Get off yer butt and FISH, in N.C.

Your outdoor news bulletin for April 1o – the day Jackie Robinson signed with the Dodgers, the Titanic set sail, and the Beatles broke up:

GSMNP Tops Attendance Again

Like there was any doubt: in the land of open spaces, Great Smoky Mountain National Park is king. The National Park Service released its official attendance numbers this week and GSMNP again topped the list of most visited parks. Its 9,685,829 visitors trumped number two Grand Canyon National Park (4,421,352) by over double. This is not only a testament to the park’s natural beauty and wonder, but also to all the fine folks that keep it up and running smoothly, from the administration to the rangers. In all, more than 282 million people visited a national park in 2012, up from 2011, and the sixth highest total ever. While the rest of the list is dominated by national parks in the Mountain West – including Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, and Grand Teton – number ten on the list was a surprise: Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Also, GSMNP is looking for volunteers.

North Carolina Named Top Fly Fishing State…by Forbes

Fly fishing may not be shedding that elite reputation anytime soon, I guess. North Carolina was named one of the top states to go fly fishing in the U.S. by none other than Forbes, that bastion of information aimed at the down and out…no, wait, I mean the opposite. In his piece, Monte Burke lumps N.C. in with Montana, Oregon, New York, and Idaho, saying the Tarheel State has tremendous variety from brook trout to stripers to redfish. Although it is great to see N.C. continue to receive deserved recognition as a fly fishing hotbed, the fact that Forbes is on the case will not help shed fly fishing hoity-toity, stuffed shirt, tweed jacket image from those who still have that image…and who also read Forbes. So, that one guy’s perception will be confirmed.

Winter Athletes Descend…on Washington

Winter season may be over, but the winter of our discontent may last a while longer. A group of snowsports and Olympic athletes including heavy hitters like Jeremy Jones, Gretchen Bleiler, Julia Mancuso, and Kit Deslauriers are urging President Obama do what he said he was going to do about climate change in his State of the Union address. This includes reducing carbon emissions, rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, and basically ebbing the continued man-made warming of the globe. This comes on the heels of the joint effort by Protect Our Winters and the Natural Resources Defense Council on a report stating the U.S. ski and snowboard industry could lose as much as $1.9 billion during warm winters and as many as 27,000 jobs. On top of that, if there is less snow, there is less opportunity to shred which is what all these people do for a living, and that is no bueno. While most of the concern lies in the West, this is an especially pertinent issue here on the East Coast where temperature is incredibly vital to putting manmade snow on the slopes and keeping it there. Also, we are really close to the ocean, which is rising. Gulp.