Editorial: A Call to Invest in the Economic Transition of Coal-Mining Communities FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Los Angeles Times:Though transitioning away from fossil fuels is absolutely necessary, it’s also vitally important to recognize the human and economic cost that such a change entails. That includes a significant number of jobs lost in northern Appalachia, Indiana and Illinois, and Wyoming, where the vast majority of the nation’s existing coal mines are found. Closing coal mines means cutting good-paying jobs in places where replacement work for similar pay is hard to come by. Though that shouldn’t slow the move away from fossil fuel, our energy policies need to be mindful of the disparate effect on coal-dependent communities, many of which are in rural and economically weak areas of the country.A bill in Congress could mitigate some of that economic impact. The proposed RECLAIM (Revitalizing the Economy of Coal communities by Leveraging local Activities and Investing More) Act would tweak an existing program aimed at securing old abandoned mines — for the sake of public safety as well as environmental protection — to make $1 billion available over five years for economic development primarily in old coal mining areas of Appalachia. The measure, introduced by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and backed by a bipartisan group of Appalachian lawmakers as well as the Sierra Club, dovetails with the Obama administration’s Power-Plus program, a broader effort to encourage economic diversification, job creation and other support for communities now reliant on coal mines and coal-fired power plants, as well as carbon-capture and sequestration projects.The RECLAIM Act would take a portion of the money that now goes into the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, which is dedicated to cleaning up mines closed before 1977, and redirect it to economic development projects in old coal communities suffering from their mines’ environmental effects and the decline in coal jobs. The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund is financed through a fee on mined coal, which has raised $10.5 billion since 1977.Rogers’ bill would make available $200 million a year over five years for reclamation projects that dovetail with economic development proposals on or adjacent to the abandoned mine sites. In essence, the backers say, the RECLAIM Act would take fee revenue that the government already has in hand and make it available sooner than it otherwise would be.There’s a broader concern over whether the shrinking fees collected from coal will be enough to cover all the obligations the fund already has, including about $9 billion worth of “high priority” projects. But supporters say the RECLAIM Act wouldn’t affect that bottom line, since the money allocated under it would still go to reclamation projects.Notably, the reclamation fund isn’t responsible for the restoration work that will eventually be needed at currently operating mines. Those businesses are supposed to post bonds to ensure that the land will be reclaimed once the mining is finished, whether the coal firm survives or not. Several states have let companies off that hook, however, by allowing them to put up little more than a pledge that they’ll fund the work. As the industry collapses, that looms as a significant potential problem for environmental remediation.Still, it makes sense to twin economic development proposals with reclamation projects. Although Rogers’ proposal wouldn’t compensate for all the job losses already caused by the shrinking coal industry, it marks a positive step in both recognizing and addressing the economic fallout of leaving coal behind. Congress should pass this bill and the president should sign it. But the government should also ensure that the initial goal of the reclamation program — to mitigate dangerous abandoned coal mines — is fulfilled.Full editorial: How do we ditch dirty coal power without sending miners to the unemployment line?
‘A Low- to No-Growth Environment’ for Coal-Fired Electricity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence:“The coal industry has a long-term ‘aging out’ problem,” said Joe Aldina, director of U.S. coal at PIRA Energy Group, an analytics and forecasting unit of S&P Global Platts. “With the average age of coal units around 40 years and no plans to build new capacity, a big chunk of the coal fleet can reliably operate for only another 10 to 15 years, especially with increasing demands for cycling, which is tougher on a plant.”Coal and older gas plants continue to make up the bulk of plant retirements, while new gas plants, solar and wind have dominated capacity additions.In June 2017, SSR LLC analysts Eric Selmon and Hugh Wynne warned that flat demand and capacity additions would likely erode gas and coal capacity factors through 2019. The existing fleet of fossil fuel plants will be squeezed by stagnant power demand and rising capacity from wind, solar and more efficient natural gas plants, they said.Aldina said that while some increased utilization of existing capacity could help some producers serving particular power plants, overall tonnage consumed will likely hold flat or decrease as producers are “staring down a low- to no-growth environment.” He said expects overall coal burn will likely decrease as new gas supply goes to markets and keeps prices below $3/MMBtu on average.“Renewables and gas-fired plants are being built that often displace coal plants in the dispatch stack based on economics, which is why overall coal demand will be flat to declining,” Aldina said. “Remaining plants may get a bigger share of the pie from higher utilization, but it’s ultimately a smaller pie. Producers will have to prepare for that and keep production in line with demand.”More: ($) US coal capacity factor gives room to burn, but may not offset customer loss
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Huffington Post:Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the state-owned power monopoly, has awarded $4.4 billion in contracts to companies hired to repair the extensive damage to the island’s aging electrical grid. But outages are an enduring and lethal fact of life in Puerto Rico, where the grid remains fragile. An earthquake in January 2020 plunged the island into darkness once again, and now they are looking at a hurricane season forecast to be one of the most active in years.A joint analysis by HuffPost and NBCLX finds that the vast majority of grid reconstruction-related contracts have gone to American firms, including fossil fuel companies, construction firms connected to the Trump administration and consultants such as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). Of the publicly available information on deals awarded since 2017, mainland U.S. contractors received roughly 84%, totaling $3.7 billion.PREPA, meanwhile, is currently hammering out a deal to hand over control of the electrical distribution system for 15 years to a trio of private operators: Houston-based grid manager Quanta Services, North Carolina-headquartered disaster response firm IEM, and ATCO Ltd., a gas firm based in Calgary, Canada. That contract has not yet been released.The share of contracts directed to companies outside the United States’ largest territorial possession is not necessarily surprising. But the finding raises new questions about who is benefiting most from Puerto Rico’s rebuilding process, stoking century-old tensions over the colonial relationship between the United States and its largest territorial possession, whose decades long debt crisis spurred ongoing and brutal austerity cuts.Controversies over PREPA’s contracts began just months after the hurricane, when the utility awarded a $300 million contract to Whitefish Energy Holdings, a tiny Montana firm with ties to then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, which months earlier had been on shaky financial grounds. PREPA quickly canceled the contract amid a national firestorm over the deal. But the state-owned power monopoly continued awarding hefty contracts to U.S. companies at prices Puerto Rican union officials say far exceeded what local workers would charge.Months later, PREPA agreed to pay the Florida-based construction firm MasTec $400 per streetlight it repaired, even though the union proposed to carry out the same work for $60 per light. Yet the total payout of $5 million was dwarfed by the $500 million contract PREPA gave MasTec in May 2018 to restore transmission lines. The deal drew criticism from Puerto Rico’s fiscal control board, the panel of officials Congress put in charge of the island’s public budget in an effort to ensure the territory’s Wall Street creditors were repaid. MasTec did not respond to a request for comment.Tom Sanzillo, the finance director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a nonprofit that researches energy issues, said the deal exemplified the lucrative business opportunity public contracts offer to former politicians looking to cash in on connections to the sitting administration. (Christie, whose relationship with Trump has at times been critical, was among the president’s first rivals in early 2016 to drop out and endorse the former reality TV host.)Sanzillo, a former acting comptroller for New York State, has spent the past month raising concerns about another eyebrow-raising PREPA contract given to a major Democratic donor. In March 2019, the utility agreed to pay New Fortress Energy, a fracked-gas infrastructure giant founded and run by billionaire Wes Edens, $1.5 billion to convert two units of the utility’s diesel-burning power plant in San Juan to gas. It was the highest price tag of any post-hurricane PREPA deal. But the cost came with an ambitious timeline. New Fortress would have the units up and running by June 2019. The speed with which the company aimed to build the gas infrastructure seemed to support the utility’s claim that fracked gas, a climate-changing fuel that generally produces less toxic air pollution than diesel, would act as a “bridge” to low-emissions renewables and batteries.New Fortress wasn’t just late on finishing construction. The process that led to the deal was plagued by process irregularities that gave New Fortress “an unfair advantage,” according to the claims in a scathing report from IEEFA and the Puerto Rican watchdog group CAMBIO, based on internal documents released through a lawsuit. The report detailed allegations of how New Fortress submitted an unsolicited proposal and secured meetings with PREPA and its financial adviser, Filsinger Energy Partners, before the utility even drafted its requests for proposal on the project in April 2018.[Alexander C. Kaufman and Bianca Graulau]More: Puerto Rico’s troubled utility is a goldmine for U.S. contractors U.S. corporations benefitting from PREPA rebuilding, but is Puerto Rico?
Your daily outdoor news bulletin for August 19, the day the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened in 1909 to much fanfare, only to be closed following the first race when two drivers, two mechanics, and two spectators were killed by the poorly paved surface:Chattanooga Wins IRONMANThat is, Chattanooga, Tennessee, has been selected to host an IRONMAN race in 2014, and every year after through 2018. Chattanooga becomes one of 11 United States cities that will host an IRONMAN, joining cities such as Boulder, CO, Kailua-Kona, HI, Lake Placid, NY, and Lake Tahoe, CA. Much like a bid for the Olympics, the Chattanooga Sports Committee and the Chattanooga Convention and Visitor Bureau worked on a proposal and beat out two other cities in the Southeast: Asheville, NC, and Hilton Head, SC. According to the Times Free Press, the race could bring in $40 million over the five year contract, making it the most profitable sporting event in Chattanooga since at least 1992, when the Sports Committee was formed. The Chattanooga IRONMAN consists of a 2.4-mile open-water swim (to take place in the Tennessee River), a 112-mile bike race (that may include Raccoon Mountain), and a 26.2-mile run (the marathon will wind through downtown, Southside, Riverview, and the North Shore. All stages are set up to be spectator friendly. IRONMAN Chattanooga will have a purse of $25,000, will qualify 50 for the 2015 IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii (the one you see on TV), and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America will be the official charity partner.WNC Gets Bike PatrolThese are not your typical bike cops. Actually, they are not bike cops at all. Working with the North Carolina and U.S. Forest Service, the Pisgah Area Southern Off Road Bicycling Association has instituted a couple of volunteer bike patrols in are mountain biking hot spots. The first patrol was rolled out (get it?) in DuPont State Recreational Forest in June, and the latest in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest at the beginning of August. Bent Creek is one of the most popular mountain biking areas in the region, with 35 miles of mixed use trails. The patrollers will have no actual law or rule enforcement authority, they will be on the trails to “assist, educate, and inform,” providing basic mechanical assistance, talking to riders about responsible use of trails, trail etiquette, Leave No Trace, and providing basic first aid and CPR with the ability to call in more medical assistance if needed. The patrol will be out mainly on weekends and evenings, and you will be able to spot them by their black and red National Mountain Bike Patrol jerseys.Telethon Raises $200K for Friends of the SmokiesBy all accounts, the 19th annual “Friends Across the Mountains” telethon was a rousing success. The annual event raised a whopping $201,423 for the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the park’s main fund raising organizations aimed at assisting the National Park Service in generating donations, raising public awareness and providing volunteers for projects. Sugarland Cellars, along with sponsors Dollywood, Mast General Store, Pilot Corporation, and Smartbank, plus hundreds of callers provided the funds. Sugarland alone presented a $20,000 check to the organization during the broadcast. Since 1995, Friends of the Smokies telethons have raised more than $2.9 million, a much needed supplement to the park, especially given the hit the whole park system took from the Sequestration.Donations can still be made at http://www.friendsofthesmokies.org/
The Steel Wheels’ Trent Wagler explains, “there is a momentum that is comfortable and yet, many times has surprised us all with collective beauty and joy. In our first three years we’ve had the opportunity to define what Red Wing is and it’s nice to start feeling the consistency and dependability of traditions seeping into this gathering. This year we hope to maintain that richness, but make no mistake, we still have some tricks up our sleeves!”Last year’s third annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival was wildly successful with approximately 2,750 attendees who raved about the music, the beauty of the setting, and the intimate and friendly atmosphere. Festival organizers are determined to retain that atmosphere and are limiting availability to 3,000 tickets this year. With sales running ahead of last year, fans are encouraged to purchase tickets soon, while they are still available.For tickets and more information, visit www.redwingroots.com Held in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley VA, the Red Wing Roots Music festival features 40 bands on four stages, over three days surrounded by the great outdoors. Incredible camping, an impressive list of kids activities, bike rides organized and led by the Shenandoah Valley Bike Coalition, Red Wing Fun Runs, and a group of food vendors that set a high bar for delicious, unique food set this festival apart from many others.The Steel Wheels host the festival and perform several times during the July weekend. This year they welcome the following headliners: Dawes, Shovels and Rope, The Lone Bellow, Aoife O’Donovan, Steep Canyon Rangers, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and many more!To see the full lineup visit http://www.redwingroots.com/2016-line-up/The towering limestone chimneys, reaching more than 120′ in the air, provide a spectacular backdrop for fans to lounge in the Music Meadow and hear some great music in the great outdoors.Red Wing focuses on the whole experience: an incredible variety of food, craft vendors, kids activities, camping, swimming, organized bike rides and hiking adventures, and much, much more! Kids LOVE Red Wing (and so do parents, since kids 12 & under are FREE!)The Steel Wheels are building the next generation of music lovers. Kids 12 and under are FREE and teenagers ages 13-17 can get a 3-day pass for only $39!
This winter season send your latch key kid to the slopes of Wolf Ridge Ski Resort.The Western North Carolina ski resort is unveiling a new after-school program perfect for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities between the ages of 8 and 17.The program will run on four Tuesday evenings in January from 5pm-10pm starting on January 10th. Each session will begin with a 90-minute lesson (5pm-6:30pm) followed by an open skiing and snowboarding session until the slopes close at 10pm. The goal of the program is to teach new skiers and snowboarders the basics, while allowing intermediate and advanced students to hone their skills under the trained eye of experienced instructors.No one is more thrilled about this new course than Will Powell, Wolf Ridge Program Coordinator and PSIA Certified Ski Instructor, who has a deep passion for all things snow. “I started skiing when I was 8 and I wanted to create a program that would let kids experience the excitement of the sport,” says Powell.The deadline to sign up for this program is December 31th. Payments can be made over the phone or in person through the group sales office. A limited number of spots are available.Participants can choose from two different packages:$125 for the program with ski and snowboard rentals$95 for the program (no rentals)Students may rent helmets for $10 per session and ski bibs for $15 per session. The restaurant at the base lodge will be open until 8pm serving dinner and snacks.For more info or to enroll in Wolf Ridge Ski Resort’s After School Program, call 1-800-817-4111.
Another Executive Order leads to yet another hit on the environment as North Carolina becomes a target for offshore oil drilling.The Outer Banks of North Carolina have been free of oil drilling for nearly 30 years, but it is going to be a fight to keep the coast under protection. In late April, President Trump directed the U.S. Dept. of the Interior to review locations for offshore oil and gas exploration. The Executive Order calls for returning hundreds of miles of federal waters in the mid and south Atlantic, that just last year were marked off-limits by the previous administration, back into eligibility for drilling. Moving forward with the process, the administration announced on May 10 that it is beginning the permitting process for seismic testing in the Atlantic waters.Vessel in the process of seismic testing.Photo by World Maritime NewsLoud blasts of compressed air boom through the ocean’s depths from multiple seismic air gun arrays in the process of seismic testing. This technique surveys through the ocean to find oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor. According to the Outer Banks Sentinel, critics argue that air blasting process is harmful to marine life, while the Department of Interior counters that it should not have “significant impacts on marine mammal populations.”Drilling deep into more remote waters such as the shores of the mid-Atlantic, increases the risk of spills which, as we learned with the BP crisis, can irreversibly damage the ocean, threaten livelihoods, and destroy habitats. Adding to the potential impact on marine life, carbon pollution to the air gets added to the mix as it is caused from the burning fossil fuels and is the leading cause of climate change and ocean acidification.In an effort to give voice to many who oppose the seismic testing and oil drilling, the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) headed off for Washington D.C. just after the signing of the Executive Order to deliver a strong message to representatives in Congress: offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration is bad for business. As of today, 125 East Coast municipalities, over 1,200 elected officials and an alliance representing over 41,000 businesses and 500,200 fishing families have publicly opposed seismic airgun blasting.Mark Dodd, a wildlife biologist from Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources, surveying the oil-filled Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.Photo by GA Dept. of Nat. ResourcesImpacting the state economy from the beaches to the Blue Ridge, the addition of oil rigs off the coast would impact countless businesses from commercial fishing to tourism and recreation. Healthy, clean ocean ecosystems are crucial in preserving the nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion made in gross domestic product each year along the Atlantic coast.“Clean, renewable resources of energy like offshore wind would provide far more jobs than oil drilling,” according to Oceana, an international organization focused solely on ocean advocacy.Bringing in a more optimistic view, David McGowan, executive director of the N.C. Petroleum Council, an industry trade group, says that even under the most favorable conditions, the process – which involves hearings, studies and reviews – would take at least a decade before oil rigs pumped the first barrel.Whether oil rigging off the coast of North Carolina were to happen tomorrow or in 10 years, it’s time to start taking action and letting your elected officials know where you stand on oil rigs becoming a reality. If you would rather not have seafood on your plate from potentially oil polluted waters and don’t wish to take part in a practice that does much more harm than good, say no to offshore drilling. Help preserve our healthy coasts for generations of the future enjoy and take pride in.
Nine environmental groups and 16 South Carolina cities will sue over offshore drilling testsNine conservation groups and 16 coastal cities in South Carolina are suing the Trump administration to stop leases to explore for offshore natural gas and oil. The lawsuits claim that the leases violate the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, which prohibits harassing or killing animals such as whales or dolphins. When companies explore for natural gas and oil offshore they use a process called seismic blast testing that involves detonating sound blasts from airguns every 16 seconds. The blasts can deafen, injure and scatter marine animals and take place over miles of ocean for months at a time. Five companies want to search for natural gas and oil off of South Carolina’s coast. Offshore natural gas and oil exploration has been met with massive opposition from South Carolina’s communities, leaders and politicians. Project Funding for North Carolina’s Conservation Organizations Faces EliminationA quick-moving State Senate Bill is threatening to eliminate two sources of funding for conservation organizations in North Carolina: the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). North Carolina Senate Bill 821 seeks to repeal statutes creating six boards and commissions, including those of CWMTF and PARTF, “for which the appointed structures were ruled unconstitutional pursuant to McCrory v. Berger and Cooper v. Berger.” According to a statement released by Salisbury, North Carolina’s Three Rivers Land “Senate Bill 821 does not fix the six boards and commissions named in this bill. It instead jeopardizes project funding for conservation organizations across North Carolina. Luckily, House Bill 1120 will provide an immediate fix to these boards, without endangering CWMTF and PARTF.” Conservation organizations are urging North Carolina residents to contact their representatives and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 821 and support House Bill 1120. The Trump administration unveils a plan that weakens federal clean water rulesOn Tuesday the Trump administration released a proposal weakening federal water protections for millions of acres of streams, wetlands, and waterways that could affect drinking water for more than one-third of Americans. The proposal dramatically restricts which bodies of water are protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act regulations. A 2015 Obama rule expanded the definition to include 2 million additional acres of streams and 20 million more acres of wetlands. The new proposal will limit Clean Water Act regulations to major waterways, their tributaries, and adjacent wetland and exempt seasonal streams and other wetlands. The proposal also replaces a Bush-era rule that subjected some of those streams to regulations if they were connected to navigable waters. The proposal is now open to 60 days of public comment.
Get away to FrederickCounty, Maryland where you will find all the natural wonders the region has tooffer with all the amenities of a city. Make your way down the Monocacy River, the perfect waterway for paddlers just starting out or looking for a relaxing float. Take in the grandeur of the Catoctin Mountains as you make your way past forests and farmlands. With 10 public boat launches in the county, tailor the length of your trip to fit your day. Hop on the Potomac River at the southern border of the county, an important river to maintaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay. This river offers everything from a mellow ride on a tube to Class III whitewater rapids. Visit the Carroll Creek Park from June throughOctoberto see the Color on theCreek water garden. Volunteers manage the garden, filled with more than 1,200blooming lilies, lotus, and bog plants on the water. View the butterflywaystations at Kemptown and Utica Parks for a glimpse of themonarch butterfly as it makes its way south for the winter. Hike, bike, or horsebackride through the mountainous GambrillState Park. Three overlooks allow you to view the valleys below and the mountainsin the distance. Fish for bass, bluegill, and catfish in the small pond, nolicense required. At Greenbrier State Park, boaters can access the man-made freshwater lake to paddle in the Appalachian Mountains. Hike through 11 miles of trails through a variety of habitats, including the Appalachian Trail as it passes through the park. With over 200 boutique shops and uniquerestaurants in Downtown Frederick and 20 tasting rooms in the county, there isplenty to do at the end of the day. Spend the night at one of several majorhotel brands, like Hilton and Marriott, in addition to other vacation rentalsand bed and breakfasts right downtown or out in the country. Stay Awhile Learn from important Civil War sites, including the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and Monocacy National Battlefield or ride into Downtown Frederick on the scenic Historic National Road, the first federally funded interstate highway. Enjoy a four-course meal in a vintage 1920s passenger car as the Walkersville Southern Railroad runs through the Maryland countryside. Stop by The Trailhouse in Downtown Frederick for all the gear you will need, from tents and backpacks to climbing gear and paddling maps. While you are downtown, stop for a meal before making your way out onto the water. If you are looking for a guided trip, River & Trail Outfitters have an adventure for you. Whitewater raft on the Shenandoah River, tube or paddle down the Potomac River, cycle along the C&O Canal, or zipline high above the trees. Combine your paddle with drinks on one of their boat and brew tours. Get up close with bison, sheep, and more on a safari excursion through the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo or bottle feed a calf at South Mountain Creamery before trying some of their delicious ice cream made with ingredients from the farm. Head out of the city to Cunningham Falls State Park in the Catoctin Mountains and visit Hunting Creek Lake. During the summer, you can rents boats at the lake to explore the 43 acres surrounded by forests. Hike miles of trail, view the 78-foot cascading waterfall, the tallest in Maryland, and choose from over 100 campsites to extend your visit to the park. In Frederick County, youwill find all the outdoor adventure you are looking for with a backdrop thatcan’t be beat.
The National Park Service is coordinating search efforts with rescue groups and loved ones of the missing hikers. It is not requesting any public assistance in the search due to the hazardous conditions in the area. Three hikers from three separate parties are missing in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park, the National Park Service reports. Matthew Bunker, a hiker from Seattle, was descending the mountain on skis when he disappeared on Saturday. Vincent Djie, a student from Indonesia, was reported missing June 19 and was last seen hiking the Van Trump Trail. Talal Sabbagh, of Seattle, was last seen hiking in the Paradise region of the park on June 21. The Georgia Department of Public Health is warning about potential health problems related to the Saharan dust cloud that has settled over the South for the next few days. According to CNN, it’s normal for Saharan dust to reach the US every hurricane season, but this year’s cloud is historic. Georgia health officials report the cloud is the densest it has been in at least 50 years. North Carolina offers free fishing on July 4 Grab your fishing poles, North Carolina. The state’s annual free fishing day is July 4. On Free Fishing Day, residents and out-of-state visitors can fish without purchasing a license, though all other fishing regulations, such as length and daily possession limits and bait and tackle restrictions, still apply. Saharan dust cloud settles over the South—public warned to stay indoors Health officials urge the public, especially those with chronic lung conditions, to limit the amount of time they spend outside if the skies appear dusty or hazy. Face masks, in addition to preventing the spread of Covid-19, can also offer protection against the dust. The dust can cause eye, nose and throat irritation and wheezing in those with asthma and allergies. “Free Fishing Day is a great opportunity for families to enjoy some quality time together on the water,” said Christian Waters, the agency’s chief of the Inland Fisheries Division. “Fishing is a relatively inexpensive activity that anyone, no matter what their age or skill level, can enjoy.” Three hikers missing Mount Rainier National Park Photo: Powerful dust storm in the desert of Arabia – Photo from Getty Images