4 of the Day’s Biggest Stories

Friday’s briefing

"We can’t keep permitting them over and over and over. It’s public land, and it’s public recreation, and there’s a demand for it.” (Lynda Cazort / Flickr)

Chugach State Park in Alaska Opens Its Trails to Fat-Bike Riders

In the past, fat-bike riders had to secure a permit to go out on the trails of Chugach State Park in winter. But on Thursday, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources opened the trails to all riders throughout the season, according to Alaska Dispatch News. In recent years, the fat-bike industry has taken off from its roots in the Southwest, Alaska, and Minnesota. “There’s been an explosion of fat-bike popularity and exponential growth,” Tom Harrison, superintendent of Chugach State Park, told Alaska Dispatch News. “We tried out a few areas by permit, and Middle Fork seemed to be pretty darned popular. But we can’t keep permitting them over and over and over. It’s public land, and it’s public recreation, and there’s a demand for it.”

Oregon Takes Gray Wolves Off the Endangered Species List

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced on Monday that gray wolves are no longer a part of the state’s endangered species list, according to High Country News. The ODFW conducted a survey of the state’s wolf population in February and found nine packs with seven breeding pairs. Four breeding pairs for three years in a row are needed to review a potential delisting. Though wolves in the western two-thirds of the state are still protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, the decision may eventually lead to permitted hunting in the state’s eastern third. Gray wolves are already hunted in states like Montana and Idaho, where they were listed as endangered until 2008.

California Man Gets 150 Hours of Community Service for Harassing Sea Otter

Seventy-one-year-old Richard Niswonger pleaded guilty to shooting an air rifle in the direction of federally threatened southern sea otters in Moss Landing, California, according to a Thursday press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Niswonger said he shot at the animals because a baby otter had been disturbing him for weeks with its crying. A district court judge sentenced him to six months of probation and 150 hours of community service and issued him a $500 fine.

Study: This Is Your Body on Energy Drinks

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, conducted a study to measure exactly what happened to subjects’ bodies after they consumed an energy drink, Alaska Dispatch News reported on Thursday. Researchers took measurements of the 25 participants, including blood pressure, caffeine levels, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine. They then repeated the measurements after each subject consumed one drink with 240 milligrams of caffeine. Results showed more than a 6 percent increase in blood pressure, a 40 percent increase in norepinephrine, significantly more caffeine in the blood, and no change in heart rate.

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