Construction begins on first utility-scale wind project in West Africa FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:Ground has been broken on the development of West Africa’s “first utility-scale wind power project”, located in Senegal. The 158.7 megawatt (MW) Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye, or PETN, is set to be completed in 2020, according to renewable energy firm Lekela.The 46-turbine facility will use turbines from Danish company Vestas and will generate more than 450,000 megawatt hours of energy annually, boosting Senegal’s generation capacity by approximately 15 percent, Lekela said. The project will be built near the community of Taiba N’Diaye.“Senegal has been quick to embrace the idea and the advantages of renewable energy,” Chris Antonopoulos, Lekela’s CEO, said in a statement towards the end of last week.The International Renewable Energy Agency has described Africa as being rich in renewable sources of energy such as the wind and sun.Kenya, for example, is home to the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, which is made up of 365 wind turbines. The project has a total installed capacity of 310 MW and has been producing and sending electricity to Kenya’s national grid since September.More: Construction underway on West Africa’s ‘first utility scale wind farm’
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The Israeli government is betting hard on solar and energy storage to help the nation towards energy independence.Energy minister Yuval Steinitz this week announced a new plan to deploy around 15 GW more solar capacity to help raise the 2030 target for the proportion of national electricity drawn from renewables from 17% to 30%.“In the next decade, solar energy and electricity storage facilities will be set up on a scale equal to all existing electricity production in the country today,” said Steinitz in an official statement.The minister predicted renewables would meet around 80% of power demand by 2030, with gas covering the balance and coal phased out.The change, Steinitz added, will be driven by the private sector, with clean energy investment expected to reach around ILS80 billion ($23 billion).Israel had around 1.19 GW of solar capacity at the end of last year, according to International Renewable Energy Agency figures. Developers installed around 120 MW of solar in Israel last year.[Emiliano Bellini]More: Israel wants another 15 GW of solar by 2030 Israel releases plan to install 15GW of new solar capacity by 2030
Cowee Mountain Overlook as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo courtesy of Mary Anne Baker via Flickr.Do you look forward to a scenic fall drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or a leaf peapin’ cruise on Virginia’s Skyline Drive every year? Well here is your chance to prove it. Vote for the Blue Ride Parkway or Skyline Drive in USA Today‘s 10 Best Readers Choice Award selecting America’s favorite scenic autumn drives.The field includes such notable thoroughfares as the Going-to-The-Sun-Road in Montana’s Glacier National Park, Colorado’s West Elk Loop, and the scenic route 100 Byway of Vermont. Right now the BRP is at 6th place in the standings behind the Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive of Washington state while Skyline Drive is holding strong at number eight. Throw you support behind our home town roads today. Nowhere does fall colors like the Blue Ridge!Here’s more from the USA Today staff:“The kids are back in school, temperatures are starting to drop and Mother Nature’s gearing up for her annual spectacle of fall color. ‘Tis the season for leaf-peeping, and USA TODAY 10Best travel experts have selected their 20 favorite fall foliage-lined stretches of pavement as nominees for the title of Best Scenic Autumn Drive. So hop in the car and be dazzled by the seasonal colors, but before you do, vote for your favorite once per day until Monday, September 28 at noon ET.”Vote here!
I’m wrong a lot. It comes with the territory of being a man, and subsequently, a husband and father. In those three roles, I’d say I’m batting a solid .176. Definitely not all star material. And I’m wrong about all kinds of things. The kind of bird that’s nesting in the tree in our front yard. What my kids want for dinner. What my wife wants to watch on Netflix. I could fill a book with the list of things that I’m constantly wrong about that would make War and Peace look like a commercial break. Probably the only subjects that I’m typically right about are ‘90s sitcom trivia and beer. I’m right about beer. Even if you disagree with me, I’m right.So I was kind of pissed when I took my first sip of Oskar Blues’ Passion Fruit Pinner and discovered that I was wrong yet again. You see, I love Pinner. That’s my go-to session beer at the moment. So I was pissed when Oskar Blues messed with one of my favorite beers by putting passion fruit in it. I’m not a beer purist by any means, but I’m getting a little worn out by all of the fruit that’s going into IPAs these days. A great IPA doesn’t need a dose of apricots or mandarin oranges or passion fruit. A great IPA is plenty fruity on its own.So I thought for sure I’d do my due diligence as a journalist, take a sip of this fruity beer and pour the rest on my herb garden (basil loves beer!). I think I even said to myself, “I’m not going to like this beer,” as I cracked open the can.And I’ll be damned if I wasn’t wrong again. I like this beer. A lot. There’s all kinds of fruity goodness going on with the nose and the sip is bursting with passion fruit flavor, but not in an annoying “look at me!” kind of way. The fruit works seamlessly with what Pinner already has going on. It’s as if Pinner and passion fruit were lovers, separated by war or economics or wild horses and are finally back together. This beer is fruity; it’s thirst quenching; it’s incredibly sessionable at 4.9%. I might even go so far as to say it’s better than the standard Pinner. Maybe.One thing’s for certain—being wrong never felt so right.
What’s the best bike shop in the Blue Ridge? Who are the top raft guides and most inspiring thru-hikers? Where is the most scenic waterfall? What are the toughest events in the region? And where can you get the best local beer and pizza after a day of adventure? Thousands of readers from across the region decided the winners of our seventh annual Best of the Blue Ridge Awards, which include 75 categories, from burgers to biking trails.Hiking TrailGreenbrier River TrailCaldwell—Cass, W.Va.Paralleling the Greenbrier River for nearly 78 miles, this easily accessible rail-trail provides an intimate look at both the history and natural beauty of West Virginia.FINALISTSCascade Falls, Va.Art Loeb Trail, N.C.A.T. SectionMcAfee KnobCatawba, Va.The iconic rock outcropping along the A.T. at McAfee Knob is engulfed by near-360-degree views of rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. Expect to work hard for those vistas—the trail climbs a butt-busting 1,700 feet in just 4.4 miles.FINALISTSRoan Mountains, Tenn.Dragon’s Tooth, Va.Swimming HoleBlue Bend Recreation AreaMonongahela, W.Va.With three overlooks into the Monongahela National Forest and a cozy overnight shelter, the trail is a gem in its own right, never mind the brisk mountain-fed swimming hole.FINALISTSDevil’s Bathtub, Va.Skinny Dip Falls, N.C.Running TrailMill MountainRoanoke, Va.With over 10 miles of trails just minutes from downtown, Mill Mountain Park makes it easy for Roanoke residents and visitors to squeeze in a quick trail run before, after, or even during work hours. Climbing to the Roanoke Star at 1,847 feet justifies a post-run beverage.FINALISTSJackrabbit Trail, N.C.Blue Ridge School Trails, Va.Paddling RiverNew RiverNorth Carolina—West VirginiaDesignated a Wild and Scenic River in 1976, the 320-mile long river starts in North Carolina’s High Country. After long stretches of flatwater in Virginia, it becomes world-class whitewater in West Virginia.FINALISTSNantahala River, N.C.James River, Va.Climbing CragNew River GorgeFayetteville, W.Va.The sheer quantity of bullet-hard sandstone in the New River Gorge makes the area one of the best sport and traditional rock climbing destinations in the world. Many climbers of international renown have journeyed to this quiet pocket of southern West Virginia to test their mettle on the area’s (oft-sandbagged) 1,400+ established routes and boulder problems.FINALISTSSeneca Rocks, W.Va.Looking Glass Rock, N.C.CampgroundBig MeadowsShenandoah National ParkPost up for the weekend with backdoor access to Shenandoah National Park’s treasured waterfalls and trails. Within minutes of leaving your campsite, you can be at the base of Dark Hollow Falls or hiking along the Appalachian Trail.FINALISTSDeep Creek Tube Center & Campground, N.C.Flag Rock Recreation Area, Va.Biking TrailGreenbrier River TrailCaldwell—Cass, W.Va.Take a day or a week to pedal this historic rail-trail, which passes over 35 bridges, through two tunnels, and along some of the state’s most remote and vibrant forests.FINALISTSCarvins Cove, Va.Bryce Mountain Bike Park, Va.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Urban ParkMill MountainRoanoke, Va.This nearly 2,000-foot mountain is visible from just about anywhere in downtown Roanoke and serves as a constant reminder for the Star City’s residents to make time to go outside and play.FINALISTSJames River Park, Va.Steele Creek, Tenn.Ski RunCupp RunSnowshoe Mountain Resort, W.Va.Hope your quads are ready. This run plummets 1,500 vertical feet in just over a mile.FINALISTSShay’s Revenge, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, W.Va.Cliffhanger, Wintergreen Resort, Va.Terrain ParkSnowshoe Mountain ResortSnowshoe, W.Va.With 28 acres of freestyle terrain and five different terrain parks, you can session Snowshoe’s features all day long and still not hit every jump or jib.FINALISTS (tied) Wintergreen Resort, Va., and Canaan Valley Resort, W.Va.Bryce ResortSUP SpotSummersville LakeSummersville, W.Va.Over 28,000 acres in size, Summersville Lake is West Virginia’s largest lake. Its 60 miles of shoreline are largely undeveloped and dominated by soaring sandstone cliffs, which served as the venue for PsicoRoc 2016, the country’s first outdoor deep water soloing competition.FINALISTSFontana Lake, N.C.Roanoke River, Va.Blue Ridge Parkway SpotPeaks of OtterBedford, Va.Comprised of three rolling mountaintops—Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill—the Peaks of Otter were once prized Native American hunting grounds. Today, visitors can fish the iconic waters of Abbott Lake, wine and dine at the Peaks of Otter Lodge, or camp out under the stars at the base of Sharp Top Mountain.FINALISTSBlack Balsam, N.C.Mount Mitchell, N.C.WaterfallCascade FallsGiles County, Va.The 69-foot falls plunges between 200-foot rock walls into a vast and deep pool. The idyllic waterfall might look like the picture-perfect place to swim, but its waters should only be appreciated from the banks.FINALISTSCrabtree Falls, Va.Linville Falls, N.C.Wilderness AreaDolly Sods Wilderness AreaWest VirginiaThis high elevation wilderness area is laced with spruce trees and tannin stained creeks, rhododendron-choked trails and blueberry-studded meadows. Wild and lush and teeming with life, this 17,000+-acre wilderness area is unlike anywhere else in the Southeast.FINALISTSLinville Gorge Wilderness, N.C.Cranberry Wilderness, W.Va.Kid-Friendly Outdoor DestinationFloydFestFloyd, Va.No matter their age, kids will love exploring, creating, and imagining in the Children’s Universe and Little Planets play area at FloydFest. Bring some instruments and costumes, too, to participate in the annual Peace Parade.FINALISTSBryce Resort, Va.Sliding Rock, N.C.Pet-Friendly Outdoor DestinationBlue Mountain BreweryAfton, Va.Centrally located to a wealth of outdoor adventure, Blue Mountain Brewery’s ample outdoor space seats more than just explorers of the two-legged variety. Bring your pup after a day on the trail and soak in the Blue Ridge mountain views and locally made brews.FINALISTSCanine Social Club, N.C.Jackrabbit Trail, N.C.Place for Outdoor Singles to LiveAsheville, N.C.Given the endless outdoor adventures, nightly live music offerings, and booming craft beer scene, it’s no wonder that Asheville has become a haven for the young and restless.FINALISTSRoanoke, Va.Shenandoah ValleyPlace to Raise an Outdoor FamilyRoanoke, Va.Though the city’s population is close to 100,000, Roanoke’s close-knit districts give it a small-town, know-your-neighbor feel. Couple that sense of community mindedness with in-town greenways, trail systems, and river access, and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t move to Roanoke sooner.FINALISTSBryson City, N.C.Shenandoah County, Va.Place to Engage in Nefarious ActivitiesNot tellingVarious locationsThat’s probably a good call. We’re not in the business of keeping secrets anyway.FINALISTSGauley Fest, W.Va.Blue Ridge Parkway, N.C., Va.Place to Play HookyFayetteville, W.Va.While Fayetteville certainly has plenty of novice-level trail and paddling adventures like riding the Arrowhead Trails or SUPping the Upper New, if gnar is what you’re after, gnar is what you’ll get. Nothing like a little chunder to make you forget about the “guilt” of skipping work.FINALISTSGreen River, N.C.Massanutten Resort, Va.Fly Fishing River/CreekShenandoah RiverVirginiaThe lazy Shenandoah River provides some of the best smallmouth, largemouth, musky, and carp fishing in the country, and with relatively mild temperatures, you can float it year-round.FINALISTSMossy Creek, Va.Davidson River, N.C.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]FlatwaterSummersville LakeSummersville, W.Va.This mammoth body of placid water hides countless rock features and inlets to explore, making it possible to paddle out onto the lake and escape the crowds even in the height of summer.FINALISTSSmith Mountain Lake, Va.Lake Lure, N.C.Luxury DestinationThe GreenbrierWhite Sulphur Springs, W.Va.Set amid the rolling Allegheny Mountains, a visit to the Greenbrier is about as close to visiting a Parisian chateau as we can get here in Appalachia. But with on- and offsite adventures like biking the Greenbrier River Trail and fishing Howard’s Creek, there are plenty of opportunities to see the wilder side of West Virginia, too.FINALISTSPrimland, Va.The Omni Homestead Resort, Va.State for Outdoor ActivitiesVirginiaWithin a five hours’ drive, you can be paddling whitewater on the James River, shredding singletrack at Douthat State Park, bouldering at Grayson Highlands State Park, or hiking on any number of the state’s 544 miles of the Appalachian Trail. It’s a one-stop-shop for adventure.FINALISTSWest VirginiaNorth CarolinaWhat Makes a Great Place to Raise a Family? Our top two finalists for the “Best Place to Raise an Outdoorsy Family” couldn’t be more different. The mid-sized city of Roanoke, Va., has a population of nearly 100,000, while the small town of Bryson City, N.C., is home to just over 1,400. Where Roanoke was historically a railroad town, early Bryson City residents earned their living from farming.Despite their differences, there is one theme that unites them as the region’s leading adventure basecamps for families: access.“The Appalachian Trail is a 15-minute drive away, and the Blue Ridge Parkway is only 10 minutes away,” says Roanoke resident Nicole Lenderking, whose 10-year-old son is actively involved in the youth cycling scene. “Our house sits on the edge of Carvins Cove and feels like it’s out in the middle of nowhere, but then you’re less than 20 minutes from downtown.“Where we used to live in town, we could jump on the greenway and ride our bikes, without cars, to the bottom of Mill Mountain and its extensive trail network,” says Nicole’s husband Troy. “It’s pretty unique to have that type of a trail system just one mile from downtown.”Down in the westernmost corner of North Carolina, Bryson City is the literal gateway to a number of the region’s most prized outdoor destinations, such as the Nantahala River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Fontana Lake, and Tsali Recreation Area. For Bryson City, N.C., resident Mac Brown, who runs his own fly fishing guide service, that proximity to the outdoors was appealing to him, first as a thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail (’86), then as a seasonal guide for the Nantahala Outdoor Center, and later as a father.“The more you give kids a passion for the outdoors, the more likely it will make them better citizens down the road,” says Brown. “Swain County is a huge playground, with 90% of the land being federally owned. We run and ride mountain bikes, and I know it makes my kids more responsible individuals.”With frequent family friendly festivals and events, a reasonable cost of living, and a central location to a number of other major urban centers, it’s no wonder outdoorsy families are flocking to these communities.“There’s not any amount of money that would make me want to leave from here,” says Brown. “I wouldn’t move anywhere else in America.”Running EventBlue Ridge MarathonRoanoke, Va.Each spring, hundreds of runners from all walks of life head to the Start City to see if they have what it takes to tackle the country’s toughest road marathon. The course certainly packs a punch, with over 7,430 feet of climbing in just 26.2 miles.FINALISTSPark to Park Half, Va.Shut-In Ridge Trail Run, N.C.Biking EventTour de ValleyWaynesboro, Va.Ride through Shenandoah Valley’s bucolic countryside on this fully supported century and metric century. Though technically a race, this event has a much more inclusive feel, almost like a big group ride.FINALISTSShenandoah Mountain 100, Va.Assault on Mount Mitchell, N.C.Paddling EventGauley FestSummersville, W.Va.Since 1983, the annual whitewater releases on the Gauley River have pulled paddlers from their respective corners of the world to the banks of this rowdy, big-wave river. The festival includes vendor exhibitions, downriver races, and plenty of Pillow Rock Creature Craft carnage to keep even non-boaters entertained (if you don’t know what a Creature Craft is, do yourself a favor and look it up).FINALISTSGreen Race, N.C.Nantahala Racing Club Whitewater Open, N.C.Climbing EventNew River Gorge Craggin’ ClassicFayetteville, W.Va.Made for climbers, by climbers, this multiday event is part party, part manual labor. The weekend kicks off on Friday with an all-day stewardship project in the Gorge, slingin’ rocks and wrestling rhodo. Afterwards, it’s all-you-can-boogie glow stick parties and dyno comps.FINALISTSTriple Crown Bouldering Series at Hound Ears, N.C.HomoClimbtastic, W.Va.Triathlon/Multisport EventCaptain Thurmond’s Challenge — The New River Gorge GamesFayetteville, W.Va.This adventure triathlon is the pinnacle of endurance—competitors start by mountain biking 15 miles to the Cunard put-in for the New River Gorge, kayak seven miles of class IV+ whitewater, and run 6.5 miles (which climbs 1,100 vertical feet) back to town.FINALISTSApp(ugh)lachian Race Series, Va.Luray Triathlon, Va.Adventure RaceGO Outside Fest Wild Gear ChaseRoanoke, Va.Be it a water bottle or a kayak, everybody wins in this checkpoint scavenger hunt. Racers are given a cue sheet with hints to destinations within a two-mile radius of the festival, with the goal being to hit as many of the places as possible. The more checkpoints you visit, the sooner you’ll get to pick your free swag in the gear tent.FINALISTSShenandoah Epic Adventure Race, Va.Asheville Urban Odyssey, N.C.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Mud Run/Obstacle CourseSpartan Race SeriesVarious locationsThe challenge-by-choice format of the Spartan Sprint allows participants of all abilities to take part in the action. Start out small with the 3.1-mile distance, or take on the Ultra Beast 12-14-miler before tackling the Spartan’s namesake obstacles like the slippery wall, fire jump, spear throw, and rope climb.FINALISTSMad Anthony Mud Run, Va.Muddy ACCE Race, Va.FestivalFloydFestFloyd, Va.Nestled high up in the mountains of central Virginia, FloydFest is a festival that has truly mastered the art of paying homage to the region’s musical heritage while still welcoming the eclectic new-age sounds of today. The 2018 lineup is already looking stellar, with Foster the People, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and Langhorne Slim, to name a few.FINALISTSGO Outside Festival, Va.Mountain Sports Festival, N.C.Rowdiest EventGauley FestSummersville, W.Va.The Power of Events to Do GoodIt seems appropriate that the festival celebrating the unruly Gauley River is just as raucous. We’d be concerned if it wasn’t.Combine live music, beer, food, and likeminded people, and you’re bound to have a good time, but these days, festivals are doing more than hosting big parties. Some of the most popular festivals are actually breeding grounds for do goodery.Just ask American Whitewater’s Executive Director Mark Singleton. Though AW’s Gauley Fest is undoubtedly a wild weekend of whitewater shenanigans, the event is also the largest gathering of the organization’s supporters in the country. And that, says Singleton, gives AW a prime opportunity to continue education and outreach on upcoming projects, like the organization’s campaign to establish rivers like the Nolichucky River as Wild and Scenic in commemoration of this year’s 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.“Activism was really the genesis of Gauley Fest,” says Singleton. “Back in the early ‘80s, there was a proposal that would have dewatered the upper three miles of [the Gauley] River and put in a pipe from the current dam location down to below Pillow Rock. It was boaters who came together to push back on that proposal and a secondary dam proposal at Swiss. That kind of public engagement shaped AW as an organization that could rally grassroots support and really protect rivers for their recreation and conservation values. Now, the management of the New and Gauley Rivers is a national example of what good river management can look like.”Three months prior to Gauley Fest and on the other side of the New River Gorge Bridge, Atlanta-based climber Alex Rowland’s brainchild event HomoClimbtastic is paving the way for inclusivity in the world of adventure as the world’s largest queer-friendly climbing convention.“Climbing can be a tough sport to break into if you don’t already know people,” says Rowland. “When I first started climbing, it felt like a bit of a struggle to find outdoor climbing partners.” So 10 years ago, Rowland started the HomoClimbtastic Club. Its first convention only had a five-person turnout, but Rowland had so much fun, he was hardly discouraged. Now, the event, which is held annually on the third weekend of July, regularly brings in 100 climbers from all over the country. From a drag show to a floatie pride parade on Summersville Lake, the festival is entirely too much fun, and that, says Rowland, was sorta the point.“A lot of activism can be really tough, and I wanted this to be more than activism,” he says. “This is work, but I wanted it to feel much more like a celebration than anything else.”FINALISTSGO Outside Festival, Va.LOCKN’ Festival, Va.Toughest EventShenandoah Epic Adventure RaceBentonville, Va.For eight years running, this 24-hour race has pushed even the toughest endurance athletes to their limits. Cover over 100 miles of ground by bike, boat, and foot, and come prepared to put your navigational skills to the test.FINALISTSThe Barkley Marathons, Tenn.The Green Race, N.C.Costumed EventGreat Outdoor Provisions Surf-n-Santa 5-MilerVirginia Beach, Va.Picture this: thousands of racers decked in five-piece Santa suits, running through the night while hundreds more elves hand out candy canes and gingerbread cookies on the course. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.FINALISTSSuper Hero 5K, N.C.Thrill on the Hill, Va.Fly Fishing EventWNC Fly Fishing ExpoAsheville, N.C.Considered by many anglers to be the most comprehensive fly fishing event in the region, this expo is no doubt educational, but it’s after the long day of workshops and clinics that the true fun begins: BBQ cookouts, beers, fly fishing films. That’s the stuff true friends are made of.FINALISTSRumble in the Rhododendron Fly Fishing Tournament, N.C.Mossy Creek Invitational, Va.Adventurer of the YearJohn ForbesKingsport, Tenn.You’ll know John Forbes when you see him on the trail. His long gray beard is unmistakable, hiding behind it a whimsical grin that hardly contains his enthusiasm for hiking in the Tri-Cities region, excursions which he thoroughly documents on his page Tri-Cities Hiking Adventures. Give him a follow!FINALISTSEllie Quinn, Va.Megan Robinson, Va.Instagram Account to Follow@ellieontheatDid you know that an empty Mountain House package can hold two dirty diapers? Or that an umbrella is a necessary piece of gear if you’re expecting to breast-feed on trail? Though Kanga, Roo, and Sherpa’s (that’s Bekah, Ellie, and Derrick Quirin) thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail is over, their Instagram handle continues to be a great resource and inspiration to active families with young children (plus, that Ellie is just too stinkin’ cute).FINALISTS@blueridgemtguides@moonmegroanoke[nextpage title=”Read on!”]PhotographerBilly BowlingLebanon, Va.Specializing in landscape photography, Billy Bowling is always outside capturing the diversity and underrated beauty of the Southeast, particularly in his home state of Virginia.FINALISTSSarah Rhulen, N.C.Sam Dean, Va.Local/Regional AthleteBen KingCharlottesville, Va.Originally heralding from central Virginia, professional cyclist Ben King now spends most of his time in Italy, where he’s training as a member of the prestigious Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. In the under-23 division, King crushed the competition at the 2010 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships and the 2010 Pan-American Time Trial and Road Championships, which he won.FINALISTSGordon Wadsworth, Va.Travis Pietila, Va.Raft GuideWill NorrisNantahala Outdoor Center, N.C.Will Norris isn’t just a raft guide. He’s a kayaker, canoeist, standup paddleboarder and rower, too. For the past 17 years, Norris has been facilitating downriver experiences for locals and out-of-towners alike, and as a Rescue 3 International swift water instructor, he prides himself on safety first, and fun times second.FINALISTSAlisa Hudgel, ACE Adventure ResortSexy Tony, New and Gauley River AdventuresClimbing GuideDeb SimonHard Rock Climbing, Fayetteville, W.Va.Deb Simon’s passion might be rock climbing, first, but with that love comes an even deeper appreciation for wilderness medicine. Last year, both Deb and her husband Bryan, who are co-founders of Vertical Medicine Resources, became the first nurses ever to receive a Master’s degree in Mountain Medicine, and their co-written climbing and wilderness first aid guidebook Vertical Aid has quickly become a standard of excellence in the climbing industry.FINALISTSGrant Price, Blue Ridge Mountain GuidesKarsten Delap, Fox Mountain GuidesFly Fishing GuideEugene ShulerFly Fishing the SmokiesBorn and raised in the Smoky Mountains, Eugene Shuler was destined to be an angler. As a third generation guide, a love of regional rivers and tailwaters runs thick in his blood and is obvious in his many leadership roles—he’s a United States Coast Guard Captain, a certified fly fishing instructor from New York’s prestigious Wulff School of Fly Fishing, and the founder and president of the North Carolina Fly Fishing Team’s Board of Directors (which has won more tournaments than any other fly fishing team in North America).FINALISTSKen Kastorff, Endless River AdventuresPatrick Sessoms, Due South OutfittersA.T. Thru HikerBekah, Derrick, and Ellie QuirinRoanoke, Va.Bekah and Derrick Quirin always dreamed of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, so when they were blessed with the birth of their first child, Ellie, they decided not to let that dream pass them by. In September 2017, the Quirin family, whose trail names are Kanga (Bekah), Roo (Ellie), and Sherpa (Derrick), completed a flip-flop thru-hike of the white blaze with their then-one-year-old daughter, poopy diapers and all.FINALISTSJennifer Pharr Davis, N.C.Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughey, Wash.Inspiring Outdoor PersonalityMegan RobinsonRoanoke, Va.Megan Robinson is an equestrian first and foremost, but more than anything, she’s an advocate for moving bodies and open minds. Catch her at The Y in Roanoke, where she provides active outreach to youth and families.FINALISTSThomas Mabry, Tenn.Juliet Kastorff, N.C.Outdoor Legend/PioneerChip ChaseCanaan Valley, W.Va.Foraging master, shot ski aficionado, dancing machine, Chip Chase brings the party wherever he goes. Ullr reincarnate, Chase is happiest when the snow is falling on his magical kingdom, aka White Grass Ski Touring Center, and the shine is flowing freely (just don’t ski through his parking lot, people).FINALISTSKen Kastorff, N.C.Mike Fischesser, N.C.The Power of Adventuring as a FamilyAppalachian Trail record holder Jennifer Pharr Davis and her husband Brew have taken backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail and hiked in all 50 states with their first-born daughter, Charley. But it wasn’t until her most recent thru-hike of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, during which she raised awareness and advocated for continued support of the trail, that she finally started to see the effect that time in the outdoors was having on her children.“It’s hard to get Charley to do chores and pick up her room. She’s four, and turned five while we were on the trail. But one day during the hike, she was going along the beach picking up trash. I hadn’t asked her to do anything, so when I asked her why she was doing it, she said, ‘I’m saving the turtles.’ She had just visited a sea turtle rehabilitation and rescue center, and had learned the connection between pollution and human impact and the environment and was putting it into practice.”For Bekah and Derrick Quirin, thru hiking the Appalachian Trail with their one-year-old girl Ellie presented not only the opportunity for their daughter to be steeped in the natural world that first brought the Roanoke, Va., couple together, but also the chance to witness some of her most formative months.“When Derrick was working full-time and he would come home, he would get bummed that he didn’t get to see Ellie’s milestones firsthand,” says Bekah. “It was really awesome to have him right there when she took her first steps on the trail or started saying ‘Daddy.’ From my perspective, seeing his face light up when she would do those things was a really big deal.”Of course, all of that is not to say that adventuring, on any scale, with a young family is easy. Jennifer Pharr Davis’ husband Brew struggled being a “stay-at-home-dad without the home,” while he and their two children (both under the age of five at the time) followed and often hiked with Pharr Davis on her Mountains-to-Sea Trail thru hike. And though Pharr Davis does not have any intentions of hiking another long-distance trail in the near future, she’s okay with it, so long as she can continue to show her children the lessons the outdoors can offer.“We were out there for three months and three days. There were highs and lows and at the end, we came out closer as a family,” she says. “We like to paint a really rosy picture of adventure and talk about the highlights, but getting through the low points and staying committed to the team is also really important.”For families curious about what it takes to get kids adventuring, Bekah Quirin, who regularly leads Hike It Baby hikes in Roanoke, says to start small on greenways and local parks and build up a solid set of backcountry skills before introducing a young child into the mix.“The books will tell you to stick to a schedule, but that’s not realistic for an adventuring family,” says Bekah. “If you want a flexible baby, you have to raise a flexible baby.”PizzaPies & PintsMultiple locations in Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, and VirginiaWhat began in 2003 as a one-room pizza shop for Fayetteville, West Virginia’s raft guides has now grown into one of the region’s top dining destinations. The restaurant’s gourmet pizza options (think grape and gorgonzola) paired with top-notch artisanal beer from around the world makes for the perfect post-adventure meal.FINALISTSBlue Mountain Brewery, Va.Hill and Hollar, W.Va.BurgerSecret Sandwich SocietyFayetteville, W.Va., and Richmond, Va.The Society’s burgers are of the stick-to-your-ribs variety, the perfect refuel after a hard day on the rock or trail. We like the Eagle for its savory combination of seared mortadella, roasted garlic mayo, pickles, and a pile of crispy onions, all topped off with an over-easy egg. Trust us on this one.Secret Sandwich SocietyFINALISTSCitizen Burger Bar, Va.Jim’s Drive In, W.Va.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]TacoThunderbird TacoLewisburg, W.Va.Tex-Mex done right. This quaint yet hip taco joint dishes up some truly authentic plates made with locally sourced beef steak and kickin’ ingredients like chili roasted sweet potato and cream cheese-stuffed charred jalapeno.FINALISTSA Place to Eat, Md.Brazos Tacos, Va.BBQRidge View BBQInstitute, W.Va.Sometimes it feels good to be bad. Load up on Ridge View’s hickory smoked, slow cooked BBQ for a true taste of the south, and add the pork rinds.FINALISTSDirty Ernie’s, W.Va.BBQ Exchange, Va.Ice CreamThe StacheFayetteville, W.Va.The Stache checks all of our boxes, with an inviting atmosphere, fun rotating flavors (our favs are the cappuccino crunch and dark chocolate raspberry truffle), and an apple pie sundae that rivals grandma’s best. It’s also probably the only place in Fayetteville where you can buy an ice cream cone and a six-pack of fart bombs.FINALISTSBlue Cow, Va.Kline’s, Va.RestaurantSecret Sandwich SocietyFayetteville, W.Va., Richmond, Va.The SSS doesn’t just make good food, they do good, too. The restaurant recycles everything and is 100% wind powered, which speaks volumes in this day and age.FINALISTSBlue Mountain Brewery, Va.The French Goat, W.Va.Farm to Table RestaurantSHiFTFrostburg, Md.For SHiFT, “farm to table” isn’t just a marketing ploy—it’s a way of life. Dine with the seasons at this locally sourced, vegetarian and vegan friendly eatery in downtown Frostburg.FINALISTSWild Wolf Brewing, Va.The Station, W.Va.VegetarianLaughing Seed CaféAsheville, N.C.Veggies unite! This vegetarian only restaurant was the first of its kind in downtown Asheville and has been serving up some impressive, internationally inspired veggie dishes for over 20 years. Try the Harmony Bowl smothered in sesame ginger sauce once, and you might never go back to meat.FINALISTSFirefly Fare, Va.Gillie’s, Va.BreakfastCathedral Café & Book StoreFayetteville, W.Va.No trip to the New River Gorge is complete without breakfast at Cathedral. Located smack in the center of town, this place cranks out everything from pancakes to breakfast burritos and has won the hearts of so many locals and tourists alike that their iconic mugs have been photographed in everywhere from the Carolina coast to the mountains of Nepal.FINALISTSScratch Biscuit Company, Va.Sunny Point Café, N.C.LunchSecret Sandwich SocietyFayetteville, W.Va., Richmond, Va.Say ‘goodbye’ to your boring old PB&J brown bag and ‘hello’ to your new favorite lunch. For a sweet and savory sammy, check out the Truman, which features turkey, peach jam, blue cheese spread, and crispy onions piled high on a toasted baguette. Hungry yet?FINALISTSWild Wolf Brewing, Va.Bellair Market, Va.Post Adventure HangoutThe GroveFayetteville, W.Va.Beer on tap? Check. Groovy atmosphere? Check. Poetry slams and live music? Double check. The Grove is the place to be during your next weekend in the New River Gorge.FINALISTSSilverback Distillery, Va.Parkway Brewing, Va.Bar/PubDante’s BarFrostburg, Md.Every good outdoor town needs a place to kick back with a beer or cocktail and let loose a little. Dante’s is just that, offering killer happy hour deals, free pool and karaoke on Wednesdays, and live music throughout the weekend.FINALISTSBlue Mountain Brewery, Va.The Grove, W.Va.Brewery1812 BreweryCumberland, Md.After a day biking the C&O or Great Allegheny Passage, stop in at this truly unique brewery. Housed inside a barn that dates back to 1812, the 2,500-foot, two-story brewery is a destination in its own right. Head there on Thursdays for game night—Sorry is a lot more fun with a couple of IPAs in you.FINALISTSGreenbrier Valley Brewing Company, W.Va.Blue Mountain Brewery, Va.WineryToasted GoatFrostburg, Md.Admit it. You’re a sucker for labels. So are we, and Toasted Goat’s quirky hand drawn labels are among some of our favorites. It’s just a bonus that the wine is pretty tasty, too.FINALISTSKing Family Vineyards, Va.Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Va.CideryBold RockNellysford, Va., Mills River, N.C.No matter which end of the Blue Ridge you reside, it’s guaranteed that if you pick up a bottle of Bold Rock, it’s going to be made with apples grown right in your backyard. With a wide selection of hard ciders ranging in dryness, Bold Rock is setting the standard for regionally made hard cider.FINALISTSHawk Knob Hard Cider & Mead, W.Va.Blue Toad Hard Cider, WintergreenDistillerySilverback DistilleryAfton, Va.Bottom’s up at this green-thinking Virginia-based distillery. Silverback utilizes geothermal technologies to produce its vodka, gin, rye whiskey, and honey rye whiskey, which means that your spirits were produced with the least possible impact on the environment.FINALISTSSmooth Ambler Spirits, W.Va.Virginia Distillery, Va.Late Night EatsThe StationFayetteville, W.Va.From beer to bread, The Station’s mission is to source all of their ingredients from local suppliers, so if you’re starving after a night of dancing at The Grove, you can partake in all of that regional goodness until midnight.FINALISTSC&O Restaurant, Va.Texas Tavern, Va.Coffee ShopClatter CoffeeFrostburg, Md.As if their decadently smooth pour-over wasn’t reason enough to frequent this café, Clatter also offers a stylish space to meet, plus a substantial food menu to keep you fueled through your work. Try the Appalachian Ramen bowl if you’re there for lunch.FINALISTSMudhouse Coffee Roasters, Va.Sweet Donkey Coffee House, Va.Beyond the DishWhen April Moon Harper opened up Sunny Point Café in West Asheville 14 years ago, the neighborhood hardly had any restaurants, let alone competing breakfast joints. Now, the district is hoppin’, with a whole suite of restaurants, music venues, and bars. And despite the increase of businesses, Harper says Sunny Point’s success is largely due to their commitment to the neighborhood.“I worked in a neighborhood restaurant in Atlanta and really felt like they were the way to go,” she says. “Once you get that core of regulars, you really become a member of the community.”Each month, the restaurant uses tabletop donation envelopes to raise money for local organizations like Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which Sunny Point then matches up to 20 percent.Secret Sandwich Society’s flagship restaurant in Fayetteville, W.Va., also supports local organizations and events like the New River Gorge Craggin’ Classic, the Gauley Fest Animal Race, and the annual Video Boater Challenge. In November, they joined a number of Fayetteville businesses in supporting the inaugural “Boulder Bounty” by putting up $500 with another local business for a combined $1,000 on one of the Gorge’s 10 toughest and unconquered boulders.“If you send the boulder and show it on social media, you win the bounty. The response has been crazy,” says Secret Sandwich Society owner Lewis Rhinehart. “There are international climbers in town right now trying to get these bounties. This is what Fayetteville is about and it’s what West Virginia is becoming about.”Outdoor CompanyDiamond Brand OutdoorsAsheville, N.C.What started in 1964 as a simple 900-square-foot glorified garage has now expanded into more than just a brick-and-mortar retail space. Diamond Brand helps its customers not only gear up for their adventures but also learn how to recreate safely in the outdoors through regular clinics and the annual Asheville Outdoor Show.FINALISTSEndless River Adventures, N.C.Blue Ridge Mountain Guides, Va.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Outdoor ShopRiver Rock OutfitterFredericksburg, Va.“Adventure in any direction,” with the help of River Rock’s seasoned staff. Opened in November of 2014, the family owned outfitter is located right on the Rappahannock River where the company offers water-based instructional courses in flatwater and whitewater paddling.FINALISTSEndless River Adventures, N.C.REI, Various locationsFly Fishing OutfitterFly Fishing the SmokiesGatlinburg, Tenn., Bryson City N.C.Float or wade, walleye or smallmouth, winter or summer, these guides can do it all. If you need another adventure to add to your bucket list, tack on the outfitter’s Smokies Backcountry Trip, a two-day, one-night backpacking and fly fishing trip into the heart of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.FINALISTSEndless River Adventures, N.C.Mossy Creek Fly Fishing, Va.Running ShopFleet Feet SportsVarious locationsFrom the outside, Fleet Feet might look like any old specialty running store, but talk to the staff behind the counter and you’ll see what makes this fast-growing chain of franchises one of the most respected in the industry. Fleet Feet works hard to introduce non-runners to the sport through inclusive clinics and non-intimidating group runs.FINALISTSFoot RX, N.C.Ragged Mountain Running, Va.Bike ShopNew River BikesFayetteville, W.Va.Located in the old Fayetteville feed store, New River Bikes embodies everything we love about Fayetteville—the quirk, the character, the shirt-off-your-back hospitality. The shop’s owner Andy Forron is like a walking encyclopedia when it comes to any and all forms of riding, be it mountain biking, road riding, or bikepacking. Just don’t tell him you like Strava.FINALISTSMotion Makers, N.C.Blue Ridge Cyclery, Va.Environmental OrganizationSouthern Environmental Law CenterCharlottesville, Va.Now more than ever, it’s hard to keep track of the numerous threats and policy reversals that risk damaging the places we love. That’s why the Southern Environmental Law Center exists, to be not only a resource for concerned citizens in the Southeast but also the warriors who defend those without a voice—our water, air, mountains, forests—in the courtroom.FINALISTSTrout Unlimited, Various locationsFriends of Rappahannock, Va.Raft Guide CompanyNantahala Outdoor CenterBryson City, N.C.When Payson Kennedy and his wife Aurelia opened the NOC in 1972, they never envisioned their outfitter would become one of the most recognized breeding grounds for competitive paddlers in the world, but that’s just what it’s become. Raft guides here do more than push rubber. They’re well rounded paddlers of all disciplines, and 22 of the NOC’s staff have gone on to be Olympians.FINALISTSEndless River Adventures, N.C.ACE Adventure Resort, W.Va.Climbing GuideSeneca Rocks Climbing SchoolSeneca Rocks, W.Va.Named for that iconic flake of rock that rises high above the community, Seneca Rocks Climbing School has been showing both new and veteran climbers the ropes since 1971 when the school and climbing shop were based out of the back of a Volkswagen bus.FINALISTSBlue Ridge Mountain Guides, Va.Fox Mountain Guides, N.C.Climbing GymRiver Rock ClimbingRoanoke, Va.For the fourth year in a row, River Rock has taken the cake as Best Climbing Gym in the region. Their facility is impressive (and conveniently located next to a taproom), offering a diverse mix of beginner and expert problems, hands-on instruction, youth teams, and yoga classes to balance out all of that upper body training.FINALISTSPeak Experiences, Va.Climb Max/Smoky Mountain Adventure Center, N.C.Ski ResortSnowshoe Mountain ResortSnowshoe, W.Va.Few places in the Southeast rival Snowshoe when it comes to natural snowfall. The mountaintop resort can receive upwards of 180 inches, and with 251 acres and 57 trails to explore, it’s a big kid’s literal winter wonderland.FINALISTSWintergreen Resort, Va.Beech Mountain Resort, N.C.Après SpotWild Wolf BrewingNellysford, Va.Just a short drive away from the Appalachian Trail and Crabtree Falls, Wild Wolf is almost too conveniently located to pass up after a day on the trail. Their food portions are hearty, not to mention locally sourced, and with 13 beers on tap, it’s easy to find a brew that works for you.FINALISTSStumptown Ales, W.Va.Appalachian Mountain Brewing, N.C.Yoga StudioAsheville Community YogaAsheville, N.C.Paying $20 for a yoga class seems to be the standard fare in larger cities, but it’s that pay-to-practice philosophy that pushes away the people who need yoga most. Asheville Community Yoga is a nonprofit that offers yoga classes on a donation basis. In 2016, the center crowdfunded over $150,000 to purchase their building outright, a testament to the tribe that supports this community-minded yoga facility.FINALISTSUttara Yoga, Va.Now Yoga, Va.Zip LineAdventures on the GorgeFayetteville, W.Va.Humans might not be able to fly, but they can zip line, and short of donning a wingsuit and jumping off a cliff, this is the next best (and safest) thing. Sail 200 feet above ground on a mile-and-a-half course, where you’ll zip through the trees at a speed of up to 65 miles per hour.FINALISTSThe Gorge Zipline, N.C.Navitat, N.C.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Farmer’s MarketWNC Farmer’s MarketAsheville, N.C.Open year-round, seven days a week, this centrally located farmer’s market was first opened in 1977 and has since become an impressive facility over 38,000 square feet in size. Aside from vendors selling items like local fruits, vegetables, preserves, and crafts, the market also houses a deli that whips up delicious sandwiches.FINALISTSCharlottesville Farmer’s Market, Va.Downtown Roanoke Farmer’s Market, Va.App for the OutdoorsStravaStrava’s ability to connect, inform, and motivate athletes of all disciplines is changing the way we go outside and play. Athletes can track mileage and elevation profiles, test themselves on timed segments against a leaderboard of area athletes, and join challenges to give their training the extra edge it needs.FINALISTSMountain HubYonderOutdoor Adventure AutomobileToyota TacomaPop a camper shell on the bed of this do-it-all adventuremobile and you’ve got yourself a home-on-wheels.FINALISTSSubaru OutbackJeep WranglerUp-and-Coming Outdoor BusinessRiver Rock OutfitterFredericksburg, Va.Born of a love between Keith and April Peterson, two like-minded, adventurous souls from Louisiana, River Rock’s mission is to provide an accessible and unassuming experience for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.FINALISTSGearu Outdoor RentalsUOU Outdoor Guides, RVALong Live the Independent RetailerNow more than ever, independent outdoor retailers have to figure out ways to stay relevant and contend with the pressures of the Internet. Though it might seem like an uphill battle, the challenge is presenting shops the opportunity to be more than a retail space.“Our old location was really just four walls and the epitome of old school retail,” says Diamond Brand Outdoors’ Marketing Manager Chris Bubenik. “It wasn’t a destination necessarily. But when we moved, we rethought our place and redesigned it as a space where customers could really immerse themselves in the experience.”The Asheville shop added some special touches, like complimentary coffee available right when you walk in the door. It also created “personal shoppers,” who customers could set up appointments with, before or after business hours, to get one-on-one advice and attention. All of that, combined with free monthly clinics and community support initiatives totaling in $70,000 of funds raised for over 60 local organizations, has really allowed Diamond Brand to become a mainstay of the Asheville outdoor community.“We have always felt respect and support from the Asheville area, so we look to it as a responsibility on our part to put that support back out there and make things happen,” says Bubenik.Up the road at Motion Makers Bicycle Shop, owner Kent Cranford feels a similar sense of responsibility not only in supporting local events and group rides but also in being a voice for the area’s cycling community.“It’s important to maintain the riding we have now, but we want to promote and grow the opportunities we have to get people to ride bikes,” says Cranford. “Our old customer base was people who were already in the cycling community, whereas now, we have an amazing amount of first-time cyclists that we’re selling stuff to. Advocating for continued increase of greenway miles is going to be super important in the future.”“You’re really looked at as an expert,” says New River Bikes owner Andy Forron. “At the bike shop, you get to see firsthand what people want to ride, whether it’s singletrack or rail-trails. It’s like a research project. So then, when those planning meetings and efforts start in town, we already have a lot of firsthand knowledge as to what people want to ride.”Forron says that, though the retail side of the business might dwindle in years to come, he feels pretty confident that the independent bike shop will continue to be a hub for information, service, and even socializing.“It’s almost like a bar,” he says of his Fayetteville-based shop. “There’s almost always someone just sitting in here. And even though people have apps like Strava or Ride With GPS, they still come in and ask where to ride. All of that local knowledge, that’s still at the bike shop, and so is the service. The Internet is not going to fix your bike.”“We’ve lived in states all over the country and no matter where we moved, the first place we always went was the local outfitter,” says River Rock Outfitter co-owner April Peterson. “They knew about the fun things to do in the area, and the moment you step into any outfitter, you instantly feel like you have friends. That alone speaks to why independent outfitters will always have a place in communities.”Since opening in 2014, River Rock has helped Fredericksburg, Va., residents rediscover and preserve the town’s incredible natural resources. Peterson sits on the Main Street Exploratory Committee as the board’s Vice President, and she says it was important to her and her husband that the outfitter be involved in the revitalization of Main Street from the very beginning.“Retail is not dead, and you can see that in the power of Main Street communities and downtowns everywhere,” she says. “We partner with local businesses, breweries, restaurants, coffee shops, and even other retail spaces, because I believe at the end of the day that there’s not a finite pie. We’re not all fighting for the same crumbs. We can make that pie bigger and bigger and we can each have a bigger slice.”
Autumn in Chesapeake is magical. The air is crisp. Sunlight bounces off the water and people travel from far and wide for our farmers’ markets, wine festivals and art shows. Visitors and residents alike delight in some of the best kayaking and paddle boarding in the region – complete with 22 miles of waterways adorned in a rainbow of red, orange and gold. We’ve got corn mazes of every size to get lost in, a famous Ghost train in beautiful Northwest River Park (select weekends) – and eateries, craft beer and live music at every turn.The warm weather is perfect for hiking and biking your way through 8.5 miles of wildlife on the Great Dismal Swamp Canal Trail. You can even take an Adventure Kayak Tour through the sprawling Cyprus tree groves.Shoppers come to unearth buried treasure at an array of eclectic shops, while foodies imbibe on artisanal beers, fresh crab and more! And there’s an autumn event to suit every taste!Festive festivals:The Dismal Swamp Art FestivalOctober 27-28, 2018 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.At The Canal Trail of the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife RefugeFree AdmissionExplore our local art and fill up on Brunswick stew, craft brews, hot apple cider and a host of harvest-themed activities!The Great American Food FestOctober 3, 2018 | Chesapeake City Park | 3 – 7 p.m.The 39th Annual Great American Food FestivalHosted by Chesapeake Sheriff’s Department Charities Inc. and the South Norfolk Ruritan Club.Come hungry and ready to have fun at this all-inclusive charity event featuring live entertainment, BBQ, and beer.Chesapeake Virginia Wine FestivalOctober 13, 2018 | Chesapeake City Park | Noon – 6 p.m.This favorite outdoor event features wine from 20 premier Virginia Wineries as well as craft beer, specialty food vendors, and live entertainment. Get your tickets here: https://www.cheswine.com/Farmers Markets and Pick-your-ownNo matter why you love fall, Chesapeake has you covered!Fan of a farmer’s market?Chesapeake City Park and Battlefield Park South host Farmers’ Markets every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.How about working farms?There are a number of working farms open to the public that offer produce, fresh honey, and seasonal fun like corn mazes, and pumpkin picking.Bergey’s Breadbasket Bakery & More offers fresh, delicious homemade ice cream from their very own cows. Children are invited to see the animals, explore their giant corn maze, take wagon rides and play in their sunflower patch. The fun begins mid-September at 2207 Mount Pleasant Road, Chesapeake, VA, 23322.Greenbrier Farms hosts the Oyster & South Festival – and hayrides, pumpkin picking, hiking and horseback riding. 225 Sin Pine Road, Chesapeake, VA, 23322.Lilley Farms has an enormous and challenging maze as well as fresh produce for picking, including pumpkins and squash. 2800 Tyre Neck Road, Chesapeake, VA, 23321Mount Pleasant Farms offers fresh farm eggs, raw local honey, sweet corn, baked goods, fresh dairy, and lots of pumpkins, gourds and squash. There’s also a petting zoo, corn maze, straw pile and playground. And beginning in October, wagon rides through the orchard. 2201 Mount Pleasant Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322Gum Tree Farm also provides petting zoos, fresh produce and pumpkins for purchase. 1900 Pocaty Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322.This autumn, leave your cares at home – and let the moments begin in Chesapeake.
Olympic Super-G Medalist, Andrew Weibrecht Returns to Sugar Mountain Resort for its Annual Preseason Ski Clinic The U.S House of Representatives passes the CORE Act to protect Colorado’s public lands For a second year in a row, two-time Olympic medalist and former U.S. Ski Team member, Andrew Weibrecht, joins Sugar Mountain Resort’s preseason ski clinic coaching staff, December 13-15. The 24th annual, three-day clinic coincides with SugarFest and includes daily and day-long coaching with Andrew and other notable and encouraging staffers, lift tickets, video analysis and Friday night dinner. The SugarFest celebration features the kick-off to Sugar Mountain Resort’s 50th season and the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the new, four-passenger, high-speed, detachable Easy Street chairlift which replaces the original, two-passenger, fixed-grip chairlift, built in 1969. A coyote conflict management workshop will be held in Charlotte on November 12 and is free and open to the public. The workshop takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, West Service Area Center, 4150 Wilkinson Blvd. Urban Coyote Management Workshop taking place in Charlotte Nov. 12 Coyote biology and behaviorPractical, non-lethal methods to prevent/reduce coyote conflictsResources for resolving pre-existing conflicts Photo of Andrew Weibrecht by Kevin Pedraja: Attribution 2.0 Generic To learn more about the preseason ski clinic or Sugar Mountain Resort’s opening day, please visit www.skisugar.com or call 800-SUGAR MT. If you can’t make it in person the presentation will be live-streamed on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control Division’s Facebook and Instagram pages (@animalscmpd). Attendees will learn about coyotes, human and coyote interactions around Charlotte, and effective methods for resolving and preventing conflicts. Biologists will discuss the following topics: The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act on October 31. If successful, the CORE Act will protect approximately 400,000 acres of Colorado’s public lands, including backcountry in the Spraddle Creek Wilderness addition outside of Vail and backcountry ski and mountain biking terrain near Tenmile Mountain outside of Frisco. The legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate.
By Dialogo July 22, 2009 Bogotá, July 21 (EFE). – According to a survey published today, more than half of Colombians (55.35%) “agree” with the presence of U.S. military personnel on the country’s bases, as established by a cooperation agreement being negotiated by the two nations. . The poll, conducted by the firm Yanhaas for broadcaster RCN, also indicates that 36.29% of the citizens surveyed “disagree” with a U.S. presence and 8.36% did not express an opinion. The survey of one thousand adults of both sexes was carried out in nine Colombian cities last weekend and has a margin of error of 4%. By age cohort, the youngest group (18 to 24 years old) was the most supportive (59.5%) of the presence of U.S. military personnel on Colombian bases. The agreement under negotiation establishes that the United States may use the Colombian bases of Malambo, in the north, and Palanquero and Apiay – both in the center of the country – for counternarcotics and counterterrorism activities. At Colombia’s request, two other bases may be added where U.S. personnel have already been assigned: Larandia (in the south) and Tolemaida (in the center). The Colombian government has defended the “advantageousness” of the agreement and has made it clear that the objective is the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism within the national territory, without affecting other states. In addition, the government has emphasized that the agreement does not imply the “transit of foreign troops” across Colombian territory and that there is also no intention to supplant the Ecuadorian base of Manta, where the counternarcotics operations that the United States had carried out there for a decade came to an end last week. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced today that he has decided to review his country’s relations with Colombia as a result of the military agreement that the country is negotiating with the United States. “Now the Yankees want to set up four military bases in Colombia. (They say) that they are Colombian bases, not American bases, but they are going to be there permanently, which is going to make it necessary for us to review our relations with Colombia,” Chávez said this morning in a telephone call to the state television channel Venezolana de Televisión. The bases are a “threat” to Venezuela, because “they open the door to those who attack us constantly and are preparing new acts of aggression against us,” Chávez emphasized.
By Dialogo October 27, 2009 They go by names like “Scooby” and “Big Baby” but carry the best weapons money can buy, are accused of torturing cops and even managed to shoot down a police helicopter. They are drug dealers who hold court deep inside most of Rio de Janeiro’s 1,000 slums, surrounded by foot soldiers carrying Belgian-made assault rifles, Israeli pistols, grenades, anti-aircraft weapons and endless rounds of ammunition. The criminals drew international attention this week following bloody shootouts that left more than 40 people dead, just days after Rio was awarded the 2016 Olympic Games. Authorities have pledged to crack down harder than ever on the criminals to ensure safety for the Olympics — while assuring the rest of the world that the violence is actually restricted to small areas of this seaside city of 6 million people, famed for its raucous Carnival and gorgeous beaches. “There have always been those mini-regions in Rio de Janeiro where drug traffickers dominate,” said Rio state Public Safety Director Jose Beltrame. Beltrame concedes, however that those “mini-regions” can be found in slums dotting every corner of Rio, rich and poor. Ask any of the 2 million slum dwellers — taxi drivers, businessmen, housewives, barbers, and police officers — whose lives are dominated by drug chieftains and violent militias, and they will tell you that defeating the criminals is formidable, if not impossible. “The police are playing a game they have already lost,” said vegetable seller Roberto Lima, tending his small stand at the base of the Tabajaras slum in Copacabana, where a heavy police patrol came through the day before. “They have to make their efforts, we understand. But they are working outside the reality that they don’t control this place.” Lima’s remarks reflect the fatalistic attitude pervading nearly every conversation about controlling crime in Rio. The statistics show why: In 2008, there were 5,717 homicides in Rio state, the vast majority in Rio de Janeiro’s metropolitan area. In comparison, Vancouver, Canada, which will host the 2010 Winter Olympics, had a total of 58 slayings last year. Viva Rio, a Brazilian organization that aims to rid the city of arms, recently released a report stating that criminals in Brazil have three times as many weapons as police. Beltrame describes the difficulty of confronting the criminals on their own turf: “When we enter a slum … where they have their stockpile of weapons and ammunition,” the criminals are “defending their territory and reacting against police as if it were a war.” Brazilian newspapers this week published several photos of masked gunmen, proudly displaying their assault rifles in broad daylight while standing atop hillside slums, seemingly daring authorities to take them on. This week’s shootouts were yet another episode in an ever-repeating cycle of violence: About 150 members of the Red Command drug gang in northern Rio invaded the Monkey Hill slum controlled by rivals before dawn last Saturday. Intense gunfire ensued and police responded as they had many times before, in helicopters that hovered over the scene while fellow officers battled criminals on the ground below. But this time, for the first time, one of those helicopters was shot down, crash-landing in flames in a football field and killing three officers — just one mile (two kilometers) from the Maracana stadium, where the Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies and the 2014 World Cup final will be held. In the days since, more than 2,000 officers have responded, invading more than a dozen slums in search of those responsible. Meanwhile, the bodies keep piling up: Two men were found shot to death Friday, their corpses left in a homemade cart, while four other bodies were found nearby. Earlier this week, a slum dweller delivered two dead men to a hospital in his van, telling police that traffickers ordered him to. Authorities pledge to ramp up their actions against the tens of thousands of drug gang members who they say present the biggest obstacle to the city’s peace and tranquility. “We’re going to smother these traffickers and give them no breathing room,” police Col. Marcus Jardim told reporters this week. “We’re going in with rifles in hand. Society wants answers. We’re going to hunt down these criminals.” Taxi driver Alexandre Baldi, who lives near a slum in Rio’s center, has his doubts. “It’s a war without end,” he said. “The police can’t occupy every slum.” Beltrame hopes the latest violence — erupting as it did when the city was under the Olympic spotlight — will galvanize Brazil’s leaders to aggressively tackle crime and “look for a solution that is definitive, visible, palatable and concrete to deliver to society.” The federal government responded earlier this week with a promise of $55 million in new funding for Rio police and a new, bullet-resistant helicopter. But if the words of a Red Command drug gang leader are to be believed, that will not be nearly enough to tackle a problem with social and political implications that extend beyond the scope of law enforcement. “The government has totally abandoned these areas,” the 26-year-old leader told The Associated Press earlier this year as he stood on a dirt street populated by hundreds of shacks and polluted by open sewers. The leader spoke on condition of anonymity because he didn’t want to draw attention from police. “There is no flag here — the authorities are simply not present,” said the gang member, who had two 9 mm pistols tucked into the waistband of his shorts. “The entire policing policy is inverted,” added Camilla Ribeiro, with Global Justice, a human rights group in Rio. “Before searching for a solution using armed police, the state has to create economic alternatives, invest in education and health.” Tim Cahill, a Brazil researcher for Amnesty International, said that some new community-policing programs that include increased spending on education and health show promise, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and there will not be lasting peace in the city without major policy shifts. “We still see large-scale operations … still see the same mentality of conflict rather than the provision of security,” he said. “If there is to be a long-term fundamental change on the ground there has to be a change in this mentality.” Police have faced harsh criticism from human rights activists and the United Nations, which last year issued a report stating that law enforcement officers are responsible for three deaths each day in Rio. But Beltrame said few understand the reality his forces confront. He said while his officers follow a globally recognized order in enforcing public security — prevention, protection, reaction — “we have to deal with something few others face — armed combat with drug traffickers who are equipped with heavy weapons coming from abroad.” “That is a unique attribute our police deal with.”
The Colombian Ministry of Defense will invest nearly $100 million over the next two years in regions where the Security Forces have been fighting FARC and ELN terrorists, announced the Deputy Defense Minister for Policy and International Affairs, Jorge Enrique Bedoya. “In regions such as Arauca, Cauca, Norte de Santander, Meta, Putumayo, Caquetá and others (…), we will create jobs and intervene to allow Colombians to have better conditions for development and prosperity,” the Deputy Minister pointed out during a Twitcam session on September 13. The jobs will be in 14 strategic areas, based on the comprehensive action plan developed by the Defense Ministry to include jobs like construction of rigid pavement in the main streets of San José del Guaviare; the rehabilitation of the airstrip of the Township Planadas, Tolima, to facilitate commercial flights and social transportation, and the construction of indoor sports in Convention, Norte de Santander, among others. “Integral action is a fundamental aspect in the drive for economic and social development of the regions of the country where the Police Force continues to be present and continues to act forcefully against all criminal organizations, but now with a component of social action in the hands of the community,” pointed out the Deputy Minister Bedoya. The official further warned, that this is a comprehensive component for the restoration of the legitimacy of the state and a foundation for the recovery of the areas where they have terrorist groups presence. By Dialogo September 14, 2012