Washington

Should Personal Drones Be Banned in National Parks?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | June 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Caifornia, drones, Eco Travel, environment, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Haleakala National Park, hawaii, Mojave National Preserve, national parks, nature, nature photography, Olympic National Park, photography, travel, UAV, Washington, wildlife, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park

Bighorn sheep in Yellowstone National Park

Standing in the presence of the unbelievably immense, monolithic slabs of stone in Zion National Park is an experience that is not soon forgotten and, I’d argue, even spiritual. Gaze up at those massive sandstone cliffs as you hike The Narrows and you’d swear you’ve entered an alien world where 2,000-foot-high gods of rock rule. If you’re brave enough, you can even trek on the shoulders of those gods, by walking on the aptly named Angels Landing Trail. And since 84 percent of the park is designated as wilderness, there are scores of other spots where you can commune with nature and find solitude.

But now imagine that you’re in Zion walking that precipitous pathway — with sheer drop-offs on both sides — and a drone buzzes close by your head. Not only does that distract you and make you feel unsafe, it suddenly changes your great outdoor and unplugged experience.

Similar scenarios in our national parks have caused some of them — including Zion National Park — to ban drone use. While some applaud the move, others feel that their preferred way to photograph the parks is being unfairly singled out and prohibited. But is attaching a camera to a drone truly similar to other forms of photography?

When You’d Rather Leave Home for the Holidays: 5 Nurturing Escapes

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | December 10th, 2013 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: African safari, Arkansas, Arlington Hotel, beach, Belize, Cambodia, Canada, Cannon Beach, Caribbean. Maho Bay Camp, Cascade Canyon, christmas, colorado, Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Eco Travel, family gathering, Freestone Inn, Hanalei Colony Resort, Hanukkah, hawaii, holiday travel, hot springs resort, Kanantik Reef Resort, Kauai, Maine, Mazama, Methow Valley, New Mexico, new year's, North Cascades National Park, ocean, Ojo Caliente, Oregon, Pagosa Springs, relatives, santa fe, skiing, snow, spa, St. John, St. Thomas, Stephanie Inn, Stowe, The Sound of Music, The Springs Resort & Spa, Trapp Family Lodge, Vancouver Island, Vermont, Virgin Islands, volunteer vacation, voluntourism, Washington, Wickaninnish Inn, winter vacation

Christmas at the beach

“Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays…”

I can hear Perry Como crooning those familiar words now, evoking images of that Norman Rockwell family gathered round the holiday table, turkey steaming, silver gleaming, family smiling … The idea of home for many of us evokes thoughts of comfort, welcome, love and belonging. Or it should, in an ideal world. But the reality of going home, especially during the holiday season, may be very different.

Expectations often don’t match the inevitable reality: while you may be yearning for ‘peace on earth, good will toward men,’ the fact is, those relatives you don’t get along with the rest of the year are unlikely to make a miraculous change for a day or two. Maybe your children have fledged the nest and won’t be home this year. If they’ve married, they may be spending the holidays at someone else’s home. Perhaps this is the first holiday you’re facing after the death of a loved one. The thought of going through the motions in the midst of grief holds little appeal.

Whatever the circumstance, there are occasions when you may not feel like singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” with Bing Crosby. Spending part of the season far from stressful settings may be just the gift to give yourself … Or, you may wish to pack up the family just this once and go some place more restful, without all the hassle and hoopla — at least not any that you have to host and clean up after!

If you’re feeling impulsive, last-minute deals at the holiday season are often available to fill cancellations or leftover space — it’s worth a few Google inquiries, if you’re in the mood to mosey. So, whether it’s this year or another, here are five holiday travel ideas to restore body, soul or both.

7 “Yoga and More” Retreats to Nurture Body & Spirit

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | October 21st, 2013 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Fitness, Green Living, Yoga | tags: Apostle Islands, backpacking, Banff, Big Sky Yoga Retreats, Canada, Canyon Lands, Cascade Mountains, Cowgirl Yoga, cycling, Eco Travel, EcoYoga Adventures, Green Living, Haramara Retreat, hiking, horseback riding, italy, Kaf Adventures, kayaking, Lake Superior, Laos, Lumeria, Madeline Island Yoga Retreats, Maui, meditation, mexico, Montana, Mount Rainier, outdoor activities, Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita, Sayulita, SoulFit Adventures, Southeast Asia, stand-up paddleboarding, SUP, surfing, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Yellowstone, yoga classes, yoga retreats

yoga retreats stand-up paddleboarding

If you’ve avoided yoga retreats as a vacation option because you’re worried you’ll spend all your time contorted in meditative silence, it’s time to take another look. Not only do many yoga retreats blend spa treatments and body work with asanas, but a whole new trend combines contemplative practice with activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking, stand-up paddle boarding and other outdoor pursuits.

Top 10 Cities for a Nature Escape Close to Home

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | July 20th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: america's best park, bike, boston, city park, country's best park, day trip, family vacation, green space, hike, nature escape, nature vacation, New York, open space, parkscore, philadelphia, portland, public space, sacramento, san diego, San Francisco, seattle, top city parks, urban park, virginia beach, Washington, wildlife park

It’s July, it’s hot, and there’s still a chunk of sizzling summer ahead. Whether or not you’ve already taken a vacation with family or friends, you may be yearning to get out and enjoy the refreshment of cooler green spaces.

But you needn’t spend pricey gas on a trip to the mountains or the shore if you’re fortunate enough to have nature in your neighborhood. Some cities are especially blessed with public green spaces, and a new project called ParkScore can help you find your city’s best natural oases amidst the sprawl of asphalt, subdivisions and strip malls that weary our spirits on sultry summer days.

14 Stellar Spots to See the Stars

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | August 19th, 2011 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, archaeoastronomy, Arizona, astronomy, astrophotography, Atacama Desert, Australia, Bryce Canyon National Park, California, camping, celestial, Chaco Canyon, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Cherry Springs State Park, Chile, conservation, Eco Travel, ecotourism, europe, Flagstaff, galaxies, Galloway Forest Park, Goldendale Observatory State Park, Green Living, Haleakala National Park, hawaii, hiking, Hungary, International Dark Sky Association, International Dark Sky Community, Lake Tekapo, light pollution, Mackinaw City, Maui, Mauna Kea, Milky Way, Mont-Megantic International Dark Sky Reserve, Mount Cook, Mount Haleakala, National Park Service, New Mexico, New Zealand, NSW, Pennsylvania, planets, protection, Quebec, Scotland, stargazing, Starlight, stars, telescope, The Headlands, trip, UK, UNESCO Starlight Reserve, United Kingdom, urban sprawl, Utah, vacation, Washington, Wiruna, Zselic Starry Sky Park

Milky Way from Atacama Desert, Chile

Ecotourism often focuses on vanishing natural resources, such as rainforests and glaciers. It’s not often, though, that we think of looking up when we ponder the fate of the natural world under threat. Yet the starry night sky is disappearing as rapidly from human experience as vast tracts of the Amazon or the Arctic ice cap.

Light pollution is growing at the rate of four percent per year, according to the International Dark Sky Association. It is so pervasive that if you were to stand on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, you would see less than one percent of the stars that Galileo Galilei saw through his telescope in 1610.

Part One of this series explored the movement to protect the earth’s natural nightscapes. Here in Part Two, you’ll find suggestions for stargazing destinations that will open up the universe to whole new realms of perception. Escape the orange glow of interstates, car dealerships and mall parking lots, and discover the wonders of our twinkling galaxy!

Searching for the Sound of Silence: Finding the World’s Quietest Places

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | November 1st, 2010 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Big Bend National Park, civilization, encroachment, Gobi Desert, Gordon Hempton, Hoh Rainforest, Kalahari Desert, Mother Teresa, National Park Service, nature, noise pollution, Olympic National Park, One Square Inch Project, overpopulation, quiet, silence, silent, sound, travel, Washington, wilderness

Hoh National Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park in northwest Washington

In the first part of this two-part blog series, Wendy Worrall Redal explored our vanishing quiet places and what that loss could mean for us. Now she shares the secrets of some of Earth’s most tranquil spots.