Currents

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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In July 2014, working as part of a team surveying plants above the Alpine Garden on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, I came across many interesting native flora: arctic lichens, elfin tundra clubmoss, even a rare white-flowered rhododendron. The most remarkable find, though, was a distinctly unpleasant surprise: a patch of non-native dandelions blooming high on the…

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Downhill skiing and snowboarding might seem like close relatives, but the latter owes just as big a debt to surfing. And snowboarding’s surfing roots are returning in a big way. Riders are using shorter boards, without bindings, to re-create the experience of riding the waves on backcountry powder. One manufacturer, Grassroots Powdersurfing, reports that U.S….

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More than six decades after transitioning to newer methods, Pennsylvania is returning to a tried-and-true approach toward combating forest fires: fire towers. The state plans to replace up to 25 existing towers and to build two new ones by summer 2017. Fire wardens and volunteers will staff the towers during the height of fire season,…

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