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    Hazard,

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    Hazard is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Perry County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 5,263 at the 2020 Census.
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    Travel Tips

    5 Big "Don'ts" for Nature-Loving Travelers

    While "leave no trace" is a familiar refrain to most people who enjoy time outdoors, the truth is that many, even nature lovers with good intentions, sometimes leave their mark in ways that can damage the natural surrounds. There are many more ways to impact the environment than just neglecting to pick up your trash. To provide guidance, the Boulder-based Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, has developed the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (lnt.org/why/7-principles/) to help people minimize their footprints while enjoying the outdoors. As the following five important "don'ts" illustrate, even the most idealistic travelers can run afoul of the center’s principles and leave an unwanted impact in ways that are not as immediately noticeable as a pile of trash. 1. Don't Geotag Photos on Social Media These days, an excursion into nature hardly feels complete until you take some pictures and post them on social media. While snapping shots of beautiful natural settings is harmless, pictures that include a geotag indicating the exact locations create what some call a “digital trace,” which can cause increased foot traffic to areas not equipped to handle it. Arizona’s Horseshoe Bend is a classic example of a once moderately trafficked spot that exploded in popularity due to geotagging on Instagram. The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area recently implemented visitor fees and restricted visitation numbers to curb the problem. In response to the growing over-trafficking issue, Leave No Trace created a set of social media guidelines (lnt.org/new-social-media-guidance/) that suggest, for instance, tagging photos with a state or region rather than a specific location. And better yet: post images that demonstrate good Leave No Trace principles. 2. Don't Stack Rocks in the Name of Art The temptation to create an artful tower of carefully balanced rocks is strong when you’re sitting next to a river full of smooth, flat stones. Resist this temptation. Rock stacks, also called cairns, have long been used by land managers to mark trails, but over the past several decades, hikers’ random rock towers near rivers and streams have piled up. Not only can creating your own rock art cause confusion and get people lost, but moving rocks around can disrupt the surrounding ecology. Every river rock contains a mini eco-system of plant life and micro-organisms on its surface, and a variety of insects, fish, salamanders, crawfish, and macroinvertbrae live and lay their eggs under and among these rocks. Moving them exposes the wildlife to predators and the sun, and causes sand and silt around the displaced rocks to erode. The simplest solution to this issue is to savor time spent next to water in other ways – sketching, journaling, and just relaxing. If you simply can’t fight the urge to stack rocks, Leave No Trace suggests using only stones that are already loose of sand, silt, or soil. Also, only build on hard, durable surfaces. Once your stack is complete, snap a picture, and then return the rocks to their original spot. 3. Don't Feed Wild Animals When you love animals, it’s hard to resist the urge to toss a few food scraps to a cute chipmunk, a gentle deer, or a charming bird. But feeding human food to animals is never a good idea, and actually harms those critters we claim to love. Human food does not contain the nutrients that wild animals need, and eating it not only damages their health but also alters their natural behavior. Instead of hunting and foraging for food in the wild, human-fed animals will show up in places where humans gather, increasing their risk of being killed by a car, and becoming a hazard to humans and pets. While intentionally feeding wild animals is a big no-no, it’s important to remember that food scraps unintentionally left in the wild are also harmful. Always store food securely and collect and remove all trash--even those biodegradable apple cores and baby carrots. Also, try to eat over a plastic bag or bandana to catch crumbs so they don’t scatter around the area. 4. Don't Forget to Help Your Dog Leave No Trace Dogs make great outdoor companions, but it’s important to remember that they can damage protected outdoor spaces just as easily humans. Off-leash dogs can disturb sensitive wildlife habitats like nesting areas and they’re more likely to chase and harm wild animals. In fact, a 2009 Australian study found that the only thing that caused more disruption than off-leash dogs was low-flying jet aircrafts. Dog owners can help their furry friends be good outdoor citizens by respecting dog restrictions in conservation areas and following leash regulations in places that allow dogs. The good news is that there are plenty public lands in the U.S. that allow dogs. And while this should go without saying, always pick up after your dog. Dog waste doesn’t just smell bad and potentially carry diseases, it also contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus that create favorable conditions for harmful algae to bloom and invasive weeds to grow. Putting dog poop into a plastic bag and leaving it beside the trail to collect on the way back is not a viable solution. Leave No Trace suggests investing in a dog backpack to transport the waste. Or try to bring a canister to carry bags away for proper disposal. 5. Don't Improperly Dispose of Human Waste When you gotta go, you gotta go, even if there’s no latrine in sight. There is a right and wrong way to poop in the woods, and unfortunately improperly placed human feces is a growing problem in outdoor recreational areas. To avoid pollution of water sources and decrease the likelihood of others stumbling upon your waste in the wild, Leave No Trace suggests hikers and campers create a “cat hole” in a spot that is at least 200 feet--about 70 steps--away from water, trails, and campsites. The hole should be at least six inches deep and four inches wide. (Packing a small trowel can help with this task). When finished, cover the hole with the original soil and then disguise it with some leaves or rocks. Using natural materials such as leaves or snow for wiping is ideal, but a small amount of plain, white non-perfumed toilet paper is okay if buried in the cat hole. Of course, the human waste option with the least impact is to pack it out. Some popular high-elevation and backcountry sites such as Denali and the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park already require visitors to pack out their own waste, but it is worth considering any time you are hiking in freezing conditions or canyon environment or whenever you are near a body of water. Many people choose a handy W.A.G bag, a double-bag kit which includes waste treatment powder and an outer zip-closing bag.

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    National ParksBudget Travel Lists

    10 State Parks That Give National Parks a Run for Their Money

    There’s no denying the allure of this country’s majestic national parks. But there's plenty of natural beauty to go around, and many state parks offer outdoor experiences that shouldn't be overlooked. State parks tend to have lower entrance fees and more manageable crowds than the marquee-name national parks, plus there’s the added bonus of not being affected by pesky government shutdowns. Here are 10 fabulous state parks to get you started. 1. Custer State Park: Custer, South Dakota (Courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks) A free-roaming herd of 1,500 bison is the main attraction at this park in the scenic Black Hills, but there’s plenty more wildlife to be spotted along its 18-mile loop road, including pronghorns, bighorn sheep, and even feral burros. Needles Highway, a popular 14-mile scenic drive through the park, is dotted with needle-shaped rock formations, two tunnels, and sweeping views of evergreen forests and lush meadows. Weekly park license, $20 per vehicle, $10 per motorcycle; gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/custer-state-park 2. Kartchner Caverns State Park: Benson, Arizona Home to a 21-foot stalactite that ranks as the third-longest in the world, this multi-room cave located 45 miles southwest of Tucson has only been open to the public since 1999. Kartchner Caverns is a living cave, meaning that its formations are still growing, and the park offers two guided tours that explore several different areas. The park is also a designated International Dark Sky Park, so it’s great for stargazing. Tours, from $23 for adults and $13 for youth ages 7-13 (reservations recommended); azstateparks.com/kartchner 3. Petit Jean State Park: Morrilton, Arkansas (Courtesy Petit Jean State Park) Central Arkansas probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind for a mountaintop adventure, but that’s just what Petit Jean State Park offers. Perched atop the 1200ft Petit John Mountain, this park has 20 miles of hiking trails that feature captivating geological formations such as giant sandstone boulders, stone arches, rock shelters, and box canyons. The park’s historic Mather Lodge, a rustic, cozy accommodation built of logs and stone, is a great option if you’re staying a few days. Free entry; arkansasstateparks.com/parks/petit-jean-state-park 4. Anza-Borrego State Park: San Diego County, California A remote and rugged landscape located in southeast California’s Colorado desert, Anza-Borrego State Park has 600,000 acres of varied terrain including badlands and slot canyons. The popular Borrego Palm Canyon trail takes hikers on a rocky stroll to an almost surreal oasis filled with California palms. When you’re visiting, save time to check out the collection of more than 130 giant metal creatures built by sculptor Ricardo Breceda in the nearby town of Borrego Springs. Day fee, $10 per vehicle; parks.ca.gov/ansaborrego 5. Dead Horse Point State Park: Moab, Utah It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it was a suitable stand-in for filming the final scene of the classic film Thelma & Louise. In other words, the views from Dead Horse State Park are fantastic. Just 25 miles from Moab, this park sits 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River and looks out over Canyonlands National Park. Visitors can pick their favorite view from one of eight different lookout points along the seven-mile rim trail. Entry fee, $20 per vehicle, $10 per motorcycle; stateparks.utah.gov/parks/dead-horse 6. Watkins Glen State Park: Watkins Glen, New York With steep, plant-covered cliffs, small caves, and misty waterfalls, this state park in New York’s Finger Lakes region feels a little like stepping into a fairy tale. Visit in spring, summer, or fall, when you can hike the Gorge Trail, a two-mile journey that descends 400 feet, past 19 waterfalls into an idyllic narrow valley. Visitors can also enjoy the beauty from above on one of the dog-friendly rim trails. Season runs mid-may to early November. Day fee, $8 per vehicle; parks.ny.gov/parks/142 7. Tettegouche State Park: Silver Bay, Minnesota Eight great state parks dot the 150-mile stretch of Highway 61 along the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, but Tettegouche stands out for its scenic hiking opportunities through forests, past waterfalls, and along the shoreline. The easy Shovel Point trail takes hikers along jagged, lakeside cliffs to a dramatic lookout over Lake Superior. There are also three loop trails featuring waterfalls. One-day park permit fee, $7; dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html 8. Valley of Fire State Park: Overton, Nevada Drive just 50 miles northeast of the bustling Las Vegas strip, and you’ll find a peaceful valley filled with dramatic red-sandstone formations that take on the appearance of flames on sunny days. The popular Atlatl Rock trail features a giant boulder balanced on a sandstone outcrop 50 feet above the ground. Climb its metal staircase to see the prominent ancient petroglyphs.Entrance fee, $10 per vehicle; parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire 9. Montana de Oro State Park: San Luis Obispo County, California (Courtesy California State Parks) Spanish for “mountain of gold,” Montana de Oro gets its name from the golden wildflowers that cover the area each spring, but you can find colorful views year-round on the seven miles of rocky, undeveloped coastline that comprise the western edge of this state park in California’s central coast region. The 4.6-mile Bluff Trail is a great way to see a large swath of the beaches, tide pools, and natural bridges in the park, or you can hike the Hazard and Valencia Peak trails for summit views. Pebbly Spooner’s Cove Beach serves as the park’s central hub.Entry fee, $20 per vehicle; parks.ca.gov 10. Baxter State Park: Piscataquis County, Maine With no electricity, running water, or paved roads within its boundaries, this 200,000-acre park in North Central Maine offers mountain, lake, and forest adventures for those who like their wilderness truly wild. The park’s 5,200-foot Mt. Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, but there are more than 40 other peaks and ridges to explore, and five pond-side campgrounds that offer canoe rentals. Entry fee, $15 per vehicle; baxterstatepark.org

    Inspiration

    Niagara Can Still Make Me All Misty

    By the time I was growing up there in the '70s and '80s, Niagara Falls had ceased to be the honeymoon icon of yesteryear. The region was economically depressed and famously polluted. Forget the 1953 Marilyn Monroe movie Niagara; my experience was better captured in the 1982 made-for-TV movie Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal. The chemical dump, which the government declared a hazard in 1978, was right in my family's backyard. Though I happily escaped from the city about a decade later, I return for visits all the time. During the '90s, while the rest of the country was booming, Niagara seemed to sink deeper into a slump. Factories closed, storefronts were boarded up, and unemployment soared. It's only been the past few years--after some much-needed cleanups--that things are begining to improve. Now when I go back, I find myself in the middle of big crowds of tourists, rediscovering what makes the place so great. There are actually two towns named Niagara Falls: the one in New York, where I grew up, and the one across the river, in Ontario. The grass is greener on the U.S. side, thanks to a state park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. I've always been amazed at how close you can get to the Falls. In several spots, the edge is just a few feet away, with a guardrail that's only waist-high. I remember being a teenager, gazing into the churning rapids while listening to the Cure on a Walkman, dreaming of a more exciting life--like the one on the other side of the border. Niagara Falls, Ontario, had all the action: year-round amusement parks, wax museums, neon lights. As I grew older, I amended that list to include better music, stronger beer, and a lower drinking age. A couple months ago, I brought my boyfriend, Chad, along to visit my family. The big news on the U.S. side is the Seneca Niagara Casino, in what used to be the convention center. But we figured we'd get a better return on our money at Twist o' the Mist, an ice cream stand next to the Rainbow Bridge. It's only been around for 11 years, but there's a retro charm--the building is shaped like a squat soft-serve cone--that the rest of the town is missing. Locals and tourists line up for oversize scoops of flavors like Super Hero, a mix of cherry bubblegum, lemon, and blue raspberry. Chad and I rode the elevator down to Niagara's most famous attraction, the Maid of the Mist, a boat that takes you right to the grandest crashing point, Horseshoe Falls. I hadn't been onboard since high school, and I was sad to see that the sturdy yellow slickers have been replaced with blue, cellophane-like ponchos that made us look shrink-wrapped. But I was grateful for the protection at the turnaround, where it felt like we were in a typhoon. We did our best to blink through the billowing mist, while watching courageous geese dive for fish. It really is awesome. Niagara may have lost its top-tier reputation in this country, but it still carries international appeal. Throughout the years, the area has drawn hordes of South Asian tourists, and its popularity has caught the attention of the local population, with savvy entrepreneurs opening curry stands near the Falls. On our boat ride, Chad and I were impressed with the number of nationalities aboard. One Syrian family told us that because of stricter visa laws since September 11, they weren't allowed to cross over to Canada. (That, along with the new casino, could explain a surge of visitors on the U.S. side.) For Americans, the passage over the border remains a breeze--answer a few quick questions at the tollbooth and you're in. We planned to spend the night in Canada. All my life, I'd seen advertisements for heart-shaped whirlpool tubs, yet I'd never experienced one firsthand. Before settling into our motel, the Chalet Inn & Suites, Chad and I took a spin around Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls' version of Times Square. As a kid, I used to test my bravery at Canada's many wax museums. I'd force myself to shake hands with Frankenstein or get up close to gory historical scenes; I'll never forget Marie Antoinette's grisly beheading. I credit them for instilling in me a keen love for all things kitschy or macabre, like luaus and zombie movies. Our visit coincided with the reopening of Louis Tussaud's Waxworks. Louis was the great-grandson of Madame, and his wax museum was the first one in town. Admission is $11; if you're in a silly mood, it's worth every penny. The glass barriers are gone, so now you can casually mingle with the assorted celebrities, examining every waxy pore on John Candy, Celine Dion, Pamela Anderson, and several versions of Mike Myers. (Canadians love nothing more than reminding people which stars are Canadian.) Despite the fun we had at Louis's place, we found Clifton Hill a bit overwhelming. Every inch of the short, steep strip is occupied by a splashy billboard or neon advertisement. It's hard to find a restaurant--or anything else--that isn't part of a franchise. We opted for one of the more charming ones, Montana's Cookhouse, a Western-themed smokehouse that serves decent barbecue. Other than the wax museums, the Canadian side does have one thing going for it: the better view. Rainbows are a constant, and at night giant lights turn the Falls all sorts of colors. I was happy to see that the leaf-themed cast-iron guardrails are still there--I remembered them from the Marilyn Monroe movie, and they're one of the few remnants from the city's golden age. That and the heart-shaped tub: As we fought our way back to the motel through the throngs, it became more enticing with every step. Lodging Chalet Inn & Suites 5577 Ellen Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont., 866/287-1110, chalet-inn.com, from $49 Food Montana's Cookhouse 5657 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont., 905/356-7427 Twist o' the Mist 18 Niagara St., Niagara Falls, N.Y., 716/285-0702 Activities Maid of the Mist Niagara Falls State Park, 716/284-8897, maidofthemist.com, 30-minute tour $11.50 Louis Tussaud's Waxworks 5907 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont., 905/374-6601, $11 Seneca Niagara Casino 310 Fourth St., Niagara Falls, N.Y., 877/873-6322, senecaniagaracasino.com

    Travel Tips

    What's your worst "lost luggage" story?

    You de-board the plane, rush to baggage claim so your long-awaited trip can finally begin, you scour for your luggage, and it's... not there. Bummer. Unfortunately, lost luggage is a hazard of checking a bag, but it doesn't make the experience any less frustrating or annoying (or even heart-breaking, if you had a personal effect in there). Sometimes I can understand if you have multiple layovers baggage can get lost, but I've had my bag misplaced twice on direct flights. Seriously, airlines? Direct flights? One of the bags I lost had all of my shoes, so I had to meet, mingle, and explore London for two weeks with my new study-abroad housemates in my cruddy sneakers I wore on the plane. Lost luggage can seriously impair your trip and can induce hair-pulling frustration and make you never want to fly again, or at least never check a bag again. We want to know: what's your worst (or most absurd) lost luggage story? Where were you going and where did your bag end up? How long did it take for you to get it back (if you ever did)? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL One of Mexico's strongest assets: Value A service for finicky vacation home renters Photo tour of the creepiest churches on earth

    Travel Tips

    How to Skip the Longest Lines: Disney, Vegas, and More

    This article was written by Stephanie Gaskell and originally appeared on Yahoo Travel. For many, the holidays are a time to do something special. But choosing to visit a popular tourist attraction means one thing—long lines. While it might seem like an occupational hazard, there are ways to skip the lines and avoid standing around with the masses. Here are some insider tips for getting VIP access. Let technology lead the way When it comes to skipping lines—there’s an app for that. In fact, there are several apps that will let you hire someone to stand in line for you. TaskRabbit is a service where you can hire people to do all kinds of tasks—including waiting in long lines (even at the DMV!). Another popular service is SameOleLineDudes, which currently only operates in New York City. But beware. Many businesses are pushing back against paid line-waiters. Franklin’s BBQ in Austin, Texas, which is famous for its lines around the block, recently banned professional line-waiters. Related: This Is How Much Time You Waste Standing in Line at Tourist Attractions Look for a pass Let’s say you’re trying to get into a major theme park where the lines are notoriously long. Many of them offer special packages that allow you to plan your trip in advance, so you don’t arrive to find yourself standing in line. Disney World has a Fastpass program that prints out a pass telling you exactly what time to come and enjoy the attraction. This frees you up to walk around or grab a bite in the meantime. Likewise, Sea World offers a service called Quick Queue Unlimited for just $19 that allows you to skip to the front of the line. Use your connections If you’re heading to the ritzy Las Vegas night club scene, there are a couple of ways to bypass the velvet ropes and get right in. One trick is to ask your concierge to book a reservation for you. As a local, they often have connections that can help you breeze right in, especially if a nice tip is involved. Another option for skipping lines is to purchase special passes through sites like Vegas.com or Best of Vegas. Related: Forget the Wait! 9 Ways to Spend Less Time in Line at Disney World Be a VIP If you decide to forego the Elvis impersonators and head to the real thing, Graceland, the home-turned-museum of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tenn., allows visitors to purchase VIP tickets to skip the crowds. The King would approve. Let’s say you’re heading somewhere more subdued like The Vatican, a place where millions of visitors flock each year. You can avoid long lines here by buying a “fast-track” ticket through a travel agency, like Viator, which offers packages that let you bypass the lines at the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms, and St. David’s. The lines at the Empire State Building are almost as vast as the views. Cut to the front by purchasing a VIP Main Deck Experience package that will take you right to the 86th floor observation deck with no waiting. Now that you know the secrets, get out there and enjoy the sites without waiting. And once you’re at the front of the line, look for us…we want cutsies!

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