December 2020

Poland looks to add 10GW of offshore wind capacity by 2027

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Poland’s ministry of state assets has published a much-anticipated draft of legislation to promote offshore wind power, aiming to award more than 10GW in the Baltic Sea by 2027, the Polish wind power association (PWEA) said.Up to 4.6GW from pre-developed wind projects could be granted support by Polish energy regulator ERO by the end of 2022 under a contract for difference (CfD) system with a fixed price set by the government.Andrzej Kazmierski, director for renewable and distributed energy at the Polish ministry of energy, in late 2018 told Recharge that the complex legal situation for pre-developed offshore wind projects called for different treatment than future projects to be developed from scratch.The projects in an advanced stage of development that will be entitled to a CfD with a fixed price must fulfill certain criteria, such as a grid link permit and a valid environmental permit, PWEA told Recharge. Projects that are likely to fulfill those criteria are two owned by private Polish utility Polenergia and Norway’s Equinor (Bałtyk II and III, which have a combined planned capacity of 1.44GW). The consortium also jointly owns the less developed Bałtyk 1 project with up to 1.56GW. Two projects by Polish utility PGE (Elektrownia Wiatrowa Baltica 2&3 with a joint capacity of 2.5GW) may also be in line for the first batch of projects receiving support. Denmark’s Ørsted is in advanced talks to buy half of the PGE projects.The remainder of the capacity is slated to be tendered-off in competitive CfD auctions of at least 500MW in 2023, and 2.5GW each in 2025 and 2027. Support will be granted for 25 years, compared to only 15 years for other renewable technologies. First, electricity must be generated seven years after a successful bid.[Bernd Radowit]More: Draft Polish offshore wind act aims to award more than 10GW by 2027 Poland looks to add 10GW of offshore wind capacity by 2027last_img read more

Wily Coyote: Friend of Foe?

first_imgThis spring, a juvenile female coyote in Great Smoky Mountains National Park repeatedly approached visitors, looking for human food. Rangers eventually had to euthanize the coyote. “We hardly ever deal with nuisance coyotes,” says wildlife biologist Bill Stiver. “They don’t come into our campgrounds and picnic areas as regularly as bears do.”Although there were no coyotes in the Southeast prior to the 1950s, their presence is now growing quite rapidly. Virginia, for instance, is witnessing a population increase of 29 percent each year. Native to the Midwest, the coyote has migrated east to fill the predator niche of the red wolf and eastern cougar.Ranging in size from 20 to 50 pounds, coyotes are extremely adaptable and opportunistic. During the winter, a coyote is likely to eat almost entirely meat, while during the summer, meat only makes up about 30 percent of its diet.In the Southeast, farmers have reported millions of dollars in losses due to coyotes preying on cattle, sheep, and goats. Yet their existence serves important ecological benefits. As top-level predators, coyotes help control populations of rodents, deer, rabbits, geese, and woodchucks.“We know coyotes are taking deer and small mammals,” says Stiver. “We’ve seen a lot of evidence of coyotes taking feral hogs. So, in some respects, the coyote is our ally, because we have a pretty aggressive wild hog control program here in the park.”Wild coyotes are also aiding environmental efforts in Fairfax County, Va. They kill Canada geese (which can spread harmful bacteria) and deer. Virginia is one of the top ten states for deer-related automobile accidents; there were 51,000 in 2009.Still, some livestock farmers would rather do without this top predator. As a result, at least 15 counties in Virginia pay bounties for the killing of coyotes. Bounties range from $25 to $100 per coyote killed.But wild dogs and hunting dogs pose an even greater threat to their animals than do coyotes, say Aaron Wilson and Anna Bedell, owners of White Oak Dairy Goat Farm. “Coyotes are only going to put in the energy to attack and kill one thing at a time. But dogs will just kill for fun.” In a 2004 report on livestock protection in West Virginia, the USDA concluded that dogs had been “the most significant predator of sheep in Appalachia.”As the coyote population continues to migrate and expand eastward, both the natural and human landscape will inevitably be changed by the coyote’s presence. “They’re stealthy, crafty, difficult to track, and nearly impossible to eradicate,” says Stiver. “They’re here to stay.”last_img read more

Outdoor Light Pollution

first_imgThe federally funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory reports that poorly-aimed, unshielded outdoor lights waste 17.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in the U.S. each year. Photo cred: Brand X PicturesEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: Has anyone calculated the energy wasted at night by unnecessary lighting in and around buildings? What can we do to reduce our light footprint?             — Bill Rehkamp, via e-mailAmericans do squander a lot of electricity keeping things lit up at night while most of us sleep. This light blocks our view of the night sky and stars, creates glare hazards on roads, messes with our circadian sleep-wake rhythms, interrupts the patterns of nocturnal wildlife, and is by and large annoying. It also takes a financial toll: The federally funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) reports that poorly-aimed, unshielded outdoor lights waste $2 billion (17.4 billion kilowatt-hours) of energy in the U.S. each year.NOAO has monitored outdoor lighting levels across the U.S. and beyond for the past six years through its GLOBE at Night program whereby citizen-scientists track nearby outdoor lighting levels over a two-week period beginning in late March and submit their observations to NOAO electronically. A simple star map provided by NOAO is all that participants need to track their slice of sky. “All it takes is a few minutes for a family to measure their night sky brightness by noting how many stars are missing from an easy-to-find constellation like Leo (in the northern hemisphere) or Crux (in the southern hemisphere),” says GLOBE at Night project director Connie Walker. “This tells us how much light is directed upwards into the sky.”Over the last six annual campaigns, participants from 100-plus countries have contributed almost 70,000 measurements, giving project organizers a detailed picture of light pollution globally. Unfortunately, analysis of the data shows that participants have seen brighter skies and fewer stars over time, meaning that light pollution is a growing problem. The free and publicly-accessible data gathered by the project is not only useful for educational purposes but can also help inform planners and policymakers on decisions about increasing public safety, reducing energy consumption and even identifying parks and green spaces that can serve as “sky oases” where city dwellers can appreciate the night sky from a safe, dark place.According to the McDonald Observatory’s Dark Skies Initiative (DSI), the solution to light pollution is 90 percent education and 10 percent technology. “We can reclaim vast amounts of energy currently wasted inadvertently into the night sky…by using light fixtures that are shielded to reflect light down where it is needed, as well as using the smallest number of lights and lowest wattage bulbs necessary to effectively light an area,” says DSI. Leading by example through the installation of downward-pointing outdoor light fixtures is a great place for home and building owners to start: “Once people see it in action, and understand its implications for cost savings and enhanced visibility, they are far more likely to adopt good lighting practices on their own.” Another group committed to reducing light pollution, the International Dark-Sky Association, maintains a list of distributors that sell approved fixtures to prevent light pollution.Some cities have instituted standards to limit outdoor night lighting to protect citizens against unwanted light (or “light trespass”). The International Dark-Sky Association has developed a set of model lighting ordinances that cities and towns can adopt and modify to suit their needs accordingly. Also, the U.S. Green Building Council has incorporated a credit for buildings seeking to reduce the amount of light trespass and sky glow through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.CONTACTS: GLOBE At Night,; Dark Skies Initiative,; International Dark Sky Association,® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine ( Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: Free Trial Issue: read more

It’s Not Everest, But…

first_imgAim high for your New Year’s resolution. No, not that high. A little lower. Lower. Good.When we finally push our bikes to the summit of Mount Mitchell, it’s crowded with retired couples limping out of RVs and families wearing SEC football sweatshirts. Everyone seems to have a tiny dog wearing a sweater. To be honest, it takes the wind out of my sail. Sure, I rode my bike to the top of the highest mountain east of the Mississippi, but I didn’t have to. I could’ve driven and gotten the same view. This is not Everest we’re summitting here.Still, I feel a little bit awesome as we strut to the top of the hill, pushing our bikes to the highest mound of dirt within 20 states, passing young children and their grandmothers who look at us with, dare I say it, awe. But then I realize they all passed us on the road climb to the top, seeing us suffer. Some of them even tell us so, saying things like, “I didn’t think you were gonna make it.”Keener, my riding partner, and I started 4.5 hours earlier on the edge of downtown Asheville. The summit of Mitchell is the turning point in our 70-mile ride. 35 miles up, 35 miles back down, most of which is tackled along the Blue Ridge Parkway, famous for its winding black top and long-range views. The problem with riding the Blue Ridge Parkway is that it makes you feel like a superhero. It’s a steady climb from Asheville to Mitchell, but the grade is mellow, and the scenery is so astounding, it’s impossible not to feel good about yourself. At mile 20, there’s so much pep in your pedal, you start thinking you should look for a sponsor. You obviously have a natural talent for it. Trek could use a rider like you.Then you hit Highway 128, the two-lane terror that connects Mitchell with the Parkway, and you remember just how human you really are.The last five miles up Highway 128 to the top of Mitchell are brutal, mainly because it comes at the end of 30 miles of steady climbing. Keener brought speakers for his iPod and cranked AC/DC for the final push. I’m usually not a fan, but when your back hurts and you’re starting to form knots in key leg muscles, sometimes the only thing that will keep you going is “Back in Black.”Even with all of the yipping dogs at the summit, I’m feeling good about myself, mainly because I’ve accomplished half of one-third of my New Year’s Resolution. I’m not good at fractions, but I believe that means I’m one-sixth of my way through my epic goal for 2013.I call it the Mount Mitchell Threesome. Let me explain.It’s a brand new year. We’re all fresh and ready to get after it, right? Make sure 2013 kicks 2012’s ass. So we make New Year’s Resolutions. In 2013, we’re going to wake early to see the sunrise every Sunday morning. Hike 50 new trails. And my personal favorite: We’re going to get in shape. Join a gym, go three times a week and shazam, you’ve got abs again. I’ve made that very same New Year’s Resolution every year since I was 13. In my mind, I saw myself spending the year ahead in a perpetual Rocky Balboa training sequence. Running in sweats, eating raw egg smoothies, chasing chickens.If you saw me in my bathing suit, you’d know I never once chased a chicken. I look nothing like Rocky. My high school basketball coach would say I never followed through with my perennial resolution because I’m lazy. I’d rather blame the resolution itself. It’s flawed. It’s too vague. Get in shape? I’m already in shape, relatively speaking. I don’t have type II diabetes, so I’m way ahead of the curve in most circles. Why not just watch a Rocky marathon? And pass another donut.So I’m taking a different approach to my 2013 resolution. I’m being specific, but also realistic. I’m never going to run a 4-minute mile. I’m never going to summit Mount Everest. Aiming for the stars is dandy if you have no intention of following through with your resolution, but if you want to succeed, aim low. Not too low, but low. Like, instead of the 29,029-foot Mount Everest, why not focus on the 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell?Yes, Mitchell has all the trappings of your typical overpopulated state park—restaurant, crowds, complimentary golf cart rides—but look past the surface and you’ve got a foreboding peak with squirrely weather and rugged trails. A legit summit of Mount Mitchell may not require a Sherpa and oxygen, but it’s nothing to be laughed at, particularly if you do it with style. That’s where the Mount Mitchell Threesome comes in.In the year 2013, I’m going “mount” Mount Mitchell three different ways, via three different routes.First, I’ll ride my road bike to the peak from Asheville: 70 miles, 8,000 feet of vertical gain. A full day’s ride to and fro. Highlights: perpetual Parkway views. Lowlights: chafing.Second, I’ll run/hike my way to the top via the Black Mountain Crest Trail. 12 miles, 5,000 feet of climbing. Highlights: miles of rocky ridge top with long-range views. Lowlights: brutal initial climb from Bowlen’s Creek.And finally, I’ll cross-country ski to the top of Mount Mitchell via a mixed route that includes the gravel Curtis Creek Road. Distance: A lot. Elevation gain: A lot. Highlights: I like snow. Lowlights: I don’t like the cold.So there you have it. The Mount Mitchell Threesome. It’s not as dramatic as climbing Everest, but it’s impressive enough to get me excited for 2013. And in the process, I might just get into shape. Cue “Eye of the Tiger.”last_img read more

Should outdoor adventurers pay for their rescue?

first_imgYES: Live Free and DiePrintI was born and raised in New Hampshire, home to the state motto “Live Free or Die” and the White Mountains National Forest, a big chunk of wilderness that attracts hikers, climbers, skiers, and snowshoers. More and more of these folks need rescuing every year.The Fish and Game Department oversees all search-and-rescue missions, with much of the field work done by volunteers and, in certain areas, by rangers employed by the U.S. Forest Service. Since 2006, there have been 957 missions costing $1.8 million.Even with a New Hampshire law that allows negligent hikers to be charged for rescue, fewer than 60 percent pay up.Every rescued wilderness traveler should pay a portion of the cost. Negligent or not, prepared or not, accidents happen. Rather than place blame on the lost and injured, we should assign shared responsibility for all those using the wilderness. As for the notion that some people might not call for fear of getting a bill? Well, isn’t that one of the categories for getting a Darwin Award?One solution, currently under consideration in New Hampshire, is a voluntary, once-yearly “Hike Safe Card,” which would entitle the bearer to no-charge search and rescue, with an estimated cost of $18 per card. This shares the cost and undercuts the risk of stranded hikers being too scared to call for help. And if it works in New Hampshire, maybe other states, not to mention the National Park Service, can also ease the massive cost of their rescues with similar measures.If the card becomes a reality in New Hampshire, you can bet I’ll be the first in line. In fact, I’ll give them as birthday presents until everyone I know who might need one has one. Until then, if someone needs rescuing in the wilds, send ‘em a bill.Tim Milton is the executive editor of and lives and hikes in New Hampshire.NO: Don’t Charge for RescuesWe live in a sound-bite culture that seduces us with remarks like “let the idiots pay for their mistakes.” This is the same mentality that says lion attacks strengthen the zebra herds, but there are two small problems: We’re not lions, and we’re not zebras. We’re people, and we take care of our own.I can see why people are tempted to think it’s a good idea to force lost hikers to pay for their rescues. And I can see why cash-strapped agencies would like to recoup some of their costs. And I would like to do something to recognize the incredible risks careless hikers impose on their rescuers when they stray from the trail and remain lost for days. I just don’t think forcing the rescued to pay for their rescues is a humane response to any of these issues.Few things in life are more disorienting and terrifying than being truly lost in the woods. The one thing that sustains hope is the prospect that people will come looking for you. It’s a pretty short trail from billing for rescues to placing a dollar estimate on the value of human life. And let’s not forget the unintended consequences of what lost hikers might do if they know they’ll get stuck with a $25,000 tab for a rescue. Will they panic at the first sign of being lost? Will they take even more risks to get “found” sooner, and get themselves into deeper trouble? Will they never step foot off the main trail and abandon the spirit of adventure that got them hooked on hiking to begin with?I’ve seen the “you could be billed for your rescue if you get lost” warnings at trailheads and they make sense to me, especially at remote wilderness locales. And I understand when an agency might feel an outdoor adventurer has behaved so recklessly that he deserves punitive damages. But when it comes to setting a general policy I say: We find our people in the hope that on the day we’re lost, they’ll find us. Don’t put a price tag on that.Tom Mangan is a hiking enthusiast and freelance journalist hailing from North Carolina. He shares his hiking thoughts at Two-Heel Drive.last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Outdoor News for April 22, 2013

first_imgYour outdoor news bulletin for April 22, Earth Day:Missing Hiker Found in VirginiaA hiker missing for almost 24 hours was found alive in Nelson County, Virginia on Sunday. George Carr, 66, was hiking with his Manasses church group around Spy Rock on Sunday when he decided to take an alternate route back to the trail head, separate from the rest of the group. Carr got off the trail, got lost and eventually hunkered down next to a creek as night fell. He was found around 1:40pm on Sunday complaining of a sore knee, but otherwise no worse for wear.Unfortunately, the search for another missing hiker, not seen since November, 2012, is back to square one. Bones discovered over the weekend were determined to not human, so the mystery of what happened to Robert Fitzgerald continues.National Parks WeekThis week is National Parks Week, a joint effort by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation to introduce more people to our National Park System. Most people know about the big ones like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Shenandoah, but there are 401 total national parks in the system with over 84 million acres, and 17,000 miles of trail to enjoy. You will also be able to enjoy the national parks for free from Monday, April 22-Friday, April 26, so get out there, enjoy it and spread the word.Gold Nugget of a StoryWe are right in the middle of prime trout fishing season in the East, so this one has some pretty good timing. Outdoor columnist Jim Brewer wrote about the origins of the West Virginia Golden Trout for a piece in the Daily Progress, sharing the interesting story of where this particularly aesthetic strain of trout came from. Turns out, it was a happy accident. A hatchery in West Virginia began cultivating a rainbow trout deviation they theorized were malnourished fingerlings, but was was an odd looking golden color. They nicknamed the fish ‘little camouflage.’ Eventually, the eggs got mixed up and the golden trout got into the standard rainbow population and boom, West Virginia Rainbow Trout.last_img read more

Weekend Pick: The Green Race

first_imgThe 18th Annual Green River Narrows Race is this Saturday, November 2nd in Saluda, North Carolina. There will be a participant meeting at the Green River Access Parking Lot at 10:30am with the actual event starting at high noon.While the race is free, they do ask that you put down a $20 refundable deposit. This is to off-set the cost of the bibs. If it gets damaged, wet, or lost, no worries. They can replace it. But rest assured, you will get reimbursed at the Green Race after party when turning your bib back in. You MUST be registered by 5pm on Thursday, October 31st. No day-of sign ups for this one, folks, and you may want to read pro paddler Chris Gragtman’s take on the current status of the race before putting your name in the hat.If you’re not up for paddling but still want to be part of the race, please consider volunteering. You can email the coordinators and they will happily find a job for you to do!Like any good race, there will be an after party from 6:00pm until 11:00pm on the newly finished deck at Thomas Store Wards Grill in downtown Saluda. Join fellow racers, friends, and family for live music, food, and beer. There will also be a highlight reel from the 2013 race.View Larger Maplast_img read more

Trail Mix: Behind the Scenes with Levi Lowrey

first_imgLevi Lowrey reminds me a lot of two of my favorite songwriters, Darrell Scott and Shawn Camp.  You might not know their names, but I can just about guarantee you know their songs.If you are a fan of the Zac Brown Band, you have heard Levi Lowrey’s songcraft.  Unwittingly, you have probably sung along with his words.  Levi earned a CMA Song of the Year nomination for his co-write on “Colder Weather,” from the 2010 Zac Brown Band release You Get What You Give, and he co-wrote “The Wind,” which was on Uncaged, Zac Brown Band’s chart topping and Grammy winning 2012  record.I first heard of Levi Lowrey when he was tabbed to replace Bryan Simpson following his departure from Cadillac Sky.  That collaboration didn’t stick, but I have been following Levi ever since. I Confess I Was A Fool, his 2011 release on Zac Brown’s Southern Ground label, is a Southern Americana masterpiece.  For proof, listen to “Whiskey and Wine” or “Freight Hopper,” two of my favorite tracks from a record that has rarely been far from my stereo these last few years.Levi’s eponymous sophomore effort, which releases February 25th, met my expectations easily.  Tracks like “Picket Fences,” which is featured on this month’s Trail Mix, “December Thirty-One,” and “Before The Hymnal Died” confirm to me that Levi Lowrey stands shoulder to shoulder with Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Will Hoge as the best in what Southern songwriting has to offer.Trail Mix recently caught up with Levi to chat about working with Zac Brown, heavy metal music, and the new record.BRO – As an emerging Americana artist, what does it mean to be associated with Southern Ground?LL – I think that Southern Ground is the perfect place for ANY Americana artist.  Zac really knows allows artists to be themselves.  I’m making music the same way that I always have, without being pressured to cut my hair, shave my bear, and wear a baseball cap (the new cowboy hat).  Zac throws his full weight behind it, because he believes in his artists.  He doesn’t try to manufacture pop stars.BRO – The world knows Zac Brown as a performer.  How was it working with him as a producer?LL – Zac has a really good grasp on track listings.  He’s always amazed me with his ability to pick songs for records, put them in order, and then pick singles.  It’s the kind of skill that only a music lover and seasoned reader of liner notes can possess.  I have to also stress that Matt Mangano and Clay Cook did an incredible job producing this record.  They took the aforementioned hand picked songs and elevated them to a new level.BRO – We are featuring “Picket Fences” on Trail Mix this month.  What’s the story behind the song?LL – First, thank you for this honor.  There are several viewpoints that are represented in this song.  There is a kind of U2 element to this one.  The cheater is me.  The wife is God, and the lover is the world.  There is another story that’s far more straight forward.  It’s that story that most people will latch onto and pick up on the first listen.  Both stories are true.BRO – Is there a song on the record that you just fell into, something that happened unusually quickly?LL – “Trying Not To Die” came rather quickly.  I was at a family Thanksgiving gathering, watching my kids play with their cousins out in the yard.  They were trying to kill themselves on a Cozy Coupe and various other playground items.  It reminded me of my childhood, when I’d spend all of my time outside playing with my cousins.  It made me sad to realize that, somewhere along the way, I lost that daredevil mentality.  Now I am an overly nervous father, trying not to die.BRO – Why aren’t more Americana artists covering Black Sabbath tunes?LL – Why isn’t Black Sabbath covering more Americana artists?Levi Lowrey is out on the road in support of the Zac Brown Band for much of the month of February.  For more information on Levi, the new record, or when you might be able to catch him live, point your browser to, if you want to grab a signed copy of Levi’s record early, take a shot at our trivia question in the form down below – just fill it out and submit!.  We’ll pick a winner from all of the correct responses received by noon (EST) tomorrow – Thursday, February 6th.Good luck!!last_img read more

Backyard Badass: Meet Mark Singleton

first_imgOur next Backyard Badass feature shines the spotlight on one of the greatest unsung heroes the paddling community has ever known. As Executive Director for American Whitewater, Mark Singleton takes Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s motto “go outside and play” very seriously—by day, he’s donning a suit and tie to sit before a congressional committee on behalf of every dirtbag raft guide and kayak bum in the country, fighting the fights no one wants to, but everyone should.By night (and of course, on the weekends), he’s a father of two, a husband, and an adventure machine. From the shores of Micronesia to the mountains of western North Carolina, check out how Mark came to live, breathe, and work adventure for over 30 years.BRO: What were the early years of a young Mark Singleton like? How did you come to be such an experienced outdoorsman?MS: I was pretty much thrown into it kicking and screaming. I was introduced to the outdoors primarily through traveling with my parents. I was born in Micronesia where my parents taught high school as part of an American international development effort, sorta like the precursor to the Peace Corps. We traveled the Pacific Rim, from Micronesia to California to Japan. The first teaching gig for my dad [after obtaining his PhD in anthropology from Stanford] was in Hawaii.Mark Singleton SUPBRO: What is your earliest memory of paddling?MS: When we lived in Hawaii, my parents were part of a YWCA. There were a lot of older Hawaiian guys who paddled outrigger canoes which were dugouts made of wood. The old Hawaiian guys would grab young kids that were just hanging around this Y and take us out to surf. Our job was to dive for the bailers whenever those dugouts capsized, which, they’d go down regularly because there wasn’t any rocker. That was my introduction to the paddling. It’s funny because I still remember very clearly the first time I was in a dugout. You could feel it pop up on the wave and hum down this face. I’ve just been chasing that sensation ever since.BRO: Talk about that some—where did chasing that sensation lead you after Hawaii?MS: We moved near Pittsburgh where I went to high school. That was a bit of a tough transition for me. But my parents, they were smart. They got me involved in outdoor activities in western Pennsylvania. I started whitewater paddling in the Ohiopyle area and started to ski. I started teaching skiing at a pretty young age outside of Pittsburgh and started guiding river trips in Ohiopyle. Those were really fun years because you could ski in the winter, paddle in the summer, and I ended up doing that both through high school and college. Eventually I did a lot of work in the ski industry after college.BRO: Did you pick up traveling again after college?MS: I ran the ski school at Wintergreen during the mid to late 80s. It was the perfect job for me, because I worked seven months a year from Halloween to April Fools’ then took the rest of the year off. I was able to chase rivers and started wind surfing. I spent a lot of time cycling.BRO: Where did you spend your time during the off-season?MS: For paddling I would start in West Virginia for the spring season then go out to Idaho or Wyoming or Washington for the summer then come back East for the Gauley in the fall. That made for a nice paddling circuit. I also spent a summer cycling through Europe then into Nepal and Tibet. Eventually I started doing a lot of wind surfing in Hatteras then the Columbia River Gorge.ValleyFalls1985_landingBRO: Wow. It definitely seems like there are some perks to being employed seasonally.MS: The reality of that [line of work] is I never had any money but I did have the freedom and time to do it. I didn’t have a lot of responsibilities then. I was single, I didn’t have kids, and I took full advantage of that in terms of being able to travel and pursue the things I wanted to do.BRO: How has your relationship with adventure changed since then?MS: For the last 20 years, I now work all of the time. I’ve got teenage daughters. Adventure comes in a slightly different package, but it’s still adventure and it’s still really fun and really good and we still do a lot outside. Things may change but lifestyle is a choice. For me, the outdoors and pursuing activities that keep me close to the outdoors is just something that has been really important to me.Melford trackBRO: How did you end up working for American Whitewater (AW)?MS: Well, the NOC [Nantahala Outdoor Center] was looking for a Marketing VP, which is what brought me to western North Carolina. I worked for about 12 years as their marketing person before I was basically recruited as executive director in 2004.BRO: Can you think of one success story from your time with AW that hits particularly close to home?MS: Taking the job at the NOC was probably the worst thing I ever did for my paddling but the best thing I ever did for cycling. One of my favorite training rides was starting in the Nantahala Gorge and riding out to Fontana Lake up the Cheoah River drainage which, in the mid to late 90s, there was never any water in the riverbed [of the Cheoah]. It was a dry river. I remember cycling up the Cheoah thinking, man it’d be great to paddle that if there was ever any water in it. Then, in early 2000, AW was able to renegotiate a license with a flow schedule. For the first time in more than 50 years, the river flowed again. The combination of recreational and base flows have really restored that river.BRO: Since taking this job with AW, how has your appreciation of the natural world evolved?MS: When I was in my 20s and into my 30s, it was all about me. I wanted to ski, I wanted to paddle. I chased it really hard and I totally enjoyed that. It was great. Now, I’ve certainly become more of an advocate. If you like these places [where you play] you need to step up and be a voice to protect them. If you don’t, who will?BRO: What would you say is the most crucial piece of the conservation puzzle?MS: It’s really tough to love something you don’t know. You need to know it first and through knowing it really well, you develop this passionate connection with that medium that you’re interested in.BRO: What has adventure taught you?MS: At one level, it’s helped me understand who I am and how I relate to things. For me, my learning style is very much by being out there doing stuff. On another level, it’s taught me to be reliant. You have to learn to adapt. And a third level is how important the outdoors are to the American experience. Here in the United States we are incredibly fortunate to have public lands that are, generally, managed pretty well, that provide for close-to-home and faraway recreational opportunities. Those things are incredibly important to who we are as a country and what we think of when we think of the American psyche.BRO: What do you like about life in WNC?MS: Western North Carolina is one of the last great places of the United States. The county where I’ve spent a lot of time living is owned close to 80% by the federal government, meaning it’s pied up by national forest, national parks, and other federal holdings. It’s got such great access to outdoor recreation. Obviously, I’ve spent a lot of time in a lot of different areas and western North Carolina still holds my interest.Singleton familyBRO: How do your children take to adventure?MS: I have two daughters who are 14 and 16. We have family contracts that in the wintertime, my wife will post on the refrigerator and the kids have to sign it. It says, “If you want your allowance, you have to go skiing with us when we say so.” It’s not all bad, but teenagers like their sleep.BRO: What is your favorite river?MS: My favorite river is whatever I happen to be paddling that day.BRO: Favorite place to ski?MS: The center of the ski universe in North America is this place called Jackson Hole. It does have a special place in my heart.BRO: Most proud moment?MS: Watching my kids engage in adult conversations about the outdoors is really special.BRO: Most embarrassing moment?MS: I was recently on an American Whitewater trip with major supporters of AW on a river in Oregon. I was trying to give someone instructions and ended up saying, “You don’t want to go where you’re headed.”BRO: Biggest fear?MS: When I have to go testify in front of a congressional committee, I can’t help but think, “Do I really have something to say that’s going to be worthwhile?”BRO: Any injuries?MS: Shoulders crashing off of bikes, legs and knees skiing…where do you start?BRO: Favorite adventure read?MS: The Emerald Mile. That’s just a great read.BRO: Favorite adventure flick?MS: Damnation – it tells a great story of how quickly rivers can recover when they’re given the opportunity.BRO: Favorite post-paddle eats and drinks?MS: I always look for the local brew pub and local food truck. Those two things go together. Innovation Brewing Co. in Sylva makes a really good “Phat Chance” amber ale that is particularly tasty.BRO: Where is one place in the world you haven’t been to but would like to see?MS: That would take me to Bali. I would love to go there for the beaches.###Join today! Support American Whitewater and give back to the places where you play. AW is always looking for volunteers to help with big events like Gauley Fest (we’ll be there!) and operates entirely on donations. A few bucks can go a long way in protecting your rivers!Have someone you’d like to nominate for our next #BackyardBadass feature? Drop us a line with the who and the why (and any relevant contact information) at [email protected] or by using the hashtag #backyardbadass on Instagram and Twitter.last_img read more

Coronavirus: Covid-19 Updates in the Blue Ridge and Beyond

first_imgPhoto by CDC on Unsplash There’s no escaping news of the coronavirus, which has swept its way across the globe. The outdoor industry, of course, isn’t immune to the rapidly changing impacts. Here, we’ll continue to offer outdoor-related updates on events and destinations affected by COVID-19. Trail etiquette in the time of COVID-19 School closures, social distancing, quarantines… it’s stressful out there right now. But if there’s one bright side in all of this, it’s that nature is still open and she’s more comforting than ever. While it’s wise to avoid crowded places, there’s no reason to stop hitting the trails—you’ll just need to take some extra precautions to protect your health and the health of other hikers.  Of course, if you feel unwell in the slightest, save the hike for another day. If we all play it safe and smart, we’ll have plenty of time to hike in the future.  It probably seems pretty obvious, but if you’re out for a hike with a trusted friend, social distancing rules still apply. That means no sharing of water bottles or eating from the same bag of trail mix.  Here’s some advice for hiking in the time of COVID-19: There’s a good chance you’ll have the trail to yourself most of the time, but when you do encounter other hikers, wave and say hello. There’s no reason not to stop for a chat if you want to, just make sure you stay at least six feet away from your fellow hikers. ATC Visitors Center in Harpers Ferry is closed until at least March 20 If you’re hiking with a friend, don’t share food and water The public meeting originally scheduled for Monday, March 16, at the Bill Sapp Recreation Center has been cancelled based on the current guidance to avoid large gatherings to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. A video presentation about the draft air permit for the proposed facility is available for the public to view here.  Amid coronavirus fears, the American Alpine Club has canceled its annual dinner, which was set to take place in Denver on March 13. In lieu of the in-person event, the organization will host a virtual experience instead. “It was a really difficult decision,” AAC CEO Phil Powers told SNEWS. “We felt like we really could have managed a safe event, but we decided to do this because we wanted to participate in good decision making during this crisis.”  Wave and say hello The public comment period on an air permit application from Active Energy Renewable Power in Lumberton has been extended to Friday, March 27.  The spread of COVID-19 causes REI to temporarily shuts its doors  If you feel unwell, stay home The Division of Air Quality will consider all comments submitted by March 27 before taking final action. China closes access to Mt. Everest Give right of way to hikers going uphill Comment period extended on proposed Active Energy Renewable Power permit  Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K Moved to September American Alpine Club cancels its annual dinner “I believe this is the right thing for our community,” said President & CEO Eric Artz in an email. “In fact, I believe it is our duty—to do all we can to help keep one another safe during this unprecedented moment.” The National Forest Service has canceled the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest plan meeting that was scheduled to be held tonight at the Arborteum in Asheville. While the in-person meeting won’t take place, the iheartpisgah organization is collecting comments via their website at and  Email comments to [email protected] Please type “Active Energy Renewable Power” in the subject line. TO SUBMIT COMMENTS: In an attempt to prevent the coronavirus from spreading to base camps around Mt. Everest, China has announced they will close access to the sides of the mountain within its borders, dashing the hopes of climbers that planned to summit the mountain this year. In response to the news, companies that run summit expeditions, such as Tahoe-based Alpenglow Expeditions, have announced they are canceling all planned summit expeditions for the season. “While cancelling a climb is never the outcome we want, this time, it’s the responsible thing to do,” Alpenglow Expeditions CEO Adrian Ballinger said in a statement. Forest Service cancels public meeting on Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest management plan If you happen to encounter another hiker on a narrow trail, remember that right of way is usually granted to the hiker walking uphill. If you’re the downhill hiker, try to find a spot—like at a switchback—where you can scoot out of the way and allow the uphill hiker to pass at a safe distance. The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K, a staple of the Southeastern running scene that takes place every spring in Richmond, Va., has been postponed from its original date of March 28. The race, which brings 25,000 runners to the streets of Virginia’s capital city, will now take place on Saturday, September 26.The change comes after Mayor Levar Stoney and the City of Richmond released new guidelines recommending the postponement of large events in Richmond due to COVID-19. The Appalachian Trail visitor’s center in Harpers Ferry, WV, has closed its doors until at least March 20 in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has also cancelled the 2020 Flip Flop Festival. Flip Flop thru-hikers are still welcomed to begin or end their hikes at the ATC headquarters. Should the visitor’s center still be closed, the ATC is asking thru-hikers to take a selfie in front of the ATC sign and send it, along with their name and starting date, to [email protected]  Outdoor retailer REI has announced that they will temporarily close all 162 of their retail stores nationwide until March 27. Employees will continue to be paid during this time. If you want to shop for outdoor gear online (because, remember, it’s still safe to go outside!), REI will provide free shipping while their stores are closed.  The ATC asks any Appalachian Trail hikers diagnosed with COVID-19 while on the trail to submit an incident report at, detailing when you got sick, when and where you got off the trail, and any other helpful details.  “This has been a challenging week and we’ve worked hard to navigate rapid changes and prepare for all possible scenarios. Health, safety, and security are top priorities for our events and we appreciate the guidance from Mayor Stoney and our public health and safety officials,” said Meghan Keogh, event director of the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in a statement “We’re thankful for the support and understanding of participants, volunteers, sponsors, and spectators and we look forward to the opportunity to put on a great event on September 26.” Updated on March 18last_img read more