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Hard Winter Everywhere

Winter isn't letting go at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. "We've had a really unusual year this year," said Suzanne Flory, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Public Affairs Officer. "We have tons of snow all across the 1.5 million acres." All that snow provided a big boost to winter sports, but it's now creating problems for spring activities, including camping at the forest's 53 campgrounds. "Typically we don't open the campgrounds until early May, and this year, if the weather continues as it has been, it might be a little later than usual." said Flory. Suzanne Flory has worked for the national forest for 6 years. She said during that time, the park hasn't ever had to delay the start of camping season because of the weather. "I think if you talk to people around here, no one can really remember a winter like this," said Flory. Weather isn't just impacting activities at the forest. The long winter is also delaying the opening of ATV trails in Marathon County. "There's no issue on hiking on the trails," said Jon Daniels, Marathon Co. Snowmobile/ATV Coordinator . "It's just the ATVs, mountain bikes, and horses can cause significant damage with the saturated soils and that will result in damage to the trails." Officials there hope to open the trails by May 15, but if the weather doesn't warm up enough that may get pushed back as well.

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Winter isn't letting go at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. "We've had a really unusual year this year," said Suzanne Flory, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Public Affairs Officer. "We have tons of snow all across the 1.5 million acres." All that snow provided a big boost to winter sports, but it's now creating problems for spring activities, including camping at the forest's 53 campgrounds. "Typically we don't open the campgrounds until early May, and this year, if the weather continues as it has been, it might be a little later than usual." said Flory. Suzanne Flory has worked for the national forest for 6 years. She said during that time, the park hasn't ever had to delay the start of camping season because of the weather. "I think if you talk to people around here, no one can really remember a winter like this," said Flory. Weather isn't just impacting activities at the forest. The long winter is also delaying the opening of ATV trails in Marathon County. "There's no issue on hiking on the trails," said Jon Daniels, Marathon Co. Snowmobile/ATV Coordinator . "It's just the ATVs, mountain bikes, and horses can cause significant damage with the saturated soils and that will result in damage to the trails." Officials there hope to open the trails by May 15, but if the weather doesn't warm up enough that may get pushed back as well.

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Rock Climbing Route In UK Preserved In Clean Up Toughest Rock Climbing Route In UK Preserved In Clean Up

Climbing routes on one of Scotland’s toughest crags has been preserved during a spruce-up to remove graffiti. Dumbarton Rock is home to Dave MacLeod’s E11-graded Rhapsody, the hardest rock-climbing route in Britain. A row erupted last summer over plans to clean graffiti off the extinct volcano on the north bank of the Clyde. But after consultation with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, climbers’ representatives said they were happy with the work carried out to remove the unsightly scrawls on the rockface Andrea Partridge, access officer for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland said: “Dumbarton Rock is recognised throughout the international climbing community as having some of the hardest climbing and boulder problems and it has played a significant role in the development of climbing. “The MCofS is pleased to be working in co-operation with Historic Scotland and local climbers to improve the appearance of the area. “Through close liaison with the contractors we ensured that the climbing heritage was protected and safety for all users is improved.” The rock is a historic site as well as being a Mecca for climbers. Dumbarton Rock is of national importance because it has one of the longest recorded histories as a stronghold in Britain. Over the centuries, the volcanic rock has played a key role in the country’s history having acted as a natural fortress location. The graffiti removal is part of Historic Scotland’s work to look after the ancient setting of the rock and contribute to a more pleasant environment for those using the area. The clean-up was carried out using methods that will not damage the rock and ensure its natural appearance is restored. Joann Russell, Historic Scotland’s head of conservation for the south region, said: “Dumbarton Rock is a major landmark and focal point for the local community. It also has a significant place in Scotland and Britain’s history. “Despite its protection in law, it has not deterred graffiti defacing the rock. This has become an issue for us and, understandably, it is a concern for the local community. “We are committed to protecting the rock and ensuring its natural look is restored in a sensitive manner that will not affect the rock’s fabric. This work will contribute to the improvement of the area’s appearance and make it a more enjoyable place to visit.”

gapyeartraining's insight:

Climbing routes on one of Scotland’s toughest crags has been preserved during a spruce-up to remove graffiti. Dumbarton Rock is home to Dave MacLeod’s E11-graded Rhapsody, the hardest rock-climbing route in Britain. A row erupted last summer over plans to clean graffiti off the extinct volcano on the north bank of the Clyde. But after consultation with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, climbers’ representatives said they were happy with the work carried out to remove the unsightly scrawls on the rockface Andrea Partridge, access officer for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland said: “Dumbarton Rock is recognised throughout the international climbing community as having some of the hardest climbing and boulder problems and it has played a significant role in the development of climbing. “The MCofS is pleased to be working in co-operation with Historic Scotland and local climbers to improve the appearance of the area. “Through close liaison with the contractors we ensured that the climbing heritage was protected and safety for all users is improved.” The rock is a historic site as well as being a Mecca for climbers. Dumbarton Rock is of national importance because it has one of the longest recorded histories as a stronghold in Britain. Over the centuries, the volcanic rock has played a key role in the country’s history having acted as a natural fortress location. The graffiti removal is part of Historic Scotland’s work to look after the ancient setting of the rock and contribute to a more pleasant environment for those using the area. The clean-up was carried out using methods that will not damage the rock and ensure its natural appearance is restored. Joann Russell, Historic Scotland’s head of conservation for the south region, said: “Dumbarton Rock is a major landmark and focal point for the local community. It also has a significant place in Scotland and Britain’s history. “Despite its protection in law, it has not deterred graffiti defacing the rock. This has become an issue for us and, understandably, it is a concern for the local community. “We are committed to protecting the rock and ensuring its natural look is restored in a sensitive manner that will not affect the rock’s fabric. This work will contribute to the improvement of the area’s appearance and make it a more enjoyable place to visit.”

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Useful Gap Year Safety Advice From The US Government

When you travel abroad, the odds are you will have a safe and incident-free trip. Travelers can, however, become victims of crime and violence, or experience unexpected difficulties. No one is better able to tell you this than the U.S. consular officers who work in more than 250 U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. Every day of the year, U.S. embassies and consulates receive calls from American citizens in distress. Happily, most problems can be solved over the phone or with a visit to the Consular Section of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. There are other occasions, however, when U.S. consular officers are called upon to help U.S. citizens who are in foreign hospitals or prisons, or to assist the families of U.S. citizens who have passed away overseas. We have prepared the following travel tips to help you avoid serious difficulties during your time abroad. We wish you a safe and wonderful journey! Before You Go What to Take Safety begins when you pack. To help avoid becoming a target, do not dress in a way that could mark you as an affluent tourist. Expensive-looking jewelry, for instance, can draw the wrong attention. Always try to travel light. You can move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand. You will also be less tired and less likely to set your luggage down, leaving it unattended. Carry the minimum number of valuables, and plan places to conceal them. Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hotel safe. When you have to carry them on your person, you may wish to put them each in a different place rather than all in one wallet or pouch. Avoid handbags, fanny packs and outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. Inside pockets and a sturdy shoulder bag with the strap worn across your chest are somewhat safer. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing. If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Pack them and any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage. To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country before you travel. Bring travelers’ checks and one or two major credit cards instead of cash. Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport’s information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen. Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality. If possible, lock your luggage. What to Leave Behind Don't bring anything you would hate to lose. Leave at home: Valuable or expensive-looking jewelry Irreplaceable family objects All unnecessary credit cards Your Social Security card, library card, and similar items you may routinely carry in your wallet. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency. Make two photocopies of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver's license and the credit cards that you plan to bring with you. Leave one photocopy of this data with family or friends at home; pack the other in a place separate from where you carry the originals. Leave a copy of the serial numbers of your travelers' checks with a friend or relative at home. Carry your copy with you in a separate place and, as you cash the checks, cross them off the list.
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Avoid Unregulated Taxis Or Mini-Cabs

Avoiding trouble with taxi's in the UK Touts pose as taxi or mini-cab drivers and are commonly found outside clubs or in town centres offering 'minicabs' to people looking for a taxi home. They may also stop their car as you are walking around at night, to offer you a 'minicab' home. The service they offer is illegal and sometimes dangerous. Touts are not vetted and often over-charge you for your ride home. Many have previous criminal convictions or are illegal immigrants with no legal right to work in the UK. Their cars may be unroadworthy and may not be properly insured. There has been a disturbing trend of muggings and rapes related to illegal cabs, so don't take any chances - NEVER accept a ride home with a tout. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a legal minicab from an illegal one. Here are some pointers to distinguish them: A real minicab driver will display an ID badge, and will have company cards and receipts to offer passengers. He will not mind you calling his company to verify his identity or the details of his car-type and registration. A real minicab will usually have a radio and possibly a meter to calculate fares. The car will often have a long stick-on aerial for the radio which will be magnetically attached to the bodywork of the car.
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Welsh Youngsters Get Active On Road To Rio

A new legacy programme following London 2012 which aims to inspire and engage young people through physical activity has been launched in Cardiff by Welsh athlete Rhys Williams, who has been named the face of the project. The Road to Rio is a Cardiff Council initiative which will introduce young people from ages eight to 19 years, to an active and healthier lifestyle through sports, food, nutrition and cultural activities. Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, Cllr Huw Thomas said: "The Road to Rio is a legacy programme which will aim to benefit young people, giving them the opportunity to get physical, active and fit through sport and leisure activities whilst encouraging and providing grass roots sport in Cardiff. "It will also offer them cultural opportunities within their own community's as well new skills that they can use throughout their lives including healthy eating, nutrition and sports qualifications. "This key feature in the project means that young people in the 14 to 19 years age range will have access to recognised training and coaching opportunities which will enhance and improve their job prospects for the future, further supporting the administration's vision to make Cardiff a NEET (not in education, employment or training) free city." The Road to Rio will be ongoing for the next four years and will be delivered by staff from Sport, Leisure and Culture as well as a range of partners including Public Health Wales, Education, Higher Education and Further Education. As part of the project, various events and activities will take place at venues throughout the city including schools, parks, streets, youth and play centres and leisure facilities. Young people will get the opportunity to participate in a range of sports including basketball cycling, swimming, football, table tennis, hockey, athletics, rugby and netball. There will also be Rio de Janeiro inspired activities including Zumba, salsa and capoeira dance and extreme sports such as free running, BMX, rock climbing and scuba diving. A key feature of the Road to Rio project is the Cardiff Games. This will be a series of appropriate inter school competitions in a variety in a variety of Olympic and Paralympic sports offered across the whole city, culminating in a week long celebration of sport. It is hoped that by introducing competition back into schools there will be a step-change in sustainable participation in sport. This will be supported by an army of sports volunteers and sports ambassadors from our secondary schools as well as existing Olympic and Paralympic host city ambassadors. Rhys specialises in the 400 m hurdles and is the current European champion in the event. Accolades include winning bronze medal at the European Championships in Gothenburg and competing in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. For more information about the Road to Rio project please visit www.cardiff.gov.uk/leisure

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A new legacy programme following London 2012 which aims to inspire and engage young people through physical activity has been launched in Cardiff by Welsh athlete Rhys Williams, who has been named the face of the project. The Road to Rio is a Cardiff Council initiative which will introduce young people from ages eight to 19 years, to an active and healthier lifestyle through sports, food, nutrition and cultural activities. Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, Cllr Huw Thomas said: "The Road to Rio is a legacy programme which will aim to benefit young people, giving them the opportunity to get physical, active and fit through sport and leisure activities whilst encouraging and providing grass roots sport in Cardiff. "It will also offer them cultural opportunities within their own community's as well new skills that they can use throughout their lives including healthy eating, nutrition and sports qualifications. "This key feature in the project means that young people in the 14 to 19 years age range will have access to recognised training and coaching opportunities which will enhance and improve their job prospects for the future, further supporting the administration's vision to make Cardiff a NEET (not in education, employment or training) free city." The Road to Rio will be ongoing for the next four years and will be delivered by staff from Sport, Leisure and Culture as well as a range of partners including Public Health Wales, Education, Higher Education and Further Education. As part of the project, various events and activities will take place at venues throughout the city including schools, parks, streets, youth and play centres and leisure facilities. Young people will get the opportunity to participate in a range of sports including basketball cycling, swimming, football, table tennis, hockey, athletics, rugby and netball. There will also be Rio de Janeiro inspired activities including Zumba, salsa and capoeira dance and extreme sports such as free running, BMX, rock climbing and scuba diving. A key feature of the Road to Rio project is the Cardiff Games. This will be a series of appropriate inter school competitions in a variety in a variety of Olympic and Paralympic sports offered across the whole city, culminating in a week long celebration of sport. It is hoped that by introducing competition back into schools there will be a step-change in sustainable participation in sport. This will be supported by an army of sports volunteers and sports ambassadors from our secondary schools as well as existing Olympic and Paralympic host city ambassadors. Rhys specialises in the 400 m hurdles and is the current European champion in the event. Accolades include winning bronze medal at the European Championships in Gothenburg and competing in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. For more information about the Road to Rio project please visit www.cardiff.gov.uk/leisure

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App To Help WIth Backpackers Safety

THE charity set up in memory of York teenager Caroline Stuttle, who was murdered while backpacking in Australia, is designing a mobile-phone application to help young travellers. Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation was set up to help prepare young travellers to travel safely after Caroline was robbed and pushed from a bridge in Australia ten years ago. The charity plans to launch its free travel safety awareness “app” next March, backed by Knaresborough-based company GotFocus Solutions. Caroline’s brother, Richard Stuttle, a founder and director of the foundation, said the idea was to cover every country and capital city in the world and provide useful advice to aid people on gap years and trips abroad. He said: “It’s a very big job, but I think it’s very very worthwhile and we have got a lot of support for the project. We are going to trial it with university students first and then we can tweak it before it goes out for general release. “It’s a great project and I can see it really making a huge impact for the launch. We are expecting a few million downloads and its going to be free.” The “app”, for iPhone and Android devices, was developed to keep pace with the busy lives of travellers, and has been developed in the year of the tenth anniversary of Caroline’s death. It will offer specific travel and safety information for destinations around the globe, giving travel safety tips, information about the country or city, highlights and attractions, useful and emergency phone numbers, helpful website links that travellers might need, local and annual events in the area, places to go and ones to avoid, seasons to travel, interactive maps, population details, ethnic groups and languages spoken, local news, details of the political situation and currency exchange rates. It will also have a GPS locator so the movements of travellers can be tracked in case of emergencies. The foundation has employedstudent Holly Thackeray, 23, to help research the information as part of an internship set up by York St John employer liaison Suzanne Dickinson. GotFocus director Andrew Litherland said: “If someone’s going to be travelling for sixth months a lot can happen in that time. There could be a political situation that arises in the country they are visiting or somewhere they are due to visit so the information on the “app” will be in real time and that way it will be meaningful to travellers.”
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Please Don't Take Chances With Flood Water

The recent spell of bad weather has seen river and ground water levels rising in the UK to record levels. Rivers are exciting places to play in but at this time of year, with the level of water and strength of current being so high, please stay away from the. The average rainfall this year to date is approximately 50% more than the for the whole of the last ten years. Stay away from flood water in this or in any other country that you happen to be in, it is dangerous, unpredictable and you could get yourself and others into a whole heap of danger that you can easily avoid. Be careful particularly as to the depth of water. What looks like a shallow river can be deceptively deep, particularly as you can't see the depth of water due to the amount of mud and other debris contained in the flood water and therefore the water could be much deeper than you think. Don't drive your vehicle through flood water please. We want people to have a safe gap year experience, exciting, yes but above all we want you to return home safe and sound to your family with stories and adventures to relate but in one piece.
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Vintage Gucci Wardrobe Revealed

Gucci is one of the most prestigious luxury brands in the world, and although now owned by French brand giant PPR it seems Guccio’s great granddaughter, Victoria Gucci-Losio is still very much flying the flag for her family’s fomer brand – albeit it in a very unique way. Victoria, now a successful stylist and blogger, has decided to make use of her family’s enormous collection of vintage Gucci pieces, and is loaning it to stylists for magazine editorial shoots – and although her archived pieces aren't available to purchase it already is making waves in mag-land, with an Opening Ceremony shoot already under her belt. We reckon this girl’s got serious fashion entrepreneurial potential! With nothing for sale, and the collection being used purely so as not to waste it in her mother’s walk-in, it seems fashion stories are becoming the new museums! Grazia spoke exclusively to Victoria this week about her new enterprise…"I have been working in fashion for various publications doing freelance styling jobs over the last  two years. I was helping my mother clear out her wardrobes when I realised there was a whole walk in closet full of amazing vintage Gucci pieces. I thought - this should not be hanging in a closet! So I created the website in order to showcase the collection by using it for fashion shoots”. More info here
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