Stewardship

May 24, 2019

This Initiative Is Helping to Offset Overuse on Colorado’s Highest Peaks

Hikers stand along the top of a ridgeline, looking and pointing every which way under a bright-blue sky.

Like many Coloradans, Ben Hanus was on a mission to bag some fourteeners. Unlike many Coloradans, his incentive to summit the 14,000-foot peaks wasn’t personal; it was about preservation. From 2011 to 2013, Hanus served as the sustainable trails coordinator for the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI), a role that led him up 42 of the […]

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March 13, 2019

The Story Behind Indiana’s First National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park

The vast lands of the Midwest host fewer than a dozen national parks. But on February 15, Indiana Dunes officially became the nation’s newest and 61st national park. The designation marks the final chapter of a century-old conservation story that is also the story of Chicago, and a reframing of wild places beyond the traditional […]

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November 27, 2018

The Wilderness Society: Speak Up to Protect Your Favorite Outdoor Places

As the #OptOutside movement continues to grow, it’s a fitting moment to recognize the outdoor places that make our adventures possible. Although the 610-million-acre federal public lands system has no limit to the way it tests our grit, this unique arrangement requires constant champions to boost policies that keep the system accessible, safe and well maintained. The […]

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November 5, 2018

Is the John Muir Trail Being Loved to Death?

On May 17, 1915, California Governor Hiram Johnson signed a bill authorizing  the allocation of funds to build the John Muir Trail (JMT). At the outset, the plan was to build a 211-mile alpine pathway that would span from Yosemite National Park to the summit of Mt. Whitney, meandering through rugged, untamed landscapes along the […]

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October 22, 2018

How Ada Hatch Helped Change the Field of Archaeology for Women

A side canyon of Lake Powell.

“They said if we didn’t succeed they would never hire women again.” Ada Hatch’s smile reflects the brilliance of her yellow sundress when she says this. But it’s not a sugary smile; it’s a grin full of spunk and vigor, one that hints at true adventure and wisdom. Now 76 years old, Ada spent the […]

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August 31, 2018

Here’s How the Popular Itusi Trail is Getting an Overhaul

Tarheel Trailblazers

One of North Carolina’s most iconic mountain bike trails is getting a face-lift. The Itusi Trail, in Lake Norman State Park outside of Charlotte, was one of the first mountain bike-specific trails built in North Carolina’s state park system. In 2003, the Tarheel Trailblazers built Hawk Loop, a 3-mile loop on the shore of Lake […]

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August 1, 2018

Rebuilding America’s Trails

Volunteer Working on a trail

On a secluded trail in the Gila National Forest, I could see 10,895-foot Whitewater Baldy shimmer in the distance. The highest peak in southwest New Mexico’s Mogollon Range, it was still capped with snow in early March. The plan was to summit an adjacent mountain for what seemed like a short but rewarding day hike […]

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March 27, 2018

How to Have a More Eco-Friendly Camping Trip

I recently returned from a camping trip with pockets bursting with single-use snack wrappers. As I shoveled it all into the garbage, I wondered how it was possible to generate more waste “roughing it” than I do in my city life. I wanted to do better so I consulted with three REI experts on how […]

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October 25, 2017

Packing It Out 2017: Leave It Better

Abby Taylor riding her bike on the Packing It Out 2017 tour

Five months. 4,700 miles. 2,130 pounds of trash. On April 26, 2017, Seth Orme and Abby Taylor set out on a cross-country bike tour to pick up trash. Beginning on Cumberland Island, Georgia, and ending in Seattle, they zigzagged across the U.S., cleaning up scenic areas and inspiring others to “leave it better” as part […]

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