Month: December 2020

Bankrupt Westmoreland looks to slash retiree, employee benefits

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:The bankrupt coal firm that owns the Kemmerer mine has asked a bankruptcy judge in Texas for permission to kill retirement obligations for its former workers in Wyoming and nix the current contract between unionized miners in Lincoln County and the company, citing the difficult market for coal in the U.S. today.Obligations to workers, such as $70 million in medical benefits to retired miners that worked at Kemmerer, are not acceptable to potential buyers of the Kemmerer mine, Westmoreland’s lawyers argued in the filing Wednesday.“The coal industry is troubled, and many coal-focused businesses have been forced to seek chapter 11 protection,” the lawyers stated. “Bankruptcy courts confronting this business reality have uniformly concluded that the coal business has fundamentally and permanently changed for the worse, forcing coal companies to modify their … structure in order to survive.”Westmoreland tried to hold out against the headwinds facing coal, the lawyers said, but ultimately failed to do so. Now, it has no choice but to cut the retirement and benefit costs, lawyers said, noting that it had tried multiple times to compromise with the union on these cuts, both before and after filing for bankruptcy.The Kemmerer mine employs about 286 miners in Lincoln County. The mine’s main customer is the nearby Naughton power plant, owned by the utility PacifiCorp. Kemmerer also provides some fuel to local industries, including trona mining operations.A hearing has been set for Westmoreland to provide evidence in favor of terminating its contract with the miners on Feb. 4 in Houston. Either side could appeal the result of that decision in court, and there are employee benefits that may still be protected under federal statutes regarding labor.More: Coal firm seeks end to employee, retiree obligations in Kemmerer Bankrupt Westmoreland looks to slash retiree, employee benefitslast_img read more

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U.K. proposes new small-scale solar support program

first_imgU.K. proposes new small-scale solar support program FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:The UK government has proposed legislation to guarantee small-scale renewable energy generators get paid for exporting electricity to the national grid.From 2020 energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers will have to offer at least one Smart Export Guarantee tariff to sub-5 MW generators using solar, wind, hydro, mini co-generation or anaerobic digestion technology, Minister of State for Energy Chris Skidmore said.“At its most basic, the SEG is a guarantee that those homes and businesses that supply their own low-carbon electricity – through solar panels on the roof, for example, or an anaerobic digestion plant on a farm – will have the chance to sell their excess electricity to the grid through a market mechanism,” Skidmore said Monday at the COGX technology conference in London.The SEG replaces the UK’s feed-in tariff mechanism which ended in March. Launched in April 2010, the FiT scheme has supported 4.6 GW of solar PV, 690 MW of wind, 260 MW of an anaerobic digestion and 181 MW of mini hydro capacity, in all totaling 5.74 GW.Since the government consulted on the proposal earlier this year some new entrant UK suppliers, including Bulb and Octopus, have offered or started trialing export tariffs to small-scale generators.Octopus offers its so-called ‘Outgoing Octopus’ fixed export tariff of 5.5 pence per kWh (GBP55/MWh, or $70/MWh) and an ‘Outgoing Agile’ tariff that matches a generator’s half-hourly prices with day-ahead wholesale prices. Under this product, a prosumer combining a 4 kWp solar panel unit with battery storage could earn GBP436/year, 50% more than the same panels would earn on the fixed 5.5p per kWh rate, Octopus said.More: U.K. smart export guarantee to reward prosumers from 2020last_img read more

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Dubai to use solar generation to power pumped hydro facility

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) has revealed it will use output from its 5 GW Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum Solar Park to provide energy for a newly tendered 250 MW pumped-storage hydroelectric power station at Hatta, an inland exclave of the emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.The new hydropower plant will be built at a cost of approximately AED 1.437 billion ($391 million) at the Hatta Dam, which was built in the 1990s to supply the region with electricity and water.“Turbines that use clean and cheap solar power from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will pump water from the dam to the upper reservoir,” DEWA said without providing more technical and financial details. “The waterfall from the upper reservoir will generate electricity using turbines when required. The efficiency of the power generation and storage cycle will reach 80% within 90 seconds of the response to demand for electricity,” it further explained.DEWA launched a tender for the fifth phase of its planned 5 GW solar park in late February. The huge project, which combines both the PV and CSP technologies, has currently 413 MW of operational capacity.DEWA is currently testing a 1.2 MW network-attached storage (NAS) system supplied by Japan’s NGK Insulators at the first section of the Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum Solar Park – a 13 MW array built by U.S. thin film manufacturer First Solar in late 2013. The NAS battery will be used to stabilize fluctuations in solar power output, in addition to other grid applications such as time-shifting and frequency control, NGK said in June 2018, when the project was launched.More: DEWA to use solar to power new pumped-storage project Dubai to use solar generation to power pumped hydro facilitylast_img read more

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IEA: Global oil consumption likely to drop in 2020 for first time since 2009

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Global oil demand is set to contract in 2020 for the first time in more than a decade as global economic activity stalls due to the coronavirus, the International Energy Agency said on Monday.The downward revision came as oil prices dropped as much as third in their biggest one-day fall since the 1991 Gulf War after Saudi Arabia launched a bid for market share following the collapse of an output pact with Russia.The energy watchdog said it expected oil demand to be 99.9 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2020, lowering its annual forecast by almost 1 million bpd and signaling a contraction of 90,000 bpd, the first time demand will have fallen since 2009.Global oil demand fell 2.5 million bpd on the year in the first quarter, or around 2.5%, the IEA estimated in its report, as coronavirus cut travel and economic activity. Around 1.8 million bpd of that was in China.The Paris-based IEA said in its medium-term outlook report that in an extreme scenario where governments fail to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has affected over 100,000 people, consumption could drop by up to 730,000 bpd.The IEA said that, following a shock to demand in 2020, oil consumption was likely to bounce back strongly and rise by 2.1 million bpd in 2021. After that, it said growth was set to decelerate and rise by only 800,000 bpd by 2025 due to slower growth in demand for transport fuels as governments implement policies to improve car engine efficiency and push to cut greenhouse gas emissions.[Ron Bousso]More: Oil demand set for first contraction since 2009 due to coronavirus – IEA IEA: Global oil consumption likely to drop in 2020 for first time since 2009last_img read more

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A Map to the Fish

first_imgI recently discovered something cool when looking for a place to take my dad fishing: the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, the first and only fly fishing trail in the U.S. The trail is actually a guide to 15 different spots for catching brook, brown, and rainbow trout, all of which sit inside the Smoky Mountains and Jackson County, near Sylva. You’ll find beta on small streams like Moses Creek, which runs below the southern-most stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Panthertown Creek inside Panthertown Valley (the Yosemite of the East), and even Raven Fork, a trophy water near Cherokee that produces 30-inch trout.Of course, even with a detailed map to the trout, there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to catch any of the fish. I’ve learned to make peace with my mediocrity as an angler. But at least having a map like the WNC Fly Fishing Trail will mean I’ll be standing in the right streams while not catching fish.Go here for more information about the trail.WNC Fly Fishing Traillast_img read more

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Beer Blog: MacHayden’s Wee Heavy

first_imgI came across something unexpected recently—a Scottish Ale that I actually liked. MacHayden’s Wee Heavy is part of the slightly experimental Progeny Series from Blue Mountain Brewery, in Afton, Virginia. It’s a Wee Heavy, or more broadly categorized as a Scottish ale, which are known for their high alcohol content and sharp bite.MacHayden’s has a respectable alcohol by volume (8 percent), but thankfully, it’s missing that Scottish bite. The beer is malty upfront, but not annoyingly sweet. There’s no hoppy bitterness to balance the beer. Instead, the brew is balanced by the heavy carbonation and peated malts—that distinctively Scottish ingredient that provides just a touch of tingling heat on the back end of each sip. The tingling almost numbs the tongue in an incredibly pleasant way.Ultimately, MacHayden’s is a thick, caramel malty bit of goodness. If that’s not reason enough to give it a try, how about this—the beer is named after brewers Mandi and Taylor Smack’s son. How sweet is that?last_img read more

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Fridays on the Fly: Learn to Fly Fish with Hunter Banks

first_imgWant to learn how to fly fish? We mean, really learn how to fly fish?  If so there are a few things to understand about this amazing sport.  First off, contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a sport catering to the 1%, inaccessible to most of the population. Also, it is not the quintessential “River Runs Through it” scenario. This is a people’s sport that allows anyone and everyone to experience the thrill of being on the water, pursuing that elusive, picky, spooky, arrogant, beautiful, alluring, gem of a fish, that haunts rivers throughout the Blue Ridge, and our dreams; the trout.Over the course of the last two years, Hunter Banks Fly Fishing has dedicated a great deal of time to crafting an introductory experience that dives into the finer points of fly fishing. During that time, we found that there are five primary areas of knowledge that a beginner needs to become familiar with.1. Gear EssentialsAs with many other sports, the gear being used will have a large impact on the overall enjoyment of fly fishing. That is certainly not to say that every new angler needs to run to their nearest fly shop and drop a cool $2,000 on a rod, reel, waders, boots, a pack, etc. However, understanding how each piece of gear is used or can improve the experience is a critical first step.2. Basic CastingWe’ve all seen the images and videos; an angler, thigh deep in a remote river, mist flying from the 70 feet of perfectly looped fly line extending behind him or her. It’s an iconic image, but it’s also not reality, especially in the majority of the rivers scattered throughout the Blue Ridge. In our home water we spend 90+ percent of our time within 15 to 30 feet of where we’re standing. Mastering close casts and landing a fly in tight places will result in far more fish than long distance “hero” casts.3. Insect Identification and Fly SelectionThat’s right, trout eat bugs! They also eat other fish, and even mice, but they’re very selective about the what, when, why, and how of their feeding patterns. Without an understanding of the trout’s current food source in a river, it becomes exceedingly difficult to catch fish. Recognizing what fish are feeding on allows the angler to select the correct fly and ultimately catch more fish.4. Reading WaterEvery river has distinct features. There are riffles, rapids, rocks and ledges, grass beds, and downed trees. The list goes on and on. Each of these features creates an area within their habit in which trout can remain hidden from predators or feed more efficiently. To “read the water” means to approach a river, visualize the features within the water, and understand what is happening below the surface. This the key to understanding where fishing are holding in the river.5.  Stream EtiquetteFor some anglers fly fishing is a solitary endeavor. For others, the camaraderie fostered on the water becomes the true reason they return to the river weekend after weekend. Whatever the draw, there’s no question that encounters with other anglers on the water are inevitable. While there’s no written law when it comes to handling these encounters, it’s important to understand the customs and traditions that ensure the amiable sharing of the space and freedom that all anglers enjoy when on the water. We use these five knowledge points as the blueprint for our new monthly Introduction to Fly Fishing class that strives to spark passion for the sport in all class participants. This immersive, 8 hour class, is much more than the typical “101 style” class you see throughout the fly fishing industry. Through this class, participants will walk away with a solid knowledge base that will allow them to go on as anglers for years to come. Our next Introduction to Fly Fishing class will be held Saturday, October 7 in Asheville, NC. To learn more about this class and other classes on the calendar please visit the Hunter Banks Fly Fishing website or call us at 828-252-2005.last_img read more

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Outdoor Family Guide

first_imgMeet 10 inspiring outdoor parents and young adventurers exploring our mountains.In 1993, Cindy Ross of New Ringgold, Pennsylvania, an accomplished thru-hiker with the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail already under her belt, set out to hike the Continental Divide Trail with her husband, a pair of goofy llamas, and two toddlers.You read that right. Two toddlers.“I was on a panel at a gathering of the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, and I was pregnant,” explains Ross. “I asked 600 people in the audience, ‘How do we keep doing what we love most once we have kids? How about some advice?’ Everyone out there either had gray hair and didn’t start backpacking until their kids left or they didn’t have kids because they decided they loved backpacking so much they weren’t having any. I thought, ‘Well, that’s a big loss. That’s not happening here.’”Ross and her husband were determined to continue long-distance hiking, even if they had to blaze their own trail. “We realized we were on our own. We had to figure it out.”They began backpacking with their first child, Sierra, when she was three months old. But when their second child, a son named Bryce, was still an infant they tried to day hike up a ridge in the White Mountains. “We spent the whole day climbing with a kid on our backs. We got halfway up and it had been eight hours. We had to turn around. We said, ‘We can’t do this with two kids.’”Later, at a party, they complained about their failed attempt to friends. As fate would have it, a man at the party overheard their complaints. He happened to train llamas and knew about an organization called the Rocky Mountain Llama Association in Colorado. The group was trying to promote llama packing as a means of long-distance hiking. “He said, I bet they would sponsor you and you could come out and do the Colorado Trail,” Cindy recounts. “And that’s what happened.”Two days into their 500-mile hike on the Colorado Trail, Cindy and her family were hooked. When their walk was complete, they bought their own llamas, loaded them into a trailer, and brought them home to Pennsylvania. By then, the plan to hike from Canada to Mexico with toddlers was already taking shape in Cindy’s head.It’s a sunny Saturday in late January and I am not attempting a 3,100-mile trek with my toddler. I am simply trying to climb to the top of Looking Glass Rock on the first warm day this part of western North Carolina has seen in some time. An hour ago my two-year-old, an accomplished little hiker in her own right, demanded to be freed from the baby backpack and began clambering up the trail at a glacial pace. My husband hangs back, helping her up as she trips over tree roots and slides around on the ice. I walk ahead, then stop and wait for my family to catch up. Walk ahead, then stop and wait. In this way we inchworm up the mountain.It takes us two hours to walk the three miles to the summit—a pace that would have embarrassed me in my pre-parenthood days. Back then, my husband and I had zipped around some of the best footpaths in the world—the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, the “W” in Chile, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Even in the midst of our adventures we’d contemplated children, but worried that becoming parents would prevent us from doing the outdoor activities we loved. At the time, I’d searched high and low for examples of parents who had managed to meld their love of the outdoors and their desire for a family into one. They were out there, but I had to find them.Left: Jonathan Horst lead climbing at the New River Gorge, W.V.; Right: Cameron Host climbing Ten Sleep Canyon, WY.Adventure Parents“We realized that when we had a child things were going to change,” says Dan Caston, an Assistant Professor of Recreation Leadership at Ferrum College in Virginia. “And they did change quite a bit in those first couple of years.” Before their daughter Mallory was born, Dan and his wife, Shari, climbed every weekend. “We lived out of the back of the van or out of a tent,” says Shari. “We were destination climbers playing somewhere on a rock or on the water or a trail.”“It was difficult to get out with a baby,” remembers Dan. “But we still made it work.” Before kids, Shari and Dan favored multi-pitch climbs at Seneca Rocks. When Mallory came along they began climbing in the New River Gorge because it was single pitch and they could haul their stuff in. “There were many days that I carried in all the climbing gear and the pack ‘n play so that Mallory had a place to be while we climbed.”Mallory was three when she did her first multi-pitch climb at Seneca Rocks. Today, at age 13, she participates on a competitive climbing team in Roanoke.Eric Horst knows a thing or two about raising kids that climb. In addition to his day job as an adjunct professor of meteorology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, he’s also a world-class climber, training expert, and coach. “Out at the cliffs I run into a lot of people that haven’t started a family yet but are considering it. It’s important to think about how parenting will change the way you climb.”“If you have a kid and you go on climbing trips, it has to be different,” says Horst. “I’ve seen parents who are elite climbers who bring their kids to the cliff and just ignore them. To me, if you’re bringing your kids to the crag, you ought to be getting them involved in some way.”By age 8, Horst’s own sons were lead climbing. By age 11 they were some of the youngest kids in the world to climb 5.14 (a grade reached by only the top 1% of climbers.) “They’ve gotten a lot of notoriety on an international scale and I didn’t set out to do that. They’re just part-time climbers. I’m not trying to get them in the Olympics or anything. I’m trying to expose them to a diverse childhood.”Chris Hull of Richmond, Va., began kayaking in 1981. He took to the sport immediately and before long he was whitewater racing. Chris got married and eventually had four kids. When they were small, he would go out on flat water and paddle around while his kids napped in his lap. As they grew, Chris learned to let his kids explore the outdoors at their own pace. “They want to wander around and find some frogs in the creek, that’s okay. Exploring is what’s important.”Isaac Hull on the North Fork of the Blackwater River, WV. Photo by Art BarketChris taught all of his kids to paddle but his youngest son, Isaac, adopted the sport as his own. “Isaac has the disease,” says Chris with a laugh. “He really enjoys it.”Pre-kids, Leslie Grotenhuis, owner of Kick It Events in Asheville, North Carolina, and her husband, Tim, the Executive Director of the Mountain Sports Festival, were an active outdoor couple—running, hiking, skiing and camping. Their first child, Wyatt, didn’t slow them down. “One kid was not a big deal for us,” says Leslie. “We felt like, if you can wear a kid, you can do anything.”But as their family grew to four kids, including a set of twins, it got “exponentially harder,” says Leslie. “When you have four little ones, you can’t carry everybody. We had to hike kid-friendly trails so that the little ones could walk.”Yet even with four kids under the age of five, the Grotenhuis clan found ways to get outside. “I remember standing in the bike store before the twins were born and discussing with the salesman how to get four children on a bike,” says Leslie. “The twins went in infant slings. They were 6.5 pounds and on the back of a bike.”As I talked to adventurous parents for this story, two recurring themes kept emerging. The first is that, yes, adventuring with kids can be hard, especially when they’re very young. The focus of the adventure must morph from one that revolves around the parent to one that is centered on the child. As Horst explains, “those days of climbing were built around the kids. We did what was appropriate for them.” From my limited experience, that’s just the name of the game when it comes to parenting.But the stronger and more prevalent theme was the joy that comes from sharing outdoor experiences with your kids and watching them fall in love with the wilderness. It’s a special blend of love and pride to watch your child forge their own path forward while encompassing the same values of stewardship and adventure that you hold dear. Even if your own adventures have been dialed back a notch in order to get there.Bettina Freese explains this concept well. Freese is a fixture of the mountain biking community in western North Carolina where she lives. In addition to biking, she’s also a runner and general outdoor enthusiast. Last summer, she took her sons hiking in Glacier National Park. “I didn’t get to go backpacking or do some 15-mile trek, but we had a blast on a little 5-mile trail that was full of glacial pools,” she says. “Adventuring with kids is just fulfilling in an entirely different way.”Adventures gone wrongThat’s not to say that the challenge of outdoor pursuits with kids doesn’t sometimes take a turn for the worse. As most parents know, kids are hard, even in a controlled environment. When we add in the unpredictable element of nature, things can sometimes go haywire.One summer, while climbing at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, Eric Horst and his family got caught in a thunderstorm. “We were just short of the top when the storm came in. That made us a lightning threat,” says Horst. “We were able to scramble across the ledge and get into a protected position where we could wait out the storm and let it blow over. But for me it was very stressful. The last thing I want to do is get my kids hurt.”For all of the time that Cindy Ross spent hiking with her kids, she can only recall one instance where she sensed trouble. “We got stuck in a windstorm on a mountain ridge. It was so windy the saddles blew off the llamas,” she remembers. “We had to crawl on our hands and knees. It was scary because we didn’t know what to do, but we figured it out.” Ross then adds, almost as an afterthought, “We’ve also walked up to grizzly bears when we were picking blueberries.”The moment when your child comes face-to-face with a free-range carnivore would be seared into most parents’ minds forever. But for Ross, it’s just one moment in a long string of moments raising her kids outdoors. It makes me think that maybe the true lesson in all of this is to follow our hearts into the outdoors, confident that sharing what we love with our kids is the right thing to do, even if it does come with a little risk.Adventure KidsThe thing about kids is that they grow up—fast. Today, most of the children whose parents I spoke to for this story are now teenagers or young adults.“A lot of kids drift totally away from their parents at this age,” says Eric Horst. “But the kids still love climbing and traveling, so I can hang out with my teenagers and stay close and connected to them. It’s something I imagine that a lot of parents don’t have with their 17-year-old son.”The kids, it seems, also understand the advantages of their adventurous childhood. “My parents taught me how to rock climb and mountain bike and hike,” says Mallory Caston, Dan and Shari’s daughter. “They taught me how to be brave.”Isaac Hull, Chris Hull’s son, told me that kids who grow up in the outdoors will be more comfortable there. Later in life, he said, they’ll gravitate toward the natural world.And Chilton Curwen, a fifteen-year-old in Asheville, North Carolina and an impressive cross-country runner, said, “I love being in nature. Other sports are so fast, but with running you have time to think and look around and enjoy being outside.”For Chilton, the benefits of cross-country running are vast. When I ask him what kids learn by participating in sports, his answer is surprisingly mature for a 15-year-old. When you’re running in the woods, he says, “you get a chance to see what the world was like before humans. It helps you connect with the world and appreciate it.” He went on to say that kids who spend time outdoors “won’t want to ruin nature. They’ll want to protect it because they’ll have an appreciation for it.”Eric Horst’s 15-year-old son, Jonathan, expresses a similar sentiment when he speaks of climbing. “With other sports you’re on a developed field and you’re around a bunch of other developed things. In climbing, you’re outside; you’re in the environment. You’re kind of doing your own thing and can take in everything around you. It makes each climb you do more elegant.”It’s been over twenty years since Cindy Ross finished hiking the Continental Divide Trail with her kids. The llamas are long gone, buried in a pet cemetery behind her log cabin. Her kids are grown and on their own. Sierra is a Fulbright Scholar in the Indian Himalayas. Bryce is an illustrator in Philadelphia. In her new book, The World is Our Classroom: How One Family Used Nature and Travel to Shape an Extraordinary Education, Ross’ kids reflect on their childhood outdoors. Sierra writes that, “What I learned from my childhood was how to actively care for my communities. I see myself as part of something bigger.”“It’s not about what kids remember, but who they become.”But Bryce’s reflection on growing up outdoors is particularly moving. “When you’re on a mountain ridge trying to outrun a lightning storm, the world becomes a lot bigger than you,” he writes. “You realize what you can control and what you can’t.”Speaking of his time on the Continental Divide Trail, Bryce says, “Every so often people ask me, “Do you remember anything from it?” I reflexively answer yes, but in my mind the word memory is loosely defined. I like to think I remember seeing the world from my dad’s backpack. But for the most part I don’t recall distinct moments so much as sensory impressions, like the thrill of walking a ridgeline or the immense silence of waking up in a river valley.”As for my own attempts at adventuring with a kid, last summer my husband and I took our then one-year-old on a canoe-packing trip in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. I worried that we were finally pushing it too far, that the wobbly canoe and the unpredictable weather might be too much for our daughter. “Maybe we should save these kinds of trips for when she’s older,” I told a friend. But my friend encouraged me to go. “It’s not about what kids remember,” she told me, “but who they become.”From the sound of it, these kids raised outdoors are becoming adults their parents can be proud of.last_img read more

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Hike Rockingham County, Virginia

first_imgMassanutten Resort offers outdoor recreation and relaxation opportunities around every corner. Hike Massanutten Ridge Trail for views of the mountain, resort area, and central Shenandoah Valley. Bring your mountain bike for the lift access bike park or ride the backcountry trails at the Western Slope. Explore the rest of the resort with ziplining, go-cart racing, and more. Choose from a number of lodging options to stay close to the action.  Après Hike VisitRockingham.com Dive deep into Rockingham’s lore at Elkton Brewing Company where the craft beers are named for local landmarks and stories. Located on a sixth generation-owned farm, try one of the seasonal beers on tap at Cave Hill Farms Brewery.  Between the Alleghany and Blue Ridge mountains, Rockingham County, Va. rests just minutes from the George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park. Nestled in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, you’ll find plenty to do just two hours from Washington, D.C. Whether you’re planning for a day, weekend, or week-long trip, immerse yourself in the outdoors, cultural amenities, inviting small towns, historical attractions, and farm-to-table dining opportunities that abound in Rockingham County.  When you’re done on the trail, fish Lake Shenandoah for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and musky. Head underground at Endless Caverns and Grand Caverns for one of a kind geological formations like the Cathederal Room and the Rainbow Room.  Head into one of the seven small towns within the county for a meal and a drink at the end of the day. From biscuit mixes to some of Virginia’s finest ham, Fulks Run Grocery stocks everything you need to make a delicious dinner. Order specialty burgers and sandwiches from Cracked Pillar Pub or build your own burger at Old 33 Beer & Burger Grill.  Through the end of October, jump into some fall fun at Back Home-on the Farm, including a corn maze, pumpkin patch, and campfires. Pick out the perfect pumpkin from Every Soul Acres, plus freshly picked sunflowers.  In George Washington National Forest, hike to the High Knob Fire Tower on the Virginia-West Virginia border for views of the valley. In Shenandoah National Park, Bearfence Mountain, Blackrock Summit, and Hightop Mountain provide a variety of trail lengths and difficulties featuring rock scrambles and panoramic vistas. Located just seven miles from the Appalachian Trail, stop by Appalachian Trail Outfitters for all of your apparel, footwear, and gear needs out in the woods.  Cover Photo: In George Washington National Forest, hike to the High Knob Fire Tower on the Virginia-West Virginia border for views of the valley. Photo by Lori Mier Massanutten Ridge Trail, photo courtesy Rockingham, Virginia last_img read more

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Central America Is Mine-Free

first_img Antipersonnel mines are a thing of the past in Central America as Nicaragua became the last country in the region to complete a de-mining process 20 years in the making. At the start of the program in 1990, half a million Nicaraguans were registered as living near a minefield, according to the Organization of American States, a partner in the project. Mines caused countless civilian casualties in one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries. In June 2010, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega presided over a ceremony with the Nicaraguan Army, pictured, to cap off the $81 million effort that drew on the expertise and resources of more than a dozen countries in North and South America and across Europe. By Dialogo July 01, 2010last_img read more

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