‘Forward-thinking’ policies around Maine’s offshore wind-platform technology will mean 2,100 jobs

first_img‘Forward-thinking’ policies around Maine’s offshore wind-platform technology will mean 2,100 jobs FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Maine is poised to capture hundreds of jobs when offshore wind takes off and should adopt policy positions to improve its opportunities, according to a new report.The report by the American Jobs Project said Maine is well-positioned thanks to advances in floating platforms developed by the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.It suggests that Maine could see 2,100 jobs if the state adopts “forward-thinking policies.”The report includes recommendations that include restoring an office that fast-tracked wind power projects during the administration of Democratic Gov. John Baldacci. It was dismantled by Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Other recommendations include establishing offshore wind certificate or degree programs to support a skilled workforce and establishing a Northeast Offshore Wind Innovation Center.“The U.S. offshore wind sector is about to take off, and Maine has an opportunity to shape this emerging industry,” Mary Collins, co-author of the report and director of the American Jobs Project in Berkley, California, told the Bangor Daily News.New England already is adding wind projects. A subsidiary of Central Maine Power’s parent company, Avangrid, won the right last month to negotiate a contract for what would be the nation’s largest offshore wind project off the Massachusetts coast.Avangrid Renewables is a 50 percent stakeholder in the “Vineyard Wind” project, which aims to deliver enough electricity to power more than 400,000 Massachusetts homes.And Deepwater Wind announced a week ago that it will invest $250 million in Rhode Island and use 800 local workers to build a utility-scale offshore wind farm.The University of Maine installed a pilot-scale project in 2014 off of Castine. It was the first floating offshore turbine to be connected to the U.S. grid.But the University of Maine project is being held up as proposed electricity rates are under review by regulators.The project needs the Maine Public Utility Commission’s approval to get $87 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Maine PUC is set to deliberate the so-called “term sheet” for the project on Wednesday.Report: Maine poised to reap jobs from offshore windlast_img read more

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Polish parliament moves to spur renewable energy development

first_imgPolish parliament moves to spur renewable energy development FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享EURACTIV:Poland’s upper house of parliament approved an amendment to the country’s renewable energy law on Friday (29 June) meant to remove obstacles to green energy investment and help Warsaw meet EU targets.Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party won the 2015 election partly with promises to sustain the traditional coal industry. In 2016, the government banned construction of new wind farms close to dwellings and imposed new taxes on investors that made many wind farms loss-making.It also took Poland off the track to meet its EU target of 15% of energy from renewables overall in gross final energy consumption–with sub-targets including renewable electricity, green heat and transport – by 2020.But as part of a wider plan to ease tensions with the EU, which has criticized the PiS over its politicization of the judiciary, and in light of falling production of high-polluting coal, Poland changed direction towards green energy this year.In March the government proposed the amendment to remove the tax disincentives and kick off auctions under a new subsidy system in which renewable producers would be assured a stable price for their energy in any given period.A phase out of government subsidies for coal power, supported by the European Parliament under a proposed revision of EU electricity market rules, was rejected by the Polish power sector as a reflection of “double standards” in Europe because it leaves German coal plants largely off the hook.More: Polish parliament approves changes to green energy lawlast_img read more

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Australia posts renewable generation record, more on the way

first_imgAustralia posts renewable generation record, more on the way FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Australian Financial Review:Wind and solar power supplied a record 25.2 percent of Australia’s electricity requirements on June 15 and are driving down carbon emissions from power generation rapidly toward the target needed to meet the country’s Paris accord commitments.The findings from advisory firm EnergyEdge have further underlined the potential for the energy system to contribute to emissions reductions well beyond current national targets and added weight to calls for those goals to be made more ambitious. EnergyEdge managing director Josh Stabler said that June 15 also broke the record for the maximum supply during the day from renewables, at 34.8 percent, and for the lowest carbon-intensity of generation on any day.The analysis came as fresh forecasts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance point to further huge renewables growth in Australia out to 2050 that has the effect of making existing coal-fired generation increasingly uneconomic as well as ruling out investments to extend the life of existing coal plants.The BNEF analysis anticipates some $US144 billion of investment will be made in Australia’s generation system by 2050, of which a massive 84 percent will be in renewables. Ongoing rapid growth in rooftop solar and “behind-the-meter” investments in batteries will make consumers the most influential generator on the grid by that time.“The Australian mix will completely reorient,” said Leonard Quong, a lead BNEF analyst in Australia, noting that under current legislated regulations, the share of renewables will grow to about 66 percent of operating megawatts by 2050, while the share of coal and gas shrinks to 17 percent.Mr. Quong said that “almost no new capital” would go into coal even to extend existing plants, both because of the reluctance of investors to invest in that fuel, but also because coal generators don’t have the flexibility needed to fit alongside renewables which will increasingly dominate the daytime generation mix. “We think that renewables are already cheaper than refurbishing these assets for 15 years,” he told a briefing in Sydney, while noting that new wind and solar would supplant existing coal generators.More: Renewables break records in electricity supply ahead of huge growthlast_img read more

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Ørsted-led consortium moving forward with offshore wind-powered green hydrogen project

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Danish pure-play renewables company Ørsted A/S on Tuesday announced a partnership with local firms on a sustainable fuel project to be powered by offshore wind energy.The company’s partners include Copenhagen Airports, shipping company AP Moller – Maersk, transport and logistics company DSV Panalpina, shipping and logistics company DFDS and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).The partners have teamed up to develop a hydrogen and e-fuel production plant which, by 2030, is planned to reach a total electrolyser capacity of 1.3 GW. The facility will potentially be located in the Greater Copenhagen Area, with renewable power to be supplied by an offshore wind farm in the Ronne Banke zone southwest of the island of Bornholm.The first stage of the project will consist of a 10-MW electrolyser which will make renewable hydrogen. It is expected to be operational by 2023. In the second stage, a 250-MW electrolyser will be deployed and combined with carbon capture technology to also produce renewable methanol and e-kerosene. It could be operational by 2027 when the offshore wind farm in the Ronne Banke zone could start delivering power.In its third stage, the facility is expected to be fully scaled-up by 2030 when it will be able to deliver over 250,000 tonnes of sustainable fuel annually and save 850,000 of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.Renewable hydrogen produced by the plant will be used for buses tendered by public transport agency Movia and heavy-duty trucks managed by DSV Panalpina. The facility will also produce renewable methanol for AP Moller – Maersk vessels and renewable jet fuel for SAS’s airplanes and air transport out of Copenhagen Airports.[Aleksandra Dimitrova]More: Ørsted joins forces with local firms on massive green hydrogen, fuel project Ørsted-led consortium moving forward with offshore wind-powered green hydrogen projectlast_img read more

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River Right

first_imgSpecial Advertising SectionBeneath the summer sunshine and craggy Appalachian peaks, the rivers are running. It’s the season for exploring the best of our mountain waterways. From wide flatwater family fun to raging whitewater rapids, River Right is your guide to water play in the mountains. In following pages you’ll find profiles of featured river outfitters, as well as popular riverside destinations and events.Check for updates and discounts online on our online River Right Database of outfitters.West Virginia WhitewaterIt’s no exaggeration when West Virginia claims to hold America’s Best Whitewater. The Mountain State’s world-class rivers hold a range of paddling and whitewater rafting opportunities for everyone from the adventurous novice to the seasoned expert.The New Known as the second-oldest river in the world, the New shows its wild side as it runs through West Virginia, as it drops 240 feet over one 14-mile stretch and cuts its way through a 1,000-foot-deep sandstone gorge. The New’s Class I to V rapids make it one of the most popular runs in the country. The mild Upper New is perfect for beginner fun with float and fishing trips, while the Middle New beefs up the excitement with Class II and III rapids. The famed Lower New delivers stomach-dropping excitement with class IV-V rapids through the heart of the gorge and underneath the longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere.The Gauley Every fall, hardcore kayakers and rafters wait for a chance to run the mighty Gauley. Ranked one of the best whitewater runs in the world, the Gauley is a combination of heart-stopping excitement and breathtaking scenery. It boasts more Class IV and V rapids than any other eastern river and offers one of the most intense experiences in commercial rafting.The Cheat North of these two rough and tumble rivers, lies the boulder-strewn canyon of the Cheat. Snowmelt and spring rain give the Cheat more than 30 technical rapids in the class III to IV range. 1 2 3 4 5 6last_img read more

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The Jacket Goes Pop

first_imgThe Fulton from Pop Outerwear.The ConceptThe style of snowboarding has been there and back again. The snowboarding culture began as a cool, punk-rock revolt against the neon headband skiers of yore. And by yore, I mean the 1980s. The style and culture were as much about attitude as the sport and being on the snow. First, it was grunge on the hill. Then it was get the baggiest gear available in the brightest colors. Now it’s back to skinny, almost obscenely so in some cases.From chain wallets to gang bandanas, the “us against them” mind-set still remains, although with the acceptance of knuckle-draggers into (almost all) resorts around the country, those feelings are gradually eroding.As we have seen through the world’s social evolution, as different cultures begin to blend, so do the styles. The two sects begin to accept and borrow the best traits from each other. This is what we are seeing now on the slopes. You used to be able to tell skiers and snowboarders apart without even looking at their boots. Now, it is virtually impossible to judge that book by its cover. Denim, onesies, flare, saggy pants: steeze drips off of everything and everybody.But what about the 9 to 5’er who is into snowboarding but maybe not quite ready to buy into the rah-rah of the youth driven retail marketplace?Enter Pop Outerwear, a boutique jacket and pants outfit based in San Francisco geared specifically toward snowboarders – the term skiing or skier does not appear on their website. Pop aims to bring a street-smart style into the world of snowboard outerwear. Self-proclaimed nerds, their website claims their products are “built for the snow, but designed for the city.” Basically, being urban dwellers, they want to build a product line that people can rock in a cold climate city, like San Fran, but be confident enough to take up to Tahoe and stay dry when it dumps. A solid plan, if there ever was one.The ExecutionThe men’s Fulton Jacket is one of two men’s jackets in Pop’s line.First, the Fulton is a functionally solid piece of outerwear. It boasts 10k waterproof, windproof, and breathable shell with just enough insulation to drop a layer and still keep you cozy on the hill. It has fully tapered seams, pit zips and powder skirt along with a very neat zippered adjustable hood to accommodate a large brain bucket. Hand warmer, audio chest and drop-in internal pockets are standard issue these days, and the Fulton has them.It also has wrist gaiters, which I find to be essential and would never buy a jacket without them, although I know opinions vary on this particular feature. But why would you not want them, you crazy people?Now, on to what separates Pop from the competition. The Fulton is certainly fashion forward. It has a distinct military tailoring that fits nicely with the technical aspects of the jacket. The collar features an overlap that can be worn down or buttoned up against the cold. The slightly slimmed down and elongated torso and arms combined with the magnet and button combo up the front give it very clean lines. Side note: love magnets! Whoever thought of replacing buttons with magnets is a super-genius on par with Plato, Newton, Jobs, La Russa, or Burton (Jake, not Tim).The Fulton comes in a dark green (sticking with the military theme) and a navy blue; solid colors that make it reasonable to wear day to day.The VerdictPop Outerwear set out to not only be functional and fashionable on the slopes (a fickle beast) but in the city as well (an even fickler beast). They have done this by bringing their nerdy-chic style to technical fabric and producing a product equally at home on a black diamond slope as a four-diamond hotel lobby.Do not be fooled, however, into thinking this is a brand for old fogies with a shaking fist, “kids these days” mindset. Nay, this is a piece for the mature rider, the rider who values function first, but form a very close second, and wants to represent on the street without blowing out eardrums with the volume of their threads. The founders are true shredders, get after it (evidence) and know what they want. They were dissatisfied with what was available so in the true American spirit they started making their own in the style they wanted and have succeeded in filling a much needed niche in the snowboard industry.Pop also makes men’s and women’s snowboard pants, along with accessories like hats and scarves. They have a showroom in San Francisco if you are ever in the neighborhood.last_img read more

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The Mile High Club

first_imgThe sun is just beginning to set on the hills west of Gatlinburg as I stand naked on the side of the road, examining two giant blisters on my bare feet (one on each big toe). They’re bulbous, opaque, and large enough to look like I’ve suddenly grown a sixth and seventh toe. My trail shoes began to rub me wrong around mile 13. The blisters aren’t even number one on my list of concerns. I ran out of water two miles back, I’m famished, and I’m already sore in places I didn’t know could get sore. In other words, it was a good day in the woods. Not just a good day. A big day in the woods, which is exactly what I needed.Okay, technically, I’m not naked. I have a towel wrapped around my waist as I stand beside my car changing from my hiking clothes into something clean enough to wear in public. It’s a dance I’ve done countless times before, but thanks to my close proximity to downtown Gatlinburg and the heavy drive-by traffic, I’ve never felt this exposed. People honk. Perverts. I’m in a hurry to change because there’s moonshine waiting for me and maybe an all-you-can-eat pancake dinner. This is the beauty of adventure on the edge of Gatlinburg. Any wild expedition can immediately be followed by any sort of Appalachian-style decadence you can imagine. Fried chicken palaces? Check. Go-kart racing? Check. Moonshine distillery? Check.I’ve spent the better part of the day running and hiking up the side of Mount LeConte, a 6,593-foot mountain on the western edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and I have a hankering for a fantastically large meal and some homegrown liquor.Judge a mountain strictly by its height and LeConte isn’t that impressive. Sure, it’s a 6,000-footer, higher than most mountains in these parts, but there are five other mountains with loftier summits. LeConte isn’t even the highest mountain inside the GSMNP. That title belongs to Clingman’s Dome (6,643’). But what LeConte lacks in overall height, it makes up for in sheer vert. While it’s not the highest mountain around, Mount LeConte is widely recognized as the tallest mountain in the East, with the greatest vertical rise from its immediate base (1,292’) to its summit (6,593’). Ascend the western flank of LeConte, and you’ll climb more than a mile of elevation, a feat that can’t be duplicated anywhere else on the right side of the Mississippi. Even climbing some of Colorado’s famed 14,000-foot peaks won’t get you 5,000 feet of elevation gain. There’s even more elevation gain on the trip up LeConte than there is up the side of the famous Long’s Peak, a fourteener on every peak-bagger’s to-do list that nets a mere 5,000 feet of vert in a 15-mile round trip hike.Translation: LeConte is legit. And climbing a legit mountain from the bottom to the top is exactly the kind of adventure I need at this point in my life. I’m not sure how it happened, but one day, I woke up and I was a 35-year-old out-of-shape dad. My formerly adventurous lifestyle–once filled with multi-day mountain bike trips, afternoon-long trail runs, and the occasional rock climbing excursion–has transitioned into trips to the playground, mommy and me classes,  and work deadlines. And I can’t find my abs. I wouldn’t say I’m chubby, but I’m definitely soft. I blame the kids. And the wife. And the job. And TV. And chicken wings. Definitely chicken wings.What I need is a dramatic adventure that will kick-start a new direction. I want to shock my body and mind back into the mountain lifestyle. Climbing LeConte will signify a new me. No more beer and chicken wings. No more Seinfeld marathons. More singletrack. More night rides. More dawn patrol. Goodbye soft me. Hello new hardcore me.The shortest route to the top of Mount LeConte is via the dramatic Alum Cave Trail. In just over five miles, you’ll pass through a massive rock house, teeter on the edge of a cliff, and soak in some of the biggest views inside the park. Alum Cave is without a doubt the best way to summit LeConte, but it gains less than 1,000 feet of elevation from beginning to end. In order for my summit expedition to be truly epic, I need to bag the full mile of elevation. To do that, you have to climb the western face of the mountain, starting essentially on the edge of downtown Gatlinburg, and traverse a total of 20-odd miles of singletrack, doubletrack, and road. Twenty miles and 5,300 feet of elevation gain is a big day for a person in good shape. For a person of my current stature, it’s borderline suicidal.In order to give myself the best chance at finishing the summit, I planned on beginning the jaunt at 7am. After trouble with the kids back at home, a “quick” stop for my traditional pre-adventure egg and cheese McMuffin breakfast, and a detour to the Sugarlands Visitor Center because I left my map at home, I don’t set foot on a piece of dirt until 11am. That gives me roughly seven hours to run/hike 20 miles up and down the East’s tallest mountain.The adventure begins on Twin Creek Trail, a mossy-rock lined piece of singletrack that starts on the edge of town and follows a small creek that parallels the Roaring Fork Motorway. Twenty feet into the run, I trip over a rock and land head-first. I’m nervous because of the late start. Also, the 3D relief map of the park inside the visitor’s center has me on edge. I spent a few minutes ogling over the bumpy landscape while picking up the trail map. LeConte rises so steeply, and so independently from the valley floor, it looks like the cartographer made a mistake.CabinI catch glimpses of great rock walls, hand stacked about waist high as I climb slowly, but steadily through the valley floor. I don’t have time to explore because I’m trying to beat the sunset. After a few miles of gradual climbing, I hit the Rainbow Falls Trailhead and the junction for Bullhead Trail, which is where the climbing really begins. Bullhead gains 4,000 feet over seven miles. Much of that elevation comes up front as the trail passes through your typical rhodo tunnel. Eventually, the trail turns into a sidecut path that cuts through boulderfields with massive rock crags and the occasional small rock house shelter. Once the trail climbs to a skinny ridgeline, it becomes flat and runnable and offers a great view of downtown Gatlinburg. You can see the replica of the Space Needle and everything. Driving through Gatlinburg, the town can seem overwhelming and larger than life, with its carnivalesque atmosphere. From above, it all looks so tiny. From this vantage point, you can see how the forest creeps right to the edge of town. There’s no real suburban buffer around Gatlinburg, like with most towns. Here, it’s just wilderness right against kitschy neon.Say what you will about Gatlinburg, it could be the only place in the country where you can start a monster hike that gains a mile of elevation just a few blocks from a laser tag/putt putt complex.I run as much of the ridgeline as I can before the climbing starts in earnest again. I’m wearing the most cushioned trail shoe on the market because I have knee and hip problems. There, I said it. My hip hurts. I’m getting old. Eight miles into the run/hike (rike?) I begin to wonder if my doctor would have cleared me for this adventure.The wind is howling over the trees and there’s two inches of snow and ice lingering on the ground as I approach the summit of LeConte. With a mile of elevation separating the summit and the valley, it’s a completely different season up here. A completely different ecosystem too, one dominated by evergreen spruce and fir. There’s a lodge at the top–a handful of cabins and a mess hall that’s closed for the winter but bustling with guests during the warmer months. The closest road to the lodge is six miles away, so the caretakers have supplies hauled up by llamas.I wander past the gray and weathered buildings looking for some sort of view, a dramatic reward for climbing a full mile of vert just for the hell of it. I find Cliff Tops, an outcropping with a broad view into the park to the east. I can see slopes draped with evergreens and the spines of rocky ridges below.The climb up LeConte was difficult, but not brutal. The brutality is saved for the run down the mountain. After ditching the summit view, I have just over nine miles of trail and road to traverse before I’m back at my car and headed into town for post-adventure grub. On a good day, I could knock that out in a couple of hours. Today, the ice and snow on Rainbow Falls Trail slows me down considerably. Plus, my knees are killing me, I’m chafing in delicate areas and my hip pops on every other step. The descent is way more painful than the climb. I have trouble mustering the energy to run the final four miles once I’m back in the valley, but the dropping sun gives me enough reason to push harder. Plus, there’s moonshine waiting for me. Maybe a trip up the fake Space Needle. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with its main street of mini theme parks, over-the-top restaurants, and ninja sword shops, is one of the most surreal little towns in the country. And I mean that as a compliment. Think Appalachian Las Vegas.After changing clothes on the side of the road, I head straight for Ole Smoky Distillery, one of the South’s first legal moonshine crafters which has a tasting room on Gatlinburg’s strip. The moonshine tastes better than it should, so I ask the overall-clad gentleman behind the bar to take me “around the world” with the free samples: a little Apple Pie, a little Grape Lightening, a little of the Original, perhaps a moonshine-soaked cherry or two.I eschew the pancakes for a Mexican feast, largely because the Mexican restaurant has an escalator to the second-floor dining room and I’m in no shape to climb stairs. It also has a mechanical donkey. I contemplate signing the waiver and giving the robotic jackass a go, but my legs and back are already starting to ache. I’m going to pay for this adventure for the next week.It’s hard for me to reconcile the fact that just a few hours ago, I was slogging through a 20-mile hike with 5,200 feet of vertical gain, much of which was packed with ice and snow, and now I’m sitting next to a mechanical donkey, drinking a giant margarita and staring at a glowing strip of lights. But that’s the charm of this corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wild and the garish practically hold hands. Personally, I think it’s the perfect place to kickstart my healthy new adventurous life. Now, another fish taco and margarita. •Join the Mile High ClubTo gain the full 5,300 feet, you need to start on the edge of downtown Gatlinburg, walking Cherokee Orchard Road until you meet the Twin Creeks Trail. Pay $5 at one of the lots near the Space Needle to park all day. Give yourself a full day to knock out the 19-20 mile hike. Combine Twin Creeks Trail with Bullhead and Rainbow Falls Trails for a lollipop loop.Gear UpThe Nantahala Outdoor Center has a large outfitter on Gatlinburg’s main drag not far from where the hike begins.noc.com/noc-gatlinburgDrink UpOle Smoky Moonshine is a bit campy, but the shine is good. If you want something easy to handle, go with the Apple Pie. olesmokymoonshine.comlast_img read more

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Old School: Primitive Survival

first_imgIt’s 36 degrees and drizzling rain—a perfectly impossible day for making fire.I am on my way to a primitive firemaking skills course taught by Tim MacWelch, a survival expert and instructor who founded Earth Connection School of Wilderness Survival 16 years ago as an outlet for his teaching passion. MacWelch sends us on our first assignment: find some fuel to make a fire, no easy task given the conditions. We scatter, looking for anything dry that will burn. I gather some leaves from beneath a cedar tree and some sticks I find under a downed tree—slim pickings—and return with my meager bundle. Back at camp, MacWelch is analyzing our efforts and weeding out the good from the bad. I watch carefully as he whips up a friction fire using a bow drill.There is something mystical about creating a fire without the use of modern technology. How could rubbing sticks together create a flame? It must be magic. But it’s not magic; it’s science. The friction of the sticks rubs off a fine dust called char while simultaneously creating heat. When enough heat is created, 800 degrees normally, the char begins to glow as an ember, which can then be used to light tinder and create a flame. The physics is undeniable; the application is something else entirely.MacWelch provides us with bow drill kits and gives us another quick demonstration, listing all the things that can go wrong. The fire won’t light if there is too much friction, or not enough, if the wrong type of wood is used, if the strokes of the bow are not fast enough, if the char is not fine enough, if there is not enough air in the tinder, or too much. It’s a wonder anyone has ever done this successfully. We oil the socket with pine pitch to help the drill spin, adjust the tension on our bows to get the proper rotation, and align our boards so the char collects in the right spot. Using a smooth fast motion, the bow spins the drill, obliterating tiny wood fragments into a fine dust, the heat building with every pass. Just as the sweat begins to bead on my forehead and it looks like a lost cause, a wisp of smoke emerges. The pressure builds: this is it; this is the moment.This is not it, this is not the moment. The rhythm gets thrown off; the wisp dissipates into the atmosphere, my dreams fading just as fast. The second attempt proves more fruitful, the rhythm consistent enough that the wisp turns into a waft, a waft into a puff. It is remarkable the change of pace that happens at this significant juncture in the process. What was at first an exercise in power and swiftness becomes a delicate procedure of fine movement and caution. I gently transfer my smoldering pile of wood dust into my waiting bundle of tulip poplar tinder, caressing the fibers around my energy source. A soft breathe, a silent whistle and I can see the ember glow hot in its nest, being coaxed by the soft breeze into a flame.I imagine myself trying to pull this off in the rain, stranded on a mountainside with no supplies. It is a daunting daydream, but I try to keep my number one priority: positive mental attitude.Finally my flame ignites; my life is saved.If you liked this essay, check out our Blue Ridge Survival Guide for a complete list of tips and tactics to survive in the wilderness.last_img read more

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Weekend Pick: National Get Outdoors Day at Cradle of Forestry

first_imgWhen it comes to days designated for some outdoorsy thing, it seems June is the preferred month. Last week we celebrated National Trails Day, a celebration of the over 200,000 miles of trails in the U.S. system. This week, Saturday marks National Get Outdoors Day, a joint effort by the USDA Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition aimed at inspiring and motivating people to get outside and enjoy the natural world. Now in its sixth year, GO Day is a series of nationwide events allowing families to experience traditional and non-traditional outdoor activities, with special emphasis on underserved populations, first-time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting youth to the great outdoors. Sounds great.With so much public land at our disposal in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the rest of the Southeast, it is no surprise that state and national parks and forests in our region are taking the lead. It is also no surprise that one of the biggest events of the day will be happening at The Birthplace of Forest Conservation in America, The Cradle of Forestry in the Pisgah National Forest outside Brevard, N.C. The event will include all sorts of interesting activities for the whole family. Trout Unlimited will be giving fly fishing demonstrations at the trout pond, and there will be canoe and kayak safety seminars. You can do everything from go on a guided nature walk to try your hand at archery to learn how to change a flat tire and other basic maintenance on your mountain bike. Plus, Smokey Bear will be there. Kids love Smokey Bear.This is another great opportunity to introduce young ones to the outdoors and natural world in a fun, lively environment. The diversity of activities will surely hold their attention, and could lead to a lifetime of healthy, active lifestyle choices. For a list of National Get Outdoors Day events in your area, click here.View Larger Maplast_img read more

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Mountain Mama: Transform Your Daily Grind

first_imgDear Mountain Mama,After a great weekend hiking in the mountains, I’m stuck behind a desk. My only view is my computer screen and the only ambient noise is the hum of the copier. Besides the drab environment, my whole body aches from all the sitting I do.Since I can’t quit my office gig, do you have any tips for making the 9-5 grind bearable for an outdoorsy woman?Thanks,Desk BoundDear Desk Bound,Coming back to the office after a great weekend in nature is tough.But because what we focus on in life is often accentuated, let’s think about all the small ways you can improve your office time, instead of how much it sucks.Follow these three steps to add more joy to your work life.1. Bring Nature Inside. Frame some of your favorite outdoor photographs and buy wood frames to decorate drab office walls. Buy indoor plants for some green, leafy company during the day. Consider investing in a small fountain for the office desk. The pleasant sound of trickling water adds a serene element to stressful environments.2. Rethink the Commute. Spend some time considering whether biking to work is feasible for you. With a little advanced route planning, you might be able to ride instead of drive. Imagine starting your work day fueled by the happy flow of endorphins rather than the residual anger of road rage. If biking isn’t possible for your situation, consider parking a little further than usual to get in a brisk walk before entering the office. Even a few minutes of moving your legs will help you start the work day in the right frame of mind.3. Stand Up and Get Moving. Being sedentary can make a woman grumpy. Worst, studies have linked prolonged sitting to obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes. Often the office default is to sit. Start by incorporating standing into your work habits. Start with a platform or stand up desk to work at for at least a couple hours each day. A stand up work station can be as simple as cardboard boxes stacked upside down, as long as you find an ergonomic height for typing and computer use. Use conference calls to move around, chose the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk to a colleagues offices instead of emailing.Try to view your work week as an opportunity for movement, and watch the little decisions add up over time.Here’s to better work weeks to come!Mountain Mamalast_img read more

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