SNEWS best outdoor reads from around the web

The SNEWS team loves to read. And we’re putting together a brief round-up of articles and blog posts that caught our attention this week. Selections include a story about an amazing feat of sobriety and one about diving the Great Barrier Reef from your couch. Check them out!

What did the SNEWS team read this week that we found interesting? Well, read on to find out.

  • According to James A. Mills, founder and editor of The Joy Trip Project, Denali (Mount McKinley) represents what a person living in the United States can achieve: great heights. As part of a 2013 expedition led by the National Outdoor Leadership School, Mills and a team of black climbers will make a bid for the summit of Denali as a means to inspire more children of color to get involved in outdoor activities. Check out this post.
  • Camping is getting swanky at a Santa Paula, Calif., KOA location according to this article in the Los Angeles Times. The 76-acre Ventura Ranch KOA location is undergoing a facelift with management adding more lodges, “upscale teepees,” zip lines and a swimming pool. Representatives from KOA noted that while people want to get outdoors, they also want a nice shower at the end of the day. No worries, though, seems like these upscale campers will still covet gear for their adventures.
  • In the paper that serves the small town of Westcliffe, Colo., SNEWS found a preview article about an upcoming banquet for an organization called Outdoor Buddies. We know many of our friends are located in the greater Denver area (yes, we’re looking at you La Sportiva and Sierra Designs) and this benefit could be a great way to show support for this 28-year-old organization (which is based in Westcliffe), which provides outdoor adventure opportunities to children and adults with mobile disabilities.
  • This entry about the 2011 winners of the Great Outdoors Photo Contest on the Outdoor Photographer website gave SNEWS a visual treat after a long day of writing and staring at text. The breathtaking photo of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon by past grand-prize winner Lewis Abulafia made us gasp in amazement. We know a lot of you are into snapping gorgeous photos while on your adventures, and SNEWS encourages you to look into this year’s contest. Deadline for entries is April 10 and the grand prize comes with a sweet prize package. Get your shutters ready!
  • It was sad when California decided to close the state park Mitchell Caverns last spring, and it’s sadder still that the state has plans to close even more state parks because of budget cuts. But it’s downright disturbing that vandals have taken aim at the nearly 80-year-old visitor’s center at Mitchell Caverns, breaking windows and display cases and stealing equipment and gear — a total of $100,000 in damages. Park officials have concerns that vandals will also target some of the other parks scheduled for closure according to this story in the Los Angeles Times.
  • Honestly, the SNEWS team promises we read more newspapers than just the Los Angeles Times, but seriously, they were on point this week. According to this Leap Day story, the U.S. Forest Service has plans to scale back recreation fees, and in some cases eliminate them, for three-quarters of the forest areas where they are imposed. Good news for hikers who have complained about these fees for years, and good news to you, specialty retailers, because they’ll have a bit more money to spend in your stores!
  • Backpacker Andrew Skurka said he’s become a master at enjoying hiking, and he recently told the Denver Westword that he’s shared some of his wisdom in his new book titled “The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide.” Check out the Westword’s Q&A with Skurka

Have you read anything interesting you’d like to share with us? Maybe we’ll include it next week’s column with a little shout out to whoever sent it to us. Send a link to the story with the subject line “SNEWS Reads” to be considered.

 –Compiled by Ana Trujillo