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Earthgoers | Share your adventures, Save the outdoors

New Trails: 20 December 2008

Stefan Bill added the three corridor trails within Grand Canyon National Park to our trail guide.  These are the most heavily used in the park and are renowned for their spectacular views.South Kaibab Trail Panorama

  • South Kaibab Trail - The shortest and steepest route to the Colorado River.  This trail follows ridgelines and stays exposed.
  • Bright Angel Trail - A longer route that has water along the way and mostly stays in a side canyon.
  • North Kaibab Trail - The main route to the river from the North Rim.

Our trail guide is created and maintained by fellow outdoors enthusiasts, which means you too can share your adventures by adding your favorite trail!

New Trails: 07 December 2008

Miller Canyon MapleStefan Bill added 13 trails to our trail guide, all within Coronado National Forest near Sierra Vista, Arizona.  These trails form a network in the Huachuca Mountains that is excellent for birdwatching, fall colors, and year-round hiking. A few of the more notable trails:

  • Crest Trail #103 - This trail forms the backbone of the trail network that crisscrosses the Huachuca Mountains and therefore most trails lead to it.  There are spurs that lead to Miller, Ramsey, and Pat Scott Peaks.
  • Hunter Canyon Trail #111 and Clark Spring Trail #124 - These two trails contour along the east slope of the Huachucas, connecting three of the major canyons that cut that side of the mountain range.

Also, elbillo added the Escudillo National Recreation Trail #308 near Pinetop-Showlow in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona.  This trail leads to the top of Arizona's third-highest peak.  At the summit there is a fire lookout tower that offers a 360-degree view of much of the state.

Our trail guide is created and maintained by fellow outdoors enthusiasts, which means you too can share your adventures by adding your favorite trail!

New Trails: 04 December 2008

Stefan Bill added 21 trails to our trail guide, all within Tonto National Forest near Phoenix, Arizona.  Some of the more notable trails:

Our trail guide is created and maintained by fellow outdoors enthusiasts, which means you too can share your adventures by adding your favorite trail!

This is reality: There is no such thing as clean coal

Today, Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club launched the Reality Coalition, a national grassroots and advertising effort with a simple message: in reality, there is no such thing as clean coal.


Gore wrote an op-ed in the New York Times a month ago stating as much:

Indeed, those who spend hundreds of millions promoting “clean coal” technology consistently omit the fact that there is little investment and not a single large-scale demonstration project in the United States for capturing and safely burying all of this pollution. If the coal industry can make good on this promise, then I’m all for it. But until that day comes, we simply cannot any longer base the strategy for human survival on a cynical and self-interested illusion.

For more information, visit ThisIsReality.org.

Bush Administration repeals key parts of the Stream Buffer Act

Mountaintop removal coal miningThe White House and the Environmental Protection Agency has repealed key parts of the Stream Buffer Act.  This 25-year-old act limited burial of streams by mountaintop removal mining and generally prohibits mining activities within 100 feet of perennial and intermittent streams. The Bush Administration has been working for nearly five years, since January 2004, to essentially eliminate this rule.

The change, which is being proposed by Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining (OSM), had to receive written approval from EPA before it could be finalized. That last hurdle was cleared today. Opponents of the repeal of the stream buffer rule argued that EPA could not legally approve the rule change because doing so conflicts with EPA's duties under the Clean Water Act.

"The EPA's own scientists have concluded that dumping mining waste into streams devastates downstream water quality," said Ed Hopkins, director of Sierra Club's Environmental Quality Program. "By signing off on a rule to eliminate a critical safeguard for streams, the EPA has abdicated its responsibility and left the local communities that depend on these waters at risk."

The folks at iLoveMountains.org have more coverage. Be sure to send a message to President-elect Obama telling him to end mountaintop removal coal mining.

The most important number on Earth

In the most recent issue of Mother Jones, author and environmentalist Bill McKinney draws a line in the sand for carbon concentration in our atmosphere:

For most of the period we call human civilization, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hovered at about 275 parts per million. ... Then, in the late 18th century, we started burning fossil fuel in appreciable quantities, and that number started to rise. The first time we actually measured it, in the late 1950s, it was already about 315. Now it's at 385, and growing by more than 2 parts per million annually.

...

And so we're now in the land of tipping points. We know that we've passed some of them—Arctic sea ice is melting, and so is the permafrost that guards those carbon stores. But the logic of Hansen's paper was clear. Above 350, we are at constant risk of crossing other, even worse, thresholds, the ones that govern the reliability of monsoons, the availability of water from alpine glaciers, the acidification of the ocean, and, perhaps most spectacularly, the very level of the seas. It is at least conceivable that instead of a slow, steady rise in the height of the oceans, we could see rapid melt in Greenland and the West Antarctic, where much of the world's frozen water resides. We can't rule out, warns Hansen, a sea level rise of up to 20 feet this century.

After drawing the line at 350 ppm, he discusses ways to combat the problem--not just through personal conservation like switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and buying more fuel-efficient vehicles, but undertaking the kind of political action and investment that needs to happen; a kind of Marshall Plan for carbon.

Read the full article or find out more at 350.org.

New Trails: 01 December 2008

Stefan Bill added 16 trails to our trail guide, all within Everglades National Park in Florida.  Some of the more notable trails:

Our trail guide is created and maintained by fellow outdoors enthusiasts, which means you too can share your adventures by adding your favorite trail!

New Trails: 27 November 2008

Stefan Bill added 15 trails to our trail guide, all within Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri.  Some of the more notable trails:

  • Crane LakeJohn J. Audubon Trail - A 12-mile loop trail that was established by the Boy Scouts of America as a memorial pilgrimage hike through the area which the great naturalist and artist John J. Audubon visited on his wide ranging bird collecting trips.
  • Crane Lake Trail - A five mile double loop trail with large boulders, scenic overlooks of the lake, spectacular fall colors, and spring wildflowers; this is a designated National Recreation Trail.

Our trail guide is created and maintained by fellow outdoors enthusiasts, which means you too can share your adventures by adding your favorite trail!

Environmental news: 25 November 2008

Your environmental news of the day:

  • Acidic oceans: Worse than we thought (ArsTechnica)
    Carbon dioxide, released from burning fossil fuels, doesn't just enter the atmosphere; it dissolves into the seas, which makes them more acidic. New data suggest this is happening even faster than we thought, and that's bad news for shellfish.
  • Where do all those used computers go? (ArsTechnica)
    Demand for repurposed secondary PCs is strong worldwide, but less than half of the systems intended for resale actually end up on someone's desk. The current market for these systems is fragmented, diverse, and somehow "losing" over half its inventory.
  • Kerry and Specter push for more high speed rail (L.A. Times)
    The legislation authorizes billions in bonds to invest in our nation's crumbling to non-existent passenger rail infrastructure.  The Federal Rail Administration has already designated ten rail corridors that these bonds could help fund, including connecting the cities of the Midwest through Chicago, connecting the cities of the Northwest, connecting the major cities within Texas and Florida, and connecting all the cities up and down the East Coast.
  • Save Coal River Mountain -- Now (DailyKos)
    Coal River Mountain in West Virginia is a beautiful forested area surrounded by communities with long experience with coal mining has been practiced for decades... Just yesterday, a permit to start blasting the top off the mountain was awarded to Massey Energy... And perhaps worst of all, Coal River Mountain has already been studied as a site for a wind farm. This wind farm would produce more energy than the coal that Blankenship will get from blasting down the mountain. It will employ more people.  And it will do it cleanly, preserving both the mountain and the surrounding communities... Sign the petition and contact Governor Manchin (1-888-438-2731) to put a hold on this permit.

Have an interesting environmental news story in your neck of the woods?  Write a blog and get the word out!

New Trails: 22 November 2008

Stefan Bill added 25 trails to our trail guide, all within Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon.  Some of the more notable trails:

Our trail guide is created and maintained by fellow outdoors enthusiasts, which means you too can share your adventures by adding your favorite trail!



About the Banner Image

This month's background image (Sunrise at the Grand Canyon) was taken by Laurent Baig from Tucson, AZ. You can see more of his work on his site, The Wildlight.

Earthgoers has a photography contest each month. The winning photograph becomes the background image for our banner and the photographer earns a quick bio in this space.