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The Flip Side: Volume 16

Stories to Keep You Outdoor-Inspired in Our New Normal

Great American Outdoors Act Becomes Law


In a rare showing of bipartisan cooperation, Congress and the White House passed The Great American Outdoors Act into law on August 4th. The bill, sponsored by the late representative John Lewis, creates a park restoration fund by taxing energy projects on federal lands. Money from that fund, roughly $1.9 billion per year for the next five years, will assist with park maintenance backlogs estimated around $12 billion. More importantly, the bill permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The LWCF provides crucial funding to mitigate damage caused by climate change, including disaster mitigation, animal conservation, and clean water preservation. [Wilderness Society]

Ten Years Later: Deepwater Horizon

The beginning of our decade was marked with dramatic historic moments, but few compare to the monumental disaster at the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion and ensuing 200 million gallons of spilled oil marked one of the greatest environmental disasters of the decade. Ten years later, there’s hope as recovery efforts in the Gulf demonstrate lasting improvements. Wildernesses and wildlife are regrowing and returning. Environmental regulations are stronger. Local programs are getting communities involved in restoration efforts. While the work isn’t over, it’s a reminder that while we can cause great damage to the world, we can also heal it. [Nature Conservancy]

Appalachian Trail Pipeline Cancelled

Despite a supreme court ruling in its favor, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, a joint venture by North Carolina-based Dominion Energy and Virginia-based Duke Energy will not proceed. The companies cited continuing uncertainty with permitting and production as reasons to cancel the project. The Supreme Court sided with the energy firms against the Southern Environmental Law Center, establishing that they had performed appropriate due diligence when acquiring a permit from the Forest Service to build the pipeline through the George Washington National Forest. But that victory was only a single step in building the network, and after viewing other litigation in western states, Duke and Dominion decided that the costs would exceed the revenues from the pipeline. [Backpacker]

BIPOC Perspectives On the Outdoors

Conservation and outdoor recreation have made great strides in the last two decades, but inclusion is a persistent problem in both organizations and activities. In his travels across the United States, Nature Conservancy photographer Dudley Edmondson has experienced that homogeneity first hand. He believes that to continue to make progress in the outdoors and conservation, we will need to look at how systemic racism affects outdoor opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and actively build inclusive environmental organizations. [Nature Conservancy]

Laura Rogora Becomes Second Woman to Climb 5.15b


Laura Rogora, of Italy, became the second woman in history to send 5.15b when she sent La Planta de Shiva in Villanueva del Rosario, Spain. The route incorporates steep overhangs and aggressive crimps to make for a cruel endurance test. It has only three other redpoints: Adam Ondra who established the line in 2011, Jakob Schubert in 2016, and Angela Eiter in 2017. Rogora, who got her start on plastic and was originally slated to represent Italy in the Tokyo Olympics as a boulderer, is a prolific up-and-comer in climbing, sending her first 5.14d at just 14, and earlier this year becoming the fifth woman ever to climb above 5.15a. [Link]

[Rock and Ice]