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Adventure

The Fight Is On to Save Program Giving Millions of Fourth-Graders Free Access to National Parks

The Wilderness Society is rallying to save the "Every Kid in a Park" program, which gives fourth graders and their families a pass that allows them to visit national parks for free, according to a press release dated June 4.

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Adventure
The Salado Creek Greenway in San Antonio, Texas. dq5studios / CC BY 3.0

19 New Trails to Explore as the National Trails System Turns 50

This Saturday, the American Hiking Society is celebrating a very special National Trails Day—2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Trails System Act, which created and protected some of the U.S.'s most loved scenic and historic walks.

Now, just in time for Saturday's festivities, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced in a Department of the Interior (DOI) press release Wednesday that he is adding 19 new recreation trails to the national network in 17 different states.

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Climate
Simulated flooding caused by a Category 3 hurricane striking Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington, DC. NPS

National Park Service Releases Climate Report That Officials Tried to Censor

The National Parks Service (NPS) quietly released a long-delayed report that mentions humanity's role in climate change, which officials had removed in earlier drafts.

The report, published Friday without a press release or any social media activity from the parks department or Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, shows estimates of sea level change for 118 coastal national park sites and estimates of storm surge for 79 of the sites.

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Animals
Brown bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. NPS Photo / B. Plog

Trump Admin. Wants to Reinstate 'Cruel' Hunting Tactics in Alaska, Conservation Groups Say

The Trump administration has proposed new regulations to overturn an Obama-era rule that protects iconic predators in Alaska's national preserves.

Wildlife protection organizations condemned the move, as it would allow hunters to go to den sites to shoot wolf pups and bear cubs, lure and kill bears over bait, hunt bears with dogs and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou. Such hunting methods were banned on federal lands in 2015 that are otherwise permitted by the state.

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Animals
Coho spawning on the Salmon River. Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington / CC BY 2.0

New Farm Bill Contains Sneak Attack on the Environment With Toxic Pesticides

By Derrick Z. Jackson

If fish could wail, they would scream over the lethal powers granted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in part of the draft farm bill recently rolled out by the House Agriculture Committee. The bill, passed out of committee by Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) on a party-line vote last month, desperately fails farmers and low-income families. It also contains a number of sneak attacks on the environment. One such provision would allow the EPA to approve new pesticides with no assessment of their potential impact on fish and wildlife covered under the Endangered Species Act.

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Ryan Zinke and Lamar Alexander in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Aug. 25, 2017. Knoxville News Sentinel / YouTube

Zinke and Alexander: Pillaging National Parks for Fossil Fuels Is How We'll Protect Them

By Andrea Germanos

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke joined with U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to argue that the best way to fix the national parks is by pillaging public lands for fossil fuels.

Their CNN op-ed published Wednesday focuses on the $11.6 billion repair backlog the parks face—"our parks are being loved to death," they write. They say revenue to address the infrastructure repairs can come through their proposed legislation, the National Park Restoration Act (S.2509). Lamar is the sponsor of the bipartisan legislation, which he introduced at the behest of Zinke, and as the Interior Department noted in a press release, it "follows the blueprint laid out in Secretary Zinke and President Trump's budget proposal, the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund."

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Fracking
The view from lease parcel COC77996 looking across the Colorado River and DeBeque State Wildlife Refuge toward parcel COC77999 and the Roan Plateau. Peter Hart / Wilderness Workshop

Fracking in Colorado: Lawsuit Targets Federal Shell Game Hiding Harm to Communities and Wildlife

Conservation groups on Thursday sued Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Bureau of Land Management for approving new leases to allow fracking on more than 45,000 acres in western Colorado, including within communities and within a half-mile of a K-12 public school, without analyzing or disclosing environmental and public health threats as required by federal law.

"Fracking is a filthy, dangerous business, and dodging environmental analysis puts people and public lands at risk," said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Trump administration is trying to ignore science, public health and climate change threats to enrich corporate polluters, but it can't shrug off the law."

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Utah's Zion National Park. Jared / Flickr

National Parks Added $36 Billion to U.S. Economy Last Year

As the nation observes National Park Week, the Interior Department released a report Wednesday touting that visits to national parks added $35.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017—a nearly $1 billion increase from the year prior—and supported 306,000 jobs.

The National Park Service said more than 330 million visitors spent $18.2 billion in the communities near the national parks last year.

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Energy
Gov. Phil Murphy / Instagram

New Jersey Passes Nation's Toughest Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling

New Jersey has passed a law prohibiting offshore oil and gas exploration, development and production in state waters—the nation's toughest response yet to the Trump administration's plans to vastly expand offshore drilling in nearly all U.S. coastal waters.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on Friday the bipartisan bill called the "Shore Tourism and Ocean Protection from Offshore Oil and Gas Act" or "STOP Offshore Oil and Gas Act."

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