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Thursday
Dec212017

Saving BASE Jumping’s Most Famous Party

Tik Root | Outside Magazine | Video: Paul Rosenfeld, Tik Root

Since about 1977, West Virginia’s New River Gorge Bridge has been the site of Bridge Day, an iconic BASE jumping party that’s seen some rough years lately. Will this most storied of adrenaline-junkie events survive?

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Thursday
Jun292017

Doctors Are Prescribing Park Visits to Boost Patient Health

Tik Root | National Geographic | Photo: Corey Arnold/National Geographic Creative 

South Dakota doctors routinely write prescriptions for everything from painkillers to ointments. This year, however, they’ll have a more novel option at their disposal: park prescriptions. Printed on a notepad with an “Rx” symbol in the top-left corner, a park prescription instructs a patient to take one free day at “any South Dakota state park or recreation area.”

Doctors get these prescriptions through a new program run by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the state‘s Department of Health. Although the initiative was piloted in 2015, this is the first year that prescriptions will be available statewide.

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Wednesday
Feb012017

Changing the Face of National Parks

Tik Root | National Geographic | Video: Paul Rosenfeld, Tik Root

Ollie Simmons first met Kieonne Dawson on the uphill leg of California’s Mission Peak trail. “She was looking kind of nervous because the route was so steep,” he remembered of the wet and dreary trek a few years back. Striking up a conversation, the two exchanged numbers, kept in touch and were soon dating.

Mountaintop love stories are rare. And, for a black couple, they’re practically unheard of. While the National Park Service (NPS) turned 100 last year, African Americans still represent only about seven percent of park visitors. In comparison, they make up thirteen percent of the national population. Latinos, Native Americans, and other non-white visitors are similarly underrepresented. The rest—some 78 percent—are white.

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Sunday
Jun262016

Start-Ups For the State

Tik Root | Foreign Policy | Photo: Juan Herrero

In a village on the road to Musanze, Rwanda, a group of teenagers is gathered along a dirt embankment. Among them is Jean Damour Nshimiyimana, 19, who dropped out of school and has been earning what he can as a bicycle courier. He’s lounging with his friends but would prefer to be working. Business is slow. “Getting a job isn’t easy,” he said. “No matter how small.”

He’s far from alone. Youth make up some forty percent of the population here and, of them, nearly half are either unemployed or underemployed. And while the problem isn’t unique to Rwanda, or even to Africa, the government’s proposed solution is.

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Thursday
Apr142016

The Elephant Chief


Tik Root | Harper's Magazine | Photos: Juan Herrero

As we approached the shore of Lake Ihema, Eugene Mutangana slowed the Land Cruiser to a stop. Our boat would be arriving soon, he said. Mutangana, the head of law enforcement at Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, had agreed to help me search for Mutware, an infamous ten-foot-tall African elephant who had lived in the area for decades. These days he spends much of his time camouflaged in the brush surrounding the lake. “I wish it would shine,” said Mutangana, looking up in vain for the sun amidst a thick wall of clouds. “When it shines, it leaves bush and comes to water.”

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