June 2 marks National Trails Day (NTD), an annual trail awareness program that provides opportunities for organizations to celebrate the country’s 200,000-plus miles of outdoor trails. NTD seeks to promote healthy living, protect green space, educate adults and youth on the importance of trails, and instill excitement for the outdoors. Examples include all non-motorized activities related to trail use, such as trail maintenance and construction, hikes, health fairs, educational workshops, fun runs and walks, children’s programs, biking, horseback rides, backpack trips, river and paddling excursions, wildlife viewing, photography clinics, astronomy outings, gear demonstrations, and more. Although June 2 is the official NTD date, groups can set their own dates for observing the program. For additional details on how to get involved with NTD, contact John Michels, Trail Programs Manager, at (800) 972-8608 x208 or JMichels@AmericanHiking.org.
The national obesity rate dropped slightly in 2011 from 26.6 percent to 26.1 percent, according to a report from Gallup identifying the most and least obese states in the United States. For the second year in a row, Colorado has the lowest obesity rate nationwide. At 18.5 percent, Colorado is the only state below 20 percent. West Virginia has the highest obesity rate seen since 2008, at 35.3 percent. The data was collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. For the full report, which includes statistics relating to obesity (exercise levels, disease, and mental health), visit: http://www.well-beingindex.com/.
Since reaching a peak in 1997, the rate of rescues per beachgoer at San Diego beaches has fallen by 63 percent. According to a February voiceofsandiego.org article, the reasons are not fully understood, though several factors may explain the drop in rescues as well as, a decline in deaths due to drowning: weather cycles, better equipment, and an older demographic of lifeguards. For the full report by reporter Keegan Kyle, visit http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/data-drive/article_3230a142-5374-11e1-ab17-001871e3ce6c.html.
The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion has won two awards, Honor Award and the Hobson Trophy from the Boston Society of Architects’ (BSA) Design Awards competition held in February. The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion is the first permanent structure on the recently completed Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway above the “Big Dig” tunnels. The pavilion is conceived and designed to bring the energy and excitement of the nearby Boston Harbor Islands into the middle of the City at a place where millions of visitors, residents, and workers pass by yearly. National engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. provided structural design and construction administration services. The architect was Utile Inc. The project was a joint effort of the non-profit Boston Harbor Island Alliance and the National Park Service.
Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park has been selected to host the 2014 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships. The Cyclo-Cross National Championships is expected to bring at least 1,500 athletes and even more spectators to Boulder. According to an economic impact study from the 2009 Cyclo-Cross National Championships, the host that year, Bend, Oregon, reaped an economic benefit of $1 million from hosting the championships. USA Cycling made site visits to the three finalist cities of Boulder; Austin, Texas; and Asheville, North Carolina earlier this year. Austin was selected as the host of the 2015 Cyclo-Cross National Championships and Asheville was selected as the host of the 2016 Cyclo-Cross National Championships.
Playworld Systems, a Lewisburg, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of playground and fitness equipment announced in February the launch of PlayPod. The service employs Microsoft Tag to provide 24/7 mobile access to useful information for both maintenance professionals and anyone using the equipment. For more information, visit PlayworldSystems.com.
The Recreation Handbook: 342 Games and Other Activities for Teams and Individuals by Robert L. Loeffelbein. 1992. McFarland & Company. 255 pages, photos, $49.95 (softcover, 6 by 9). Print ISBN: 978-0-89950-744-6.
More than 500 recreations designed to amuse and to stimulate children and youths; most require minimal equipment. Each easy-to-understand entry includes the purpose of the game, age level, organizational level, number of participants, supervision needed, time, space, equipment, and a summary of the rules. Loeffelbein has written on recreation and the flags of the United States. He lives in Clarkston, Washington.
Reshaping Our National Parks and Their Guardians: The Legacy of George B. Hartzog Jr. by Kathy Mengak. University of New Mexico Press. 336 pages, 34 illustrations, two maps. $39.95 hardcover. www.unmpress.com.
The seventh person to serve as head of the National Park Service, Hartzog served during an exciting and volatile era in American history. Appointed in 1964 by Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, he benefited from a rare combination of circumstances that favored his vision, which was congenial with both President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and Udall’s robust environmentalism. Hartzog led the largest expansion of the National Park System in history and developed social programs that gave the Service new complexion. During his nine-year tenure, the system grew by 72 units totaling 2.7 million acres—including not just national parks, but historical and archaeological monuments and sites, recreation areas, seashores, riverways, memorials, and cultural units celebrating minority experiences in America. Kathy Mengak taught outdoor recreation classes for 14 years before moving to Georgia where she writes and works for the University of Georgia.
Empire of Shadows: the Epic Story of Yellowstone. By George Black. St. Martin’s Press. 548 pages. $35 (hardbound).
This telling of the country’s first National Park explores the Post Civil War intersection of explorers, Indian fighters, scientists and photographers and artists. According to the publisher, “At the heart of the story is a great paradox: that no matter how deeply flawed these characters may be as individuals, no matter how mixed their motives, the paths they opened led to one of the true glories of American history.” George Black is the editor of OnEarth magazine, a publication of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the author of books on fly fishing.
Natural Resources and the Informed Citizen. By Steve Dennis. Sagamore Publishing. 2nd Edition. 306 pages, 7 by 10 inches (paperback). $62.95 (print), $45.50 (ebook). www.sagamorepub.com.
This is a complete guide to citizen involvement in the preservation and appreciation of natural resources. The book introduces some of the processes through which people make decisions about using natural resources. Its aim is to start a foundation from which readers can further pursue their own interests in resource management and the environment, and become involved as informed citizens.