Outdoor Reads: Protecting lands good for economy, plus little-known national parks

Find out why protecting lands leads to better jobs for certain areas and get a list of the top 10 little known national parks.

What did the SNEWS team read this week that other industry insiders might find interesting? Read on to find out!

  • We admit: We usually prefer trail running to hiking. But after participating in Vail Rocks, which raises money and locates bone marrow donors, we changed our perspective. Hiking is very peaceful and as this Yoga Journal blog post says, it primes you to connect with the world around you. The post provides a few yoga asanas that feel good for hikers.
  • Given our new love of hiking, we researched some great hikes we could do in a day and discovered this Adventure Journal post about the 19 best hikes under five miles. The hikes include the Narrows at Utah’s Zion National Park and the Star Dune in Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park. Since we have our sights set on completing our first 14er this summer, we might try Mt. Sherman, which came in at No. 13 on the list.
  • A lot of people in the industry have run a ton of marathons, and we all have a tip or two for people about to run their first. This Stack story gives Kelly Tweeddale’s insight on what she wished she’d known before she ran her first marathon. Newbies might want to skip the last tidbit about how she qualified for Boston her first time out.
  • If you haven’t seen our Facebook page yet, you’ve missed seeing our little furry mascot Shrek (don’t wear black pants around this pooch — we speak from experience). Unfortunately, Shrek can’t hang out at our Boulder offices, so we might not qualify for this Bark contest for the Zuke’s Best Places to work. A few of our neighbors might, though, including Sea to Summit and American Rec. Check out this link to see if your workplace qualifies.
  • Speaking of contests, 10 of the most awesome nonprofits in the outdoor industry are in the running to win $25,000 from The North Face’s Explore Fund. The community is invited to vote for their favorite organization on the fund’s Facebook page. So far, First Descents has 46 percent of the votes. The other organizations are: American Alpine Club, Climber Corps.; Austin Explore, Explore Program; Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe’s Powder Hounds Ski and Snowboard Program; Gedakina, Keepers of the Earth; North Cascades Institute, Youth Leadership Adventures, Peak 7 Adventures Youth River Quest; Teens to Trails; Voyageur Outward Bound School, Urban Youth Go Outward Bound; and Yellowstone Park Foundation, Park Journeys Yellowstone. Check out this story for more information.
  • Protecting wild places is not just good for tourism, it’s good for business in general as shown by data from Headwaters Economics, a Bozeman, Mont.-based nonprofit. This Flathead Beacon article outlines the findings, which show that areas with more than 30 percent of their lands safeguarded as national parks, federal wilderness or national forests had a higher rate of job creation than those without protected lands. Areas like Whitefish, Mont., are hot spots for companies like the software engineering firm the ZaneRay Group. The reason is, employees are attracted to these areas because the quality of life is higher.
  • Where are the best places to get outdoor concert jollies these days? This CNN article gives the top summer outdoor music venues, which includes our home state’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is also a good area for a hike or trail run.
  • If you think you know of all the national parks in the country, you might be mistaken. Apparently there are enough little-known national parks to make a top 10 list of them. On this list are the Isle Royale National Park in Michigan and the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas.
  • The fitness industry has seen a boom from partnering with medical facilities to outfit fitness facilities in rehab clinics or senior living communities. Now the outdoor industry could see a similar uptick since hiking has been found to be good for a person’s health (shocker). This article will inspire newbies coming into outdoor stores to search for some new hiking boots, socks and sunscreen, among other things.
  • Author Billy Brown never disappoints when it comes to recommending gear and writing about disastrous eating challenges, and now he brings you a nice little wrap-up of cool camping essentials, which includes some love for Easton, Nemo and Platypus, among others. Check out the Wired store to see which products made Brown’s cut.

Did you read anything exciting this week? Send it to us because we want to read it too!