February Excursions

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TERMS, CONDITIONS, DISCLAIMERS AND WAIVERS CAN BE FOUND ON THE “ABOUT” PAGE.

February 24
Willamette River, Wallace Park to Keizer Rapids – Class A+ – length 3.5 miles
A short, safe trip to shake out the cobwebs, as we prepare for the coming season. We’ll use this as a chance to review river and safety skills. Bring a lunch, and the gear to keep warm in.
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

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Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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As the Legislature Turns 
The Oregon State Marine board continues to plead their case for a head tax on non-motorized boaters. They now have what is essentially a sales brochure for their proposed Waterway Access Accounts. The document illustrates some of the ideas the agency has for improving access, at selected locations around the state. You can find it here: https://geo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=828872ccafcf4001bb700ba258ecc680

The Statesman Journal has reviewed the legislative proposals, and you can find the article here: https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2019/01/24/oregon-marine-board-raft-kayak-fees-increase-new-plan/2650720002/

Long story, short: The fees on canoes and kayaks would roughly triple, under the board’s proposal. The fee continues to be characterized as an access fee, but is still, in fact, a de facto fee on navigation, violating Oregon’s Admission Acts. It also remains a fee on everyone who uses Oregon’s navigable waterways, whether they make use of OSMB facilities, or not.

As the first link shows, the agency is not without worthwhile ideas. Unfortunately, they continue to want it all on their terms, where they control the money, the waterways, and the conversation. Oregonians deserve better from their government.

The Joy of Wet Season Paddling 
Zach Urness, at the Statesman Journal, composed an article on a topic near and dear: why you should involve yourself in rainy season kayaking. Of course, I’ve been touting the advantages of year-round paddling for decades, so I’m happy now, to see Zach advance the cause: https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/travel/outdoors/2019/01/30/oregon-hike-outdoors-kayaking-salem/2668504002/

 

Nature and the Environment

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Plastic Cleanup Efforts Threaten Ocean Ecosystems 
Plastics adrift in the ocean tend to accumulate in gyres formed where currents collide and swirl. These gyres have long been home to neustons, floating marine ecosystems somewhat akin to kelp beds. It seems the technology used in current efforts to retrieve the plastics may spell doom for the neustons. The Atlantic provides coverage: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/ocean-cleanup-project-could-destroy-neuston/580693/

Confronting Climate Change – The Right to Repair 
The BBC tells of burgeoning efforts in Europe and the U.S. to demand manufacturers make their goods reparable. Many industries have embraced no-repair designs and policies, thwarting efforts to reduce waste. Now, in light of climate change, consumer advocates and governments are pushing back: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46797396

The Outlook for Future Snowpacks 
While recent and predicted storms look to ease the situation some, Western Oregon’s snowpack has been pretty sparse, of late (http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/ftpref/data/water/wcs/gis/maps/or_swepctnormal_update.pdf). Now for the bad news: researchers at OSU think things are likely to get worse in coming years, probably much worse. The Oregonian explains: https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2019/01/osu-study-finds-cascade-snowpack-likely-to-diminish-significantly-in-coming-decades.html

Insect Collapse Threatening Ecosystems 
The widespread collapse of insect populations, in locales worldwide, continues to alarm entomologists, conservationists, agriculturists, and a host of others. The Guardian has at least some of the story, here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/insect-collapse-we-are-destroying-our-life-support-systems, and more of the story, here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

Questioning Sunscreen Wisdom 
The story, as it is usually told, holds that exposing flesh to sun without sunscreen is nothing but an invitation to disaster. Cover up, goop up and stay in the shade, lest the sun get you. But how safe is that sunscreen? And what do the statistics and the science tell us about its bottom-line benefits? Asking those questions and coming up with some well-researched, but controversial answers is Rowan Jacobsen at Outside: https://www.outsideonline.com/2380751/sunscreen-sun-exposure-skin-cancer-science

Porphyromonas Gingivalis and Alzheimer’s 
A growing body of evidence suggests that the bacterium which causes gingivitis, Porphyromonas gingivalis, plays a pivotal role in the development of amyloid plaques on the brain, a defining characteristic of Alzheimer’s. This has led to speculation that eliminating the bacteria might staunch the disease. New Scientist has the details: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2191814-we-may-finally-know-what-causes-alzheimers-and-how-to-stop-it/

Hospital Price Lists Found Arcane and Vague 
And that’s not to mention pricey; e.g. $32,456.66 “headaches.” A federal law, which took effect at the first of the year, mandates hospitals make available price lists for common procedures. Ars Technica takes a look at how all of that is going: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/01/new-hospital-price-lists-are-massive-spreadsheets-full-of-gibberish/

Muscles May Have a Shortcut to Regaining Strength 
Just in time for that soon-to-come moment of getting back out after a winter lay-off, here’s news that makes the quest to get back in shape look a little less Sisyphean. As NPR reports, muscle cell nuclei appear to have a trick that helps: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/01/25/688838589/muscles-may-preserve-a-shortcut-to-restore-lost-strength So much for excuses, eh?

 

Travel and Photography

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Photography on the Edge of Climate Change 
With the Paradise fire as the venue, photojournalists work to put a face to the human tragedies of climate change, in this New Republic article: https://newrepublic.com/article/152798/2018-climate-change-extreme-weather-photos

Wiki Loves Earth Photo Contest Winners 
15 stunning photos of the natural world represent the Wikimedia Foundaton’s selections in their fifth annual competition. You can find the gallery, here: https://wikimediafoundation.org/2018/12/17/lose-yourself-in-our-planets-beauty-with-the-winners-of-wiki-loves-earth/

 

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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Invasive Species Permit Reminder 
Let me simply point out that you may need to renew your Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit, with the Oregon State Marine Board. You can get a new permit online, here: https://apps3.oregon.gov/application/osmb/elicense/

You can also pick up a permit at the board’s offices, at 435 Commercial St NE #400. You might want to bear in mind, if the agency gets its way in the new legislature, fees may rise substantially in the coming years.

Nature and the Environment

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Oregon Falls Short on Greenhouse Gas Reduction 
The Oregon Global Warming Commission’s biennial report dropped recently, and the news isn’t encouraging. Oregon’s greenhouse gas production has risen over the last year, and looks unlikely to meet the 2020 targets for lowering. The Oregonian examines the situation and the options: https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/12/with_emissions_on_the_rise_ore.html

Global Warming by the Numbers 
The BBC provides a set of seven charts which help to quantify the climate change conundrum. These graphics do a nice job of showing the links between causes and effects, on a global scale. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46384067

Freshwater Supplies Getting Contaminated With Salt 
The use of salt to de-ice has led to at least a third of American streams becoming saltier. Acid rain is contributing to the issue, forming salts when it interacts with minerals and construction materials. The problem is growing, threatening ecosystems, irrigators, and potable water supplies in much of the nation. Scientific American has the story: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/freshwater-is-getting-saltier-threatening-people-and-wildlife/

Residential Batteries Not Meeting Potential 
An examination of the current state of affairs regarding the use of batteries to store energy at the home suggests that energy policies are largely to blame for the devices failing to cost-effectively reduce carbon emissions. In theory this off-grid storage could help to regulate demand, and reduce the carbon footprint of powering a home. In practice, implementing the batteries was found to actually increase emissions. Ars Technica explains: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/12/residential-batteries-may-save-households-money-but-rarely-reduce-emissions/

Western Monarch Populations Crash 
A variety of ills have plagued monarch butterflies in recent years, and this past year populations of the creatures plummeted by 86% from the previous year, begging the question if this might be the end. Here with the details of this dire news is Quartz: https://qz.com/1480192/monarch-populations-in-the-us-west-are-down-86-this-year/

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

Toxic Mold Exposure Under-recognized 
In the Pacific Northwest, mold is a fact of life. While certainly not all molds are toxic, a number that infest our living spaces are. Researchers are finding that while toxic mold exposure is quite common, it and its effects on health are often overlooked or misdiagnosed The Chicago Sun-Times has this troubling, and relevant story: https://chicago.suntimes.com/working/mold-toxicity-goes-undiagnosed-for-millions/

Lack of Sleep Tied to Junk Food Cravings 
Even one night of poor sleep can make junk food more appealing, say researchers. Sleep deprivation and obesity have marched in lockstep while overtaking the populace. It now appears that some mechanism ties the two together. The Guardian can fill you in: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/17/lack-of-sleep-linked-junk-food-cravings-study-suggests

Almost 1/3 of Americans Sleep Less Than 6 Hours a Night 
Close on the heels of the previous news comes the finding that a large portion of Americans are getting by on less than six hours a night of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation prescribes 7 to 9 hours, daily, for adults aged 18 to 64. A chronic lack of adequate sleep is implicated in a range of medical and behavioral disorders. The Smithsonian has coverage: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/almost-one-third-americans-sleep-fewer-six-hours-night-180971116/

Foods Europe Bans, We Don’t 
Actually, it’s more food additives, but the list is enlightening. The protections offered by U.S. regulations often pale in comparison to those provided European citizens. The New York Times compiled a short list of substances, commonly used in American foods, which are banned in Europe, for seemingly very good reason: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/well/eat/food-additives-banned-europe-united-states.html

 

Travel and Photography

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A Journey on the Congo River 
The Congo is considered one of the world’s great rivers. It is the lifeblood of the eponymous nation, and feeds the second largest rain forest in the world. The BBC takes a long look at the history of the river, the people who depend on it, and the threats the river faces in the coming century: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/congo

 

January Excursions

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TERMS, CONDITIONS, DISCLAIMERS AND WAIVERS CAN BE FOUND ON THE “ABOUT” PAGE.

January 27
Willamette River, Social Sec. Park to Salem – Class A+ – length 7 miles
Wide vistas largely define this trip, with a few interesting backwaters, and Rickreal Creek thrown in. We will stop for lunch, so bring ample provisions, and dress warm.
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com