Month: December 2020

Shift to renewables across Enel’s global footprint exceeds projections

first_imgShift to renewables across Enel’s global footprint exceeds projections FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global/Platts:Italy’s largest power company Enel said it expects to beat its own renewable addition targets by 2020, as it pivots its generating model away from coal and grows its renewable footprint both in Europe and worldwide.CEO Francesco Starace told analysts on a conference call Tuesday evening that 90% of the company’s 7.8 GW target of new additions for 2020 is secured, and the company is certain it will “go beyond that target.”Enel said that it currently has 3 GW of projects in execution, of which, 2.4 GW is wind. It has 1.8 GW under construction, of which 1.4 GW is wind; and 1.2 GW is ready to build, of which 1.1 GW is wind. Of the total, around one third is in Europe and North Africa.The company said it added 3.4 GW in the last 12 months — a record for one year — and expects to bring online 800 MW in H2, without saying which projects.Starace said he expects the current favorable climate — where one can make money in a competitive environment — to last for five more years, with utilities able to preserve margins and see no changes to their returns despite cost reductions and increased competition.Enel had been “careful not to win all the time,” Starace said, noting that while Enel won 5 GW from various competitive processes during 2017, it also missed out on 9.5 GW tendered.The company’s renewable energy production in Italy exceeded that of fossil-fired plants in the first half of the year, accounting for 52% of the total, while in Spain, renewables chipped away at thermal’s significant lead, accounting for 21% of Enel’s output.Across the whole group, including other European markets, North Africa and South, North and Central America, total Enel H1 generation of 121 TWh was split 41.4% to renewables and 58.6% to fossil/nuclear.More: Italy’s Enel expects to exceed 2020 renewable addition targetlast_img read more

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Report sees rebound in India renewable energy sector following ‘forgettable’ 2018

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:India’s renewable energy deployment is expected to grow by 50% year-on-year in 2019 with a total of 15,860MW of installations, according to a report by consultancy firm Bridge to India.The “India RE 2019 Outlook report” described 2018 as a “forgettable year” for the Indian renewables sector, lifted only by a surge in auctions with more than 20GW of capacity awarded, however, there were also several major tender cancellations in the year.Utility-scale PV deployment is set to hit 10,902MW in 2019, surpassing 10GW in a single year for the first time, and well up from 6,833MW in 2018. Meanwhile, rooftop solar will grow robustly by nearly 50% to 2,368MW, up from 1,588MW in 2018. For the less established technologies, floating PV is expected to see auctions of up to 5GW issued and developers are expected to start adopting monocrystalline modules and microinverters in greater numbers. Meanwhile, energy storage will be supported by the expected announcement of the National Storage Mission and more solar-plus-storage tenders.Wind is expected to increase to 2.3GW, up 18% over 2018, with land and transmission bottlenecks the main drawbacks.The report described most of the problems of 2018 as self-inflicted, with the GST tax, safeguard duty and BIS standards causing major frustration.More: Indian renewable energy deployment to grow sharply this year after ‘forgettable’ 2018 Report sees rebound in India renewable energy sector following ‘forgettable’ 2018last_img read more

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On the blogs: Fracking controversy on the rise in Argentina

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OPSur:German photojournalist Stefan Borghardt was detained and beaten and had his equipment confiscated by police because of taking photographs of the Treater oil waste treatment plant in the town of Añelo. Borghardt was reporting on fracking in Argentina, particularly the Vaca Muerta megaproject.The Treater plant is used by the oil companies YPF, Total, Exxon, Pan American Energy (partly owned by BP) and Pampa Energía to dump highly toxic waste resulting from fracking. The Neuquén Mapuche Confederation and several NGOs submitted official complaints about unsafe conditions at the plant last December.Borghardt was taking pictures of the waste storage pools when a supervisor told him to stop and erase the images. Later, the supervisor handed him over to the police who took him to Añelo’s brand new police station (Comisaria No. 10).Today Borghardt will file a complaint with the provincial prosecutor’s office against the police station chief and his superiors, alleging breach of duties of public officials, abuse of authority, and undue confiscation of property. In addition, Borghardt requests an investigation into the conduct of waste treatment company Treater, and internal investigations against the individual personnel who participated in the events.Police harassment against people trying to document conditions at oil & gas industry locations is usual in Neuquen. But this is the first time a journalist had suffered this level of violence. The National Round Table of Press Workers and the Association of Argentinian Photojournalists have expressed their solidarity with Borghardt and denounced the attack as violating democracy and the freedom of expression. Thanks to the support of local movements and unions, and publicity in local and national media, today Stefan recovered his work equipment.Fracking on a large scale generates thousands of tons of waste. Since the exploitation of the Vaca Muerta reserve began, the treatment plants have become a serious inconvenience. The provincial environmental regulator has not adequately enforced control measures at waste treatment plants. Images taken by journalists, neighbors or workers are one of the few ways to control the environmental damage.More: Police arrest and assault German photojournalist at fracking waste site in Argentina On the blogs: Fracking controversy on the rise in Argentinalast_img read more

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Renewable energy continues to take market share from coal in Europe

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Euractiv:New wind, solar and biomass power generation displaced hard coal last year – especially in Germany, France and the UK – according to a 2018 review of European electricity statistics by two leading energy policy think tanks.Renewable energies continued to pick up last year to reach 32.3% of total power generation in the EU, up two percentage points from the previous year, according to the report, published today (30 January).Total coal power generation fell by 6% across the EU in 2018 and is now 30% below 2012 levels, the analysis found, confirming the rapid decline of coal in electricity generation across most European countries.“This was caused by renewables growth in Germany and the UK and by the return of hydro in Italy and Spain,” said the report by Agora Energiewende and Sandbag, two leading energy think tanks.Moreover, “the economics are on the side of more renewables growth,” the two think tanks argue, saying “wind and solar are – for the first time – on a par with costs for existing coal and gas plants”.The latest wind and solar auctions in Germany landed in a price range between €45-60 per Megawatt hour, which means the cost of renewable electricity “is now similar or even below wholesale electricity prices in many countries,” said Matthias Buck, Head of European Energy Policy at Agora Energiewende.More: Renewable energies chip away at coal power, stats show Renewable energy continues to take market share from coal in Europelast_img read more

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Skim the Surface… Then Drill

first_imgScore another victory for the “Drill, baby, drill!” set.A U.S. appeals court has tossed out a ban by the U.S. Forest Service that prohibited drilling for oil and natural gas in Allegheny National Forest. The Forest Service had attempted to halt drilling in the western Pennsylvania forest until a year-long impact study on the environmental consequences of such drilling could be completed. The appeals court, however, declared that the study amounted to a “sea change” in how drilling permits were being issued. Prior to 2009, the year the study was commissioned under legal pressure from the Sierra Club – Forest Service can’t catch a break! – permits had been issued in a “cooperative process” with owners after 60 days’ notice. The ruling upholds a similar one from late 2009, and the oil companies now hope to make it permanent.Who is to blame for this legal tango? Would you believe Calvin Coolidge?In 1923, the President Coolidge designated Allegheny National Forest from large tracts the government had been acquiring from private citizens in Pennsylvania. Now, when buying up private land for the government to establish the “forest reservations” – as they were once called – the government bought just the surface rights and allowed the owners to keep the mineral rights. This allowed the government to buy the land at a much cheaper price, but also allowed the owners access to the surface to get to the minerals without permission from, well, anybody.The government being shortsighted in regard to the environment in order to get a cheaper price and is now the people face the consequences? Glad that doesn’t happen nowadays…oh, wait.According to the ruling, 93 percent of the mineral rights of the forest remain in private hands. The three-person panel ruled the mineral rights are still privately owned and the owners should continue to have reasonable access to the surface to drill for oil and gas below. How far down does the “surface” go? The mantel? The core? Apparently not.The ruling essentially strips the U.S. Forest Service of authority to regulate the protective surface of the forest, which is designated for watershed protection. One could say the ruling virtually defeats the purpose of the forest all together. One major concern following the ruling is its impact on other national forests around the U.S. Although this case seems to be based on property rights established in PA in the 1920’s and may not translate to other states, we’ll let them battle that out in the courts.last_img read more

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Watauga Race

first_imgThe 2012 Watauga Gorge Race has come and gone, and has proven itself yet again to be one of the best grassroots kayak races in the Southeast!This is a fun one because it is tradition to stack the heavy hitters and former winners in the back of a 30-40 person pack, and start everyone all at once!  It is chaos, and it always takes a unique balance to fight through all of those paddlers and still have the energy to finish the run smooth and fast.I personally didn’t have quite as smooth sailing as I have in the past.  The water level was excellent at 400 cfs, but it took me longer than usual to get out from the pack, and then Toby McDermott and I battled and beat each other up through the entire gorge with multiple passes.  This left Eric Chance clear to take the 1st place title.  If you watch the video, I also had a sketchy flip in one of the bony lines of the course, in which I lost my paddle and thought I was going to swim!  It’s good to get humbled by the river once in a while, right?!Enjoy the video, and my apologies for the camera fog…Results:1. Eric Chance2. Chris Gragtmans3. Toby McDermott4. Chris Harjes5. Clay Lucas6. Jim Janney (1st short boat)7. Colin Hunt8. Mike Patterson9. John Quigley and Steve McGrady (First and only K2)10. Tyler Mayo11. Red Green boat with FNA full face???12. Kirk Eddlemon13. Alex Matthews14. Ryan DeKay15. Chris Baer16. Saunders Southecorvo17. Garret Thompson18. Van Nall19. Dylan the Highschooler20. Red green boat geen t-dub ????21. Ty Brown Caldwell22. Dennis Gilfillan….Ladies1. Nikki Malatin2. Erin SavageShort Boats1. Jim Janney2. Kirk Eddlemon3. Garret Thompson4. Dennis GilfillanHand Paddles:1. Bill Clipper2. Edgar PeckPlayboat:1. Mark MillerDuo:1. John Quigley and Steve McGradyGood Lines,Chrislast_img read more

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Fishpond Innovates For Anglers

first_imgRecycled materials and nature-inspired designs highlight Fishpond’s 2014 lineFishpond, Inc. designs products that take anglers out to the places that make the world beautiful. The Colorado-based company’s products are not only functional and well built, but have a sense of ethos connected to the environment that inspires them.Said John Le Coq, fishpond designer, co-founder and co-owner: “Fishpond has differentiated itself, from the very first products introduced in 1999, as a company that embraces color. We are critically aware of how the subtle nuances of light interacts with mood, and how color mixes with our emotions. The influences of the Colorado landscape have become intertwined with our choice of fabrics, texture and color. As well, the duality of hard and soft textures, which we find at timberline with hard granite rock juxtaposed next to the softer and fragile alpine moss, is similar to the Fishpond designs that combine hard molded EVA components with fabrics. Our designs often have a western touch that is influenced not only by color, but in design details that come from western clothing, old trucks, fenceposts and tumbleweed. The American West is where all fishpond partners were born and raised, and we collectively share in the design process to make sure we are true to our roots and authentic with every stitch we create.”This spring the company will introduce more than a dozen new or improved fishing packs and vests featuring a lightweight, recycled fabric made from old commercial fishing nets.fishpond savage creek chest packNot only is this apropos for a fishing based company, but the recycled nylon makes an incredibly light and durable material. With everything from an external frame backpack for anglers to carry large loads of gear, to small waist and chest packs, this new water resistant recycled fabric is being combined with YKK Aquaguard zippers on the exterior.New products for S14 lead off with the Black Canyon Backpack ($179.95). With an adjustable external frame, offset air mesh back and padded, contoured shoulder straps, this backpack helps carry loads and keeps anglers cool while hiking into remote fishing destinations. The modular design allow docking compatibility with many of Fishpond’s chest/lumbar packs, and two zip-out rod tube holders comfortably carry fly rods.About 400 cu.in. smaller, the Bitch Creek Backpack ($149.95) has all of the same features as the Black Canyon minus the external frame. Instead, this pack has a structured air mesh back panel to comfortably carry loads. It also has two smaller pockets for extra items.Also featuring the new recycled-net poly fabric are four new chest or lumbar packs. First is the Yampa Guide Pack ($119.95) — with two main zippered compartments and signature molded, drop-down fly bench and interior pockets, this pack is built to carry everything for a long day on the water. Two exterior pockets hold water bottles and the Yampa can be worn as a lumbar or a sling pack.The Encampment Lumbar Pack ($89.95) offers a simplistic design with a zippered main compartment for secure fly box storage, an additional front zippered compartment for easy access and cord loops for tools and accessory attachment. Compression straps help distribute the load or expand to hold a rain jacket, and two water bottle pockets adorn the exterior. This pack offers anglers three ways to wear it: as a lumbar pack, as a sling pack or as a chest pack.The Savage Creek Chest Pack ($89.95) and the Medicine Bow Chest Pack ($69.95) round out the recycled fabric product collection. The Savage Creek Chest Pack is a thoughtfully designed pack that contours the body for maximum comfort. One main storage compartment fits large fly boxes and the exterior slash pocket holds items needed quickly such as hemostats. The Medicine Bow is a bit smaller but has all of the same features including a zip down fly bench. This pack can either be worn as a chest pack or attach to a wader belt. Both packs offer the modular design to fit with a multitude of Fishpond’s backpacks.Growing Like a Fish TaleFishpond announced last summer it acquired Nomad Nets and brought its founder and designer Kevin Best on board.Nomad Nets are made from a carbon fiber and fiberglass composite making them extremely lightweight and durable. Besides withstanding heavy use, the composite nets are waterproof, weatherproof and buoyant. Available in five styles, Fishpond will incorporate nets into its accessories line and brand them Fishpond’s Nomad Series.“I was fed up with wooden nets that would break, sink and cause fatigue after carrying them around day after day, so I decided to combine my knowledge of sporting goods products with my love of fly fishing to create Nomad Nets,” said Best. “After meeting the crew at Fishpond and the initial acquisition talks began, I was very excited about the distribution and awareness a company of Fishpond’s stature could offer. I can’t wait to explore expanding the net line and creating spectacular products for anglers and outdoorsmen alike.”fishpond nomad netsAll nets come in dark green Original, Riffle Camo (a light grey/blue camo pattern) or Tailwater (a brown color with trout spots) with the exception of the Guide Net. Replacement netting will also be sold in clear or black in small for $18.95 and large for $22.95. Pricing ranges from $115.95 to $239.95.Four new pieces join the Westwater Collection this spring as well. Each piece in this collection features TPU welded fabric construction and YKK #10 water resistant zippers. The Westwater Roll Top Boat Bag ($189.95) has all of the features of the current boat bag but with a roll top design. The Westwater Lumbar Pack ($99.95) is ideal for anglers who carry a bit less gear, but it still holds plenty of essential tools, fly boxes and accessories. It also has an integrated net slot and features a mesh lumbar support for increased ventilation and comfort. The Westwater Zippered Duffel ($169.95) is a slightly smaller version of the Westwater Large Zippered Duffel. Coming in at just over 5,000 cu. in., this zippered duffel is perfect for shorter trips when gear needs protection. Rounding out the collection is the all-new Westwater Messenger Bag ($139.95). The streamline design features a large zippered flap pocket, a back zippered pocket for additional organization, a secure interior organization pocket, an interior laptop sleeve, and an adjustable, padded shoulder strap.Westwater series roll-top boat bag.Westwater series roll-top boat bag.For more information visit www.fishpondusa.comFishpond co-founder and co-owner John Le Coq.Fishpond co-founder and co-owner John Le Coq.last_img read more

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Blue Ridge Outdoors Top Towns Nominee: Elkhorn City, Kentucky

first_imgElkhorn City is nestled in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky near the state’s border with neighboring Virginia. More town than city, Elkhorn has become an unassuming go-to spot for all kinds of outdoor adventurists.Local historians claim that this small Appalachian town came into existence shortly after the legendary American explorer Daniel Boone took his first steps into what is now present day Kentucky. Today visitors and residents can enjoy the great outdoors surrounding Elkhorn City by visiting nearby Pine Mountain or the Cumberland Gap State Historic Park. The area also offers access to the Russell Fork, where top-notch whitewater abounds, and it’s not far from a dual state park—mutually managed by the commonwealths of Kentucky and Virginia—called Breaks Interstate Park.Cudas_IB_0814_2Did you know? Every October the Russell Fork becomes the site of very unique, non-profit race called The Russell Fork BADDLUN. The name comes from blending the words bike, paddle, and run, and the race features a 13-mile bike ride, an 8-mile paddle, a 3-mile run, and 20-yard swim. According to the race website, there are four very simple prerequisites for would be participants; don’t die, don’t be weak, help others in need, and have a good time.Vote now at blueridgeoutdoors.com!last_img read more

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Will Your Favorite Forest be Sold?

first_imgTo the lengthy list of threats menacing our public lands, we can now add another: land grabs disguised as bills to protect states’ rights. House Republicans recently introduced a bill—the State National Forest Management Act, H.R. 3650—that would allow any state to seize up to two million acres of national forests within its borders and sell them off to the highest bidder. In case there’s any doubt who that might be, Don Young, the Alaska representative who wrote the bill, explicitly stated during a February congressional hearing that the two million acres suddenly gifted to Alaska “would be managed primarily for timber production.”Young says his bill is needed to stop incompetent, tree-hugging feds from somehow ruining states’ economies by preserving nature for those who might wish to pay for the privilege of seeing it. “We have people from Eastern states coming to [Alaska] and saying ‘Look, isn’t it pretty’ as they go back to their homes and drive their cars,” he said during the hearing, apparently under the impression that all of these people somehow visit his state without spending a dime. Moreover, according to Young, the “worst-managed public lands” in the country are owned by the federal government, which doesn’t understand the economic impacts on local communities when it takes away “their” timber via logging restrictions. Young’s spokesman Matt Shuckerow doubled down on that theme. H.R. 3650 “represents a longstanding effort to reform the federal government’s broken system of forestry management, including failures to address wildlife and the spread of insects and disease, in a manner that empowers local communities, builds resilient forests and streamlines burdensome management practices,” he said. He went on to lament the fact that federal forestry managers in the Tongass National Forest have sold “only” about 12 percent of the 267 million board feet annual allowable cut. According to Shuckerow, Young’s bill would allow Alaska and other states to “do better.” Is dismantling national forests and prioritizing logging over everything else really the best way to manage public lands for the country as a whole, or even for individual states? Young’s bill “takes a sledgehammer approach to the issue of forest management,” said Kathy DeCoster, vice president and director of federal affairs for the Trust for Public Land. “America’s national forests support a vibrant outdoor recreation economy and are valued by Americans from coast to coast. These lands should be held for public use by all Americans.”Piles of data show that outdoor recreation—which isn’t exactly encouraged by clear-cut wastelands—produces vast amounts of cash and jobs for local economies. The Outdoor Industry Association reports that on a national level, outdoor recreation generates $646 billion in consumer spending, $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue, 6.1 million direct jobs, and $39.7 billion in state and local tax revenue every year. And these benefits aren’t confined to the West. North Carolina, for example, annually enjoys $19.2 billion in consumer spending, $5.6 billion in wages and salaries, 192,000 direct jobs, and $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenue when people come to play in the great outdoors. “Having outdoor recreational opportunities is a big part of supporting recreation-oriented businesses, and national forests are a big part of that,” said Sarah Francisco of the Southern Environmental Law Center. She sees the proposed State National Forest Management Act as a giant potential giveaway to logging companies. “It’s important for people to understand all of the benefits, including economic benefits, from our national forests.” Beyond recreation, national forests provide additional services with economic as well as environmental value, including clean drinking water and integrated fire and pest management.Jay Leutze, president of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in Asheville, North Carolina, said that all benefits of national forests would be threatened by transferring them to cash-strapped states. For example, he pointed out that North Carolina recently eliminated its natural heritage trust fund, which was charged with protecting fragile ecological sites. Its functions were merged with the state’s clean water trust fund and staff was laid off, making it harder to identify lands that need protection. “State agencies are under stress, so it seems strange to add to their administrative burdens when they’re having a tough time meeting their current goals,” he said. “I think when times are hard, states will have every temptation to look to revenue-generating schemes.” That, of course, would include logging. DeCoster agrees that there are considerable risks in Young’s approach. “Removing up to two million acres in each state and withdrawing those lands from public use in favor of timber harvesting could affect the health of rivers and streams that support fish and wildlife, could destroy habitat connectivity, and could impair natural, scenic and recreational resources,” she said.The good news is that the chances of H.R. 3650 becoming law appear to be slim, at least for now. There’s no companion bill in the Senate, perhaps because such a measure would have a much tougher time there. It’s possible that the bill could find its way into a larger public lands spending package, but Francisco said even that is unlikely, especially in the East. “It’s my understanding that this drive to transfer federal public lands out of federal ownership is mostly limited to the West,” she said. “In the East, people and local communities here recognize many of the other important values these national forests have, and the trend toward extraction isn’t as pronounced.” Unfortunately, similar legislative threats are lurking. A new Senate bill (S. 2807, sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy), for example, would turn marine management in coastal national parks over to the states, allowing state governors to eliminate no-fishing zones that are critical for ecosystem recovery. So complacency is not an option. It seems that those who would use our public lands and waterways for short-term economic gain will continue their efforts at every opportunity.Related Post:last_img read more

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In Search of Hygge: 4 Cozy and Warm Winter Adventures in the Southeast

first_imgHygge is a Danish lifestyle hack that loosely translates to being warm and cozy with friends while outside it is dark and cold. The concept is particularly vital in the winter, when comfort and cheer are necessary to combat the season’s long, dreary nights. And like most good things, Hygge is best enjoyed when it’s been earned. Nothing enhances the peaceful contents of a snowy cabin like a full day of exploring the frozen Appalachians. Here are four Hygge-inspired adventures in the southeast to experience this winter.#1 Jones Mountain Cabin, Va.The Jones Mountain Cabin, nestled inside the wilderness of Shenandoah National Park, is like a portal to early America. Visitors will need to light a flame in the hearth and a fire in the wood stove in order to fill this rough-hewn log cabin with heat and warmth. Secluded in a quiet hardwood forest, this rustic abode is prime territory for finding Hygge.The cabin is available to rent through the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. It is the most remote of all the cabins available in the Shenandoah Wilderness. The hike in is a three and a half mile journey of gentle climbs and descents through a landscape that’s as peaceful as a Robert Frost poem.The cabin is a nice space for two, but it can sleep up to ten if you’d like to bring along your friends. According to the Danish people, masters of coziness, the more people to gather around the woodstove, the better. For the evening’s entertainment, Bear Church Rock Overlook is a quick side hike away. With far-reaching views of the Virginia Appalachians, this rocky outcrop is a beautiful spot to settle in with a sleeping bag and a mug of hot chocolate to take in a wintery pastel sunset.#2 New River Trail and Grassy Creek Caboose From the Polar Express to the Box Car Children, train travel has always been iconic of cozy exploration. The New River Trail is a linear state park in Southwest Virginia that follows an abandoned railroad. Whether you’re traveling by foot, bicycle, or horseback, this 57 mile long trail passes over bridges and trestles, travels through tunnels and countryside, and coasts along the picturesque New River. After a snowfall, its gentle gradient begs to be explored by snow shoe or cross-country ski.What could be more fitting after a day of riding the rail trail then bunking down in your own train car? Grassy Creek Caboose and Depot in Fancy Gap may be the quirkiest—and coziest—accommodations you’ll find along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Each private caboose is a retired working train car refurbished with all the modern amenities, including a Jacuzzi built for two. The Depot sits on thirty-three acres of high altitude meadows and pine thickets, with Grassy Creek running through. Curl up and watch the snowflakes twirl from inside your tiny train, or take in the stars from the pocket-sized front porch.#3 Sleepy Creek Cabin and Grandfather Mountain, Boone, N.C.Grandfather Mountain State Park’s 2,456 acres of backcountry are a paradise of shimmering alpine forests and windswept summits in the winter. Ice-slick ladders and exposed rocky scrambles transform a day on the trails into an exhilarating endeavor, priming you for maximum coziness later on.Tucked away on four wooded acres, yet only fifteen minutes outside of Boone, Sleepy Creek Cabin is the epitome of high country Hygge. It’s the very scene you daydream about at the end of a cold day in the outdoors: a rustic home of stone and logs, its windows glowing with lamplight inside a frosted forest. Here you can savor a perfect evening après in front of a blazing fire, and study the trail map over your morning coffee on the quiet front porch.#4 White Grass Garage Mahall and White Grass Ski Center, W.V.The White Grass Touring Center is situated in the Cabin Mountain Range of West Virginia’s High Alleghenies. Thirty-seven miles of maintained trails wind through the snowy landscape, topping out at 4,463 feet. The Trailside GarageMahal is a private, two-bedroom lodge that sits adjacent to the touring center. On a secluded eight-acre preserve of woods and frozen waterfalls, this comfy cabin is a perfect basecamp for a weekend of Nordic skiing through the Canaan Valley.On Fridays and Saturdays, the White Grass Café offers dinner and a live band. Nothing enhances Hygge like the cheer of good music and good food, enjoyed together during a long winter night. After your meal, lace up your boots and walk home to the hot bath and a soft bed waiting next door, and prepare for another day of zipping through cottony packedsnow.last_img read more

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Our “Do Anything” Jacket – TX Light by La Sportiva

first_imgWhen your entire life is confined between four wheels, space is a precious commodity. Everything we haul down the rutted dirt roads has a purpose, which is balanced against its weight and size. Sometimes we argue about the purpose/weight/size spectrum, usually about the extra pillows (that we don’t need) or the five packs of cookies (that we do need). When something can fill multiple roles and take up very little space, it is held in extremely high #vanlife regard. Let us please introduce you to the TX Light Jacket from La Sportiva, worth its weight/space/purpose balance and then some.We’ve been using this lightweight, technical, soft shell for just over three months. It was purpose-built by La Sportiva for climbing in alpine terrain, little did they know (or maybe they did) it’s one of the best ‘every terrain’ jackets we own. It’s constructed from pill resistant, quick-drying fabric, with durable Cordura reinforcements in high abrasion areas (think shoulders) making this jacket a seriously tough cookie.Just like we weigh purpose, weight, and size for items in our van, we have a similar system for outdoor apparel. In fact, it’s the exact same system except you add in breathability and waterproofing. The TX Light Jacket has an aptly descriptive name, coming in at a feather-like 12.8 ounces (men’s, 10.8 ounces for women’s), you barely remember you’re wearing it. The thought, “Am I naked?” MIGHT cross your mind while you’re high up on the crag. I assure you, you probably aren’t. You’re just wearing a lightweight, moisture-wicking (it ships with durable water repellant coating), quick-drying soft shell. It also has a helmet compatible hood and an elastic-bound hem around the waist and sleeves so it stays in place during those hard to reach dynos. Or during those spontaneous late night dance parties that always happen when you’re camping in the far reaches of BLM land.Speaking of dance parties, we like to call this jacket our ‘do-anything’ jacket. We’ve used it while rock climbing sharp crags in Western Maryland, section hiking the Appalachian Trail, kayaking in the swamps of South Carolina, and for its intended use, the high alpine terrain of Colorado’s Sawatch range. While visiting family in Arlington, Va., we decided to bike into Washington D.C. to tour the monuments. We woke up to a soggy spring morning complimented by high winds and heavy cloud cover. We both tossed on our TX Light Jackets and cruised down Monument Row. Recently while searching for a place to camp on the western slope of the Sangre De Cristo range in Colorado, we discovered an evil that knows no bounds. Hordes of mosquitoes like we’ve never experienced before were standing between us and a beautiful hike. We threw on some baggy pants and our TX Light jackets and hit the trail. We stayed cool in the afternoon heat and didn’t return covered in bites.If you’ve ever spent time in alpine terrain you understand the struggle of dressing appropriately. On a recent loop trek up Browns Creek and back Little Browns Creek in the San Isabel National Forest and Colorado’s Sawatch Range, we found ourselves above treeline for over 8 hours. When the trees disappear, exposure is your number one concern. In the span of a couple hour, we saw temperatures above 90, giving way to high winds, that eventually blew in Dippin’ Dots for dessert. We were already wearing our TX Light to minimize exposure to the two-mile-closer Colorado sun. As the temps dropped and the snow started falling, we stayed warm and were able to keep moving without worrying about the changing weather. “Do anything” jacket to the rescue! As we approached 13,500 ft on Mount Antero (Colorado’s 10th highest peak), snow threatened to turn us around.  We opted to scramble up the ridge line instead of risking the slippery snow that was covering the highest portion of the trail. The super durable Cordura fabric held up against the tough granite as we scraped our way to the top.Whether you’re going for an evening run in the park, or packing for an all-day mountain bike ride, we recommend the TX Light Jacket. It is ideal for anytime you are outside and need a tough, lightweight jacket that will block wind and keep your body at a comfortable temperature. Can I go as far to say we use this to lounge inside too? If you aren’t convinced, here’s the kicker– La Sportiva holds true to their commitment to sustainability and uses only bluesign® approved fabric in the construction of this jacket. Look it up, and never go back.Making a van your home has a few perks.  We have been lucky enough to see the seasons change from the Blue Ridge Mountains all the way to the Colorado Rockies. With all that ground covered, we have learned some important things about being outside, one being that weather can be confusing. The TX Light keeps you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool, all the while being built to withstand the most demanding use in the most unpredictable conditions.Check out La Sportiva for any of the apparel or shoes you see in this article.last_img read more

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Quick Hits: Patagonia Founder Donates Trump Tax Cut Profits + Tennessee Wilderness Moves Forward

first_imgPatagonia founder to give away millions saved from Trump tax cut to fight climate changeLast week, the founder of outdoor apparel company Patagonia announced it would donate the additional $10 million in profits it received in 2018 under Trump’s new corporate tax cut to grassroots groups fighting climate change. In 2017, Trump lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, said in a statement, “our government continues to ignore the seriousness and causes of the climate crisis. It’s pure evil.” Chouinard has not been quiet about Trump’s assault on the environment. When the Trump administration reduced the size of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments earlier this year, Patagonia sued the president. The case is ongoing and waiting to be heard in a federal court in Washington D.C. Tennessee wilderness bill expected to pass With decades of effort behind it, the Tennessee wilderness act is expected to pass after its inclusion in the farm bill. The act would protect an additional 19,558 acres of the 655,598-acre Cherokee National Forest in northeast Tennessee as wilderness under the 1964 wilderness act. The bill, which was introduced into the Congressional session by Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and sponsored in the House of Representatives by Congressman Phil Roe, would expand five existing wilderness areas within the Cherokee National Forest and create one new area. If the bill is passed, about 13 percent of Cherokee National Forest would be protected as wilderness. Wilderness designation provides the best legislative protection for federal lands by providing an overlay of restrictions that are designed to maintain the forever-wild status of the area. Facial recognition technology used to identify bears over timeApplied Conservation Science Lab in Canada’s British Columbia is working on technology that could shape the way bears are tracked and monitored in the future. In 2018 the lab was awarded a 2-year grant to support their work developing facial recognition for brown bears. At their primary field site, the lab has been collecting a database of wild bear images since the late 1990’s. These images are being used to test how the recognition system performs when analyzing images of the same bears over time. A bear’s appearance can change dramatically from spring to late fall and over successive years. The lab hopes that the technology will one day be used to improve non-invasive monitoring techniques for bears and other large mammals.last_img read more

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Back in Session: Video

first_img Director and Producer of “Back Session” Jessica Wiegandt “Back in Session” screening at BANFF My goal was to capture the community of students at Brevard College and their unique relationship and proximity to wilderness. The project allowed me to work with the Outing Club at the college as well as students who have spent countless hours exploring the woods of Pisgah, DuPont, and the surrounding Western North Carolina area. This place is special to many and continues to be home to adventurous souls. I am thankful for a college that supports its students in connecting with the natural world. The film screened at BANFF, it was extremely well received. center_img Jess Wiegandt is a senior at Brevard College, double majoring in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education (WLEE) and Journalism. She is originally from Daleville, VA and has spent time in college studying and working internationally in media and outdoor education. The majority of Wiegandt’s video education came from studying at the Kalu Yala Institute in Panamá during spring 2018. This fall, she will begin pursuing a masters in Film and Media Production at American University in Washington, D.C. “Back in Session” was completed as her senior project at Brevard and totaled 115 documented hours as she was the director, videographer, and editor for the film. “Back in Session” has been an ongoing project of mine at Brevard College. When I was a sophomore, a couple of faculty members asked if I’d want to make a BANFF film about the school. My degrees at Brevard College are Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education (WLEE) and Journalism, and I was able to combine them to create this film. About the Writer / Filmmakerlast_img read more

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Exclusive Interview with Gen. Ernesto González, Ecuador

first_img Ecuador is part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire and is affected by natural phenomena, especially earthquakes and volcanos. As a result, the country has much to share with others in the region in terms of humanitarian aid in response to natural disasters. Diálogo spoke with Gen. Ernesto González, Head of the Joint Command of the Ecuadorean Armed Forces, during the 2d Annual South American Defense Chiefs (SOUTHDEC) Conference, held in Lima, Peru, on 3 and 4 August, about this and other topics. Diálogo: What is the role of the Ecuadorean armed forces with regard to humanitarian aid? Gen. Ernesto González: The Ecuadorean armed forces are without doubt the principal support organization of the national government, through the Civil Defense Agency, which in our country today is called the Risk-Management Secretariat. So, we’re the principal support organization. Diálogo: And in relation to other countries in the region? How does this synergy come into being? What is the exchange of humanitarian aid like? Gen. Ernesto González: With Peru, we’d like to deepen our relationship a bit more. We met with General Contreras (Gen. Francisco Contreras Rivas, Head of the Joint Command of the Peruvian Armed Forces) in order to carry out some joint maneuvers already next month (September), taking advantage of the fact that there are going to be some search-and-rescue exercises. After that, we’re going to do humanitarian-aid activities, for example. That is, our security relationship, by the disposition of our presidents, is now going to be a relationship of integration. Remember that UNASUR, the Union of Southern Nations, was formed in South America. Diálogo: Of course. Gen. Ernesto González: So, one of the objectives of UNASUR is to have this humanitarian assistance among all countries in the event of disaster, and we’ve done things that way; we’re doing it in Haiti, for example. There, in addition to being part of MINUSTAH, we’ve sent a company of engineers, but at the request of the Haitian government, to provide support in the rebuilding. That is, giving that authority a means with which it can help the country move forward. And other countries are doing the same thing. For example, I was speaking with the general from Paraguay (Brig. Gen. Carlos Alberto Bordón, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Paraguayan Armed Forces), who is also already preparing a company of engineers that will be in Haiti in two weeks. Our relationships with other countries have been more in the area of humanitarian aid, like for example, the humanitarian aid we gave Haiti, the humanitarian aid we gave Chile. But for example, one of the marvelous lessons we learned today is that when two countries train together, adjust to one another starting during peacetime, starting at a time when there is no crisis, then the aid flows and happens more quickly, in a more timely way. As General Le Dantec (Gen. Cristián Le Dantec, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Chilean Armed Forces) was telling us, with Brazil and with Argentina, since they already do joint exercises, the aid was quick. Diálogo: So, you agree with Gen. Fraser, who said during the conference that there need to be more joint exercises between countries in order to prepare them? Gen. Ernesto González: There need to be more. I agree with this and also with the other proposal to have military units, not exclusively dedicated to the task of responding to natural disasters, to catastrophes, but that have a bit more training, a bit more equipment, that is, that have the duality to perform their security missions, but also build up greater capabilities for responding to disasters. I’m in favor of this idea. We’ve already been working on it in Ecuador, and this unit would be the one to participate in training if the Southern Command, or another country, were to invite us to this kind of training, which to me seems a very, very important idea. Diálogo: In relation to what General Contreras said that here in Peru they haven’t yet determined whether it’s better to have one large support center for humanitarian missions or small centers in each city, what is your opinion in this regard? Gen. Ernesto González: I think that it depends on each country’s geography, isn’t that so? Let’s talk about Chile: four thousand kilometers long. Perhaps they are thinking about having a large center, but also subcenters, no? On the other hand, Ecuador is small. Ecuador is concentric. So, if I have a relatively safe area that is not very affected by volcanic eruptions, perhaps I could have a single location, or maybe two. It depends on the geographical situation, on the resources that are available. But the lesson is also that you can’t have all the resources at a single site; you run a risk, because that site might be affected. So, maybe you choose a site that supposedly would not be so affected. But maybe I wouldn’t dare to put it in a single location. Since Ecuador has very clearly defined natural regions, I would put one center on the coast, one in the mountains, and one in the eastern part of the country. Maybe I’d do it that way. We’re exchanging information about this with Chile, which has had a good experience. Diálogo: So, you believe that it would not be necessary to have a military unit specifically for humanitarian aid? Gen. Ernesto González: No, no. This unit has to have duality, has to have its military capabilities and has to have its capabilities for responding to natural disasters. A little more that the rest, since we also presume that the rest of us, if we’re prepared for war, we’re prepared for anything. But I’m referring to training, equipment … It should have something more. Diálogo: The commander of the Peruvian battalion (Lt. Col. Darcy Gomes Fernandez) in Haiti told us during our visit to that country that due to their experience in combatting terrorist groups like Shining Path, they used those experiences during their work on the border with the Dominican Republic. Do you believe that this is an option, that is, training troops for one kind of exercise and from there, learning to use that in other things, such as humanitarian aid? Gen. Ernesto González: Of course, because for humanitarian-aid operations you need special tactics and techniques that perhaps you need in the jungle, in the high mountains. That is, this knowledge that the troops have is extremely useful, and if we add to it a little more training that’s more specific and with resources that are also more specific, even better. Diálogo: In relation to the general security situation of the country, there’s a tendency on the part of some countries in the region to give more powers to the armed forces, that is, more police powers, as happened in Brazil a few years ago, or as just happened in El Salvador, which empowered the army to fight the Mara Salvatrucha, Mara 18, and other groups. Is there a similar project in Ecuador? Or since the problem of narco-terrorism is not as serious yet in Ecuador, has this point not yet been reached? Gen. Ernesto González: These are currents that exist in the region and that are very real, and we in the armed forces have to restructure ourselves, organize ourselves to adequately confront these new threats. In the new Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, which is a very new constitution, in Article 158, there is a constitutional mandate that says, “The armed forces and the National Police are institutions for the protection of rights, liberties, guarantees … etc.” That is, we have a very wide area of competence. So, you know that in the defense area we definitely have to turn our attention to the security areas. This is a fact. We’re seeing climate change, we’re seeing disasters happening around the world. And we’re also seeing that the armed forces are the principal instrument at the state’s disposal. We’re seeing the terrorism in Colombia, which, well, fortunately, we’re seeing being combated in a positive way, we’re seeing the issue of drug trafficking. So, one strategy in Ecuador, for example, is to support the police so that they can devote themselves more to public safety. But if we’re at the border, and since we’re at the border, we’re combating all the illicit traffic, perhaps this is the police’s job. But by freeing the police from this responsibility at the border, we’re being a great help to the state. And the police are here, but not with the force that should be here, and they’re in the large population centers, isn’t that so?, where there are adverse factors of another kind to which the police have to respond. That is, as a sine qua non conclusion, any country’s armed forces have to move into this area of security. By Dialogo August 17, 2010last_img read more

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Hurricane Tomas Passes Through Haiti Leaving at Least Six Dead

first_img Hurricane Tomas passed through Haiti, November 5th, leaving at least six dead, but spared the Caribbean nation from wider destruction, as had been initially feared, although it is still difficult to assess the extent of the damage, and certain areas remained isolated due to heavy flooding. Rain levels decreased Friday afternoon over the capital, Port-au-Prince, which had clear skies, according to an AFP reporter. Due to the alert launched by the government, the city appeared empty. Schools, public offices, banks and the airport were all closed with the exception of a few small businesses where Haitians were buying provisions. Speaking to the Haitian people, President René Préval, however, urged them not to let down their guard: “The heavy rains and winds from hurricane Tomas which have caused dangerous mudslides and heavy flooding could worsen the cholera epidemic. Remain vigilant.” Haiti has been battling a cholera epidemic since mid-October, which has killed at least 442 people. Hurricane Tomas left a toll of six dead in its wake between Thursday and Friday in Haiti, with two of the deaths reported in Léogâne, a city in western Haiti that was 60% destroyed during the January 12 earthquake, and which is now one of the hardest hit areas following the hurricane. “There will be more victims due to flooding and mudslides”, warned Philippe Joseph, of the Haitian Civil Defense, noting that the most affected areas remained inaccessible due to blocked roads and damaged bridges. Préval announced his government stands ready to provide massive aid to the affected areas “once the condition of the roads permits it.” International aid is already reaching Haiti. The United States has prepared emergency supplies to assist 125,000 people with hygiene kits, potable water, cooking utensils, and blankets, said Mark Ward from the United States Department of State, in charge of coordinating international emergency aid. France announced it would be sending a cargo plane stocked with aid supplies. Meanwhile, the USS Iwo Jima, with almost 1,600 service members onboard as part of the Continuing Promise 2010 (CP10) mission stand ready to support the Government of Haiti. Presently, CP10 personnel are preparing to support USAID and UN efforts to respond to the storm. Initial support will likely consist of aerial road and damage assessments after the storm and moving supplies to areas where they are most needed. By Dialogo November 06, 2010last_img read more

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