Research

Rock Climbing and Group Use

Maple Canyon, UT: Climbing is a popular sport in the US with over 9 million people participating in it each year, according to Climbing Magazine. With millions of people getting out to climb on public and private land, rock climbers can significantly degrade the areas that they love. Impacts at climbing areas range from braided trails around crags, litter, improper disposal of human and pet waste, disturbed raptor nests, and poor crag etiquette. Climbing in large groups can be more fun and safer, but also leads to a greater impact and more care should be taken to minimize impacts at the crags...

Where Have All The Hemlocks Gone?

New River Gorge National River, WV: A hike along the rim of the New River Gorge offers spectacular vistas of steep walls, rushing water, and lush green trees. This environment hosts large groves of Hemlock trees, which have stood for centuries. Since early 2005 these groves have been under attack from an unassuming visitor, the deadly Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Native to Asia, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has found sanctuary in the abundance of hemlock groves found on the eastern coast of North America. Without a native predator the Woolly Adelgid has the ability to reproduce quickly. So quickly...

Rice and Fall of a Trail Legend

Catskill Mountains, NY: Starfail, Pro-tip, Buckeye, Catnap, Smiley, Jethro, Gilgamesh, Giggles…what is the story behind all these “trail names”. Where do they come from? Why do they exist? This week we, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers East Central Team, accepted a challenge to hike one of the toughest trails east of the continental divide: Devil’s Path in the Catskills. Testing our endurance, the grueling hike led us over five peaks that reached above 3,500 feet, through boulder fields, and up rock faces. As we marched forward, ready to defeat the army of obstacles on Devil’s...

Moth Invasion Kills Thousands

Savage River State Forest, MD—The devastating invasion of the Gypsy Moth is still apparent almost a decade after its fateful descent upon the majestic White and Red Oak of the Savage River State Forest. Invasive species have a detrimental effect on ecosystems across the world but are largely ignored until they hit close to home, destroying precious resources that in some cases we cannot get back. Such was the case with the American Chestnut in the early 1900’s when an invasive fungal infection was accidentally introduced by imported Chinese Chestnut trees. The result: billions of American...

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