Your outdoor news bulletin for May 13, the day Jamestown was founded on the west bank of the James River, marking the beginning of the American empire, and the beginning of the end for the Native Americans:

They’re BAAAAACK!

It’s been building for a while, and unlike Carmageddon, this is actually going to happen. The 17-year cicadas have been spotted in the past couple of days in Maryland and Northern Virginia, signaling the start of CICADAPOCALYPSE, or alternately SWARMAGGEDON, because what would we be if we didn’t give any hint of a big event a world-ending themed nickname. Some may lose their minds due to the red, beady eyes, or the 90-decibel mating call, but most will just grin and bear it as billions of little bugs with wings invade the East Coast. If you are feeling adventurous and have an iron stomach, you can even munch on the critters. Although, their whole existence consists of living underground, digging their way out, shedding their exoskeleton, mating with other beady eyed cicadas, and then digging back into the ground and dying or laying eggs, so….yeah, go ahead and eat ’em.

When Bears Attack…Power Poles

Bears are a curious lot. So successful in preventing forest fires (at least that one is) and such a great image in the cartoon world (Yogi, Baloo, Winnie), and yet problems still persist between bears and humans, as surprising as that can be. The Daily Progress is reporting that power companies in Virginia are under attack from black bears, and the results are staggering – actually its the utility poles that are under attack, and the poles themselves are the ones staggering. Apparently, black bears love to shred the outer layers of the chestnut poles by using them as backscratchers, claw sharpeners, and messaging – imagine the pole as a rudimentary ursa-Facebook bears use to let other bears know they are around, will be heading down to the creek later. In many cases, the bear activity whittles the poles down to nothing, at which point the fall over, knocking out power. Steel poles are not feasible so the power companies are working on alternate solutions including paint and different wood treatments to keep the bears off the poles.

Weird Beard Cleared

…by the opposite sex, that is. It was a strange week for the men who wear beards in the U.S., which is pretty much everyone within 2 degrees of the outdoor industry. Last spring a study by psychologists indicated that facial hair was unattractive to the opposite sex, beard enthusiasts were up in arms. “Of course beards on women are unattractive. What’s your point?!?!” they screamed. Just kidding, the study was obviously about men, but had significant flaws like comparing a fresh shave with a month of untouched growth. Of course a hairless chin is going to beat out a hybrid Grizzly Adams/Ted Kaczynski/Forest Gump after running across the U.S. rat’s nest of a gross beard. Finally, this week, a different study – because this is what science is for, people – rated four different stages of growth (clean, stubble, heavy stubble, and full on beard), and concluded that heavy stubble was the most desirable.