27 February 2017

Tornado Chasing and Bill Paxton RIP

It is sort of ironic that Bill Paxton, star of Twister died this weekend AND we had a tornado in Conway, Massachusetts.  It was the movie that prompted me and students in Recreation Geography to study storm chasing and deliver a paper at the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium.

The paper abstract is "Tours devoted to tornado storm chasing have become popular in recent years, especially with the emergence of many profit and non-profit storm chasing organizations. While most literature in risk recreation has been directed toward rock climbing or other high-risk outdoor recreation activities, tours devoted to storm chasing are quite unlike these traditional activities. The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of these organizations from information collected in a mailed survey. Areas to be discussed are specific tour details for each company, basic demographics of tour attendees, and other areas of tour requirements."

25 February 2017

In like a lion, out like a lamb, February??

With temps in the 70s at the end of February and the month starting with two hefty snow storms, is the second month of the year going to be the new March?

Is it climate change?

Oh yeah, today is International Sword Swallowers Day!

22 February 2017

U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports Total $21 Billion in December

Sounds like a big economic impact right?

"The National Travel and Tourism Office today announced that international visitors spent more than $21.2 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in December, an increase of nearly three percent ($564 million) when compared to December 2015 - setting a new record for monthly U.S. travel and tourism exports.

International visitors spent a record-setting $247.1 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services in 2016, an ever-so-slight increase (0.4%) when compared to record levels of spending in 2015; conversely, Americans have spent an estimated $158.9 billion abroad, yielding a balance of trade surplus of more than $88.2 billion for the year."

For more details see The National Travel and Tourism Office.

21 February 2017

Is eco-tourism the future of science funding?

This is the news heading on CBS tonight.  So it seems since there is a decline of funding for climate change research, the only way scientists can explore the world is to join the world of a tourist.

For example, I had a chance to visit Solheim in Iceland in 2013 and again in 2015 and can report a retreat of 100 meters.

Check out this picture taken in 2015 that shows the glacier location in 2010.  Is there are any doubt about climate change??

19 February 2017

An exploration of dark(er) liminal spaces in tourism

This is the name of the session we organized for the American Association Geographers meeting in Boston later this spring.

Paper Session:

4112 An exploration of dark(er) liminal spaces in tourism

is scheduled on Saturday, 4/8/2017, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in Room 201, Hynes, Second Level

Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group

Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University

Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University


8:00 AM   Author(s): *Nitasha Sharma - Indiana University Bloomington

 Abstract Title: Liminality, ethics and perceptions towards death

8:20 AM   Author(s): *Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University
Ian S. Jenkins, Ph.D. - University of Iceland, Háskóli Íslands

 Abstract Title: Dark liminal spaces in fright tourism

8:40 AM   Author(s): Marion Karl - LMU Munich

 Abstract Title: The role of risk perception in travel decision-making and destination choice

9:00 AM   Author(s): *Maggie Christine Miller - University of Waterloo

 Abstract Title: Exploring Climbing Sherpas' stories of death and disaster as moments of liminality

9:20 AM   Author(s): *Velvet Nelson - Sam Houston State University

 Abstract Title: Objectivity or Empathy? Representing the Enslaved at Heritage Museums

Session Description: This session seeks papers that explore the liminal nature of tourism travel behavior.  Dark(er) tourist attractions may range from the lighter end (e.g., Fright Tourism for entertainment) to the darker side (e.g., sites of genocide). Further some sites may have "darker" reputation due to one's perception of fear and safety. So people can be expected to have different motivations or reasons to visit (educational, pilgrimage, entertainment).  Studies should pertain to the transition in liminal space from one's ordinary life into a spatial and temporal one found at the destination, from either the tourist's viewpoint and/or the site's management.  International destinations are encouraged.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities has invited manuscripts from this session.

17 February 2017

My AT Story

For some great stories, check out this web link.  For those who have hiked, or hiked the AT in particular, this site will sing to you.

Mount Moosilauke

13 February 2017

NCAA Concussion Injury Litigation Information

In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation,
Case No. 1:13-cv-09116
(United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois)
If You Are a Current or Former Student-Athlete Who Played An NCAA-Sanctioned Sport at an NCAA School At Any Time Through July 15, 2016,
Your Rights May Be Affected by a Class Action Lawsuit
A Settlement, subject to court approval, has been reached in a class action lawsuit called In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, Case No. 1:13-cv-09116 (N.D. Ill.).  It is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The lawsuit claims that the NCAA was negligent and breached its duty to protect all current and former student-athletes by failing to adopt appropriate rules regarding concussions.  The lawsuit seeks medical monitoring relief to diagnose possible long-term effects of concussions or the accumulation of sub‑concussive hits for all current and former student-athletes. The lawsuit also seeks changes to the NCAA’s concussion management and return-to-play guidelines.
The NCAA denies these allegations and denies it did anything wrong.  If the Court does not approve the Settlement, the NCAA will argue, among other things, that the case should not be a class action.  The Court has not decided whether or not Defendant did anything wrong.
You are a Class Member and included in the Settlement if you played an NCAA-sanctioned sport at an NCAA school at any time up to July 15, 2016.
The NCAA has agreed to a Medical Monitoring Fund of $70,000,000, which, after deducting administrative costs, and attorneys’ fees and expenses, will fund the screening of Class Members as well as medical evaluations for those Class Members who qualify as a result of the screening during the 50-year Medical Monitoring Program. The medical evaluations will be designed to assess symptoms related to persistent post‑concussion syndrome, as well as cognitive, mood, behavioral, and motor problems that may be associated with mid- to late-life onset diseases that may be linked to concussions and/or subconcussive hits, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and related disorders. In addition, the NCAA has committed $5,000,000 to fund research regarding the prevention, diagnosis, care, and management of concussions and mid- to late-life neurodegenerative disease.  The NCAA has also agreed to chang e its policies and procedures for concussion management and return to play. You can download the Second Amended Settlement Agreement from www.collegeathleteconcussionsettlement.com or call the toll-free number listed below and request one.
The Court appointed the law firms Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Siprut PC to represent you.  You do not have to pay these attorneys or anyone else to participate.  They will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and costs, which would be paid from the Medical Monitoring Fund. You may hire your own lawyer to appear in Court for you; if you do, you have to pay that lawyer.
Do Nothing and Remain in the Settlement.  If you do nothing, you are considered a participant in the Settlement.  You will be bound by all Court orders.  If the Settlement is approved, certain potential legal claims you may have against the NCAA will be resolved and forever released. Also, if the Settlement is approved, you will have the opportunity to complete a screening questionnaire to determine whether you qualify for up to two medical evaluations during the 50‑year medical monitoring period.
Opt Out (“Exclude Yourself”) from the Settlement.  You must submit a written request to Opt Out of the Class and the Settlement to the Notice Administrator. The complete, signed Opt-Out request must be mailed to the Notice Administrator postmarked no later thanMarch 10, 2017. However, if you are a current NCAA student-athlete on or after 6 months after the Effective Date and your school fails to put in place a concussion management plan within six months of the Effective Date, you will have a second opportunity to opt-out so long as you do so within 12 months of the Effective Date.
Object or Comment on the Settlement.  Written objections must be filed and served no later than March 10, 2017.  You give up your right to sue and are bound by Court orders even if your objection is rejected. If you file an objection, you may appear at the Fairness Hearing to explain your objection, but you are not required to attend.
The Court will determine whether to approve the Settlement and attorneys’ fees and expenses at a Fairness Hearing to be held on May 5, 2017, at 10 a.m., at the Everett M. Dirksen United States Courthouse for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois.  You may attend this hearing if you wish, but you do not have to attend in order to participate in the proposed Settlement.
If you have questions or want to complete a Screening Questionnaire:
Write:  In re: NCAA Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC, PO Box 43414, Providence, RI 02940-3414

11 February 2017


What a great headline from AP!  Let's Keep America Home of the Free.

This of course follows this headline "Time to boycott vacations to the U.S." from an OpEd piece from the Toronto Star.  "Canadians can protest U.S. President Donald Trump's policies by staying away from America, writes Mark Bulgutch. "It’s not a terrible sacrifice. Wait four years. We can hope the Trump presidency will then be over. The Grand Canyon will still be there. The Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. Disney World. They’ll all be there. And with any luck, the Statue of Liberty will still be there too."  (SUSAN WALSH / AP) "

07 February 2017

Appalachian Trail Volunteers

This past weekend we had the 2017 Mass AT Volunteer Gathering in Dalton, MA.  It was a chance to reflect back on all the volunteer efforts for the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts and to plan ahead for 2017.  The remarkable thing here is the total of "regular" volunteer hours reaching 6,307.5!  Other groups add to the work needed for the AT but at 6,307.5 it is still worth about $145,000!

The figures for volunteer labor varies by job and state, so I took the federal average from 2015.

05 February 2017

Biggest Bowl Game in History?

Seems everyone is gearing up for the big game today.  Biscuit is resting up for what might be the biggest game yet.

If the excitement gets too much, flip the TV over to PBS and watch Masterpiece Theatre.

03 February 2017

Military Tourism up in Springfield, Massachusetts

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site attracted 23,000 visitors in 2016.  Perhaps the bubble due to the National Park Service's Centenial celebrations, but still a credit to the interest of our heritage.

01 February 2017

International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

United Nations declares 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.  For news of this important message, click here.