Take a Hike Day Is Around the Bend. What's Your Dream Hike?
This Saturday, November 17, is National Take a Hike Day. Hiking is a great way to stay healthy, reconnect with nature and remind yourself of what we're trying to protect. In honor of the day, here are the EcoWatch team's favorite hikes, and the ones at the top of our bucket lists.
Olivia Rosane, Freelance Reporter
Favorite Hike: Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge is the most accessible mountainous area within Washington State's Olympic National Park. Several hiking trails branch off from the Visitor Center, taking you past alpine meadows, grazing deer and stunning views of the snow-capped Olympics. I hiked here with my family when we first moved to Washington and immediately fell in love with my new home.
Dream Hike: The Long Trail
The Long Trail, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the U.S., runs along the spine of Vermont's Green Mountains from Massachusetts to the Canadian border. Someday, I would love to take two to three weeks and walk the whole thing, immersing myself in the woods, meadows and streams of one of the greenest states.
Irma Omerhodzic, Associate Editor
Favorite Hike: The Ledges
The Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio is only 1.8 miles long, but exploring the Ritchie Ledges is such a cool experience. There are petroglyphs that date back to the 1900s (no one really knows who carved them). My dog and I love taking a day trip here and escaping into nature.
Dream Hike: Cathedral Rock Trail
Sedona, Arizona is a definite bucket-list trip. Sedona is said to be an energy vortex. I would love to hike the Cathedral Rock Trail in Coconino National Forest with the intention to heal at all levels.
Chris McDermott, News Editor
Favorite Hike: Seminole-Wekiva Trail
A rails-to-trails marvel on what once was the longest railroad in the U.S., the 14-mile Seminole-Wekiva Trail is perfect for bicycling, and even better for a slow hike on the Paint the Trail stretch, which is filled with inspired artwork by Jeff Sonksen.
Dream Hike: Mount Fløya, Norway
My dream hike would take at least an hour before encountering the Northern Lights. The location could be flexible, but this lookout over Tromsø in Norway could be even better than the dream.
Lorraine Chow, Freelance Reporter
Favorite Hike: Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain was always the perfect day trip when I used to live in New York City. It's about an hour away by bus from Port Authority. The hike is moderately challenging and has an all-rock section. The peak, hilariously, is a parking lot, but the incredible views on the way are totally worth it.
Dream Hike: Shenandoah Valley
My bucket list hike is the Appalachian Trail, but if I had to choose a stretch it would be in the Shenandoah section. It would also have to be in the fall so I can see the colors. Maybe I'll also get to see a black bear!
Jordan Simmons, Social Media Manager
Favorite Hike: Pachamama
The kind-hearted local I met in the town's center of of Cusco, Peru pointed to a peak in the distance and asked if I'd like to hike to Pachamama, what he called the tallest point in Cusco. We trekked about eight hours away from civilization—passing through eucalyptus forests and drinking water from the stream. We ventured so far that our only way of finding home was to follow water.
Dream Hike: La Ruta de los Conquistadores
My passion to build my knowledge on Indigenous culture drives my desire to hike La Ruta de los Conquistadores (The Route of the Conquistadors) in Costa Rica. The route changes each year and is designed for mountain bikers but I fear such treacherous mountain biking, and I'm determined to hike this path, which traces routes undertaken by 16th century Spanish Conquistadors.
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The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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By Joni Sweet
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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