over the past year to engage thousands of people through the “Wild South Wednesdays” environmental education and advocacy campaign. The campaign has expanded to include other outdoor retailers that support Wild South’s mission and highlighted the mutual passion for protecting the South’s wild places.

Conservation Alliance grantees from the past two years may nominate member companies for the award recognition.

“ENO has become a major leader in the Southeast and we nominated them for this award because our ‘Wild South Wednesdays’ campaign drastically raised awareness for our work to protect the last best places and collaborate with outdoor retailers partners as well,” said Benjamin Colvin, Wild South’s Development Director.

The Wild South Wednesday campaign collaborated with regional outdoor retailers and leaders including ENO, Rock Creek Outdoors, Alabama Outdoors, Mountain High Outfitters, Mast General Store, Sunrift Adventures, Deltec Homes, Footsloggers, RootsRated and others that form a network through which an impact is made on the protection of wild places and wild things in the South.

Climate Change Threatens Real-Life Species Behind Iconic College Mascots

A new National Wildlife Federation report details that climate change is hurting the real-life species that are mascots for many of America’s college athletic programs.

Climate change is the most serious environmental threat today to many animals and plants and urgent action is needed at all levels, according to Mascot Madness: How Climate Change is Hurting School Spirit.

Mascot Madness looks at the best available science on how climate change is impacting many of America’s best-known mascots, from familiar species like bears and bison to exotic cats like lions and tigers. Warmer temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and rising sea levels are altering habitat in ways that can affect animals’ diet, range and behavior:

  • Wolverines (U. of Michigan) rely on deep snowpack for building dens to raise their young and may be declared a threatened species as the climate continues to warm.
  • Terrapins (U. of Maryland) and Gators (U. of Florida) face reproductive threats. When alligators overheat, more eggs hatch as males. In contrast, terrapins produce more females in hotter temperatures. Imbalances in sex ratios like these can be a threat to sustaining healthy populations.
  • The entire range of the critically-endangered red wolf, a real-life inspiration for the North Carolina State Wolfpack, is found at only three feet elevation or less, making them extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels and hurricanes.
  • Buckeyes (Ohio State) are threatened by stronger storms, deeper droughts, and more intense heat waves fueled by climate change and are being pushed to migrate north – into rival territory in Michigan.

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

National Ski and Snowboard Visits Off 1.3 Percent Due to Dry West Coast

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) estimated that U.S. ski areas tallied an estimated 56.2 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2013-14 season—a figure short of the 10-year industry average of 57.3 million, and down 1.3 percent from last season’s 56.9 million skier visits.

If the West Coast had experienced an average amount of skier visits, nationally the ski industry would have been close to another record season.

“With the drought and a rough start to the season in the Far West, an abundance of cold and snow in the East and Midwest, and near-perfect conditions in many parts of the Rocky Mountains, it’s hard to imagine a more complicated weather pattern over the course of one season,” said Michael Berry, NSAA president.

Most of the country had a positive season, with the four resort regions from the Rockies to the Atlantic posting gains relative to last season and 10-season averages. Good snowfall contributed to increased visits in the Southeast (15 percent), Rocky Mountains (6.4 percent), Midwest (4.1 percent), and Northeast (0.6 percent)—collectively a 5.3 percent increase over last season and their third-best season in 36 years of available estimates.

By contrast the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Southwest had very low snowfall well into the season, enough to drive a 27.7 percent decline in visits: a 27.5 percent drop for the Pacific Northwest and a 27.8 percent drop for the Pacific Southwest, reducing visitation to the second lowest level in 36 years.

In longer perspective, visits nationally were up 10.2 percent in 2013-14 from a recent low of 51 million visits in 2011-12, and down 7.2 percent from the record high of 60.5 million in 2010-11.

For more information visit NSAA.org.

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