Posted by: davepidgeon | November 30, 2009

Blue Ridge memories and Rocky’s future

Blue Ridge

The peaks of Shenandoah National Park fade into a blue horizon. (Compass Points Media / flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/compasspointsmedia/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

Good morning, Pointers. How was Thanksgiving vacation?

I spent mine in Ohio visiting my parents, but my thoughts occasionally drifted back to the two-day backpack I completed with two friends in Shenandoah National Park, Va., last weekend. Look later today for a trip report that has an air of spookiness about it.

USA Today published Monday a piece about what threatens Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado:

Just over five years before its 2015 centennial, Rocky Mountain National Park — nicknamed “Rocky” among park staff — is in a state of flux as climate change bears down on it, deferred maintenance projects rack up a price tag greater than $50 million in the down economy, and industry-tainted air quality becomes a primary concern among park biologists.

The chemical composition of both tundra soil and mountain lake water is becoming more toxic for plants and animals because agricultural and industrial pollution deposit nitrogen in sensitive areas, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Populations of pika — tiny rabbitlike mammals — are disappearing in the park’s newly designated wilderness.

It’s a sobering article about one of the National Park Service’s icons. But I’ll do what I can to brighten the mood by suggesting this stunning 19-mile out-and-back hike to Lost Lake inside “Rocky.” Try it, fall for Rocky Mountain’s charms and get inspired to protect the park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Peaks ornamented with snow rise in Rocky Mountain National Park, Co. (roadman22 / flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadman22/ / CC BY 2.0

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