Outdoor Updates: High Temps, Conservation, and Instagram

It hit 84 degrees near the Arctic Ocean in May

On May 11, the temperature in northwest Russia near the Arctic Ocean hit an astounding 84 degrees. During that time, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose over 415 parts per million for the first time ever in human history. The temperature was recorded in Arkhangelsk, Russia, where the average high temperature is normally just 54 degrees.

Many locations in Russia have seen record high temperatures this season that are 30 to 40 degrees above average. In Greenland, the ice sheets began to melt a full month earlier than expected and in a number of rivers in Alaska, winter ice break up began on the earliest dates ever recorded. Since 2000, humans have experienced 18 of the 19 warmest years on record.

Land slated for outdoor shooting range in Saluda, NC has been protected

Land bordering the Green River Game Lands in Saluda, NC has been purchased by Conserving Carolina and will be preserved as a 78-acre natural area. The forested property is home to wetlands and streams that empty into the Green River. The conservation of the land protects scenic views over the Green River Gorge and will support good water quality in the Green River.

The conserved land was once targeted as an outdoor shooting range. In spring 2018, Henderson County signed a contract on the property to turn it into a police facility with an outdoor shooting range. As the police were testing the facility, loud gunfire severely disrupted the lives of nearby residents. Hundreds of local residents turned up at public meetings to speak out against the facility and the County chose not to move forward with the purchase of the land. That’s when Conserving Carolina swooped in, preserving the land for years to come

Instagram is turning once-unknown landmarks into tourist attractions

Crowds of people armed with their smartphones are packing into national parks and other lesser-known natural areas made popular on Instagram. At Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, for example, NPR reports that the landmark off the side of the highway once known only by locals now receives nearly 3,000 visitors a day after photos taken from the location went viral on Instagram. The National Park Service reports that since Instagram launched in 2010, visitation to the agency’s eight-state intermountain region parks and recreation areas has increased by 37 percent.
But evidence that Instagram is responsible for the uptick in visitation is only anecdotal, researchers point out, and the increased crowds are not necessarily a negative thing. Visitors to the National Parks have traditionally been older, white, upper middle-class people. Parks and outdoor-minded groups are using social media to reinforce the ethic that the outdoors are for everyone by sharing images of people of color and others that are underrepresented in the outdoors.

Places to Go, Things to See: