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These Special Edition Backpacks Are Perfect For Hiking the National Parks

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Any hiker knows that the right gear can make all the difference when you’re out there traversing the wilderness. Now, you can pick up a pack that does even more. Osprey Packs, in partnership with the National Park Foundation, have released a pair of special edition bags that benefit the agency. It’s the perfect birthday gift for the National Park Service’s centennial year.

The Osprey Kestrel 32 National Park Service Pack is being sold exclusively at REI and retails for $149.95. It’s a lightweight pack with features to accommodate a variety of adventuring, and is designed to keep you comfortable even in warm or rainy weather. For more specifics on the gear, check out the product page which includes an in-depth video from the retailer. The National Park Foundation Trip 20 can be found through Osprey Packs and sells for $60.00. (As reflected in the price, it’s a simpler pack for “light and fast day hikes.”)

As part of the partnership, Osprey has pledged a minimum $25,000 donation to the NPF through the sale of the packs, and is supplying the foundation with Jet 12 kids packs as well as Moki kids hydration packs for use in the Open OutDoors for Kids program, an initiative dedicated to underserved youth and getting kids outdoors.

Back when the news was first announced last fall, Sam Mix, Manager of Corporate Outreach at Osprey Packs said: “Osprey is honored to work in partnership with the National Park Foundation during this centennial year and raise money to protect America’s special places, connect people to parks, and inspire the next generation of park stewards. We are thrilled to be part of this celebration and hope the ‘Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque’ movement inspires national park enthusiasts and stewards for generations to come.”

Is wearing a National Park Foundation logo in a National Park akin to wearing a band’s T-shirt to their concert? Perhaps, but rock on.

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Geological Map Shows the Massive Reservoir Bubbling Beneath Old Faithful
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Yellowstone National Park is home to rivers, waterfalls, and hot springs, but Old Faithful is easily its most iconic landmark. Every 45 to 125 minutes, visitors gather around the geyser to watch it shoot streams of water reaching up to 100 feet in the air. The punctual show is one of nature’s greatest spectacles, but new research from scientists at the University of Utah suggests that what’s going on at the geyser’s surface is just the tip of the iceberg.

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, features a map of the geological plumbing system beneath Old Faithful. Geologists have long known that the eruptions are caused by water heated by volcanic rocks beneath the ground reaching the boiling point and bubbling upwards through cracks in the earth. But the place where this water simmers between appearances has remained mysterious to scientists until now.

Using 133 seismometers scattered around Old Faithful and the surrounding area, the researchers were able to record the tiny tremors caused by pressure build-up in the hydrothermal reservoir. Two weeks of gathering data helped them determine just how large the well is. The team found that the web of cracks and fissures beneath Old Faithful is roughly 650 feet in diameter and capable of holding more than 79 million gallons of water. When the geyser erupts, it releases just 8000 gallons. You can get an idea of how the reservoir fits into the surrounding geology from the diagram below.

Geological map of geyser.
Sin-Mei Wu, University of Utah

After making the surprising discovery, the study authors plan to return to the area when park roads close for the winter to conduct further research. Next time, they hope to get even more detailed images of the volatile geology beneath this popular part of Yellowstone.

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31 Facts About National Parks
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A little over 100 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service into law, ensuring that the country’s most remarkable natural landscapes would be preserved for future generations. Today, national parks are more popular than ever, with millions of visitors passing through the system’s 400-odd properties each year. But even if you’re working to check every national park off your bucket list, you may be unfamiliar with some of these facts. For instance, did you know that Dolly Parton is an official ambassador to Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Or that Yosemite campaigned to host the Winter Olympics in 1932?

That’s just some of the trivia John Green shares in this latest video from Mental Floss on YouTube. You can check out all 31 facts above, then subscribe to our channel if you're still hungry for more brain food.

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