Try a local trail or two — or even three

Try a local trail or two — or even three

Some friends and colleagues have mentioned their frustration in seeking away-from-home options while remaining distanced and quarantined in this “selah season.” They’ve mentioned their appreciation for my/our circumstances living as we do with wild and pasture life as our primary neighbors. My suggestions have included, “why not try a trail suited for your interest, ability and purposes!” We in New Braunfels and Comal County are blessed with local trail options as well as a broader Hill Country context which multiplies…

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A pipeline poisons the wells in Hill Country

A pipeline poisons the wells in Hill Country

From the moment Kinder Morgan and its business partners announced that their 430-mile Permian Highway Pipeline would cross the Texas Hill Country, landowners, environmentalists, elected officials and groundwater protection agencies along or near the route have fought tooth and nail to move it or stop it. And they openly warned of the precise danger landowners such as Albright now face: disturbing the “karst” features below their property. Like underground Swiss cheese, they serve as conduits for groundwater that, in a…

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Texas moves ahead on discharging oil wastewater, even as EPA balks

Texas moves ahead on discharging oil wastewater, even as EPA balks

Environmental officials in Texas and other western states are moving ahead on plans to allow oil and gas companies to treat drilling wastewater and discharge it into rivers and streams, even as the Trump administration balks at endorsing the practice amid widespread questions about public health effects. In a report last month, the Environmental Protection Agency not only outlined concerns from scientists and environmentalists about the toxins in the hundreds of billions of gallons of wastewater produced each year by…

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Shhh… This just might be the prettiest body of water in Texas

Shhh… This just might be the prettiest body of water in Texas

I’m a spring-fed freshwater swimming nut. Rivers and creeks are my thing, as long as they’re unspoiled, untamed, and unchlorinated—the clearer, the better. The sweetest water I’ve ever seen was on a ranch near the headwaters of the West Fork of the Nueces, out in the middle of nowhere. The water, fresh and infused with ozone, even smelled amazing, like a crashing wave at the beach, minus the salt. I wanted to know if the main channel of the Nueces…

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Black women come together to form Black Hikers Week

Black women come together to form Black Hikers Week

  • June 24, 2020
  • News

After witnessing the power and pride experienced as a result of Black Birders Week, Social Media Influencers and members of the black hiking community Zenovia Stephens (Huntsville, AL), Debbie Njai (St. Louis, MO), and Nailah Blades Wylie (Sandy, UT) joined together to form Black Hikers Week. Hiking is the act of taking a long and sometimes strenuous walk on a trail or path. As natural as it is, black faces have been underrepresented and almost completely left out from the…

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What’s at stake when we pave over, fragment and otherwise fail to protect Texas farmland from the disruptions of development?

What’s at stake when we pave over, fragment and otherwise fail to protect Texas farmland from the disruptions of development?

Millions of acres of America’s agricultural land were developed or converted to uses that threaten farming between 2001 and 2016, according to “Farms Under Threat: The State of the States,” a new report by American Farmland Trust. The report’s Agricultural Land Protection Scorecard is the first-ever state-by-state analysis of policies that respond to the development threats to farmland and ranchland, showing that every state can, and must, do more to protect their irreplaceable agricultural resources… The report found that Texas was the most threatened state in the nation due to…

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Sierra Club urges court to halt construction on parts of Permian Highway fracked gas pipeline

Sierra Club urges court to halt construction on parts of Permian Highway fracked gas pipeline

Late Friday evening, the Sierra Club filed a motion for preliminary injunction in its lawsuit against the Permian Highway Pipeline. In late April, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit arguing that the Army Corps failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it approved the project without first conducting the required analysis of environmental impacts, providing for public participation, or considering alternative routes. The motion filed today urges the U.S. District Court for the Western District of…

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Armed with Eminent Domain, pipeline projects continue to burden landowners during the pandemic

Armed with Eminent Domain, pipeline projects continue to burden landowners during the pandemic

Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan is cutting a 400-mile line across the middle of Texas, digging up vast swaths of private land for its planned Permian Highway Pipeline. The project is ceaseless, continuing through the coronavirus pandemic. Landowner Heath Frantzen said that dozens of workers have showed up to his ranch in Fredericksburg, even as public health officials urged people to stay at home. “They weren’t wearing masks. They weren’t wearing gloves. They weren’t practicing social distancing,” he said. Frantzen believes…

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Harriet Tubman, an unsung naturalist, used owl calls as a signal on the Underground Railroad

Harriet Tubman, an unsung naturalist, used owl calls as a signal on the Underground Railroad

Many people are aware of Harriet Tubman’s work on the Underground Railroad and as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. Fewer know of her prowess as a naturalist. At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Church Creek, Maryland, Ranger Angela Crenshaw calls Tubman “the ultimate outdoors woman.” She even used bird calls to help guide her charges, eventually helping some 70 people, including her parents and four brothers, escape slavery. Read more from Allison Keyes with Audubon Magazine…

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Southside residents succeed in push to bring air monitor to area

Southside residents succeed in push to bring air monitor to area

The monitor’s installation by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) came seven months after a meeting with a half-dozen Southside residents and TCEQ officials. State Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio) organized the face-to-face session at Palo Alto College in response to the proliferation of frack sand mines and other industrial sites in South Bexar County. At the September meeting, Pacheco and others blasted the TCEQ for not cracking down harder on sand companies that spread “very fine, fine dust”…

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