Category: Environment

Sunday Hikes: From Billygoat to Scott’s Run

I started Sunday with a dawn hike at Billygoat trail. I then went on a hike with visiting family (and our dog Luna) to Scott’s Run. It was a gorgeous fall day with temperatures hovering in the 50s. Scott’s Run is shorter, but you can walk to the waterfall and then along the river. It tends to be quite busy, but it remains a favorite for dog owners.

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Hell’s Abyss: Five Adult Elephants Die In Effort To Save Calf

Elephants are remarkably intelligent and communal animals. They often exhibit the same attachments as humans to members of their herd. That attachment led to tragedy this week when most of a herd died in Thailand while trying to rescue a calf at a waterfall. This terrible loss should educate people about these animals and the savagery of hunting them. I have repeatedly denounced  killing giant elephants and other forms of trophy hunting. From the killing of Voortrekker (“Pioneer”) to countless other elephants, these magnificent animals are being killed for the vanity and thrill kill of wealthy hunters.

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Nature’s Reclamation Project: A Closed Campground With Fall Colors

A USFS sign reading CAMPGROUND CLOSED with arrow pointing toward entry

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

We as a rather insular species often forget that nature tends to get along well when left to its own devices, while a human construct such as bureaucracy tends to languish and fail when permitted equal liberty.  I found credible proofs to both when traveling on business recently–a former Forest Service campground, abandoned apparently due to red tape and yet showing quite clearly that nature still moves on.  And it does so vibrantly.

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English Hunters Post Pictures Celebrating Dead Trophy Zebras


As many of you know, I am no fan of such trophy hunts.  I often hike in remote spots to see bears and other animals in their natural habitat. We have previously followed the controversy over the shooting of “Cecil the Lion” by an American dentist Walter Palmer from Minnesota as well as  subsequent controversies of an Idaho hunter taunting animal advocates and killing giant elephants or giraffes  or famed wolves or mountain goats or  hundreds of hippos for trophies. We also discussed the shooting of an iconic elephant as well as  disgusting videotape has emerged of a trophy hunter shooting a sleeping lion. The latest outrage is over new pictures of English hunters posing with dead zebras. Shooting a zebra is about as challenging with a long-range rifle as shooting a neighborhood dog.

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Florida Man Who Dragged A Shark To Its Death Given 10 Days In Jail

Robert Lee "Bo" Benac III was sentenced to 10 days in jail last Thursday for dragging a shark in the back of his boat and recording the encounter in July of 2017.

We have previously discussed cruel abuse of wild animals by people who then post their twisted achievements on the Internet. One such idiot is Robert Lee “Bo” Benac III who recorded the dragging of a shark to its death behind a high-speed boat. Benac was given a generous a plea deal and sentenced to only 10 days in jail. He is the third person to face charges for the disgusting videotape shoot near Egmont Key, Florida. Benac pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and violation of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rules. This is what you get for an open and brutal case of torturing a wild animal to its death.

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Canadian Invasion! Polite But Feral Pigs Moving Toward The Northern Border

I previously warned the nation of the invasion of airborne Canadian wolves. Now, it appears that our Northern neighbor is switching back to the land attack with news of an invasion of feral pigs. They can be distinguished from our own feral pigs apparently because they are more polite and put mayo on everything.

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Poll: Young Republicans Show Rising Environmental Concerns

One of the most consistent areas for the Trump Administration has been its extremely anti-environmental stance on everything from national parks to climate change to pollution control rollbacks. The assumption is that Republicans simply do not support the environment, an assumption that I have always contested. A new poll may give the GOP and its leadership some cause for pause in that regard. There is growing unease — and majority — among Republicans over environmental harm. The numbers showing up for younger Republicans should worry the leadership. Trump and others have made the party synonymous with climate change denial and anti-environmental protection. That could ultimately force young Republicans out of the party even thought they share other values on fiscal conservatism, states rights, and other issues. With women showing a shift away from Trump and the GOP, the loss of young voters would leave a dim future for the party.

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Trump Moves To Log Tongass National Forest

U.S. Forest Service

As many of you know, I have been a staunch critic of President Trump’s anti-environmental policies from relaxing pollution standards to abandoning climate change efforts. This includes this week methane rollbacks that are so severe and dangerous that even industry is objecting. However, I remain astonished by the scope and depth of these harmful policies. The latest is a move to remove logging restrictions on one of the most pristine and unique national parks: the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest with some 16.7 million acres. It was always viewed as a park to preserve undisturbed and natural areas from developers, miners and other businesses. Trump is about to change all that and, for those of us who love our national parks, it is an utter disgrace. At a time when our national parks are being crowded from rising demand, Trump is not only not adding any park land but plans to allow existing park areas to be cut down in a giveaway to private interests.

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Report: Massive Die-Off Of Salmon Due To Higher Temperatures

My recent return from Alaska left me with a wealth of new experiences and new friends. It remains a truly wondrous and wild place that everyone should visit. However, as I mentioned during the trip, the impact of climate change is obvious and alarming. Just comparing my kayaking pictures from three years ago, the glaciers have receded a great deal and most have lost any snow cover. If you doubt that climate change is real, go to Alaska and speak to the fishermen and guides. It also has apparently taken a devastating toll on salmon. When I was flying to Alaska, I was speaking to some avid fishermen in the airport who said that they have been going to Alaska for a couple decades and have never seen so few salmon. It turns out that they were right. Scientists have reported that salmon are experiencing a massive die off due to the higher temperatures. Other remote areas a reporting unheard of temperatures and melting. Greenland alone has lost 12.6 billion tons of ice IN ONE DAY — in a record meltdown.

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