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Explore! The eMagazine for Adventure and exploration.
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 L&W Conservation Fund Re-Authorized
Land and Water Conservation FundThe Federal budget bill that passed this week reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund for three years. The bill also appropriated $450 million for this fiscal year.  That's about a 50% increase over last year, but half of the fully authorized amount of $900 million. Jennifer Rokala,  executive director of the Center for Western Priorities said: "The short-term renewal of America’s most successful parks program is a sign of the ineffectiveness of this Congress and deep dysfunction in Washington. The American people are tired of Congress playing kick-the-can with programs that work. Let’s hope that by the time LWCF is up for renewal again in 2018, regardless of which party is in the majority, the Natural Resources Committee has a chairman who’s more interested in legislating than bloviating."  

The president of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Land Tawney, said:“Strong bipartisan support for the LWCF overcame fringe elements in the Senate – and House Natural Resources Chair Rob Bishop – to do the right thing for conservation and public access.  Unfortunately this provision is like getting a bike for Christmas with no air in the tires. Congress had the opportunity to do the right thing for LWCF once and for all but failed to move language already developed that would permanently reauthorize one of our nation’s most historic, successful conservation programs.”
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 4th Graders Free at Badger Pass Ski Area
Badger Pass Ski AreaBadger Pass Ski Area at Yosemite National Park opened last Saturday with a 12 - 18 inch base and 12 inches of new power.  The ski area is also allowing fourth graders with their  "Every Kid in a Park" pass to ski free and is giving their immediate family 25% off including lift tickets, rentals and lessons.  You and your 4th grader must present the Every Kid in a Park pass at the Badger Pass Activities Desk to receive this offer. If you don't already have a pass, get one at the Every Kid in a Park website.  This special deal is valid only through February 29, 2016.  You should expect chain requirements to be in effect, even if you only plan to visit Yosemite Valley and use the shuttle bus. Any time chain controls are in effect, all vehicles must have chains in possession, including four-wheel drive and rental vehicles.

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 LiDAR at Glacier and Yellowstone
LiDAR at Glacier National ParkHigh-resolution mobile light detection and ranging (LiDAR) images have been developed for a total of 40 miles of roads in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.  The images are designed to provide data that can be used to help the Park Service determine the level of effort and cost to resurface the roads, which are in dire need of repair. In Yellowstone alone, about 185 miles of main roads are in a structurally deficient state, with poor quality road bases failing under the weight, speed and volume of modern traffic, for which they were not designed. Harsh winter weather and short construction seasons in both parks provide additional challenges.  The images contain 300 to 500 data points per square meter and are fully geo-referenced.  This provides detailed information about the road centerline, pavement edges, and guardrail locations much less expensively than a ground survey of the routes.  Sanborn Map Company, Inc. did the work using their mobile mapping system that combines LiDAR with high-resolution video to meet the accuracy required for this kind of engineering work. With a system delivering better than 5-centimeter accuracy and image resolution as fine as 1 centimeter, Sanborn captured unprecedented 3-D detail, while offering the efficiency of data capture while traveling roads at speeds of up to 60 mph. 
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 Wyoming Wins PSA Award
Wyoming LogoLast week the American Recreation Coalition announced that Wyoming's Public Service Announcement (PSA) promoting healthy, active outdoor fun was one of three national winners. The selection entitled the Governor to designate a nonprofit organization helping to connect America’s kids to the  outdoors for a donation. Governor Mead presented the “WY Outside” program with the $1,000 action grant to support its important work. In the PSA the Governor praises Wyoming’s great public lands and waters and the recreation opportunities they provide to families, saying, “Some of the very best memories I had growing up were with my mom, my dad and brother and sister and when we had the opportunity to be outside somewhere."  See the video on YouTube.
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 NEA Supports National Parks
The 50th anniversary of the Nation Endowment for the Arts (NEA) coincides with the centennial of the National Park Service. To celebrate both milestones, the NEA invited applications to its Art Works category for projects taking place in national parks. The initiative acknowledges what the NEA has observed and funded for some time – that national parks host an array of arts activities. The 33 Imagine Your Parks projects total $797,500 and take place in 16 states and the District of Columbia. National Parks projects that were funded include, among others:
  • Grand Canyon Chamber Music Festival to support the Native American Composer Apprentice Project 
  • Borderlands Theater Teatro Fronterizo,Inc. to support a series of performances by the New ARTiculations Dance Theatre celebrating the saguaro cactus in Saguaro National Park and Tucson. 
  • Mariposa County Arts Council to support a traveling exhibition recognizing the National Park Service's 100th anniversary with "Landmark: Yosemite through the Lens of Contemporary Photography"
  • Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra to support the commissioning and premiere of a new work by composer Stephen Lias that will showcase Rocky Mountain National Park.  
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 National Park Passport Program
Passport StampTo celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, the popular Passport To Your National Parks® program will offer special centennial Passport cancellation stamps at national parks throughout the country. The special stamp will print a round cancellation graphic with the name of the individual park around the top of the circle and “NPS Centennial” around the bottom. A middle line will read, “1916 – 2016”, as shown here. The special stamps will be available starting on January 1 until the end of 2016.  

“These centennial Passport stamps are a great way for visitors to join in the National Park Service’s birthday celebration,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.  “We hope that visitors will use the special cancellation stamps to help them rediscover their favorite parks in 2016 and explore some new parks as well.”

Since its inception in 1986, the Passport program has introduced millions of visitors to the national park system. The program consists of a Passport guidebook, an annual series of commemorative sticker-style stamps, a companion mobile app, and the famous ink cancellation stamps. Nearly all 409 national parks participate in the Passport program, as well as some national trails and scenic rivers and certain park and program offices. A list of participating parks and programs is available at

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 Video of the Week
In the northwest part of England is a mountainous area known as the Lake District where the Lake District National Park is located.  In the park is the very scenic Derwentwater, a large lake surrounded by mountains.  In this week's video you will see some amazing scenes of the area extracted from the latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.  Enjoy the movie magic!
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