Currents

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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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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