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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mass Audubon Cruises to the Elizabeth Islands

Take the ferry from New Bedford or Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama plans to vacation once again this summer, and you’ll pass the far less congested Elizabeth Islands in Buzzards Bay. With numerous coves and a strong southwesterly wind blowing 15 knots almost every afternoon, this is a favorite cruising ground for sailors in Massachusetts. The waters are inundated with yachts, Hobie cats, sunfish, schooners, even the 6’ 2” long dinghy known as the Cape Cod Frosty. Only two of the islands, Cuttyhunk, the outermost island, and Penikese, a former leper colony, now a state-owned bird refuge, remain public. This summer, Mass Audubon will bring guests on naturalist-led cruises to both islands. Leaving from Wood’s Hole, you’ll learn about the natural and cultural history of the Elizabeths, and venture on foot to find Leach’s Storm Petrel and Tern colonies.


 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/10/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Raft the Pacuare River with Explorer Richard Bangs

In 1973, Richard Bangs co-founded Sobek Expeditions and almost single handedly put the sport of white water rafting on the map. Sobek was the first outfitter to descend Chile’s Bio Bio River and Zimbabwe’s Zambezi River, now considered classics. In 1991, Sobek merged with Mountain Travel to form one of the premier adventure companies in the world. Now Bangs has joined forces with another renowned rafting outfitter, OARS, to guide a trip down Costa Rica’s Pacuare River. From July 10-16, join Richard and his son Walker as they raft the Pacuare, then head to Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast. With its maze of waterways, Tortuguero is often called the Venice of Costa Rica. From mid-spring to late summer, four different types of turtle return to shores to lay their eggs, including the giant leatherback, which can weigh over 1,000 pounds. Cost is $1780 per person and you can book at 800-346-6277.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/09/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Poaching of Rhinos on the Rise in South Africa

As the world descends on South Africa for the World Cup this week and the safari season starts to get into full swing, we report some sad news from the country. David Mabunda, chief executive officer for South African National Parks, notes that rhinos are currently under siege from poachers. South Africa lost 122 rhinos to poaching in 2009 and is already on track to surpass that number this year. The horns are highly sought after in Asia for medicinal purposes and are thus worth far more than their weight in gold. So far, 25 poachers have been caught, primarily in Kruger. Responding to the increase in poaching, South Africa has set up a Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit, utilizing many of the country’s top anti-poaching experts.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/08/10 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, June 07, 2010

Maine Huts & Trails Begins Construction on Third Hut

Maine Huts & Trails, the nonprofit organization hoping to build 12 backcountry huts over 180 miles of trails in the remote western mountains of the state, has just announced the creation of their third lodging. Slated to be completed by the end of 2010, the hut will be built on the banks of the Dead River, two miles below the cascading waters of Grand Falls. Each of the three huts, including the Poplar Stream Falls and the Flagstaff Lake hut, are spaced about 11 miles apart, so people can reach it within one day of hiking. For less than $100 per person per adult and under $50 per children, each hiker gets a night’s sleep on a bed, hot showers, dinner, and breakfast. Not a bad way to be lost in this vast tract of wilderness, treasured for its mountains, large lakes, sinuous rivers, and waterfalls.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/07/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, June 04, 2010

Paved a Lot, Put up Paradise

Last summer, I wrote a story for Outside Magazine on the transformation of abandoned oil plants, railroad yards, even elevated railroad lines (the High Line Park in Manhattan) into popular urban parks. Now The Trust for Public Land’s Peter Harnik has written a book on the subject called “Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities.” A must read for any urban visionary, the book not only delves into examples, but is a primer on how to create parks from space that not long ago was thought of as unusable. Grab lunch at Chelsea Market and have a picnic on the High Line, like I recently did, and you realize the brilliance of this concept.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/04/10 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Idaho’s First Whitewater Park Opens This Month

For those of you headed to Idaho this summer to brave the rip-roaring rapids of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River or Hell’s Canyon on Snake River, you might want to get a little warm-up at the new Kelly’s Whitewater Park. Located an hour and half drive north of Boise on State Highway 55, the park is open to all kayakers, canoeists, rafters, and tubers, regardless of experience. Beginner and advanced areas of the park are divided by a man-made island, so simply choose your level of wave action and go play. The park is open to the public for free and a kayak school will help novices master the tough rapids to get them over to the expert section. The park is located in Cascade on the North Fork of the Payette River. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/03/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

National Park Service Unveils New Summer Adventure Website

Last year, 285 million people visited a National Park in America. So there’s a very good chance you’ll be headed to one in 2010. Before you go, check out the new website the National Park Service just created to help visitors plan their trip. There are easy links to park highlights, lodging, ranger-led outdoor activities, and events scheduled during the dates you’ll be there. That way, you chart your course before you arrive and won’t be overwhelmed by the crowds and information. 



 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/02/10 at 12:59 PM
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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The New Trend, Renting Cabins at Campgrounds

Summer reservations are already up 8 to 9 percent at campgrounds across America, another strong sign that travelers are once again striving for affordability. But if you think those campers are sticking solely to RVs and tents, you’d be wrong. All across the country, campgrounds are building cabins to accommodate the growing number of requests. And these aren’t little shacks either. The six new cabins at West Glacier KOA in Montana near Glacier National Park feature full bath, kitchen, and an outdoor deck with barbecue. Many campgrounds also feature nightly entertainment, like live music. So the next time you need to book a room, also visit the Go Camping America site to see if there are any interesting alternatives nearby.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/01/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Top 5 Paddling Spots in America, Upper Iowa River, Iowa

Don’t worry about crowds on this forgotten run in the glacial-carved valley of northeast Iowa. The Upper Iowa can be paddled for 110 miles from Lime Springs to the Mississippi, but a good 31-mile jaunt from Kendalville to Decorah snakes through cliff-lined gorges below 200-foot-high chimney rocks. Bald eagles frequently soar over the limestone outcrops and deer, mink, raccoon and beaver call the area home. Chimney Rock rents canoes, offers trip planning, and provides a free shuttle. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/28/10 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Top 5 Paddling Spots in America, Allagash River, Maine

Maine’s rivers have attained near-celebrity status from paddlers nationwide. Mention the Allagash River to a canoeist and his eyes suddenly become moist and dreamy as he inevitably responds, “Yeah, I'd like to go there someday.” The river has somehow attained legendary stature. Perhaps it's the way the blue streak of water slips off the map of America’s northern fringes, remote and isolated, hundreds of miles from the nearest metropolis. Or maybe it’s the legacy of writer, philosopher, and inveterate traveler Henry David Thoreau, who ventured down the waterway a mere 140 years ago, waxing lyrically about the last great frontier in the East in his book, The Maine Woods. Whatever the reason, the 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway continues to lure 10,000-plus paddlers to its shores every summer, turning farfetched dreams into reality. Go with a trusted guide like Mahoosuc Guide Service, who led me down the West Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine last fall. That led to an article in this month’s Sierra Magazine.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/27/10 at 01:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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