Critical Treasure

The following excerpt has been abridged and condensed from Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery, and the Rivalry That Built the Appalachian Trail, by Jeffrey H. Ryan (AMC Books, 2017), available now from AMC, as well as from other online and retail locations. The decade since Benton MacKaye had first proposed the Appalachian Trail (AT)…

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» CLICK PHOTO ABOVE TO LAUNCH SLIDESHOW On July 8, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson dedicated 5,000 acres on Maine’s Mount Desert Island as Sieur de Monts National Monument. The National Park Service (NPS) was founded later that summer and, in 1919, Sieur de Monts was redesignated and renamed Lafayette National Park. Doesn’t sound familiar? A…

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The Boston Harbor Islands are one of Boston’s hidden gems, despite being just a short ferry ride away from downtown. Activities include everything from exploring old forts to swimming to hiking. You can camp overnight on four of the islands, visit the nation’s oldest continually used light station, and enjoy clambakes, live musical performances and…

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America’s National Parks are getting a lot of welcome attention right now, due to the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016. A slew of centennial events and celebrations are being planned and two new campaigns, “Find Your Park” and “Every Kid in a Park,” will kick off later in 2015. Both are aimed at…

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Here’s a geography challenge: Starting in Midtown Manhattan, how can you get to deep forest by public transit in less than 90 minutes? The answer: by catching a commuter train or bus to Sterling Forest State Park, which straddles the New York-New Jersey border west of the Hudson. This 22,000-acre swath of nearly pristine woodland…

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Dear Mr. Mann— I have in my head a scheme for an attempt at preserving some of the finest bits of Nature near Boston. I want, if possible, to interest you… Charles Eliot, a young Boston landscape architect, wrote those words to Appalachian Mountain Club President George C. Mann on March 5, 1890. Eliot, AMC’s…

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It’s obvious to those of us who hike that open spaces, especially those along ridgelines, tend to be breezy spots. We love climbing to those inspiring heights for the solitude, the unspoiled views, and the sense of accomplishment they provide, wind or no wind. Energy developers covet many of the same places here in the…

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A cockeyed old post holding a series of signs marks a junction 1.8 miles onto the Great Gulf Trail in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. The top sign, a slab of bare wood, has text carved deep into its surface: “Entering Great Gulf Wilderness.” To the west lie 5,500 acres of federal Wilderness—the first…

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What’s up with the weather? If you’ve been noticing the same things I have, you’ve probably asked that question a few times recently. But it’s not a rhetorical question. Near and far, extreme weather incidents are becoming more frequent, and that points to climate change, a real phenomenon to which we all contribute. And we…

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Bring your family to the Berkshires of western Massachusetts for bountiful summer wildflowers, rambling hikes and bicycle rides, and real dinosaur footprints that will fascinate young T. rex fans. Here are four suggestions for your next outdoor getaway. Ice Glen and Laura’s Tower in Stockbridge, Mass. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne called Ice Glen, which is just…

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