On the Blogs: India Solar Power Is Now Cheaper Than Coal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Peter Dockrill for ScienceAlert.com:To anybody who’s been reading the headlines on investment into clean energy production, it’s clear that India has been heavily backing solar power. In recent times, the nation has unveiled a string of ambitious solar projects, including the world’s first 100 percent solar-powered airport and what is slated to become the world’s largest solar power station.One of the consequences of all this ongoing investment in infrastructure is that the cost of providing solar power in India is becoming increasingly affordable – to the point where the country’s energy minister, Piyush Goyal, now says that solar power is a more cost-effective option than the old fossil-fuel staple, coal.“I think a new coal plant would give you costlier power than a solar plant,” Goyal told the media at a press conference in India on Monday. “Of course there are challenges of 24/7 power. We accept all of that – but we have been able to come up with a solar-based long term vision that is not subsidy based.”That vision is part a national plan for to generate more than 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022 – an ambitious target that’s about 20 times beyond the current level solar provides in India.But what could help make it happen is the falling price of solar power. This year, solar energy prices in the country dropped to around parity with coal for the first time ever, hitting 4.34 rupees (about 6 US cents) a kilowatt-hour (kWh), while coal tariffs range usually range in between 3–5 rupees/kWh (about 5–8 US cents).And if the price keeps falling at a similar rate, it will soon drop significantly below coal, with some saying that by 2020, solar could be as much as 10 percent cheaper than coal power.If that does happen, it would be a major turning point in a country where access to electricity is still not universal. Inconsistencies in the country’s power grid mean many of India’s cities are subject to blackouts and brownouts, and up to a quarter of the population – some 300 million people – have no access to electricity.Cheaper electricity sourced from the expansion of solar plants across the country could help make for a better, more reliable grid, and one that’s less harmful to Indians and the environment at large.Full post: India says the cost of solar power is now cheaper than coal On the Blogs: India Solar Power Is Now Cheaper Than Coallast_img read more

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2020-12-31

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Congressional legal analysis another blow to Navajo Generating Station

first_imgCongressional legal analysis another blow to Navajo Generating Station FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:One of the nation’s biggest aqueduct systems isn’t legally required to keep buying power from the biggest coal-fired power plant in the West, the Congressional Research Service concluded.The long-awaited report is yet another ominous sign for the Navajo Generating Station in Page, Ariz., because the Central Arizona Project is the plant’s biggest customer. The 2,250-megawatt generating station is scheduled to close at the end of 2019 unless a new buyer steps forward immediately.The Oct. 24 report also directly contradicts the Trump administration’s conclusion in June, when it said it believes the Central Arizona Project is legally required to buy power from the generating station until the plant’s $1.1 billion debt is paid off. That is expected to take decades.In its report, the Congressional Research Service concluded that a 1969 agreement under which the Central Arizona Project would buy Navajo Generating Station power will expire at the end of 2019. After that time, the aqueduct system is free of any further obligation, according to the research service, a legislative branch agency that provides analysis to Congress.The Central Arizona Project repeatedly said it wants to move away from the Navajo Generating Station. In June, its board members voted unanimously to initiate binding contracts with solar energy providers. The aqueduct needs electricity to pump water from the Colorado River to bone-dry central and southern Arizona, including Phoenix and Tucson.Separately, Navajo Nation Speaker LoRenzo Bates said last week that the tribe has begun exploring the possibility of buying the coal-fired power plant. Scott Harelson, a spokesman for the Salt River Project, the plant’s current majority owner, told Bloomberg Environment that “there have been no other suitors.”More: Arizona aqueduct not required to buy coal power, U.S. agency sayslast_img read more

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2020-12-31

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Current, former Montana regulators lobby against state legislation to support Colstrip coal plant

first_imgCurrent, former Montana regulators lobby against state legislation to support Colstrip coal plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Great Falls Tribune:Eight former Montana Public Service Commissioners from both sides of the political spectrum, and two current commissioners, sent a letter to state lawmakers Wednesday saying they “share grave concerns about a senate bill” involving the Colstrip coal-fed power plant, saying it strips commissioners of their authority.“SB 331 is a dangerous bill that sets a perilous precedent. We are united in urging members of the Montana State Legislature and Governor Bullock to reject this attempt to take over the most important function of the Montana Public Service Commission – protecting Montanans,” the commissioners wrote in a letter dated April 9 sent electronically to the Great Falls Tribune.It was written as “An Open Letter to Montana State Legislators and Governor Bullock.“ It was submitted on behalf of the commissioners by the Montana Environmental Information Center, which, along with The Sierra Club, sued Colstrip’s owners under the Clean Air Act in 2013. It was announced in 2016 that units 1 and 2 would shut down by 2022.The commissioners said Senate Bill 331, known as the Montana Energy Security Act eliminates the basic function of the PSC and puts the utility in charge of determining its rates. And they said utility customers would “no longer receive the same level of commission protection from the monopoly utility.”Former commissioners signing the letter include Democrats Tom Schneider, Gail Gutsche, Ken Toole, Greg Jergeson, Bob Raney and John Vincent. Republicans signing the letter include Brad Molnar and Travis Kavulla. Current Commissioners Tony O’Donnell and Roger Koopman, both Republicans, are also among those who signed the letter.Colstrip’s two older units are to close by mid-2022 under a legal settlement, according to the Associated Press. The bill would extend the life of the plant’s two newer units, Units 3 and 4, as other Colstrip co-owners in Washington and Oregon look at reducing their use of coal energy. NorthWestern owns 220 megawatts of generating capacity and would like approval to buy another 150 megawatts of generation, giving it ownership of about half of Unit 4, according to AP.More: Ex-PSC commissioners want to unplug Colstrip billlast_img read more

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2020-12-31

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Oil industry writedowns top $80 billion mark in past year

first_imgOil industry writedowns top $80 billion mark in past year FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The world’s top energy companies have slashed the value of their oil and gas assets by around $80 billion (60.05 billion pounds) in recent months after revising lower the long-term outlook for fuel prices in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic and the energy transition.Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. oil company, announced on Monday it would write down the value of natural gas properties by $17 billion to $20 billion, its biggest ever impairment following the sharp drop in energy prices this year. It follows similar steps by rivals including Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Chevron since late 2019.The so-called oil majors are “acknowledging overly optimistic commodity price views of yesteryear,” said Bernstein analyst Oswald Clint.Most of Exxon’s impairments focused on legacy assets from its $30 billion acquisition of U.S. shale producer XTO Energy in 2010, a deal former CEO Rex Tillerson had previously said was “ill-timed.”Following the impairments, companies will focus on the parts of the business that are able to withstand the lowest oil and gas prices, Clint said. “Balance sheets now reflect the lowest portfolio break-evens in two decades and therefore the most resilient to future commodity price shocks.”The impairments made by the European majors also came after they lowered their long-term oil prices forecasts as they prepare to increasingly switch to renewable energy in the coming decades to reduce carbon emissions to net zero.[Ron Bousso]More: Oil majors wipe $80 billion off books as epidemic, energy transition bitelast_img read more

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2020-12-31

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The Best of the Blue Ridge 2014

first_imgWho’s the coolest raft guide? What’s the best zip line? Where’s the best terrain park? Over 55,000 votes poured in for our Best of the Blue Ridge Readers’ Choice Awards. From the black-diamond runs atop snowy mountaintops to the world-class whitewater in the river valleys, here are your favorite outdoor people, places, and parties.BEST SKI RESORT PARTYCuervo Games, Snowshoe Mountain ResortFor over 20 years, Snowshoe Mountain Resort has welcomed their good friend Jose Cuervo to the slopes for a spring skiing weekend. Mr. Cuervo may not know how to pizza or French-fry on the slopes, but he knows how to margarita off them. In one of the season’s biggest parties, Snowshoe cedes control of the mountain for a weekend of games, revelers, and of course, copious amounts of tequila. For 2013, Snowshoe is doubling down on debauchery by combining the Cuervo Games with their Spring Break weekend in probably the savviest marketing decision of the year. Daytime activities may include a cardboard box race, volleyball tournament, and tug of war competition, among others. When the sun sets is when the party really begins to heat up. The outdoor festivities move inside but continue unabated with margarita relays, thumping dance parties, and live music across the resort, giving new meaning to the term après.2nd place – Freestyle Double Cross Championship Party, Wintergreen, Virginia3rd place – Winterfest, Beech, North CarolinaBEST OF THE RESTSnowy Luau, Timberline; Sugar Fest, Sugar Mountain; Dew Games, Liberty University Snowflex Centre; Jack Frost, White Grass; Bryce College Race Weekend; The Festival of Gnarnia, Beech MountainBEST PLACE TO LEARN TO SKIWinterplace, West VirginiaLearning how to ski can be difficult. Teaching how to ski has left people depressed, divorced, or even worse, without a ride home. If you want to come out of this winter alive, better leave the teaching to the experts. Our readers voted Winterplace Ski Resort outside Ghent, W.Va. as the Southeast’s best spot to do just that. Winterplace is a Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors Member. Pupils can learn to ski in peace in their secluded school area. Winterplace’s best asset is its terrain, 37 percent of which is labeled as beginner slopes. Once you link up some turns and graduate from the Super Carpet, it’s easy to advance gradually onto the lifts to access appropriately named slopes like Country Roads or Buttermilk. Winterplace also caters to the beginner skier by offering lift/rental/lesson packages at deep discounts. Learning to ski all day can wipe you out, but it is easy to stop off at the mid-mountain Mountainhouse to warm toes and sip cocoa. Winterplace also has the largest tubing park in the region, if you need a break from the intricacies of the parallel turn. This ski hill is aimed at fun, from the beginner to the advanced rider.2nd place – Wintergreen, Virginia3rd place – Sugar Mountain, North CarolinaBEST OF THE RESTMassanutten, VA; Sapphire, NC; Beech Mountain, NC; Cataloochee Ski Area, NC; Bryce Resort, VA; Snowshoe, WV; Timberline Four Seasons Resort, WVCupp Run ChallengeCupp Runneth Over: Snowshoe Mountain’s Cupp Run is not just for racers.BEST TERRAIN PARKWintergreen, VirginiaWhen it comes to terrain parks, Wintergreen is the little resort that could. Going up against big boys like Seven Springs and Snowshoe, Wintergreen holds its own as our readers’ favorite terrain park. This park features the standard array of boxes, kinked rails, and kickers, but is constantly in flux. The park patrol changes the setup frequently so you always have something new to hit, whether it be a tabletop or a rainbow rail. The actual park is also separated into beginner and advanced, allowing aspiring X-Gamers to gradually work up to that Misty Flip they have been contemplating. Like most of the slopes at Wintergreen, their terrain park is lighted for night skiing. Best of all, there is a lift serving just the park on weekends, making it easy for shredders to lap the park while heckling their friends, or enemies, from the relative safety of the chairlift.2nd place – Snowshoe, West Virginia3rd place – Beech Mountain, North CarolinaBEST OF THE RESTSeven Springs Resort, PA; Wisp Resort, MD; Appalachian Ski Mountain, NC; Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, VA; Timberline Four Seasons Resort, WVBEST RACE T-SHIRTBlue Ridge Marathon, Roanoke, VirginiaHard to say if it was the actual art and design of the race shirt that appealed to our readers or the fact that this grinder outside Roanoke, Va., is billed as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon.” With over 3,600 feet of climbing, the race earns every bit of its reputation. In the lead up to the 2012 Blue Ridge Marathon, race organizers opened the race’s logo and t-shirt design to aspiring artists in a contest. The winning design was slapped on everything from water bottles to banners and, of course, the race t-shirt. While the finisher’s medal is obviously the top goal of any marathon runner, the race t-shirt is something you’ll want to show off, especially when it comes to this brutal marathon.2nd place – Shut-In Ridge Trail Run3rd place – Mountain Junkies Trail SeriesBEST OF THE RESTBaltimore Running Festival; Rock/Creek Stump Jump; Peachtree Road Race; Columbia Marathon; Tribal Quest; Shenandoah Mountain 100 Backcountry Mountain Bike Race; Mad Anthony Mud RunBEST NEW FITNESS TRENDStand Up PaddleboardingOver the past couple of years, the sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) has taken over the world of watersports. Several factors like marketing and design have facilitated this meteoric rise, but one aspect of SUP rises above the rest to explain its popularity: versatility. This is a sport that anyone can do; the equipment and experience needed is minimal; and the activities virtually endless. Paddle around a flat-water lake for an intense, full-body workout, then pull out the fly rod and take a shot at some largemouth. Haul your board to the beach and paddle into waves without having to jump up from a prone position, by far the toughest part of surfing. Boards can be stable enough to practice yoga on, perfecting balance both physical and existential. The adventure seeker can run Class II-III rapids or explore coastal wetlands spotting wildlife. As more and more people discover different uses for the paddleboard, manufacturers are producing more and more specialized boards with features designed specifically for any given activity. As far as SUP has come, it will be even more exciting to see where the sport goes in the next few years.2nd place – Crossfit3rd place – CyclingBEST OF THE RESTBikram Yoga; Barefoot/Minimalist Running; Boot Camp; Paddle Yoga; Natural Workouts; PilatesBEST STATE PARK CAMPGROUNDDouthat State Park, VirginiaDouthat was one of the six original Virginia State Parks established in the early 1930s, and according to our readers it has stood the test of time. The 4,500-acre park has four established campgrounds with 87 sites, the most coveted of which border the 50-acre Douthat Lake. During the summer months, the lake provides the perfect place to take a dip after a long hike on one of Douthat’s 40 miles of trail, most of which are also open to mountain bikes. Each of the campgrounds offers something different, from hot showers and bathhouses to electric hookups and on-site water spigots. If camping is a little too rough for you, Douthat also has 35 cabins available for rent, ranging from one to six bedrooms. Whether you are camping or “glamping,” Douthat State Park is definitely one of the most beautiful areas in Virginia, and should not be missed.2nd place – Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia3rd place – Pipestem State Park, West VirginiaBEST OF THE RESTCrowders Mountain State Park, N.C.; Frozen Head State Park, Tenn.; Gorges State Park, n.c.; First Landing State Park, va; Breaks Interstate Park, ky.; Roan Mountain State Park, tenn.; Vogel State Park, gaFESTIVAL WITH BEST FOODFloydFestFestival food can take many forms: it can be strictly functional as fuel to keep music lovers operating throughout the weekend, or it can be a showcase of local, creative fare with the power to draw hippies from three stages away. FloydFest falls squarely in this latter category, with a cornucopia of chow from across the nation and world. Their food court is packed with enticing options, ranging from vegan sandwiches to crepes to Cajun gator bites. With ten years of Floyd under their belts, these food stands have their systems dialed, cranking out veggie burritos and French toast at an alarming pace for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The perennial favorite of the Blue Ridge Outdoors staff is the Veggiething from the Sugar Shack. Wash it all down with craft beer flowing at the various beer gardens. FloydFest is one festival where you may here, “Dude, where did you get that sando?” as much as you’ll here, “Dude, who you seeing tonight?”2nd place – The Festy Experience3rd place – Blue Ridge BBQ FestivalBEST OF THE RESTMountain Sports Festival; Bonnaroo; Shenandoah Mountain Bike Festival; LEAF Festival; Lewisburg, West Virginia Chocolate Festival; National Apple Harvest Festival; Roanoke GO Outside FestivalLinc StallingsFAVORITE RAFT GUIDELinc Stallings, Southeastern ExpeditionsLike most professional river guides, Linc Stallings chases the seasons. For the past 16 years, Stallings has been living seasonally, moving around the country to guide some of the best whitewater in the U.S. He has had stints in Alaska, Colorado, and Montana but always returns to his home waters in the Southeast.“I’ve been quite fortunate that I’ve been able to work and guide and play in some of the most beautiful places in the country,” he said. “The Blue Ridge has always been my home, and I always come back to it. Honestly, I don’t think there are any more beautiful mountains or more exciting places than the Southeast and Blue Ridge.”Stallings has guided for most of the major outfitters in the Southeast, but lately has moved toward smaller, mom and pop type outfitters like Southeastern Expeditions to guide on his favorite river, the Chattooga. He also cites exposing people to the beauty of rivers and sharing the whitewater experience as the best parts of his job.“It’s usually people from further south or the big city and you get them in the woods and take them out of their comfort zone and just blow their minds on what really exists out there outside their little bubble,” he said. “I think a lot of people haven’t experienced enough of the whitewater industry. They go down the Nantahala or the Ocoee or the New River, but there’s so much more out there and I love to share that with people.”2nd place – Shanna Crompton, ACE Adventure Resort, New/Gauley Rivers3rd place – Brian Jennings, Rivermen, New/Gauley RiversBEST OF THE RESTSquirrel Hager, Class VI River Runners, New/Gauley Rivers; Jay Ann Jones, Songer, New/Gauley Rivers; Cathy Kennedy, NOC, Chattooga/Ocoee/Nolichucky/Nantahala/Pigeon Rivers; Tom Gage, Wildwater, Pigeon River; Steve Reid, ACE Adventure Resort, New/Gauley Rivers; Larry Nibert, Adventures on the GorgeBEST PRIVATE FLY FISHING SPOTHarmans Cottages, West VirginiaIf you are going to pay to fish for trout in the Blue Ridge, our readers say there is no better place than Harman’s North Fork Cottages in West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands. On the property, luxury log cabins line a mile stretch of the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River, some of which have hot tubs on the porch and satellite TV. A 20-yard walk from your cabin door puts you on Harman’s private stretch of river stocked regularly year-round with trout growing to trophy size. Book a guide or head out on your own to catch these bruisers. If you tire of the stocked section, Harman’s is located at the hub of the best trout fishing the state has to offer. Smoke Hole, Seneca Creek, Gandy Creek, and Blackwater are all within 45 miles. Harman’s also offers plenty of other on-site outdoor activities, including hiking, but the fishing is the main draw. With such easy access and luxury, Harman’s has family vacation written all over it.2nd place – Rose River Farm, Virginia3rd place – Mossy Creek, VirginiaBEST OF THE RESTEscatawba Farms, VA; Biltmore Estate, NC; Susie Q Farm, VA; Noontootla Creek Farms, GA; Boone Fork Creek, NC; Smoky Mountains Fly Fishing; Hookers Fly Shop and Guide ServiceBEST PUBLIC FLY FISHING SPOTJackson River, VirginiaThe Jackson River is widely considered the finest trout river in Virginia, and is a very popular spot for anglers. Originating in the Alleghenies of northwest Virginia, the Jackson is split into distinct sections by Lake Moomaw and the Gathright Dam. Above the lake, the Jackson is a relatively small, firestone river fed by cool spring creeks. Caddis and mayfly hatches are abundant, allowing stocked rainbow and brown trout to grow large and sometimes weather the hot summer months. The special regulation area above Hidden Valley in Bath County is flyfishing only and sees limited action due to the mandatory two mile hike in. Below the dam, the Jackson spreads out into the largest and best wild trout fishery in the region. Though the legal aspects of wade fishing this tailwater are still working their way through the courts, floating the section in a drift boat or raft is definitely the way to go. Steady water releases from the bottom of the lake ensure consistently cool water flows year round. Pools, riffles, and pocket water bring your whole arsenal into play on any given day, from drifting size 22 midges on 7x tippet to dragging double bunny streamers through dark water. While most famous for its large, wild browns, the river also supports a healthy population of rainbows, neither of which have been stocked since 1993.2nd place – Nantahala River, North Carolina3rd place – Davidson River, North CarolinaBEST OF THE RESTSmith River, VA; Jacks/Conasauga River, GA/TN; Tuckaseegee River, NC; Mossy Creek, VA; South River, VA; New River, WV; Gauley River, WVBEST BLUE RIDGE BREWVienna Lager, Devils Backbone, VirginiaThe Vienna Lager was one of the original beers brewed by Devils Backbone Brewery at the base of Virginia’s Wintergreen Resort, and it continues to impress beer aficionados from around the globe. Since 2008, the Vienna Lager has evolved into the beer it is today, a richly colored, well-balanced session lager that goes down smooth with no bitterness. Beer snobs love the subtle flavor of the malt blend, while the casual drinker can appreciate the light body and crisp finish. The brew took Silver at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival and Gold at the 2012 World Beer Cup—the Olympics of beer—in the Vienna Lager category. These only add to Devils Backbone’s accolades that include a World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster title in 2010, the highest honor of the event. Vienna Lager also won Gold at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival so it has several medals and awards.  Devils Backbone also brought home the national title of Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year ~ 2012 Great American Beer Festival. As the brewery’s flagship, the Vienna Lager will continue to evolve, but will always be a Blue Ridge favorite.2nd place – Cold Mountain, Highland Brewing, Asheville, North Carolina3rd place – Full Nelson, Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton, VirginiaBEST OF THE RESTBoxcar Pumpkin Porter, Starr Hill; Hopsecutioner IPA, Terrapin Beer Company; Bridge Brew Ale, Bridge Brew Works; Iron Rail IPA, Wedge Brewery; Local Species, Blue Mountain Barrel House; Dark Hollow, Blue Mountain Brewery; Apocalyptic Ale, Lost Rhino Brewing CompanyBEST CANOPY TOURAdventures On The Gorge Canopy Tour, Fayetteville, West VirginiaThe New River Gorge is one of the great scenic gorges in the East, and what better way to get a bird’s-eye view than by zipping around the trees? West Virginia’s Adventures on the Gorge offers not one but three options when it comes to aerial exploration. Their TreeTops Canopy Tour consists of 10 zip lines, five cable bridges, one rappel, and views of the canopy and valley floor you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Those with a bigger thirst for adventure can step up to the Gravity Tour that zips you across valleys above the trees. The final zip ride of the tour is 3,100 feet long and riders can reach speeds of 50 mph. The latest addition is the TimberTrek Aerial Adventure, a system of cables and obstacles designed to challenge participants both mentally and physically in the vein of the traditional team-building ropes course. Adventures on the Gorge has something in the trees for everyone, and our readers recognize that.2nd place – North Georgia Canopy Tours3rd place (TIE) – Navitat Canopy Tours and ACE Adventure CenterBEST OF THE RESTRuby Falls Zipstream; ACE Adventure Center; Hawksnest Ziplines; Pigeon River Canopy Tours; Go Ape Freedom Park; Laurel Highlands Canopy Tour; Carolina ZiplinesBEST CARSubaru OutbackNothing says “outdoor lifestyle” more than the iconic Subaru Outback; in fact, it practically screams it. Since it hit the market in 1994, the Subaru wagon has been the preferred mode of motorized transportation for outdoor adventurers from Vermont to California due to its all-wheel drive, ground clearance, and storage capacity. Longevity and reliability are also key factors, apparent in all the late 90s models puttering around ski and climbing towns across the U.S. Subaru also knows exactly where its bread is buttered, marketing the Outback specifically towards the outdoor crowd. It’s a mobile home, tent, gear closet, tool shed, and storage locker in one package. On snow, backcountry roads, or mountain passes, the Subaru Outback will get you there, and everyone will know what you are all about when you arrive: good times in the outdoors.2nd place – Jeep Wrangler3rd place – Toyota TacomaBEST OF THE RESTHonda CR-V; Ford Escape Hybrid; Toyota FJ Cruiser; VW Eurovan; Honda Element; Toyota 4Runner; Nissan XterraLooking for adventure? Check out our Editor’s Top 25 Adventure Picks!last_img read more

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2020-12-30

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Pedal Power: Best Long Distance Rides in the Blue Ridge

first_imgSpring training is over. Now it’s time to go the distance. Whether you’re a spandex-clad road hog or singletrack-loving dirt bag, there are plenty of opportunities to test your pedal mettle. These are the best long distance bike rides in the Blue Ridge. Get pedaling.Black and Blue Double Century and RelayJune 8 • Todd, N.C.With a course designed to test the will of the strongest cyclists, the Black and Blue Double Century and Relay covers 200 miles through the epic winding mountain roads of the North Carolina High Country and southwest Virginia highlands. Ride it solo or rotate through eight 25-mile legs with up to eight teammates on the course that starts in the small town of Todd and climbs 16,287 feet, while twisting through the rural roads near the state line before returning to the finish at the Riverside Restaurant on the banks of the New River.blackandbluerelay.comStoopid 50 Backcountry RaceJune 16 • State College, Pa.Riders typically take between five to eight hours to complete this 50-mile backcountry slog in the biker-beloved Rothrock State Forest near State College. Cover the terrain that’s been designated one of IMBA’s Epic Rides, as you pedal through a mix of singletrack and fire roads, conquering legendary trails like Pigpile, Shittaka, and Tussey Mountain Ridge.mtntouring.comIron Mountain 100K June 30 • Damascus, Va.Take off from Damascus and traverse the wild and scenic terrain of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Southwest Virginia. Entering its fifth year, this race is becoming a new regional favorite, thanks to a fun course that utilizes a stretch of the lengthy Great Eastern Trail Bicycle Route in development. Iron Mountain 100K riders follow a long stretch of mostly singletrack that includes plenty of technical wheel stumpers: gnarly roots, rocky dried-up creek beds, and some steep climbs. Although the elevation change isn’t terribly demanding, riding 65 miles off-road is never a picnic, so expect your legs and lungs to be screaming by the end.mtntouring.com Total 200July 6 • Washington, D.C.Saddle sore will have new meaning if you can make it through this double century ride. The Total 200 starts with a quick lap around the U.S. Capitol before taking Pennsylvania Avenue out towards Maryland. Cyclists eventually hit the century mark at Point Lookout State Park, located on the southern peninsula where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay. After riders refuel with some lunch and leg rest, the course loops back north towards the District. While the distance is epic, the terrain is mostly flat with a few rolling hills, gaining just 5,600 feet in 200 miles. A shorter 200K option will also be offered.total200.com Gran Fondo AlleghanyJuly 13 • Covington, Va.No one said cycling was easy. Riders learn why when they tackle this punishing route through the mountainous roads of the Alleghany Highlands. At this growing event, cyclists maneuver the winding asphalt that burrows through the dense woods of the George Washington National Forest. Organizers have put together a new route this year to keep the course fresh for returning riders, now testing cyclists with a stout 108 miles that climbs 11,500 feet. It all starts with the Pitzer’s Ridge climb as the route leaves Covington and roller coasters its way toward the finish in Clifton Forge. Shorter options of 72 and 29 miles will also be offered.ahcyclingfestival.com Jerdon Mountain Challenge July 20 • Old Fort, N.C.If you missed registration for the sold-out Off Road Assault on Mount Mitchell, or you just weren’t ready for the full 63 miles, you can ride this warm-up the day before. The Jerdon Mountain Challenge covers much of the same terrain as the epic endurance challenge, including Old Highway 70, Kitsuma, Star Gap, and Jarrett Creek. Riders are spared the infamous climb up Curtis Creek Road to the Blue Ridge Parkway, but this ride still covers 30 miles and ascends 4,000 feet, so you’ll need plenty of stamina to get it done.blueridgeadventures.netSix Hour Race to Sunset at Blankets Creek August 3 • Woodstock, Ga.Ride solo or grab a team of two or three and pedal as many seven-mile laps as possible on the Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trails, just north of Atlanta. Laps will get easier on the well-built SORBA singletrack as the sun sets, as the race starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 9.mountaingoatadventures.com Bridge to Bridge Incredible ChallengeSeptember 15 • Lenoir, N.C.Dubbed “100 Miles of Pure Hill,” this lung-busting ride from downtown Lenoir to the top of Grandfather Mountain is known as one of the toughest cycling challenges in the country. The course climbs approximately 10,000 feet (the majority of it in the last 50 miles), as riders move through the Yadkin Valley to some of steepest sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway, before a final brutal ascent on U.S. 221 to Grandfather’s famous Mile High Swinging Bridge.b2bride.weebly.comlast_img read more

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2020-12-30

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Blue Ridge Outdoors on the Newsplex

first_imgOur intrepid travel editor Jess Daddio showed up at the local Charlottesville Newsplex last night to talk about her upcoming year-long road trip, #LiveOutsideAndPlay. Check it out here!last_img

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2020-12-30

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Coast Brewing Hop Art IPA

first_imgThis is how I roll at the beach: I start with a long morning surf session where I spend most of the time trying not to drown, followed by marathon games of horse shoes and corn hole interspersed with shorter bursts of surfing throughout the day. Dinner, then drinking games. It’s a demanding day. A demanding day that demands an easy drinking beer, so usually I try to find the lowest ABV lager at the beer store, sacrificing quality for quantity. But during this particular beach trip to Folly, just off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, I was staring at the beer fridge in Bert’s, a 24-hour market that somehow successfully combines high end fare like craft beer and an olive bar with low end fare like $1 corn dogs, and I couldn’t resist this can of Hopart, from Charleston-based Coast Brewing.This is a big IPA in a big boy can. This is not beach beer. It’s not a lager or golden ale, it’s not a low ABV beer. It doesn’t exactly go down easy, which is another way of saying “it has flavor.” The fact that it comes in four packs, and not six packs, tells you straight up that it’s not an easy-drinking beach beer.But look at that can!I expected a juicy modern IPA, but it’s not as fruity as most of its contemporary IPA counterparts. It actually has a solid malt presence, is zesty as hell, but also still comes across as creamy. Hopart pushes 8%ABV, which is borderline double IPA territory. And it’s downright suicidal to drink can after can of a high ABV IPA in the sun all day. But day-drinking is about breaking the rules, and sometimes, the rules of day-drinking itself need to be broken. And if my horse shoes game is any indication (I was throwing ringers left and right), I might adopt Coast’s Hopart as my go-to beach beer from here on out.last_img read more

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2020-12-30

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Utah Congressman Withdraws Public Land Selloff Bill

first_imgAmidst tremendous pressure from the outdoor community, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz has pledged to withdraw a bill he proposed last Tuesday that sought to sell off more 3.3 million acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the United State Forest Service.HR 621 quickly unified thousands within the outdoor community who viewed the proposal as a direct assault on their access to public lands across the West. The public outcry was swift online but also included raucous, well-attended rallies in state houses across the West.Chaffetz announced his plans to kill the bill in an Instagram post this morning, but he left out any mention of another bill, HR 622, that he proposed in conjunction with the bill he now plans to kill. HR 622 aims to “terminate the law enforcement functions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and to provide block grants to States for the enforcement of Federal law on Federal land under the jurisdiction of these agencies, and for other purposes.”Public land advocates argue that removing law enforcement agencies from the already underfunded BLM and USFS would leave the lands severely unmanaged, opening them up to poaching and other forms of unauthorized use.“Mr. Chaffetz took the first step. Now he needs to kill H.R. 622, the Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act, which would eliminate hundreds of critical law enforcement jobs with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management,” said Backcountry Hunters and Anglers CEO Land Tawney. “Our law enforcement officers are on the front lines of conservation and already do more with less. Let’s give them the resources they need to do their jobs.”last_img read more

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2020-12-30

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Sunken Secrets: The Underwater Ghost Towns of the Blue Ridge

first_imgThe lakes of the Blue Ridge Mountains are known for their breathtaking views and fun weekends on the water, but there is often a forgotten history that lurks beneath them. Entire towns have been submerged, sparking the interest of scuba divers, historians, and myth busters.Fontana LakeWith 360 degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains, Fontana Lake is the largest lake in Western North Carolina with the tallest dam east of the Rockies. Beneath the lake rests the remains of the once-bustling town of Judson. Judson had a population of around 600 people with a simple array of shops in town, including a sawmill and a post office. Then, in the 1930s, Swain County sold Judson and other lands to the government in order to create both Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The dam was built to produce hydroelectric power—mainly for the Aluminum Company of America which produced ships, aircraft, and munitions during World War II. The gain for the war effort became the cost for the people of Judson, whose town was submerged.The highest points of structures from the sunken town of Judson are somtimes visible when Fontana Lake is at extremely low levels. There are visible foundations, graves, and other remnants of the town. With permission during drawdowns, people can access the eerie ghost town, and some venture onto the water by pontoon boat to see, if the water is just clear enough, if they can get a glimpse of the submerged ruins.Lake BurtonThis summer hotspot for family vacations in north Georgia, Lake Burton is one of four lakes created by damming sections of the Tallulah River to produce hydroelectric power for Atlanta and surrounding areas. Up until 1917, Burton was not a lake, but was the largest town in Rabun County. Founded in the early 1800s as one of the first gold rush towns of north Georgia, Burton was a farm town of around 200 people. The town was bought by the Georgia Railway and Electric Company in 1917, and much like the town of Judson, was soon submerged.During the relocation of Burton’s residents, all graves were supposed to be raised and moved beyond the shoreline, and small cemeteries are a common sight today along the roads surrounding the lake. However, for many locals in the area, countless stories have been told and shared of cemeteries that lie beneath the waters, leaving the question: are those grave tenants still haunting the lake today?Lake JocasseeRevered for its emerald waters and abundant recreation, South Carolina’s Lake Jocassee area was filled with rich history before the dam was built in 1973. South of where the dam and the hydroelectric station are currently located was once Keowee Village or Keowee Town, the capital of the Lower Cherokee Indians. The lake’s name “Jocassee” is derived from the Cherokee language and means “Place of the Lost One.”The Cherokee lost their land to settlers, and then the settlers lost the land to the waters of the new lake. Both Lake Jocassee and the neighboring Lake Keowee were formed as a result of the construction by Duke Power for their Keowee Toxaway Project. With the building of the dam in 1973, the waters of Whitewater River began to flow upstream for the first time as Lake Jocassee covered the town.Divers frequent the area. Jocassee Lake Dive Shop owner and technical instructor Bill Routh was the first to discover the Whitewater Bridge, Camp Jocassee for Girls, and the Attakulla Lodge which rests below 300 feet of water. The lodge found by Routh was once a popular place for people to gather together on the river. Debbie Fletcher is particularly grateful for the discovery of the lodge, as it was owned and operated by her grandparents. Fletcher accompanies the divers every time they dive to the lodge. She also keeps up the tradition of her grandmother of feeding guests of the lodge. Every time they go out on the boat, Fletcher brings food along for the divers.A friend of Routh’s was the first to discover the Mount Carmel Cemetery, made famous by the 1972 film Deliverance, which was produced the year before the dam was constructed and the valley was lost. Today, there is underwater diving footage of the cemetery where the names of the deceased can still be read on the tombstones.Summersville LakeBeneath the largest lake in West Virginia is a village whose name has been all but forgotten: Gad. When flooding towns to create man-made lakes for power production was common, typically the lake and dam were named after the town that was once there. However, in this case, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers chose not to adopt the name “Gad Dam.” Instead they went with Summerville, the second closest town at the time. In the winter, the lake is drained for repairs, and parts of old roadway, foundations, and stone carvings are visible.Smith Mountain LakeAlthough there is no hard evidence of the rumored town of Monroe beneath Virginia’s beloved Smith Mountain Lake, many still believe that the truth lies beneath the water. When hydroelectric power was of top priority about 50 years ago, the damming process began on the Roanoke and Blackwater Rivers. As the waters rose, the tiny town disappeared under its waters for good. Now, the story has been taken a step further by a brewery in the town of Westlake just minutes from the water’s edge. The name is “Sunken City Brewery,” with the alleged history of this sunken town of Monroe written on its walls.Tellico and Calderwood LakesThese lakes formed after the damming of several sections of the Little Tennessee River and hide perhaps the deepest history of all. Several historic Cherokee townsites—including Chota, Tanasi, Toqua, Tomotley, Citico, Mialoqua, and Tuskegee—are now submerged. An old fort is also buried beneath the water. A crucial part of the region’s pride and history was erased when these lakes were formed. Not surprisingly, there are rampant myths of unsettled souls that haunt the area to this day.last_img read more

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2020-12-30

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