Everyone has his or her own story in the build-up to every show; whether it’s a long flight, a treacherous commute or a walk around the corner to your local venue. However, on Sunday night, April 17th, some 300 lucky patrons checked in at the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower with the weekend security team in the corporate office lobby, went through a metal detector, up to the 66th floor, up an escalator and then up another elevator before reaching the Skydeck, some 99 floors and 1,300 feet above the sleepy Chicago loop for the evening’s show. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it was. Yet, in this unique venue, the Skydeck All-Stars—a quintet comprised of a who’s-who of the jam band scene—and Electron—a supergroup in their own right—shared the non-stage for an interesting evening of music bedeviled by various factors.Opening up the night was the Skydeck All-Stars—featuring Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee, Clay Parnell of Particle, Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff and Eric “Benny” Bloom of Lettuce and Allen Aucoin of The Disco Biscuits—who got a healthy 75 minute set where they played about as random a collection of songs as imaginable. While hints of their own bands shone through, be it Aucoin sounding like he’s about to “Save the Robots,” the harmonic riff that opens Umphrey’s McGee’s “Booth Love” or Benny taking a sonic trek through the breakdown of “Madison Square,” the group shied away from attempting any of their own groups’ material in earnest.With takes on The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” or covers from James Brown and Marvin Gaye (with a tease from Shmeeans on The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”), the band showed a commitment to improvisation throughout their set. After a quick changeover, Electron got things started with a raucous take on the Biscuits’ “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.” The bluesy romper gave guitarist Tom Hamilton (of Brothers Past, American Babies and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead fame) ample room to show off his full skill set. Hamilton’s tone sounds similar to the Biscuits’ Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig’s when he uses his Becker guitar; however, it’s heavy on the treble, cutting through the mix like a knife—and not always in a good way as he can overshadow the rest of the quartet. Up next was “The City,” a fitting choice, as 1,300 feet above Chicago felt close enough to 15 miles above on a mountaintop. With the Biscuits’ current drummer opening, it gave an interesting contrast between Aucoin and Mike Greenfield of Lotus who drums for Electron. Whereas Aucoin has the precision and speed of a drum machine on overdrive, Greenfield prefers to sit back a little bit more and isn’t quite as quick on his snare rolls.As the song moved, unlike the shorter takes on the song the Biscuits often deploy, the two members of the Biscuits—Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner—laid the foundation for Hamilton to soar over the top. Magner’s work was particularly strong on this song as he has a tendency to get lost in the mix with Electron; however, he did well to both provide the groundwork for Hamilton while contributing heavily to the jam.A quick romp through Brothers Past’s “Boy” came next, which saw Hamilton step to the mic for one of his own numbers. The song featured a jam that quickly peaked featuring all Hamilton as he flew over the top of the band. “Therapy” came next, which was the highlight to that point as Brownstein’s work on the low-end helped lay the foundation for a very dance-y groove. Hamilton’s chunky chords along with Greenfield’s four-on-the-floor beat allowed the song to build slowly toward its peak.While it felt like the band tried to reach the summit of the song, it plateaued for a minute; however, like a mountain climber running out of air, they let some of the steam run out before finding that extra gear to reach the zenith. A hard segue into an inverted version of “And the Ladies Were the Rest of the Night” came next with Brownstein providing strong, slapped bass line. “Ladies” is a song traditionally sung by Gutwillig—along with many others that have made their way into the Electron rotation—that leads to an interesting mental juxtaposition in the heads of many fans of The Disco Biscuits. Nevertheless, despite a bass line that sounded reminiscent of The Biscuits’ “Basis for a Day,” the jam segued into the end of “Confrontation” with a wild peak that saw the crowd go wild. While the transition back into the beginning of the song was a bit sloppy, the crowd was lapping up the Biscuits-heavy set. To close out their sole set of the night—a gripe of the crowd as it was billed as a two-set show—the band finished out “Therapy.”In the encore slot, the band went with the also-fitting “Home Again,” a staple of the Biscuits’ encores to wrap up their 90 minute set. While the event had its ups-and-downs (the lack of a stage in earnest made seeing near-impossible), both sets of music had strong highlights and the setting was certainly one to remember.
Summer Camp Music Festival has just posted a video featuring The String Cheese Incident’s Kyle Hollingsworth (check it out below), in which the keyboardist announces a number of lineup additions including The Disco Biscuits, Gov’t Mule, Yonder Mountain String Band, Everyone Orchestra, Waka Flocka Flame, his own Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Larry Keel, and Family Groove Company. The festival will return to Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL over Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28.They all join a lineup that includes festival hosts moe. and Umphrey’s McGee, along with acts such as Trey Anastasio Band, Primus, Run The Jewels, Mike Gordon, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Destructo, EOTO, The Floozies, Ganja White Night, Hippie Sabotage, Keller Williams’ KWahtro, Manic Focus, Nahko and Medicine For The People, Rezz, Slander, Tommy Trush and The Wood Brothers.The festival is planning a full lineup announcement tomorrow, and you can see their most recent lineup announcement here. For additional information and tickets, head to the Summer Camp website for details.
Tags: sexual assault Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) alerted students via email Tuesday to a report of sexual assault that took place in the early morning hours Friday in a men’s residence hall on North Quad.The report was made to a University official, the email said.Quoting from “du Lac: A Guide to Student Life,” the email defined consent as a clearly communicated agreement, which cannot be inferred from “silence, passivity or lack of active resistance” or given if a person is intoxicated.“Anyone initiating any kind of sexual contact with another person must seek consent and not engage in sexual contact unless consent is given,” the email said.Further quoting du Lac, the email said sexual misconduct is inconsistent with the University’s values, and everyone in the community is responsible for maintaining a safe environment.“On college campuses, perpetrators are more likely to assault an acquaintance than a stranger,” the email read. “Being aware of your own safety and watching out for your friends are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of sexual assault.“The perpetrator, not the survivor, is responsible for any instance of sexual assault. Nothing a survivor does or does not do is an excuse for sexual assault.”Information about sexual assault and resources for survivors can be found at ndsp.nd.edu and csap.nd.edu
Nursery trees are usually available from mid-January to the end of March. But it’simportant to pick up trees early and plant them right away. This enables the roots tobecome established before tap growth occurs in late March or early April. This meansbetter survival.If the trees can’t be planted immediately, then heel them in. This requires digging aditch or trench, placing the trees at a 45-degree angle and covering the roots with dampsoil or mulch. Heeling-in prevents drying and cold damage to the small roots.When you plant, dig the holes large enough to accommodate all the roots withoutcrowding. This is usually a hole 24 inches across and 36 inches deep.Make sure you plant the tree at the same depth it grew in the nursery. Planting treestoo deep is a common problem and results in rot and poor root development.Trees planted too deep will blow over in six to 10 years because of poor root support.It’s usually better to plant a little shallow than too deep.Place the tree in the hole at the proper depth, then fill in layers and firm the soilaround the roots. Water the tree thoroughly to settle the soil, and get all the airpockets from around the roots. Leave a mound around the hole to hold water.Don’t place fertilizer in the hole. It will burn the root system.Fertilizer can be used after the tree starts active growth in the spring.When fertilizing, use no more than one pound of 10-10-10 per year of the tree’s age,and spread it in a 25-square-foot area around the tree. Never put fertilizer in theplanting hole.Cut the tree back by one-half to bring the top in balance with the root system. Thisensures good top growth and survival.Watering during the first two years is more important for good line and survival. Pecantrees need at least 10 gallons of water per week.Watering is most important during the growing season, along with weed control. Keep thearea around the tree free from weeds by cultivation, mulching or herbicides. February is the best month to plant pecan trees in Georgia.
Two years into the job, University of Georgia peach specialist Dario Chavez is pleased with the development of his research program. The new research peach orchard in Griffin, Georgia, is filled with over 130 different peach tree varieties, several newly grafted potential varieties and a host of trees for irrigation and fertilization studies, all in an effort to help growers of the crop that gave Georgia its nickname — the “Peach State.”In addition to the new orchard in Griffin, Chavez travels to Bryon, Georgia, to work with U.S. Department of Agriculture rootstock breeder Tom Beckman and to meet with Georgia peach growers. There are currently more than 10,000 acres of Georgia land devoted to growing peaches, and Georgia ranks third in U.S. production of the fruit.“At the end of the day, the growers are comfortable with what they are doing,” Chavez said. “They are planting new orchards every year and it’s a stable production system. They are making money and supporting the economy.”Chavez says Georgia peach growers offer a “really high quality” peach and are typically second- and third-generation farmers. “There’s a lot of tradition and a large knowledge base in growing Georgia peaches,” he said.Under Chavez’s leadership, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences graduate students on the Griffin Campus are looking at Georgia-grown peaches from a new perspective. Like their forerunners, the UGA scientists are still working to help Georgia farmers grow the crop as efficiently as possible, but they are also searching for ways to produce a crop that consumers want to purchase and eat.“We are focusing more on fruit quality. Consumers buy the peaches for appearance, but then, when they bite it, they may have a different opinion about the eating experience than their opinion about the fruit appearance alone,” he said. “Looks are not an indicator of quality.”To help peach breeders create varieties that consumers will love, UGA graduate student Catherine Belisle is leading a peach quality project using information collected through consumer taste panels. Under the direction of Chavez and CAES sensory scientist Koushik Adhikari, she is having consumers taste peaches and provide feedback.“We are looking at aroma, flavors, textures and other characteristics from people who taste the peaches for us,” she said. “Then we will cross reference this information with instrumental data in the lab.”If consumers like the aroma of a particular peach variety, the UGA scientists search for the compounds that create the aroma, she said. They also measure the sugars, acids and volatiles, or aromas, of the peaches and compare them to the consumer panel input.“The aroma is the most interesting part. [The panelists] are picking up a lot of fruity, citrus, peach and, with a white-flesh peach, floral aromas,” she said. “Then we use the instruments to find the compounds that are responsible for those aromas.”Belisle has been working with Georgia growers to test 45 varieties of peaches, five varieties per week during the summer growing season for the past year and a half. “Peaches have basically been my life and it’s a sweet life,” said Belisle, who admits she has never bought peaches, but has eaten her fill at work. “My lab mates and I evaluate the peaches together at night while we are rounding out the day and do our own makeshift study.”Belisle, Chavez and Adhikari will share their results with Georgia peach growers. This information will also be used to select for varieties that could be used in breeding new peach varieties in collaboration with the USDA.Another study within Chavez’s program is being conducted by UGA doctoral student Bruno Casamali. Under the direction of Chavez and CAES horticultural physiologist Marc van Iersel, Casamali is using the new UGA Griffin Campus peach orchard to conduct irrigation and fertilization tests.“We believe the fertilizer numbers [that Georgia growers] use are based on California studies, which involve totally different climatic conditions [than we have in Georgia],” he said. “We want to make sure that growers apply the best rate for reproductive growth and good foliage in the spring and summer and good, quality fruit with good yield at harvest.”Georgia peach growers traditionally don’t irrigate their trees until the third year of growth, Chavez said.This is the first year of study, which is funded in part by the Georgia Peach Council.According to the 2014 Farm Gate Value Report, peaches grown in Georgia generated a farm gate value of $53.5 million. Peach County produced the most peaches with 2,500 acres, followed by Macon County with 2,060 acres. Peaches are the second most popular fruit grown in Georgia, behind blueberries.In the future, Chavez plans to study new production systems for growing peaches. “I’d like to do density studies and see if planting peaches closer together or farther apart changes the game any while using the new, upcoming rootstocks like MP-29,” he said.
Green Mountain Power Proposes “Solar Rates”to Spur Vermont’s Solar Energy MarketCOLCHESTER, Vt. — Green Mountain Power Corp on May 15, 2008, announced a groundbreaking new approach to accelerate the adoption of solar energy by Vermont homes and businesses.In a request for a new service filed with the Vermont Public Service Board today, Green Mountain Power proposed the adoption of solar net metered electric rates, which are designed to make solar energy an important part of Vermont’s mix of cleaner energy sources.Green Mountain Power Chief Operating Officer Mary Powell said renewable energy sources like solar must play an increasing part in Vermont’s energy future.”This proposal will make solar energy more attractive to homeowners and businesses in Vermont,” Ms. Powell said. “We are doing everything we can to encourage the adoption of solar energy. It is good for Vermont economically and environmentally.”Ms. Powell said such a change in the way Vermonters pay for solar energy could help ease congestion on power lines, delay the need for new power line construction and reduce peak energy demand in hot summer months when demand for energy is highest.Andrew Perchlik, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont, said, “This new service could revolutionize the solar market in Vermont. We are excited that Green Mountain Power has taken a leadership role in promoting solar energy in Vermont.”The program would work in conjunction with existing “net metering” programs in which Vermonters using solar power feed energy back into the grid when it is not needed in the home or business. Under the new solar rates program, customers would now be paid by Green Mountain Power for all solar energy generated at a rate of six cents per kilowatthour above and beyond the nearly 13 cents per kilowatthour net metering benefit.”In summer, sunlight and solar electric production tend to be greatest at the time people are calling for the most electricity through air conditioning and other needs,” Ms. Powell said. “This is a win-win for customers and the growing solar industry in Vermont. Green Mountain Power intends to be a leader in driving the solar energy market.”Powell said the proposal has the following benefits:1. It helps reduce the need for fossil fuel energy sources on the New England electric system.2. It helps accelerate the market for solar energy by offering an attractive rate to customers that is economical for the utility.3. It “shaves” peak demand during high-demand, hot summer days by relying on the sun rather than fossil fuel generation.The new incentive rates, if approved by the Vermont Public Service Board, would be available to all Green Mountain Power customers connected to the electric grid.About Green Mountain PowerGreen Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.biz(link is external)) is an electric utility owned by Northern New England Energy Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gaz Métro, a leading Québec energy company with a long history of investment in Vermont. Green Mountain Power transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves approximately 94,000 customers.– 30 —
Our picks for the best in resort gear will have you enjoying the mountain and looking damn good this season.1. K2 SlaybladeTough, stable, and rockered like a surfboard, the Slayblade is the type of board that will give you confidence anywhere on the mountain. Built with bamboo and featuring an “ollie board” for extra pop, it’s light and snappy—ideal for improvising while bombing down the mountain. But it’s not just for groomed terrain. This freerider floats in the soft stuff and smashes crud. $575; k2snowboarding.com 2. Rossignol Experience 83 TPXBig-mountain powder skis use rockers— curved-up surfboard shapes—to attain flotation in deep powder. But here’s a dirty secret: that shape also makes it easier to initiate turns and ideal for hitting hardpack and even bumps. The Southern skier will relish this rockered board that has enough slice and dice to handle manmade snow, but can still levitate when it does snow (or when you travel West). $500; rossignol.com 3. Nikwax BaseFreshYeah you stink. But this stuff will wash that smell out of the base layer that claimed to be stink-proof, then turned out to eventually hold onto your own personal funk. It works well on workout clothes and yoga mats too. $7.50 (300 ml); nikwax.com4. OR Incandescent HoodieYou could get overwhelmed with the sheer number of puffies on the market these days, but Outdoor Research got creative here by using a quilting pattern that doesn’t just look different but also puts the down where its insulation is most effective. Even better, the light Pertex fabric on the outside allows those goose feathers to loft and hold more warm air. It weighs a mere 17.9 ounces and easily stuffs into a pack. $325; outdoorresearch.com 5. Powderhorn PowderridePowderhorn worked with Gore-Tex to create a four-way waterproof/breathable stretch fabric for this baby—the first use of the material in the U.S. The result is an athletic soft shell with all the protection of a hard shell.$475; powderhornworld.com6. Liberty Retro Light Bamboo PoleLiberty combined pliable bamboo with a carbon core here, making for a light pole that looks stylish yet can handle some abuse. $118; libertyskis.com 7. Zeal Ion HD Camera GoggleYep, nothing beats homemade ski porn (or so we are told) and no helmet cam can compete with these goggles when it comes to keeping a low profile on the hill. The camera is impressive, shooting full 170º wide angle 1080p video and 11 megapixel still photos. $399; zealoptics.com 8. POC FornixThe purpose of a helmet is of course to protect your skull and the Fornix does that better than most thanks to POC’s Aramid Bridge System—which combines outer shell and inner foam to keep the helmet both quite light and to ensure that it stays in one piece during the multiple impacts of a serious fall. Beyond that, it looks damn stylish and features six vents to keep things cool. $160; pocsports.com9. Teva Lifty Chair 5Built with the long, cold, thankless days of lifties in mind but good for everything from winter hiking to getting you to the mountain, these soft boots are stuffed with 3M Thinsulate LiteLoft insulation and wrapped in a waterproof shell. Best of all, they compress down easily for travel. $170; teva.com
When it comes to its rivers, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a special place. Some of its flowing waters are among the oldest in the entire world; they have patiently been eating away at the bedrock for eons. These rivers have also long served as a draw for settlers and visitors alike who continue to seek out the ample opportunities to fish and float among the rapids and eddies. Our rivers also offer some of the best whitewater paddling you can find anywhere—which explains why we see so many kayaks tied to the roofs of cars around our region.But the rivers here also deliver unique paddling opportunities to the less thrill-seeking among us. If a one- or two-day family-friendly float with the chance to stop along the way, pitch a tent, and spark a campfire sounds appealing to you, then read on. We have enlisted the help of three passionate advocates for our mountain rivers—Hartwell Carson, Mark Singleton, and Erin McCombs—who were willing to share some off-the-beaten-path stretches of river in the heart of the mountains that are not only easy to paddle and navigate, but also offer the chance to commune with an incredibly diverse range of aquatic wildlife. Depending on the season, you might even spy far more fish, fowl, and reptiles than you will other people. Well, as long as you don’t tell too many other folks about where you were.The French Broad RiverCarson Suggests:Oskar Blues Brewery /Pisgah Forest Access to Penrose Access AreaIf you happen to spot Hartwell Carson out on the French Broad River, it’s likely his trusted yellow lab mix Junebug is riding shotgun. Whether it’s monitoring the river for sources of pollution like a leaky sewage pipe or picking up trash, Carson spends at least a few days every week floating and paddling the river in his job as the French Broad’s Riverkeeper, which is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a national organization based in New York City dedicated to keeping our rivers, lakes, and stream clean. For ten years, Carson has been patrolling the 213-mile river from its headwaters in Pisgah National Forest to its confluence with the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tenn.Today, Carson is part of MountainTrue, an environmental advocacy group based in Asheville, which continues to play a role in the rebirth of the French Broad as a destination for not just kayakers and tubers out for a lazy afternoon, but also the return of native wildlife like the muskellunge, better known as Muskie.Carson moved to Asheville from Montana after earning a master’s degree in resource management and was immediately drawn to the wide river that cut through town. “Nobody would get into the river 10 or 11 years ago,” says Carson, who grew up in Georgia and visited Asheville in the summers. “But I’d like to credit our work for some of the cleaning up that we’ve seen in recent years.”Carson has also paddled the entire river, including one epic adventure where he and a friend floated the entire 213 miles, a trip that took 16 days and involved eating a lot of bologna. The section of the river that runs through Asheville has become particularly popular with locals and tourists alike as the growing number of outfitters has made it easy and convenient to float or paddle up through the city’s burgeoning River Arts District and up to the Bywater, a much frequented drinking establishment in the summer months. Traffic on the river should surge even more when New Belgium Brewing, which hugs the river, opens in 2015. There’s even momentum to build a whitewater park in the same area.For paddlers looking for a more serene experience on the river, Carson suggests heading south toward the river’s headwaters in Rosman, N.C. Unlike the Asheville section, which tends to be wide and relatively shallow, the upstream sections of the French Broad are more meandering and narrow, Carson says, with plenty of river birch and overhanging foliage to make it feel almost like you’re traveling through a tunnel at times.A great stretch Carson recommends for some stress-free flat-water paddling begins near the Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard at the Pisgah Forest Access area on Wilson Rd., which has ample parking and a concrete ramp to help launch watercraft. You then paddle north as you snake past some farms and pasture land until the Davidson River joins the French Broad, which picks up some steam with the addition of all that fast-moving mountain water.This part of the river is also known as the “muskie mile” in honor of the giant prehistoric fish that lurk beneath the surface. The fish, which can reach three-feet-long and weigh more than 20 pounds each, now thrive in the river thanks to a fishery, the southernmost one dedicated to muskie in the U.S., which has helped rebuild the population of the species after it was wiped out by a chemical spill back in the 1940s. Though he’s tried countless times, Carson says he has yet to catch an elusive muskie. “They call them the fish of ten thousand casts,” he says.After paddling for another five miles or so you’ll float by the Little River Campsite, a primitive paddle-in-only site that kicks off the French Broad Paddle Trail, which is a series of six campsites along the river that Carson helped establish. Would-be paddle-campers can visit the site frenchbroadpaddle.com to make reservations and extend their river adventures into multi-day affairs.But if you’re interested in making more of a day trip of things, keep paddling for another mile or so until you reach the Penrose Access Area, a fairly new addition for the river that has a boat ramp, floating dock and plenty of space to keep the car you dropped off earlier that day.The Little TennesseeSingleton Suggests:Needmore Rd to U.S. 19., at Fontana LakeAs you’re entering the town of Franklin, NC, it can be easy to miss that you’ve crossed the Little Tennessee River, or “Little T” as locals know it. While there’s a fine greenway that stretches north along the river’s banks for a few miles, the river itself flows unimpeded for some 24 miles from town until eventually being swallowed by the waters of Fontana Lake, which is created by the Fontana Dam.Just a few miles north and downstream of town, the river enters some relatively remote and unpopulated territory that makes for some scintillating flat-water paddling on some of the cleanest and clearest water in the region. “This is a fun class II section, especially with kids,” says Mark Singleton, the director of American Whitewater, a non-profit dedicated to conserving and restoring America’s whitewater resources.Singleton lives in nearby Cullowhee where his wife is a teacher at Western Carolina University. He moved to the area back in the 1990s to work for the Nantahala Outdoor Center before eventually taking over the director’s role at American Whitewater, where he’s been for the past 10 years. Singleton says he has long been a conservationist and has worked to support recreational access to other nearby rivers like the Tuckasegee, Nantahala, and Cheoah.Singleton admits he prefers kayaking steeper whitewater or local Class III rapids. But when he’s up for something slower, he and his family truck over to the Little T for some relaxed summer floating.One advantage the Little T has over some of its neighbors like the Nantahala, Singleton says, is that it’s both less crowded and warmer. When you combine those factors with how clear the water is, it makes for prime snorkeling opportunities. While that might at first seem counterintuitive—You can snorkel in a river?—the Little T offers Caribbean-like opportunities to spot multi-colored fish (especially during spawning season) of a startling variety such as largemouth bass, rock bass, perch, walleye, red-horse sucker, bream, bluegill, catfish, as well as many species of minnow. If you’re patient, you may even spy a giant salamander called a hellbender, which can grow up to 2.5 feet long. All that wildlife helps explain why the Little T will soon be designated a Native Fish Conservation Area. You might even see Native American fish weirs along the river as you paddle.While you could float the entire 24-mile stretch from Franklin to Fontana Lake, Singleton recommends the six-mile section that begins along Needmore Road, about 13 miles north of Franklin, as a great day trip.Drive up Rt. 28, Bryson City Rd., and then turn left over the bridge on Tellico Road to the gravel section of Needmore Rd. along the river, where you’ll find a series of excellent put ins as you travel downstream.One feature to look for is the suspension bridge that spans the river, which was originally built to allow farm kids to catch the school bus in the days before quality roads existed on both sides of the river.Your paddling adventure continues until you reach the take out at the bridge under U.S. 19, which involves a bit of a rocky climb to get from the river to your dropped car. You could also continue on into the lake itself.Along the way you will see plenty of wildlife, forest, and farmland, but very few homes. There are also ample camping and picnicking opportunities along both banks of the river—as well as on several of the islands that have dug themselves in midstream.One drawback of the Little T is that it can get shallow, especially during the summer when there hasn’t been a lot of rain. Singleton suggests checking out the U.S. Geological Survey gauges available online before heading to the river and waiting for a measurement of at least 1,000 cfs to ensure enough clearance over the river’s pebbly bottom.The only hazard on the river is a set of potentially nasty rapids that sit midstream right before you reach the takeout. But, if you’ve picked a day where the water is running high enough, “you might not even know you’ve run them,” Singleton says.The New RiverMcCombs Suggests:New River State Park in North Carolina to Rte. 93 on the Virginia State LineDid you know that some of the oldest rivers in the entire world are right here in the Appalachians? The most ancient of them all just might be the New River, which geologists believe could have begun flowing some 360 million years ago. The New gets it start by meandering through the town of Boone, N.C. as it continues flowing some 320 miles north into Virginia and West Virginia, where, near the town of Fayetteville, it spills over into the New River Gorge. Every summer, thousands of eager rafters and kayakers flock to the Gorge to tackle its series of challenging Class III and V rapids.But the New River offers more than just whitewater thrills, says Erin McCombs, the associate conservation director for American Rivers, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to protecting and restoring our nation’s rivers. In particular, McCombs focuses on the potential for dam removal projects in the Southern Appalachian region.McCombs, who grew up near the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn., studied biology at Appalachian State University in Boone where she first fell in love with our region’s wide-ranging biodiversity. “I continue to be in awe of the different species and habitats we have here,” she says. While she had dreamed of becoming a marine biologist growing up, McCombs increasingly became fascinated by the life teeming in the region’s multitude of rivers. As part of her master’s degree, she studied under Dr. Michael Gangloff, a malacologist, or expert on mollusks, who has been tracking the progress of how freshwater mussels on the New River are making a comeback. “Freshwater mussels are like environmental sentinels,” says McCombs. “Since they are filter feeders and need clean water free of pollution like sediment, freshwater mussels are a good indicator of the quality of the stream.”A wide variety of fish now thrive in the cleaner waters of the river, including smallmouth bass—known as black bass—as well as muskie, flathead catfish, and even walleye. The New River is also home to plenty of wildlife that live above the waterline as well, including a wide variety of songbirds, wood ducks, kingfishers, and red-winged blackbirds.A great place to start a journey on the river, says McCombs, is at the New River State Park, which is about an hour or so north of Boone near the town of Jefferson. The park is a beautiful wedge of land bordering the river that could be a camping, hiking, and picnicking destination all on its own. You can also pick up helpful maps and tips at the park’s ranger station to help you plan your journey. Put your boat in at the ramp at Wagoner Access point where the water gets lit up by the dappled sunlight that sneaks through the abundant trees and foliage bordering the river.The river runs unimpeded from the park all the way up to the Virginia border, a stretch of some 27 miles that was designated a National Scenic River in 1976. There are multiple takeout points along the way you can use to build-your-own daytrip. You’ll also have to portage around a low bridge a few miles downstream from the park.If you have the time, McCombs recommends making it an overnight trip by taking advantage of a couple of different camping options you’ll find along the way such as the paddle-in campgrounds available at U.S. 221 and later at the Alleghany County Access near the Virginia border. There’s also a commercial camping site available just south of Route 93 in Virginia.McCombs remembers fondly paddling and camping on this very route just a few years ago, and talking about it made her excited to return and do it all over again. “It’s a nice rural escape and it felt like we had the river to ourselves for miles and miles,” she says.
This short film by bikepacking enthusiast and bicycle branding pioneer Dwayne Burgess chronicles a five-day backpacking trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Burgess began chronicling his backpacking adventures on his website Manual Pedal after biking from New York to San Francisco.“There were’t too many specific plans that we put into place for this trip,” Burgess says in the film. “We just knew we’d spend five days on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading south. I think we both wanted to ride our bikes to explore and sequester ourselves in the mountains.”
The Vanguardia’s 72-member crew, which included a group from the Uruguayan Antarctic Institute (UAI), left the port of Montevideo en route to the base on Antarctica’s King George Island on January 4th. “Its mission is to transport all of the supplies and fuel to be used at the scientific base in 2016,” Uruguayan Navy Rear Admiral Daniel Núñez, UAI’s president, said during an interview with Diálogo. Every year the power generators consume approximately 150,000 liters of diesel fuel, which allows for the normal operation of the base, according to a February 2014 press release by Uruguay’s Office of the President. “The Vanguardia’s operations were accompanied by the Uruguayan Air Force (FAU). During the operation, five flights were conducted by FAU Hercules C-130 aircraft,” Rear Adm. Núñez explained. “Many of the scientists were transported by these aircraft. Uruguayan Air Force assists As part of Operation Antarkos XXXII, the Uruguayan Naval vessel ROU 26 “Vanguardia” successfully conducted supply operations and logistical support at the Artigas Antarctic Scientific Base. The Vanguardia’s crew also carried out surveillance operations to combat illegal fishing. During Operation Antarkos XXXII, the Vanguardia successfully transported 260,000 liters of diesel fuel. The fuel “will serve to generate electricity and power the vehicles at the base. For the first time, the base will have an inventory of reserves for contingencies at the base’s new fuel tank park,” the Navy stated in a January 22nd press release. The Vanguardia also transferred 35 tons of food as well as building materials, engines, and a vehicle for snow removal. The resupply of the scientific base was divided into two stages. The first included the discharge of the first 150,000 liters of fuel and a portion of the raw materials that were loaded in Uruguay. Next, the boat stopped at the Chilean port of Punta Arenas, where it loaded the remaining 110,000 liters of fuel and additional supplies for the Vanguardia and the Artigas Antarctic Scientific Base, according to the Uruguayan Navy. Members of the Armed Forces deployed to the base perform logistical work and maintenance. Uruguay’s other scientific base is the Ruperto Elichiribehety Antarctic Research Station. Combating illegal fishing The FAU’s first plane flew on December 1, 2015, followed by the Vanguardia’s departure. “The mission was fulfilled in compliance with the guidelines for fuel storage and transfer from ship to shore. Personnel from the Artigas Antarctic Scientific Base also rotated in and out,” Rear Adm. Núñez added. Founded in 1984, the Artigas Antarctic Scientific Base relies on support from the UAI and the Ministry of National Defense. This unit is run by 10 Uruguayan Armed Forces members who ensure its operation for use by scientists. It’s currently overseen by Uruguayan Army Major Alejandro Capelutto. “The crews on board the Vanguardia and the FAU aircraft have special safety training for navigating in icy waters and conducting extreme survival measures,” Rear Adm. Núñez said. “The crew members may encounter a number of significant obstacles, such as inaccessible places where the ice caps prevent navigation. The breakdown in Potter Cove was minor. The ship has the capacity to deal with such situations. The most important thing is to fulfill the mission.” By Dialogo February 23, 2016 During Operation Antarkos XXXII, the Vanguardia conducted surveillance on vessels in the area delimited by the Antarctic Treaty to combat illegal fishing, as recommended by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, of which Uruguay is a member. On board the Vanguardia, crew members conducted scientific activities, meteorological studies, hydrographic surveys, and oceanographic tasks. The Vanguardia rescue and submarine rescue vessel, which utilizes a 45-member crew, was constructed in 1976 and has an autonomous range of 30 days of continuous sailing. It can reach a speed of 23 kilometers per hour and measures 72 meters in length. Operation Antarkos is the name used to designate the Uruguayan expedition conducted annually in Antarctica. The operation is regulated by the Marine Pollution Prevention and Contingency Plan established by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic, according to UAI’s report A History of the BCCAA (Artigas Antarctic Scientific Base), 25 Years. “Illegal fishing affects many parts of the world,” Rear Adm. Núñez stated. “Uruguay, as a member of the Antarctic Treaty, has a commitment to the protection of living resources – always conducting surveillance to discourage undeclared fishing. We conduct exploratory voyages to determine if there are ships carrying out unlawful acts and, if we locate any, we duly report them.” The Uruguayan government’s goal is to maintain its presence in Antarctica. “Our country’s strategy in Antarctica allows us to relate on various issues with other countries with maritime and fishing resources,” Deputy Secretary of National Defense Jorge Menéndez said during the transfer of authorities at the Uruguayan Antarctic Institute on February 4th, according to the Office of the President of Uruguay.