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Seniors: Get your $10 lifetime pass for National Parks now before price hike

If you’re over 62 years old and love the great outdoors, the time is now to get the deal of a lifetime.

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Right now, senior citizens can get a lifetime pass to visit national parks for $10. But that’s going to change on Aug. 28 – with the price rising to $80.

An annual pass will cost them $20, which they can apply to the cost of a lifetime pass at a later point if they decide they want one. Follow this link for the application.

Money raised from the price increase will go to the enhancement of the national parks. There are more than 400 national parks across the country

Here's a Q&A from the National Parks Service on the price increase:

Why is the price of the Senior Pass increasing?The price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass is increasing as result of the Centennial Legislation P.L. 114-289 passed by the US Congress on Dec. 16, 2016.When was the last time the price increased for the Senior Pass? The Senior Pass has been $10 since 1994.How much is it increasing?The lifetime Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80.Why $80?The legislation states that the cost of the lifetime Senior Pass be equal to the cost of the annual America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which is currently $80.

What if a senior citizen is on a fixed budget?

The legislation also establishes an annual Senior Pass for $20. That pass is valid for one year from the date of issuance. Four annual Senior Passes purchased in prior years can be traded in for a lifetime pass. Additionally, access to the majority of National Park Service sites remains free—only 118 of 417 National Park Service sites have an entrance fee.What if I have a current Senior Pass?The current passes are lifetime passes and will remain valid.Will the benefits of my Senior Pass change?No. All benefits of the current Senior Pass stay the same.What if my current Senior Pass is lost or stolen?Passes are non-refundable and non-transferable and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.If lost or stolen, a new pass will need to be purchased.Who is eligible for a Senior Pass?US citizens or permanent residents 62 years or older are eligible for the Senior Pass.  

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Woman survives nearly 30 days stranded in the mountains

A Czech woman was stranded in the New Zealand mountains for nearly 30 days before being rescued.

Pavlina Pižova  traveled to New Zealand with her partner in late July for a hike on the Routeburn Track. Only days into the journey, the pair got lost due to extreme snowfall and winter conditions.

"As you can imagine, the last month was harrowing for me and my and my partner's families," she said at a news conference.

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Pižova's partner, Ondrej Petr, reportedly fell off the trail they were hiking and died. His body was recovered Friday.

Pižova continued on her own, hoping to find shelter.

"During this time, I was extremely cold, exhausted and my feet were frozen," she said.

The 33-year-old spent two days in the open before she found a warden's hut along Lake Mackenzie. She said there were avalanches outside and knew it was best to stay under cover.

Before the trip, the pair didn't tell anyone of their hiking plans and didn't take a personal locator beacon, which Pižova said was a mistake.

Authorities found Pižova on Wednesday. She thanked her rescuers at a news conference the following day.

Woman stalked by wolf for 12 hours, saved by bear

A woman wasn’t sure if she would make it out of the woods after a wolf stalked her for 12 hours. Luckily, a mother bear was nearby and the woman used that to her advantage.

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Joanna Barnaby was with her friend, Tammy Caudron, and her dog, Joey, near Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories of Canada last week when the two women became separated while picking mushrooms, CBC reported. As she returned to her truck, she heard a growl and turned around to see a wolf standing near her.

"I heard this growl behind me. There was a long, tall, very, very skinny wolf. A black wolf. And his legs were spread and his hair was standing, and he was growling and baring his teeth,” she told CBC.

Barnaby said the dog, Joey, attempted to charge the animal, but it didn’t work. She told CBC that the wolf began to attempt to separate the two and work on just one of them. "I think he was weak. He didn't look healthy. He looked old to me. I don't think he wanted to take us both on,” she said.

The two would be stalked by the wolf for 12 hours until finally around 4:30 a.m. Barnaby said she heard a loud noise and recognized that it was a mother bear and her cub.

"I heard this big crashing behind me and realized that the mama bear had attacked the wolf, or maybe the other way around, I don't know, but they were fighting and I could hear the wolf yelping and I could hear the mama bear growling, and I could hear all this crashing and I just took off," she said.

Barnaby and her friend's dog were able to escape and make it back to the highway, where they were picked up by the authorities. 

Read more at CBC.

Hawaii's 'Dead Man's Catwalk' will soon be walking the plank

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A popular tourist site in Hawaii isn't an attraction promoted by the Pacifically located state. In fact, it's illegal for people to access the spot. And still, many people flock to Dead Man's Catwalk to bask in the beautiful beach views and to take pictures on the concrete slab. 

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Once called Kamehame Ridge, the popular hiking trail was renamed in 2012 after an unknown person spray-painted the words "Dead Man's Catwalk" on the cement walkway. A 40-minute trek to the spot, located on the island of Oahu, ends at the famous "catwalk," which appears to drop off into a mysterious abyss.

But now, officials at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands want the catwalk removed, according to KHON2.

They're hoping doing away with the concrete slab will stop people from taking advantage of dangerous photo opportunities like these:

Yaaaaaaaaaaah! #tbt #almostdied #deadmanscatwalk A photo posted by Zancestan Espaniola (@mrromance_zance) on Feb 11, 2016 at 9:39am PST

when he can't take a hint... #deadmanscatwalk #hikingHawaii #rejected A photo posted by Jackie Dolski (@jackiedolski) on Sep 1, 2015 at 6:33pm PDT

Jumping off the end of the world #deadmanscatwalk #hawaii A photo posted by Heather Thompson (@therizzlehtizzle) on Feb 11, 2016 at 9:00pm PST

#ysbh #luckywelivehi #deadmanscatwalk Dead Mans Cat Walk! Amazing day! A photo posted by Jimmy Gilstrap (@kimoclay) on Feb 11, 2016 at 1:35am PST

Hanging out at #deadmanscatwalk A photo posted by Robert Shelton (@shelton_gator) on Feb 6, 2016 at 4:50pm PST

Just do it. - Shia Lebouf #inspiration #motivation #live #faith #inspire #inspired #amazing #nofilter #picoftheday #instagood #deadmanscatwalk #sky #ocean #beautiful #beautifulday #lovelyday #hawaii #hawaiilife #hawaiistagram #hawaiianstyle #hilife #instafollowers #epic #running #photography #jump #datass #endless #water #picture A photo posted by Grant Uchida (@grantuchida) on Feb 10, 2016 at 1:17pm PST

Aside from potentially dangerous situations that could result from a photo gone wrong, officials want to remind people that the area was never intended to attract hikers. The land that the trail is on is private property owned by Kamehameha Schools. Last year, the school system sent letters to bloggers and travel websites asking them to stop promoting the hike, Huffington Post reported. 

The trail is surrounded by Federal Aviation Administration antennas, propane tanks and a telecommunications office. Kamehameha Schools said all three have been vandalized with increased foot traffic in the area.

“Wires to our building and equipment have been cut, and there’s graffiti covering our walls," Don Laidlaw, an engineer for one of the property's licensees, said in a press release. "We know that other agencies are getting hit, too. I’ve heard of one telecommunications office that was broken into and communications towers that have been damaged. It’s difficult to deal with."

At the entrance about to hike up to #deadmanscatwalk #hawaii #honolulu A photo posted by Char (@so___lo) on Jan 23, 2016 at 11:00am PST

Plus, the hike is dangerous. The Hawaii Fire Department has had to rescue people from the trail.

"Although there are numerous large ‘NO TRESPASSING’ signs at the entries and all along the road, there is a blatant disregard for the warnings," Laidlaw said. "It’s not a safe place for hiking enthusiasts."

The removal of the catwalk will cost approximately $48,000, but locals Hawaiians don't think removing the concrete slab will prevent many people from hiking the trail. 

"I have done the hike six times and it has had nothing to do with the catwalk," Jaclyn Dolski, an Oahu resident, told Huffington Post. "The hike is a fast easy path to beautiful views of the ocean with a great sunrise."

Man crawls three miles to safety after breaking leg

Information for this story from the Press Enterprise newspaper.

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Stranded in Idaho's back country with a badly broken leg, John Sain had pretty much given up hope.

"I thought that I wasn't going to make it," Sain told Press Enterprise newspaper on Thursday. "The terrain was too rough, my leg was broken, [and] my foot was up to my rib cage."

What kept Sain alive through the four-day ordeal, he said, was his love for his wife, Jennifer, and their children, Brooke and Cole.

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With that, he mustered the willpower to crawl miles to a trail, where he eventually was saved.

"The main reason I fought to get out was for my family and by the grace of God," Sain said. "That was the fuel that got me out of there."

Sain is recovering from his injuries at a hospital in Boise, Idaho. He says he’s thankful to be alive, but traumatized by what had happened.

Sain, 50, a lifelong hunter, says he tries to make it to either Idaho or Montana for a hunting trip. He usually goes alone.

Last week, he traveled to northwest Idaho to go bow hunting in elk country. Sain backpacked about 6 miles into the back country, where he set up camp Wednesday night.

While hiking the next day, Sain's foot got stuck under a log. Both bones in his lower leg broke, leaving him with his foot bent upward.

He had no cellphone service, and was miles away from anyone else. He did have a little food, a water purifier and a small survival kit, and he built a fire each night for warmth.

At one point, despair set in. Sure he would not survive, he wrote letters to his wife and children, and began to consider his options – among them, suicide.

"I thought I was going to die, and I decided that I wasn't just going to take my life right there," Sain said.

He realized his only chance was to crawl toward a trail, so he fashioned a splint for his leg and set off.

It took him two agonizing days to reach the trail 3 miles away, crawling through brush that further injured him.

After almost giving up again, Sain says two motorcyclists appeared. The riders turned out to be lost, Sain said. He believes they were the answer to his prayers.

"It was such a relief," Sain said. “I prayed the whole time.”

The riders immediately gave Sain water, and one of them went to an area where they could call 911. After the riders cleared a landing for a helicopter, paramedics rescued Sain. He was air-lifted to a hospital in Boise, where he called his wife before going into surgery.

John said he plans to go hunting again, although probably not this season. And while he’d still go alone, next time he’ll bring a satellite phone or GPS locator.

One more reason selfies with bears are not a good idea

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Bears and humans have been sharing the screen this summer, and sometimes, the results are not funny.

The Robert Redford movie “A Walk in the Woods” is about the misadventures of two middle-age Appalachian Trail hikers and includes a bear encounter played for laughs.

But a viral video of a woman coaxing a bear to approach her in Vermont has sparked criticism of the woman on social media and led to two bears being euthanized.

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The Hartford Courant reported that the bear was killed this week for “acting aggressively” toward the woman, Stephanie Rivkin. The bear can be seen touching the woman’s leg with its mouth, but Rivkin was not injured.

The bear had been tagged and apparently had run-ins with wildlife officials in the past. It was previously tranquilized and moved after one encounter. But commenters online point out that instead of moving away from a pair of bears in the video, Rivkin stands still and records their approach on her cellphone, encouraging them by saying “don’t be scared.”

While searching for the bear in the video, wildlife staff encountered another aggressive bear, which was also killed. The plan to euthanize the bears was protested, and Rivkin was criticized on social media. “They’ve called me every name in the book,” she told the Courant.

Letting a bear approach isn’t a good idea, said Melissa Cummings, spokesperson for the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “There is no photograph that is worth not only the potential harm you could bring to yourself, but you are further encouraging this animal to come closer to other people.”

According to Cummings, black bears are naturally timid and easy to scare off. The proper response is to make noise, and move away as quickly as possible. “The more noise you make the better,” she said.

A bear that has become habituated to humans becomes a danger to people and a danger to itself, Cummings said. “The last thing we want to do is relocate or euthanize a bear.”

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