Stories and headlines from the great outdoors.
Without a lavish ceremony or extensive publicity, President Obama vetoed the first piece of legislation passed by the Republican controlled house and senate. The veto largely centered on the issue that the executive branch doesn't recognize congress's ability to pass legislation for pipelines that pass through national borders. Obama has indicated that he will make a final decision on the pipeline's approval and feasibility in the coming months.
According to a recent paper in PLOS Biology, there were over 8 billion global visits to protected places in the past year. The vast majority of people visiting these areas are from North America and Europe, but that number reflects more visits than the global population. The paper goes on to note that the economic impact of these visits far outweighs the amount spent on preservation and justifies additional spending.
Kivalina, Alaska is a town so remote that reaching it requires a ferry trip. It's on a barrier island in the Chukchi Sea, above the artic circle. Warming waters have reduced the sea ice protecting the village, which serves as protection against winter storm waves and is used for the subsistence hunting of whales. The village is preparing to relocate as the ice continues to thin, yet federal and state resources to do so have been woefully inadequate.
One of the largest impacts on western forests is from beetles that infest trees and eventually kill them. Millions of acres of pine, spruce, and fir forests have been wiped out. They've been blamed for increased fire activity, and warmer climates have removed the cold conditions that check their spread. However, research from Northern Arizona University has uncovered a fungus that kills 80 to 90 percent of pine beetles and leaves everything else intact.
Snow Dragon, one of the three caves systems on Mount Hood's Sandy Glacier, recently collapsed. Many channels, including Oregon Field Guide, Uncage the Soul, and Outdoor Project have documented the caves discovery and ongoing deterioration. More photos and videos of the cave system are available here.