American chestnut allen breed"The American chestnut once towered over everything else in the forest. It was called the 'redwood of the East.' Dominating the landscape from Georgia to Maine, Castanea dentataprovided the raw materials that fueled the young nation's westward expansion, and inspired the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Henry David Thoreau," Allen Breed of The Associated Press reports. But then the chestnut blight struck, and by the 1950s, the tree was nearly extinct.(Photo by Breed: 50-foot tall American chestnut in Grassy Creek, N.C. shows no signs of blight) Scientists have been trying to revive the tree for decades, and now after 30 years of careful breeding and crossbreeding, The American Chestnut Foundation thinks it has developed a blight-resistant tree it is calling the "Restoration Chestnut 1.0," Breed reports. The AFC has adopted a master plan for planting millions of chestnut trees in the 19 states of its original range. Volunteers in state chapters of the group have established seed orchards that will produce regionally adapted nuts for transplanting into the wild.But uncertainty about the tree's future remains, Breed reports. "The restoration tree is being introduced onto a physical and economic landscape that has long since learned to do without the once-indispensable American chestnut," Breed writes. There are concerns about whether it will crowd out other species, and how to convince landowners and governments that reintroducing the chestnut is worth it. There are also some who "will question the wisdom of trying to bring back something that could not survive on its own or, worse yet, 'engineering' a replacement that can," Breed reports. (Read more)
OLIVE HILL, Ky. – Carter Caves State Resort Park will present a weekend of hiking, kayaking, recreational tree climbing, cave tours, winter survival, rappelling, archeological field trips, a zip line and other adventures with its fourth annual Winter Adventure Weekend, Jan. 25-27, 2013. Guests will be able to select from a list of trips they want to take – for beginners and advanced winter adventurers alike. All of the trips and events are led by guides. Each trip level is based on the difficulty and skills required. The higher the level, the more skills and special equipment are needed. Guests will be responsible for appropriate dress, water, snacks and other items. The list of the trips, along with registration information and other details for the 2013 event are available at www.winteradventureweekend.com. All participants must register online at this site. The nonrefundable fee for adults (age 13 and older) is $30, and the nonrefundable fee for children ages 6-12 is $20. Some of the trips have additional fees. (All participants must be at least 6 years old. Some trips have additional age requirements.) There are many new trips at this year's event, including but not limited to a rock climbing workshop, a .22-caliber shooting workshop, nature photography workshop and a rope climbing competition, along with six new adventure presentations held on Saturday. The park is also incorporating some wild caving trips in this year’s event, including one being led by old-style carbide cap lamps. Some trips will be offered on Friday afternoon. Participants will be able to submit photos in the Winter Photo Salon competition. Categories include winter adventure, caving and local nature-adventure photos. The images will be shown during the Saturday night program, and winners will be awarded ribbons. Carter Caves State Resort Park is located at 344 Caveland Drive in Olive Hill. The park has a lodge with a restaurant, cottages and campground. Besides cave tours, activities include hiking, swimming, boating and fishing. The park is off Interstate 64 at exit 161. Take U.S. 60 east. Go approximately two miles and turn left on KY 182 north. The park entrance is three miles from the left turn onto KY 182 north. The phone number for the park is 1-800-325-0059.
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