Quick Hits: April 2020

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Cover photo: View southeast towards The Knob on Short Mountain from Mount Jackson Road (Virginia State Secondary Route 703) at Bonny View Lane just north of Mount Jackson in Shenandoah County, Virginia / photo by famartin, courtesy wikimedia commons 

More than 90 acres of the Knob conserved in the Shenandoah Valley

The Conservation Fund announced that a 91-acre tract of land in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley has been permanently protected and preserved. In a press release, the organization announced that the newly protected property is the rock-topped end of Short Mountain, known as the Knob. The land will be managed as part of the George Washington National Forest.

Over 6,000 acres added to Tennessee’s Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park

In late February, 6,229 acres were added to the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park. According to a release by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the land, known as the Lone Star property, will support wildlife habitat and native ecology and will be a critical connecting point for the Cumberland Trail, Tennessee’s first “linear park,” which runs through 11 counties and two time zones. 

The land will be used to develop a significant segment of the Cumberland Trail, eventually connecting Ozone Falls State Natural Area to existing state-owned land. When completed, the Cumberland Trail will extend more than 300 miles from Cumberland Gap National Historic Park to its southern terminus at the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, just outside Chattanooga. 

Trail runner crawls for eight hours to find help after breaking leg on trail

A trail runner in Olympic National Park crawled for nearly eight hours after injuring his leg on a run. Joseph Oldendorf was about 10 miles from the trailhead when he broke his leg after slipping on ice. With no cell phone service and temperatures below freezing, Oldendorf knew his only chance at survival was to crawl to safety. Oldendorf eventually crawled to an area with cell phone reception, called 911, and kept crawling, according to a report by CNN. He told the press he feared that if he stopped to wait for rescuers, he would die. 

Tennessee-born kayaker makes second tallest waterfall descent on record

In February, Tennessee-born kayaker Dane Jackson made the second tallest waterfall descent in known history down Chile’s 134-foot Salto del Maule waterfall. Jackson originally set his sights on Salto del Maule over five years ago and has spent years preparing to pull off such a feat. Jackson’s achievement now ranks as the second tallest waterfall descent on record behind Palouse Falls in Washington. “This is what happens when obsession becomes reality,” Jackson said.  

Man planks for over 8 hours, setting world record

George Hood, 62, reclaimed a Guinness World Record he previously held for longest time spent in a plank position. Hood, a former Marine, first set the record in 2011 with a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, and 25 seconds, according to a press release. His new record, 8 hours, 15 minutes, and 15 seconds beat out Mao Weidong’s record set in 2016. Hood trained nearly seven hours a day for 18 months to prepare for his world record. “I’ve taken the plank as far as I can take it,” he told USA TODAY.

New study finds runners in the U.S. are getting slower

A new study by RunRepeat analyzing 19.6 million results from over 16 thousand marathons has found that marathoners around the world, and especially in the U.S., are getting slower. The study found that in 1986 the average finish time was 3:52:35 and today it’s 4:32:49, a slowdown of over 40 minutes.

Virginia House of Delegates votes to ban Styrofoam across the state

On February 11, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 55 to 44 to pass Del. Betsy Carr’s bill (HB533) to ban polystyrene cups and take-out containers in the state. Polystyrene is the most frequently observed plastic litter in the ocean. The bill now heads to the Senate for action.

“A lot of waste comes from things we don’t need, and we know we shouldn’t use, such as foam cups and take-out containers,” state director of Environment Virginia Elly Boehmer said in a press release. “This trash ends up in our open spaces and waterways, where it endangers wildlife. Polystyrene never breaks down, so it harms our environment for decades. Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute our planet for generations to come.”  

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