U.S. National Parks: A Love Story

I’ve long ago given up on Trump’s Swamp dweller Ryan Zinke, secretary of the Department of Interior.

In the comments True Brigand links to the many scummy things he’s done.

But he’s making the right noises here. Perhaps he’s learned something on the job.

The Restore Our Parks Act has a good chance to pass. Trump will sign it. I’ll take that as a win … if it happens.

Ryan Zinke:

Last year, our parks had 330 million visitors, with more visitors expected this year.

Unfortunately, our park system has been neglected and is in need of rebuilding. We are loving our parks to death. The backlog of critical maintenance and repairs in the National Park Service stands at $11.6 billion and until recently, addressing the backlog seemed to be out of our reach. …

A bipartisan bill that is now before the Senate would achieve this worthy goal. Thanks to the efforts of leaders like Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), and many others, the bill has momentum as others join to show their commitment to our public lands. I commend every senator involved in this effort for recognizing that preserving our parks is not a Republican or Democrat issue – it is an American issue. …

Bipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Great Outdoors Is Getting Crowded [infographic]

Guest post by Dustin Walker

“National Parks Are Being Loved To Death.”

This headline has been repeated by media so often in 2018 that it’s become almost a cliché.  

And it’s all because of recent statistics showing a more than 21% spike in visitors to U.S. national parks over the past decade. Canada is no different. Park attendance there jumped 27% in the past decade.

All this extra foot traffic means more pressure on park infrastructure, increased human-wildlife conflicts and added stress on the environment (check out the infographic below for more details on this).

What’s causing the surge? No one seems to be certain. However, theories range from social media influence and demographic trends to successful state ad campaigns. But one solution to the problem — at least, from my perspective — is far more obvious:

We need to seek out the trails less traveled.

Much of the overcrowding in parks is happening at the most well-known outdoor “hotspots.” Places like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite in the U.S. Or Banff and Jasper in Canada.

And yet, there are plenty of lesser-known backpacking and hiking trails throughout North America that offer an amazing experience — without the crowds.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting you avoid the best hikes altogether — I’d hate to dissuade anyone from trekking the West Coast Trail or the John Muir Trail.

But I do think that tourism organizations, governments and — to some extent — the media should put more effort into promoting North America’s hidden gems. Whether it’s a little-known hiking trail, a rarely explored park or a lake that’s simply left off the typical tourist map.

Not only would this help alleviate some of the pressure on crowded national parks. It would also introduce more people to the thrill of exploring off-the-beaten path.

This infographic was made by Slick & Twisted Trails

DUSTIN WALKER’S BIO:

Dustin runs Slick & Twisted Trails – a blog for hikers & backpackers who shun the beaten path. Based on Canada’s Vancouver Island, Dustin is always on the hunt for those rare, less-traveled routes through the wilderness.

Republican Senator wants to sell off Federal Public Lands

The GOP in the USA — in general — want the richest corporations and donors to get even richer. They have very little interest in protecting the environment nor encouraging outdoor recreation.

For example, Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Senator Wants to Eliminate Federal Public Lands

If you love the outdoors campaign against Republicans.

Utah can blame Rob Bishop (R) and Jason Chaffetz (R)

In 2017, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution urging the Trump administration to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument. The resolution served as a flashpoint that ultimately reduced the size of both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments significantly.

It also triggered a backlash from the outdoor industry. The Outdoor Retailer convention pulled out of Utah in protest, moving the show to Denver.

2006 murder in the Himalayas

Winner of the 2011 Banff Mountain Festival Book Award: Best Book, Mountain and Wilderness Literature.

… in 2006, an impulsive, naïve young Tibetan nun and her best friend, both yearning for religious freedom from Chinese rule, joined a group of fellow Tibetans desperate to escape to India, where the Dalai Lama has lived since the 1950 annexation of Tibet by China.

Kelsang Namtso and Dolma Palkyi embarked on the brutal journey over the Himalayas. Smuggled by illegal guides past Chinese border police, the group braved freezing temperatures and snow, the high altitude, and perilous crevasses.

Green alternates the refugees’ trek with that of Luis Benitez, an American celebrity mountain guide leading a rich group of international clients to the Himalayan peak Cho Oyu. The two groups met on the peak as Chinese guards, alerted to the refugees’ presence, chased after the escapees with machine guns ablaze, and Kelsang was killed in full view of the Westerners. …

Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy, and Escape from Tibet by Jonathan Green (2010)

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The author is a good writer. But there are numerous factual errors. He needed a better editor and more expert proof readers.

Green doesn’t sound like a climbing insider to me. I suspected he’d never visited Cho Oyu nor Tibet in writing the book.

Marinel M. de Jesus, Brown Gal Trekker

Through the Adventure Podcast I connected with Marinel M. de Jesus, Brown Gal Trekker.

Marinel practiced law for 15 years — then quit — deciding she’d rather spend her time trekking.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

She guides clients, especially female clients, on travels and treks. When not on those trips Marinel works to promote women in the outdoors.

Marinel is a regular contributor to Huffpost, Matador Network and Medium. She recently published a book entitled Tales of a Brown Gal Trekker.

BrownGalTrekker.com

Patagonia Action Works

… the brand launched Patagonia Action Works, an online tool for activists and would-be volunteers to connect with organizations fighting for environmental issues.

And to help lift the program off the ground, Patagonia will embark on a two-month, nationwide tour to help mobilize local groups and individuals. …

GearJunkie

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.