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Your outdoor news bulletin for May 30, the day Mariner 9 launched on its mission to Mars in 1979, revealing the secrets of the Red Planet including dried riverbeds and huge mountains but sadly no hidden, underground, alien forged, mega oxygen producing machine. You’ve seen Total Recall right?Climbing and Rendezvous Report From the NewThe New River Rendezvous happened a couple of weeks ago and by all accounts was a huge success. After taking a hiatus in 2012, the ‘Vous came back in 2013 and was better than ever. Always a fun climbing festival and celebration of climbing in the New River Gorge, the ‘Vous also incorporates many, um, different types of events throughout the weekend. It’s all there in the wrap-up, so you may want to consider attending next year. One person who did attend and lived to tell the tale was pro climber and Mountain Hardwear athlete Matt Wilder. He gives and interesting take on climbing in the gorge and the New River Rendezvous on the Mountain Hardwear blog, along with some great photos.Check it out here.Pedaling Towards EquityA new report from the Sierra Club and the League of American Bicyclists is shedding some light on the current state of cycling in America and what the future holds. According to the report, titled “The New Majority: Pedaling Toward Equity,” biking boomed from 2001 to 2009, with the amount of trips by bike doubling from 1.7 billion to 4 billion. So who is driving this growth? Turns out, it’s women, youth, and people of color. Bicycling is fastest growing among African Americans, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. The report also delves into the issues of certain groups of people (poor, non-white) being marginalized by not having access to safe and accessible biking infrastructure. Very interesting stuff from this first-of-its-kind study.Read more about it here, on the Sierra Club Blog.Virus on A.T. Moving Toward PennsylvaniaThe norovirus outbreak among Appalachian Trail thru-hikers is spreading, and it’s no surprise. Moving north with the north-bounders, the outbreak has hiked from it’s starting point along the Tennessee/North Carolina border and has moved into Pennsylvania. There were a dozen cases reported in Shenandoah National Park a couple of weeks ago, but there is no confirmed number of cases in 2013. Norovirus is a stomach bug that can cause the usual gross stomach bug issues we need not mention, but can be transmitted three to 14 days after a victim has recovered. Also, the virus can only be killed with a bleach-and-water solution. They suggest avoiding certain campsites, washing hands with soap and water frequently, being generally clean, and treating all water. Because those things are so easy on a thru-hike.
I think it’s fascinating to wonder what the insides of the Blue Ridge Mountains look like. Layers of bedrock stripped down over time can reveal stories no different than the pages of a book. Having seen the impressive granite spires of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the jagged peaks of the Northern Cascades, it is safe to say I found inspiration on a different scale. With that said though, the Blue Ridge Mountains still capture my attention just the same.Ancient geology amongst the Appalachian Mountain range captivates those that visit them and for good reason. In an effort to continually explore these mountains we call home, Jess and I visited Old Rag Mountain in the Shenandoah National Park near Sperryville, Va. Course granite features made of white feldspar and the unique blue quartz, shaped one billion years ago, standing at 3,284 feet make this hike one of the most unique places to visit in the Blue Ridge. Because of its unique characteristics and compelling hike to the summit, Old Rag has become one of the most popular hikes in the region.We set off on a Wednesday, early in the morning with the intent to beat the crowds. To our surprise though, we pulled into a parking lot at the base of the mountain filled with people. Slightly jaded by what we saw, but still excited, we set out on the 9.5-mile circuit hike to the summit and back.You start by climbing for nearly three miles, meandering through beautiful stands of old forest on a well-graded trail. We passed people occasionally, but it wasn’t until the bottleneck at mile three where the serenity of the walk really took a hit. People began to move slowly as the infamous rock scramble of Old Rag took its toll. Now, almost in single file, I started feeling quite uncomfortable. There were two miles left to climb and people were everywhere. Loud hip-hop music blasted from a speaker close behind me. How could this be? The obnoxious music and voices filled the crevasses in the rock. It’s out of respect for the place you are and the people around you to remain quiet, peaceful even, when present in such a beautiful place.As Jess and I climbed and crawled through the ancient rock we began to separate ourselves from the circus down below. I was thankful to hear nothing but the wind and the occasional caw of a crow, which I’m still convinced was yelling at the people down below. As we reached the summit, we quickly located a place of solitude to hunker down for a while. Old Rag Mountain’s summit is a powerful place to say the least. The large igneous rock displays, towering over the valley floor are an amazing exhibit of power and time. I was grateful for the quiet time we received at the top. The rest of the hike descends from the summit. Feeling the sunburn on our winter-white skin, we made our way back to our van. With mixed feelings about the day I gazed up on the rocky summit where we just were. Inspired by the magnitude of natural beauty, but wearied by the people, I decided instead to be grateful for the day spent outside in hopes that future visitors to Old Rag, and any outdoor destination, will consider a compromise. The compromise is this —let us all seek unity with the natural world while still respecting the people, the experience, and most importantly, the place.Adam Ritter
The Anthem Go Outside Festival will be celebrating its eighth year this October 13-15 and there is an overwhelming amount of cool stuff to try. There are more than 150 free activities, demos, clinics, shows, and events for you to participate in on site, so deciding what to cram into your action-packed weekend can be tough.Here is a list of some of our favorite “must try” activities. Check out our full mobile-friendly schedule of events to build your own perfect weekend of adventure at www.roanokegofest.com/schedule.Alley cat ride: It’s a scavenger hunt on a bike. Test your riding and navigation skills with fun antics and shenanigans featured at stops along the way.Ultimate Air Dogs: Watch dogs compete in categories like “longest jump” or enter your pup to jump. In 2015, a world record was set at GO Fest, by a black lab named Storey.Cast a line: Learn to fly fish or perfect your tying or casting technique with the pros at the Orvis Fishing Village.Get in the pool: Test drive a kayak or learn to stand up paddleboard (the water’s not that cold).Chill in an ENO: Take a break in an ENO hammock at the amazing Lotus Lounge (it’s the perfect reward after a race or ride). The lounge will also feature a Silent Disco and DJ at different times throughout the weekend.Huffy Toss: See how far you can throw a kid-sized bike (and earn bonus points for style). Competitors battle for bragging rights, prizes, and the craziest trophies you’ve ever seen.Perfect your downward dog: From first-timers to seasoned practitioners, the outdoor yoga class is the perfect spot to breathe. New for 2017 is a goat yoga session. (It’s all the rage!)Join the Walkabout Outfitter Wild Gear Chase: Go on an urban scavenger hunt that ends in a giant gear tent. Runners are ranked by the place they finished and number of check points completed, and get to enter the giant gear tent every 30 seconds to frantically select an item from $15,000 worth of outdoor gear. Everyone is a winner in this popular event.Participate in a race: Pick a competitive event and give it your all! From the family- and dog-friendly Superhero 5K to the new Strava based King and Queen of the Mountain Challenge, there is something for every fitness level.Keen Lumberjack Show: Over the top antics from logrolling to climbing are a fan favorite.No matter who you are, the Anthem Go Outside Festival has something for you. Even if you don’t want to try anything new this year (we won’t judge), you can always just grab a delicious craft beer, sample food from 15 regional food trucks, and sit back and enjoy the show.Festival entry, tent camping, and shows are all 100 percent free to the public thanks to our amazing sponsors.
To make Jaime, Howard traveled to Los Angeles to work with engineer Shawn Everett (Weezer, War on Drugs) and a core band that included keyboard ace Robert Glasper and her Shakes bandmate Zac Cockrell (bass). She came back to the South, though, to film the video for “Stay High,” a twinkling R&B gem that soundtracks footage of actor Terry Crews moving through a mundane day in Howard’s hometown of Athens, Ala. The song, written for Howard’s father, is a celebration of finding comfort in the familiar, and a revealing look at how an innovative artist needed a career detour to find her way back home. October 11-13 | Charlottesville, Va. But just as anticipation was starting to boil over for a third Shakes album, Howard dropped a surprise—her first solo effort, Jaime, which came out late last month. The album gets its name from Howard’s late sister, whom she lost to cancer as a teenager, and accordingly the record is full of personal introspection. Brittany Howard Pauses Popular Band to Release New Solo Record Lead single “History Repeats” is a retro room-shaker with industrial beats and angular guitar lines, but within the infectious groove Howard sings about her inevitable shortcomings as a flesh-and-blood human being. The slow-burning “He Loves Me” hits hard, too, with a lean, psychedelic arrangement that leaves room for Howard to ponder her relationship with God after an extended period in the spiritual wilderness. The Festy Blue Ridge Jam Jam-grass pranksters Leftover Salmon developed a high-octane string sound in their native Colorado, but for the fourth year in a row, the group will head to the mountains of western North Carolina to host the Blue Ridge Jam. Held on the outdoor stage at Pisgah Brewing Company, the one-day fest will also feature sets from Perpetual Groove, Acoustic Syndicate, and the Rev. Jeff Mosier. pisgahbrewing.com October 11-13 | Richmond, Va. Catch an array of sounds under the crisp autumn air at these regional events. “The title is in memoriam, and she definitely did shape me as a human being,” Howard explained in a statement on her new album. “But, the record is not about her. It’s about me. I’m pretty candid about myself and who I am and what I believe. Which is why I needed to do it on my own.” Richmond Folk Festival Brittany Howard will perform at the AfroPunk Festival in Atlanta on October 13. October 10-13 | Livingston, Ky. The Festy is rebooting for its 10th running, moving from the mountains of central Virginia into the city limits of Charlottesville. Bands performing on the stage of the event’s new downtown home at the IX Art Park include Dawes, Della Mae, Samantha Fish, and Robert Randolph & the Family Band. thefesty.com October 6 | Black Mountain, N.C. Eclectic roots artists from around the world converge on the RVA waterfront for this annual fest that turns 15 this year. A variety of genres and cultures will be represented at the always-free event; this year set to feature sets from Cajun stalwarts BeauSoleil, honky-tonk ace Dale Watson, Tuareg guitarist Bombino, Tuvan throat-singing group Huun-Huur-Tu, and a taste of home with Appalachian pickers Lonesome River Band. richmondfolkfestival.org Highlands Food and Wine Festival Moonshiner’s Ball For Brittany Howard, the safest bet would’ve been to make another Alabama Shakes record. As the frontwoman and guitarist of the soul-driven Southern garage-roots outfit, Howard found fast success earlier in the decade. The group’s 2012 debut Boys & Girls was a breakout hit that earned the band an immediate, fervent fanbase, and the 2016 follow-up Sound & Color was an experimental step forward that, including nods for the hard-hitting single “Don’t Wanna Fight,” notched three Grammy Awards. As the organizers of the Moonshiner’s Ball put it, this is “not a corporate mega-festival.” Instead expect a homegrown hoedown in the hills of Kentucky with a carefully curated line-up of roots artists, including Tauk, Rayland Baxter, Sinkane, Brass Against, Lilla Mae, and Ghost of Paul Revere. A mix of music, art, poetry, and yoga, the event takes place at Rockcastle Riverside, a scenic hideaway on the banks of the Rockcastle River. rockcastleriverside.com Shake It Up November 7-10 | Highlands, N.C. Five Fall Fests Roots music heroes and regional culinary innovators both take center stage at this increasingly popular festival in western North Carolina. While you’re enjoying dishes from some of the South’s best chefs, sounds will come from the Infamous Stringdusters, Anderson East, the Wood Brothers, and Nicole Atkins. highlandsfoodandwine.com
“The great thing about the project is it will help retain and attract a great work force,” said Lee Brown, Erwin Utilities President and CEO. “It will be a major tourist attraction for people who will visit here, stay overnight and spend money… there will be a lot of people who will visit this world-class park.” Photo of Earth from Getty Images Earlier this week, the Erwin, TN Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a lease on 115 mountainous acres for development of a “multi-modal biking and hiking park developed with a planning grant from the International Mountain Bike Association,” the Johnson City Press reports. Construction of the park is expected to cost approximately $1.9 million. Most Tennessee State Parks to reopen Friday After closing April 4 due to coronavirus, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced this week that most state parks will reopen on Friday, April 24. Parks will be open for day use only. The parks that will remain closed will be announced online before Friday. Pavilions, playgrounds, cabins, and campgrounds will remain closed. Watch Earth Day Live, digital programming that starts at 9am EST and cover topics like “The Fight to Save Our Species” presented by the San Diego Zoo and a panel discussion on fighting climate change with diet change. “We are eager to serve once again but we urge Tennesseans to continue to practice physical distancing when visiting parks,” deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Jim Bryson, told WJHL News Channel 11. “We have implemented policies designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we will monitor all aspects of the issue to ensure safety among visitors and our staff.” Take 24 Hours of Action as the Earth Day Network issues a new call to action every hour. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—and it truly is an Earth Day unlike any other. While large Earth Day events around the world have been canceled, Earth Day Network encourages people to take action in three ways. Join the Global Digital Surge by filling the digital landscape with global conversations and calls to action. Town of Erwin, TN plans world class mountain bike park
By Dialogo April 18, 2011 Members of the special forces of the armies of twenty-five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean will participate in a skills exercise in El Salvador in June, which will be coordinated by the United States, the Salvadoran defense ministry announced. The Fuerzas Comando exercise, which will be held from 15 to 23 June, “is designed to increase regional and multinational cooperation and mutual trust and improve the training, readiness, and interoperability of the region’s special forces,” the ministry indicated in a statement. Teams from the special forces of the armies of Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic and a commando squad from the police of Costa Rica (which does not have an army), among others, will participate in the exercise, which will be coordinated by the U.S. Southern Command, the ministry noted. The commando teams will be evaluated by a panel of military personnel on the basis of their abilities, tactics, techniques, and procedures during the exercise.
By Dialogo June 20, 2011 The only representative of the U.S. Coast Guard registered for the 5th CISM Military World Games, which will take place from July 16th to 24th in Rio de Janeiro, Petty Officer Tiago Gonçalves has been nominated for the U.S. Coast Guard’s athlete of the year. The award ceremony at which the athlete of the year will be named will be held in December, in Washington, D.C. “Three individuals are nominated, and one receives the award. A Brazilian has never been nominated for this prize,” the petty officer said. “I have a good chance of receiving the award, chiefly because I was nominated by the officers at the headquarters in Washington, D.C., which rarely happens,” he proudly explained. A marine science technician, the 29-year-old petty officer was born in Rio de Janeiro and started to practice judo at the age of four. After participating in countless state and national competitions in Brazil, he took a break to dedicate himself to his studies in 2000, when he was 19. Now, the petty officer is very happy about the possibility of reuniting with his family in July. “Participating in a worldwide event at this level is a dream for any athlete, still more in my hometown. All my family, friends, and teachers who guided me along this path, like the shihan Oswaldo Simões and the shihan Ricardo Ruffoni, live here in Rio de Janeiro. I don’t think there is a better place for worldwide events of this caliber,” said Tiago, who last visited the Marvelous City in May 2010. A marine science technician with the U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer Tiago Gonçalves will be the only representative of that body at the 5th CISM Military World Games. The 29-year-old athlete was born in Rio de Janeiro and joined the U.S. Navy in 2009. A black belt in judo, jiu-jitsu, and karate, and a former MMA fighter, the petty officer went to live in the United States to study and had never thought of joining the military. Today, he lives in the Galveston-Houston area and is the pride of the U.S. Coast Guard. “The U.S. Armed Forces have five branches, of which three belong to the Navy (U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy), then the Army and the Air Force. The athletes were selected from among all the branches, and I’m the only one from the Coast Guard,” he affirmed, recalling that a special reporter from the Coast Guard will accompany him until the end of the Peace Games. “He said that he’s going to be my shadow.”
Central American defense ministers acknowledged that the region needs an immediate budget of US$ 150 million dollars to renew armaments and equipment, as well as other security needs, in order to effectively battle organized crime. This was confirmed by Salvadoran Defense Minister Gen. David Munguía Payés in the context of a meeting with the majority of his regional counterparts in San Salvador on 27 July, as part of the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CFAC), a body the Higher Council of which Munguía also chairs. The Dominican Republic also participates in the Central American Armed Forces body as a guest, as in the majority of the isthmus’s integration institutions. U.S. Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal, who is on a tour of the region, also participated as a special guest in the high-level meeting of military leaders from the Central American region and the Dominican Republic. With regard to the deficiencies in the equipment of the region’s armies, Munguía Payés again drew attention to El Salvador’s lack of air defense, since the A-37 fighters of the Salvadoran Air Force (FAS) are presumed to be grounded due to the planes’ age and their high cost of operation. In May, Munguía announced that the Salvadoran Army would need a budgetary supplement of more than US$ 30 million for the remainder of the year, but President Mauricio Funes announced in July that many ministries would have to tighten their fiscal belts for the rest of the year, since the state would not have enough money. The lack of these planes is noticeable, above all, because they were the “interceptors” of planes suspected of carrying drugs that invade Salvadoran airspace and are then escorted out of it in order to prevent them from unloading their cargo on the country’s territory, General Munguía acknowledged. “As you know, the United States has a monitoring center at El Salvador International Airport, but at the moment, we lack the aircraft that can intercept planes that enter our airspace illegally,” Munguía said. Guatemala urgently needs at least two or three primary radars to cover its airspace and combat “small drug planes” or other kinds of planes carrying illicit cargos. In the case of Honduras, it is also believed to need equipment of that kind for its waters and airspace in the Caribbean, where on 13 July it detained a crew who were in possession of drugs and had scuttled a submersible allegedly carrying more narcotics. Honduras is also weighing the purchase of a fleet of Embraer Super Tucanos. General Munguía also recalled the concept of the shared responsibility of the United States, especially in the area of drug trafficking, and that seed money of US$ 200 million has already been offered, following President Barack Obama’s visit to El Salvador in mid-February. “In fact, in the particular case of El Salvador, we work very closely with the U.S. Southern Command; we liaise with the monitoring facilities they have in Florida to track drug trafficking,” the Salvadoran military leader specified. By Dialogo August 01, 2011 The USA has 150 Million for defense against organized crimeâ€¦Why not use it instead on education and legalize the business of those that are occupied with the organized crime? I suppose that trafficking of drugs is the most lucrative, it seems like a good startâ€¦..
Many people will be asking themselves what is going to happen with the U.S. Army when the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. What changes will the troops see, and how are the forces preparing for future challenges? Some of the answers to those questions can be found in the Army’s 162nd Infantry Brigade, headquartered at Fort Polk, Louisiana. The 162nd Brigade has the task of training officers and non-commissioned officers in interdisciplinary fields such as languages, culture, economics, socio-political negotiations, the use of diplomacy, and other topics that serve as a foundation for the implementation of Regionally Aligned Brigades (RABs). The objective of these efforts is to regionalize and transform these brigades in order to confront global challenges. The final goal is that these forces will be regionally aligned with the aim of supporting the combatant commands: the Northern Command, the Southern Command, the Central Command, the Pacific Command, the European Command, and the recently formed Africa Command. Brigadier General Clarence K.K. Chinn, the commander of the Joint Readiness Training Center, said on a recent visit to the 162nd Brigade’s second battalion that it was imperative to add security-assistance and capacity-development missions to the RABs. The guiding principle of this concept will be to make a substantial contribution to global stability and strengthening strategic alliances. General Chinn added that the RABs will have the necessary resources to assist our Special Forces on a range of missions, including foreign internal defense. These RABs will play a significant role, since they will complement the efforts of the U.S. Department of Defense in the areas of conflict prevention, stability, and interoperability. In 1992, Samuel P. Huntington developed a theory in the field of international relations. Huntington called it “the clash of civilizations.” This scholar maintains that the chief sources of conflict will not be economic or ideological, but rather that the fault lines and sources of conflict will be between groups from different civilizations, and these groups, for their part, will dominate the international stage. International relations expert Robert O. Kehoane, in his book titled After Hegemony, emphasizes the importance of cooperation as a way to prevent conflicts. This is precisely one of the postulates on which the Regionally Aligned Brigades are based. Along the same lines, neoliberal theorist Joseph Nye maintains in his book Power and Interdependence that an integral part of international relations is based on the use of smart power, or the combination of hard power (sticks) with soft power (carrots). In this new framework, the chief objective is to succeed in using more “carrots” and fewer “sticks.” What, then, do these theoretical concepts mean as concepts for implementation? For the Western Hemisphere combatant commands (the Southern Command and the Northern Command), they mean new opportunities for hemispheric peace and fraternity. The full implementation of a brigade trained in multidisciplinary areas, able to contribute to strengthening the relationships between the United States and its neighbors, is predicted for the future. These postulates are, in essence, what Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe and a former commander of the U.S. Southern Command, used to emphasize: “a bombardment of ideas instead of missiles.” In the future, these RABs will participate more assiduously in events such as medical exercises, where the hope is to reach the communities most in need with medical, dental, ophthalmological, and veterinary personnel, among others, and will be trained to participate in professional exchanges at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. The RABs will be a multiplier element in the fight against narco-terrorism, where the hope is to detect, deter, and defeat threats; participate in humanitarian operations; have teams of engineers available; and collaborate on military and security exchanges. This new concept will be a turning point in the use of military force. At present, the 162nd Brigade has three foreign-relations officers who are experts in the Western Hemisphere and whose task it is to develop the programs that will be implemented in the future. They are the pioneers of this new concept and are currently acting as liaisons with the Northern and Southern Commands and with Army North and Army South. Predictions are that this titanic effort will begin to bear fruit in the next few years. At the same time, these officers are charged with developing the necessary guidelines for a contingent of approximately 35 officers and non-commissioned officers who will be responsible for developing and carrying out training and evaluation missions in relation to these RABs once their missions are consolidated. As with any new concept, this one is not without unanswered questions. With the aim of filling those gaps, the 162nd Brigade, in coordination with the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), will hold a workshop in February where they will evaluate potential scenarios in which the RABs could be used with optimal results. Senior officers from WHINSEC’s Command and General Staff Course will participate in the workshop. The course has 48 students from 12 countries in the hemisphere, whose experiences are expected to provide promising results in this spirit. Other military, civilian, and academic institutions are also expected to participate, with the objective of effectively planning the future of the RABs. The forces of the future are being shaped at this moment. We hope to learn from and fix some weaknesses of the past, and we are confident that we are designing a force capable of being a friendly hand with an international reach. In the next few years, the Army’s processes for administering and using the RABs will be analyzed. *_Lieutenant Colonel Samuel López Santana is a distinguished foreign-relations officer with the 162nd Brigade at Fort Polk, Louisiana. López is one of the first three officers in charge of developing programs and training for the Regionally Aligned Brigades (RABs) for the Western Hemisphere._ By Dialogo February 08, 2012 Interesting prospect, i request information on jungle operations. So, now they got themselves a whole brigade. How are they going to commit resources? What will be the anticipated missions manpower? What does the organizational wire diagram look like? With the limited language school slots, how many linguists do they plan to turn out? What will be the smallest deployable TO & E units? What MOS, how many of each and rank requirements to staff that TO & E?