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Social Distancing Responsibly in the Outdoors

By NOLS on Mar 19, 2020
Photo by Vivian Merill

For many of us, travel and the outdoors provide solace. During these uncertain and challenging times, the outdoors can still provide an escape and add some sense of normality to our lives. As the outdoor industry grapples with the effects of COVID-19, there are ways our community can follow recommended practices to support and keep each other healthy—and still enjoy the nature around us.

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Topics: Environment, Skills, Risk Management, Leave No Trace, Stewardship, Covid-19

Managing Risk Outdoors: Backcountry Wildfires

By Brooke Ortel on Oct 7, 2019
Photo by Matt Howard

It’s no secret that wildfires in the U.S. are getting bigger and more intense.

Even if you haven’t personally been affected by a fire, you’ve probably seen the haunting photos and devastating reports on the news. Demolished homes, displaced families, firefighters risking their lives to contain walls of flame. These stories are evidence of a deadly, and growing, threat.

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Topics: Environment, Risk Management, education, NOLS Risk Services, trip planning, Wilderness Safety Training

A Rural Surprise: Utah Officials Support National Parks

By Rich Brame on Sep 25, 2019
Utah wildflowers

Southern Utah is a land of contrasts. High peaks border deep canyons. Wide slickrock plateaus divide narrow, winding washes. Sought-after resources like coal, uranium, and natural gas lie beneath open space, wildlife habitat, and crystal skies. National parks, with their focus on visitors, are rimmed by rural communities with agricultural roots.

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Topics: Environment, Stewardship, wilderness, activism, Leadership

SOAR Act Introduction to the House of Representatives

By Aaron Bannon on Jul 26, 2019
Photo by Trip Davis

For newly-minted outdoor programs, and for well-established ones like NOLS, the business of permitting and access on U.S. public lands is becoming increasingly challenging. Agencies responsible for permitting are under-resourced, mired in administrative processes, and compelled to prioritize other resource needs first.

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Topics: Environment, Events, Stewardship, Leadership

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Next Hike is LNT-Approved

By Emily Folk on Jun 24, 2019
Photo by Trip Davis

As an experienced outdoorsperson, you're aware of the rules. After you've enjoyed a hike, camping trip or some other excursion, you need to make sure you've left an area the same way you'd like to find it.

That respect is at the core of the Leave No Trace principles that protect the natural beauty of wild spaces.

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Topics: Environment, Leave No Trace

How Climate Change Might Impact Your Next Backpacking Trip

By Brooke Ortel on Aug 13, 2018
Backpacking in New York. Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.

It’s a familiar scene: piles of food and gear, a trusted backpack unzipped, ready to be (carefully) stuffed full. You’re getting ready for your next backpacking adventure in the mountains.

As you run through your mental checklist, your friend casually asks, “So, you’re going to see those glaciers while they’re still there?” You pause, thinking for a moment. They’re only half kidding.

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Topics: Environment, Skills, Wyoming, Backpacking, Alaska, sustainability, climate change

Climbing for More Than the Summit

By Ben Lerman on Apr 5, 2018
>Ahlqvist on an acclimatization climb in the Himalaya. Photo courtesy of Carina Ahlqvist.

“I am driven to do my part for a better world, not just reach the summit and get an adrenaline kick.”

At 27,824 ft. (8,481 m), Makalu is the fifth highest mountain on earth. For Carina Ahlqvist, who in the spring of 2018 will attempt to become the first Scandinavian woman to reach its summit, the peak is far from the only objective.

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Topics: Himalayan climbing, WFR, Environment, Wilderness First Responder, Research, Mountaineering, Stewardship, Stories, Wilderness Medicine Stories

Carbon Reporting at an Outdoor Nonprofit

By Kara Colovich on Jan 12, 2018
Photo by Betsy Winston

Climate change mitigation, the efforts toward reducing impacts of climate change, is a hot topic for organizations and governments around the world. The work that goes into these efforts requires the commitment of the entire organization and every sector of the economy, even the outdoor recreation economy, has work to do reducing climate change impacts.

The field of greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting continues to develop to support organizations’ climate change mitigation measures. This accounting legitimizes claims of GHG reductions and pushes organizations to report on relevant aspects of their operations, not only the highlights.

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Topics: nols sustainability report, Environment, Stewardship, sustainability

How to Fix Your Outdoor Gear

By Molly Herber on Sep 5, 2017

Fortunately, fixing gear isn’t complicated, as long as you have a few of the right tools. We do it on NOLS courses all the time (since no one wants to sleep in a holey tent or walk around with ripped pants for a month).

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Topics: Environment, Expedition Prep, Camping, Gear repair

Make Your Camping Gear Last Longer

By Aaron Strubhar on Jul 6, 2017

It’s the tenth day of your backpacking trip, and you start to notice that some of your gear is holding up better than others. The cheap new rain pants you bought already have a gash in the thin nylon from venturing off-trail through thick patches of thorny blackberry bushes; yet the old, patched family tent you’ve been using for years is as sturdy and functional as ever. What’s going on here?

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Topics: Gear, Environment, Camping, sustainability

Reaffirming Our Commitment to a Sustainable Future

By NOLS on Jun 2, 2017
Photo by Liz Schultz

“We want [our students] to use the education to be leaders in their community with an understanding of ecology and conservation for the wild outdoors far beyond their legislators back home. We expect these people to be a grain of sand on the beach of future leadership.” —Paul Petzoldt, NOLS Founder

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Topics: Leadership Skills, Environment, Stewardship, climate change, Leadership

How to Make Your Routine Leave No Trace

By Molly Herber on Mar 29, 2017
Photo by Matt Heaton

You’re the type of person who will eat a noodle that fell in the dirt, shudder when you think about “surface pooping,” and march right through mud puddles on the trail rather than around them. You’re a master of Leave No Trace.

It can be hard to know how to bring your dedication to LNT to your daily routine. So, I asked around at NOLS Headquarters to find out what NOLSies do to keep LNT alive in their daily routine.

Take a look and see if there are any ideas you can fit into your lifestyle.

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Topics: Environment, Leave No Trace, Stewardship

How to Connect Leave No Trace to Your Daily Life

By Molly Herber on Feb 6, 2017

Leave No Trace is part of the camping mindset—when you’re out in the woods, your environmental impact is easy to see. But how do we bring that ethic back home with us?

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Topics: Environment, Leave No Trace, Stewardship

On the Creation of Bears Ears National Monument

By Kevin Fleming on Dec 30, 2016

The canyonlands of southeastern Utah are a haunting, hallowed place. So still you can hear the wind under the wings of a raven passing overhead. So alive that slickrock waterfalls spring to life at the hint of rain. So deep that to walk the length of a canyon is to travel backward in time, a thousand years with each step.

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Topics: Environment

Intro to Federal Public Lands in the U.S.

By Katherine Boehrer on Aug 30, 2016

America’s federal public lands are an amazing resource for all kinds of recreation—but how much do you know about the different kinds of public land?

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Topics: Leadership Skills, Environment, adventure, Stewardship, education