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Outdoor Updates: Dolphins in the Potomac River

Dolphins are swimming, mating and birthing babies in the Potomac River

While it’s still questionable whether the Potomac is safe for humans, one species of animal is thriving in the river waters: dolphins. In 2015, scientists counted nearly 200 bottlenose dolphins in a section of the river off of Virginia’s Northern Neck. This year, over 1,000 have been identified in the same section of river. The animal has been spotted as far north as the Potomac River Bridge, just 50 miles south of Washington D.C. In August, researchers witnessed a dolphin birth in the river near Lewisetta, Virginia. It was just the third dolphin birth ever recorded in the wild.

Scientists are unsure if the population of dolphins that occupy the river is growing and, if it is, if the growth is because the river is cleaner than it once was. It’s also unsure how the warming waters caused by climate change impact the dolphin’s behavior. 

Alpharetta, Georgia to host women-only half-marathon and 5K on November 3

All-female races can help women runners feel comfortable and supported. If you’re a woman who has wanted to try an all-woman race, lace up your shoes and pound the pavement at the Alpharetta Women’s Half Marathon and 5K Race. The race will be held on Sunday, November 3 in Alpharetta, Georgia and begins at 7 a.m. at Avalon, the city’s retail district. The race then winds throughout the city of Alpharetta, including along a few miles of the scenic Big Creek Greenway. Top female finishers in the half marathon will take home a prize purse and all participants will receive a t-shirt, finisher medal, and complimentary food and refreshments after the event.

“We are thrilled to welcome hundreds of female athletes and their friends and family to our city,” said Janet Rogers, president and CEO of Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “[The] race weekend gives visitors even more ways to support and celebrate the women of our beautiful city.” 

ATVs may soon be allowed in Utah’s national parks

In a major policy shift, off-road vehicles like ATVs may soon be allowed in Utah’s national parks beginning November 1. Off-road vehicles are generally banned in national parks, but the National Park Service’s acting regional director, Palmer “Chip” Jenkins, directed a memo to park superintendents last week instructing them to align park policy to Utah law, which allows ATVs and other off-road vehicles on state and county roads as long as they are registered, insured and equipped with the standard safety equipment. The decision was made without public comment.

Should the rule change go into effect, off-road vehicles will be allowed in areas such as Canyonlands’ Maze District and Arches’ Klondike Buffs—as long as ATV operators keep their vehicles on roads that are open to cars and trucks. “This alignment with state law isn’t carte blanche to take their ATVs off road,” agency spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo told The Salt Lake Tribune. “If people [drive] off road, they will be cited. Protection of these resources is paramount.” 

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