Currents Archives - Appalachian Mountain Club

Currents

A major contradiction underlies New England’s recent conservation history. For the past quarter-century, the region, at once heavily forested and densely populated, has conserved land at a record pace. At the same time, the rate of residential and commercial development also has picked up. According to “Wildlands and Woodlands: Farmlands and Communities—Broadening the Vision for New England,” a report released by Harvard Forest in September 2017,…

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For millennia, birds have migrated lengthy distances, guided by the moon and stars. But as dark skies dwindle around the globe, scientists wonder how light pollution affects this natural phenomenon. One unlikely light source provided a unique research opportunity. For one night a year—September 11, in the midst of warblers’ and small passerines’ migration—two beams…

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Could a trail system be the key to aiding a region’s long-term economy while immediately benefiting its people by bringing them outdoors? It’s an idea that struck Benton MacKaye, the Appalachian Trail cofounder who envisioned a corridor of locally owned businesses dotting that path. More than 100 years later, it’s still an idea with legs—or…

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When Killington’s starting gate burst open for the 2016 Audi FIS Ski World Cup in November of last year, it marked New England’s first world-class ski race in a quarter-century. An estimated 30,000 spectators cheered on women in the slalom and giant slalom. The event was such a success that the Vermont ski resort, the…

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President Trump’s vow in June to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement triggered a slew of new CO2-fighting initiatives by states, cities, academic institutions, and corporations and also re-energized existing efforts. While climatologists welcome these localized actions in one of the world’s top two carbon-polluting nations, most say it will take…

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The fourth edition of the United States’ National Climate Assessment (NCA), a periodic report on the latest in climate science, currently awaits approval from the White House. In the meantime, the collaborative report between leading scientists and 13 federal agencies, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the Department of Defense, was released for…

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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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