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Jared Kennedy | 07.30.2014

Quick newsworthy notes and links from the great outdoors over the past week.

1. Yosemite El Portal Wildfire

Access to parts of Yosemite National Park have been impacted for the last week by the El Portal fire. As of August 3, the fire has consumed over 4,500 acres. Firefighters have been able to contain 89% of the fire's perimeter. The Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds were temporarily closed but, as of this posting, have been reopened. Other fires are also burning in the area. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

2. Carlton Complex Wildfire

The Carlton Complex fire started from a number of smaller fires on July 14 ignited by lightning. It has consumed over 250,000 acres in Central Washington east of Lake Chelan and is currently 82% contained. The fire the largest of a number of wildfires currently burning in Washington. Firefighters expect to have it contained by August 15, a shifting date based on more incidents of lightning strikes and high temperatures. In all, the fire has destroyed over 300 homes in the towns of Brewster and Pateros. High temperatures and wind have caused difficulty in putting out the conflagration.

3. Banning Smoking on Oregon's Beaches

Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department is seeking to curb smoking on all beaches along the Oregon Coast. The proposal, which is open to public comments until August 29th, would allow the State to fine smokers up to $110 if caught in the act. Chris Havel, a spokesman for the Parks Department, told Oregon Public Broadcasting the ban's main goal is to reduce litter on the beaches.

4. The Death of Backpacking?

This recent article in High Country News is creating a bit of a stir. According to the author, younger people would rather take short trips or do more adrenaline-junkie activities, than hike with a heavy pack for days on end. This trend is backed up by numerous surveys. The article, part ode and part lamentation, is a worthy read if you're still a backpacking enthusiast like we are. A similar article published on August 1 in the Washington Post titled Latest Research: Why Everyone Should Take Vacation advocates for Americans to take more vacation time. In the article it notes that: "20 years ago, 80 percent of the families visiting Yosemite National Park stayed overnight," and now the average visit is closer to five hours spent in a vehicle going through the park.

5. DamNation Screenings in the Pacific Northwest

Dams have created innumerable impacts to the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, most notably to salmon runs, but also to the cultures that predated western migration and development. DamNation, a film by Patagonia, goes to the heart of the issues surrounding dams, and details many recent efforts and developments by environmentalists to remove dams and restore the rivers they blocked. Watch the trailer for this film below and check out the upcoming screenings on the website linked in the title above.


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