Sunday, May 13, 2018

​Two Arrested for Building Illegal Mountain-Bike Trail in Indianapolis Nature Preserve | Bicycling

​Two Arrested for Building Illegal Mountain-Bike Trail in Indianapolis Nature Preserve | Bicycling


Two Indiana men have been accused of building an illegal mountain-bike trail in a state park, highlighting long-simmering tensions between trail access and wildlife conservation.
Michael Hufhand and Jed Kidwell, both 54, were charged last week with criminal mischief and trespassing for carving out their bandit singletrack in Fort Harrison State Park, in northeast Indianapolis. The pair used shovels and herbicides on a roughly 1.5-mile stretch of the Chinquapin Nature Preserve, a protected, 100-acre corner of the park off limits to the public.
Because the estimated damage exceeds $50,000, the men were charged with a felony and are currently banned from all state parks for a year. They also face up to 2.5 years in prison.
Park personnel discovered the trail last May. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), both Kidwell and Hufhand were identified after being caught on trail cameras and posting to a Facebook group for local mountain bikers. Hufhand was allegedly using the group to solicit donations for weedkiller to spray on the trail.

Reggie Miller uses mountain biking hobby to help former ABA players

Story image for mountain bike indiana from Indianapolis Star

Reggie Miller has found a new hobby: mountain biking for charity

Indianapolis Star-May 3, 2018
Reggie Miller has found a new hobby: mountain biking for charity ... When Miller, 52, retired from the Indiana Pacers in 2005, he was then the ...

Trying out mountain biking | Juneau Empire - Alaska's Capital City Online Newspaper

Trying out mountain biking | Juneau Empire - Alaska's Capital City Online Newspaper

Recently, I had been riding my bike around town and thought it would be fun to take it to the trails. I called up my friend Matt Roda because I know he does this kind of stuff. He let me use one of his super fancy bikes because mine is a piece or garbage. The bike he lent me felt like it had better suspension than my car.
 
We rode three trails: one out in Auke Bay, one out Back Loop and one out on Douglas. I can’t talk too much about the locations because I don’t know anything about the mountain biking community here in Juneau and I don’t want to cross any boundaries. At least not yet.
A large Costco pack of chocolate covered mangoes replaced my standard donut holes for the snack of choice on this trip. Such a beautiful day. It felt like summer at 65 degrees. Too hot to drive with the windows rolled up in my car. My Jeep only has a heater.
The first thing I learned about mountain biking is to get rid of the seat. Just push it far down and out of the way, because if you hit a large root and lose your foot pedals, you’ll injure your crotch. Next, the faster you go the more stable you are, even though the potential impact is harder.
The second day of dry weather made it so the trails were mostly mud free. Thankfully, bike suspension and wheels take most of the impact when going over roots. No time to admire the surroundings. Why is there no time to admire the surroundings? You are going too fast making sure you don’t die. This is scary. Why do people do this? I fell a bunch of times. Most of my falls were actually because I was braking too hard. As soon as you lose speed, your balance goes as well. Both of my hands and arms were bleeding. Thank goodness the chocolate mangoes were all eaten by the time I started falling or they would have been all over the forest.
My body is wrecked. I am 21 years old. I am in good shape; 4 percent body fat, 160 pounds. I exercise and I find joy in climbing trees and mountains. Right after this trail bike ride, I wanted to go home and sleep until the end of time. Instead I wondered around downtown like a lost dog, hungry and looking for a place to curl up and nap.
It’s tough to capture candid photos in this sport. You use both your arms and legs constantly.
I’m glad I tried mountain biking. I think maybe I should train on some less intense trails before I attempt to complete these ones again. I’m definitely still an adrenaline junkie; just not the two-wheeled down-trail kind.


• California-born and Alaska-bred, Gabe Donohoe has taken photos daily for the past five years. He is currently a student of the University of Alaska Southeast’s Outdoor Studies program. His photo archives can be seen on www.gabedonohoe.com. “Rainforest Photos” photo blog publishes every other Friday in the Empire’s Outdoors section.

PCT 2017 Thru-hike - YouTube - YouTube

PCT 2017 Thru-hike - YouTube - YouTube

I hiked the PCT northbound in 2017 through the biggest snow pack in the Sierra Nevada in 2 decades, wildfires in Oregon and the bitter cold in Washington, and I posted 35 episodes along the way! I hope you enjoy watching the series and that it inspires you to take on some new challenges in your life! Thank you for following along :)

The Evansville Suburban and Newburgh Railroad / ES&N Railroad

The Evansville Suburban and Newburgh Railroad / ES&N Railroad

Dummy locomotive #2 named F.W. Cook
The ES&N was incorporated on Dec. 15, 1887 with authorized capital of $50,000. Prime movers in the project were Capt. Lee Howell a division freight agent for the L&N railroad, and William J. Wood, local council for the same line. Intentions were to provide access to coal mine in the vicinity of Newburgh, and to provide a short commuter service for Newburgh, then a town of 1,500.

Honey bees in a fight for survival

Honey bees in a fight for survival

We take them for granted and depend on them for much of our food. Now they and we may be in serious trouble.
When I grew up, European honey bees and dozens of species of native bees used to be very common. I even remember stepping on some while running through a patch of clover. The bees didn’t like that too much. Neither did my feet. Bee stings are a bit painful!
Many scientists think that the European honey bee populations are declining rapidly. As well as populations of our native bee species. Disease, mites, strong and over-applied pesticides and herbicides and other contributing negative factors are decreasing their numbers quickly and dramatically.


Some scientists believe that a trending problem called Colony Collapse Disorder is causing a significant decrease in European honey bee populations.
So, is this significant? When you stop and think about all the plants that bees pollinate, including many of them that provide us with food, the decline of the honey bee is very important. Less available food could result in possible food shortages and higher prices at the local grocery store.
European honey bees are not native to the United States. It is believed they were brought over by early explorers. They found North America to be a good place to live.
A colony of bees can consist of up to 60,000 bees. They have a regimented social structure. One ruling queen, thousands of workers (all females) and several dozen drones (males).
The female bees do all the work. (OK, ladies, I can hear your comments about your spouses now!)  The “house bees” clean the hive. “Field bees” visit flowers to gather nectar to make honey. In the process, they also gather pollen and pollinate plants. The queen’s “court” guard, clean and feed the queen bee. Usually, the “court” consists of about a dozen bees.
The queen can live to up to about 4 years of age.  Female workers and the male drones live about 8 weeks.
It takes visiting about 1,000,000 flowers to make a pound of honey.  That is a lot of work done by the busy worker bees.  Another little-known fact is that a bee’s wings beat up to 250 times per second. 


Worker field bees actually dance to let other bees know in what direction and how far to find pollen-rich flowers. They have at least two different dances. The round dance and the abdomen wiggle dance. This applies to the female bees only. Like many of their human counterparts, male bees don’t dance. Yep, I would definitely be a male bee except when no one is looking!
Also, if you are stung by a honey bee, it will be a female that does so. Remember, the female workers leave the hive to gather pollen.  The male drones are hanging around the queen in the hive.  When a female bee stings you, it is fatal to the bee as a part of the bee’s internal organs leave the body attached to the stinger.  
So the next time you see a bee visiting a flower, take a moment to appreciate what they do for us in pollinating food crops. A single bee is part of a complex social structure within the amazing culture of a colony of thousands of bees. They are quite amazing insects!
So, the next time you see a European honey bee, consider yourself lucky.  If we lose them all we will all be in serious trouble. Do whatever you can to assist them in their struggle to stay alive. Consider attending a local beekeeper club meeting to learn more about our amazing and beneficial bees.
Did you know? There are literally hundreds of species of bees in the world.  Not all live in large groups or colonies. Some are called solitary bees. They live alone.
Enjoy your Leon County nature trails.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Eric Douglas: Helping hummingbirds, bees and butterflies | Metro Kanawha | wvgazettemail.com

I know it seems like spring is refusing to come, or at least stay for any length of time, but the hummingbirds and the butterflies are already well into their migrations.
Last week, I put out my hummingbird feeders. A website on bird migrations says hummingbirds are already in West Virginia. I haven’t seen any yet, but I want them to have food when they arrive.
The same is true for butterflies. I’ve seen a few small ones, but the monarchs aren’t here yet. I saw a news story recently that because of the loss of their habitat, monarch butterflies are struggling. Officials recommend planting milkweed (and my local gardener recommends butterfly weed). As soon as it is available, there will be some in my back yard.
“Milkweed is the only plant on which monarch butterflies will lay their eggs, and it is the primary food source for monarch caterpillars. Despite its necessity to the species, the plant decreased 21 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2013. Scientists, conservationists and butterfly enthusiasts are encouraging people to grow the plant in their own yards and gardens,” according to an article in National Geographic.
Did you know monarch butterflies migrate from central Mexico to North America every year? They don’t seem substantial enough to do that, but they do it anyway. It takes several generations for the trip north, but in the fall, one generation lives eight months and makes the entire 3,000-mile journey back to their winter destination.
To take care of the bees, I put out some wildflower seeds in an area of the yard that isn’t heavily used. They are big fans of the flowering bushes we have in the meantime. This year I will probably get a special hive that leaf cutter bees can use, too.
Too many of us are disconnected with nature. We don’t spend any time outside, so we don’t realize how the Earth is changing. To me, it’s important to do little things like feeding butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. These critters help pollinate plants and, without them, there would be no food. If that were the only reason to take care of them, that should be enough.
On another level, though, they are entertaining to watch, and relaxing, too. If you can’t sit outside and marvel at a hummingbird or smile when a butterfly flits past, you need to rethink your priorities. And check your stress level and blood pressure.
Helping them probably does more for me in the long run.

Eric Douglas: Helping hummingbirds, bees and butterflies | Metro Kanawha | wvgazettemail.com

​Two Arrested for Building Illegal Mountain-Bike Trail in Indianapolis Nature Preserve | Bicycling

​Two Arrested for Building Illegal Mountain-Bike Trail in Indianapolis Nature Preserve | Bicycling Two Indiana men have been accused of ...