SHARE THE LOVE: JOIN THE I HEART PISGAH ADVENTURE TEAM

Asheville city council’s Julie Mayfield is co-director of mountaintrue, one of over 100 organizations who are part of the i heart pisgah coalition.

Are you a runner, biker, paddler, hiker, triathlete, adventure racer, or climber who wants to help protect the places where you play? Join our I HEART PISGAH Adventure Team, which includes elite athletes and everyday adventurers who love exploring, enjoying, and protecting public lands. You’ll receive free I HEART PISGAH swag and special opportunities, and you’ll be featured in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, where you can share your adventures with our audience. You’ll also be supporting I HEART PISGAH, a coalition of over 100 outdoor organizations and thousands of individuals protecting the special conservation and recreation areas in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. Blue Ridge Outdoors is a proud member, and joining the coalition is free and easy at iheartpisgah.org. Wanna join the adventure team? Submit a letter of interest to

submit@blueridgeoutdoors.com.


Patagonia Pledges to Donate GOP

Tax-Cut Savings to Help Environment

Patagonia will save about $10 million annually from the corporate tax cuts passed by the Republican-controlled Congress and enacted by President Trump. In late November, the venerable gear and apparel company announced that it will donate every penny of that extra money to organizations working to help the environment. “Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Mancario in a letter posted on LinkedIn, adding that the money would be given to “groups committed to protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis.”

Patagonia has been outspoken against the Trump administration’s environmental policies, denial of climate change, and actions taken to reduce protection for public lands. In the 2018 midterm elections, the company publicly endorsed Democratic candidates for the first time, and in late 2017 Patagonia filed a lawsuit against the president for reducing the size of two national monuments in Utah.


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Number of veterans that commit suicide every day. Eddie Arendell, a former Marine from Maysville, Ky., recently completed a southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness about the veteran suicide epidemic. Arendell left home last June and hiked 2,200 miles in approximately five months, finishing just before Veterans’ Day.


New Name for New River Gorge National River?

In the fall, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, introduced legislation to rename the New River Gorge National River. If successful, the regional scenic gem—coveted by climbers and whitewater paddlers—would become New River Gorge National Park. Since the 73,000-acre New River Gorge National River is already a unit of the National Park Service, nothing else would change except the name. The effort was started by a group of whitewater outfitters hoping to make more potential visitors aware of the Gorge. A recent study found that when eight national monuments were changed to national parks, visitation increased by 21 percent.  “Re-designating the national river as a national park will shine a light on the New River Gorge and its many offerings to help drive tourism and spur the local and regional economy,” said Capito.


8-year-old Cancer Survivor Crushes Marathon

8-year-old Pennsylvania runner Nate Viands breezed through the NCR Marathon in Baltimore with a time of three hours and 32 minutes. It’s actually one of the easier challenges he has faced. Viands was diagnosed with leukemia before his fourth birthday. After enduring a lengthy period of debilitating treatments, Viands began running as he regained his strength.

In November, he ran his first marathon in Baltimore with his dad, Scott. By mile eight he left his old man in his wake. “He just took off,” Scott Viands told Runner’s World. “Every once in a while at an aid station, I’d ask, ‘Did you see a little guy come through?’” and they’d be like, ‘yeah, he’s 10 minutes ahead of you.’”

“A lot of people get dealt tough hands, have rough situations,” continued Scott. “But to see him work hard at something and go through what he went through, it was a special moment to watch as a parent.”

The Viands family is now looking towards a more significant milestone this June, when they will find out if Nate is cancer-free, five years after his diagnosis.


University of kentucky named top campus for biking

The League of American Bicyclists named UK the moist bike-friendly campus in the country, citing its bike-share memberships, free bike rentals, repair stations, and cycling programs. Additional regional colleges recognized include the University of Maryland, East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Virginia.


Shenandoah Shutdown

“It was wonderful, rewarding, and a way to make myself feel better in the face of this national trauma.”

— Alleyn Harned, on why he organized a volunteer clean-up in Shenandoah National Park last month during the government shutdown. Volunteersd helped with park maintenance across the country, and nonprofits also steppoed up: Great Smoky Mountains Association donated $50,000 to temportarily keep busy visitors’ centers open in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

 


Dixie Rock

The country’s oldest indoor climbing competition celebrates its 30th year on February 16 in Chapel Hill, N.C.