Your daily outdoor news bulletin for July 17, the day Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan crossed the Atlantic by rattle-trap plane in 1938, proving once again that great explorers and daredevils can get their heads lost in the clouds, sometimes on purpose:
Parkway Closure a Summer Bummer
A crack in the Blue Ridge Parkway is causing a splitting headache for the National Park Service. The crack is right down the center lane of the iconic byway, and is growing, causing the closure of a healthy section just in time for one of the busiest time of year for tourists. Other than October, no month sees more visitors to the parkway than July – nearly 2 million visitors – but those people will have to find an alternative route for the time being. The Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed indefinitely from Milepost 375.6, just north of Asheville, N.C., to Milepost 355 at Mount Mitchell State Park. That’s 20 miles of primo Blue Ridge Parkway that will be shut down during the peak season. It is also one of the highest and most scenic sections and includes the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, which could take a $70,000 economic hit according to estimates. Ouch.
One silver lining of the closure is that it only applies to motor vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists are permitted to bypass the closure signs so if you are into 20-mile, high elevation riding with no cars, you can go ahead and rejoice.
Virginia Diver Frees Whale
From the mountains to the coast, where a good Samaritan is being credited with saving a rare species of whale. Adrian Colaprete was fishing with some friends about 50 miles off the coast of Virginia when they noticed something unusual in the water. It was a rare right whale and it was acting strange. Right whales are endangered, nearly hunted to extinction during the whale hunting heyday, and now the greatest threat is being struck by a ship during their migration. The crew aboard the boat realized the whale was caught on something and Colaprete jumped in the water to get a better look. Armed with a snorkel and big knife, he was able to cut the line and gear that was wrapped around Willy’s fluke, risking his own life in the process. And yes, there is video, because dude-man had the GoPro.
Charlotte Won’t Host Summer X-Games
Charlotte, N.C. was in the running to be the next host of the ESPN Summer X-Games; they even made it to the final four cities. Unfortunately for the Tarheel State, Austin, TX was selected to host the next four summer games, beating out Charlotte, Detroit, and Chicago in the process. Over the past decade, Los Angeles has hosted the games, to the tune of an estimated $50 million annual economic impact. The plan called for the games to be held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, but alas, it twas not to be.