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Can a Denver company get its electric plane off the ground?

Can a Denver company get its electric plane off the ground?

Imagine if there were a business like Uber that, instead of cars, had tiny four-seat electric airplanes. You could hop from Denver to Aspen traffic-free, pollution-free in a matter of minutes instead of hours. This is the vision of Denver businessman and former Air Force pilot George Bye, CEO of Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation. AEAC is working on what they hope will be the nation's first FAA-approved electric airplane for general aviation. Naturally, there are a lot of hurdles—from engineering challenges to the lengthy and expensive process…
Writing for the Next Generation of Guidebooks

Writing for the Next Generation of Guidebooks

The classic print travel guidebook is going the way of the dinosaur. But then there's Wildsam... Wildsam is the hipster's take on the contemporary guide. Instead of a laundry list of bland reviews, it imparts a sense of place through historical documents, interviews with unusual locals, hand-drawn illustrations, and eccentric lists. I have always admired this series for their creativity and irreverence. (And optimism!) So I was delighted when an editor reached out to me to see if I would contribute an essay to their new Wildsam Desert Southwest Field Guide. She…
On a Mission to Rescue Alaska’s Crumbling Past

On a Mission to Rescue Alaska’s Crumbling Past

Last fall, I drove five hours on a lumpy, potholed dirt road northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska to the tiny outpost of Manley Hot Springs. Situated literally at the end of the road, this loosely settled hamlet has a year-round population of 30, a post office, some hot springs hidden on an old lady's property ($5 gets you a private soak), and a handsome 1903 clapboard roadhouse that is the local citizenry's de facto headquarters. When I arrived, let's just say the locals were less than friendly. But with some time spent…
The Coyote in Your Backyard

The Coyote in Your Backyard

I have always had a soft spot for coyotes despite their unsavory reputation among ranchers and wildlife managers. I think they're beautiful and scrappy. Like wolves, they seem to be magnets for our own projections—fearsome predator or vulnerable canid? Unlike wolves, no matter how many we kill (Thousands are still shot every year in this country) they won't go away. They're remarkably resilient. So resilient that they now inhabit the 35 largest cities in the U.S. In Los Angeles, one biologist, from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area,…
Millennials Doing Cool Things in National Parks

Millennials Doing Cool Things in National Parks

To celebrate the much-hyped National Park Service centennial, my editor at National Geographic Adventure came up with a novel idea: What if we did a series of profiles of 20-somethings doing cool work in national parks? Yes and yes, I said. With my co-writer, Chris Kassar, we put together a series of 20 profiles. I got to interview an incredibly interesting range of people with bright ideas: a musician who organized a classical ensemble to perform works inspired by national parks in national parks; a conservation biologist who bushwhacks through…