Currents

In the near future, hikers working their way up the western side of Mount Washington could encounter a startling sight: a hotel straddling the Cog Railway tracks. The railway unveiled a preliminary plan in December to build a two-story, 25,000-square foot hotel on its 99-foot-wide strip of land above 5,000 feet and is currently working on a formal proposal to bring before New Hampshire’s Coos County planning board….

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Peak-bagging, thru-hiking, red-lining: There’s no shortage of challenges for hikers who like to check off their accomplishments. And as the lists multiply, so does the number of hikers reporting their achievements. With three years still to go in this decade, the 2010s have already been record-setting. (Data gathered from ADK 46ers, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, AMC Four Thousand Footer Club)

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A search-and-rescue (SAR) mission to locate a missing or injured person can involve helicopters whirring overhead, boats cruising the ocean, trucks traversing back roads, dogs tracking scents, and hikers risking life and limb in the backcountry. For organizations such as Down East Emergency Medicine Institute (DEEMI), based in Orono, Maine, another tool has become essential: drones. More inexpensively deployed than helicopters, drones can reach remote areas…

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New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced a bold outdoor-recreation project in his January State of the State address. The Empire State Trail, which he hopes will be completed by 2020, will create a 750-mile trail network—the largest multiuse state trail in the nation and an economic driver for the region. The $200 million state-funded project…

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Nonprofits focused on conserving land through purchase or easement—commonly known as land trusts—have played an important role in U.S. land protection since 1891, when the Massachusetts legislature established The Trustees of Public Reservations. More than 1,300 land trusts now operate nationwide, with 667 focused on Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. A conservation-easement tax incentive passed by…

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Stand-up paddleboarding, the country’s fastest growing water sport, is expanding from lakes and harbors to whitewater rapids near you. To the uninitiated, upright paddlers running whitewater might look strange or even reckless. But enthusiasts say whitewater stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) makes small rapids exciting and requires only practice and a sound understanding of river safety. A…

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How do the Northeast’s tree-lined streets stack up against the rest of the globe? In the ongoing Treepedia project, researchers at MIT’s Senseable City Laboratory are using Google Street View to plot urban centers on a Green View Index (GVI), scoring the percent of a city covered by canopy. Why? In urban environments, trees affect…

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When it comes to wind energy, the New England coast is a perfect storm: The wind blows more strongly and steadily here than it does in most parts of the country; relatively shallow waters make for easier turbine installation; and thanks to coastal population density, there is significant energy demand. Even so, offshore wind power…

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With drought conditions contributing to wildfires throughout the eastern United States, officials are wondering whether 2016 marks the beginning of a scary new trend. More than 119,000 acres burned in eight southeastern states last year, and New Hampshire saw its largest wildfire since 1903. The Covered Bridge Fire in Albany, N.H., consumed 329 acres of…

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Amid the ever-expanding library of apps available for your smartphone are several designed to nudge you into greener habits. These include eco-conscious social media platforms, games designed to reduce your carbon footprint, and hyper-local information sources. Here are four free eco-apps (some with premium add-ons) worth checking out this spring: Changers CO2 Fit hosts group competitions. The…

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