Sign of the Times: Yancoal Gets Few Takers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Australian:Yancoal Australia’s $US2.35 billion ($3bn) equity raising has met with next to no interest from institutional and retail shareholders, leaving its underwriters and Chinese backers on the hook for almost the entire amount.Yancoal, which needed the cash to complete its acquisition of Rio Tinto’s Coal & Allied business in NSW, only attracted $US4 million worth of applications from its existing non-Chinese share register while institutional investors applied for just $US59m of the more than $US1.3bn in entitlements up for offer under a bookbuild at the weekend.The weak appetite means Yancoal’s existing major shareholder, Chinese state-owned group Yanzhou Coal Mining Company, will take up the full $US1bn in new shares to which it had committed while the bookbuild’s underwriters — China Shandong Investment, Cinda International and Glencore — will take up the remaining $US1.28bn.While there was an expectation going into the raising that Yancoal would have to rely on its underwriters for much of the funding, the response was nevertheless weaker than expected.The flat investor response to the raising has been blamed on a confluence of factors, including Yancoal’s poor record of performance in Australia (it has recorded four straight years of losses totalling more than $1.6bn), the dominant position held on Yancoal’s share register by Chinese interests, and the broader softening of investor interest in coal generally.The raising also took place at a time when many investors are tipping a fall in coal prices following a strong 12 months for the commodity.In one potential sign that the coal market may be nearing a peak, veteran coal investor Tony Haggarty yesterday revealed he had just sold almost 2 million shares in coal producer Whitehaven Coal for $6.4m, cashing out a portion of his holdings at a time when Whitehaven shares are at their highest level since 2013.Coal heavyweight Glencore, which is helping fund the Yancoal acquisition, yesterday announced it was putting up for sale its Rolleston thermal coalmine in Queensland. The sale process for the mine, which produced 13.3 million tonnes of saleable coal in 2016, is being handled by Merrill Lynch.Contango Asset Management managing director George Boubouras told The Australian the combination of Yancoal’s China-heavy share register and the wider shift away from coal among many investors were probably to blame for the weak uptake.More: Yancoal’s $3bn equity raising shunned by investors
Coal production decline in Powder River Basin may be speeding up FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:Warning bells are ringing across Wyoming’s Powder River Basin that the largest producing coal region of the country is in big trouble.One of the largest players, Cloud Peak Energy, is likely facing bankruptcy. A newcomer to coal country, Blackjewel LLC has struggled to pay its taxes despite increasing production, and the total volume of Wyoming’s black rock that miners are estimated to produce – a number that translates to jobs, state and county revenue — keeps going down.After the coal bust of 2015, when 1,000 Wyoming miners lost work and three coal companies went through bankruptcy, a period of stability settled over the coal sector in Wyoming. The idea that coal would slowly decline, partly buoyed up by the results of carbon research, and just maybe an export avenue to buyers in the Pacific Rim, took hold. Wyoming made its peace with the idea that coal’s best years were likely behind her, but that a more modest future for Wyoming coal, with manageable losses over time, was also likely.That may not be the case.Within 10 years, demand for Powder River Basin coal could fall to 176 million tons, said John Hanou, president of Hanou Energy Consulting and a long-time expert on the Powder River Basin. That figure includes Montana’s production and presumes that coal plants in the U.S. are taken offline as soon as they hit 60 years of age. If Wyoming is lucky and gas prices are high, that count could hold closer to 224 million. Or it could be even worse.Economics could push out existing demand even faster, while wind development going up in the Midwest could eat into Wyoming’s coal market in that region. Natural gas prices, high or low, could alter the rate of change in Wyoming’s coal sector.More: Wyoming coal is likely declining faster than expected
Endesa to replace 1.1GW Teruel coal plant with solar, wind and battery storage FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Plans for what is being billed as “Europe’s largest solar plant” have been put forward in Spain as the UN climate negotiations came to a close in Madrid.Endesa took the floor at the COP25 summit in Madrid to announce a roadmap to replace its major thermal power plant in the Teruel province with a renewable “megaproject.” José Bogas, CEO of the energy giant, spoke at the climate talks of a scheme to deploy a 1.7GW-plus green energy complex in Andorra, a four-hour drive east from capital Madrid.The installation would be mostly PV-powered – 1.585GW of the 1.7GW-plus total – but also feature a 139MW wind component and a further 160MW in energy storage systems.The capacity surge is meant to plug the gap left behind by a 1.1GW-plus thermal power plant Endesa is working to decommission at the same location, Bogas said. The coal-powered complex in Andorra – split into three equally sized plants – was commissioned between 1979 and 1980 and will be dismantled after Endesa got the green light from the Spanish government this year.According to the firm’s estimates, deploying the 1.7GW-plus in new solar, wind and storage capacity will require overall investments of around €1.487 billion (US$1.65 billion).The Andorra plans add to Endesa’s efforts to replace another coal complex – 1.052GW Compostillas, in the León province – with 390MW in new renewable capacity. [José Rojo Martín]More: Endesa to replace Spanish coal complex with ‘Europe’s largest PV plant’
The other day I spent 20 minutes in the car behind two big tractor-trailers carrying brand new brewing tanks to New Belgium that’s being built in Asheville. It’s the only time I’ve ever been excited to sit in traffic. It’s difficult to express my feelings about New Belgium’s impending brewery. Giddy, excited, emotionally erect…all of these words are accurate, but they don’t do my feelings justice.And it’s not just New Belgium that I’m excited about. Catawba Brewing just opened a swanky new taproom in downtown Asheville. Wicked Weed started building their production facility on the outskirts of town. Sierra Nevada just opened their taproom and restaurant, which, by all accounts, is plated entirely in gold and everlasting rose pedals.Craft beer is booming all over the country, but there’s so much happening in Asheville, North Carolina on a variety of different scales, that it’s easy to think we’re living at Ground Zero during the Golden Age of Craft Beer. I can walk out my door and hit a dozen breweries within two miles. If you find yourself in Asheville, you can paddle a mellow stretch of the French Broad and hit half a dozen different breweries, big and small. You can mountain bike directly to the door of one brewery, on Pisgah singletrack.We’re so fortunate to be alive now and living here. It’s complete happenstance that I’ve found myself in this town, during this beautiful time in history, when craft breweries are sprouting around me like weeds. Personally, I’ve done nothing to deserve this embarrassment of riches, but I’m going to do my best to enjoy it while it lasts. As they say, all good things must come to an end. In this case, I’m not sure if they’re talking about the craft beer boom or my liver. Either way, carpe beer.
In 1776, the Franciscan friars Dominguez and Escalante obtained funding from the Spanish Crown to seek out a new northern route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the new colony of Monterey, California. However, once they were in the wilderness of the Colorado Plateau, they focused more on converting Indians and seeking out new mission possibilities, rather than finding a quick route across the Great Basin. This had actually been their main objective all along. Kind of like when a climber gets invited to come give a historical lecture in Zion National Park, when his main objective is climbing Moonlight Buttress.Yup, I went there in my talk, and the climbers in the audience laughed, all knowing full well that 24 hours earlier this bespectacled nerd spouting off historical facts and theories had been groveling up 1000 feet of sandstone finger cracks. And while I want to emphasize that I would have made the trip to talk about my book Wrecks of Human Ambition even if climbing had not been on the table, I’m not going to lie– the prospect of getting a paid trip to the red rock country to do my two favorite things, climb and talk about history, was a dream come true. Thanks Zion Canyon Field Institute!Moonlight Buttress (10-ish pitches, 5.12ish) has hovered in my consciousness since shortly after I first started climbing in the late 1990s. I first heard about it when one of our Utah State University climbing community members aid soloed it over spring break. We all thought it was a big deal that he was “soloing a 5.13 big wall!” (I didn’t know the difference between aid and free climbing at the time). A few years later, a friend of mine, also aiding it, nearly died. She rapped off the end of her rope while bailing off of the fifth pitch, and was only saved when a tangle of slings self-arrested her mid-fall (yeah, it’s complicated).As my years as a climber progressed, several of my friends and partners from Indian Creek began getting on the route as a sort of final exam in the crack techniques that the Creek fostered. I wanted to get on it, but found great reasons to put it off. My multi-pitch resume was pretty thin. I wasn’t a solid 12+/13- crack climber. Then I moved to the humid East, first to Texas, then Ohio, then West Virginia, and desert crack climbing faded back into distant memory, even as I matured and improved as an overall climber.Then, this past winter, I got back to the Southwest, mostly for long, moderate routes in Red Rocks. It was nice to be back in the desert. Although I love my current home at the New River Gorge, and stand by my hyperbolic statements about its Nuttal Sandstone being the best medium for rock climbing ever, the desert southwest will always be my first love, and true home.It was during this time that I also finally made the acquaintance of Dan “Climbing Trash” Snyder, whom I’ve known through various rock climbing websites for damn near a decade. We’ve got a few commonalities in our backgrounds– we’re both cultural “Jack Mormons,” we both have chosen to live in small town hubs of outdoor recreation, and we’ve both spent way too much time dragging tourists through canyons, over trails, and down rivers as backcountry guides. In addition to letting me crash at his house in Virgin, UT (where gun ownership is legally mandated), Dan also hooked me up with some folks he knew who worked for the Zion Canyon Field Institute. It turns out that they were psyched on having me come out in April and give a talk on the history of humans doing stupid stuff in the desert. And of course, the first thing that came to mind was, “Whoa, I’ve GOT to climb Moonlight Buttress!”.Fast forward to the week of April 22 (Earth Day!). I flew into Salt Lake City, rented a small compact car, and made the obligatory 12 hour visit to family in northern Utah before driving south on I-15. I’m accustomed to being a dirtbag, driving across the country and spending months living out of my truck, so this new method of travel with flights, car rentals, motels, and travel receipts felt strange. I hadn’t even packed a sleeping bag!It was also strange to come back to an area where I’d spent so much time as a child. My grandfather, the late, brilliant landscape artist Harrison Groutage, was the first person to instill a love of the desert into me. He’d built and lived in a beautiful vacation home just south of Zion through the 80s and 90s, painting countless views of the West Temple, Kolob Terrace, and Smithsonian Butte from his north-facing studio window. Although I’d never climbed in Zion when I’d spend time at his house, it nonetheless felt like I was coming home.Anyway, enough of this sentimental reflection. I rolled into Virgin around dark on Monday night. Climb Tuesday, book lecture on Wednesday, maybe climb again Thursday. I knocked back a few Knob Creek-Dr. Pepper cocktails with Dan (the guy loves his sugar), and discussed the upcoming climb for the next day.I had not had luck finding a partner whom I was confident getting on such a big, hard climb with. Ideally, a perfect partner would have been someone who could swing leads, and was solid on the grinding, sometimes painful nature of long, desert cracks. But although I sent out a wide-ranging message to my “dream list” of partners who I knew might be in the area around then, nothing came through.Finally, less than a week before my trip, Dan simply offered to jug the route. This offer blew my mind. Contrary to what a lot of people assume, jugging is hard work, in some ways just as exhausting as free climbing. Dan had been either guiding or working as a brickmason for several weeks with no days off, and I wondered if he knew what he was getting into with this offer to jug and carry the pack on a “rest day.” However, he’s tough, has been climbing for decades, and most importantly stays positive even in exhausting situations. I’ve bailed off of big walls before because partners became negative and complaining, but I knew that Dan would not do this.Still, this offer of jugging brought its own challenges. I’d be leading every pitch, and the impetus to get up the route rested solely on me. This would be a change from all other long, hard routes that I’d done, such as Red Rocks’ Rainbow Wall or Potrero Chico’s Sendero Luminoso, in which I was climbing with partners who were much better than I was. The pressure was on!Although I’d been training hard in the months leading up to this climb, and was in very good shape as far as endurance goes, there were plenty of things I could have done better in preparation for Moonlight. I could have scheduled a longer trip to brush up on my neglected desert crack technique. I could have climbed more pitches of trad back at the New River Gorge (I think I led one pitch of 5.11 gear that entire spring).Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I didn’t know what my exact goal for Moonlight was. I knew that I wanted to give it a very good attempt at onsighting (actually, more like flashing, since I’ve watched so many videos and talked to so many people about it), but was pretty sure that I would get bouted. I thought that maybe, if I didn’t completely get my ass handed to me and did it with just a couple mistakes, I might try to get back on the route on Thursday.Anyway, we got up at 5:30am the next morning; I had no appetite, but put away two cups of black coffee and two peanut butter/banana burritos. We packed food, water, and cigarettes for Dan. One 70 meter rope, one gri gri, ascenders, and a shit ton of cams, none larger than a red camalot. I was particularly wary about the half dozen purple camalots we had, since that is by far my weakest size of crack (a couple millimeters bigger than a fingerlock). We drove through Zion Canyon as the sun rose, feeling extra special with the VIP pass that we’d gotten from a ranger, which allowed us to drive into the shuttle bus-only section of the canyon. The approach was chill; easy river crossing, easy scramble to the base of the route.On the first four pitches, which are basically the approach to the six-pitch 5.12 splitter and corner finger cracks, I got off route a couple times, but felt great. At the base of the 5.12 section, a ledge 350 feet up called the “rocker block” we converged with two other parties: a pair of free climbers, and a very fast-moving aid climber who also had his own jug/support sherpa. Both groups were very chill; we sat on the ledge, bantered about mutual acquaintances and beta, and watched as another group made its way up from the base of the route.Gazing up the imposing corner, I could make out fixed anchors, plenty of tickmarks, and even some chalk scrawlings on the wall that said “B” and “Y”– I realized later that some goober was reminding himself where to put blue and yellow cams. Oh well, this was not a wilderness route, it was not even an adventure route; it was just hundreds of feet of glorious finger crack.The corner pitches– the first (pitch 5 of the entire route) is a hard v5-ish boulder problem to a 5.11 fingercrack, and the second (pitch 6) is a wild layback/stemming affair– went smoothly. The 5.12+ “crux” layback sixth pitch has probably gotten a bit wider over the years, because I got tips jams the whole way.Pitch 7 was the one which I had heard the most about being awkwardly hard, and it definitely took a lot out of me: a physical squeeze chimney up to a point where you reach WAY back into a corner for a flared ringlock, and then have to make a 180 degree rotation from facing left to facing right. I must have accidently read this the right way, because I managed to get the rotation, and even flexed my fat hips to get a no-hands position in the hardest part! Unfortunately, in the enduro off-fingers layback above, the pump finally caught up with me, and I took a little fall. Booo! We made it up to a really nice ledge at the base of pitch 8 (a beautiful 12a finger splitter, best climbing on the route), where we ate, drank, and lounged around, waiting for the aid party to get further ahead of us.I fell once more that day, on pitch 9, which I thought was the hardest of the route, with 30 feet of off-fingers splitter. After this point, the route turned into really cool, but kind of scary face and pinscar climbing. Pitch 10, a 12a called the “Nutter” pitch, was a struggle; I was digging pretty deep into the reserves, and there was one moment where I stopped, 15 feet above a tiny tcu in soft rock, and thought, “holy shit, if this was a single pitch route at the NRG, it would be the day’s highpoint if I onsighted it! I’d go home and start drinking!” But in the context of this huge route, it was just another challenge that I had to bang out almost mindlessly.One more pitch of 5.10+ handcrack over a little roof, then some juggy slabbaineering and we were at the top. Even with the other parties on the wall and the leisurely pace, we managed to do the route in about nine hours. After a quick jaunt down the West Rim trail and a few conversations with tourists, we were drinking margaritas in Springdale. Damn good day.I was pretty happy with how we did on Moonlight Buttress. No epics, no all-out ass kickings, just good, tired fun. Who knows, maybe if I had been swinging leads, instead of leading every pitch, I would have had a better shot of onsighting it, but I was psyched to have done the thing in good time, with just a couple falls. Unfortunately, however, my body was so wrecked, and my fingers so sore from the endless fingerlocks that I knew there was no way I could go back on Thursday to redpoint the pitches I had fallen on. We went cragging, and I barely made it up a single-pitch 5.11. Three weeks later, and my fingers STILL hurt.In terms of the training I did, I was happy with my approach, and the constant mileage of steep sport and gym routes was key to building my endurance. But again, who knows, maybe if I had been able to go cragging for a couple days in Zion or Indian Creek, again I maybe, just maybe would have had a shot at actually onsighting the route. But I can’t be disappointed at all; this was a fairly “off-the-couch” desert climbing experience for me (in terms of the rock type, not fitness).Three days later, I was back at the New River Gorge, climbing single pitch, bombproof sandstone in 80% humidity. The contrast could not be greater. My fitness, which I had been training by periodization to peak for Zion, predictably plateaued out by late April as well. Now, as the Appalachian Spring is gradually giving way to summer, my body and fingers have still not yet fully recovered from Zion, and I can tell that I desperately need a break from climbing for a month or so. Fortunately, whitewater season is just around the corner.Without a doubt, this was one of the best climbing trips I’ve had, despite its brevity. Although I did not send (hopefully I’ll get to return to finish the route off), I identified a “dream route” that I’ve wanted to do for over a decade, trained specifically for it, and gave it a great go. The fact that I was able to incorporate this into my literary and intellectual life only added more to the experience. Climbing, history, and landscape have always been intertwined for me, whether in humid Appalachia or the arid Southwest.
DEPARTMENTSQUICK HITSNASCAR legend bikes 102-mile Assault on Mount Mitchell • Virginia teen sets record record with 7,000 pull-ups • Canadian breaks beer two-mile record, then pukesFLASHPOINTPublic lands for sale: Lawmakers propose selling off national forests and other federal lands to state and private interests.THE DIRTBirthplace of Rivers National Monument gains momentum in West Virginia • A creek contested—kayakers fight for the right to paddle Virginia’s Johns Creek.THE GOODSThe Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers dish their road trip essentials.TRAIL MIXFormer Black Crowes front man flies with a new crew.FEATURESSUMMER STARTS HERERoll down the windows, turn up the tunes, and hit the road. We have scoured the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic for the most affordable adventures for $100 or less, so you can travel more and spend less on your next road trip. Have a little more dough to play with? Check out our pricier suggestions, too.FARM TO FORK GUIDEThese days, every restaurant seems to be touting “farm-fresh,” “organic,” “non-GMO,” and “responsibly grown,” “locally” sourced ingredients. Which regional restaurants walk the talk? Here are our 25 favorites.FIRST THERE WERE PLANTSScientist Stephen Carmody uses Ancient Weeds to Launch Modern Food ProjectOUR OLYMPIANSMeet five regional athletes who have qualified for the 2016 Olympics and are eyeing gold in Rio next month.
This Independence Day, why not mix it up a little and travel to a breathtaking mountain backdrop for an amazing firework display? To get you started, here are some possibilities throughout the Blue Ridge that are sure to impress this 4th of July.Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia is a spot favored for its scenic location along with its 500 miles of shoreline and it’s a wonderful spot to be for the annual fireworks show with all donation proceeds going to a local volunteer fire company. While many choose to view the show from Parkway Marina on land, the lake fills from shore to shore with the green, red, and white navigation lights from thousands of boats all there for the spectacular fireworks. If you are up for the adventure, be sure to take your boat toward the marina at the gap of Smith Mountain plenty early to get a good spot and because much of the lake’s main channel becomes a no wake zone considering the heavy traffic and dark conditions to be driving back in. The firework show will be held on Sunday, July 2nd complete with a live concert, kids zone, and carousel rides.Chattanooga, Tennessee‘s “Pops on the River” firework show is ideal for an evening on the grass with a few lawn chairs and a cooler. Taking place in Coolidge Park of downtown Chattanooga, this free Independence Day event comes with an outdoor concert and fireworks beginning around 9:45 p.m. right on the Tennessee River. With popular tourist destinations of Lookout Mountain and downtown must sees like the Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga would make for a beautiful mountain vacation weekend this Fourth of July weekend.Throwing a state park into the mix along with a 21st century twist on tradition is the “Fantastic Fourth Celebration” at Stone Mountain just northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. The celebration includes a laser show, music, fire effects, and the grand finale of a jaw-dropping fireworks display. The event lasts from July 1-4 with a parking fee of $15/day and attractions are open from 10:30 a.m.- 8 p.m. everyday. Each night, the same laser and fireworks show will happen starting at 9:30 p.m. If you’ve never experienced July 4th at Stone Mountain, this year is sure to be one of the best yet as it is the 50th anniversary of the celebration in Stone Mountain State Park.Finishing off this list of highlight fireworks show throughout the Blue Ridge is a July 4th experience that adds an element of outdoor recreation. For those wanting an adventurous holiday, you can opt to hike your way to the fireworks on a moderate 1.5 mile trail to the peak of Sunset Mountain starting at 6 p.m. and departing from the Swannanoa Valley Museum. From there, guests will enjoy a traditional watermelon cutting, the sun setting, and then the fireworks that illuminate the sky over the town of Black Mountain, North Carolina. For a cost of $50 for nonmembers and $35 for members of the museum, the hike will be led by individuals who will share the history and vintage photographs of the valley. Hikers are encouraged to bring a picnic, water, folding chairs, cameras, and flashlights. If this seems like a unique experience you’d like to try be sure to sign up and pay for your trip fee online.The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to an endless amount of spectacular Fourth of July events, views, and activities to make this year’s celebration one to remember.
Renowned fly fishing author John Gierach has his fished in and written about countless fly fishing destinations throughout the course of his storied career. So when Gierach calls a particular destination “my favorite place to go in the whole world”, serious anglers tend to take note.For Gierach, that place is Labrador. The video below shows him and fellow anglers netting one immense Labrador brook trout after another in the remote Canadian province.Labrador‘s vast labyrinth of fresh water lakes and rivers is home to the world’s heartiest stock of wild brook trout. Gierach even goes so far as to headily declare the waters of Labrador the “center of the spiritual universe for brook trout.”Over the year’s, brook trout have been allowed to thrive here because of the remote nature of the waterways and the extreme measures that anglers must take just to fish for them. There is no stocking whatsoever, and catch and release practices are strictly implemented by local guides and camp owners.“When I step out of a canoe, I’m not sort of guessing, I’m positive that no human has ever put their foot their before,” says long-time Labrador fly fisherman and managing partner of Three Rivers Lodge in the southwest Labrador, Robin Reeve. “My foot went there, and that’s really exciting to me. That’s what has driven me for the last twenty-something years. My passion is sharing this with other people.”The best brook trout fishing in Labrador can be broken up into three general watersheds: the Minip and the Eagle River water systems in the Southeast and the Mackenzie/Woods River system in the west.
Name: Preferred Resort*: —Bryce ResortOmni HomesteadSnowshoeWintergreenWinterplaceMassanuttenSeven SpringsEmail*: Phone Number: Address*: City*: State*: ALAKAZARCACOCTDCDEFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPARISCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYZip Code*: I certify that I am over the age of 18.WIN ONE MORE ENTRY IN THIS CONTEST! I would like to receive updates from BRO, and prize partners straight to my inbox!* denotes required field Rules and Restrictions may apply per resort.Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on January 14, 2018 – date subject to change. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mis-transcribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and their promotional partners reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before January 14, 2018 – date and time subject to change. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received. One entry per person or two entries per person if partnership opt-in box above is checked.
A professor from the University of Arkansas has discovered the oldest known bald cypress tree in the world in a North Carolina swamp. The tree is at least 2,624 years old and was dating using nondestructive core samples. The ancient tree is a part of a larger intact ecosystem spanning nearly 65 miles of the Black River and scientists say that older trees may still be out there, waiting to be found. The ancient bald cypress trees that have been tested have given scientists an additional 900 years of climate data in the southeast. They show records of both flooding and drought during colonial and pre-colonial times that have not been seen in modern times. New report finds that 96 percent of our national parks have air quality issues Nearly all countries agree to reduce plastic waste—except for the United States Nearly every country in the world, except for the United States, has agreed upon a legally binding framework to reduce pollution from plastic waste. According to the agreement, countries have committed to monitoring and tracking plastic waste once it leaves their borders. Each country will have to determine how they will comply with the agreement and experts say that even the United States and the few other countries that refused to sign may be impacted when their waste is shipped to countries that have agreed to the deal. The agreement will also likely lead to customs agents keeping an eye out for other waste that enters their countries, like electronic and hazardous waste. Rare tree discovered in North Carolina swamp A report released this week by the National Parks Conservation Association found that 96 percent of the country’s national parks have hazardous air quality issues. In 88 percent of the parks, the report found that air quality is hazardous enough to impact sensitive species. Some of the most popular parks in the country like Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Mojave national preserve recorded up to two months with dangerous ozone levels last year. In most of the parks, dangerous levels happened in the summer months and corresponded with peak times for visitors. In addition to harming the sensitive species in the parks, bad air quality can negatively impact humans by damaging lungs, exaggerating inflammation and weakening immune systems. Environmentalists worry that the problem will only get worse under the Trump administration, which has overseen an 85 percent drop in pollution enforcement by the EPA.