Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Start Your New Year Off Right With A First Day Hike At A Montana State Park

Start 2021 off on the right foot with a First Day Hike at a state park near you.

On Jan. 1, Montana State Parks will host First Day Hikes at Lone Pine State Park, Flathead Lake State Park (Wayfarers, West Shore or Big Arm units) Makoshika State Park, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Cooney Reservoir State Park, Travelers’ Rest State Park and Bannack State Park. Being immersed in nature has never been more important for mental health and physical wellbeing. These fun and informative hikes are open to all ages and are family friendly. 

You can find more information on Montana State Parks First Day Hikes here.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Elk Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Grand Teton

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Wildlife Health Laboratory confirmed on December 16 that an elk in Grand Teton National Park tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The cow elk was harvested by a participant in the park’s elk reduction program and tissue samples were collected as part of the park’s mandatory testing program. This is the first elk to test positive for CWD in northwest Wyoming and in close proximity to elk feedgrounds.

To date, there have been no cases of CWD in humans and no strong evidence for the occurrence of CWD in people. However, experimental studies raise the concern that CWD may pose a risk to humans and suggest that it is important to prevent human exposure. Therefore, the Game and Fish and National Park Service adhere to the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization that hunters not consume any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD.

Wildlife managers say that while the positive test in an elk raises concern, the positive test result does not come as a surprise based on the steady progression of the disease westward across the state and the positive result for a mule deer in Grand Teton National Park in the fall of 2018. A mule deer also tested positive for CWD in Star Valley in 2016, the Pinedale area in 2017, and two mule deer in the Wyoming Range in 2020.

Intensive CWD surveillance of the Jackson elk herd has been ongoing since 2009. Over 4,500 CWD samples have been collected and tested for the entire Jackson elk herd with more than 1,400 samples collected through the park’s elk reduction program alone, and this is the first elk to test positive. State, federal and other agencies within the Jackson and Greater Yellowstone area will continue to coordinate on efforts to address CWD.

The positive test result for an elk in northwest Wyoming comes as Game and Fish and partnering federal agencies recently began a public collaborative effort to discuss the future management of elk feedgrounds in Wyoming. While Game and Fish is actively accepting public comment on state-managed elk feedgrounds through this public process, there is no plan to close any feedgrounds.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Last Minute Shoppers - There's Still Time!

Christmas is just over a week away! The good news is that you still have time to purchase stocking stuffers for all your favorite hikers. If you need a gift idea, both the paperback and E-book versions of my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, are available on Amazon. If you order now you'll still have plenty of time to have shipped to your home.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the 19th century, the first trails built specifically for hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel. It also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, such as Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is a great stocking stuffer for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

For more information, and to purchase on Amazon, please click here.

Once again, thank you very much!



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Monday, December 14, 2020

Survey Results: Montanans' views on grizzly bears

A new survey of Montanans shows positive attitudes toward grizzly bears and support for the presence of grizzly bears within the state, however acceptance of bear presence in areas closer to residential and agricultural areas is lower than in remote public land areas.

Researchers with the University of Montana worked with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists to better understand Montanans’ perspectives about grizzly bears and grizzly bear management in Montana. A survey questionnaire was mailed to over 5,000 households randomly selected from across Montana, and 1,783 adults responded between November 2019 and January 2020. The survey’s confidence interval is plus or minus 3.5 percent. A summary of the results and the full survey is available to read online: https://www.cfc.umt.edu/research/humandimensions/news/human-dimensions-grizzly-bear.php.

Trust in FWP to manage grizzly bears is relatively high, according to the survey, but Montanans’ report diverse views regarding the success of grizzly bear management and their satisfaction with that management in the state. More specific details are listed below.

* Most Montanans agree or strongly agree (92%) that grizzly bears have a right to exist in Montana, and 86% find it acceptable for bears to live in primarily forested areas that are publicly owned. When asked if grizzly bears do not belong where people live, the responses are more evenly divided: 35% agreed or strongly agreed, and 43% disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement.

* 57% disagree or strongly disagree that grizzly bears limit their recreational opportunities; however, 23% agree or strongly agree with that statement. When asked about their emotional response to seeing a grizzly bear from a distance while walking, more Montanans report they would be nervous, scared, and upset than those that report they would be relaxed, not scared, and pleased.

* 19% of Montanans agree or strongly agree that their personal safety is threatened by grizzly bears (19%), or that grizzly bears pose a safety risk to people they care about (28%).

* 60% agree or strongly agree that people should learn to live with grizzly bears near their homes, whereas 20% disagree or strongly disagree with this notion. When asked about taking actions to reduce grizzly bear-human conflict on their own property, willingness was high for securing attractants but lower for actions related to livestock.

* Almost all Montanans (94%) report they have or would be willing to carry bear spray while recreating or hunting.

* 49% support enough hunting to manage grizzly bear population size; 30% support a very limited season that does not affect the grizzly bear population size; and, 4% support as much grizzly bear hunting as possible. 17% believe grizzly bears should never be hunted in Montana.

The publication of these survey results follows the conclusion of a separate year-long effort involving the Governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council. The council, which featured 18 citizens from across the state, completed a report of recommendations and input on the future of grizzly bear management and conservation in Montana last month. The council’s report, this survey, and other public inputs will continue to inform grizzly bear management in Montana.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Glacier National Park Launches “Headwaters” Podcast

Glacier National Park, in partnership with the Glacier National Park Conservancy, is proud to present the launch of Headwaters podcast.

"This is exactly the kind of innovative project that is going to drive the future of connectivity between the park and the community," said Doug Mitchell, Executive Director of the Glacier National Park Conservancy. "We need to meet people where they are, and podcasts have become an important source of information for people of all ages looking to dig a bit more deeply into issues they care about," Mitchell continued.

Co-hosted by park rangers Andrew Smith and Michael Faist, the seven-part podcast covers topics such as melting glaciers, world-class geologic features, the deep significance the area holds for native tribes, and the challenges of pit toilet pumping.

"It's been a treat working with Michael and Andrew on the Headwaters podcast series,” says Mitchell. “They are smart, engaging, and have a great sense of humor. In my view, they strike just the right tone in bringing serious information to the listener in an accessible way."

Many in-person park services were unavailable during the 2020 season due to COVID-19. The podcast allows rangers to keep telling Glacier's story without putting visitors or themselves at risk.

"It's always been my job here at Glacier to share the park with others; as an interpretive ranger giving campground talks, or as an education ranger leading snowshoe field trips," says co-host Michael Faist. “Since we couldn’t do those in-person programs this year the podcast was a perfect project to still be able to connect with visitors.”

"There’s something for everyone in this show, and we hope visitors will join us on this fascinating and enlightening journey,” says co-host Andrew Smith. “Headwaters will be a great platform for visitors to receive important and interesting information for years to come.”

To listen, visit the park website at go.nps.gov/headwaters or wherever you get your podcasts.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Women’s Hiking Attire During The Victorian Era

The following is a short excerpt from my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking:

For women, hiking attire during the Victorian Era was an extremely complicated affair. The subject was frequently discussed and debated throughout the pages of Appalachia during the first decade of the Appalachian Mountain Club. The December 1887 issue of Appalachia ran a lengthy article by Mrs. L. D. Pychowska on the “walking-costume for ladies.” It provided head to toe advice on how women should dress for a hike. This included wearing a grey flannel trouser beneath two skirts. The under skirt, which reached to just below the knee, was also to be made of grey flannel. The outer skirt, however, was to be made of winsey or Kentucky jean, both of which were considered to be strong enough to withstand tears from walking through briers and undergrowth. The outer skirt was also meant to be worn to ankle length. However, if the hiker were to find herself climbing steep terrain she could simply pull out a strong clasp pin and raise the skirt higher, “washwomen fashion,” until the difficult section was completed. “Basquines,” or corsets, were optional apparel according to the author. At the end of the piece the writer assured her readers that her recommendations on female tramping attire would be “sufficiently presentable to enter a hotel or a railroad car” after a long tramp through the woods, “without attracting uncomfortable attention.”


The true realities of wearing a “costume” such as this were not considered or debated in Mrs. Pychowska’s article. Conversely, a passage in an article from the June 1877 issue of Appalachia put an exclamation point on the true dangers women faced as a result of the clothing they were forced to wear while tramping. The author related the story of a guided hike on Mt. Washington during the prior year. While descending Tuckerman Ravine one of the ladies in the group paused momentarily to stand atop a large rock above a 25-foot outcrop. Unbeknownst to the hiker, her tattered dress had become caught on a sharp protrusion on the rock. When she attempted to jump to another large rock the snag violently jolted her back, and left her dangling upside down above the abyss. Fortunately her mountain guide was nearby and was able to pull her to safety before falling.


In one particular instance the burdensome attire that women were expected to wear may have been at least partially responsible for the death of one hiker. On September 13, 1855, 22-year-old Lizzie Bourne of Kennebunk, Maine became the first woman to die while climbing Mt. Washington, and quite possibly the first woman to die while hiking in America. On that late summer day Lizzie had planned to hike to the Tip Top House atop Mount Washington with her uncle George and her cousin Lucy. As a result of early morning rain, however, the trio was forced to postpone the start of their trip. Just after lunch the weather finally cleared and they set out by trekking up the partially completed carriage road. However, as they continued towards the summit of the peak, the threesome encountered another round of bad weather while proceeding along the Glen House Bridle Path, which continued to worsen as they climbed higher. In a letter to the Boston Journal, which was intended to provide “a correct account of the whole affair,” George Bourne attested that as they ascended towards the summit, “Elizabeth began to show signs of weariness, and needed assistance.” As night fell upon the mountain, darkness and fog completely obscured the view of their destination. Fatigue had also crept in on each of the hikers. Not knowing where they were, or how far they were from their destination, the trio made the decision to lie down on the trail and wait out the night. Despite building a wind break from nearby rocks, George was convinced that each of them would perish due to the extreme cold and the violent wind. Indeed, that night, around ten o'clock, Lizzie quietly passed away while lying on the trail. In his letter to the Boston Journal, Bourne stated that it was “evident that Elizabeth did not die from the cold alone, but from some organic affection of the heart or lungs, induced by fatigue and exposure.”

With the arrival of daylight the next morning George and Lucy tragically discovered that they were within sight of the Tip Top House. Had they known that they were that close they could’ve easily made it to safety, and Lizzie likely would’ve survived. After her death tourists and hikers began piling stones on the spot where Ms. Bourne died. A stone monument now stands on that same spot to mark and commemorate her passing.

Did Lizzie’s attire contribute to her death? Perhaps. She wore a heavy skirt, petticoat, pantaloons and stockings. Nicholas Howe, author of Not Without Peril: 150 Years Of Misadventure On The Presidential Range Of New Hampshire, estimates that Lizzie may have worn as much as 45 yards of fabric! When this outfit became soaked in cold rain there’s no doubt this would’ve weighed her down, resulting in more stress on her heart, and certainly would have accelerated the effects of fatigue, exposure and hypothermia.

While Mrs. Pychowska was espousing the benefits of wearing the proper costume to coincide with the mores of the Victorian Era, there was a long debate, at least among female members in the Appalachian Mountain Club, about what women should wear while hiking. During the May 9th meeting chronicled in the June 1877 edition of Appalachia, a Miss Whitman suggested that skirts be designed in a manner so that they “could be shortened to any necessary extent by rolling it up.” A Mrs. Nowell discussed the “disadvantage of ladies on mountain excursions on account of their long skirts, and recommended the use of gymnasium dresses or something similar, as an outside garment for such occasions.” In that same edition of Appalachia, Mrs. W.G. Nowell, one of the founding members of the club, and presumably the same Mrs. Nowell who spoke out during the May 9th meeting, published an article titled, “A Mountain Suit for Women.” In this piece Harriet Nowell once again took issue with the garb women were expected to wear during this era. She also mentioned the discussions she had with other women about the impracticalities and dangers of women’s hiking attire. Apparently they had carefully deliberated over what their alternatives were, and presented one possible solution: “The only thing we could think of was a good flannel bathing suit.” Mrs. Nowell continued by stating that they “could not see why it should be more improper to wear this” suit while hiking, “than it would be along a crowded and fashionable beach.” She went on to make the point that women would be “relieved of the excessive weight of her ordinary dress,“ thus allowing them to carry their own gear. She concluded her piece by declaring that “Our dress has done all the mischief. For years it has kept us away from the glory of the woods and the grandeur of the mountain heights. It is time we should reform.”

An article published on the Tramp and Trail Club of Utica website notes that by the 1920s women had solved the problem of impractical skirts by stuffing them in knapsacks once they had reached the trailhead, and then putting them back on before returning to town. Bold and daring women eschewed skirts altogether and simply wore knickers with long socks from their home. An online exhibit on the Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University website, titled, Taking the Lead: Women and the White Mountains, notes that skirts had virtually disappeared by the mid-1910s, and by the 1930s women were wearing clothes similar to what female hikers wear today, including shorts and halter tops.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking chronicles the history of the first hikers, trails and hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel, including many other stories about the attire both men and women wore during the early years of the sport. You can find the book on Amazon by clicking here.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Free Entrance Days for National Parks in 2021

The Trump Administration announced this past week that all National Park Service sites will have six entrance fee-free days in 2021. The fee-free days are part of the Administration’s unprecedented commitment to increase access, promote recreational opportunities, improve visitor facilities and conserve natural and historical treasures in national parks for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people.

The dates for 2021 are:

Monday, January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Saturday, April 17 – First Day of National Park Week
Wednesday, August 4 – One year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
Wednesday, August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
Saturday, September 25 – National Public Lands Day
Thursday, November 11 – Veterans Day

“Each of the fee-free days celebrates or commemorates a significant event, including the establishment earlier this year by President Trump of the Great American Outdoors Act. The legislation marks the single largest investment ever in national parks and will result in enhanced facilities and expanded recreational prospects for all visitors,” said Margaret Everson, Counselor to the Secretary, exercising the delegated authority of the National Park Service Director. “Throughout the country, every national park provides a variety of opportunities to get out in nature, connect with our common heritage and experience the vast array of benefits that come from spending time outdoors. Hopefully the fee-free days will encourage everyone to spend some time in their national parks.”

There are more than 400 National Park Service sites nationwide, with at least one in every state. Approximately 100 charge an entrance fee, with costs ranging from $5 to $35. The other 300-plus national parks do not have entrance fees.

Earlier this year, Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt signed Secretary’s Orders 3386 and 3387, granting veterans, Gold Star Families and fifth graders free access to all national parks, wildlife refuges and other Federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior. Veterans and Gold Star Families will have free access forever, while fifth grade students were granted the reprieve through this academic year as some of last year’s fourth graders may have been unable to make full use of the Every Kid Outdoors Annual Fourth Grade Pass due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Active duty military and fourth grade students will continue to have free access with discounted passes also available for senior citizens. For other visitors who love visiting our public lands, the annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is a great option, which allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks.

Last year, 327 million people visited national parks and spent $21 billion in local communities. This supported 340,500 jobs across the country and had a $41.7 billion impact on the U.S. economy.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Winter Recreation Begins in Grand Teton

Travel on the majority of the Teton Park Road, Moose-Wilson Road, and Signal Mountain Summit Road within Grand Teton National Park is now open to over-snow access only. The designated portions of these roads now accommodate winter recreation, and the use of wheeled vehicles is prohibited for the season.

Once snow begins to accumulate on the roadbeds, the status is changed to over-snow access and approved winter activities such as cross-country skiing, skate skiing, and snowshoeing become possible. Bicycles, including, snow/fat/electric bikes, are not permitted on roads designated for over-snow access. Bikes are allowed on roadways open to motor vehicle use in Grand Teton National Park.

The 14-mile section of the Teton Park Road between the Taggart Lake Trailhead and Signal Mountain Lodge will be groomed approximately three times a week dependent on snow and weather conditions.

* Tuesdays- Four lanes groomed Taggart to South Jenny Lake

* Fridays- Two lanes groomed Taggart to Signal Mountain

* Sundays- Four lanes groomed Taggart to South Jenny Lake

Grooming is anticipated to begin soon and will continue through mid-March, as conditions allow. Grooming is made possible through the financial support of Grand Teton National Park Foundation and a Federal Highway Administration Recreational Trails Program grant managed by the State of Wyoming. For grooming updates, call the park’s road information line at 307-739-3682.

Parking will be modified this winter to help facilitate snow plowing activities and additional parking for day-use, backcountry and Teton Park Road recreationists. Parking will be allowed at Taggart Lake Trailhead and on the west side of the road south of the trailhead. New this winter, parking will also be available north of Taggart at the Cottonwood Creek Picnic Area and along the west side of the road across from the picnic area. Backcountry-users who plan to stay in the backcountry overnight are encouraged to use the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking, while day-users are encouraged to park along the west side of the road and at the Cottonwood Creek Picnic Area. Porta potties will be available.

Visitors planning to recreate on the northern portion of the Teton Park Road for winter activities are encouraged to park at the Signal Mountain Lodge Parking Area. The lodge provides restroom facilities, telephone access and pay-at-the-pump gasoline for winter recreationalists.

Generally, pets are only permitted along park roadways open to motor vehicle use. However, pets are allowed on the over-snow access portions of the Teton Park Road and Moose-Wilson Road by special exception. Pets are not allowed in the backcountry. For the safety of wildlife, pets and visitors, pets must be leashed at all times. Pet owners are required to pick up waste. Dog sledding and ski joring are not allowed in the park.

Additional Winter Recreation Activities:

* For winter backcountry permits, visitors can receive a permit by calling the park’s permit office at 307-739-3309 Monday through Friday, and Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3301 on weekends. Permits are available 24 hours in advance and are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry.

* Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are not scheduled for the 2020-21 winter season.

* Winter activities at Colter Bay include winter camping, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, and ice fishing on Jackson Lake. Winter camping is allowed in the parking lot adjacent to the Colter Bay Visitor Center from December 1 through April 15, with a $5 per night fee.

* Visitors should respect all winter wildlife closures within the park These closures are in place to protect animals during a challenging time of the year as they adapt to survive the winter.

* Always maintain a safe distance of at least 100 yards from bears and wolves, and 25 yards from all other wildlife. Please let wildlife thrive undisturbed.

* Several businesses and organizations provide a variety of visitor services in the park through a contract or permit with the National Park Service. Services include guided cross-country ski and snowshoe tours, wildlife viewing tours and photography workshops.

For more information about winter activities in Grand Teton, visit the park’s webpage at www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/winter.htm.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Key Milestones in Hiking

The following timeline was adapted from my book, Ramble On: How Hiking Became One of the Most Popular Outdoor Activities in the World:

Over the last several decades the sport of hiking has become one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world. According to the latest National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, 33.9% of all Americans above the age of 15 participated in hiking during the period between 2005 and 2009. This trend, however, leads to the burning question; when did people begin taking to the trail for pleasure? Since the dawn of humankind men and women have walked the earth to hunt, gather wild edible plants, explore, trade goods with neighboring communities, and migrate to other regions. At some point in our long evolution we as humans realized that there doesn’t have to be a utilitarian reason for walking. Somewhere along the line we discovered the joy of traipsing through the woods, observing the beauty of a wildflower, seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, marveling at the roar of a waterfall, or contemplating the awe-inspiring views from the top of a mountain. Is this a recent phenomenon, or is this an innate characteristic of human beings? No matter the answer to that question, here are the key milestones in the history of hiking that has led to its popularity today:

~3300 BCE: In 1991 two German tourists found the mummified remains of “Otzi the Iceman” in the Ă–tztal Alps along the Austrian–Italian border. Although scientists aren’t entirely sure what this late-Neolithic man was doing at an elevation hovering just over 10,500 feet, there are some that speculate that he may have been an early mountaineer. More importantly, the remnants of the rucksack that he carried on his back is the oldest rucksack ever found.

125: The 2nd century Roman Emperor, Hadrian, hiked to the summit of Mt. Etna on Sicily to see the sunrise, making this earliest recorded hike for pleasure.

1642: Darby Field makes the first recorded ascent of Mt. Washington, which would become the focus of the first tourist destination in the United States in the late 1700s.

1760: The Industrial Revolution begins in Great Britain, and is generally recognized as lasting until the start of World War I. The Industrial Revolution gave rise to the labor movement, automobiles, environmentalism, club culture, and even art. As a result, it is arguably the single most important event to spur the development of hiking and walking for pleasure.

1778: Thomas West, an English priest, publishes A Guide to the Lakes, a detailed account of the scenery and landscape of the Lake District in northwestern England. The guide helped to popularize the idea of walking for pleasure, and is credited as being one of the first travel guides.

1786: The modern era of mountaineering is marked by the first ascent of 15,771-foot Mont Blanc in France, the tallest peak in the Alps.

1799: Williams College (of Massachusetts) President Ebenezer Fitch ascends Mt. Greylock with two other companions.

1819: Abel Crawford, along with his son Ethan, blaze an 8.25-mile trail to the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. The path is recognized as the oldest continually used hiking trail in the United States, and is likely the first footpath in the entire world to be built specifically for recreational hiking.

1830: A crew of 100 students and professors from Williams College blaze the Hopper Trail to the summit of Mt. Greylock. Later that same year students constructed a 37-foot wooden tower atop the mountain. This tower, and its replacement, were maintained into the 1850s, and were used for sightseeing and scientific observations.

1850: The Exploring Circle is founded by Cyrus M. Tracey and three other men from Lynn, Massachusetts. The National Park Service recognizes the club as being “the first hiking club in New England", thus, in all likelihood, making it the first hiking club in the world.

1854: The beginning of the systematic sport of modern mountaineering as we essentially know it today is marked by the ascent of the Wetterhorn in the Swiss Alps by Sir Alfred Wills. His book, Wanderings Among the High Alps, published two years later, helped make mountaineering fashionable in Britain, and ushered in the systematic exploration of the Alps by British mountaineers. These events also marked the beginning of the so-called “Golden Age of Alpinism”.

1857: The world's first mountaineering club, the Alpine Club, was founded in London.

1863: Professor Albert Hopkins of Williams College founds the Alpine Club of Williamstown, whose stated mission was “to explore the interesting places in the vicinity, to become acquainted, to some extent at least, with the natural history of the localities, and also to improve the pedestrian powers of the members”. It was the first hiking club to accept women as members, which likely provided an important template for future hiking clubs.

1867: John Muir begins a 1000-mile walk from Indiana to Florida, which was recounted in his book, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. The trek launched a lifetime career of hiking and wilderness advocacy. His conservation efforts, articles and books would help to establish several national parks during and after his lifetime.

1872: Yellowstone becomes the world’s first national park after legislation is signed by President U.S. Grant.

1876: The Appalachian Mountain Club, America’s oldest recreational organization, is founded to explore and protect the trails and mountains of New England.

1876: Newtown, England entrepreneur Pryce Pryce-Jones designs the "Euklisia Rug", considered by many to be the forerunner of the modern sleeping bag. The rug included a wool blanket with a pocket at the top for a sewn-in, inflatable, rubber pillow. Once inside, the camper (or soldier) folded the blanket over and fastened it together, thus keeping themselves “snug in a rug”.

1877: English writer Louis Jennings publishes Field Paths and Green Lanes: Being Country Walks, Chiefly in Surrey and Sussex, which is likely the first trail guide to be published anywhere in the world.

1879: One of the first hiking clubs in England, the "Sunday Tramps", was founded by Leslie White. These early “rambling” (the English word for hiking or walking) clubs sprang up in the northern areas of England as part of a campaign for the legal "right to roam", a response to the fact that much of the land in England was privately owned.

1887: The first external frame rucksack is patented by Colonel Henry C. Merriam.

1922: Australian climber George Finch designs and wears a knee-length eiderdown parka during the 1922 British Everest Expedition. The shell of the coat was made from the waterproofed-cotton fabric of a hot-air balloon, which was filled with duck down. During the expedition Finch and climbing partner Geoffrey Bruce reached a height of 27,300 feet during their summit attempt, which set the record for the highest altitude attained by any human up to that point.

1922: Lloyd F. Nelson submits his application to the U.S. Patent Office for his "Trapper Nelson's Indian Pack Board", which is acknowledged to be the first commercially successful external-frame backpack to be sold in the U.S. The "Trapper Nelson" featured a wooden "pack board" as its frame. Attached to the frame was a canvas sack that contained the hiker's gear, which rested on the hiker's body by two canvas shoulder-straps. Prior to his invention most hikers used a rucksack, which was essentially a loose sack with shoulder straps.

1930: The Green Mountain Club completes construction of the Long Trail, making it the first long-distance hiking trail in the United States.

1937: Italian climber and mountaineering guide, Vitale Bramani, invents Carrarmato, or “tank tread". This new rubber lug pattern provides mountaineering boots with outstanding traction, and allows them to be used on a variety of surfaces. The product is launched under the brand name "Vibram".

1937: America's first “grand” trail, the Appalachian Trail, was completed in August of 1937. A forester by the name of Benton MacKaye conceived the idea in 1921.

1948: Earl Shaffer becomes the first person to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

1967: Climber Greg Lowe invents the internal frame backpack. The “Expedition Pack” also featured the first adjustable back system, first side compressors, first sternum strap and the first load stabilizers.

1968: The National Trails System Act is passed by Congress, resulting in thousands of miles of trails being designated as National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails.

1969: Bob Gore accidentally stretches a heated rod of polytetrafluoroethylene by almost 800%, which forms a microporous structure that was roughly 70% air. The discovery was introduced to the public under the trademark of "Gore-Tex", which became the first breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabric.

1992: Ray Jardine introduces the concept of ultralight backpacking with the release of his book, The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook. During his first PCT thru-hike Jardine’s pack weighed just 25 pounds. By his third hike it weighed less than 9 pounds. “Ray’s Way” of thinking has led to several innovations that have benefitted both backpackers and hikers.

This timeline is only a brief overview of the people, events, inventions and social trends that have helped to shape the sport of hiking as we know it today. If you enjoyed this short snippet of hiking history, please check out my book, Ramble On: How Hiking Became One of the Most Popular Outdoor Activities in the World, which provides a much more in-depth narrative on the history of hiking.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com

Ramble On (2nd edition book on the rich history of hiking)
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Tetons Hosted Increased Visitation for the Month of October

Grand Teton National Park hosted an estimated 351,173 recreation visits in October 2020, an 88% increase compared to October 2019. Park statistics show that October 2020 saw the highest number of recreation visits on record for the month of October. More data on National Park Service visitor-use statistics is available at irma.nps.gov/STATS/.

The list below shows the October trend for recreation visits over the last several years:

2020—351,173
2019—186,487
2018—207,534
2017—187,499
2016—186,185
2015—190,681

Visitors to Grand Teton National Park are reminded to plan ahead and recreate responsibly. The park highly encourages visitors to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state authorities, by maintaining social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering when in buildings and high-visitation areas outside.

Visitor services at Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are limited this time of year, as most facilities close each winter. Please visit www.nps.gov/grte and the park’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for more information.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Hiking books make great Christmas gifts!

Christmas is only a few weeks away. So now is a great time to begin thinking about stocking stuffers for all your favorite hikers. With that in mind, I wanted to let you know that both the paperback and E-book versions of my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, are available on Amazon.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the 19th century, the first trails built specifically for hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel. It also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, such as Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is a great stocking stuffer for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

For more information, and to purchase on Amazon, please click here.

Once again, thank you very much!



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Friday, November 20, 2020

Glacier National Park Reports Increase in October Visitation

Last month, 125,544 visitors entered the park in October compared to 78,408 in October 2019. The average number of visitors in October for the past three years is about 85,000.

Overall, the park saw a reduction in visitors between June and September. The park was closed to visitors from March 24 to June 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitation was down 70% in June, 50% in July, 40% in August and 30% in September.

Due to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council’s resolution restricting non-essential travel on the reservation, the east entrances to the park and Going-to-the-Sun Road were closed through-out the season. Visitors were required to enter and exit Going-to-the-Sun Road via the west entrance and traffic was allowed as far as Rising Sun on the east side. The west entrance continues to be the only access point for the park during the winter season.

Although the alpine sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park are closed for the season, visitors can drive 15.5 miles of the road from the west entrance to Avalanche Creek. There are no lodging or food services available in the park this time of year.

Winter weather conditions sometimes cause road closures. Visitors are encouraged to check the Recreational Access Display (RAD) or call 406-888-7800 and select option 1 for the latest road update.

Learn more about winter operations at Glacier National Park on our Visiting in Winter webpage. For additional visitor inquiries, contact park headquarters at 406-888-7800.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Trails Stewardship Strategy Released by Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service

Earlier this week the Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service released a trails stewardship strategy to guide how the agency will work with partners to support recreation, sustain wildlife and natural resources, foster economic prosperity, and inspire public health.

Sustainable trails are vital for improving responsible access to the outdoors, accommodating numerous visitors, minimizing impacts to wildlife and natural resources, and reducing user conflicts through more active management methods. These factors support the need for a shared trails stewardship strategy that embraces the Forest Service values of service, interdependence, conservation, and diversity, as well as safety, sustainability, commitment, access, inclusion, communication, and relationships.

“Through the hard work of staff and dedicated partners around the Rocky Mountain Region, we have developed a guiding strategy for trails that represents the inclusive and diverse range of users and activities that we will continue to manage and plan for in the future. The trails stewardship strategy is a starting point that will inform how we work together collaboratively to share, steward, and enjoy a sustainable system of trails across the region,” said Jason Robertson, Acting Director of Recreation, Lands, Minerals, and Volunteers for the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region.

The next steps will include the development of an implementation plan, which will involve a series of workshops and meetings to gather input from partners and other members of the public who are interested in supporting and helping to implement the trails strategy. The workshop and meeting schedule will be announced at a later time.

For more information, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r2/recreation/?cid=fseprd851161 or contact Chad Schneckenburger at Chad.Schneckenburger@USDA.gov 







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Investigation Underway into Two Dead Grizzly Bears Found Near Bigfork

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are investigating the death of two grizzly bears near Bigfork.

The carcasses of an adult female bear and yearling were located Nov. 9 on Bear Creek Road near Montana Highway 83. No additional information is available at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Anyone with potential information is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers may remain anonymous. If the information provided leads to an arrest, callers could be eligible for a cash reward.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Elk Reduction Program in Grand Teton National Park Begins Saturday, November 7

An elk reduction program begins Saturday, November 7, in Grand Teton National Park. The park’s enabling legislation of 1950 authorizes Grand Teton National Park to jointly administer an elk reduction program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department when necessary for the proper management and conservation of the Jackson Elk Herd.

Respective federal and state resource managers have reviewed available data and concluded that the 2020 program is necessary. The need for the program is determined annually and is based on the status of the Jackson Elk Herd, including estimated herd size and composition and the number of elk on supplemental feed on the National Elk Refuge. A total of 550 permits are authorized for the 2020 program.

The only area open to the elk reduction program is Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 75, located mostly east of U.S. Highway 89. The Antelope Flats portion of this area closes November 23, and the remaining portions close December 13. The Snake River Bottom between Deadmans Bar and Ditch Creek is closed.

Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 79 is closed to limit harvest pressure on northern migratory and resident elk.

Participants in the program must carry their state hunting license, conservation stamp, elk special management permit and 2020 elk reduction program park permit, use non-lead ammunition, and are limited in the number of cartridges they are able to carry each day. The use of archery, handguns, or other non-center fire ammunition rifles is not permitted, nor is the use of artificial elk calls. In addition, participants, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter safety card, wear fluorescent orange or pink, and carry and have immediately accessible a 7.9oz. (or greater) can of non-expired bear spray. Information packets accompanying each permit warn participants of the risk of bear encounters and offer tips on how to minimize the risk of human-bear conflicts.

Following detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a mule deer within Grand Teton National Park in November 2018, the National Park Service increased surveillance efforts to include mandatory collection of elk heads from all elk harvested during the program. Park personnel will collect biological samples from the heads and submit them to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for testing. Participants can check their results online.

National Park Service and Wyoming Game and Fish staff will monitor and patrol elk reduction program areas to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, interpret the elk reduction program to visitors, and provide participants with outreach regarding bear activity and safety. These areas remain open to park visitors, and wearing bright colors is highly encouraged during this time.

An information line for the elk reduction program is available at 307.739.3681.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Missoula Woman Dies in Diving Accident at Lake McDonald

On Sunday, November 1 at approximately 5:50 p.m., a Glacier National Park Ranger responded to a report of a scuba diving accident at Lake McDonald. An 18-year-old female from Missoula was declared deceased after resuscitation efforts by members of the diving group and first responders were unsuccessful.

The deceased was part of a scuba diving group of six people that started their dive near the dock of Lake McDonald Lodge around 4:00 pm.

At the time of the incident, by-standers drove to Apgar Village for cell signal to call 911. A.L.E.R.T. was first on the scene, about thirty minutes after the initial 911 call. A second diver, a 22-year-old male, suffered shortness of breath and was transported by Three Rivers Ambulance to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. He was later flown to Seattle, Wash. for hyperbaric treatment.

The incident is under investigation and names have not yet been released, pending next of kin notification. Lake McDonald is popular among some scuba diving groups because of submerged artifacts. Permits are not required to dive in Glacier National Park and diving equipment is not subject to Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspections.

Glacier National Park thanks the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and Dive Team, Three Rivers Ambulance, and A.L.E.R.T. for their assistance in this rescue effort.








Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Monday, November 2, 2020

NPS Looking for Information Related to Illegal Shooting of Wolf

National Park Service investigators are looking for information related to the illegal shooting of a collared black-colored gray wolf. The body of the wolf was located near the Pilgrim Creek Trailhead in Grand Teton National Park on the morning of October 26, 2020.

The illegal taking of wildlife is a violation and subject to a fine up to $5,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment. Additionally, it is a violation to aid or assist in the illegal taking of wildlife and is also subject to a fine up to $5,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

Anyone with information that could help identify any of the individuals involved or was in the area of the Pilgrim Creek Trailhead the morning of October 26 and can provide any information regarding this activity, please contact call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch Tip Line at 888-653-0009 or e-mail us. Information can be provided anonymously.

The Investigative Services Branch assists units of the National Park Service with the immediate and long-term protection of park resources, visitors, assets, employees and residents. They accomplish this through detection, investigation, apprehension, and successful prosecution of persons who violate laws of the United States of America while within, or while affecting, the National Park System.








Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020

Yellowstone releases trumpeter swans to restore population

On Saturday, September 19, staff from Yellowstone National Park, the Wyoming Wetlands Society, and Ricketts Conservation Fund released eight young trumpeter swans (cygnets) at Alum Creek in Hayden Valley.

This release is part of an ongoing restoration project to increase territorial pairs of swans which have undergone a decades-long decline in the park. From a high of over 60 birds and 17 territorial pairs in the early 1960s, to only four birds in 2009 and 2010, the swan population has declined for a variety of reasons. Researchers are collecting population data such as nest success, number of territorial pairs, and the number of cygnets produced each year. This data may help determine the reasons for the decline.

Recent releases and other restoration efforts have bolstered the population to over 20 birds and five territorial pairs, including natural reproduction in some years.

The effort is a public/private partnership between the National Park Service, Wyoming Wetlands Society, Ricketts Conservation Fund, and Montana State University. Joe Ricketts, founder of Ricketts Conservation Fund, participated in the recent cygnet release. His fund also supports other avian conservation efforts in the region, including common loons and Clark’s nutcrackers.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Grand Teton Breaks Visitation Record for the Month of September

Grand Teton National Park hosted an estimated 603,789 recreation visits in September 2020, a 17% increase compared to September 2019. Park statistics show that September 2020 saw the highest number of recreation visits on record for the month of September. More data on National Park Service visitor-use statistics is available at irma.nps.gov/STATS/.

The list below shows the September trend for recreation visits over the last several years:

2020—603,789
2019—517,265
2018—558,788
2017—482,661
2016—492,451


In general, hiking use in the park increased approximately 54%, camping in concession-operated campgrounds increased 24% and backcountry camping increased 79% in September 2020 compared to September 2019.

These numbers come as no surprise. We were in the park for a week during the middle of the month, and I came away thinking that the crowds were out of control. There were lines to get into the park just after 7 am each morning, and the parking areas at trailheads were filling-up not long afterwards. Almost everyday we drove past the Jenny Lake and Taggart Lake trailheads. Not only were the entire parking areas full, but there were vehicles parked on both sides of the road - for at least a quarter of a mile before and after the turn into those parking areas. After returning from our hike in the Laurence Rockefeller Reserve there was a line of cars waiting for a parking spot - likely a 30 to 60 minute wait for the cars at the back of the line. On our last day Lupine Meadows (the trailhead for Amphitheatre Lake, etc..) was filled with almost a hundred cars after we finished our hike. This was totally unexpected given how hard the hikes are from that trailhead.

Obviously Covid has disrupted travel patterns this year.




Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park