Thursday, July 23, 2015

AMC Offers Initial Comments on Northern Pass DEIS

Statement of Appalachian Mountain Club Director of Research Kenneth Kimball on Northern Pass Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
July 22, 2015

AMC is still reviewing the extensive DEIS just issued by the Department of Energy for the Northern Pass project. But some preliminary observations are already apparent.

In its DEIS, the Department of Energy’s alternatives analysis  provides strong evidence that the overhead transmission line proposed by Northern Pass or just partial burial in the vicinity of the White Mountain National Forest  would cause considerable environmental and scenic damage compared to total  burial of the project.

Furthermore, while Northern Pass has promoted its proposed overhead transmission line as a project that would provide jobs in the region, the DEIS provides clear evidence that full burial of the line would provide almost twice as many jobs, a much smaller impact on property values, and more long-lasting economic benefits to the region than overhead transmission lines or partial burial.

Both this DEIS and a review of the Clean Energy Link transmission project in Vermont show that 100 percent burial of  HVDC transmission lines is technically feasible, cost-effective, and has fewer societal and environmental impacts.  Unlike the Northern Pass overhead transmission proposal, the Vermont project is completely buried and includes a very substantial $400 million dollar mitigation and enhancement fund.  We challenge Northern Pass to follow the lead of the Vermont project and bury the line for its entire length for the sake of the landscape, people, and economy of New Hampshire.

If you wish to review the DEIS, it is available at: 

--Kenneth Kimball
Appalachian Mountain Club Director of Research

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vote for Your Favorite White Mountain Hikes

AMC has teamed up with The Boston Globe on a “Hike the Whites” bracket of 64 hikes—vote for your favorites now at

Six rounds of voting will narrow the field every couple of days until the champ is crowned on August 1. So keep coming back to vote.

Got 30 seconds to spare? Check out our video showing all of AMC’s picks, ranging from the popular to the lesser known with a mix of 4,000 footers, family hikes, and waterfalls, lakes, and ponds.

The race is on! Vote for your favorite adventures in the White Mountains >> in our #hikethewhites bracket with The Boston Globe!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Scoping Meetings for the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline Announced for July and August

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is conducting an environmental review of the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project, and FERC will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the pipeline project as proposed. It starts with a scoping process and hearings, to collect all input on the environmental impacts and alternatives that that should be evaluated. Read more >>

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Write to Your U.S. Representative in Support of Renewing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

With less than 100 days until the expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we need your help! Join with AMC today in writing to your U.S. Representative to express your support for federal conservation funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and to encourage them to support the program’s reauthorization.

Take action >>

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Registration is Open for Fall Gathering 2015 in the Adirondacks

Gear up for some great AMC fun this October when AMCers from all Chapters will gather for three days of exciting outdoor activities and socializing on scenic Lake George in the Adirondacks! The Mohawk Hudson Chapter has been working hard to organize this year’s Fall Gathering, which will be held October 16-18. Registration is now open—make sure you reserve a spot before it fills up! For more information and to register, visit

Monday, June 29, 2015

Analysis of Accidents on the Franconia Loop in this issue of Appalachia

The 8.9-mile "Franconia loop" in New Hampshire's White Mountains follows the exposed ridge from Little Haystack Mountain to Lincoln, in the distance. Many get in trouble on this loop. Photo by Jerry and Marcy Monkman.
Subscribe to Appalachia now to get this and other issues of America’s longest-running journal of mountaineering and conservation, published twice per year.

Coming in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of Appalachia journal:

Trouble on the “Franconia Loop”: Accidents Editor Sandy Stott writes about hikers who pushed themselves too hard on the touted and ever-popular 8.9-mile “Franconia loop” route. It combines Falling Waters Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, the upper part of the Greenleaf Trail, and Old Bridle Path. The loop includes the tops of Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette mountains, and it remains above treeline for at least 2.7 miles. Stott notes: “With its eponymous waters and steep ledges, Falling Waters Trail is a hard climb or descent that is rarely free of slippery spots. And the aforementioned loop, easily reached from Route 93, is one of the more demanding day hikes in the Whites. Such easy access may be why these trails see more than their share of mishaps and rescues.”

On July 12, 2014, New Hampshire Fish & Game received a late morning call about a hiker, Andrew K., age 53, who had fallen a mile and a quarter up Falling Waters Trail and sustained injuries that kept him from walking. By 12:30 p.m., rescuers from NHFG, the U.S. Forest Service, and Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue had reached the scene, where a friend and some hikers who had come along were attending Andrew. Rescuers carried him out on a litter.

“Contacted a few days later by Conservation Officer Jonathon Demler for a follow-up,” Stott writes, “Andrew expressed deep gratitude for his rescue. Demler’s report also noted that Andrew apologized repeatedly during the carryout for needing this sort of attention. Although such thanks are, according to rescuers, not uncommon, Demler’s report underlines them, thereby providing a small window into the good feeling such thanks generate. Too often embarrassment at needing help shows itself in stoniness or disregard for the freely given work of rescuers.”

Rescuers back again the same night: In fact, rescuers returned to the Franconia Ridge that night. “A little before 9 p.m. on July 12, NHFG got word of a hiker who was “unable to move” not far from the summit of Mount Lafayette. Al D., age 28, and his cousin had set out earlier that day on the same Franconia loop route I mentioned in the previous story. But on the summit of Lafayette, Al and his cousin had missed the turn for Greenleaf Trail. Instead, they had walked more than a mile along Garfield Ridge Trail before sensing their error and turning back up, climbing Lafayette again.” Al was spent. He couldn’t go farther.
To read the full story of this and other rescues on the Franconia Loop and elsewhere in the White Mountains, read the full Accidents report, available in the Summer/Fall 2015 Appalachia. July 14 is your last chance to subscribe and receive this issue!

5 Hikes to Get Out of D.C. and Cool Off in the Shenandoah Valley

Splashdown! A hiker enjoys the waterslide along Cedar Run-White Oak Canyon. 
“Hot town, summer in the city,” as the song lyrics go, and for D.C. dwellers the Shenandoah Valley has long been a popular summer getaway to beat the heat. President Herbert Hoover placed his beloved Rapidan Camp in what’s now Shenandoah National Park, Thomas Jefferson marveled at the meeting of two mighty rivers in Harpers Ferry, and Franklin D. Roosevelt made the outdoors accessible to day-trippers looking to test out their new cars by supporting the building of a “sky-line drive.”

Fast forward to today and the Shenandoah Valley holds the same lure for those dreaming of an escape from the hot and humid weather. The authors of the brand-new guidebook AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Shenandoah Valley share five of their favorite hikes with spots perfect for cooling off. (Psst, the book is now available in AMC's online store with a 20% member discount).
  • White Oak and Cedar Run: This popular hike in Shenandoah National Park has multiple swimming holes at its base. Chief among them, however, is the famous waterslide just 1.5 miles from the start along the Cedar Run Trail. Go early to avoid the crowds. (8 miles roundtrip, moderate)
  • South River Falls: One of the loveliest waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park’s Central District, this hike leads you to a pool perfect for wading and relaxing. You won’t want to leave this tranquil spot. (4.9 miles roundtrip, moderate)
  • Elkwallow: Okay, maybe this easy hike doesn’t have a waterfall, but it does have ice cream. We feel that is an acceptable substitute. Amble along this trail and enjoy a break at the Elkwallow Wayside. Trust us, the blackberry shake does not disappoint. (3.8 miles roundtrip, easy)
  • RipRap Hollow: If you’re up for a drive and a challenge, this hike in Shenandoah’s Southern District will surpass your expectations. Enjoy views at Calvary and Chimney Rocks along the first 1.5 miles of the trail before dropping down to a stream. About 3.6 miles in, you’ll come to a deep swimming hole. Spend plenty of time here to cool off. To get back to your car, you’ll have a 2.5-mile climb back to Skyline Drive. (9 miles, strenuous) 
  • Maryland Heights: Get in a good workout by climbing to Maryland Heights and get a glimpse of the view that made Thomas Jefferson pause. Here, the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet, and the historic town gives a glimpse of the past. Tubing and other river fun await you after the hike. (4.4 miles, moderate)
All of these hikes — and 45 more — can be found in AMC’s recently released Best Day Hikes in the Shenandoah Valley

Photo by Miles Barger
Author Jennifer Adach is a co-organizer of the DC UL Backpacking group. She has thru-hiked Sweden’s Kungsleden trail and the John Muir Trail, and has logged several thousand miles on trails in the Mid-Atlantic area. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Author Michael R. Martin is a lifelong backpacker and outdoorsman. Author of AMC’s Best Backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic and contributor to AMC Outdoors magazine, he also leads, organizes, and teaches for the DC UL Backpacking group. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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