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2007-04-05 17:44 - Established Dedicated Blog

I've just established a dedicated blog for the World of Waterfalls website. This will eventually replace most of the existing RSS Blog Feed since we now have the ability to archive old postings, categorize the postings, and allow users to provide comments.

There's still things I have to get resolved regarding look and feel and layout (especially with respect to pictures and tables) so in the mean time, the entries you'll be seeing here will consist of text-based entries such as news, updates, announcements, editorial, commentary, and articles.

What will eventually follow are the full-length Featured Articles and Travel Blogs, both of which are rich in visual content. However, I'll post an update through this feed when they eventually become available.

Feel free to subscribe to this RSS Feed to get the latest on what's happening in the world as it relates to waterfalls.

Cheers

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2007-04-06 07:25 - Global Warming and Climate Change projections

Global Warming and Climate Change is a very disconcerting issue when it comes to waterfalls. It ultimately means that waterfalls that were once there are gone or have insignificant flows while new ones pop up elsewhere or certain existing ones have greater flow. Of course in the big picture, global warming and climate change probably threatens the sustainability of complex organisms (including humans) on the planet since it seems that every mass extinction in earth's past has been attributed to large swings in the planet's climate - whether induced by meteors, continental drift, volcanism, etc. In our case, we're changing the concentration of chemicals in the air, soil, and water.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was created by the United Nations in 1988 has tracked human-caused global warming and has released a report on its impacts and consequences.
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2007-04-10 07:19 - Is it the end of the Global Warming debate?

I came across this article from The Australian newspaper, which discusses how even the most high-profile global warming denier is caving in. Of course to waterfallers (and hence nature lovers), these pro-industry pundits might have accomplished their mission in creating enough doubt in the media to continue a course of inaction. However, maybe the debate is starting to end (finally) and now a course of corrective action can be taken.

Still, whether anything is going to get done remains to be seen. Heck, I'm still not even sure if it's too late to do anything positive to undo the damage already done. But as they say, it's better late than never...

Here's the article from The Australian...

Sceptics forced to contain hot air on gases
Mounting evidence of global warming is leaving climate-change deniers in the cold, writes Bradford Plumer

RED Smith isn't exactly known for his timidity on the subject of climate change.
The president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, has derided concern over global warming and has gone on television to rail against Al Gore's "evil consumptive ways".
But in February, when Smith was called to testify before the Senate Committee on environment and public works, he sounded like a cornered man.

"I am aware," he began somewhat cautiously, "that CEI is regarded as a contrarian voice on the science of climate change."

Senate Republicans had invited him to comment on an emissions-reduction plan put forward by a group of green-minded companies, including General Electric and Duke Energy. But with the balance of power having shifted from the climate naysayers, Smith couldn't just launch into his usual tirade against global warming.

Like a boy forced to apologise for pulling his sister's hair, he ceded grudgingly: "I am happy, for the purposes of this discussion, to accept all the scientific arguments behind their proposals."

Hence, he sniffed, "attempts to allege climate denialism in response to my points are ad hominem attacks not worthy of consideration". It's getting hard out there for a global-warming sceptic.

Former US vice-president Al Gore has an Oscar. The latest assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared with 90 per cent certainty that greenhouse gases are largely responsible for heating the planet, a conclusion even the White House now accepts.

Capitol Hill -- where groups like CEI could once count on a friendly hearing from congressional Republicans, 84 per cent ofwhom are still unconvinced climate change is caused by humans -- is now controlled by the Democrats.

And ExxonMobil, which has donated more than $US2million to CEI since 1998, recently announced it would no longer fund the organisation.

Mocked by enemies, abandoned by erstwhile friends, what's a global-warming sceptic to do?

It wasn't long ago that CEI was revelling in its role as the country's most notorious sceptic group.

In 1997, it helped to form the Cooler Heads Coalition to "dispel the myths of global warming" by, among other things, sending pseudo-experts to testify before the Congress and appear on TV.

The group's energy and global warming policy director, Myron Ebell, played a key role in convincing President George W.Bush to reverse his campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from the utilities industry. The Clean Air Trust named Ebell its "clean air villain of the month" in March 2001 for his lobbying.

In a bid to pre-empt the release of Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, CEI aired two schmaltzy 60-second spots in 14 cities last year, singing the praises of carbon dioxide. Both ended with the tagline: "They call it pollution ... we call it life."

That sort of misinformation has long been the group's metier. CEI was following a strategy such as the one outlined in a memo from the American Petroleum Institute, which The New York Times obtained in 1998: "Victory will be achieved when ... recognition of uncertainty becomes part of the conventional wisdom."

So long as people were forced to spend their waking hours debating whether climate change was really happening, they wouldn't have time to discuss what to do about it.

Unfortunately for CEI, that debate is over. Now it finds itself beleaguered in Washington, not to mention vilified in the media.

Ellen Goodman of The Boston Globe wrote recently that climate-change doubters are "on a par with Holocaust deniers". At the end of an interview, CEI's in-house lawyer, Chris Horner, told me with a sigh: "Look, don't write the standard story here, making us out to be the bad guys."

So with their careers in peril, the CEI types are adapting. There are still plenty of global-warming deniers out there, but many sceptics now coalesce around a more moderate-sounding approach.

Ebell insists that neither he nor his colleagues dispute the fact of global warming as they once did.

"We try to react to the scientific research that comes out -- and we've adjusted our political rhetoric as well," he says.

The new line goes something like this: sure, we'll accept that global warming is occurring and humans bear some responsibility, but it's hard to predict exactly how bad a warmer world will be.

And the proposals for reducing emissions in the US are all costly and rife with problems. And even if they could work, we can't stop climate change because it's impossible to convince India and China to curb their rapidly growing emissions. And so on.

One tactic that lately seems to give deniers special pleasure is mounting their case against the global-warming consensus from the Left. So you get the odd spectacle of Smith going before the Senate to denounce cap-and-trade -- the widely endorsed idea that the Government should set a national ceiling on carbon emissions and then allow companies to buy and sell pollution credits -- on populist grounds.

"The corporations we see baying for a cap-and-trade program are out to enrich themselves without thought for the poor," he told Congress. He even pointed out that -- horror -- Enron had once supported the idea.

Or Paul Driessen, the author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death, saying things like: "It's incredibly patronising and colonialistic to tell Africa that you can't develop because we're concerned about global warming" -- while arguing that funding the fight against global warming "takes money away from spending on malaria".

However, even as they claim to be on board with the latest science, some deniers have continued peddling half-truths. This became clear during my conversation with Ebell.

"We've had a flat global mean temperature since 1998," he notes. "So what are we worried about?" Ebell is cherry-picking here -- 1998 was an exceptionally hot year, thanks to El Nino, but global average temperatures have risen steadily since 1900.

Meanwhile, many global-warming sceptics are suffering the indignity of having to deny they were ever deniers in the first place. Take Kenneth Green of the American Enterprise Institute.

In 2004, Green wrote a paper with notorious climate-change denier Timothy Ball arguing that the scientific models used to predict global warming were "of dubious merit".

Now he insists he accepts the IPCC's baseline conclusions and says of his relationship with Ball: "The fact we haven't worked together since then suggests we don't agree." Sounds like the heat is getting to him.

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2007-04-10 07:29 - Milford Sound - Misty, Mythical, Magical!

Like giant fingers reaching and clawing their way into the rugged expanses of the rainforests and snow of the Southern Alps, numerous fiords (glaciated valleys flooded by the rising sea level since the last Ice Age) penetrate the southwestern South Island of New Zealand. Encompassing these fiords is Fiordland National Park - a reserve that seeks to protect the wild natural resources within its rugged landscape. One of these fiords is the Milford Sound.

Throughout the Milford Sound, towering snow-capped and rainforested peaks surround the flooded glaciated valley. Watching over the scene like a sentinel whose head scrapes the sky is the iconic Mitre Peak, which is so-named because of its resemblance to a bishop's mitre. At 1692m in height, Mitre Peak also happens to be one of the tallest peaks in the world that immediately rises from sea level. Sitting right across from the iconic mountain is Stirling Falls, which tumbles 155m beneath a hanging valley formed between the imaginatively-named Elephant and Lion Mountains. Near the head of the Milford Sound, Bowen Falls makes a dramatic 161m tumble.

On calm and moody days, the inlet can reflect the majestic panorama lying before you like a mirror. Upon cruising the fiord, bottlenose dolphins race through the inlet sometimes putting on a show doing backflips. Fiordland crested penguins can be seen waddling within some of the quieter parts of the fiord while New Zealand fur seals can be seen resting atop rocks before returning to the cold water.

But not all the inhabitants are as docile and benign. Swarms of sandflies nourish themselves with human blood often leaving behind welts that are even more irritating and itchier than their mosquito cousins. Even daring keas (an alpine parrot) constantly look for opportunities to steal your food or peck into anything made of rubber (including the linings, windshield wipers, and tires of your car). They often have a loud piercing screech as part of their bird song, which can disrupt the otherwise relative quiet of the fiord. Tree avalanches are also not uncommon as the dense and tangling roots of the rainforest can sometimes result in major landslides triggered by a single fallen tree - often times leaving a big scar on the steep valley walls. The area is also prone to frequent rains and overcast conditions, which can reduce the magical panorama into a misty, foggy blanket of grey.

Despite the less-than-ideal aspects of the fiord, it is all part of the balance and processes involved in making the Milford Sound the misty, mythical, and magical place it is. So far, nature has been allowed to operate (for the most part) patiently and methodically to produce the inadvertent beauty we cherish and seek that is found within Fiordland National Park. Indeed, the Milford Sound embodies the essence of New Zealand's natural beauty - just the way nature intended.

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2007-04-10 11:38 - Featured Waterfall


Mt Damper Falls


Mt Damper Falls

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2007-04-11 08:17 - Featured Waterfall


A waterfall neighboring Mt Damper Falls


A waterfall neighboring Mt Damper Falls in New Zealand

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2007-04-11 08:18 - Are Iguazu and Victoria Falls in danger of drying up?

After browsing through the latest IPCC report and assessment on climate change, I was alarmed at a particular map essentially projecting the change in precipitation patterns as we go further into the future. Amongst some of the potentially hardest hit spots will be in parts of both South America and Africa. And lying amongst these areas of decreased precipitation are two of the natural wonders of the world - Iguazu Falls and Victoria Falls.

Below, I've attached an excerpt of the map from the IPCC report.

Precipitation Projection from 2000-2099

As waterfall lovers, we hope to visit these waterfalls before they become victims of Global Warming.

To read the whole IPCC report, I've provided a link allowing you to download the full report in PDF form. [read more]

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2007-04-12 08:02 - A Milford Track Experience

So what's it like to hike (or tramp) the "finest walk in the world"?

Many people have done this walk before as it is certainly one of New Zealand's most popular overnight walks. Of course, each person's account differs and most of this largely depends on the weather.

When my wife and I did the walk, it was quite a soggy adventure to say the least. But I guess that's what happens when you go on a very popular walk with limited bookings. You're pretty much stuck to the dates that you booked for - for better or for worse!

Check out our story... [read more]

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2007-04-12 08:09 - Featured Waterfall


Browne Falls


Browne Falls, New Zealand

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2007-04-13 06:30 - Hiking in Hardangervidda

Waterfall lovers will love Hardangervidda National Park in Norway. We were fortunate to visit this part of Norway in late June 2005 and we were treated to countless major waterfalls that would make many Yosemite waterfalls pale in comparison. The terrain ranges from steep-walled valleys (very reminiscent of the ones in Yosemite National Park) and marshy moors. It also helped that the summer sun didn't set until well after 10pm so we spent a good deal of time hunting for waterfalls while taking in the scenery. The waterfalls we saw included the four giant ones in Husedalen Valley, Valursfossen, and Vedalsfossen among others.

Check out the travel blog for our story about this wonderful day of sightseeing... [read more]

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2007-04-14 08:43 - Why Waterfalls?

Many people have asked us why we love waterfalls so much. Of course it's difficult to try to quantify why moving water that just so happens to drop some distance draws our attention and makes us so happy, but there are things we could identify that were beneficial to our health and our perception of how we spent our precious time on earth. It took a lot of thought to try to come up with answers in words, but we've eventually written up an article attempting to explain and address the question of why we care about waterfalls. And through our own little soul searching and analysis of our relationship with these wonderful misty curtains of nature, we've concluded that the world would be a much better place if more people get into waterfalling (i.e. visiting waterfalls). Sound crazy? Have a look and find out! [read more]

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2007-04-14 08:51 - Featured Waterfall


Browne Falls


Browne Falls, New Zealand

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2007-04-14 14:07 - Flash Flood over Sairung and Praisawan waterfalls kills over 21 in Thailand

I just heard this on the Triple J News this morning and followed up with the news article linked below.

Flash floods are one of those things that waterfallers really have to watch out for. They come without warning and chances for survival if you're caught in the wall of water are slim to none. This is a powerful reminder of how the weather may be fine at the waterfall, but heavy rains further upstream may move volumes of water towards you without you knowing about it. As usual, always be aware of the weather (to the best of your ability) of the entire drainage area and know the risks involved when you partake in nature-based activities. While it's fun to swim and frolick around waterfalls, realize that your exposure to floods increase the longer you linger. [read more]

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2007-04-15 09:48 - Update on Thailand Flash Flood over Popular Thai Waterfalls

The total death toll has now been updated to 35.

Flash floods swept over two popular waterfalls (Sairung and Praisawan Waterfalls) located on a southern Thai mountain packed with people celebrating the country's New Year. There are still many more missing, officials said.

About 200 people were thought to have been at the waterfalls Saturday when the flood hit.

An official said 28 bodies were retrieved before darkness halted the rescue effort, and another seven were found this morning. About 120 people that were swept into the water or stranded on rocks were rescued, but dozens remain missing.

The falls, about three miles apart, are 420 miles south of Bangkok.

Source: Seattle Times

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2007-04-16 07:07 - Featured Waterfall


Alice Falls


Alice Falls, New Zealand

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2007-04-16 07:11 - Doubtful Sound - Beauty Without A Doubt

In our trip to the Doubtful Sound deep in New Zealand's South Island, Julie and I truly experienced four seasons in a day. It began with with snow, then rain, and then eventually sunny and cloudless in the afternoon.

Set within the backdrop of New Zealand's longest fjord (or fiord as they spell it in New Zealand), we were treated with wonderful scenery in the most unusual of circumstances. Of course, the bottlenose dolphins doing backflips had put on quite a show for us, and the waterfalls were magnificent as well. [read more]

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2007-04-17 07:40 - Waterfalls Amongst Glaciers in New Zealand

The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers on the wild west coast of New Zealand are two of the fastest moving glaciers in the world. Besides their speed, what makes them unique is that they terminate in a temperate rainforest climate. That's because the Tasman Sea supplies the moisture and the Southern Alps forces the moisture to condense into very frequent rains. As a result, glaciers form at the higher elevations while forests can grow in the lower elevations. But in between, the combination of glacially carved valleys and rain yield yet another feature - waterfalls!

Our own excursion onto the Franz Josef Glacier was probably typical of what you're likely to see there. That is, clouds, rain, and heaps of waterfalls. Of course, when the clouds let up, the glaciers are the show. But at all other times, it's the waterfalls that keep you occupied beneath the clouds. [read more]

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2007-04-18 07:26 - What Happens If You Hit A Deer?

Waterfall Travel is essentially independent travel themed in such a way that waterfalls are the reason to go places. Usually the best way to accomplish this type of travel is to do some kind of self-driving tour. However, with this type of touring comes other issues that you as a traveler have to address. One of these issues is the possibility of striking wildlife, which thereby damages the car and possibly disable it. Consequently, you could be stuck in the middle of nowhere where help may not show up for a long time.

Needless to say, to minimize the likelihood of such things happening, you'll want to take your time (haste makes waste), and you'll probably want to avoid driving between dusk and dawn as much as possible (since many animals are nocturnal).

But what happens if you already strike the animal? This potentially unsettling and traumatic experience can ruin anyone's travel plans. And unfortunately, I happened to have hit a deer on one of my trips. Read the following travel blog to see how I had to deal with this very issue... [read more]

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2007-04-18 07:38 - Featured Waterfall


Dorothy Falls


Dorothy Falls, New Zealand

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2007-04-19 07:27 - Iceland Hydroelectric Controversy - not just a threat to waterfalls

I stumbled upon an interesting read written by Icelanders concerned (or outraged) about the Kárahnjúkar Dam project in Eastern Iceland. This project is to build a dam that will regulate the river Jökla and send the energy to an aluminum smelter in Reyðarfjörður owned by American aluminum giant Alcoa.

Of obvious concern is that several waterfalls will be submerged by this project (which is 75% complete). However, on a grander scale, more of Iceland's remaining wilderness is lost including reindeer, pink-footed geese, the Hálslón lagoon, etc. For Icelanders, there is also the societal issue about the economy's dependence on foreign money and the compromise of quality of life when nature is destroyed.

This issue of nature versus economics goes on all over the world, but it seems Iceland (with its relatively small population) may be in a unique position to turn the tide and set an example for the rest of the world by putting nature before greed. Only time will tell, but the implications of what goes on here reach beyond Iceland. [read more]

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2007-04-20 06:13 - Why the Virginia Tech Massacre reminds us we need a Nature Break

If all we get out of the Virginia Tech Massacre is that some lunatic loner did this and we have to isolate and institutionalize such people, we're making a huge mistake. Whether you like it or not, anyone can end up like Cho Seung-Hui if pushed hard enough. Everyone has a breaking point, and we're fools to think this isn't going to happen again. [read article]

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2007-04-21 08:15 - Waterfalls of Arthurs Pass

There was a time when getting through Arthur's Pass was an adventure. The twisty, windy road was frequently plagued by rockslides and avalanches, and it really limited traffic to the West Coast.

It wasn't until the completion of the Otira Viaduct as well as other road projects completed in late 1999 that passenger cars as well as commercial vehicles were able to make it across the new road. This was an important development in terms of allowing West Coast towns like Greymouth, Hokitika, and the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers to flourish as well as allowing Arthur's Pass to become more viable as a tourist destination.

Plus, it opened up the opportunity to see numerous waterfalls plunging down the steep snow-clapped mountains of Arthur's Pass, including Devil's Punchbowl Falls. There are numerous other waterfalls you can see on an excursion through the area. Follow the link below to see pictures of them. [read more]

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2007-04-21 08:23 - Featured Waterfall


Devil's Punchbowl Falls


Devil's Punchbowl Falls, New Zealand

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2007-04-22 08:53 - The Future of Waterfalls

Sure it's apparent that nature on planet earth is getting trashed by our own way of life and associated creature comforts. But since waterfalls are an aspect of nature, what does this mean for waterfall lovers like myself as well as the future of waterfalls?

Since today is Earth Day, I took this opportunity to reflect upon the health of our planet and came up with the following featured article. Read on to see why waterfall lovers have great reason to be concerned... [read more]

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2007-04-23 07:33 - A Forgotten Waterfall Off A Forgotten World Highway

It seems that only the discerning tourist and adventurous locals are even aware of the presence of a highway between the volcanic Central Plateau and the conical Mt Taranaki. Fittingly known as the Forgotten World Highway, it features a twisty, winding drive through the rural farmlands and gorges in the well-forested King County. You may find yourself stopped in the middle of a sheep crossing, passing through numerous railroad tracks, getting rattled along an unsealed section of road at the bottom of a gorge, and even passing through a little tunnel known as the Hobbit Hole.

The scenic highlight of this nearly three-hour drive (without stop) is Mt Damper Falls - a lovely surprise for the waterfall lover. Indeed, this 74m waterfall is one of the tallest in the North Island and is certainly worth the arduous drive to see (at least in my mind). [read more]

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2007-04-24 07:32 - Waitakere Tears

After our wedding in Whitianga, New Zealand, the musicians who played at our reception (Heartstrings - Sasha and Natarani) gave us a very beautiful CD of their music. One of their songs was called "Waitakere Tears." And when I think about Kitekite Falls, that song comes to mind for some reason.

Perhaps it's because the waterfall is nestled in the Waitakere Ranges about an hour's drive west of Auckland. Yet what's so alluring about this place is that it's quite uncrowded and not as spoiled as I would've expected from a place so close to a cosmopolitan city. As if that weren't enough, the lovely Piha Beach was nearby, which was also uncrowded and every bit as peaceful and as beautiful as its waterfalling neighbor.

What's more? The peaceful and picturesque Karekare Beach was also nearby. If you've seen the movie The Piano, it might look familiar to you. But it too had a waterfall surprise called Karekare Falls. It also happened to be the waterfall photographed in Sasha and Natarani's business card.

Sum it all up and I'd say the Waitakere Tears are those of joy. [read more]

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2007-04-24 07:41 - Featured Waterfall


Trident Creek Falls, New Zealand


"Trident Creek Falls," New Zealand

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2007-04-25 07:34 - Be Here By Morning...

You may have noticed that the 100% Pure New Zealand Campaign has launched television ads for the United States advocating that "you could be here [New Zealand] by morning..." The ad emphasizes nature while complementing it with a nice little soundtrack to get you in the mood to get over there. It certainly got Julie excited about it and it reminded me of how much I want to go back there.

However, one of the scenes in the commercial was of a stunning waterfall plunging right into the ocean!
Waterfall in the 100% New Zealand Campaign 'Be Here By Morning'
I'm not sure which waterfall it is as it appears to be inaccessible by land and only viewable by sea or by air. I'm wondering if any reader of this blog or any 100% Pure New Zealand campaigner who chances upon this blog entry might know which waterfall that was. If so, please let me know!

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2007-04-25 17:45 - A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls Named Finalist For Another Award

PubInsider.com, which runs this national book contest for Independent Publishers has recently named the winners and finalists for their National Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards. A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls was named amongst the finalists in the Travel Guide Category.

This further solidifies the legitimacy of the Story Nature Press themed guidebooks. If you'd like to know more about A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls click here.

Or, you can read more about the guide on the Story Nature Press website here.

There are two more guides planned for release either at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year.

Click on the following link to see the web page displaying their winners and finalists.
[read more]

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2007-04-27 06:36 - Waterfalls, Travel Blogs, and Other Attractions of American Southwest and Australia Updated

I'm currently in the middle of updating all bottom-tier pages (which includes waterfalls, travel blogs, and other attractions) for each region as well as featured articles. What I'm doing with these pages is making it easier for you to provide comments about the particular pages that have the "comments" link on them. Hopefully, this makes the website more user friendly and enjoyable.

So far, I've updated the American Southwest and Australia. I anticipate completing more regions this weekend.

Since the web host only lets you update only one page at a time, this is going to take quite a bit of time so the updates will come in a phased manner. Thus, you may see the pages of some regions behave slightly different than others. This will persist while I'm busy deploying this change.

Please let me know if you like (or didn't like) this development.

Happy waterfalling!

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2007-04-27 06:44 - Featured Waterfall


A Waterfall near Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


A Waterfall near Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

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2007-04-28 09:15 - Who Killed The Electric Car?

Just what exactly did happen to the Electric Car? Thanks to this very revealing documentary, we now know the truth and why everyone in the world should care. Done in a very tasteful and non-antagonistic way, you'll come out of this movie feeling very enlightened, empowered, and inspired to do something about our oil-junkie way of life. [read article]

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2007-04-29 09:34 - Waterfalls, Travel Blogs, and Other Attractions of Rest of Website Updated

I've just completed updating all bottom-tier pages (which includes waterfalls, travel blogs, and other attractions) for each region as well as featured articles. Now it's easier for you to provide comments about the particular pages that have the "comments" link on them. Hopefully, you'll find the website more user friendly and enjoyable.

The remaining regions, I've updated are

Happy waterfalling!

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2007-04-30 07:43 - Featured Waterfall


Haruru Falls, New Zealand


Haruru Falls, New Zealand

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