What will be lost if we continue to destroy the world's biological riches? Visit Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery of Art from September 15 to December 31 and see for yourself. In Response to Place: Photographs from The Nature Conservancy's Last Great Places features 130 images of the earth's most threatened areas, from Indonesia's Komodo National Park to the tallgrass prairies of Oklahoma, by 12 top photographers, Annie Leibovitz and Mary Ellen Mark among them. Contact the Corcoran at 202-639-1700 or www.corcoran.org.
Madagascar's Wild Frontier
"There are the most amazing first-ascent opportunities I've ever seen," says Utah-based climber Mike Libecki about the granite walls of southeast Madagascar's Tsaranoro Valley. Coming from someone who's pioneered routes in Greenland and the northern Arctic, this is no small statement. The only people you're likely to find here are members of a small, in-the-know group of climbersLibecki, Beth Rodden, Lynn Hill, and others crazy enough to make the 13-hour drive on bumpy dirt roads from Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital. The climbing crowd hangs out at Camp Catta (011-261-2075-50568; www.lk-oi.com/campcatta), an outpost started three years ago by French climber Gilles Gautier that has recently morphed into a full-service establishment with thatch-roofed bungalows ($15-$30 per night per person), wall tents ($6 per night per person), gear rental, and guide services. Located at the base of 6,266-foot Mount Tsaranoro, Camp Catta is close to dozens of sport and trad multipitch climbing routes; nearby Andringitra National Park is laced with trails for hiking and mountain biking. "The place is amazing," says Beth Rodden. "That's the bottom line."
Huck Meat, Shuck Oysters
Play Hard, Rest Easy: New England, a new guidebook by Malcolm Campbell from Walkabout Press (800-231-3949; www.walkabout press.com), based in Charlotte, North Carolina, covers hundreds of outdoor options in New England, from mountain biking in the Nepaug State Forest of Connecticut to sea kayaking in Maine's Penobscot Bay. Campbell's food and lodging recommendations&3151;classy restaurants, well-appointed inns and lodgesare more upscale than you'd expect to find in an outdoor guide, but that's exactly the point: "A vacation," says Campbell, "can be rugged and refined at the same time." Look for Play Hard, Rest Easy guides to the Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and Midatlantic in 2002.
NEW TRIP: CUBA MULTISPORT
So you don't want to break the Helms-Burton Law, but you want to see Cuba before El Jéfe dies? Boulder, Colorado-based The World Outdoors (formerly The World Outside) keeps it aboveboard with a nine-day Cuba Multisport trip that includes hiking and mountain biking in the Sierra del Rosarios Biosphere Reserve, snorkeling off Cayo Macho de Afuera, and caving in Viñales National Park. Plus, you'll spend a few hours helping the Cuba Ecotourism Foundation build trails and clean up beaches to ensure your altruisticread: legalstatus with the U.S. State Department. Just pray that no one finds those cigars hidden in your underwear. Trips, offered from December through March, start at $1,695 per person, including hotels, guides, and meals; airfare is not included. For details, call 800-488-8483 or visit www.theworldoutdoors.com.