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The Flip Side: Volume 13

Our weekly roundup of the best outdoor stories that capture and inspire the spirit of adventure during the days of social distancing.

Fenn’s Treasure Finally Found

1 poem, 10 years, 250,000 hunters, 2 million dollars. Many believed that Forrest Fenn’s buried treasure would never see the light of day. Some thought the treasure was an elaborate hoax. But, a few believed the stories and scoured the Rockies for a chest filled with riches. One unnamed man followed the clues and finally unearthed the forty pounds of gold and jewels—sorry treasure hunters, it looks like this legend has come to an end. [NPR]

10,000 Masks to the Navajo…From South Korea

The 175,000 people that make up the Navajo Nation have been heavily impacted by the on-going COVID crisis. Spread rates resembling that of New York City, have left them in desperate need of medical supplies. In honor of the 800 Navajo who served in the Korean War—many of whom used their language as an unbreakable code—South Korea plans to aid their esteemed allies—in the form of masks and sanitizer from nearly 6,000 miles away. [Stars and Stripes]

Great American Outdoors Act Moves Through Senate

“Keep America fishing”, encourages Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association. Mike and several other Senators have championed the act through a river of political rapids in hopes to permanently secure funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. With extra resources, the Conservation Fund plans to dedicate dollars toward improving national forest and park infrastructure and seeks to provide access to recreational trails and waterways around the country. [SGB Media]

Iceland to Open—at a Slight Cost

Home of legendary black beaches, epic waterfalls, and steaming hot springs, Iceland is a destination on everyone’s bucket list. Unfortunately, many to-be visitors had to leave that box unchecked through most of 2020. The Island, whose economy relies on tourism, closed due to COVID and is only now starting to open its ports. If you plan to visit, skip the 2-week quarantine and start hiking as soon as you land with a $115 on-the-spot test right at the airport. [Bloomberg]

2 Miles of the Virgin River Now Protected

A section of the river that sculpted Utah’s most loved park is now under the ownership of new stewards. $4.3 million has been amassed by our friends, The Nature Conservancy, and others to buy a critical wildlife corridor known as Sheep Bridge near Zion National Park. While plans are still being developed, the Conservancy promises to keep the land open to the public. And yes, bikers, you can keep sending it on the JEM Bike Trail that cuts through the area. [The Salt Lake Tribune]