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Tuckerman Avalanche


Lucky Guys:

MOUNT WASHINGTON, N.H. (AP) — Two hikers who triggered an avalanche on Mount Washington that carried them 800 feet over rocks, cliffs and ice were rescued early Sunday morning and treated for injuries that were not considered life-threatening, officials said.

The duo were separated from a pair of fellow hikers and missed a turn on a trail because of low visibility and unknowingly entered an avalanche area known as “the Lip,” triggering the avalanche that carried them to the bottom of Tuckerman Ravine, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Colleen Mainville.

January 2, 2014 | Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }



NOAA Savannah

Sad News:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency charged with surveying the nation’s navigable waters to help keep mariners off the rocks and out of the shallows will cease printing paper charts after mid-April.

Partly as a cost-saving measure, the NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey will offer charts only via on-demand printing, as PDFs orelectronic charts.


October 23, 2013 | Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Happy Birthday Woodsy Owl

Woody Owl

This Sunday, September 15th, The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service celebrates Woodsy Owl’s 42nd birthday. Woodsy has been America’s symbol for conservation since 1971 when his campaign encouraged citizens to, “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” both in the city and in the woods. Watch his 1977 PSA here and download a PDF of the history of Woodsy here.

September 12, 2013 | History, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Smoke and Weather

Smoke and Weather

“They say a man is still the best radar to spot a forest fire.” Watch it.

September 9, 2013 | Music/Movies/Books, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Van Arsdale Maps

van arsdale map

I came across these Perry Van Arsdale maps at a small gift shop in Pinos Altos, a nothing town outside the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. They’re absolutely beautiful and wildly detailed, which is hard to see in the poor image above, the only one I could find on the ol’ internets. Van Arsdale made a few maps in his day, including Native American maps and a whole slew of pioneer maps that include old roads, trails, emigrant routes and supply points, railroads, towns, cattle trails, forts, mines, mining towns, stage and freight routes, cattle trails, fur posts, Indian tribe areas and villages. You can find them all here.

A little more info about PVA:

Perry Van Arsdale began his mapping of pioneer history (history prior to the 1900’s) because his 7-year old granddaughter needed help researching the Sante Fe trail. With his obsession for accuracy and his personal knowledge of the trail, he set off to correct the information he thought to be erroneous in his granddaughter’s textbook. Thus began an odyssey which would not end until his death in 1976.

Perry and his granddaughter began by sending postcards to local postmasters requesting information on ghost towns and mining towns. The postmasters put Perry in touch with judges, sheriffs, and descendants of historical figures. Encouraged by the enthusiastic written responses of people, Perry gathered his research tools – clipboard, paper, and pen – and his family to visit the people and places in person. After interviews, he followed up by verifying the accounts in town and court records. All the stories and facts were carefully recorded and transferred to 3×5 cards for future reference.

With a mounting amount of information, Perry decided upon detailed maps as the best way to easily pass his knowledge on to others. Over a period of 15 years, Perry produced a series of 9 hand-drawn and hand-lettered maps that depict the United States of America as she entered the 20th century. By combining names, dates, and events on a map, he was able to present history with the broad perspective that it requires.

In the 1970’s, Perry had copies of his maps made to give to friends and students. The popularity and demand for the maps grew as word of mouth increased. Word eventually reached the Smithsonian Institute which still has the maps on display. Today, his family continues to make his maps available through this web site.

Perry put his life into his maps in order to share with us the history that was omitted because it was ugly, political, or morally unacceptable. He wanted children and adults to learn about history as it actually occurred so he devoted himself to finding and presenting the truth. Each map took at least 2 years to research and draw. This is how he filled his “retirement years.” His final map was Illinois which was completed only a month before his death. His next map would have been California in its entirety, but his life ran out before his enthusiasm.

August 6, 2013 | Native American, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

NH Fire Lookout Tower Quest

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New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the nation with 4.8 million acres of forestland. (It’s next door neighbor, Maine, tops that list.) To maintain all those handsome trees, the NH Division of Forests and Lands operates 15 fire lookout towers from early spring to late fall. They also have something called the Fire Lookout Tower Quest, which, as you may have guessed, is a challenge to visit all of the towers in the state. What happens when you? Well, you get the pretty little patch pictured above.

Download both parts of the Fire Lookout Tower Quest brochure here and here.

May 2, 2013 | Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Sinclair Ads

Big Bend National Park  copy

Sure, they might not be in line with your “values” (The headline on the Mesa Verde National Park advertisement reads: “America’s first apartment houses – today they belong to you!”), but these old Sinclair/National Park ads sure are good looking. And while searching for more on eBay, it’s impossible not to think of the last passage in the intro to Desert Solitaire.

Do not jump in your automobile next June and rush out to the Canyon country hoping to see some of that which I have attempted to evoke in these pages. In the first place you can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you’ll see something, maybe. Probably not.

A bunch more after the jump. Click ‘em to read ‘em.

Continue Reading →

March 14, 2013 | Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Sally Jewell

Sally Jewell

Obama has tapped Sally Jewell, CEO and President of REI, to take over the Department of the Interior from the outgoing Ken Salazar. (The DOI oversees much of America’s public lands through the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and other agencies.) Jewell, who is 57 years young, has grown the company’s sales from $900 million to $2 billion since taking over  the stewardship of REI in 2005. More info over at Adventure Journal:

She grew up sailing and camping and spent five weeks climbing in Antarctica. She’s won numerous awards for conservation and environmental work, including the 2009 Rachel Carson Award for environmental conservation from the Audubon Society, a track record that is sure to be touted by opponents. But prior to joining REI, Jewell worked in the banking industry for 20 years and before that she worked as an engineer for Mobil Oil, experience that should blunt criticism.

That is just…well….awesome.

February 6, 2013 | Politics, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Monument, located just east of California’s Salinas Valley, about a two hour drive from San Francisco, is about to come a National Park. The bill passed through the Senate last Sunday and now awaits President Obama’s signature.


Located in California’s Gabilan Mountains, just east of the Salinas Valley, Pinnacles National Monument is the site of an ancient volcanic field. The volcano has long since eroded and moved further north along the San Andreas Fault, but its remnants remain throughout the area today. The landscape features towering rock spires, large boulders, narrow canyons, talus caves and other amazing geological formations, all of which have made it a popular destination for climbers.

The 26,000-acre site has also been instrumental to the comeback of the California condor, giving the birds a place to roost amongst its rocky cliffs. The National Park Service has released 32 free-flying condors into the park since 2003, and it has proved to be a safe home for the extremely endangered birds. Elevating the monument into a national park will provide further protections to the condor’s habitat, improving their chance for continued recovery in the future.

January 7, 2013 | Politics, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Kelso Dunes

Kelso Dunes is the largest field of eolian sand deposits in the Mojave Desert, covering 45 square miles. The tallest dunes rise up to 650 feet above the surround terrain. The region is protected by the Mojave National Preserve and is located near the town of Baker, California.

The Kelso Dunes are also notable for the phenomenon known as singing sand, or “booming dunes.” Enthusiasts typically climb to the top of the dunes and slide down slowly, generating a low-frequency rumble that can be both felt and heard. This effect has also been noted at the Eureka Dunes in California, Sand Mountain in Nevada, and the Booming Dunes in the Namib Desert, Africa.

See you soon, sand.

MP3: Linda Perhacs – Sandy Toes

December 10, 2012 | Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }