Posts tagged with "nature"

“Nature Vacations” Surge During Pandemic

Public lands saw a record number of visits in 2020 and interest in “nature vacations” surged.

TripAdvisor says more than 50% of its consumers are more likely to take a nature trip than they were before the pandemic. Booking.com‘s data shows that 56% of its travelers are searching for “off-the-beaten-track escapes”. Pitchup.com, a lodges, cabins, and campsites booking engine, reports that reservations for 2021 are more than six times higher than last year. RVshare says 73% of millennials indicated they are likely to rent an RV in 2021.

In the race to lure back travelers, vacations in nature are leading the pack. We have assembled a list of nature-focused vacations, ranging from touring Canyonlands National Park by mountain bike to wrangling cattle on a remote ranch in Wyoming.

1. Ride the Rockies and More

With maps and other resources from Adventure Cycling Association, plan a ride on the remote Great Divide Mountain Bike Route crisscrossing the crest of the Rocky Mountains through the U.S. and Canada. Or visit Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Badlands National Park on the Parks, Peaks, and Prairies route between Montana and Minneapolis. https://www.adventurecycling.org/

2. Channel Your Inner Cowboy

Red Reflet Ranch is a 28,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, just three hours from Yellowstone National Park. Guests stay in private chalets and enjoy family-friendly activities like horseback riding, cattle wrangling, ATVing, ziplining, swimming, hiking, fishing, shooting and feasting on farm-to-table cuisine. http://redrefletranch.com/

3. Explore National Parks by RV

Blacksford is a new recreational vehicle rental business with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath, and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, a free annual national parks pass, and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blacksford also curates road trip experiences by connecting travelers with vetted campsites, guides, and other hand-picked attractions. https://www.blacksford.com

4. Teton Tiny House Retreat 

Just minutes from Jackson Hole, WY, Fireside Resort offers 25 pint-size, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus. Each has its own outdoor fire pit and deck. And the resort is located just a stone’s throw from Grand Teton National Park. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com

5. Camp & MTB Canyonlands

Utah’s 100-mile White Rim Trail loops in and out of a multi-colored array of spires, arches, buttes, and mesas carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers. On this tour with Escape Adventures, guests ride the famous off-road route, while detouring to admire secret passages, hidden slot canyons, natural rock arches, and ancient Puebloan ruins. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/utah-white-rim-mountain-bike-tour/ 

6. Hike, Bike or Ski Big Sky

Find active adventures on the trails around Big Sky, Montana, when staying at The Wilson Hotel. On the edge of town, hike to the glacial cirque surrounding Beehive Basin or through the forest to Ousel Falls, or trek to natural wonders and wildlife in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Mountain biking abounds as well, with over 20 miles of lift-served riding. And in winter, 5,850 acres of ski terrain spreads out from the summit of 11,166-foot Lone Peak. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

Tree illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

USDA Forest Service Reflects on 2020

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, the USDA Forest Service today announced it surpassed goals and set records in 2020.

“2020 was a challenging year, with record wildland fire activity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the Forest Service, we have risen above these challenges and set our minds, hands and hearts to carrying out our mission to meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen.

The Forest Service relied on its strong science, innovation and partnerships to overcome this year’s challenges as the agency found new solutions to serve the public during a time of unprecedented need.

Creating healthy, productive forests and supporting rural economies

In 2020, the Forest Service provided jobs and stability for local economies through a year of historic timber production, selling more than 3.2 billion board feet of timber, the second-highest level in 20 years. The agency also improved forest conditions and reduced wildfire risk on over 2.65 million acres, removing hazardous fuels like dead and downed trees, and combating disease, insect and invasive species infestations.

The Forest Service undertook a suite of regulatory reforms to meet the goals of the Secretarial Memorandum to the Chief of the Forest Service modernize and align agency directives with new legislative authorities and reduce regulatory burdens. By the end of December 2020, the Forest Service will have nearly completed all guidance to implement new legislative authorities in the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition, Forest officials quickly began implementing President Trump’s Great American Outdoors Act to increase access to national forests and grasslands and make progress towards reducing the agency’s $5 billion infrastructure backlog.

Managing wildfire, and providing for health and safety

The Forest Service was successful in prioritizing early suppression of wildfire ignitions while facing a record-breaking fire year, with the most acres burned on national forests since 1910. The agency’s modeling research on how COVID-19 may spread between firefighters or in communities during response efforts led to new interagency safety protocols to better support fire camp management.  The protocols not only successfully minimized the spread of COVID-19 among the agency’s 10,000 firefighters, but early learning suggests the safety measures resulted in additional health benefits to fire crews, reducing ailments common in fire camps, which translated to a healthier and more resilient firefighting workforce available to protect lives, homes, and communities threatened by wildfire.

Sharing stewardship responsibilities and being better neighbors

The Forest Service made significant strides toward Shared Stewardship this year, working more closely than ever with Tribes, States, and local partners to make sure the right work happens in the right place at the right time. So far, 44 states and territories are now involved in a Stewardship Agreement. The agreements allow the Forest Service to employ the latest tools and share decision making on the highest priorities to improve forest conditions across broad landscapes. These new agreements have resulted in increasing resiliency of forests, protection of communities and reduction of wildfire risks. They have also produced jobs and stabilize economies.

Increasing access and improving recreation experiences

This year, Americans sought out their public lands in tremendous numbers, finding relief in the Great Outdoors, showing us once again how public lands unite our nation. In response, the Forest Service generated solutions to ensure visitors had every opportunity to safely use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands during the pandemic. The Forest Service welcomed record-breaking numbers of visitors, many of whom were first time users, with 95% expressing satisfaction with their experiences.

“Next year, we will continue to build on these successes to improve conditions on America’s national forests and grasslands to ensure they are healthier, more resilient and more productive,” added Chief Christiansen. We will keep building on the partnerships that make these successes possible and commit to increasing access to better connect people to their natural resources, so these national treasures endure for generations to come.”

For more information about the Forest Service visit www.fs.usda.gov

Kaelen Felix illustrates Elkhart Lake for 360 magazine

Elkhart Lake WI

By Elle Grant x Vaughn Lowery

As summer winds down and fall arrives, many find themselves itching for one last summer getaway, or rather, that first autumn weekend away. 360 Magazine was able to take advantage of such a trip, visiting Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake this past September. Located in the heart of Moraine State Forest, Elkhart Lake is the ideal natural getaway, being home to lake activities as well as canopied hiking and biking trails.

Elkhart Lake, located on the East side of Wisconsin, is both a stunning sojourn into nature and also a historical destination. With a population just under one thousand, the village maintains a cozy quality, with local shops, restaurants, and activities maintaining a small-town, yet polished feel. Yet during the summertime, the town swells and comes to life. First inhabited by the Potawatomi Indians, the name Elkhart stems from the description Native people had of the area, that the lake resembled the shape of an elk’s heart. Native American culture can easily be explored in the area through local tours and at the Henschel’s Indian Museum. Elkhart is also a significant historical definition in terms of its relationship to racing, reaching its peak in the mid 1950s.

Our stay at the Shore Club was nothing short of superb. The new owners, Tom and Kristin Pagel, have done an incredible job renovating the hotel. Renovations including adding updated technology to enhance guest stays: Netflix, Alexa, a digital concierge through the Whisper app, Peloton bikes will soon be available, and luxury motor sports for those interested. Furthermore, the site also boasts an indoor pool, a game room with ping pong tables and vintage arcade games, and a gym. For those interested in seeing Elkhart on two wheels, free bikes are available for guest use at the front desk. The restaurant on site, the Cottonwood Social, offered consistently well-done meals, including the perfect weekend brunch.

We began our lake escape with a pontoon cruise on the namesake of the area, Elkhart Lake. Before departing, we sipped and snacked on the Osthoff’s signature cocktails and hors oeuvres. On the pontoon boat, we were able to view the lake’s crystal-clear lake waters and receive a tour that included information of the area’s history, legends, and folklore. The evening air aboard the boat made this the perfect way to begin a stay. Following the pontoon ride, dinner at the Osthoff Resort’s newest restaurant, Concourse Restaurant and Lounge, proved to be a unique culinary experience. With specialties such as the honey balsamic trout, seared scallops with sweet pea risotto, and the veal schnitzel with pickled cucumber relish, there was a delicious and refined option forevery set of tastebuds. The restaurant’s décor, a tribute the area and Osthoff’s vintage racing roots, also deserves special note.

Elkhart lake is famed for its historic roots as a racing circuit in the 1950s. During this decade, the village of Elkhart Lake transformed into an open-road race circuit where top sports car drivers traveled from all around the world to take on the unique terrain. Likewise, thousands of fans were drawn to the area, eager to see the athletes and vehicles alike. The racing today is focused at Road America,but the historic circuit is marked with signs denoting Wacker’s Wend, Kimberly’s Korner, and Dicken’s Ditch. This auto focused tour of the area isn’t to be missed. Road America also offers an opportunity to join in on the fun with options such as go-karting and ATVs at this world-acclaimed facility.

Road America and Elkhart Lake are famous as one of the oldest, largest, and most iconic tracks in the world. Currently, its original course is registered on the National Register of Historical Places, emphasizing its significance. Gaining popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, the post-World War II economy spurred on the influx of sporting luxury automobiles. For Elkhart specifically, the notable Sports Car Club of America were the main organizer of their races. Incredibly popular races such as the RoadAmerica 500, SCCA National Sports Car Championship, the United States Road Racing Championship and the IMSAGT Championship. Today, it continues to host luxury races and draw motorsports fans and can even be found in numerous racing video games!

Following a wild time racing, time winding down at the Aspira Spa was well-needed. Inspired by local Native American practices and traditions, but fused with modern technology and science, the spa offers the ideal treatment for any interest party. The inside space of the Aspira is thoughtfully designed and embraces the concept of Feng Shui as well as the natural elements. Personally, we enjoyed the Element Facial; this facial is a mask focused in traditional Chinese medicine representing the five elements. These five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Harmony can be restored through the combination of colored light and essential oils inspired by these elements. By exalting the healing practices of indigenous cultures around the world, Aspira is able to provide a holistic, organic, and thorough approach to healing and relaxation.

Traveling back in time once again, visiting the Carriage Museum at Wade House transported us even further back – back to the 1860s stagecoach era located within this Wisconsin Historical Site. To get a full experience of the period, we were able to travel in that manner: horse-drawn carriage! The museum also features Wisconsin’s most diverse collection of transportation of this manner with over 100 horse-and-hand drawn vehicles. For the transportation enthusiasts, this isn’t to be missed.

When one thinks of wine country, Wisconsin might not exactly spring to mine. Yet award-winning sommelier Jaclyn Stuart operates Vintage Elkhart Lake, a charming shop where she hand-selects all wines available. The tasting at her bar came paired with cheese plates, potato chip flights, and other delectable pairing bites. The shop, beyond wine unique to the area, also sells other local delicacies for those interested in bringing home a taste of Wisconsin.

It would hardly be a trip to the lake without time spent on the lake fishing. Elkhart Lake is 119 feet deep and 292 acres wide, providing the perfect home to a variety of fish species: musky, walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill and crappie all inhabit the lake. Going with a licensed guide like Jay Brickner will aide in explaining all those numerous species. Below the surface isn’t the only place to find remarkable species – a variety of endangered bird call this estuary home including bald eagles. Whether or not fishing is an interest, time spent on this beautiful, blue lake is worth taking a boat out for. A little closer to shore also boasts the best of the lake’s charms. From the time when Native Americans lived along its banks, Elkhart’s pristine quality has been appreciated. Taking advantage of more advanced activities like a hydrobike or other watersports can be a more adventurous way to embrace lake life. Other options including standup paddleboard, jet skis, and speedboats. Even taking a walk in the sand along the shoreline is another greatway to take advantage of all the lake has to offer.

The natural beauty of Elkhart Lake region is its most obvious draw, but the culinary seen isn’t to be underestimated. Lake Street Café, serving California Bistro style fare, also offers Wisconsin’s third largest wine list ensuring the perfect pairing for any dish. Quit Qui Clubhouse features classic pub and grill fair with a Wisconsin twist, including homemade soups, chili, sandwiches, burgers, and more. Siebkens Resort and 67 Saloon are also phenomenal dinner options reflecting inspiration from the area.

Elkhart Lake proved to be a much-needed September getaway. The natural beauty paired with the historical aspects of the Native American culture in the area as well as the history of luxury racing makes this an incredibly well-rounded destination.

Rodent illustration by Nicole Salazar for 360 MAGAZINE.

CITY RATS × STREETS

By Althea Champion

Thirty-four years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant meltdown, lush greenery and wild wolves freely inhabit the landscape, uninhibited by the burden of human life’s presence. Nine months after the first reported case of COVID-19 in the U.S., another lifeform—one much less beautiful and romantic—roams the comparatively barren city streets of the U.S.: rats.

In East Coast cities, from New Orleans to Boston to New York City, residents are reporting sightings of rats swarming, scouring the city, capitalizing on the valuable real estate human beings recently left behind in pursuit of the safety of their homes.

The swell of rat turn-out is not simply because the once busy streets they cowered in the shadows of are now empty, but because they are starving and in dire straits. It seems that hard times are not unique to humans during these past few months, but are actually falling on rats, too.

“Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas,” the CDC reported in a May update of rodent-control guidelines in respect to COVID-19. “Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food. Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior.”

According to the Boston Herald, Boston is currently handling an impressive rat problem of their own, with the Allston/Brighton neighborhoods reporting a whopping 88% increase in rodent activity in comparison to last year.

“Boston is experiencing an unusually large surge in rodent complaints during the coronavirus pandemic,” reported Meghan Ottolini of the Boston Herald. “With residents reporting massive infestations in gardens and rats ‘the size of cats’ scurrying down the street in broad daylight.”

The waste that rats once prospered on is no longer available as a result of much frequented restaurants and bars closing their doors. Scraps can no longer be found without extensive searches. Thus, city rats, motivated by their acute distress and changing landscape, are resorting to desperate measures. 

In New York City, where restaurants are permitted to serve patrons outdoors as of June 22, rats are also showing up to dine at the literal heels of customers bating for crumbs, according to The Guardian.

In cities more than ever, the line between wildlife and the human race is slimming. Unlike those who live in more rural areas, animals are not something city folk come in contact with on a daily basis—aside from a dog, cat, and the occasional hamster. 

Perhaps this is changing. Linda Rodriguez McRobbie of The Boston Globe suggests that the urban wildlifes—the coyotes in Chicago and San Francisco, mountain lions in Boulder, and the groundhog in Philadelphias—are perhaps lessening the “artificial division between ‘man’ and ‘nature,'” and maybe that isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps, humans do not have to be separate from nature, and rodents do feature in nature.

It is, after all, the year of the rat.

Vaughn Lowery photographs his stay in Door County, Wisconsin for 360 MAGAZINE.

DOOR COUNTY – SUMMER 2020

By Elle Grant × Vaughn Lowery

People might hesitate to think of Wisconsin as a summer destination, but Door County proves otherwise is true. At the end of August, 360 Magazine was able to spend some time in this beautiful area, connecting with nature and the local cuisine. Door County features an array of activities based in its spectacular natural environment, for both those seeking a more tranquil getaway and for the thrill seekers. All this paired alongside local eats made for an outstanding end of summer getaway.

A favorite of summer tourists, Door County becomes a hub between Memorial and Labor Day each year with summer visitors arriving from the more metropolitan areas of Milwaukee, Chicago, Green Bay, and the Twin Cities. Generally, the population is just under 30,000 but swells over the summer with tourists. Ithas earned the nickname “the Cape Cod of the Midwest.” Local industry includes the aforementioned tourism, but their fishing industry as well as local agriculture also are economic staples for Door County. to five state parks and ten lighthouses, Door County is known for its natural scenery above all else, as well as their beaches. Its location makes it the perfect location for all kinds of getaways, from a family adventure, to a couple’s retreat, or even for a late summer wedding destination.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, not all travel is virus friendly. Luckily, as Door County’s out of doors experiences are the area’s focal point, travel to this area is far more in line with social distancing andgovernment advisories compared to other options. Safety and health precautions were taken throughout this experience. The outdoor adventure focus made it the perfect getaway during these complex times.

Starting off our stay at Bayshore Inn lodging, we were immediately impressed with both the indoor and outdoor swimming pool, gym, game room and private beach. Their evening bonfires were especially fun – reminiscent of the best parts of summer camp! Our rooms were also incredibly spacious and featured a balcony along with a full kitchen. A fireplace, while not as helpful in August, would make a winter stay beyond cozy. Our first dinner, at the nearby Fred & Fuzzy’s Waterfront Grill in Sister Bay kicked off our stay perfectly. A purple and orange Wisconsin sunset colored the sky over old-fashioned cocktails.

During our stay, we quickly came to appreciate the raw beauty of Door County. Kayaking at the Door Country Adventure Center proved to be a remarkable experience. Taking a kayak along the Lake Michigan shoreline, we were able to witness the geologic wonders of Cave Point County Park – more natural sights to Wisconsin than we ever expected. Moving along the water felt like we were paddling through a still mirror – gorgeous. After a mile from our start point, the coves and caves of the area began to reveal themselves both above and below the waterline. This can only be experienced from the point of view of the water and navigating this area by kayak seems to be the best option by far to see these phenomenal geological sites.

An immediate standout was a bike ride along the Sunset Trail. This 10-mile bike path through all types of landscapes truly conveyed the varied scenery including Weborg Marsh, cedar and maple tree groves, and cliff communities. It begins near the Fish Creek entrance to Peninsula State Park and would be suitable for most novices but warned the hills can invite a bit of a challenge. Some of our party had to “walk” rather than “ride” up a few hills. Yet the views are worth it and not to be missed! Towards the end of the trail is one of Door County’s ten lighthouses which offers classic coastal charm. For those not faint of heart, there is cliff-jumping as well. Wisconsin’s one and only. Our experience was nothing short of heart-stopping. The thrill of leaping into stunning waters is well-worth facing any fears!

At Wisconsin’s only wildernessstate park, Newport State Park, we had the opportunity to go stargazing. Away from the bustle and pollution of the city, the night skies were flooded with stars. There is something particularly spiritual about the natural world by night.

The next morning, another unique experience along the Door County coast was that of morning paddleboard yoga. Bringing our yoga afloat on the waters of Lake Michigan proved a new experience but was very beginner-friendly and inclusive. The boards were weighted down with anchors to ensure that keeping balance was on us – not the waves! Both breath work and more advanced yoga postures are included with classes with Bay Shore Outfitters, and a paddle along the shore of Sister Bay afterwards was the perfect way to cap the morning.

Door County’s cuisine dazzled throughout our stay, but especially at Sonny’s Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria were our tastebuds set alight. A family-friendly restaurant overlooking Sturgeon Bay, their Chicago-style pizzas, tasty appetizers, and pasta dishes all impressed. Another culinary standout included a fish boil at the Old Post Office Restaurant. This dining experience is unique to the region, featuring Lake Michigan whitefish caught by local fishermen, paired with potatoes and a classic cherry pie. It proved to be a meal that was tasty, educational, and true to tradition, fun to share with others. Other treats like cinnamon rolls Grandma’s Swedish Bakery, Door County cherry margaritas, or tacos from Taco Cerveza made for a deliciously varied experience.

All in all, the experiences 360 magazine had in Door County, Wisconsin have transformed our understanding of the state forever. The natural beauty of the area isn’t to be underestimated – with the striking vistas along Lake Michigan, it was the perfect way to end summer 2020.

Below are links to where 360 Magazine stayed, ate, and adventured!

Bayshore Inn

Fred & Fuzzy’s Waterfront Grill in Sister Bay

Grandma’s Swedish Bakery at Rowley’s Bay Resort

DC Adventure Center

Wilson’s

Taco Cerveza

The Old Post Office Restaurant

Newport State Park

Julie’s Park Café

Bay Shore Outfitters Paddleboard Yoga

Thyme Cuisine

Sonny’s Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria

Kicking a Soccer Ball illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

CVB Virtual GO 92.0 

The Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau has created a virtual race called GO 92.0.  The CVB is inviting outdoor enthusiasts to join this virtual 92.0-mile run, walk or bike challenge that begins September 1, 2020 and ends September 30, 2020. Participants choose how to trek the 92.0 miles, while keeping tabs on progress using a favorite tracker app. For every 9.20 miles completed, participants will earn a virtual “badge” to celebrate their accomplishment. The CVB’s “virtual road team” plans to keep motivating those participating in the GO 92.0 by highlighting fun facts about Green Bay landmarks and tourist attractions.

“Many people have become active in the outdoors. Whether you’re biking a trail, walking your dog or hiking a path to see a waterfall, you’re challenging yourself to get out into nature,” says Toni Jaeckles, CVB Partnerships Director. “This virtual challenge can be done anywhere, whether you are at home or on the road,” she added.

“We’ve even created a version for our youngest athletes. There’s a 9.20 Kids Movement Challenge. We hope everyone in the family will participate,” says Jaeckles.

Proceeds for the virtual event go back to support Green Bay area tourism.

Follow Go 92.0: Facebook

Allison Christensen is an artist and specializes in illustration art.

Allison Christensen

Allison Christensen, is a New Jersey-based illustrator, attending Moore College of Art & Design. She is heavily inspired by plants and nature. Her style tends to be lighthearted with clean lines and a minimalist neutral color palette. Illustration has always been an outlet for her to express herself. Ever since she was a child, drawing fun and silly pictures have always brought her joy no matter what situation she was in. Allison was bullied excessively and at one point, she even had to be homeschooled for a year.

She always knew she wanted to do something artistic as a career. It wasn’t until her Junior year of high school when she knew what that would be. When she was visiting art colleges and getting portfolio reviews, one of the students introduced her to illustration design. Allison immediately knew that illustration art was what she needed to do for the rest of her life. She wants others to be able to look at her art and make their day brighter, even if it is just for a brief moment.

ARB Base Rack on car in forest

New ARB BASE Rack

For the first time in 20 years, ARB has revolutionized the product on which the company was founded: the BASE Rack.

In 1975, the roof rack was the first product manufactured and sold by ARB. 45 years later, ARB engineers have continuously improved stronger, lighter, and more versatile racks to carry all of your adventuring needs.

On can mount a basket for the weekend camping trip, run side rails only for the construction project, then strip down to a flat rack for the canoe. The BASE Rack stands apart as the most modular design in the market. Fully-customizable side-rail configuration, and a suite of new accessories leveraging a dovetail style attachment system provides adventurers the speed and flexibility they need to transform the weekday workhorse into the weekend explorer.

The ABR dovetail system provides flexibility to attach a wide range of accessories where you need them. The side-mounting profile also provides full use of the beams’ top surface and allows the beams to support cargo without protruding tie-down points.

The BASE Rack, build, attach, set, explore, is a full-welded, aluminum design providing weight savings without sacrificing strength and durability. The fully-welded beams that run the width of the vehicle, gives the BASE rack the strength of the steel racks, at a fraction of the weight. In addition, the sleek design integrates into the vehicle’s overall appearance. Because of the strength in the cross beams, there is no requirement for a sub-frame, lowering the rack height of the vehicle.

Born and bred in the Australian outback, ARB 4×4 accessories continue to push the limits of what explorers and adventurers can do with their 4WD vehicles. The BASE Rack demonstrates how ARB continues to evolve, innovation, and build on their overlanding heritage.

About ARB:

ARB is Australia’s largest manufacturer and distributor of 4×4 accessories. We also have an international presence, with an office in the US and an export network that extends through more than 80 countries around the globe. Our philosophy, however, has never wavered from its original course – quality, reliability, and practicality above all else.

ARB base rack carrying surfboard
ARB base rack birds eye view
NYBG illustration by Ivory Rowen

NYBG Reopening

The New York Botanical Garden has announced plans to reopen the grounds of its 250-acre site to the general public on Tuesday, July 28, in a gradual process as the City enters New York Forward’s Phase Four, projected to begin July 20.

Since enacting the temporary closure on March 15, 2020, due to COVID-19, Botanical Garden leadership has been proactively developing and implementing new safety protocols in accordance with State and New York Forward requirements for businesses and cultural institutions, CDC guidelines, and OSHA standards. (Note: The Garden’s reopening dates are contingent on New York City receiving permission to enter Phase Four.)

NYBG is among the most comprehensive botanical gardens in the world—an urban oasis and integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. The verdant landscape currently features a trove of vibrant daylilies, hydrangeas, water lilies, and lotuses among its one million plants. Walking paths and trails crisscross the Garden providing opportunities for discovery through encounters with nature. The reopened gardens, outdoor collections, and natural features include the Native Plant Garden, with its meadow, woodland, promenade, and centerpiece water feature; Bronx River, with its waterfall, which runs through the 50-acre Thain Family Forest; layered and colorful patterns and plant groupings of the Perennial and Herb Gardens; lushly shaded Chilton Azalea Garden; award-winning Rockefeller Rose Garden; tropical and aquatic plant-filled Conservatory Courtyards and Pools; inviting paths through the Ross Conifer Arboretum; Benenson Ornamental Conifers; Burn Family Lilac Collection; and more.

Tram Tours, public programs, and group tours are suspended temporarily as a safety precaution. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Edible Academy, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and Hudson Garden Grill remain closed. The public reopening will be prefaced by Appreciation Week July 21‒26, when NYBG will welcome Garden Members; Bronx health care heroes from the eight public and private hospitals in the borough; and Bronx Neighbors with first access and complimentary tickets. Communities in the Bronx are among the most severely impacted by COVID-19 in New York City. Through its Appreciation Week initiative, the Garden seeks to acknowledge, with gratitude, the dedication, strength, and resilience of Bronx frontline health care workers and residents. Complimentary admission for those groups will continue through September 13.

The reopening incorporates enhanced safety measures based on best practices and guidance from health authorities and government agencies. New measures include requiring staff and visitors over the age of two to wear face coverings; increasing sanitization of public and staff areas; daily health screenings for on-site staff; supporting social distancing practices; requiring timed-entry tickets purchased in advance; operating at a reduced capacity; and more. The new, limited timed-entry ticketing system will stagger visitors’ arrivals, promote social distancing, and mitigate the risk of crowding in high-traffic areas.

Advance purchase of timed tickets is required and will be confirmed by e-mail with the option to print or download a mobile ticket. Visitors who do not purchase advance tickets will not be guaranteed admission at this time. Garden Patrons and Members must also reserve timed tickets in advance. For more information, visit the NYBG website. To further facilitate social distancing, visitors will find new wayfinding signage and pavement markings at admissions points and where queuing is necessary. Some pathways will be designated for one-way foot traffic to help avoid congestion. New hand sanitizer stations on the grounds and touchless restroom appliances will be available. There is ample parking on-site and in NYBG’s Parking Garage, just steps away from the Mosholu Entrance. Other visitor amenities include: Pine Tree Café (10 a.m.–6 p.m.; limited menu and outdoor seating), Hudson Garden Grill Terrace (12–5 p.m.; snacks and refreshments, including water, beer, and wine) Pine Tree Café Pop-up at the Rose Garden (11 a.m.–4 p.m.; snacks and refreshments, including water, beer, and wine) Clay Family Picnic Pavilions, “My Day at the Garden” kids and family activity guide, Self-guided audio tours, which are available by cell phone, and NYBG Shop (per social distancing protocols).

The reopening plan is subject to change based on government guidance and in response to altered circumstances. Subsequent phases of the Garden’s reopening will be announced at a future date online and via the Garden’s social media channels.

Rita Azar, 360 MAGAZINE, travel, illustration

Natural Lithuania Attractions

Historically a forest country, Lithuania has much to offer travellers looking for sustainable outdoor adventure. Under-the-radar wonders of nature draw into new experiences perfect for adventure-seekers looking for ways to safely travel.

“We are a forest country,” explained Indrė Trakimaitė-Šeškuvienė, Head of Marketing at Lithuania Travel. “Forest is an important symbol of Lithuanian history and culture. Despite industrial development of the 19-20th centuries, we have preserved large spaces of natural forest. With the rise of eco-tourism these locations are turning into sites of meditation, natural health practice and other ways to achieve the deeper sense of unity with nature.”

Eco-tourism is on the rise and people who decide to travel in post-quarantine world are looking for nature experiences rather than big cities. Here are seven amazing outdoor attractions in the lush forests of Lithuania, according to Lithuania Travel.

  • Herb picking: In North-Eastern Lithuania, in the forest-surrounded town of Anykščiai, professional herbalist Ramūnas Daugelavičius combines traditional Lithuanian experience with knowledge of other cultures and scientific methods to provide unique experience of herbs. From herb picking for spices to special tea ceremonies, fire rituals and seed root coffee, travelers can follow the Lithuanian tradition.
  • Butterfly and dragonfly watching: Lithuania is the only place in the world where dragonflies are professionally monitored and marked.At Ventė ornithology station, the secrets of dragonfly migration are only now being uncovered. Not far from the station, in the Western part of Lithuania, ecotourism enthusiast Daiva Stanislovaitienė offers butterfly, dragonfly and bird watching trips combined with cozy stay in a comfortable villa.
  • Forest bathing: The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing is a way to heal and restore the human spirit, which tires of work and rush of the technology-dominated world. For example, a certified guide of shinrin-yoku Mila Monk gives both private and group tours in different Lithuanian forests which visitors can join in on. 
  • The largest dreamcatcher in the world: Those with serious nightmares should visit the pine forest in Asveja regional park in Eastern Lithuania. The dreamcatcher is located in the territory of the eco-resort Golden Forest. The resort also houses a forest labyrinth of four elements which can be passed only using the intuition, and holds the annual Masters of Calm festival for active and conscious community.
  • The forest gramophone: The forest sound catcher may be found in the Curonian Spit – the natural seaside reservation in the Western Lithuania. Here, a 3 meters high gramophone-like construction enhances the natural sounds of forest which visitors can spend about half an hour inside.
  • The forest dunes: Sand dunes are the usual sight of the Baltic seaside, but, some of them are located far from the sea and deep in the forests. In the pine forests of South-Eastern Lithuania, the dunes totally transform the landscape and provide unique experience of the raw nature.
  • Meteorite crater: 165 million years ago a huge meteorite landed near Vepriai in Central Lithuania. Now, visitors can explore the site by biking along one of the many routes across the crater.

The deep, green and magic Lithuanian forest is the place to enjoy peace and solitude traveling on foot, by bike or by camper. Now, with the necessary cautions for traveling during the coronavirus pandemic, a forest-filled oasis like Lithuania is a perfect spot for globetrotters.