On India’s Transformation, IEA Is ‘Out of Touch’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Business Standard India:India’s thermal coal demand is poised to fall, belying hopes of exporters from Australia and US who eyed the country as a long-term growth market.The country is now the second-largest consumer-cum-importer of thermal coal but imports are sliding. During the April-October period of the current financial year, thermal coal imports declined 16 per cent to 33.62 million tonnes.Research by the US-based Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA) sees India within a decade of peak thermal coal demand. The transition is fuelled by the renewable sector, especially solar power, where tariffs in recent tenders have dropped below the average cost of coal-fired power.IEEFA forecasts that India’s thermal coal use is likely to peak not more than 10 percent above current levels, a far lower peak than most other analysts are forecasting.Tim Buckley, lead author of the report feels India’s target to all but cease thermal coal imports by the end of this decade is nearing its logical outcome.IEEFA’s conclusion stands in stark contrast to the forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which sees Indian coal use doubling by 2040.But, Buckley contests the view by IEA. “IEEFA would challenge IEA’s coal-centric view of the world as entirely out of touch with energy developments in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While IEEFA acknowledges that our forecasts are non-consensus, we believe strongly in them and note that we were ahead of the pack in predicting a similar transition in China,” he said.Buckley feels India is on track to catalyse $200-300 billion of new investments in renewable energy infrastructure where global capital inflows will play an increasingly important role.The report notes India’s de-carbonisation policy is in line with global trends. Globally, renewable energy infrastructure investments is running at two to three times the level of fossil fuel capacity investment since 2011.Contrary to what other commentators have got to say on the sustainability of the renewable energy tariff in India, the IEEFA report sees price stabilising at Rs 2.44-3 per unit of electricity in the near term.“A combination of ambitious government policy combined with ongoing solar and wind cost deflation running at more than 10 per cent annually means that the power and financial sectors face growing stranded asset risk if excessive investment in new thermal power capacity is allowed to continue,” it observed.According to IEEFA, renewable capacity additions in India are projected at 14,000 megawatts (Mw) in the current financial year, a slight slowdown from the 2016-17 level but more than double the 5,800-Mw net thermal capacity ramp-up.Tepid capacity addition in coal-fired power plants is expected to slow coal usage. Across the country, 24,000 Mw of coal-based plants under construction are facing viability issues due to logistics, even as growth in electricity demand remains below expected levels and there is a simultaneous increase in demand for renewable energy/power.Between FY17 and FY20, the annual net capacity addition in coal-fired power units is projected at 6,100 Mw. This implies a dramatic two-thirds reduction from what was produced in three financial years between FY13 and FY16. During the three-year period, around 20,000 Mw of net capacity was added on a yearly basis.More: IEA’s view out of touch, thermal coal demand won’t rise beyond 10%: Report On India’s Transformation, IEA Is ‘Out of Touch’last_img read more

Analysts see no end in sight to low U.S. natural gas prices despite rising demand

first_imgAnalysts see no end in sight to low U.S. natural gas prices despite rising demand FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:U.S. natural gas demand is at an all-time high and expected to keep rising – and yet, prices are falling.U.S. gas futures this week collapsed to a three-year low, while spot prices were on track to post their weakest summer in over 20 years. In other markets, such lackluster pricing would cause investment to retrench and supply to contract. But gas production is at a record high and expected to keep growing. Demand is rising as power generators shut coal plants and burn more gas for electricity and as rapidly expanding liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals turn more of the fuel into super-cooled liquid for export.Analysts believe the natural gas market is not trading on demand fundamentals because supply growth continues to far outpace rising consumption. Energy firms are pulling record amounts of oil from shale formations and with that oil comes associated gas that needs either to be shipped or burned off.On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures NGc1 this week dropped to $2.03 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), the lowest since May 2016. For the summer, spot gas prices at the Henry Hub NG-W-HH-SNL benchmark in Louisiana were on track to fall to their lowest since 1998.So much associated gas is coming out of the ground that gas prices in the Permian basin in Texas and New Mexico, the biggest U.S. shale oil formation, have turned negative on multiple occasions this year.The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects gas production will rise 10% to 91 billion cubic feet per day in 2019 after soaring 12% to a record 83.4 bcfd in 2018, its biggest annual percentage increase since 1951.More: U.S. natural gas demand is at a record – and prices keep droppinglast_img read more

Another Spill at TVA Coal Plant

first_img A dam ruptured this morning at the TVA coal fired power plant in northeast Alabama—the second spill at a coal-fired power plant in less than a month. At 6am, a waste pond at the Widows Creek facility burst. TVA claims the spill is contained, and they are currently investigating the cause.Just 17 days ago, a TVA coal ash pond spilled nearly one billion gallons of toxic ash into the Emory River, the drinking water supply for Chattanooga and millions of Tennesseeans.The Widows Creek spill leaked calcium sulfate and residues from scrubbers into Widows Creek, a tributary of the Tennessee River.last_img read more

The Best Ride in the Blue Ridge

first_imgMountain Bike Mecca“The potential is huge,” Appleby says. “Rocky Fork could be a regional or even national recreation destination. If you took the same density of trails present in places like Dupont State Forest or Bent Creek and overlaid it on Rocky Fork, we’d be looking at 100 miles of singletrack here.”What may come as a surprise is that the environmental organizations responsible for protecting the Rocky Fork are expressing support for recreation and trail development at Rocky Fork.“The Rocky Fork could easily be as popular as Bent Creek,” says Morgan Sommerville, regional director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). The ATC was particularly interested in preserving Rocky Fork because the Appalachian Trail crosses it for 1.5 miles, and 4,000 acres of the Rocky Fork lie within the A.T.’s viewshed.“I’d like to see the Rocky Fork get at least as good of a trail system as Bent Creek,” continues Sommerville. “Bent Creek’s parking lot is full every day with bikers and runners. There’s at least one bike shop within a stone’s throw of that forest. That’s what I’d like to see at Rocky Fork.”To the environmental community who rescued Rocky Fork, recreation development sounds a whole lot better than the gated resort that was nearly built there.“They wanted ski slopes, golf course, houses,” says David Ramsey, a Unicoi County native who served as the local coordinator for The Conservation Fund. “There was a headline in the local paper: ‘Rocky Fork: The Next Wolf Laurel?’ That’s when I knew this would be our last chance to save this land.”Ramsey can trace his family ties to Rocky Fork back five generations (his grandfather was actually born on the tract). He has spent the past 13 years organizing a grassroots movement to preserve the land. While turning Rocky Fork into a publicly owned forest or park has been overwhelmingly supported by Unicoi County natives, Ramsey says a few local leaders wanted Rocky Fork developed into a resort simply because so much of Unicoi County is already public land and out of the county’s tax base. The U.S. Forest Service manages roughly 50 percent of the county’s land mass, and bringing another 10,000 acres into the public fold would remove a significant portion of Unicoi’s taxable land.In order to win over the local leaders, The Conservation Fund had promised that Rocky Fork would become a driving force for the economy of Unicoi County. It wouldn’t become a ski and golf community, but it could bring tourism to the area.“We had to present alternative concepts to development,” says Rex Boner, vice president of the Southeast Region of The Conservation Fund. “Instead of a gated community, could Rocky Fork become a state park? A national recreation area? We’d like to encourage that as much as possible.”The Northeastern Tennessee Mountain Bike Association (NTMBA) sees Rocky Fork as the missing link to the Volunteer State’s biking portfolio.“There’s not a lot of backcountry singletrack in the Cherokee National Forest,” says Anthony Duncan, president of the NTMBA. “Many bikers drive through the Cherokee National Forest on their way to Pisgah. We want people to come to Northeast Tennessee for mountain biking.”Cherokee National Forest hasn’t discussed specific management plans for the area yet, but recreation seems to be a top priority.“We’re actively seeking opportunities to create more primitive trail systems,” says Terry Bowerman, the ranger for the Unaka/Nolichucky district of the Cherokee National Forest, where the Rocky Fork presides.Cherokee National Forest recently hired four trail technicians to maintain the current trail system as well as plan and lay out new trails. The Forest Service has also been working in Unicoi County to increase recreation-based tourism in the area, building new trail systems at Dark Hollow and Buffalo Mountain, and restoring the old Pinnacle Fire Tower and the Unaka Mountain Overlook.“The management prescription for the Cherokee lands surrounding Rocky Fork calls for providing appropriate recreation opportunities,” Bowerman says. “Even if we use a different prescription for the tract, we manage all of our grounds for different forms of recreation.”Jay Leutze, board member of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, doesn’t want to leave Rocky Fork’s future to chance.“I’d like to use the Friends of Dupont forest as a model,” Leutze says from his office in Asheville. “When the management future of that forest was in question, Friends of Dupont started getting people out there to show the land managers that a park and its economic benefits were inevitable. We’d like to do the same for Rocky Fork.”This is where the new recreation  map comes in. Ramsey hopes the map will prompt more outdoor enthusiasts to explore Rocky Fork.“There’s a lot to see inside the Rocky Fork, but unless you go with someone who knows the area, you have no idea where anything is,” Ramsey says. “My main interest right now is to make it easier for recreation users to go there safely.”The Long Road Ahead“I think I know where it goes, but you can never be sure,” Appleby says, nodding to a roadbed that’s almost entirely overtaken by young hardwoods and low-lying brush. We’ve passed half a dozen similarly mysterious roadbeds since we started our climb. Appleby and Lamberson are in the process of exploring all of them.  “Half the time, we end up carrying our bikes over our head through thick brush,” says Appleby.This grassroots exploration is necessary for the recreation to blossom at Rocky Fork. After Appleby and Ramsey inventory the existing roads, a decision has to be made about which roads will be allowed to revert to singletrack and which will be kept doubletrack. Then the land managers and bikers will decide which existing roads should be connected into loops with freshly cut trails.“It’s mind-blowing to think about the possibilities,” says Anthony Duncan with the NTMBA.Mountain biking is just one piece of the recreation pie. Given the Rocky Fork’s proximity to the A.T., Sampson Mountain Wilderness, and other primitive recreation areas, new long-distance backpacking loops are also a possibility. The amount of rock cliffs and boulders on the land has made Appleby curious about the climbing potential as well. Eager to build support for recreation development in the Rocky Fork, Ramsey has begun giving a series of presentations for outdoor clubs and outfitters in the area that proposes turning the Rocky Fork and select acres of surrounding national forest into a National Recreation Area similar to the nearby Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in southwest Virginia.“A lot of the infrastructure is already here, and the recreation is top notch,” says Ramsey. “Why can’t Rocky Fork be the next national recreation area?”But all this speculation is years from becoming a reality. The truth is, the federal and state land managers don’t know what sort of recreation potential they have on their hands. They don’t even know what animals live in Rocky Fork. It’s assumed there’s a high concentration of black bear within the tract, and peregrine falcon nests were spotted in the area. One biologist found a salamander at Rocky Fork which may be a new species altogether.Appleby is waiting for the state biologists to unearth whatever creatures they can before he starts climbing any rock, and he hopes mountain bikers can be just as patient before they start digging new trails.“The last thing we need is people in here building illegal trails,” Appleby says as we reach the top of our climb and rest our bikes against a couple of hardwoods. “We have to be patient. The process is going to take a while, but it’s worth it.”Rex Boner of the Conservation Fund echoes Appleby’s call for patience. “We don’t have too many opportunities to do large scale conservation and recreation projects within our backyards. We need to think about smart, long-term management practices.”We leave the bikes and walk about 50 yards on a thin vein of singletrack cutting through a tunnel of rhododendron and blueberry bushes. The trail ends at Buzzard Rock, a narrow cliff with a sheer drop-off and long-range views. I crawl to the edge of Buzzard Rock and peer over the cliff. The ground is swallowed by a sea of green hardwoods, but in front of us is a view of nearly the entire Rocky Fork Tract. The green mountains rise and fall below our feet for miles in either direction. I can see the thin ribbon of I-26 on the far end of the tract.Appleby points to a valley miles below us. “That’s where we started,” he says.His finger traces an approximation of the miles we rode along the landscape below us—the mountains climbed, valleys traversed, rivers crossed—just to reach this rock and see this view.Absorbed in the beauty, I forget how difficult it was to get here. I turn to Appleby and smile:  “It was worth it.”ROCKY FORK AT A GLANCEAcreage: 9,624 acres along the Tennessee and North Carolina border in Unicoi and Green Counties.Ownership: Last December, the U.S. Forest Service purchased 2,237 acres which was added to the Cherokee National Forest. The Conservation Fund purchased 7,387 acres, which it will transfer to the state of Tennessee and U.S. Forest Service when funds become available. The state is expected to take over 4,159 acres in the center of the tract. The designation of that land is still undecided and could be anything from a primitive wildlife management area (as it’s currently managed) to a state park.Management Practices: Rocky Fork is currently open to the public and is managed as a wildlife management area. The tract is open to hunting, fishing, hiking, running, and mountain biking. No camping, no horses, and climbers should wait until full biological studies can be performed before climbing.Directions: From I-26, take the Flag Pond exit. At the stop sign turn left onto Higgins Creek Road. Drive .5 mile, then turn right on route 23. Drive 2.25 miles through Flag Pond, then turn left on Rocky Fork Road. Drive .75 mile to a gravel pull-off to the left in front of a gate. From here, explore Rocky Fork on foot or bike.ROCKY FORK HIGHLIGHTSBuzzard Rock: Sandstone outcropping perched above 4,000 feet overlooking most of the Rocky Fork Tract.The Ball Ground: A small natural bald that sits adjacent to the A.T. near Buzzard Rock.Rocky Fork Creek: Native trout stream running through the center of the tract offering backcountry fly fishing, swimming holes, and potentially rock climbing.Man-made lake: A seven-acre, un-named lake sits at 3,000 feet on the western side of the tract near Bartsville Camp Branch.Appalachian Trail: The A.T. adjoins the Rocky Fork for 1.5 miles, much of which is being rerouted off a logging road onto singletrack by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “We’ve wanted this reroute for decades,” Morgan Sommerville of the ATC says. The trail intersects Rocky Fork on the new Cherokee National Forest land near Buzzard Rocks. The former trail followed an underwhelming forest road that received some illegal ATV use. “It’s the A.T., so it’s not supposed to be on a forest road,” explains Sommerville. “Now the trail moves through some nice northern hardwoods with pretty views.” Mountain bikers explore the uncharted Rocky Fork—the newest and largest land acquisition in the Southeast in decades. You can tell it’s bear scat because it looks like someone dumped a bucket of blueberries on the trail,” Ben Appleby says, leaning over his handlebars to get a peak at the black pile in the middle of the trail.I don’t care what animal left the mess. I’m just happy for the break. We’re riding a brutally primitive logging road inside the Rocky Fork Tract in eastern Tennessee. The terrain is steep and unforgiving, and we’ve been climbing since we left the trailhead two hours ago. I’ve lost count of the streams we’ve had to ford, and we’re so deep into the backcountry that if Appleby decided to leave me, I’d have to send up a signal flare for help.Appleby sees the pain on my face and tells me, “It’s worth it.” I know he’s talking about the view from Buzzard Rock that we’re pedaling toward, but really, he could be talking about the Rocky Fork Tract in general. Rocky Fork is a 10,000-acre chunk of land that hugs the Tennessee-North Carolina border along Interstate 26 between Johnson City and Asheville. It’s flanked by the Cherokee National Forest on the west and the Pisgah National Forest on the east. Until recently, it was one of the largest contiguous tracts of private forest land left in the eastern United States. In December 2008, a coalition of environmental groups led by the Conservation Fund purchased the Rocky Fork for $40 million from New Forestry, a logging company based in Georgia. There were rumors that developers were looking to turn the tract into a gated resort, but the Conservation Fund, along with the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, showed up with cash in hand, pulling the Rocky Fork off the auction block.Saving the Rocky Fork tract is arguably the most significant land conservation coup of the decade. The Conservation Fund holds the deed to the property now, but has been transferring the land piecemeal to the Cherokee National Forest and state of Tennessee when federal and state funds become available. It’s an important environmental victory that preserves a portion of the A.T., secures the future of a pristine watershed, and bridges a significant gap between two national forests. But purchasing the land is just the beginning of Rocky Fork’s story. Now, the tough questions of how to manage the land must be discussed. How exactly should 10,000 acres of unspoiled mountains and streams be used? If the conservation and outdoor groups that saved the land have any say in the matter, Rocky Fork will become the South’s next great mountain bike destination.Uncharted TerritoryThe trail we’re riding has no name. It’s actually a logging road that, from the looks of things, hasn’t been maintained in decades. Rhododendron pushes into the road on the left. On the right, the bank dives steeply toward a drop-and-pool creek that’s home to native brook trout. The creek is so clear you can count the stones on the bottom. The road itself is doubletrack filled with momentum-killing rocks the size of my bike helmet. The pedaling is slow and laborious but the scenery is impeccable. On either side of the creek, the green walls of mountain rise steeply toward the sky.Appleby finds a level piece of ground and we stop to assess our location on the map. The topo shows ridges and valleys ranging from 2200 feet to 4800 feet, and almost every valley has its own skinny blue stream. The most significant is the Rocky Fork itself, home to clear water, house-sized boulders, and native trout. A network of squiggly logging roads cuts through the terrain like spaghetti noodles on a plate, but the accuracy of these roads on the map is questionable at best.“Most of these roads aren’t where the map says they are, and then there are a bunch more that aren’t even on this map,” Appleby says. He’s a graduate student at Eastern Tennessee University and an endurance biker who likes to put together eight-hour rides on the primitive roads of Rocky Fork and surrounding recreation areas. His role in the Rocky Fork transfer is to help create a reliable map for the area. To accomplish this, Appleby spends much of his free time biking the existing roads with a GPS and transferring those details onto a large, crisp topo map.He lays this pale topo map on top of the Trails Illustrated map to keep it from getting dirty and shows me roughly where we’re sitting. The map is still a work in progress. The green ridges and blue creeks are scored with a dozen brightly colored trails inked by hand. We’re about halfway up a dark red vein that cuts through the heart of the tract. According to the topo, we haven’t even begun the serious climbing yet.“It’s raw,” Appleby says, staring over his own map. “There isn’t a lot of singletrack here, but there are lots of road beds to explore. Imagine Pisgah 25 or even 50 years ago. That’s Rocky Fork right now.”Appleby’s talking about the Pisgah Ranger District, a fabled hiking and biking destination in Western North Carolina. Just an hour’s drive east of Rocky Fork, Pisgah is one of the most visited national forest districts in the country. The quantity and quality of trails in Pisgah has helped turn Asheville, N.C. into a hub of mountain biking and outdoor recreation.On the other side of Rocky Fork is Johnson City, which has slowly been evolving into a mountain bike town in its own right, thanks in large part to the Northeast Tennessee Mountain Bike Association, a proactive group that’s built miles of popular singletrack in Warrior’s Path State Park, Bays Mountain, Buffalo Mountain and Dark Hollow.And yet, Rocky Fork, which sits exactly half an hour between these two active mountain bike communities, hasn’t seen one mile of trail development.“There aren’t even any user-created trails in there,” says Bob Lamberson, a 58-year old biker who can see Rocky Fork from his house. Lamberson is the biker who introduced Appleby to Rocky Fork. He rides the mountains on a rigid singlespeed and estimates he’s logged more miles in the tract than any other mountain biker. “It’s never been poached. Do you know how rare that is?”How the 10,000-acre tract has escaped development of any kind is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it’s because the terrain is so steep. Or maybe it’s because the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which has leased the land for the last 50 years, keeps the main entrance gated. Or maybe it’s just luck. The Rocky Fork landscape is admired by millions of interstate travelers from an overlook perched on the edge of I-26. Yet it has remained essentially unspoiled, and some would argue a massive opportunity for sustainable recreation. WILDLIFE WONDERLANDRocky Fork is part of the Unicoi Bear Preserve, and its protection ensures an important bear habitat will be kept intact. But the Rocky Fork is home to more than just black bear. In all, 10 species of “greatest conservation need” have been recorded on the property through state-led “bio-blitzes.” When you explore Rocky Fork, keep an eye out for these rare animals.Native Brook Trout: Brook are Tennessee’s only native trout and have been on the decline for decades because of competition from other trout species introduced to the area. Currently, brook can only be found on 150 miles of mountain streams, half of which are in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Peregrine Falcon: The world’s fastest animal, (Peregrine falcons can reach speeds of 200 mph), peregrines feed on smaller birds and nest in cliffs near water sources. While their numbers have been on the rebound in recent years, the peregrine was once endangered due mainly to the use of DDT.Yonahlossee Salamander: A black and brown salamander whose worldwide range is concentrated in only a few mountain counties in Tennessee and North Carolina. The discovery of the yonahlossee in Rocky Fork extends the range of this salamander into an area previously unthought of as suitable habitat.Woodland Jumping Mouse: Found in the northeastern U.S., Canada, and in a narrow strip of the Southern Appalachians, this small mouse walks on its hind legs and is able to jump distances up to eight feet.last_img read more

A New Baby Slope

first_imgAppalachian Ski Mountain in North Carolina’s High Country has a new beginner slope and teaching area for the 2010/2011 ski season. The gentle cruiser is paired with a new Sunkid conveyor belt, so newbies don’t even have to tackle the lift. Ski resorts make capital improvements each year, but this is the only entirely new slope in our region for this season.last_img

Top Hiking Festivals in the Blue Ridge

first_imgHIKINGDahlonega Trail FestDahlonega, GeorgiaMarch 22-24, 2013Only 70 miles from Atlanta, Dahlonega is the perfect site for the kickoff festival of the A.T. season. Guest speakers such as author Johnny Malloy and 16-time thru-hiker Warren Doyle give presentations and host clinics, giving this festival a decidedly educational feel. The town started the festival following their designation as an A.T. Trail Community, but it’s not just about the A.T. Canoeing, kayaking, and mountain biking workshops and activities are also planned. dahlonegatrailfest.orgHot Springs TrailfestHot Springs, North CarolinaApril 19-21, 2013The A.T. runs down Main Street of this hamlet of 650 people, well known by hikers as the first “Trail Town” for north-bounders. Virtually the whole town turns out to line the streets for TrailFest, held at the end of April every year since 1995. Along with music and guided hikes, TrailFest has activities focused specifically on thru-hikers. These include a hiker’s chili cookoff, where each entry must include at least one ingredient from your pack. There are also Hiker Games and a talent contest, and a ducky race and family flotilla on the French Broad. The festival wraps up on Sunday with a community-wide pickup soccer game. hsclc.orgSierra Club One-Day 100k HikeWashington, D.C.April 27, 2013Since 1974, the Sierra Club has been hosting the One Day Hike, concurrent 100K and 50K hikes that take place almost entirely on the C&O Canal Towpath. The 100K hikers take off from the Thompson Boat Center in Georgetown and hike the towpath all the way to Bolivar, W.V. just west of Harpers Ferry. This long distance hike begins at three in the morning, with hikers completing the first two hours in complete darkness. Most see the sun come up over Great Falls on the Potomac, one of the more memorable sights on the route. The 100K hike has an average finishing rate of around 50 percent. The hike is fully supported, with over 100 volunteers manning aid stations and bikes to make sure no one falls too far behind. onedayhike.orgTrail daysDamascus, VirginiaMay, 2013Damascus celebrates its designation as Trail Town, USA each spring with one of the largest hiking festivals in the East, drawing up to 20,000 people annually. Aimed to coincide with northbound thru-hikers coming into town in the spring, Trail Days’ hosts and vendors provide many services for those on the Appalachian Trail including free gear repair, medical screenings, and hot showers. More important than the services is the chance for A.T. enthusiasts and thru-hikers past, present, and future to mingle, culminating in a parade through downtown with thru-hikers as the stars. traildays.usNational Trail DaysNationwideJune 1, 2013National Trail Days was created in 1993 as a response to a White House report stating that all Americans should live within 15 minutes of a trail through their city or town. While we as a nation are still trying to accomplish this lofty goal, Trail Days is a great place to start. Towns and communities hold their own events that vary greatly; anything from dog walks to mass bike rides are included. Each event is tailored to the needs of a particular trail or trail community. The main goal of the events is to raise awareness of existing trails, spark interest in building more, and promote trails as the path to a healthier lifestyle anyone can enjoy. In 2012, the American Hiking Association reported 157,000 Trail Days event participants nationwide hiked a total of 375,000 miles, biked another 200,000 miles, and paddled 33,000 miles. Not bad for one day. americanhiking.orgBest of the RestSouthern RuckWesser, North CarolinaJanuary 18-21, 2013 • soruck.netFranklin April Fools Trail DaysFranklin, North CarolinaMarch 29-30, 2013 • aprilfoolstraildays.comA.T. Founder’s Bridge FestivalWesser, North CarolinaApril 3-6, 2013 • noc.comAldha GatheringAthens, West VirginiaOctober, 2013 • aldha.orgFor more great Race Ahead information check out these sections:SnowsportsTrail RunningRoad RunningMountain BikingRoad CyclingClimbingPaddlingHikingMultisportSuperlativeslast_img read more

Quick Hits: BIG REC

first_imgOutdoor recreation generates more jobs and revenue than oil, coal, fracking, and natural gas. But the outdoor industry is just beginning to flex its political muscle.There’s a powerful new political player: the outdoor adventurer. The economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry surpasses all others in the South. It generates 500 times more revenue than timber, and it has also surpassed some of the nation’s largest and most influential industries. Outdoor recreation is bigger than oil, bigger than coal, bigger than fracking and natural gas. According to one report, it’s even bigger than cars.And Washington is slowly, unevenly responding to the mounting evidence of the industry’s heft. The financial power of outdoor recreation has long been underappreciated because the industry is spread across so many companies in so many economic sectors, explains Bob Ratcliffe, chief of the National Park Service’s division of conservation and outdoor recreation. “It’s an inch deep and a mile wide,” he says.But the combined impact, revealed in a 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association, is big enough that it shocked even the economists who prepared the study, said Jessica Wahl, the group’s government affairs manager.“Outdoor recreation is two percent of the GDP and is bigger than all mining, including coal, oil, and gas.”More important, it’s big enough to send a clear message to politicians and bureaucrats: Preserving natural lands for the enjoyment of visitors is not just good for the environment but vital for the economy.“With economic data, we were able to show that all these small industries around the country add up to this very big and important economic driver,” Wahl said.Consumers spend huge sums, $304 billion annually, on gasoline and other fuel, some of which is pumped from leased federal land. But the total of outdoor recreation purchases—which include RVs, ski lift tickets, hotel rooms, and gear purchased at independently owned outfitters—was nearly three times that amount, $887 billion, the study found.The standard argument for approving sprawling growth is that real estate development equals economic development, and the OIA report determined that the construction industry does indeed support a vast pool of 6.4 million workers. But it found that outdoor recreation supports even more—employing over 7.6 million.In West Virginia, coal mining has the power to move, or at least remove, mountains. But the Outdoor Industry report suggests the state would be better off leaving them be. Nearly twice as many jobs there depend on outdoor recreation as coal.It’s not just this industry group that has tracked the economic benefits of outdoor recreation. A 2017 Park Service report found that visitors spent $18.2 billion in its lands’ “gateway regions,” including $1 billion in Virginia and $1.3 billion in North Carolina.And earlier this year, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis released initial findings that placed the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry at $373 billion. Says Ratcliffe, “Outdoor recreation is two percent of the GDP and is bigger than all mining, including coal, oil, and gas.”last_img read more

Go Outside and Play Guide: St Paul, VA

first_imgSt. Paul, Virginia–a tiny town offering big adventures.  Head on over to the banks of the Clinch River where fishing, floating, and kayaking become your new way of life. You’re bound to be hooked.  Or start a thrill-seeking adventure on Spearhead Trails’ Mountain View ATV Trail System.When was the last time you played in the mud and loved it? DAY ONE Check the schedule in BackYard at the Western Front Hotel for live music, s’mores, and outdoor games such as cornhole and yard Jenga. You just might need a little trivia to help ponder the meaning of life. Grab a friend or two and head out back to wind down from your day of thrill seeking and high adventures. Relax around the fire pit while you take in the sounds of music, laughter, and a good time. MORNING And if at the end of the day, you find yourself just wanting more…  Plan another trip to St. Paul. Maybe the Coal Heritage Museum or the Wetlands of Estonia will be on your to do list. EVENING MORNING EVENING Grab coffee and a muffin at St. Paul’s Fourth Ave Baked Goods before heading over to the Clinch River. Didn’t bring fishing gear? No problem. Clinch Life Outfitters can fit you with all you need to bring home dinner. They’ll hook you up.  Not into fishing? Maybe you prefer to start your day with an early morning bike ride, run, or hike along the Clinch River. Bike rentals are available. Starting at Blue Bell Island, loop around Oxbow Lake and adventure off onto the Sugar Hill Loop Trail. You can explore approximately 13 miles and never leave town! Get checked in at the award-winning boutique hotel, The Western Front, located downtown in the center of it all. Plan on a special dinner at Ina + Forbes, St. Paul’s newest restaurant. Located inside the hotel, enjoy a great meal prepared by Hell’s Kitchen Celebrity Chef, Chef T, and her staff. If the hotel is booked, no worries. There are other places for you to stay. Book an ATV Excursion as part of your lodging choice with St. Paul Suites and Cottages. At Mountain View Lodge, you can schedule an exciting trip around the area to see what else Southwest Virginia has to offer. No matter where you stay, everything in town is just a few footsteps away. AFTERNOON Before hitting the trails, don’t miss the opportunity to rough it with a packed lunch from Fat Boys BBQ, known for their Heart Attack Baked Potatoes, to enjoy a picnic at any one of the mountain overlooks or waterfalls along the trails. Whether you are visiting a restaurant, the trails, the hotel, or the grocery store, stay on your ATV. The town of St. Paul is ATV friendly!  Refuel after a morning of adventures and take a break before your next one. Head over to any of the small-town restaurants, such as Giovanni’s pizza, a local favorite for over 40 years, or St. Paul’s award winning brewery, Sugar Hill Brewing Company, for lunch or late afternoon snack. DAY TWO AFTERNOON Grab your coffee and breakfast and get ready for some thrills. Whiz over the mountains on your ATV to the wide open spaces for some spectacular mountain views. Want to visit the nearby, trail-connected town of Coeburn, Virginia? You can— on your ATV. If you don’t have an ATV, don’t worry about that either, the Western Front Hotel has Polaris Rzrs, 4 seaters and 2 seaters ATVs, for rent.  last_img read more

Trail Mix: Five Anticipated Albums Coming in Early 2020

first_imgG. Love goes the guest-heavy route for his new album “The Juice,” which will be released on January 17. Produced by Grammy-winning blues ace Keb’ Mo’, the record still finds Love—real name Garrett Dutton—blending free-flowing hip-hop lyricism with foundational American roots music styles. But on his latest, the Philadelphia native gets instrumental assists from some well-established guitar heroes, including Robert Randolph, Roosevelt Collier, and Marcus King. A supporting tour with Love’s longtime band, the Special Sauce, hits the Firmament in Greenville, S.C.,  “Mystic Familiar” On the heels of his gonzo fuzz-rock album “Sound and Fury” Sturgill Simpson is bringing his guitar-heavy live show to arenas this winter. With his latest release, the Grammy-winning outlaw country revivalist took on an extreme creative deviation from his expected Kentucky twang, delivering a record filled with distorted riffs and intense synth textures. The album soundtracked and was released in conjunction with a Netflix-released Japanese anime film of the same name that Simpson produced. On the upcoming winter tour, Simpson will be joined by fellow Kentucky troubadour Tyler Childers. Regional dates: U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C., on February 22-23, Knoxville Civic Coliseum in Knoxville, Tenn., on February 25-26, Rupp Arena in Lexington Ky., on February 28, and Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va., on March 13. “The Juice”  The stalwart Southern country-rock outfit will return with their first LP since the politically charged 2016 effort “American Band.” Due on January 31, “The Unraveling” continues on a similar thematic path, casting a weary eye at the state of the union since the last Presidential election. As Truckers member Patterson Hood recently put it: “If the last one was a warning shot hinting at a coming storm, this one was written in the wreckage and aftermath.” “The Unraveling” The new effort was recorded at the historic Sam Philips Recording Service in Memphis with production help from the band’s longtime collaborator David Barbe. Lead single “Armageddon’s Back in Town” is a rumbling rocker that features Hood howling personal lyrics about feeling disillusioned in chaotic times. Title TBD Sturgill Simpson Takes Arenas “Is It You, Is It Me” Plenty of great new albums are on the horizon in the new year. Check out five of our new favorites.  Nathaniel Rateliff is returning to his roots as a folksinger.  Nathaniel Rateliff is returning to his roots as a folksinger. The Denver-based music hero gained widespread acclaim fronting his powerful soul outfit the Night Sweats, but prior to starting that band in 2015 he released three acoustic-based albums under his own name. In late November he announced a cross-country solo trek called the And It’s Still Alright Tour that will support a still-untitled new album and feature Rateliff performing songs from his entire discography by himself and with a new backing band. The tour includes stops at the Tabernacle in Atlanta on March 21 and the High Water Festival in Charleston, S.C., on April 18-19.center_img Nathaniel Rateliff G. Love The Black Crowes Are Back This high-energy roots-blending crew—known for throwing rowdy hoedowns that incorporate old-time foot-stompers and vintage swing tunes—streamlines things a bit on latest album “Is It You, Is It Me,” which was produced by Sam Kassirer (Lake Street Dive, Josh Ritter) and will be released on January 31. The Los Angeles-based group is now down two members to a sextet, and accordingly its sound is lean and focused, particularly on lead single “Enemy,” which features a bouncy pop arrangement that buoys a stark message about bucking partisan divisiveness.  Dustbowl Revival  Drive-By Truckers Also dropping new music on January 31, Baltimore-based electronic composer Dan Deacon, who returns with “Mystic Familiar,” his first new full-length project in five years. Known for creating idiosyncratic synth-pop, which often incorporates audience-inclusive performance art during live shows, Deacon spent the latter half of the last decade working on film scores and collaborating with NYCBallet choreographer Justin Peck. His latest effort takes inspiration from Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies creative approach, resulting in an album that’s both sonically adventurous and existentially reflective. An early preview track, “Sat By a Tree,” is a blissfully glitchy meditation on life’s fragility. Dan Deacon on February 4.  After seven years the Black Crowes will reunite this summer to embark on a massive amphitheater tour that features the band performing its debut album “Shake Your Money Maker” in its entirety. Brothers Rich and Chris Robinson have seemingly put years of public feuding and well-documented acrimony behind them. They’re also setting aside the jam band leanings the band had adopted by the time it last performed in 2013. Chris Robinson has been quoted in recent interviews saying the band’s beloved tunes like “Jealous Again” will be delivered as they were conceived, with concise, hard-hitting rock arrangements. The Atlanta-born group has plenty of Southern stops scheduled, including Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta on June 27, PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, N.C., on July 3, Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh, N.C., on July 4, and Veteran United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach on July 10.last_img read more

Lack of Resources for Women in Latin America, Says UNIFEM Director

first_imgBy Dialogo June 24, 2009 The regional program director for the Andean region of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Moni Pizani, considers that one of Latin America’s fundamental problems has been that “women have always been at a distance from money.” Pizani, who participated in the International Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Madrid, explained in an interview with EFE that “in Latin America there is legislation that respects human rights, but resources are not devoted to guaranteeing those rights.” “There are countries in Latin America that have good laws, second-generation laws adjusted to the human-rights framework, but the facilities for getting services to women do not exist; there are no working systems of protection because there are no resources,” she said. Despite the fact that Latin America is the only region of the world in which there exists an international convention on gender-based violence, Pizani pointed out that “out of a hundred cases reported there, only ten make it to the courts.” This is the case, according to the UNIFEM representative, because the judicial system has also collapsed in this area, as a result of which there may be police reports filled, but in end the offenders are not punished. “If you don’t assign sufficient resources to keeping women from dying during pregnancy, what difference does it make having a law guaranteeing women’s lives?” she reflected. “Health-care workers have to be trained, and there also has to be a budget for the education of boys and girls from infancy.” Pizani explained that UNIFEM tries to influence national budgets so that they specifically cover women’s needs. In Latin America, she said, rates of maternal mortality are in the second rank behind the developed countries, but there are many differences between countries, given that Cuba, Argentina, or Chile have very low rates, but rates rise up in Bolivia or Ecuador. She also emphasized the need “to get men involved with the problem in order to combat gender-based violence.” “Last year there was a campaign in Venezuela specifically directed at men. Afterwards, an impact study was done, and the results were very encouraging,” she indicated. “For this reason the role of the communications media is also fundamental.” The UNIFEM representative insisted that the hard part is “changing cultural patterns, and these are not changed by decree, but rather by working to reconstruct them.” “Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of difference between the developed and the developing countries when it comes to the problem of violence against women,” she said. “What happens is that laws are introduced or modified, and you see a rise in cases because the violence becomes more visible.” “Gender-based violence is more visible and more penalized today, but there is not more of it than before,” she specified.last_img read more