Posts tagged with "outdoor activities"

Dog and child illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Backyarding Trends

The TurfMutt Foundation Predicts “Backyarding” To Become Permanent Trend

“Backyarding,” the new trend to move many indoor activities–from working in an office or classroom to dining and recreation–to the great outdoors, is growing. Under pandemic conditions, yards and other managed landscapes became a safe haven for social gatherings, celebrating milestones/holidays, working, studying, playing, exercising, relaxing.  
 
“Your own backyard is nearly limitless with possibilities, and homeowners got really creative as they expanded and enjoyed their yards over the last year,” said Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the TurfMutt Foundation. “We predict, long after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, our yards will become an even greater part of our lives. The notion of ‘backyarding’ is here to stay.” 
 
In 2020, home improvements – many of them in the backyard – skyrocketed. So did the demand for outdoor power equipment as homeowners invested in making their outdoor spaces fabulous, functional and flourishing. Overall, shipments of outdoor power equipment increased 16 percent in 2020.
 
“Expect people to continue to invest in their outdoor life this coming spring,” said Kiser. “Many homeowners who put time and effort into their landscapes last year will be rewarded when that yard comes back to life this spring. But, even if you did little last year, it’s never too late to start – just start.”  
 
Here are some ways to bring more “backyarding” into your life:  
 
1.    Invest in your yard. Design a dream lawn and garden. Consider its purpose. Don’t design just for aesthetics. Do you have kids and pets who need a place to play? Will you be hosting safe gatherings? Do you need a place for rest and relaxation and/or games and recreation?
 
2.    Get the whole family involved. Create a game or a friendly competition with your family to help identify all the ways you can move your indoor life to the great outdoors – and right out your backdoor. Can you take office calls and video meetings to the patio or porch? Can your kids do their online learning outdoors? How often can you take dining outside? Keeping safety in mind, can you gather outdoors for family celebrations, birthdays, graduations and reunions? 
 
3.    Plant something—as early as you can. (Or plant more). Adding trees, bushes, grass and flowering plants is a good yard investment, but they often take time to grow. Plant as early as recommended so you can enjoy the benefits faster.  Just remember “right plant, right place.”  Location, maintenance, sunlight and watering needs should all be considered, as well as your climate zone.
 
4.    Stretch winter-weary muscles. Take workouts, yoga classes and meditation sessions outdoors. You also can let off some steam by mowing the grass, trimming the hedges, or edging the lawn. Working in the yard not only helps our living landscapes look better and stay healthy, it also gives us a sense of accomplishment and control in trying times. 
 
5.    Plan a staycation. A makeshift “resort” or vacation spot could be just out your back door. Pitch a tent, build a campfire, hang a sheet between trees to make a movie screen, set up games – these are just a few ideas to make the backyard a vacation spot. 
 
6. “Level up” nature care. Add flowering plants, trees and shrubs to give wildlife and pollinators food and shelter. Your yard is part of the larger ecosystem, so check your climate zone for landscaping options that support your birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Don’t forget to take time to just sit and drink it in, observing the wildlife and nature around you.
 
Research shows simply spending time in nature – which starts in your backyard – is good for reducing stress, boosting heart health, boosting Vitamin D levels, and enhancing memory.  Thanks to the family yard, the health and well-being benefits of being outside are just a few steps away.
 
To learn more, go to TurfMutt

Agriculture illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

USDA Announces Investment

USDA Announces $218 Million Investment in Land and Water Conservation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the USDA Forest Service will invest more than $218 million to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects to conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support rural economic recovery, and increase public access to national forests and grasslands.

Leveraging the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provided by Congress, this investment will improve public access by funding strategic land acquisitions. Funds will also support work with state agencies to encourage private forest landowners to protect their land through conservation easements or land purchases.

“These investments reflect President Biden’s commitment to supporting locally-led conservation efforts from coast to coast and to honoring and building on the proud private land stewardship traditions of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The investments will not only protect our natural heritage, but they will also create jobs, expand access to the outdoors, and help tackle climate change.”

The Forest Service administers two LWCF programs: The Forest Legacy Program and the Land Acquisition program. Together, these programs conserve critical and strategic lands across the nation’s forests on both private and public lands. The Forest Service will invest more than $94 million to fund 28 projects under the Forest Legacy Program and $123 million to fund Land Acquisition Program projects, including projects for recreation access and other needs.

Land Acquisition Program highlights include:

  • $6.4 million in FY 2021 to acquire 8,590 acres for the Lolo Trails Project in Montana. This project aims to mitigate the effects of climate change by providing the cold water that federally listed bull trout and other species need to sustain healthy populations in a warming climate.
  • $3.7 million to acquire 1,550 acres in the Yakima River Basin for the Washington Cascades Project. Supported by a wide coalition of public, private and non-profit partners, this project seeks to ensure a long-term water supply in the face of climate change.

Forest Legacy Program highlights include:

  • Protecting 12,500 acres of habitat, water and timber on the Ceylon Forest in Georgia. 2.5 million people depend on the Ceylon for drinking water that flows from and through the forest. As a working forest, the Ceylon supports a local wood-based economy that includes 121 mills, with a $1.69 million payroll impact. Once completed, the area will also become part of a much larger Wildlife Management Area and serve as an ideal hunting and fishing destination for sportsmen across the Southeast.
  • The East Grand-Weston in Maine builds on a century-old tradition of sustainable forestry and expands recreation opportunities over more than 4,300 acres. The property supports a thriving local recreation industry by protecting lands, waters and trails while also providing sustainable wood products to up to 15 mills. The property will remain in private hands while continuing to be managed for public benefits.
  • The second phase of the Kootenai Forestlands Conservation Project will permanently protect nearly 28,000 acres of land in northwest Montana. The project area belongs to the Stimson Lumber Company and contributes to the local economy while allowing free public access as a recreation destination for hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, snowmobiling and more. The project will also protect the area from further residential development, reducing future firefighting costs by more than half.

Background

The Forest Service has been administering LWCF projects since 1964 along with the Department of the Interior. The fund supports Forest Service-led conservation projects including acquisition of critical non-federal lands within the boundaries of national forests and grasslands. Now, with full and permanent funding through the Dingell Act and the Great American Outdoors Act, the Forest Service is poised to strengthen its conservation program and provide greater recreation access to national forests and grasslands.

The agency worked with partners, considered multiple criteria and used established competitive processes to select projects for fiscal year 2021. During the review, the agency evaluated the environmental, social, and economic benefits of proposed projects and whether they contributed to other conservation initiatives. The Forest Service also considered local recreation access needs, the level of local support for strategic land acquisitions and how likely it would be for project areas to be converted to non-forest uses.

For more information on the Great American Outdoors Act and related projects, visit the website.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration under Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit USDA.

Surfing x Morro Bay

SURF’S UP TODAY IN MORRO BAY!

First-Ever World Surf League’s SLO Cal Open at Morro Rock Qualifying Series Event Starts Today Though March 1, 2020

Some of the biggest names in surfing are at Morro Rock Beach today through March 1, 2020 to compete in the first ever men’s and women’s qualifying series event SLO Cal Open at Morro Bay. Competitors include Conner Coffin from Santa Barbara, currently rated # 20 on the World Surf League’s Championship, along with the next biggest name in the sport, 24 year old Kevin Shulz from San Clemente. Shulz, pictured here, just won the SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach last week and placed 2nd the year before. Cory Arrambide is also competing. He won the Pismo Beach title in 2017. Locally there are have two really good central coast boys competing: Austin Neuman and Braden Jones both from Pismo Beach.

On the Women’s side, it is a very young field with 34 confirmed surfers including 14 year old Sawyer Lindblad. She’s from San Clemente and just won the SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach, her first professional surf contest. She is competing in Morro Bay along with local Sydney Beckett, who is a standout surfer from the MB High School Surf Team. More information about the event can be found here. More info about Morro Bay can be found here, www.morrobay.org.

About Morro Bay
A true #outdoorgoals destination, this active seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a fun and funky getaway for travelers who seek great wine, seafood and outdoor adventures filled with wildlife. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year-round activities in an unspoiled slice of California. From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone. Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information visit www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and Pinterest.

Morro Bay, Surfing, California, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MagazineSurfing, Morro Bay, California, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine,

Rolls-Royce, Cullinan, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, bespoke, luxury, auto, SUV, NYC, travel

Top European Sights to Visit

    Life would not be so captivating and alluring without the possibility to travel and discover other countries and their cultures. When it comes to Europe, there are so many places to visit — from top touristic spots to remote corners in small villages. They all deserve to be visited.

    Those who have decided to travel to one of the European countries should understand the importance of proper logistics arrangements. The duration of the flight is quite long. Thus, be sure that there will be no exhausting connections to other flights or trains. As an alternative, one may consider charter bus Berlin or in another city at https://bcs-bus.com/charter-bus-berlin that will help with the provision of top-notch rental services. The means of transport in Europe will depend, undoubtedly, on the destination. Here is the list of the most beloved places that may help decide.

Top European Attractions

Parthenon in Greece

Travelers to Athens cannot avoid visiting the remnants of the ancient city Parthenon. This is one of the oldest monuments in history. It is a must-see sight for every tourist, however, one should be ready for slippery rocks, hence, comfortable shoes should be put on.

The Townhouse Bruges in Belgium

This is a gothic-style building of the beginning of the 15th century being a remarkable monument. Besides, the city of Bruges will impress tourists with ancient streets and channels, enchant with picturesque views from numerous bridges.

The Eiffel Tower, France

    Do you know that this monument is the most photoed one in the world? Why not take own picture near it? In summer times, you can relax on the Champ de Mars, get to the highest point of the tower. Besides, Paris is a city that has to be visited at least once.

Sibelius Monument, Finland

    This is the monument devoted to a worldwide acknowledged composer Jean Sibelius can be found in Sibelius Park in Helsinki. The masterpiece of architecture impresses with its dimensions, as well as its design. Being quite futuristic, it was opened in 1967.

The channels in Venice, Italy

    This Italian city is suffering from the level of water that is increasing more and more each year. The Grand Channel in Venice can be discovered by gondola. The architecture is impressive and ancient. Do not miss out on the possibility to dive into the world of Italian great nobles.

The Park Güell, Spain

    Despite its name, this is not a regular park one could imagine. This is the center of unbelievable architecture that was opened in 1926. The monuments were designed by worldwide famous Antoni Gaudi.

    These are just a few places that can impress tourists. Despite the country that one would like to visit, be sure that the sights are unforgettable there. All the streets and corners of European cities and towns are saturated with historical events. Dive into the past and get this unforgettable experience in Europe.

360 MAGAZINE, outdoors, Vaughn Lowery, travel, adventure

Winter Staycations In The Lake District

Sometimes there’s nothing better than going on holiday but making it a staycation. After all, the UK has so much to offer that we often forget about when it comes to booking a holiday. This season, the Lake District in particular has so much to offer; from cosy pubs with roaring fires to traditional Lake District hotels set amongst the fells.

A winter staycation has a certain romance about it, especially in an area as beautiful as the Lake District. With that in mind, here are some top tips on how to enjoy a winter staycation in the heart of the Lake District National Park.

Pack your walking boots

The temperatures may not be high, but get out amongst nature anyway and enjoy the crisp winter weather. The scenery is stunning all year round, and gives you the perfect excuse to switch off and enjoy being outside; just remember to wrap up! 

The Lake District National Park was recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status, joining the likes of the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu; and it’s right on your doorstep! 

Get on the water

While we don’t recommend getting in the water during a winter visit to the Lake District, you can certainly get on the water! There are a number of lake cruises and boat trips you can book on your winter staycation, allowing you to take in the true beauty of the area. 

The Ullswater Steamers in particular are very popular, with a history spanning 160 years of operating on Ullswater. It operates 363 days a year and gives you a chance to experience some breath-taking views across mountains like Helvellyn. 

Check out the local food 

After you’ve spent a day exploring in the cold wintry weather, treat yourself to one of the many local pubs and restaurants that offer a great gastronomical experience. There are many restaurants in the area that have won awards for their food and drink menus, as well as décor and service.

Unwind in the beautiful surroundings of towns like Keswick and Penrith as you sample local cuisine like sticky toffee pudding and Cumberland sausages. From AA Rosette restaurants to cosy village pubs, you’ll find something to suit every budget and every taste!

Soak up the culture

In the winter months, you might find the Lake District much quieter which can be lovely for exploring some of the heritage sites in the area. Just north of Ullswater you will find the Aira Force waterfall, while just outside of Penrith you will find Lowther Castle. Near Keswick, you will discover Castlerigg Stone Circle, one of the country’s earliest stone circles.

There are also a number of Roman forts left behind, dotted in various areas of the Lake District. No matter where you are staying, it’s worth travelling to the likes of Hard Knott or Ravenglass for a fascinating look at the area’s history.

Whale watching, San Diego, food, travel, adventure, 360 MAGAZINE

Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour

Five-year Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Award Winner Baja AirVentures offers an active travel program completely unique to the world of adventure travel. No other tour operator combines the best opportunities for marine mammal encounters on both sides of the Baja peninsula in one all-inclusive six-day ground and air-supported package. 
 
The 6-day/5-night Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour departs weekly from Feb.3 through April 11, 2020. The all-inclusive per person rate, including round trip private air carriage from San Diego across the peninsula and back, is $3,695 (exclusive of 13% IVA Mexican tax and 3% Marine Park entrance fee).
 
The package includes private roundtrip air from San Diego with ample opportunity for aerial flightseeing, Pacific whale watching in Scammons Lagoon by motorized panga, two nights at a B&B in the Mexican hamlet of Guerrero Negro and three nights of total seclusion at Baja AirVentures’ Las Animas beachside eco-lodge a scenic hour’s boat ride south of Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez.
 
“The unique combination of seeing marine mammals on both coasts of the peninsula is something no other whale watching operator in Baja is able to offer in one itinerary,” says Kevin Warren, founder and owner of Baja AirVentures. “In fact, the opportunity to view these magnificent creatures from a bird’s eye perspective is a thrill and rarity in itself.”
 
According to Warren, through conservation efforts, the Grey whale population in the Pacific continues to rebound and grow. Last year saw a new record with over 1,800 breeding adults and babies sited at Ojo de Libre (Scammons Lagoon). This prime location has the largest concentration of the Grey whales on the planet.
 
After departing from San Diego in a private plane for Scammons Lagoon, participants spend the better part of three days scanning and interacting with migrating California Gray whales by boat. This is where guests often get to actually “pet friendly whales” in their natural environment. Two nights are enjoyed at a cozy B&B in the small village of Guerrero Negro. Days Four and Five are spent desert hiking, kayaking, birdwatching and snorkeling with sea lions and dolphins. Boat excursions from Las Animas provide an added opportunity to view several types of whales, including Blue and Fin whales (the two largest species in the world).
 
A recent guest had this to say on Trip Advisor about their intimate encounters with the Grey whales, “The small-plane flights alone, with one pilot and five passengers, were a treat. Once on the water of Scammons Lagoon, we did not merely ‘watch’ wales! Instead, our skiff was at times surrounded by these magnificent creatures. Playful and seemingly curious calves met out-stretched hands, allowing themselves to be stroked and patted, while their enormous mothers swam watchfully close by.”
 
After crossing the peninsula via a scenic 2-hour drive through the Valley of the Cirios (Valle de los Cirios), a large wildlife protection area filled with exotic Cirio cactus, guests arrive in Bahia de Los Angeles (Bay of the Angels) on the Sea of Cortez. A boat transfer follows, past bird-filled deserted islands and bays to Las Animas Wilderness Ecolodge. The only boat-in ecolodge along the entire coast Las Animas is a remote, eco-friendly property that accommodates up to 16 guests in eight romantic and private beach-side yurts equipped with bathroom, solar shower, composting toilets, comfortable queen- and king-sized beds, covered decks and skylight roofs. The yurts are built around the spacious main palapa which offers an expansive deck that serves as a central dining area, game area and communal lounge space.
 
The all-inclusive tour price of $3,695 includes double occupancy B&B and yurt accommodations, roundtrip air from San Diego, naturalist guided outings and lectures, boat transportation, healthy homemade meals, beverages (including beer and margaritas) and such activities as kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, sailing and hiking.
 
For details on the Best of Baja tour call 1-800-221-9283 or visit online:
http://www.bajaairventures.com/bestofbaja/
 
For information on other adventure packages offered year-round by Baja AirVentures please go to: http://www.bajaairventures.com/.

Spotlight: Japan 2020

With major hype surrounding the upcoming summer games in Tokyo, Japan is poised to have its best year yet. Plus: a roster of luxury hotel openings and exciting destinations beyond the popular tourist track.

Opening in January, the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono will offer a refined hideaway in one of Asia’s best ski destinations: Hokkaido. In May, the HOSHINOYA Okinawa will open in the Yomitan Village, an archipelago of serene coral reefs, as a sleek beachfront hotel with an innovative fusion restaurant.

A 90-minute bullet train from Tokyo is the Tohoku region, an ideal addition to an adventurous Japan trip. Known for its bustling capital city, Sendai, and dramatic landscapes allowing for myriad outdoor activities, Tohoku is home to off-beat culture and festivals, like the Namahage Festival in February.

Tamara Yomour, illustration, japan, miyagi, 360 MAGAZINE

Miyagi Prefecture

From its dramatic coastline cliffs to its picturesque mountain ranges, Japan’s lesser-known Miyagi Prefecture boasts some of the country’s best terrain and natural environments for adventure travel and fitness aficionados.

As the cherry blossoms begin to bloom across Japan this spring, Miyagi will get ready to host two of the biggest marathons in the country. The Tohoku Food Marathon in Tome City is one of the biggest events in the region with hundreds of participants, including many from overseas. Inspired by France’s whimsical Marathon du Medoc, the multifaceted event features participants in costumes from their favorite shows and video games. The marathon events begin on April 25, 2020 with a relay marathon, followed by a full marathon, half marathon and several smaller races for teenagers and children on the April 26, 2020. Multiple food festivals are held in conjunction with the races, allowing runners and spectators to sample regional delicacies including over a hundred varieties of sake.
For those looking for more of a challenge, the Sendai International Half Marathon will be held in Miyagi’s capital on May 10, 2020. The annual marathon hosts over 10,000 runners from around the world. The route begins in Kohshin Rubber Athlete Park, traversing the city’s parks, lush avenues and stadiums. The race has several divisions, including 5K and 2K races, and is accessible to those in wheelchairs.

From the big cities to the picturesque landscapes of mountains and forests, Miyagi’s title as the “Land of Contrasts” comes from the prefecture’s incredibly varied environments. One of the best way to experience its diversity is by hiking the Michinoku Coast Trail, one of Japan’s longest hiking trails. This 560-plus-mile trek runs from Fukushima to the Aomori Prefecture, passing through four of Miyagi’s inner regions. The most sought-after hiking location is the Northern Kesennuma Section on the Sanriku Coast, which features a scenic rocky coastline and the Ogama Hanzo Monolith and Dairiseki Coast, a shore composed of natural marble. 

Along the trail, hikers can take a break at Matsushima Bay, one of the great views of Japan, and paraglide along the bay’s iconic islands. At Shobutahama Beach, Takeshige Yamaya, a three-time paragliding national champion, offers tandem paragliding experiences. These experiences last around twenty minutes and offer incredible bird’s eye views of Matsushima Bay and, at higher heights, the city of Sendai and Mount Zao.

While the Michinoku Coast Trail and Matsushima Bay provide the best views along the coast, the Zao Hill Climb Eco event on May 24, 2020 is one of the best ways to see Mount Zao. Every spring, Miyagi Prefecture hosts this mountain biking tournament on two of Mount Zao’s roads: the Zao Echo Line and the Zao High Line. The challenging courses reach an altitude of 43,000 feet and a total length of 11.6 miles, starting from green terrain and ending at the snowy mountaintop. While many participants race, others go at their own pace to admire the incredible landscapes of Miyagi, including a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Asahi Mountain Range (only accessible from the peak).

North of Mount Zao, the Onikobe Ski Resort offers the best ski runs with a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced slopes and boasts the longest ungroomed powder run in Miyagi. Skiers can also hit the slopes after dark, as night skiing is offered on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Many of the lodges feature on-site onsens – a cozy way to unwind after an eventful day of skiing.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com