Expanded recreation highlights 2022 out of doors information


Dasha Yurkevich and Zora Kramer celebrate their ride along the Continental Divide – Image: courtesy of Dasha Yurkevich

Those who want to explore adventure, get out of their cars and do something about climate change could learn a thing or two from San Francisco-based Dasha Yurkevich and Zora Kramer.

The two 20-year-old college students rode their bikes through five states along the continental divide this summer. In about 40 days, the couple cycled 1,777 miles and climbed 120,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains.

We drove single lane, dual lane, railroads, fire roads, pushed our bikes up mountain passes, rode freeways and back roads. We rode over mountains and through river valleys, meadows, deserts, lakes and cities. We were rained down, hailed, battered by unrelenting winds, attacked by bugs and left in clouds of dust by ATVs,” Yurkevich recalled. “We cried, sweated, bled and laughed. We rode the Continental Divide.”

The two not only cycled from Canada to Mexico. You sent a message and set an example for sustainable transport. They relied on their bikes and public transportation even to reach the start of the ride in Whitefish, Montana and return from their destination in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“To me, climate justice means not relying on cars to help us travel and get where we want to go,” Yurkevich said. “Traveling by bike is my favorite way to travel and I hope to inspire others to try it by sharing the stories of our journey.”

The cyclists plan to keep their bikes turning to teach more young people to ride a bike and take an extra ride in 2023. Learn more at instagram.com/youthbikeamerica.

In 2022, the pandemic receded, wildfires declined, and outdoor recreation improved dramatically as a result. Here are some other positive outdoor stories you may have missed.

California opened the door to more outdoor opportunities by giving $57 million to help underprivileged people in 125 communities. The Outdoor Access for All initiative will fund access to nature, outdoor leadership training and career paths. Thousands of people will experience hiking, camping, kayaking, snowboarding and more as a result. “These programs will transform parks into outdoor classrooms and inspire a new generation of environmental leaders in California,” said Armando Quintero, director of California State Parks.

improvement projects

Grove of the Titans, in Del Norte County’s Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and within the ancestral lands of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, reopened to hikers after a $4 million facelift. Largely unknown before this century, the grove, home to some of the world’s largest redwoods, has attracted increasing numbers of hikers over the past 20 years, damaging the ecosystem. Stakeholders worked together to improve parking, build restrooms, remove social trails, realign the Mill Creek Trail, and build a 1,300-foot boardwalk to protect the roots of the trees.

Pioneers were working on the Lost Sierra Route, a new multipurpose trail that could eventually cover 600 miles in six northern Sierra counties. Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship planners hope the trail will attract visitors and tourists to the economically troubled region. That year the group worked on a 20-mile segment between Quincy and Taylorsville. Supporters hope to connect 15 communities from Truckee to Susanville. Discover more at sierratrails.org.

And divers have completed an unprecedented project to remove underwater debris from Lake Tahoe, lifting more than 24 tons from the 72-mile shoreline in 81 days. “We took action locally and not only removed trash, but inspired others to take action globally,” said Colin West, founder of the non-profit organization Clean Up The Lake. Next, the group plans similar efforts Donner Lake, Fallen Leaf Lake and June Lake. Learn more at cleanupthelake.org.

Olympic Valley near Lake Tahoe no longer has racist and sexist slurs in its name – Image: Matt Johanson

Map rework overhauled

A year-long attempt to change offensive place names made further progress in 2022. Eighty geographic features on state lands in California, 34 in Nevada and more than 650 statewide were changed to remove an insult that demeans Indigenous women.

Home Secretary Deb Haaland declared the word squaw derogatory and ordered the term to be replaced federally. That effort ended in September with the announcement of new names like Olympic Valley and Washeshu Peak in the Lake Tahoe area.

“Words matter, especially in our work to make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds. Addressing these replacements is a big step forward in our efforts to remove derogatory terms,” he said Haland.

California followed suit when Gov. Newsom signed legislation to remove the word from nearly 100 names of peaks, valleys, bodies of water, and even cities within three years.

Additionally, the California State Park and Recreation Commission changed the name of an area within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, at least temporarily, to Black Miners Bar. Negro Bar, the former name associated with the gold rush-era black miners there , drew criticism for decades. The commission plans to give it a permanent name in 2023.

Matt Johanson enjoyed hiking 1,300 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and climbing mountains along the way.

Exploits on the Pacific Crest Trail

British hiker Josh Perry set an amazing record on the Pacific Crest Trail, completing the entire 2,650-mile unaided route in 55 days, 16 hours and 54 minutes. He ran an average of 48 miles a day and raced on his own, which meant he didn’t use a support team. Although a fire-related road closure in Oregon forced Perry to take a slower cross-country detour, he broke the previous self-catering record by more than five days. He has spoken openly about the physical and psychological challenges he has faced.

“THis goal has been in the works for years and has been a dream of mine since I first heard about it while hiking after reading about Heather Anderson’s record-breaking hike in 2013,” says Perry, 27. “AAt the end of the day, the experience I had was incredible.”

Then at the other end of the PCT spectrum there really are walkers like you. I continued my gradual approach to the National Scenic Trail that I started 25 years ago. Since then I’ve hiked bit by bit until I got more serious this year. My trek from Lassen Volcanic National Park to Washington’s Rainy Pass took 77 days and covered about 1,300 miles, by far the longest trek of my life. I loved everything about it: exploring new places, climbing peaks along the way, hiking with old friends and making new friends from all over the world. In 2023 I want to hike the rest.

Finally, if you’re looking for a good read or a holiday gift, grab Crossing Paths: A Pacific Crest Trailside Reader, a compilation of stories from dozens of contributors, edited by Rees Hughes and Howard Shapiro. “Love. Happiness. Humor. Need. Daring. Fear. Racism. Salvation. Music. Devotion. Peace. They are all here, on these pages, in deeply personal accounts. That’s what the Trail is really about,” wrote Liz Bergeron, Executive Director the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

A new Lost Sierra route could bring more hikers to the northern Sierra Nevada – Image: Matt Johanson

Matt Johanson loves exploring and writing about nature. Climbing Mount Shasta, hiking the John Muir Trail and skiing the Yosemite highlands are among his favorite excursions. Matt’s books include California Summits, Sierra Summits, Yosemite Adventures, and Yosemite Epics. He has taught and consulted at an award-winning high school journalism program for more than 20 years.

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