An Open Letter to the Carderock Boulder Bros

Dear Pad People,

I see you, boulder bros. As I’m rigging my toprope on some silly 5.6, you’re topping out Mad Dog (5.10+) cordless with all the bored nonchalance of a narcoleptic librarian. Sweat glistening off your rippling forearms and at your hairless crown, undeterred by the fact that you had to climb past another party who was toproping the very same route, you approximate the physical and ethical lovechild of Jason Statham and Ayn Rand. Continue reading

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Take Action: The Merced River Plan

Yosemite Valley is a national treasure.  It’s a one-of-a-kind destination for hikers, climbers, and BASE jumpers (illegally).  It’s also a frickin’ zoo.  In order to re-establish a more natural ambience in the Valley and reclaim its fragile ecosystem, the National Park Service has proposed the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan (MRP). Continue reading

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Aurora Borealis on the East Coast and Other News

  • The largest solar storm of 2013 may make for a spectacular light show on the East Coast this evening (4/13/13).  The aurora borealis may be visible in clear skies across parts of Pennsylvania and New York, and as far south as Delmarva.  The northern lights should be visible starting at 8:00pm EST.
  • Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite found in domestic cats, may be killing sea otters in California waters.  Though this parasite can be contracted by humans, it rarely causes fatal toxoplasmosis.  Instead, it causes infected humans to enjoy the scent of cat pee and Chanel No. 5.
  • The New River Gorge National River has a new superintendent.  NPS veteran, Patricia Kicklighter, will take over the New River Gorge after a stint at Assateague Island National Seashore.  Kicklighter was the recipient of the Crystal Owl award in 2001.
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Is Obama Undermining the Endangered Species Act?

In 2009, wildlife lovers all over the country rejoiced over an Obama Administration decision to return the process of consultation to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulatory process.  A Bush-era rule had eliminated the necessity for federal agencies to consult with wildlife experts before carrying out any activity that might harm threatened or endangered species.

It was a feel good moment.  For the first time in almost a decade, green-minded Americans had a sitting president who actually gave a crap about polar bears, Western snowy plovers, desert tortoises, and all the other rare and wonderful critters that eke out a living in the space between our strip malls, highways, and industrial corn fields.

But that was 2009.  That was before Obama’s Democratic allies in the House got routed by the Tea Party Express.  It was before the President quit supporting EPA Administrator Jackson.  And it was before the White House released this memo that calls for the retraction of an existing rule concerning the relationship between species survival and economic growth. Continue reading

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