10 Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

With quality of life, recreation and active lifestyles on everyone’s radar in terms of where to live, work and play, we often wonder where are these pockets of health — and what factors make them so healthy? As with many best and most lists, varying criteria create different outcomes. So depending on what source you choose, different cities may pop up. The most complete and stringent set of factors are employed for the annual American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) American Fitness Index.

The Fitness Index uses strong community fitness — which is easier to gauge — as a proxy for the individual, personal fitness of residents. The top-ranked index cities have more resources that support health and fewer challenges to a healthy lifestyle. Based on the Index outcomes, following are the 10 healthiest U.S. cities.

Boise, Idaho

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Hiking, mountain biking and outdoor adventure pursuits in general keep busy Boise residents in shape — enough so for the population to comprise the country’s tenth-healthiest city. No wonder. The capital city of Idaho is home to the Boise River Greenbelt, a series of tree-shaded trails and parks hugging the banks of the Boise River. With a section of river rolling directly through downtown, the greenbelt trail is prime terrain for urban workouts. Serious trail running is also a serious pursuit in and around Boise. Picturesque, punishing runs await at the forebodingly named routes Harrison Hollow, Five-Mile Gulch and Military Reserve, all highlighted expertly on the Boise section of Rootsrated.com.

San Jose, California

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San Jose is a major Bay Area technology hub, and it happens to have the ninth-fittest population in the nation. So when they aren’t behind computer screens, residents spend quality time outdoors exercising in beautiful natural surroundings. The Visit San Jose webpage for outdoor recreation  provides great tips on the best sites, such as Alum Rock Park in town or nearby at Castle Rock State Park in neighboring Los Gatos, California. Active San Jose citizens can add Zen meditation or a calming jog to their health routine at the city’s Kelly Park Japanese Garden.

Saint Paul, Minnesota

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The state capital of Minnesota, Saint Paul is the other half of the “Twin Cities” along with neighboring Minneapolis. Both cities share a penchant for healthy living, and you’ll find Minneapolis elsewhere on this list. For its part, Saint Paul’s fit crowd enjoys utilizing the Gateway State Trail for biking, running or simply strolling in nature. The 18-mile trail takes advantage of a former rail line between Stillwater and Saint Paul, now a paved path. Generally level thanks to its railway roots, the Gateway route winds northeast through Maplewood, North St. Paul and Oakdale, then continues through Washington County before ending at Pine Point Regional Park.

Denver, Colorado

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As a base for nearby Rocky Mountain skiing, mountain biking and hiking adventures, Denver is a mecca for active lifestyle seekers. As such, it’s no surprise to find Colorado’s capital at number seven for fitness. With the Mile High city indeed sitting at 5280 feet, residents don’t have to head for the mountains for high-altitude exertion. Just consider the bike trail descriptions at Denver.org. These are no short jaunts. Instead there are miles and miles of rides on paved bikeways that let you roll from Denver to outlying towns. For example, the Cherry Creek Regional Trail starts in Confluence Park and continues beside Cherry Creek for more than 40 miles before terminating near Franktown. Similarly, the Greenway Trail is nearly 30 miles of paved bike path along the banks of the South Platte River, connecting a series of pristine parks. As a bonus, the river played such a big role in local history that the Colorado Historical Society has placed along the route some 20 signs with photos and illustrations detailing important places and events.

Seattle, Washington

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With Mt. Rainier National Park in its backyard and the waters of Puget Sound on its front porch, Seattle is a magnet for outdoors enthusiasts, earning it the number six ranking among healthy metros. While the city is surrounded by water, mountains and towering conifer forests, within its limits it contains thousands of acres of parkland. Among the best and most picturesque are 530-acre Discovery Park and the 230-acre grounds of the Washington Park Arboretum. As home to REI, of course hiking, camping, backpacking and climbing are everyday pursuits here, rain or shine. But biking is also a big deal. To that end, The Burke-Gilman Trail wends its way some 27 miles through the city’s northern neighborhoods. Seattle Cycling Tours, meanwhile, offers a 2.5-hour guided bike trek through central city landmarks and neighborhoods including Pioneer Square, South Lake Union and the Seattle Center.

Portland, Oregon

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Spread out in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood, Portland is known for its parks, bridges and bike lanes — and for its generally green attitude. It’s no surprise then, that the number five fittest city has myriad recreational pursuits for Portlanders. Surrounding mountains and forests offering hiking, mountain biking and climbing at every emerald-green turn of the trail. Oregon’s largest city sits directly on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, so paddling is a prime pursuit for fitness within the urban core. Another in-city outdoor highlight, Washington Park features both the city’s Japanese Garden and the Oregon Zoo.

Madison, Wisconsin

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Consider the winters in Wisconsin when noting the ingenious nature of the Sett Recreation Center at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Part of the three-story student union building, with the Sett Pub located conveniently on the lower level, perfect cold-weather activities occupy the rest of the space with live music, dancing, bowling, billiards and indoor rock-climbing. It’s not all about the indoors, of course. Madison, which lies just east of Milwaukee, is the Wisconsin state capital, and the city’s Capital City State Trail is a favorite urban exercise outlet. The picturesque paved path winds past Monona Terrace, a lakefront convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, providing an architectural treat along with exercise options.

Washington, D.C.

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Hemmed in by the bordering states of Maryland and Virginia and known for its imposing neoclassical monuments and government buildings, our nation’s capital at first glance doesn’t scream fitness. Yet the population of Washington, D.C., is serious about staying in shape, it seems, ranking at number three among healthy metros. The city actually helps with that, providing myriad free outdoor activities, many of which can be found at Washington.org. D.C.’s favorite outdoor exercise space is no doubt Rock Creek Park. It’s 4.4 square miles encompass multiple hiking and biking trails, plus riding stables and tennis courts. Hikers, bikers and runners also enjoy long stretches of the C&O Canal Towpath, with 180-plus miles of accessible trail along the scenic Potomac River between Georgetown and Cumberland, Maryland.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Minneapolis, the major Minnesota metro that forms the “Twin Cities” with the neighboring state capital of Saint Paul, consistently ranks among the nation’s best read cities. It’s per capita bookstores, libraries and degreed denizens help earn that title. Smarts and staying in shape apparently go hand in hand, with Minneapolis sitting at number two for healthiest cities. Bisected by the Mississippi River, the city is full of serene parks and lakes, all of which make for great outdoor recreation. For example, within city limits more than 10 miles of trails traverse famed Minnehaha Park and its environs. One popular recreation route starts beneath 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, from where hikers, bikers and runners can follow the tree-shaded trail through dense woods to bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, then loop back to the falls.

Arlington, Virginia

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Aerobics, aquatics, seated exercise classes, strength training, core strength, boxing, tai chi, yoga, pilates, walking clubs, tennis and biking are among the programs offered by Arlington Parks and Recreation. And those are just the senior activities. There’s a reason Arlington landed at number one in the nation for fit populations. Active pursuits are provided for every age and fitness level through the municipal recreation department, which also makes it easy to get involved with accomodations for income level and disabilities. At least a part of the population is getting their blood pumping with more extreme pursuits. The adrenaline crowd here is serious about mountain biking, and the Arlington Single Track Tour is an exciting, two-county ride to get in some exercise.

4 Best Museums Not Focused on Nature and Science

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Best Museums Not Focused on Nature and Science

Nature and science museums make up some of the most prestigious collections in the world. From San Francisco’s Exploratorium and the Science Museum in London to the Deutsches Museum in Munich and the Field Museum in Chicago, there are plenty to choose from. But there are a ton of lesser-known, quirky and odd museums that pack a punch. Here are four of the best and funkiest museums not focused on nature and science:

Idaho Potato Museum

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In a place known for its potatoes, it’d be a shame if Idaho didn’t have a potato museum. Luckily, it does. Located in Blackfoot, Idaho, the potato museum holds the world’s largest potato chip, measuring in at 25 inches by 14 inches. There’s a timeline of the history of potato consumption in the U.S. In fact, the introduction of fries to the White House menu was selected way back during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Peruvian-made 1,600-year-old vessels believed to be the first containers to be used specifically for potato storage are also on display, along with a hall of fame.

Ramen Museum

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The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka, Japan, is dedicated to instant noodles and Cup Noodles, as well as the company’s creator and founder Momofuku Ando. Admission is free, and you’ll see more ramen than you could even imagine in one place. There is even a noodle factory where visitors can assemble their own personal cup.

Museum of Bad Art

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With “art too bad to be ignored,” the Museum of Bad Art, with multiple locations around eastern Massachusetts, is a privately-owned museum featuring the work of artists “whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.” It’s so bad that it’s good. Or maybe not. In any case, a famous piece of theirs, Lucy in the Field With Flowers, was acquired from the trash in Boston. Others were donated by the artist or perhaps by a relative. The museum has spurned a trend in other areas, and it’s sometimes described as “anti-art.” However, the owners dispute that, saying the collection is a tribute to the sincerity of the artists who persevered despite something going wrong in the process.

Cancun Underwater Museum

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Devoted to art conservation, the Cancun Underwater Museum features 500 underwater sculptures, mostly by the British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, but also by local Mexican artists. Known as MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte), the project demonstrates the interaction between art and environmental science. They have three different galleries submerged 3-6 meters deep in the ocean at Cancun National Marine Park. The objective of the museum, opened in 2010, was to save nearby coral reefs by providing an alternative destination for divers. The statues also have holes in them, allowing marine life to colonize and feed off of the coral growing at the site.

Because Of Article About Impossible Large Bird Spotted: This Article

BECAUSE OF ARTICLE FROM JUNEAU EMPIRE NEWSPAPER I JUST POSTED:THIS ARTICLE

 

Just a few moments ago I posted an article from the Juneau Alaska newspaper about an ‘impossibly large bird spotted’.  What I am going to tell you about is a personal experience I had back in about March of 2010. Because of my health issues I had to retire from being an ‘over the road’, ‘OTR’ truck driver, I job I spent basically all of my adult life doing. I never mentioned this event to anyone before quite frankly because I really didn’t have anyone to tell and it is n’t a story that I had any proof of anyway. So, believe it or not, that is up to you.

 

     I did a lot of loads that went from the mid-Atlantic states up into the North-West. I always enjoyed the longer runs because I could plan my trips out into driving sections of time where I enjoyed driving the most. When ever it was possible I enjoyed driving all nigh and sleeping from about 7-AM to 2 or 3-PM. Doing this meant that I could drive while there was less traffic on the roads, quieter, and safer. One early morning (about 4-5 AM local time) I was driving North-West on the two lane called Route 30 in NW Wyoming. This route cuts in just west of Little America Wyoming and takes you up into South-East Idaho, just a little south of the University of Idaho. This morning I was the only traffic in either direction and I was not yet to Cokeville Wyoming which was in a very vacant part of the road. This morning what got my attention was a large shadow of a flapping wing that stayed with me for about 5 flaps, or about 12-15 seconds. The wing flaps/shadow were on my drivers side just in front of me. The wing flaps were staying barely not in the beam of my headlights, as if it was pacing me, yet when it flapped you could see the shadow of the (right) wing. Folks, I was doing about 55 MPH, give or take about 5 MPH. I remember thinking to my self ‘how in the hell’, simply because, what kind of bird could have been that big because it was obvious that it was a whole lot bigger than an Eagle.

 

Then about 30 seconds later I got another shock. This time the same exact thing happened to me except, the wing shadow was on the passenger side of the truck and it stayed with me for about the same 12-15 seconds while I was still doing about 55 or so MPH. In both cases it had seemed as though the bird pealed off out of my light beam. In both cases I remember having the thought that it just wasn’t able to keep up any longer. At first I remember thinking that how did that bird do that, going from one side of the truck to the other. This would have meant that this bird would have been with me for about a full 60 seconds with me driving 50-60 MPH. My thoughts were, that’s just not possible. This is besides the fact that I had/have no doubt at all that this was a bird because of the flapping of its wings and even the shape of the shadows were of the curvature of a big birds wings plus the fact that I could sense the movement of large feathers on the curvature of those wings as they flapped. Then another reality struck me, that couldn’t have been one bird, it had to have been two different ones. One bird, especially one that size couldn’t have possible have been on my left, fade off to the left away from the truck then reappeared after about 30 seconds then reappear on my right side and stayed with me about another 15 seconds before it turned off to my/its right. In case you may be thinking that a bird may have been able to have picked up speed coming down off of a mountain making it possible to be able to go that fast for that long, this is an almost totally flat region of highway landscape, no mountains there.

 

So, go figure, think what you wish, that’s my story, believe what you want. I probably drove that stretch of road about 100 times through the years, I never had that happen to me any other time. Reading the fore mentioned story from the Juneau Alaska paper made me think back to the event. All that I know is that those two birds had massive wings and I have seen Eagles many times in my life and I know that these birds wings were way bigger that that of an Eagle. What kind of birds were they, I have no idea.

 

 

 Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Are No Longer Considered Threatened

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Are No Longer Considered Threatened

2:41 PM ET  June 22nd 2017

(HELENA, Mont.) — Protections that have been in place for more than 40 years for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area will be lifted this summer after U.S. government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

Grizzlies in all continental U.S. states except Alaska have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1975, when just 136 bears roamed in and around Yellowstone. There are now an estimated 700 grizzlies in the area that includes northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho, leading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conclude that the population has recovered.

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

Grizzly bears once numbered about 50,000 and ranged over much of North America. Their population plummeted starting in the 1850s because of widespread hunting and trapping, and the bears now occupy only 2 percent of their original territory.

The final ruling by the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove Yellowstone grizzlies from the list of endangered and threatened species will give jurisdiction over the bears to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July.

That will allow those states to plan limited bear hunts outside the park’s boundaries as long as the overall bear population does not fall below 600 bears.

Hunting bears inside Yellowstone would still be banned. The bears roam both inside and outside the park, and their range has been expanding as their numbers have grown.

The Obama administration first proposed removing grizzlies as a threatened species by issuing an initial ruling in March 2016. The 15 months that have passed since then have been used to by federal officials to evaluate states’ grizzly management plans and respond to themes of concern generated by 650,000 comments from the public, including wildlife advocates and Native American tribal officials who are staunchly opposed to hunting grizzly bears.

Some 125 tribes have signed a treaty opposing trophy hunting grizzly bears, which Native Americans consider a sacred animal.

Thursday’s ruling is certain to be challenged in court by conservation groups that argue the Yellowstone bears still face threats to their continued existence from humans, climate change and other factors. Tim Preso, an attorney for environmental law firm Earthjustice, said his organization will look closely at the rule.

“We’re certainly prepared to take a stand to protect the grizzly, if necessary,” he said. “There’s only one Yellowstone. There’s only one place like this. We ought not to take an unjustified gamble with an iconic species of this region.”

Matt Hogan, the deputy regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s eight-state Mountain-Prairie Region, said he is confident that the science behind the decision and the management plans the states will follow will withstand any lawsuit.

“We feel like this species is more than adequately protected in the absence of (Endangered Species Act) protections,” Hogan said.

Endangered Species Act protections set strict rules meant to protect species from being killed or their habitat being harmed, as opposed to state management practices that can include hunting or trapping as a means to keep an animal’s population in check.

Wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have been managing the bear population alongside federal government officials for decades. Those states have submitted management plans that have been approved, and will follow strict regulations to keep a viable population of above 600 bears, Hogan said.

Scientists also studied the effects of climate change on grizzly bears and their food sources, such as the nuts of whitebark pine trees, which are in decline.

“They found grizzly bears are extremely resilient, extremely flexible and adaptable,” Hogan said.

That adaptation has meant switching from nuts to a meat-based diet. That carries the risk of bringing the bears into greater conflict with ranchers protecting livestock and hunters searching for elk and deer, and grizzly deaths caused by human conflicts are on the rise, said Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney for the wildlife advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity.

“Added to those threats will be trophy hunting,” she said.

The federal agency will continue monitoring the grizzly population over the next five years, and certain factors would prompt a new federal review of the bears’ status, such as a high number of female deaths for three consecutive years.

The ruling does not directly affect other populations of grizzlies that are still classified as threatened but which wildlife officials consider recovered, such as the estimated 1,000 bears in the Northern Continental Divide area of Montana and Idaho.

Federal resources used to prepare the final rule on Yellowstone’s bear population will be shifted to planning for lifting protections for the bears living in the Northern Continental Divide, Hogan said.