Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It’s The Photographer, Not The Camera

The following is a guest blog by Noah Feldman:

The old adage goes: more megapixels + larger sensor = better pictures. While megapixels allow us to make large prints and sensor size has it’s advantages, it limits our awareness of how great ALL cameras can be. The photo below was taken overlooking Odessa Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park, with a Canon SD1000 Digital Elph. It’s about the size of a flip-phone, weighs 5 ounces and sells for $20 - $40 on ebay. The SD1000 has 7.1 megapixels and a 1/2.5” sensor size. A full frame camera’s sensor is about 30 times the size.

I consider this photograph one of my favorites that I’ve ever taken. I don’t want to like it. It actually frustrates me that it wasn’t taken with a better camera. Why? No logical reason. As camera nerds go, we want to be able to tell people about the expensive camera we took the picture with, the absurd amount of megapixels, the sensor size, the low light sensitivity, the ability to send pictures directly to Facebook via wifi and so on. The only remarkable thing about this camera is that it’s very, very shiny.

If you’re looking to buy a camera online nowadays you’ll be inundated with the eternal question, “which camera is better?” There are millions of pages devoted to comparing test shots, MTF charts, low light performance, etc. There are hoards of pixel peepers obsessed with the technical aspects of the camera and have forgotten that it’s merely a tool, a means to an end, the actual photograph.

I used to take guitar lessons from an amazing teacher and he would ask to play my guitar to tune it for me. The guitar cost $80 but when he played it, the guitar sounded like a priceless vintage instrument. The same goes for the Canon SD1000 Digital Elph and every camera like it: It’s the photographer that makes a photograph, not the camera.


To see more of Noah's excellent work, please visit his website.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
Grand Teton Hiking
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Saturday, April 25, 2015

NPS Announces $26 Million in Centennial Challenge Projects

From trail repairs to new wayside interpretive panels, road and bridge repairs and restoring the most photographed barn in America, the National Park Service this week announced $26 million for more than 100 initiatives that will help parks prepare for centennial visitors.

The National Park Service received a $10 million Congressional appropriation that was matched with $15.9 million from more than 90 partner organizations. The 106 projects, located at more than 100 parks in 31 states and the District of Columbia, are designed to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and leverage partnerships to reinvigorate national parks while forging connections with communities.

“As the National Park Service approaches its Centennial in 2016, the National Park Foundation and local park friends groups have pledged to raise private funds to improve the facilities, accessibility, and programs of our national parks, matching the federal appropriation and resulting in a $26 million investment in the parks," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

Among the projects funded with these grants, Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone Park Foundation will improve the connection from Gardiner, Montana, with the park’s iconic Roosevelt Arch entry. The $2 million project with $1.5 million from the Yellowstone Park Foundation and $500,000 of federal funds, will improve the road, parking, walks, signage and pedestrian areas to meet modern road and accessibility standards.

The Grand Teton National Park Foundation will provide a $23,000 match with $23,000 of centennial challenge funds to address deferred maintenance on the T.A. Moulton Barn and the Reed Moulton Barn, two iconic barns in the Mormon Row Historic District in Grand Teton National Park.

Other projects include $38,000 towards rehabilitation of the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park, and $105,000 to replace the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point footbridges along the Cascade Canyon Trail in Grand Teton National Park.

For a complete list of the centennial challenge projects, please click here.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
Grand Teton Hiking
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Forest Service Expands Access to Youth Conservation Corps Program

The U.S. Forest Service is announcing new Youth Conservation Corps job opportunities on national forests throughout the country. Young people from across the United States are encouraged to apply for these jobs at a local forest or with a partner organization. Some residential YCC opportunities are also available for selected applicants.

As part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps initiative to put America's youth to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America's Great Outdoors, the Forest Service is expanding access for urban and other underrepresented groups through YCC opportunities. In 2014, the Forest Service employed more than 1,400 YCC members, a 34 percent increase from 2013. Those members contributed 364,000 cumulative hours of work on Forest Service lands, with a value generation of more than $8 million, a 47 percent increase from 2013.

The YCC and a previous companion program, the Young Adult Conservation Corps, has launched the careers of many Forest Service employees and has had a profound impact on the personal and professional development of people across the country, including Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

The Youth Conservation Corps program was established in 1974 to help young people ages 15 to 18 gain an understanding of and appreciation for the nation's environment and heritage, and thereby further the development and maintenance of the natural resources by America's youth. YCC provides teenagers gainful employment, while they learn land management and work ethic skills.

This year, select programs will offer participants accommodations including lodging and food, while developing life skills by preparing their own meals, maintaining a clean and safe living environment, and communicating and working with others on a daily basis. Residential YCC programs participants are provided 24-hour supervision.

Young people ages 15 to 18 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to participate in this program. Interested participants can find out more about current YCC opportunities by visiting the Forest Service website. Those interested in applying can complete an application online or mail it to the host Forest Service unit. Most of the programs will accept applications through April 2015. For more information about the Youth Conservation Corps, please contact Kristina Bell at kristinanbell@fs.fed.us.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
Grand Teton Hiking
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Protection Of High Value Trees And Hazard Mitigation Projects Continue In 2015

Bark beetles continue to be active in conifer trees within Rocky Mountain National Park. The park's priorities for mitigation of the effects of beetles are focused on removing hazard trees and hazard fuels related to the protection of life and property. For several years, Rocky Mountain National Park has had a proactive bark beetle management program. In recent years, bark beetles have been considered at outbreak levels throughout the park. In 2015, the park will continue its mitigation efforts, including applying insecticide, removing hazard trees, prescribed burns, utilizing an air curtain burner, pheromone treatments and implementing temporary closures in a variety of park locations.

Starting in mid-April and ending by Memorial Day weekend, the park is planning to apply a Carbaryl based insecticide to up to 2,750 high-value trees to protect them from bark beetles. Treatment will occur in the following developed areas of the park: Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Headquarters, Moraine Park Discovery Center, Aspenglen Campground, Moraine Park Campground, Bighorn Ranger Station, McGraw Ranch, and the east side park service housing areas.

Last year, more than 6,000 trees were treated and nearly all of these trees were protected from attack by bark beetles. Treatment sites have been reduced on the east side of the park as infestation rates decrease in forests adjacent to high value trees. Insecticide will be applied from the ground and sprayed onto individual trees to repel beetle attacks. Temporary closures to the public and employees will be in effect during spraying operations.

The park is also treating up to 300 high value limber pine trees with verbenone pheromone packets to minimize infestation from bark beetles. Limber pine trees in the park are currently at risk of mountain pine beetle infestation and infection from white pine blister rust, a lethal non-native invasive disease. Research is being conducted to identify if any limber pine trees within the park are resistant to white pine blister rust.

Park staff will conduct hazard tree mitigation through tree removal throughout the year. Small scale selective hazard tree removals should be anticipated at trailheads, parking areas, picnic areas, roadside pullouts, road corridors, campgrounds, ranger stations, stables, and visitor centers. Temporary site closures may occur at smaller sites to facilitate safe and efficient operations. More detailed information will be provided on upcoming tree removal projects along Trail Ridge Road. Material disposal will involve piles for future burning and consolidation at designated sites for future use including firewood collection permits. More information on wood utilization will be available in late summer.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
Grand Teton Hiking
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Andrew Skurka Presents: "Ultimate Hiking Gear & Skills Clinic"

At more than an hour in length, this video is obviously rather long. However, it's extremely informative, especially if you're fairly new to hiking and backpacking.

In this clinic originally presented at the Google headquarters in 2012, renowned long-distance backpacker Andrew Skurka discusses the gear, supplies and skills necessary to make hiking fun, not an arduous chore. Skurka was named "Adventurer of the Year" by Outside and was described as "a Superman among trekkers," by National Geographic; he's also the author of The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide.

In this video you'll learn: (1) How to predict the environmental and route conditions you will encounter on a trip; (2) the best uses and limitations of lightweight equipment; (3) skills that will help keep you safe and comfortable with a minimum of possessions; and, (4) exactly what Skurka takes for a summer backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada, and why:









Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
Grand Teton Hiking
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Friday, April 17, 2015

Forest Service to begin fuels reduction project along Ridge Road in Nederland

U.S. Forest Service contractors are expected to begin work this month on a fuels reduction project that also will improve forest health on the Roosevelt National Forest near Nederland. The work will occur on a 122-acre parcel of National Forest System land located along Ridge Road, southeast of Nederland. The parcel is surrounded on all sides by private lands.

This type of forestry work is designed to reduce existing fuel loading and increase the vegetative diversity across the landscape, encouraging a healthier, more resilient forest for future generations. Age and species diversity across the landscape helps make forests more resilient to climate change, disease and insect infestations, and helps reduce the spread and severity of wildfire.

This particular parcel, known as the Ridge Road Unit (see a map), will be treated to stimulate the growth of ponderosa pine and aspen over time. The work involves cutting both live and dead trees of varying sizes and species to give the ponderosa pine a competitive advantage. Aspen stands and open meadows will be enhanced and expanded, improving wildlife habitat for a diversity of species. In places where predominantly lodgepole pine grew, the treatment will jump start the growth of a younger stand of trees, creating a greater variety in the ages of lodgepole pine stands across the broader landscape.

Trees on this parcel will be cut by hand using chainsaws. Smaller material will be piled to burn and/or chip. Larger material will be cut into four-foot lengths and left on the forest floor. Once work begins, crews are expected to be on site for several weeks, working between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The piled material will need to cure for several years before it can be burned. When the work is complete, the area will open to firewood collection, providing an ideal opportunity for area residents to stock up for the winter season close to home. Only unpiled material lying on the ground will be available for gathering. Permits cost $20 per cord and will be available through the Boulder Ranger District office later this summer.

Environmental effects of this project were analyzed in the Sugarloaf Environmental Assessment (2004), which was focused on reducing hazardous fuels along the wildland urban interface. This is one of the last projects to be implemented out of the Sugarloaf Decision.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
Grand Teton Hiking

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How To Pack For a Dayhike

In the short video below, Backpacker Magazine offers a list of items that should be included in your pack during a day hike. This is a great starting point for being properly prepared for a variety of conditions or circumstances that can be encountered while out on the trail, especially if you're new to hiking. However, you may want to check out the far more comprehensive list we've compiled on our hiking website. Our Hiking Gear Checklist is divided between essential and optional gear to bring on a hike.








Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
Grand Teton Hikes
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Friday, April 3, 2015

Help Wanted: Explorers for the Ultimate Canadian Dream Job

Woods Canada is currently looking for two persons to become Woods™ explorers. The two of you will be engaged for the 2015 program and work and travel together as a team. Interested parties can submit their application video as a team or as individuals.

The selected applicants will travel across Canada on the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) visiting key points of interest while producing compelling content about their journey. Each week, Woods™ explorers will travel to a unique destination along the TCT with the intention of covering a wide range of Canada over the 5-month journey. Travel will not be necessarily continuous and may involve driving or flying to different debarkation points in order to maximize their geographic reach.



The position runs from May 12, 2015 until September 30, 2015. Applicants should be comfortable hiking, climbing, paddling, portaging and swimming, though the more extreme disciplines like technical mountain climbing or canoeing through rapids will NOT be a requirement for this job.

Some of the skills and requirements for the job include:

• You have experience in the outdoors with camping, tripping, canoeing and orienteering. You also don’t mind be isolated in the great outdoors for a few weeks at a time.
• You get social media and are a skilled communicator. You are an avid social media contributor and content creator.
• You are both a leader and a team player. You have been a coach, counselor, manager or team leader in your previous life. You work well with people and inspire others.
• Having skills in photography, videography and content production is a definite plus.
• Having some experience or training in media or public relations is a bonus.
• Bilingualism is a definite asset.

Prospective applicants must submit a 60 second video and tell Woods Canada why they should choose you. Submissions are due by April 17, 2015. For more information, please click here.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Climber Suffers Multiple Injuries In Fall

At 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, March 31, park rangers were notified via a 911 cell phone call of an incident above the Loch in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was later determined that a 28-year-old female, Janet Heung from Boulder, Colorado, reportedly took an 80 to 100 foot roped fall near or on a climbing route called Deep Freeze. She was with a climbing partner. She was located in steep scree roughly 500 feet above The Loch on Thatchtop Mountain. The Loch is located 3 miles from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.

Park rangers reached the woman at 2:30 p.m. She received numerous injuries and was conscious. Rangers lowered Heung down a steep scree slope to The Loch where an air ambulance was able to land on the frozen lake. At a little after 7:00 p.m. Flight for Life transported her to St. Anthony's Hospital. A total of eighteen rescue personnel reached the Glacier Gorge Trailhead at approximately 8:00 p.m.

Fortunately, weather conditions and the location of the incident were conducive for assistance from a helicopter. Otherwise, it would have been an even lengthier rescue operation. Teams of Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue personnel were assisted by Larimer County Search and Rescue and Rocky Mountain Rescue.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com