FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Sun Sentinel:Florida Power & Light Co. announced a major solar plan Wednesday, vowing to install more than 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030. The goal is to make Florida a “world leader in the production of solar energy,” the Juno Beach-based electric utility says.FPL said it has secured solar sites across the state to build solar energy centers, and some will be in South Florida. They include two 74.5-megawatt solar energy centers in Palm Beach County, each with about 310,000 solar panels, according to FPL spokesman Chris McGrath.The program would increase solar energy to about 20 percent of FPL’s energy mix by 2030. It’s about 1 percent now, according to the utility, which uses mostly natural gas and nuclear energy.If FPL meets its solar installation goal, it would result in a 67 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions rate by 2030, according to FPL.The utility currently operates 14 major solar power plants and more than 200 smaller solar installations, totaling more than 935 megawatts of universal solar capacity currently powering customers.Eight solar plants, in Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Hendry counties, were placed into operation last year, according to an FPL news release. In July 2018, FPL began construction on four additional solar power plants, including the FPL Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center in South Florida. The other solar plants being built are in St. Lucie, Volusia and Columbia counties.More: FPL plans to add 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030 Florida Power & Light makes major move to solar PV
Court ruling puts another roadblock in front of troubled Atlantic Coast Pipeline FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:A federal appeals court on Monday denied a request to reconsider a ruling throwing out a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail.The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request from lead pipeline developer Dominion Energy and the U.S. Forest Service to hold a full-court rehearing. In December, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit sharply criticized the Forest Service, saying the agency lacked authority to authorize the pipeline’s crossing of the trail.The panel also said the agency “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources” when it approved the pipeline crossing the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, and a right-of-way across the Appalachian Trial.The 605-mile (974-kilometer) natural gas pipeline would originate in West Virginia and run through parts of North Carolina and Virginia.In a joint statement, the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Sierra Club said the Fourth Circuit’s denial of a new hearing “sends the Atlantic Coast Pipeline back to the drawing board.” The groups said they believe it is impossible to build the pipeline “without causing massive landslides and threatening the Appalachian Trail and our clean water.”More: New hearing rejected for pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail
Some say it’s the first lawn mowing of the season; others say it’s the first cardinal at the bird feeder. I say nothing signifies that warm weather is here to stay more than digging the bike out of the garage, dusting off the seat, and taking her for a spin around the block to make sure the tires have not atrophied during her long winter nap. If it’s a road bike your digging out, it’s ok to feel some trepidation during this re-bonding with your perfect machine. The past year has been tough on the big crank crowd with Lance Armstrong’s doping house of cards crumbling around him and the rest of pro cycling, culminating in his ‘eh, so what’ appearance on Oprah’s therapy couch. You’ll be excused for having some apprehension when getting back in the saddle. What will people think? PEDs? EPO? HGH?Luckily for the amateur, the only thing you’ll have to worry about people thinking you’re on is TTS – Too Tight Spandex – which, despite its short-term benefits can take a toll on the body over prolonged use. That’s the beauty of riding or racing for the Average Joe; with no huge purses or sponsorships on the line, it’s easy to pedal hard for yourself and embrace the challenge of getting better, faster, stronger on your own accord instead of the chemical reactions going on inside your body.To that end, check out the Boone-Roubaix Spring Classic Race and Gran Fondo this weekend. This 50-mile race features challenging climbs – including the “Koppenberg of the High Country” – and 10 miles of unpaved road modeled off of the famous Paris-Roubaix and its cobblestones. Make sure you are warmed up – the don’t call this race The Hell of the High Country for nothing. If you are interested in something more casual, try the Gran Fondo, a casual ride for casual riders along the same course as the racers. If you are interested in something even more casual than that, this race is set up great for spectators – race organizers even have a map with alternate routes and the best spots – so grab a folding chair, make and obnoxious sign, don your best chicken suit, and park it on the side of the road. BYOB.View Boone-Roubaix 2013 Spectator and Volunteer Map in a larger map
Your (kinda) daily outdoor news update for August 14, the day New York City had a black out, but not a rise in crime, in 2003, proving that New Yorkers can act like civilized humans, as long as there is no power:James River Manatee Make WavesA couple of critters in the greater James River have made headlines in the past couple of days. First the good, or at least not terrible, news:A manatee was spotted in the Appomattox River of Virginia over the weekend – the Appomattox is a major tributary of the James. As we all know, the gentle “sea cow” is a native of Florida, but it is not uncommon for the manatee to head north in the summer months when the water in Florida gets too dang hot. Instagrammer Cody Beeler caught the James River manatee on camera and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries confirmed that it was, in fact, a sea cow. They dispatched personnel to track it down. Just for reference, manatees have been spotted as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Manatees are super cute, and majestic, and have been in Florida for 45 million years, which is great, but the best part of this whole story is the guy in the background of the original video who states it’s “like a giant poop.” Which, of course, it is.In less enjoyably inconsequential James River news, a Virginia Commonwealth University study has turned up high levels of a potentially liver-damaging toxin in blue crabs found in the river. The toxin, microcystin, is the result of harmful blue-green algae, builds up in the crabs during certain times of the year, and according to the study’s leader, “the toxins build up to levels that the World Health Organization considers unsafe for consumption.” Well, as can be expected, after the findings were released the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the Virginia Department of Health immediately started damage control. You can read their comments on the matter at the Huffington Post.Calling All Paddlers!A unique opportunity has come up for paddlers in West Virginia. American Whitewater has requested a flow study for the New River Dries, and is inviting all paddlers to participate. The first of a series of studies will commence on August 21 and 22, to assess the recreational flow needs for whitewater paddling as part of the Hawks News Hydroelectric Project relicensing. The dam will release at 500cfs on the 22nd and 1000cfs on the 23rd – later this fall they will test up to 3000cfs – and the data/surveys collected from paddlers will be used to negotiate flow releases over the next few years. This is important stuff, so anyone and everyone who can participate should do so.More information on the study, how to sign up, and where to go can be found on AmericanWhitewater.org.Atlanta Fly Fishing and BeerThe Atlanta Journal Constitution is in love with the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, or at least writer Jon Waterhouse is. At the beginning of August, Waterhouse penned an ode to the fly fishing trail, including a history of the trail and the best spots to hit. He also includes a handy guide to being prepared that includes wearing polarized sunglasses and wearing earth tones. This could be a boon to NC fly guides, but could also be frustrating to have a bunch of city-slickers invading the rivers. Read it here.In other news, one of our favorite fly fishing blogs powered by two Blue Ridge natives, Gink & Gasoline, put out a list of breweries that go out of their way to help protect fish. Tops on the list is Sweetwater Brewing Company out of, where else, Atlanta, GA. Not only do they have a rainbow trout in their logo, they also donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Save the River Campaign. Other notables include New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and surprisingly Anheuser-Busch. On the other end of the spectrum is Coors. Don’t drink Coors.
Most climbers will trek deep into the woods or through mountain valleys just to find their favorite walls. But for others, an urban landscape makes the best playground. Buildering, a combination of “building” and “bouldering”, means eschewing natural rock in favor of manmade iron and concrete. Some of the world’s greatest daredevils have turned this once-obscure activity into an internet sensation.
The inaugural Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hiking Challenge wrapped up this fall. Co-sponsored by Blue Ridge Outdoors and The Wilderness Society, the challenge attracted over 565 hikers from 11 states who explored 66 different wilderness areas across the Southeast.Wilderness areas are the wildest, most pristine pockets of pure nature. No roads, vehicles, machines, or permanent structures are permitted in wilderness. They are places where the human imprint is minimized and ecosystems function naturally. The Southeast has an astonishing number and variety of wilderness areas, from Shining Rock to the Okefenokee Swamp.38 hikers became the first Dirty Dozen hikers: they hiked 10+ miles in 12 different wilderness areas across the Southeast. Timo Holmquist was the very first Dirty Dozen hiker, completing the challenge on April 13. A selection from Middle Prong Wilderness hike report appears below. Jeff Monroe hiked the most wilderness areas (17) and also logged the most miles (341.6).Hikers were honored at an awards ceremony in Asheville last month, where prizes were awarded in various categories.DIRTY DOZEN AWARDSFinished First1. Timo Holmquist (4/13/2015)2. Diana Otero (4/23/2015)3. Jeff Monroe (4/24/2015)Hiked the Most Miles1.Jeff Monroe (341.6)2.Heidi Triantafillou (231.33)3.Steve Boone (182.8)Hiked the Most Wilderness Areas1. Jeff Monroe (17)2. Heidi Triantafillou (16)3. Bill Witherspoon (14)Hiked in the Most States1. Steve Boone (7)2. Bill Witherspoon, Maryan Noack, and Heidi Triantafillou tied for 2nd place (6)Best Hike Photos1. Summer McCreless (Sipsey)2. Bill Witherspoon (Lewis Fork)3. Heidi Triantafillou (Raven Cliff)Most Creative Hike Experience Descriptions1. Olga Pader (Middle Prong)2. Timo Holmquist (Middle Prong)3. Felicia Mitchell (Congaree)[divider]Special Thanks[/divider]A big thanks to the sponsors of the inaugural Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge: Blackrock Outdoor Company (Sylva, NC), City Lights Bookstore (Sylva, NC), ENO (Asheville, NC), GoWorx (Asheville, NC), Harmony House Foods (Franklin, NC), Lawson Hammock (Raleigh, NC), Mast General Store (Asheville, NC), Nantahala Outdoor Center (Bryson City, NC), Patagonia, RuffWear (Bend, OR), Second Gear (Asheville, NC), Southeastern Expeditions (Clayton, GA)
With wonderful weather and temperatures abounding, enjoy a weekend movie night outside while summer’s still here.From downtown building-side screenings to dirt path drive-ins, there are plenty of options throughout the Blue Ridge to catch new movies. Get ready to trade in the packed theater seats for lawn blankets- here are just a handful of outdoor movie opportunities for you to experience.Tiger Drive-In: Nestled in the Northeast Georgia mountains, this unique stomping ground combines the charm of the “good ole days” with modern amenities. They accept cards, are dog friendly, and have a playground for the kids to enjoy. With a spacious grassy lot, there is room for cars, trucks, trailers, and just about anything you can travel in there. Adding to the outdoor value, if you have a tent or your trailer along with you, the drive-in welcomes people to have a campout after the movie! Complete with a snack stand and FM movie audio broadcasting, the drive-in also hosts monthly hot rod nights and other special events. A short drive to residents of Western North Carolina and Northeastern Georgia, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids.Rosslyn Cinema and Pub in the Park– Perfect for city folk of Virginia and Maryland, Gateway Park is home to a summer film series on Fridays that’s fit for everyone in the family to enjoy themselves. For the adult crowd, there are selections of beer, wine, and sangria available from the large, covered bar. Outdoor games of corn hole, ping pong, giant jenga, and giant connect four are available to enjoy prior to showtime! Movies range from old classics to recent blockbusters and family-friendly films too. Viewers can bring their own food or opt to order from a local food truck in the park. Bring a few bucks with you for a nearby parking spot and enjoy a night on the town.Parkway Drive-In & Cafe– Maryville, Tennessee is home to this one of a kind drive-in capable of hosting 400 vehicles. Not only sought after for its classic movie showings, it is also a favored flea market spot. Weather permitting, there is a flea market every weekend Friday- Sunday 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. with shows at dusk. For just $7 adult and $3 kids tickets, Parkway Drive-In & Cafe provides a reasonably priced night of fun for everyone! Don’t settle for the familiar, overpriced theater down the street this summer. Pack up the car and add some adventure to your movie night by finding a cozy spot to enjoy a film outdoors.
Join us October 5-8 in Nelson County, VA for The 8th Annual Festy Experience– an ideal fall weekend celebrating amazing music, local craft food and beer, and the great outdoors. Whether you are camping for the entire weekend or simply coming for the day, there will be plenty of activities for the whole family– from face painting, rock climbing, and instrument making (for the kids) to craft beer and cider tastings (for the grown ups). All of this with an amazing live soundtrack by these artists: The daily schedule and single day ticket will be available on 8/29. You may purchase tickets here . Blue Ridge Outdoors Presents: The Blue Ridge Burn 5k/10k Trail RunOctober 7th Packet Pick Up: 8:00amRace: 9:30amAmong Festy’s many outdoor activities is the Blue Ridge Burn 5k/10k trail run. The course will begin inside The Festy grounds and will wind through picturesque rolling hills of Infinity Downs Farm. Registration is $25 and includes a race T-shirt! All proceeds will benefit the Souther Environmental Law Center. You may register here here. Please remember to fill out this form.
All this week we’re handing the reigns of our Instagram account over to western North Carolina adventure photographer Mitch Bearden. One look at Mitch’s account will give you serious case of adventure envy. Wether he’s documenting a stellar sunset somewhere in the mountains of Jackson County, North Carolina or a whitewater kayaking excursion on the famed Chattooga River, Mitch perfectly captures the outdoor essence of the Blue Ridge region, particularly outdoor adventure scene in western North Carolina.“Since picking up photography as a hobby nearly a decade ago, it has always been my focus to photograph the beautiful scenery around me, wherever I am,” Mitch said. “As my skills and interests expanded, I also fell in love with photographing the people who find joy in the exploration of their surroundings. I also shoot weddings, engagements, graduation portraits, and more!”Follow along all week as we share some of Mitch’s best photos on both our Instagram timeline and our story feed, and get to know Mitch a little better by reading the short Q & A below.BRO: Your photography focuses heavily on western North Carolina. Are you originally from the area? MB: I actually grew up in the Atlanta area. From a young age I can remember taking camping trips into the mountains of North Georgia and western North Carolina a few times a year. As I grew older, the trips became more and more frequent until I moved to WNC in 2012.BRO: How did you get your start in outdoor adventure photography? MB: Initially I bought a camera to get video while whitewater kayaking all over the Southeast. From there, I realized how much more I enjoyed taking photos as opposed to video. That transferred from kayaking to all of my outdoor pursuits when I moved to the area and began exploring more around WNC.BRO: What kind of equipment are you shooting with? MB: I shoot with my Canon 6D DSLR. I also have a DJI Phantom that I use for aerial photography.BRO: What’s your favorite outdoor pursuit to photograph? MB: Whitewater kayaking. It was my first love for photography, and continues to be my favorite.BRO: What’s your favorite season for outdoor adventure shooting? MB: Summer- there are so many different flowers that bloom that bring so much color to the mountains in early and late summer. The green vegetation really feels like a rainforest.BRO: One piece of gear you won’t go into the woods without? MB: Other than my camera gear, there are very few places I’ll go outdoors without wearing my Astral Brewers. They’re so versatile and have such great traction on nearly any terrain.BRO: Favorite hike in the Blue Ridge? MB: The Art Loeb Trail is pretty incredible with a lot of great access. It can be broken into a few different day hikes or hikes in its entirety over a few days.BRO: Favorite spot for shooting fall foliage? MB: Anywhere in the Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. There are so many great trails throughout that area with incredibly diverse ecosystems. With a huge elevation range you can shoot fall photos over a longer period of time.BRO: Any advice for budding adventure photogs just looking to get their feet wet? MB: Just get out there and shoot with whatever equipment you have available, develop your own style for photos, and just have fun with it!
North Carolina’s DuPont State Recreational Forest begins phased reopening Western North Carolina’s DuPont State Recreational Forest has begun a phased reopening. During the first reopening phase, access to the forest is limited to areas with “movement-focused” activities,” Mountain Xpress reports, and most of the trail system is open. The forest will be open daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. Portable toilets are available, but permanent restrooms will remain closed during phase 1. West Virginia’s state parks and forests will begin reopening to state residents on May 21. Campgrounds will open on May 21 and cabins and lodges will open on May 26. Overnight facilities will only be open to West Virginia residents. Most day-use areas remain open to the public. West Virginia State Park campgrounds open May 21 to West Virginia residents Parking along Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest Road is now prohibitedVisitors to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest should be aware that parking or leaving a vehicle along the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest Road (FSR 416) is now prohibited. This access road to the popular destination is very narrow and has almost no shoulder. Normally there is sufficient parking in the parking lot. The recent increase in visitation has led to roadside parking which creates a hazardous condition for other vehicles that are entering or exiting the parking lot. For more information and to see the closure order on our website click here . The coronavirus pandemic has scaled back economic activities and forced much of the world to stay home. That sudden stop in business as usual has had major impacts on global carbon emissions. An analysis published Tuesday in the journal Nature Climate Change estimates that carbon dioxide emissions around the globe dropped 17 percent compared to daily global averages from 2019. Visitors are asked to comply with social distancing and CDC recommendations and guidelines. Continued public access is contingent upon visitor behavior. “Globally, we haven’t seen a drop this big ever, and at the yearly level, you would have to go back to World War II to see such a big drop in emissions,” Corinne Le Quere, a professor of climate change science at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., and the study’s lead author, told CNN. She points out, however, that “this is not the way to tackle climate change… we need to tackle it by helping people move to more sustainable ways of living.” Amid pandemic, global carbon emissions drop 17 percent “Our first and most important priority at this time is making sure our guests, visitors and staff are safe,” West Virginia State Parks Chief Brad Reed said in a press release. “We want to thank the Governor and our state’s health officials for leading us through this crisis and providing the guidance and resources we need to start reopening our parks and forests.”