REI instructor Rick Merriman shows map newbies how to set the declination on their compasses.

Becky Johnson photo

On (or off) the beaten trail

Since ancient times, man has explored the landscape with the intent to discover what lies beyond what he knows. Oral descriptions and pictographs first began to tame the wild earth, and as man charted greater territories, so grew his knowledge. more »

Aug 1, 2014 Features

What the land has meant to the people

From grunts to generals, soldiers understand the enormous role terrain plays in warfare. An intimate familiarity with terrain—the high ground, a ford in a river, a trail through a marsh—can spell the difference between victory and disaster. more »

Aug 1, 2014 Book Reviews

Volunteers at Meadowview bag chestnut flowers to get ready for pollination season.

Donated photo

Working toward a chestnut comeback

With a population that doesn’t quite break 1,000 and few enough restaurants that one can count them on one’s fingers, it’s safe to say that Meadowview, Va., is a small town. But when it comes to American chestnuts, Meadowview is a big name. more »

Aug 1, 2014 Outdoors

The work of George Masa (1881-1933) has seen a resurgence of interest following a 2003 documentary.

Courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains Association/George Masa Collection

Man of the mountains

In 1933, George Masa, a pivotal figure in the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the creator of some of the finest black and white photographs of the region, died in Asheville from influenza. more »

Aug 1, 2014 Features

The land in which I landed

I’ll never forget the drive, and the first time I saw the Appalachian mountain range’s purple waves while heading up the highway from Spartanburg, S.C. I was raised in the hot, sauna-summers of West Georgia, where the land is flat. more »

Aug 1, 2014 Perspectives

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