YOSEMITE PLAN ADDS CAMPSITES, MAKES VALLEY LESS COMMERCIAL
If you’re a fan of keeping national parks more natural, it’s hard not to like Yosemite’s new management plan, which includes getting rid of the valley’s ice skating rink, commercial horseback riding, hotel swimming pools, and raft- and bicycle rentals and making more room for pedestrians and campsites. Up to this point trying to find a solution to summer overcrowding in the park has proved daunting. Environmental groups have twice sued the Park Service, winning court orders that compelled managers to draw up new blueprints. Part of the new plan includes five percent more parking, linked to pedestrian walkways so that visitors will have to ditch the car and wall or take shuttles. Either way, it means less emissions. And although the hantavirus outbreak from last fall isn’t directly addressed, part of the plan adds 174 camping sites in the valley and replaces some tent cabins in Curry Village with year-round cabins. Via L.A. Times.
BACKCOUNTRY SKIERS IN GLACIER TRIGGER AVALANCHE
Yet another group of backcountry skiers got caught in its own mess. Two skiers in West Glacier triggered a slide near Elk Mountain in the Middle Fork area of the national park, just west of Marias Pass. One of the pair was injured, but luckily his buddy saw the slide and was able to ski out of the way, then go dig out his friend who was partially buried. Then he called 911. Both men are Montana residents. Park officials didn’t say if the men had beacons or other backcountry gear, but that may not have mattered: the official Flathead Avalanche Advisory had a danger level of “considerable,” with human-triggered avalanches listed as likely. Via NBC Montana.
STUNNING BUT TRUE: RED BULL DOES NOT GIVE YOU ACTUAL WINGS
Energy drinks makers make a lot of claims. 5-Hour Energy, for example, says that consumers of its stimulant won’t experience a letdown after the stuff wears off…but a close reading of the label actually means that you won’t get a SUGAR-related crash. Because, um, it doesn’t have any sugar. What it does have, just like Monster, Red Bull, Rock Star and so many other buzz-delivering concoctions, is caffeine. And while these and many other flavors of energy drinks also feature stuff like taurine and (in the case of 5-Hour, 8,333 percent of the FDA’s suggested intake of vitamin B12), there’s actually zero proof that any of these ingredients do anything more than deliver caffeine in various dosages — and at prices that would embarrass Starbucks. Now the drinks have attracted the attention of Congress, which has asked the FDA to investigate claims made by energy drink makers — and whether they can be regulated. The $10 billion segment of the soft drink market probably isn’t too amped about that. Via New York Times.
SUPPORT GROWS FOR A FLORIDA WILDLIFE CORRIDOR
Not quite every inch of Florida has been developed, and some people want to keep it that way, backing a plan for a wildlife corridor that would ensure that Florida’s population of bears, panthers, and other wildlife aren’t driven to extinction by bulldozers and profit-hungry scumbags in linen suits. The plan would link patches of habitat in large enough swathes that animals could roam from the peninsula all the way to Georgia. National Geographic sent a team of explorers on a 100-day, 1,000-mile expedition documenting the species and their habitats along the corridor, much of which includes ranches and farmland. Now the tough part: navigating the channels of power in the state to put wildlife on equal footing with development — ideally to showcase how wilderness tourism could be a more sustainable engine of growth than the boom/bust cycles of real estate. Via National Geographic.