Protection for the A.T.

In Plainfield Township, Pa., officials approved zoning to protect their 1.5-mile section of the Appalachian Trail. The new measure will prevent projects like natural gas pipelines, wind turbines, solar panels, and cellphone towers from being located near the scenic footpath.

According to a story in the Morning Call, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy provided a $16,900 grant covering the cost of a consultant from the Bethlehem-based Urban Research and Development Corp. to draft an ordinance with the township. The ordinance includes guidelines for controlling light pollution, the withdrawal of groundwater, digital signs, noise, commercial outdoor recreation, residential developments, solar panels, natural gas pipelines, and wind turbines.

In Quotes

“We need our leaders to act on the science and follow the market forces—do their jobs and create policies that protect our planet and our communities. Our customers are demanding we act—this generation of youth is not backing down and neither should we.”

Rose Marcario, President and CEO of Patagonia, in a statement released in solidarity with the Global Climate Strikes that took place around the world in September.

Drink This

Deschutes Brewery’s new HandUp IPA is a cyclocross-inspired new beer, made to honor the venerable craft brewery’s late co-owner Colby Nightingale, who lost a battle with pancreatic cancer last year. The refreshing, citrus-forward IPA, which comes in at a drinkable 6.5% ABV for post-pedaling adventures, will be available year-round starting this fall. Proceeds from sales of the brew—named after the light-hearted heckling practice of spectators giving cross racers beer or donuts—will be donated to support pancreatic cancer research. 

Free Parks Pass for Kids

From now until August 31, 2020, fourth graders across the United States can get a free pass to any national park in the country as part of Every Kid Outdoors—a government initiative led by an agency partnership that includes the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The offer gives kids access to all federal lands and waters for a full year. Fourth graders are the targeted recipients because research has shown that kids become receptive to developing a broader connection with nature and history between the ages of 9 and 11. For more details and to claim a pass, parents of fourth-grade students, homeschooled kids included, should visit everykidoutdoors.gov. 

A Life in Parks

Photo Courtesy of Craig Seaver

Virginia State Parks Director Craig Seaver retired last month after 34 years in the Commonwealth’s park system. Seaver started as a park ranger at Smith Mountain Lake State Park and through his three-plus decades of service held various positions at Douthat, Caledon, Staunton River, and Natural Tunnel State Parks. He took his final position, which has been held by only seven people in the state park system’s 83 years in existence, in 2014. In a statement announcing his retirement, Seaver remembered fatefully camping on the eve of getting his first park job:

“Finances were tight; we’d been married only a month, so my wife Karen and I camped out the night before the interview at Fairy Stone [State Park].”

Reel Rock Returns

Photo by Cameron Maier

The Reel Rock Film Tour returns to the Blue Ridge this month to bring a slate of compelling indie climbing flicks to theaters around the South. This year the tour’s 14th running will feature three films: “The High Road,” a look at the feats of elite boulderer Nina Williams; “United States of Joe’s,” a look at a culture clash between climbers and Mormons in rural Utah; and “The Nose Speed Record,” which follows the pursuit of a speed record on the 3,000-foot Nose of El Capitan by rock legends Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. The tour visits Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Ga., on November 6, Bedrock RRG in Rogers, Ky., on November 8, Rock Creek Paddlesports & Outlet in Chattanooga, Tenn., on November 12, AFI Silver in Silver Spring, Md., on November 12-14, and Onsight Rock Gym in Knoxville, Tenn., on November 15. 

National Parks Allow E-Bikes

In late summer, the National Park Service announced that visitors can now use electric bicycles, better known as e-bikes, “in the same manner as traditional bicycles, allowing them on park roads, paved or hardened trails, areas designated for off-road motor vehicle use, and administrative roads where traditional bikes are allowed.”

The policy limits e-bikes to 750 watts of assistance, and states that the motor can only be used to help aid the user in pedaling. The NPS urged e-bike users to check for rules specific to individual parks before riding.

Marathon Runner Becomes Hero 

In late September, elite runner Katie Kellner was training on a well-known portion of the Boston Marathon course at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Brighton when she noticed a man and a dog in the water. Short after Kellner spotted them, the man’s head started bobbing and he began shouting for help. Kellner then threw off her running shoes and swam out to the man and dog, who both initially clung onto her. The weight of both of them was too much for Kellner which led her to make the difficult decision of pushing off the dog. The dog luckily began to swim back to shore as Kellner dragged the man to the water’s edge. She then stayed with the man until EMTs arrived to take him in for observation. The man and dog are expected to be just fine thanks to Kellner, who not only became a hero but who also finished the remaining 5 miles of her run—part of preparation for the Olympic Marathon Trials in February.