first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bob Berwyn for InsideClimate News:The Obama administration has suspended funding for a large, troubled carbon capture and storage project, a decision being challenged by politicians from both parties and environmental advocates alike.While the Texas Clean Energy Project is not officially dead, continued refusal by the Department of Energy to extend any more money would effectively kill it, according to its builder. That would make it the fifth CCS project the DOE has backed away from.The agency took a tough stand in February when it denied a request by the project’s developer, Summit Texas Clean Energy, for an $11 million advance from its pot of promised federal money. In its budget request for the fiscal year 2017, which begins October 1, the DOE asked Congress to strip the $240 million pledged to the project from the agency’s Clean Coal Initiative and use it for other research and development efforts instead. A final vote on the budget will come late this year.In a world that continues to burn fossil fuels, CCS is seen as critical to avoid the most calamitous consequences of global warming.The Clean Coal Initiative had already been under audit by the DOE’s inspector general’s office, which grew alarmed by how the agency had allowed the Texas project to drag on. The IG, an independent auditing office, issued a special report on it in April.Energy Department Suspends Funding for Texas Carbon Capture Project, Igniting Debate U.S. Department of Energy Backs Away From Another Carbon Capture and Storage Projectlast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享John Funk for the Cleveland Plain Dealer:FirstEnergy would not discuss the fate of its power plants Tuesday night in the annual 13-state auction that grid manager PJM held to identify the most economic power plants that will still be operating in 2019.A flock of new gas-fired power plants jumped into the PJM competition this year, adding more than 5,000 megawatts of new power — stiff competition for aging coal-fired power plants. (One megawatt of electricity is enough power to supply between 800 and 1,000 homes, depending on the region.)There were also hundreds of megawatts of new solar and wind options in the competition, vying for PJM’s approval. And PJM revised its projections of future demand, based on consumer, commercial and industrial customers switching to more efficient technologies.The bottom line? The auction showed that PJM will have more than enough power — with a 22 percent reserve — in the future. And that it will be less expensive.For customers, the auction means lower prices. For companies owning power plants, the results mean lower revenues.The auction results are sure to ignite further arguments before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, where FirstEnergy has refiled its request for subsidies to help its Davis-Besse nuclear power plant on Lake Erie and the W.H. Sammis coal-burning plant on the Ohio River. The PUCO approved a special arrangement weeks ago, only to see federal authorities object to a key part of it.Full article: FirstEnergy mum on fate of two old Ohio power plants in regional auction Regional Auction Raises Questions About FirstEnergy’s Intentions for Coal-Fired Power Plantslast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:When Chicago’s two coal-fired power plants closed in 2012, residents cheered the reduction in pollution and began envisioning what they’d like to see become of the sites. In such a major city, the loss of taxes paid by the company was not a significant issue. It’s a different story in places like downstate Illinois, where coal plants are at risk of closing in coming years in communities that depend on the jobs and tax revenue they generate.That’s why the nonprofit Just Transition Fund and its partners around the country are trying to help communities and governments prepare for what experts say is the inevitable closing of more coal plants, and coal mines.In September, the Just Transition Fund will hold its first meeting focused specifically on the transition away from coal in the Midwest, with a particular focus on working with organized labor. The group’s executive director and co-founder Heidi Binko said the fund will also be expanding its focus on Illinois, where the EcoJustice Collaborative has been working with mining communities on transition plans for years.While jobs may get more attention, Binko said the loss of tax revenue is usually the most pressing issue when both mines and power plants close.In New York, a 2015 state law makes state “gap funding” available to help replace the taxes a closed power plant would have paid. The $45 million fund was created thanks to activism around the closing of the Huntley plant near Buffalo.Sandy Buchanan is executive director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which carried out a financial analysis for the New York alliance pushing for the gap funding law. She pointed to the government funds allocated to help communities affected by the closure of military bases. While coal plants are privately owned and run, she said the government should play a similar role in helping those communities survive a closure.More: A ‘Just Transition’ from coal: Stepping up efforts in a difficult battle ‘Just Transition’ promotes new thinking around energy industry changeslast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Economic Times:India’s top oil and gas producer ONGC and country’s biggest electricity generator NTPC have signed a preliminary agreement to set up a joint venture company for renewable energy projects.Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and NTPC Ltd “entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on May 21, 2020 in New Delhi to formalize this arrangement,” ONGC said in a statement.“As per the MoU, NTPC and ONGC will explore and set up renewable power assets including offshore wind, in India and overseas, and explore opportunities in the fields of sustainability, storage, e-mobility and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) compliant projects,” the statement said.ONGC has a renewable portfolio of 176 MW comprising of 153 MW wind power and 23 MW of solar plants. Through this collaboration with NTPC, ONGC envisages significant growth in its presence in the renewable power sector. ONGC’s Energy Strategy 2040 document calls for the company to invest in renewable energy sources with a target to create 5-10 gigawatts portfolio with a focus on offshore wind power.NTPC, with a 920 MW of installed renewable power capacity in its portfolio with about 2,300 MW of renewable energy projects under construction and aspiring to reach 32 GW by 2032, will benefit from this tie up by expanding its footprint in offshore wind and overseas renewable energy projects as well, the statement added More: ONGC, NTPC sign MOU to set up joint venture for renewable energy business India’s largest power producer, oil and gas company form renewable energy joint venturelast_img read more

first_imgNew Mexico regulators approve utility’s replacement power plans for closing San Juan coal plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Dec. 2 unanimously approved agreements between Public Service Co. of New Mexico and renewable energy developers for solar power paired with battery storage projects, as well as amendments to existing solar-plus-storage agreements.During a virtual meeting, the five commissioners approved, without changes, a recommended decision of two hearing examiners to grant the utility’s requests for approval of the 200-MW San Juan Solar 1 Project purchased power agreement, or PPA, and the related 100-MW San Juan Solar 1 Storage Project energy storage agreement, or ESA. The San Juan solar and storage projects are components of the San Juan Solar Project (Four Corners Solar) that Photosol US is developing in San Juan County, N.M., near the retiring coal-fired San Juan Generating Station, the recommended decision said.The commissioners also approved the utility’s 100-MW Rockmont Solar Project PPA and related 30-MW Rockmont Storage Project ESA. The Rockmont projects will be sited on private land in San Juan County, about 3.5 miles southeast of the San Juan coal plant near Farmington, N.M., according to the recommended decision, which also refers to the projects as the 8me LLC projects, named after developer subsidiaries of X-ELIO Energy SL. Additionally, the utility secured approval to amend its existing Arroyo Solar Plus Storage Project PPA to update pricing and terms as well as its related existing ESA to update contract terms and increase the total battery storage capacity from 40 MW to a total of 150 MW, according to the recommended decision.During the meeting, Hearing Examiner Anthony Medeiros told the commissioners the recommended decision is “a spinoff or continuation” of a final decision the commissioners issued on July 29 when they approved resources to replace the San Juan coal-fired plant.In that earlier decision, the commission approved solar generation and battery storage agreements to replace nearly 500 MW of generating capacity the utility will lose when units 1 and 4 of the San Juan coal plant close in 2022. In that decision, the commissioners approved the PPA for the output of the 300-MW Arroyo Solar Plus Storage Project that Clenera LLC is developing. Also approved in that earlier decision was a 50-MW PPA for output of the Jicarilla I Solar Plus Storage Project and an ESA for an associated 20-MW storage facility. The Jicarilla project is being developed by Hecate Energy.Altogether, the two sets of approvals, which are aimed at allowing the utility to replace output from the San Juan station that soon will be retired in favor of zero-carbon resources, will add approximately 650 MW of solar and 300 MW of battery storage to the PNM Resources Inc. subsidiary utility’s energy resources portfolio.[Jeff Stanfield]More ($): New Mexico approves more solar-plus-storage agreements for PNM utilitylast_img read more

first_imgWetting a line.Somewhere along the skinny Rose River in Shenandoah National Park, Travis McDowell lost count of the number of fish he’d caught.“Forty? 50? I’m not one for keeping track anyway, but I know I saw action in 80 percent of the pools I fished,” McDowell says, describing how he spent the majority of his day scrambling over boulders and sneaking from one tiny pool to the next, moving up the headwaters of a stream.Most anglers stick to the larger trail-side portion of the Rose, a stretch listed in plenty of Mid-Atlantic fly fishing guide books, but McDowell wanted something more remote. He consulted his topo, followed the blue line as it curled away from the trail, and set out for an adventure. His only company the entire day were the fish he caught. And he landed them using the most rudimentary fly fishing set-up imaginable.“Just a rod, line, and fly,” McDowell says, naming the “trinity” of tenkara, an ancient style of fly fishing practiced for centuries in the mountains of Japan. It’s a streamlined version of the sport that’s similar to Western fly fishing, but with one significant difference: with tenkara, there’s no reel. Instead, a fixed line is attached to the tip of the rod. According to tenkara enthusiasts, the lack of reel simplifies the experience, boiling fly fishing down to the bare necessities.“It’s like single speed mountain biking,” says McDowell, an unofficial “tenkara ambassador” and former mountain bike racer who has all but abandoned his Western style fly rods for their streamlined Asian cousins. “The singlespeed is light and gear-less, so you don’t have to worry about the drivetrain. You can focus on the experience. That’s tenkara.”Tenkara GearTenkara rods are typically longer than their Western counterparts, but because there are no eyelets, you can telescope each rod down to around 20 inches. The line is also lighter and braided to reduce drag on the water. Add some tippet and a fly on the end of the fixed line, and that’s your whole system. It’s an almost complete lack of clutter that puts as little as possible between you and the fish.“For me, it’s the simplicity,” says Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA, the only manufacturer of tenkara style rods that distributes in the U.S. “The idea that I can fish anywhere and not have to fumble with the reel, and passing the line through the eyelets…all these little things that end up taking up an enormous amount of time. There’s none of that frustration because there are so few pieces to deal with.”While the minimalist art form has been around for centuries in Japan, originating with poor, professional fishermen who had to catch fish with only the most rudimentary equipment at hand, it’s just now beginning to gain popularity in the United States. Tenkara officially made its way to the U.S. in 2009, when Galhardo founded Tenkara USA. The 28-year-old avid rock climber and backpacker spent months studying with the Japanese masters of Tenkara and is hell-bent on spreading the tenkara gospel to the Western world, mostly through an online community and grassroots devotees like McDowell. Tenkara has yet to hit the mainstream, but just three years after its introduction there are almost as many tenkara anglers in the U.S. as there are in Japan. The sport is growing steadily in mountain communities where backpackers, mountain bikers, rock climbers, and paddlers are drawn to tenkara’s zen-like simplicity.“Younger athletes in particular are picking up tenkara, even though Western fly fishing didn’t resonate with them,” Galhardo says. “Simple things have their appeal, and a certain kind of person is attracted to the philosophy of tenkara; the notion of relying on technique instead of gear. We’re going against the grain in the U.S. Look at a fly fishing magazine and you’ll see all this complicated stuff. Twenty different fly lines for different sizes of trout, vests, floatants, split shot…why do you need all these things? All that gear is intended to make fishing easier, but all of a sudden you’re cluttered and the gear actually makes the sport more difficult.”Don’t let all the philosophical talk fool you. Tenkara is as practical as it is peaceful. Even though tenkara rods are two to four feet longer than Western rods built for cold water, tenkara anglers insist they’re actually better suited for the tight, brush-choked streams found on the sides of mountains. While the rod is longer, the top third is remarkably pliable and the line and fly are much lighter than a Western set up. The result is a tighter, less dramatic cast.“I fish small brook trout streams and I’ve yet to have a problem with the rod being too long,” says Tom Sadler, a Virginia-based fishing guide and an early adoptee of tenkara. “Since you don’t have to load the road as dramatically, you can keep the rod in front of you and out of the brush behind you.”The longer rod also means you have an extended reach across the stream without the need for extra line. When all is said and done, a tenkara cast looks a little different than a conventional fly cast. The physics are the same, but there’s less motion, and much of the cast is performed with a flick of the wrist. Typically, you’ll end your cast with your elbow in front of you, your arm held high to keep everything but the fly and tippet out of the water. And your left hand, or non-casting hand, is completely still since there’s no reel or extra line to manage.“With small mountain streams, you don’t need all that extra line you find in a Western fly fishing system,” says McDowell. “You’re not performing big River Runs Through It casts. There’s no room for that, so the reel basically becomes a fancy line holder.”The minimalist nature of the sport also means anglers can go deeper into the backcountry with less gear to carry and fret over. Moving from stream to stream is a cinch because the rod telescopes to pocket size, and minimalist anglers can get away with carrying nothing more than the rod, line, and a small can of flies.“When I saw tenkara for the first time in Japan, I knew immediately is was perfect for backpacking,” Galhardo says. He tells a story about exploring a remote canyon in Japan, wearing a wetsuit and rappelling down a series of waterfalls to fish for a rare native trout species inside shallow pools completely enclosed by mossy rock walls. The scene is similar to the streams you’ll find dropping into Lake Jocassee on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, or the tiny creeks that fall from the ridges of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Most anglers never set foot in these tough-to-access headwaters, but tenkara fishermen seem to pride themselves on fishing gnarly, technical water.“Hike one mile from the access point and you’ll lose 90 percent of fishermen,” McDowell says. “Hike two miles and you’ll lose the other 10 percent.”Because of the supreme packability and minimalism of a tenkara system, McDowell sees big potential in the outdoor community. “Tenkara is the perfect complimentary activity to the things people are already doing. It packs down to a few inches, weighs next to nothing. You can fit it in the hull of a kayak. Slip it into your daypack. Mountain bikers could even fit a Tenkara rod in a hydration pack. Fly fishing tends to be gadget heavy. A vest, a chest pack, shoulder bag, waders, more flies than I can count. But now I just throw the rod, line, and a tiny fly box in my day pack and hit the woods.”The streamlined system also makes tenkara more approachable for beginners and, ultimately, easier to learn. In Western fly fishing, managing the line on the water with your left hand and reel is a big part of success and often a tough obstacle for beginners to overcome, but in tenkara a beginner only has to worry about his cast. Even the cast is easier to pick up because of the long rod and short line.“Tenkara doesn’t put a premium on casting techniques,” says Tom Sadler, the only recognized guide who’s teaching tenkara in the Southeast. “It’s easy to get the fly line in the water, raise the line out of the water and follow the fly with the tip. You learn quickly and catch fish quickly. Tenkara is getting people into the sport of fly fishing, and they’re sticking with it.”Sadler, who teaches out of Mossy Creek Fly Shop in Harrisonburg, Va., estimates the store is selling more tenkara rods than conventional rods at this point. Tenkara’s potential to attract new users prompted Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard to proclaim, “Tenkara will be the salvation of fly fishing.”It’s winning over long-time Western-style anglers as well. Sadler himself is convinced he’s catching more fish since switching to tenkara, a common observation shared by long-time anglers turned tenkara devotees. Sadler explains his greater success not with mysticism, but with math.“With tenkara, you only have a few inches of tippet in the water leading to the fly. With Western fly fishing, you have six feet of line leading to the fly. The lack of line in the water reduces drag and allows the fly to behave more naturally,” Sadler says. “It leads to a better presentation for the fish.”And a better presentation of the fly means more fish rising to take that fly. Or, as McDowell puts it: “The more line you have in the water, the more the fish knows you’re full of shit.”Combine the simplicity of tenkara with its effectiveness, and you get a small-but-rabid population of anglers who often come across as zealots. Passion exudes within online tenkara forums and stream-side conversations. One fisherman even got the Tenkara USA logo tattooed to his arm. It’s an enthusiasm that’s similar within the fixed gear bicyclist crowd.“I fished with one guy in California who says tenkara changed his life,” Galhardo says. “He’d always been a backpacker, but I think tenkara gave him a purpose in the backcountry. It gave him a pursuit and changed his outlook on the outdoors.”Want to get into Tenkara? Enter our Match the Hatch Giveaway for your chance to win a new Tenkara Rod from Mossy Creek Outfitters!Tenkara StreamsTenkara is made for tight mountain streams that support wild brook. The sky’s the limit in Southern Appalachia. Here are a few favorites:Piney RiverShenandoah National Park, Va. The Piney Branch Trail crosses this wild trout stream a couple of times, allowing for relatively easy access. Hike to the second trail junction and begin bushwhacking and fishing your way upstream.Hazel Creek headwatersGreat Smoky Mountains National Park, N.C. Head for an elevation above 3,000 feet to avoid the non-native rainbow and brown species that have been introduced to the park. Hazel Creek is the perfect example. Where this famous stream hits Lake Fontana, it’s filled with browns and rainbows, but if you head to the stream’s narrower, steeper headwaters below Clingman’s Dome, you’ll find tiny, shifty brookies, and far fewer anglers.North Harper CreekPisgah National Forest, N.C.North Harper Creek begins near the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Wilson Creek Area of Pisgah National Forest and runs fast and cold before it joins the Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek. The stream is full of gin-clear pools that house mostly rainbow and brown trout, but the occasional native brookie can be found. Access the creek via the North Harper Creek Trail, a rugged and secluded path that crosses the river half a dozen times, so both access and solitude are plentiful.Conasauga RiverChattahoochee National Forest, Ga. The headwaters of the Conasauga River are so tight, a new angler might think the creek wouldn’t hold trout. In fact, this is one of the most beloved native brook streams in North Georgia. Almost 15 miles of the crystal clear Conasauga run through the Cohutta Wilderness Area of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Most of that stretch is accessible via the Conasauga River Trail, which crosses the creek almost 40 times in 13 miles. Consider an overnight trip, as the river is remote and backpacking sites abound.Noontootla CreekBlue Ridge Wildlife Management Area, Ga. Noontootla starts as as a spring on Springer Mountain and drops steeply through the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area on its way to the Toccoa River. Larger rainbows and browns can be found down low, but if you stick to the high elevations where three tributaries (Chester Creek, Stover Creek, Long Creek) feed Noontootla, you’ll find native brook. Access the creek from Forest Road 58 inside the Blue Ridge WMA and head upstream.For a recent article dispensing fly fishing myths, and a list of local places to go, visit here!last_img read more

first_imgFor many sports out there, be it cycling, running, cross-country skiing, etc temperature regulation can be a tricky business. You’re hot on the climbs but then once things point downhill it can get real chilly. This is why we see articles of clothing such as arm warmers, which can be easily put on and taken off.While not a new piece of clothing, Smartwool puts some life back into the arm warmer. With their PhD HyFi arm warmer, you receive a product that is well thought out and is made of very high quality materials.I was sent these just as the temperatures were dropping this past fall. Since I received them I put them through their paces all winter on long runs, bike rides, and hikes. After a thorough testing, I can safely say these are not your average arm warmers.First off like all Smartwool products, these arm warmers contain wool (39%) mixed with nylon and elastane so that they stay tight and secure. They come in this very nice black color, pictured, that is classy and sleek. The material used has increased wind and abrasion resistance, which you can definitely notice. I have two other pairs of arm warmers besides the Smartwool’s and could definitely tell the difference.  I also wanted to give a big round of applause to Smartwool for getting the wrist and bicep grippers right. Many times companies only put a rubber gripper on the inside against your skin. Smartwool put them on both the inside and the outside. The extra gripper on the outside really helps your jersey stay in place as well as keeping the arm warmer in place.I have to say I love these arm warmers and will have them until they bite the dust many years from now. They stay in place on runs, road rides, and even the most jarring of mountain bike rides. There is nothing worse, well there are many things worse, but it is annoying when your arm warmer is constantly falling down your arm. I really like having arm warmers handy on those colder rides and runs because they are light, portable, and easy to take on and off. I encourage you to give them a try and I think you will come to like them as well.The Smartwool PhD HyFi arm warmer is $40, which is competitive with other company’s options. Keep those limbs toasty this year, and either buy a pair for yourself or for that special someone for Valentine’s Day!last_img read more

first_img1. Reclaimed Wool: Calamai / ItalyFigli di Michelangelo Calamai was founded in 1878, roughly 100 years before the birth of the environmental movement. Calamai is dedicated to producing reclaimed wool. The finished product uses garments and manufacturing scrap and blends them into a variety of knits, weaves and weights as well as textures. The reclaimed wool used by Patagonia is made from discarded wool sweaters that are shred into usable fiber – just like the early days – and mixed with polyester and nylon for strength.2. Reclaimed Cotton: TAL Group / China and MalaysiaThe typical life of a cotton garment, whether it’s conventional or organic, is a straight line to the landfill. Growing, spinning and weaving leads to cutting and construction and that leads to consumer use which eventually leads to the dump. Thanks to a partnership with the TAL Group, one of the larger garment manufacturers in the world, Patagonia has been able to take cotton consumption and twist it closer to the elusive closed-loop. Since 2011, the TAL Group has been saving their cotton scraps by sweeping the floors of their factories in China and Malaysia – saving hundreds of tons of cotton from the landfill. This once-useless cutting-room scrap is then spun into fully functional fabrics. Reclaimed cotton is neither bleached nor dyed and is traceable from raw material to retail store.3. Undyed Cashmere: Mongolian plateau regionMongolian nomads have long known that the key to keeping their grasslands healthy is moving their herds and maintaining a proper ratio of goats to sheep. Patagonia’s undyed cashmere is hand-harvested by Mongolian goat herders who brush their flocks as they shift grazing grounds according to the seasons. The colors of the yarns – whites, browns and tans – are as nature intended. The end result is a material untouched by the process of fiber dyeing, which lessens the environmental impact and gives the material an even softer hand.4. Reclaimed Down: Alabama Chanin / Alabama, USAPatagonia has partnered with designer and artisan Natalie Chanin, of Alabama Chanin, for a one-of-a-kind reclaimed down project. Damaged, returned down jackets (that cannot be repaired) have been collected in bales in Patagonia’s shipping warehouse for years through it’s Common Threads Partnership recycling program. Together with the artisan quilters of Alabama Chanin, the companies have developed a warm and wearable work of art that masquerades as a scarf. Each scarf is a numbered, limited edition. The Products Patagonia, one of the most ecologically progressive outdoor clothing and gear designers in the world, has released yet another groundbreaking apparel project.With its new collection of Truth to Materials cold weather wear, the company has also become one of the few mass producers to go straight to the source and use raw materials as the basis for their creations. Each of the pieces that Patagonia has introduced as part of the Truth to Materials line – the Men’s Undyed Cashmere Snap-T Pullover, the Women’s Undyed Cashmere Cardigan, the Men’s Reclaimed Cotton Hoody, the Women’s Reclaimed Cotton Crew, the Men’s Reclaimed Wool Jacket, the Women’s Reclaimed Wool Parka, and the Reclaimed Down Scarf – is made from minimally processed fabrics or reused material. Support Patagonia in this huge step in the field of organic production, dedicated craftsmanship,  and environmental focus.last_img read more

first_imgLast summer, Mountain State Overland stopped by Judaculla Rock, creating a geographic link between the ancient and modern.The adventuring filmmakers of Mountain State Overland are mapping their own version of Appalachia in a thoroughly modern fashion using GPS technology, up-fitted four-wheel-drive vehicles and digital video. The group is part of the latest revival of overlanding—a trend that really never went away. Consider overlanding a high-tech, revved-up version of car camping, albeit one that allows access to areas that few get to see. Overlanding started in the early 1900s with Australian livestock herders traveling long distances to market. The newest wave of overlanders mixes tech savvy with a sense of social responsibility, frequently labeling social media posts with #explore and #protect hashtags. Think Ed Abbey exploring the Maze in Canyonlands—except with sponsorships, digital cameras, a photo drone and a commitment to packing out his beer cans.Mountain State Overlanding began as a group of college buddies taking trips during breaks from West Virginia University. Jason Specht, a former Boy Scout who’d picked up professional video experience shooting a Roanoke-based television show, started bringing his video gear on trips to sustainable community Bethlehem Farm and cross country ski destination White Grass, staging interviews along the way.6N1A6247_FIXIn January 2014, when Freedom Industries spilled 7,500 gallons of a coal-washing chemical into the Elk River, affecting the water of 300,000 people in nine counties, Mountain State Overland filled their rigs with bottled water, drove to Charleston, W.Va., and filmed what they saw, which included dogs sick from drinking the polluted water at an animal shelter and firemen providing drinkable water to residents.The next few trips marked the group’s transition to off-road overlanding. It still based trips around interviews often tied to sustainability, but the focus shifted to exploration. Specht, a Mountain State Overland co-founder who planned the trips, built GPS routes from a combination of his own experiences and online mapping software.Memories and maps don’t always accurately represent what’s out there, and so Mountain State Overland’s expeditions have occasionally played out as frustrating exercises in ground-truthing. More than once the group has come upon a locked Forest Service gate, forcing it to throw away its pre-mapped route and improvise. “The adrenaline of exploring new terrain and not knowing what’s around the next turn is probably what gets me going the most,” said team member Jeremy Styles. “‘Can I back out of here if I have too?’ is definitely something that I think about pretty often on some of these hardly used trails we find.”Sometimes the weather affects the itinerary. When it gets really bad, they throw up a tarp that keeps them dry and break out the cooking equipment.“I try to always look for the lighter side of any situation,” Specht said about such moments. “If a gate’s closed, I go into re-route mode. If a truck’s stuck, it’s disaster recovery. If it’s team drama, I dial it back and try to understand everyone’s feelings. But generally that’s part of the adventure. The adventure is not the destination; it’s everything that happens getting you there.”Last year’s overlanding adventure followed a 2000-mile route through coal country. The coalfields in the southern part of West Virginia have become a mecca for off-road adventuring. The Hatfield & McCoy ATV & UTV Trails—named for one of the many family feuds that bloodied West Virginia long after the Civil War ended—is a year-round destination for off-roaders, and it’s not uncommon to spot outfitters leading packs of ATVs on backroads.6N1A0804_FIXSure, Mountain State Overland wants you to like its photos on Instagram and watch its web series on YouTube. But all of that carries a more fundamental message: “Let’s get out and start enjoying Appalachia.”Watching the footage from the comfort of your living room or office, you don’t smell the sweat or campfire smoke. You don’t get the full experience of an afternoon of mud hole after mud hole, or a relentless rain that pelts already unstable trails. Yet, you also miss the feeling watching the sun break through rain clouds after all that, and the camaraderie sitting around a campfire, and the thrill of exploring new places.last_img read more