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Quick Hits: News from the August Issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors

BMX in Brevard
Brevard, N.C.

This fall, you’ll be able to catch all the big air tricks you can handle in the mountains of western North Carolina. Red Bull is set to host the Dreamline BMX dirt competition in Brevard, N.C., on October 10-11. Red Bull will build a new course full of jumps at Oskar Blues REEB Ranch, property that was purchased to open a future mountain bike park. Oskar Blues is well known as a bike-friendly craft brewery, which also manufactures Reeb mountain bikes. Allowing Red Bull to build a BMX course will bring the world’s best riders to the Blue Ridge.

Warrior Hike Continues
Appalachian Trail

Back in 2012, U.S. Marine Capt. Sean Gobin hiked the entire 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail. It was a way to cope with the stress of reentering daily life, after serving three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through the journey, Gobin discovered many therapeutic benefits to long-distance hiking, so he started the nonprofit organization Warrior Hike to get more returning vets on the A.T. in an effort to “Walk Off the War” and make the transition from military service. This year, the group took 14 former soldiers to the trail’s southern terminus to attempt a thru-hike, and six remaining hikers passed the halfway point and convened for a meeting at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. Follow their progress at

Good Gauley
Summersville, W.Va.

A six-mile stretch of the Gauley River has been protected from possible development, thanks to a recent purchase by the West Virginia Land Trust. The organization purchased a privately held 665-acre tract of land in the Gauley River Canyon below Summersville Dam with the intent of transferring it into the Gauley River National Recreation Area. Former owners Bright Forestland Properties of Summersville were considering the development of a “residential recreation site” but ultimately came to an agreement with the land trust after months of discussion. The tract was one of the largest private inholdings remaining within the 25,000-acre recreation area.

Share the Road
Virginia / West Va.

Earlier this summer, West Virginia and Virginia became the twenty-second and twenty-third states, respectively, to implement a new law that requires motorists to give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing. Georgia, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania have also recently approved the law. The new law took effect on June 3 in West Virginia and July 1 in Virginia. The move is particularly significant in the Mountain State, which had been ranked 44th among all states by the League of American Bicyclists.

Presidential Plunge
Kennebunkport, Maine

Former President George H.W. Bush turned 90 in June, and to celebrate the milestone the nation’s 41st Commander in Chief jumped from an airplane. Skydiving has become a birthday tradition for the elder Bush, who took a leap to commemorate turning 80 and 85. According to USA Today, President Bush did the tandem jump, which he said was his last, with an ex-military jumper, landing near his home in Kennebunkport.

Gliding Across Ireland
Malin Head, Ireland

In June, adventurer Mike O’Shea became the first person to fly across Ireland by paramotor. O’Shea took three days to fly the 366 miles from south to north. Along the journey, taken by motorized paraglider, he reached heights up to 10,000 feet while at times enduring sub-zero temperatures. A support team helped O’Shea navigate rough winds and other inclement weather as they monitored him with GPS tracking. O’Shea is also known for his Ice Project, in which he crossed Chile’s north Patagonian ice cap and the southern ice cap on Mount Kilimanjaro.

World’s Tallest Waterslide
Kansas City, Kansas

Consider a trip to Kansas City, where the Schlitterbahn Waterpark recently unveiled the Verruckt. At 168 feet and seven inches, the new slide has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest. Participants are strapped into a four-person raft before launching down the main drop at approximately 65 miles per hour. The raft then climbs a hill that leads to a second 50-foot drop.

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