Saturday, June 16, 2012

Help the EPA send a strong message to Big Coal

Dear Reader,

Take Action!My Neighbor's Well Water
Take Action!
This letter was forwarded for Jimmy Hall, the fifth generation Hall to own property on Mill Creek in Letcher County, KY. His great-great-great grandfather owned the entire mountain range here in the late 1800s. Since then, mountaintop removal coal mining has turned my family's special place into a moonscape. And now mining waste has made our drinking water toxic.

"DON'T DRINK THE WATER" is what the Water Department said when they called us. They found arsenic and lead from nearby mining operations in my well water. It's not just me -- my neighbors have the same problem. Many of them are chronically ill and some have died.

It's gotten so bad that the EPA has vetoed 36 coal permits in the area to keep our water from getting worse. I was glad they decided to help but the State of Kentucky and Big Coal didn't see it that way.

Last week, the EPA held hearings in Kentucky on their plans to protect our water. The Kentucky Coal Association bused hundreds of their supporters to the hearings. They did everything they could to intimidate me and the dozens of other activists who were there to speak out for clean water. They booed, heckled, and kicked us. Someone even threatened the safety of the representatives from the EPA who were there to listen to us.1

Big Coal must be scared. But they can't scare us! Not when the health of our children is on the line. One of my neighbors showed me his well water -- it was rust colored and cloudy. He's forced to use it for drinking, food preparation and to bathe his children.
The EPA passed the Clean Water Act in 1972 to ensure that no one is forced to give their children filthy water to drink.

My courage comes from people like you who stand together to bring these issues like mine to the surface. What the coal companies are doing is wrong, but the state allowing this to continue is just plain criminal. The EPA is our only hope to continue this battle here on our own soil with mountains blowing up all around us, filling the valleys and streams with poison.

If we stand together now and send 30,000 messages to the EPA to protect our water I know we can win.

Thanks for all you do to protect our environment,
Jimmy Hall
Fifth Generation Kentuckian

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[1] Anderson, Chris. Miners get vocal at hearing. Appalachian News Express. June 8, 2012. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Daredevil completes walk across Niagara Falls

Daredevil completes walk across Niagara Falls | National News - WMUR Home

CT man rescued minutes before search party was to be called off!

Missing CT man found, lucky to be alive
Another reason not to hike alone and having a plan!

BEACON FALLS, CT (NBC) -- A Connecticut man who has been missing for a week has been found safe.
A state worker found Richard Roncarti, 50, around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Beacon Falls section of the Naugatuck State Forest.

He was rescued just minutes before the search was going to be called off, officials said.

Crews said Roncarti was stranded in the Naugatuck State Forest with severe injuries after falling 100 feet and having no food or water for seven days. Emergency crews said he was lucky to be alive.

“He looked like he had been in the weather a few days. He was beat up pretty good,” Chief Michael Pratt, of the Beacon Falls Fire Department, said....

WWF June eNewsletter

WWF June E-newsletter

Whale shark
Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, gather
in schools to feed on the plankton where
the river meets the Donsol Bay.
© Fleetham/WWF
Fireflies and Whale Sharks

From the flashing dance of the fireflies in the mangroves to the bioluminescence glowing in the river, WWF's Catherine Plume experienced something special one night in Donsol, an island town in the Philippines. Read her first-hand account to find out what links fireflies and whale sharks--and how WWF's conservation activities have the added benefit of helping to generate income for local communities.

Read more

In Depth
Expert Guide: About Cathy Plume
The Place: The World’s Richest Garden of Corals and Sea Life
Positive Results for People and Wildlife in the Coral Triangle
Share: On Facebook On Twitter  

Children look out over the vista
Owen and Audrey look west from a ridge in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.
© Colby Loucks
How Nature Inspires a Father
and His Family

By Colby Loucks, Director of WWF’s Conservation Science Program

The morning sun will peek over the trees this Father’s Day as I scan the inside of my family’s tent--wondering just how I was elbowed to its very edge while my wife and two children sprawl across the other 90 percent. Since the birth of my daughter Audrey, almost nine years ago, my wife Andrea and I have packed up the car and taken the kids camping for Father’s Day weekend in one of the many state parks, national forests or national parks surrounding our home...

Read more
June Caption Contest

Enter the WWF Photo Caption Contest and your creative caption could be featured in next month's e-newsletter.

Photo Caption Contest
"I told you to stay out of that dryer!"
Jane M., Mill Creek, Wash.
May's Contest Winner

Protesting Pebble Mine
Bristol Bay's wild salmon fishery provides
more than 14,000 full- and part-time jobs.
Help Protect Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine

Bristol Bay is threatened by the possible creation of the largest open pit gold and copper mine in U.S. history, called Pebble Mine. The U.S. EPA states that, if developed, Pebble Mine will have unacceptable adverse effects on the rivers, streams, species and fisheries that have supported the region’s cultures and economy for centuries. Thank the EPA and urge the Obama administration to continue to protect the region from the potentially disastrous Pebble Mine.

Take Action

Father's Day E-card
Tell Dad that he's the coolest.
Send a Father's Day E-card

Looking to make Dad smile this Sunday on Father's Day? Tell him that he is the coolest by sending a Father's Day e-card. Sending WWF e-cards is a fun, easy and environmentally friendly way to say that you care. Don't forget all of the fathers, grandfathers and men in your life!

Send e-card


Gray whale
Gray whale © WWF-US/Colby Loucks
Baja: Among the Great Whales
January 26 - February 2, 2013

Each winter, gray whales journey south from the Arctic to breed in warmer waters. Join WWF on an expedition to Baja California, one of North America's premier whale watching sites, to come face-to-face (and perhaps even eye-to-eye) with this magnificent species. You'll also walk on uninhabited desert islands, and snorkel and kayak in the Sea of Cortez.

Read more


Whale Shark
© Javier Ordonez/WWF
Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

Status: Threatened

Basics: Whale sharks are the world's largest living fish species, reaching up to 45 feet long. They can be found in all temperate and tropical oceans around the world, with the exception of the Mediterranean Sea.

Threats: International demand for their meat, fins and oil; bycatch

Interesting Fact: The whale shark is a filter feeder and eats by sucking water through its mouth and expelling it through the gills, trapping millions of plankton inside.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rock risk forces Yosemite closures

Rock risk forces Yosemite closures

Associated Press

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) - Falling boulders are the single biggest force shaping Yosemite Valley, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the national park system. Now swaths of some popular haunts are closing for good after geologists confirmed that unsuspecting tourists and employees are being lodged in harm's way.

On Thursday, the National Park Service will announce that potential danger from the unstable 3,000-foot-tall Glacier Point, a granite promontory that for decades has provided a dramatic backdrop to park events, will leave some of the valley's most popular lodging areas permanently uninhabitable.

"There are no absolutely safe areas in Yosemite Valley," said Greg Stock, the park's first staff geologist and the primary author of a new study that assesses the potential risk to people from falling rocks in the steep-sided valley. The highest risk area is family friendly Curry Village, which was hit by a major rock fall several years ago.

A newly delineated "hazard zone" also outlines other areas, including the popular climbing wall El Capitan, where the danger posed by the rock falls is high but risk of injury is low because they aren't continuously occupied.

"Rock falls are common in Yosemite Valley, California, posing substantial hazard and risk to the approximately four million annual visitors to Yosemite National Park," reads the ominous opening line of the report.

The move to close parts of historic Curry Village, a camp of canvas and wooden cabins, comes four years after the equivalent of 570 dump trucks of boulders hit 17 cabins, flattened one and sent schoolchildren scrambling for their lives. The park fenced off 233 of the 600 cabins in the village.

The new report, obtained by The Associated Press, now identifies 18 more that will be closed Thursday.

An examination by the AP after the 2008 fall found park officials were aware of U.S. Geological Survey studies dating back to 1996 that show Glacier Point behind Curry Village was susceptible to rock avalanches. Yet visitors were not warned of the potential danger, and the park service repaired and reused rock-battered cabins.

Rock falls in and around the century-old Curry Village have killed two people and injured two dozen others since 1996. Since officials began keeping track in 1857, 15 people have died throughout the valley and 85 have been injured from falling rocks.

This new study, prompted by the 2008 Curry event, is the first to assess risk to people. Officials say dangers exist in nearly every national park but they are particularly acute in Yosemite given its unstable geology, which causes rock falls weekly. Park officials will use the study to develop policy that guides future planning.

Yosemite Valley is ringed by 3,000-foot walls of granite. Since the last glacier retreated 15,000 years ago, the biggest factor shaping the most popular tourist destinations in the park has been the sloughing of rock when granite heats and cools and eventually breaks along fissures and cracks.

Stock used laser mapping to create the first detailed look at the cliffs, which ultimately could identify which formations are most vulnerable.

The report shows the greatest dangers are within 180 feet of the base of the cliffs. However, there is a 10 percent chance a potentially deadly boulder will fall outside of the zone every 50 years.

With the removal of lodging from highly problematic areas and increased awareness, risk can be reduced by up to 95 percent, Stock said. "That's a huge reduction, but it's not possible to reduce all risk in the park."

Part of Yosemite's charm is the guest cabins and other structures built around boulders, some the size of houses. It was widely assumed that they could have fallen in one cataclysmic event. The new study concluded that the boulders had fallen over time, and the information was used to delineate the most potentially dangerous areas of the valley.

"It's easy now to look around and see all of these rocks and know there's a hazard here, but that hasn't always been the case," said park spokesman Scott Gediman.

In November 1980, falling rocks killed three people and injured 19 more on the trail to Yosemite Falls, the icon of the valley and one of the most popular visitor hikes.

The biggest modern-day rock avalanche occurred in 1987, when an unstable formation called Middle Brother on the north side of the valley launched the equivalent of more than 22,000 dump truck loads of rock onto the main road.

Last year 53 rock falls occurred, including a six-ton boulder that fell in September from the upper Yosemite Falls Trail onto an amphitheater. Fragments hit a footbridge where tourists take photos, but no one was injured.

Park officials said two employee dormitories and parts of three others built in 1999 would be closing, which will further exasperate a critical staff housing shortage.

Read more:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

White Mountain Guide, 29th edition

White Mountain Guide, 29th edition

Trusted by hikers for over a century, AMC's White Mountain Guide is an indispensable resource for the magnificent White Mountain National Forest. With comprehensive coverage of the region's hiking trails, this completely updated and revised edition features detailed descriptions of over 500 trails, pull-out paper topo maps with trail-segment mileage, and recommended hikes.

Edited by Steven D. Smith and Mike Dickerman
ISBN: 978-1-934028-44-5

List Price:$24.95
New:from $15.76

Sample text:
NameMoat Mtn Trailhead (south)
Elevation550 ft
Fee AreaYes
Shuttle Stopno
This trail traverses the main ridge of Moat Mountain, providing magnificent views from numerous outlooks. The south terminus of the trail is located on Dugway Rd. At the lights in Conway village, turn north (directly opposite NH 153) onto Washington St., which becomes West Side Rd. Go left at a fork, then at 0.9 mi. turn left on Passaconaway Rd., which becomes Dugway Rd. The Moat Mountain Trail (sign) leaves Dugway Rd. at a new trailhead parking area on the right, 4.1 mi. from Conway. Dugway Rd. continues and joins the Kancamagus Highway near Blackberry Crossing Campground (but the west part of Dugway Rd. is closed to vehicles from November to May).

Table of Contents

1. Trails to Mount Washington from Pinkham Notch

2. Trails on the Upper Cone of Mount Washington

3. Trails North of Pinkham Notch Visitor Center

4. Trails on the Main Ridge of the Southern Peaks

5. Trails to the Southern Peaks from the West and South

6. Trails of the Dry River Valley

7. Trails of the Montalban Ridge

8. Trails of the Jackson Area


1. Trails on the Main Ridge

2. Linking Trails on the North and West Slopes of the Range

3. Trails in the Great Gulf Wilderness

4. Trails on Mount Madison

5. Trails on Mount Adams

6. Trails on Mount Jefferson

7. Trails on Mount Clay

8. Trails on Pine Mountain

9. Pleasure Paths on the Lower North Slopes


1. Trails on Franconia Ridge and the West Slopes

2. Trails on Garfield Ridge and the North Slopes

3. Trails on the Twin–Zealand Range

4. Trails on Mount Hale and the Sugarloaves

5. Trails on the Willey Range

6. Trails in the Arethusa Falls Region

7. Trails in the Pemigewasset Wilderness


1. Trails in the Mount Carrigain Region

2. Trails in the Mount Hancock Region

3. Trails in the Mount Tremont Region

4. Trails in the Moat Mountain Region

5. Paths on White Horse Ledge and Cathedral Ledge


1. Trail on Main Ridge

2. Trails on the West Side of Franconia Notch

3. Trails on the Southeast Side of the Range

4. Trails on the West Side of the Range

5. Trails West of NH 116


1. Trails on Mount Moosilauke

2. Trails on the Benton Range

3. Trails of the Stinson-Carr-Kineo Region

4. Trails of the Middle Connecticut River Mountains


1. Trails on Mount Tecumseh and Vicinity

2. Shorter Trails Near Waterville Valley

3. Trails on Mount Osceola and Scar Ridge

4. Trails on Mount Tripyramid

5. Trails on Sandwich Mountain

6. Trails on Mount Israel

7. Trails in the Squam Lake Area


1. Trails on or near Mount Chocorua

2. Trails between Mount Chocorua and Mount Paugus

3. Trails on Mount Paugus

4. Trails to Paugus Pass and Vicinity

5. Trails on Mount Passaconaway and Its Ridges

6. Trails on Mount Potash and Hedgehog Mountain

7. Trails on Mount Whiteface and Vicinity


1. Trails on the Ridge and West Slopes of the Carter Range

2. Trails on the Ridge and North Slopes of the Moriah Group

3. Trails of the Wild River Valley

4. Trails on the East Side of the Baldface-Royce Range

5. Trails in the East Branch Region

6. Trails on the Southern Ridges of the Carter Range

7. Trails on Mount Doublehead

8. Trails of the Kearsarge North Region

9. Trails of the Green Hills of Conway Range


1. Trails to the North and East of Speckled Mountain

2. Trails on Speckled Mountain

3. Trails South of Speckled Mountain


1. Trail on the Mahoosuc Range Crest

2. Trails to the Main Range from Success Pond Road

3. Trails to Old Speck from Grafton Notch

4. Trail to Mount Goose Eye from Ketchum

5. Trails to the Main Range from North Road

6. Trails to the Southern Minor Peaks


1. The Cherry-Dartmouth Range

2. Crescent Range

3. The Pliny and Pilot Ranges

4. The North Country

Monday, June 11, 2012

Do you have a moment to help reduce carbon pollution in our national parks?

NPCA - Park Action
Navajo Generating Station
Take Action
Dear Reader,

Do you have a moment to help reduce carbon pollution in our national parks?

Carbon dioxide is one of the leading contributors to climate change, and power plants are among the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States. National Park Service (NPS) Director Jon Jarvis has called climate change “fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks that we have ever experienced.”

The NPS has documented multiple effects of climate change already unfolding in national parks around the U.S., from melting glaciers to the growing frequency and intensity of wildfires, to coastal parks threatened by sea level rise. All of these forces imperil the long-term health of park roads, buildings, and cultural treasures, as well as plants, fish, and wildlife.

June 25 is the deadline for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt a Carbon Pollution Standard that would require all new power plants to use technologies that limit their carbon pollution. This is a small but critical step in addressing climate change.

By lowering the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants can emit, EPA’s rule would likely result in the adoption of cleaner technologies that mean less haze, smog, acid rain, and climate change impacts in our national parks.

Take Action: Join over a million Americans who have already told the EPA that they agree with the Carbon Pollution Standard. Encourage EPA to finalize this proposal and require future power plants to use the best technology to reduce carbon pollution.

Thank you for helping bring cleaner air to national parks in the near term and for helping us address the serious threats that climate change poses to the long-term health of our National Park System. Future generations will appreciate your action.



Mark Wenzler
Vice President, Climate and Air Quality Programs