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Prison time for this man

Photo: Explore.org, National Park Service

A wrap of the biggest stories and best writing about the outdoors from New Zealand and around the world.

Three men, including the one pictured, have been jailed and fined for approaching feeding bears at a famous landmark.

Brooks Falls in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve has a viewing area where people can see brown bears catching leaping salmon.

But actually approaching the animals is obscenely stupid because they’re aggressively territorial and you risk getting killed or forcing park authorities to shoot a bear to save you.

This didn’t stop David Engleman, Ronald Engleman and Steven Thomas getting within 15 metres of the large mammals in what was apparently drunken behaviour. They were caught on the park’s live stream.

Each has been fined US$3000 and will serve between a week or 10 days in prison. The magistrate judge described their actions as: “drunken capering, and a slap in the face to those who were there.” You can watch a video of what happened here

Otago trail over 10 times more successful than expected

When the Lake Dunstan Trail between Clyde and Cromwell opened a year ago, its creators were keeping their fingers crossed that it would attract 7500 cyclists annually.

So imagine how smitten they are that it actually brought in 84,000 bums on bike seats in its first 12 months.

Central Cycle Trail Co director Brendon Urlich told RNZ: “It’s just gone berserk. So if anything we’ve struggled to keep up and it hasn’t been a good thing to turn people away at times, but we literally haven’t been able to keep up. So it’s a good problem to have.”

The local towns and businesses have benefitted from the upturn in visitors, who may well continue to come during the normally quiet winter period. Read more at RNZ. Or take a look at when Wilderness magazine combined Lake Dunstain Trail with the Cairnmuir Hill Track for a thrilling loop.

First black climbing team to reach summit of Everest

Congratulations to seven members of a group of black climbers who have reached the top of the world’s highest summit.

The achievement is even more significant than you might think, as previously only 10 black climbers had ever summited (out of 10,000 climbers) and the team wanted to show their communities back home that they too can achieve great things.

On their website the group says: “This expedition will showcase the tenacity and strength of these climbers, and highlight the barriers that continue to exist for black communities in accessing the outdoors.”

One of the team, Rosemary Saal, said after summiting: “Now we’re able to take this experience and take it back to our communities and tell the stories, share what we’ve learned of this beautiful place and culture and hopefully inspire a future generation of outdoor enthusiasts.” Read more about this story here

Cleaning a nation’s beaches

Ten years ago the Wales Coast Path became the first trail to cover a country’s entire coastline.

Many have since walked the whole 1400km journey, but one man is currently doing so while picking up litter at every beach he stops at.

Geraint John is tramping with a tent, essential supplies and bin bags, which he plans to fill throughout the British summer.

He’s raising awareness of the issue and says it’s disheartening to see such beautiful places covered in litter. “Some places see so much rubbish, it’s absolutely disgusting, with most of the stuff coming in offshore,” he told Wales Online.

“Some places are so remote that I can fill three or four bags of rubbish but there’s nowhere for me to get rid of it, while other places are not accessible on foot. But of course rubbish doesn’t care where it goes.” Read more here

Gruesome accident on Canadian tramping trail

Hiker Edward Steinkamp was taking on the West Coast Trail in British Colombia’s Pacific Rim National Park when a terrible thing happened.

He slipped when walking along a log to avoid mud, and a branch went through his left eye and into his brain.

The freak accident has left Steinkamp partially blinded and in need of brain surgery.

A fundraising site has been set up by a friend, as the cost of the rescue, drugs, surgery, scans and a lengthy hospital stay will be huge. Read more here