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100 Years Strong: Why Zion National Park Endures

Zion may be one of America’s smaller national parks, but it always ranks as one of the most popular. Suffice to say, it’s a park with a lot of layers. That starts with its iconic rock formations, geologic strata that consists mostly of Mesozoic-aged sedimentation dating back 150 million years. The park’s more recent history extends to its founding as Utah’s first national park in 1909. Having just marked the 100-year anniversary on November 19, 2019, those who love Zion are looking toward the next century to ensure it remains in pristine condition — functioning well to keep the small park open to all, amid added crowd pressure.

About that outsized popularity. Of the 60 designated national parks, Zion ranks fourth in visitation behind Great Smoky, Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain according to the NPS’s most recent numbers (from 2018, when Zion saw 4.3 million visitors). For park stakeholders, managing the volume of visitors requires a unique mix of proactivity and collaboration.

Zion busy
Yes Zion can be busy, but it is worth seeing. Photo: Courtesy of Katie Botwin. Katie Botwin

“In order to help 4.3 to 4.5 million people experience the park, it takes a lot of intentional management,” says Kacey Jones, Assistant Director of Development for the Zion National Park Forever Project. The management is unique insofar as it is partly supported by the Forever Project, which helps offset some funding for initiatives like free junior ranger booklets. More recently, the Zion Forever Project released a full-length film entitled, Where Forever is Now celebrating how protecting the park unites the consortium of communities, visitors, staff, volunteers and local area neighbors.

“Being asked to create this kind of film for, and on behalf of, the National Park Service was truly unique,” says Producer Shandi Kano. “And it was an honor that the purpose of our work was to help others feel a sense of responsibility to their public lands. Our mission was to let the land speak through the myriad of visitors who come to Zion, fall in love with it, and let it impact how they live.”

Heading into the Narrows
Zion National Park’s famed Narrows. Photo: Courtesy of Kate Botwin. Katie Botwin

And the land certainly still speaks volumes. The park’s loudest main attraction, of course, is Zion Canyon, which dons the iconic reddish Navajo Sandstone. Running 15 miles and home to the famed Narrows hike up the North Fork Virgin River, Zion Canyon is mainly accessed by shuttles filled with a variety of visitors — ranging from climbers with haul bags, elderly sightseers with binoculars who won’t leave the people-mover, to the day-hiking majority of users.

Appreciating the park’s enduring worthiness in spite of its popularity starts with knowing that there is more to Zion than the Narrows. Taking advantage of the off-season to avoid crowds is a start. Currently everything in the park is open for the “off season,” with the exception of a couple trails (Weeping Rock, East Rim to Observation Point, and Hidden Canyon) closed indefinitely due to rock fall, and the Lower Emerald Pools trail closed for maintenance (scheduled to reopen this spring). Beyond heading off the beaten path — apply for a backcountry permit to explore other stunning slot canyons, or enlist a guide for the day — another way to consider the park’s lasting impact is on the people who call the area home.

“I was not raised in an outdoor family,” says Jones. “I first visited Zion with my parents, it was back in the days when you could drive into the park, we rented an RV and when that door swung open and I saw the Great White Throne for the first time, it was such a powerful experience to me. Rhetoric aside, that’s the day I joined the public lands community.”

The word Zion is often used to characterize a sanctuary or physical location that connects “God” with humans. Anyone who’s been to Zion can attest it’s an accurate name for divine feelings evoked. Even for visiting atheists, the landscape’s aura and awe are undeniably powerful. Founders chose the name to appease groups opposed to the original Native American name of Mukuntuweap National Monument (used from 1909 – 1919).

Zion National Park
It is easy to find peace in Zion. Photo: Courtesy of Katie Botwin. Katie Botwin

“Zion is a place where I’ve had some of my life’s most intense, adventurous experiences … It truly is wild out there,” says Kano. “So when I think about what it meant to play a role in its preservation, I can’t help but feel a sense of community. Zion, like all our national parks, really does belong to each of us. It’s ours. And that means that all of us, whether we are the world’s most elite athletes, spending decades of our lives there, or a once-in-a-lifetime visitor just hoping to catch a glimpse of Zion’s otherworldly-ness, all have a responsibility to it.”

The film also touches on Zion’s infrastructure that was largely built thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps, part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which developed many of America’s other iconic national parks. Another “new deal” so to speak coincided with Zion’s 100th birthday (on Nov. 19, 2019), with the acquisition of private land that will make the Narrows permanently open (weather dependent).

Zion trails
These trails were built with love. Photo: Courtesy of Katie Botwin. Katie Botwin

“Spending more time in Zion than with our own families this last year really gave us perspective that I don’t think a lot of visitors have,” Kano says. “And that is, that it takes so much more — so much more than what meets the eye — to just keep the park open. And as we’ve seen a steady decline in government funding for the NPS, we got to see and experience first-hand the kind of work that the Zion Forever Project does in lieu of that. From re-building trails to paying to keep the park open during the government shutdown, it seems like basic everyday functions of a place like Zion rely on donations and funding to the nonprofit.

“As visitation continues to grow, not just to Zion but to all our public lands, this kind of nonprofit work will be crucial,” Kano adds, noting infrastructure-management challenges ahead, from natural and geological events to shifting political perceptions of the value of protected public lands. “It already is.”

The feature-length film is yet to be released to the public. However, a shorter version will be used as an orientation film shown in the Zion Human History Museum (March-Nov.) and in the Zion Canyon Visitor Center (Dec.-Feb.). The museum closes for the winter months.

Zion National Park
Zion is home to a vast variety of floral and fauna. Photo: Courtesy of Katie Botwin. Katie Botwin

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5 Simple Ways to Save Money on Travel

Does another slow day at the office have you scrolling through Instagram, daydreaming about a trip to Portugal or Japan? Though we can’t get you extra weeks of paid time off, we can at least offer a little extra cash. A handful of key cost-saving measures can help you save more funds toward that epic sailing adventure you’ve been lusting after for years. Apply a few of the following tips to turn those travel daydreams into reality.

Google Flights

Many big adventures (although not all of them, see below) start with a plane ticket to a destination overseas. A foreign language, unfamiliar territory, new smells, sights and foods can do wonders for mind and soul. Don’t get too over-eager to break the daily routine by paying full price for that ticket. Use Google Flights to search — not only for the best rate, but also to sign up for emails that notify you when fares for your particular route are likely to go up. Note: You can track domestic flights as well.

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Download Mint

There are now a ton of apps on the market to help with everything from drinking enough water to getting a date for Saturday night. It should come as no surprise that there’s an app to help you track your spending, budget your money, pay your bills on time and check your credit score. It’s called Mint and it’s available for both iOS and Android devices. Use technology to help you harness your spending power and ‘find’ a little extra money for that trip you’ve been promising yourself you’ll take when you finally ‘save up.’

Join a club

Delta SkyMiles and Southwest Rapid Rewards are a couple airline reward programs that rank highest in word-of-mouth satisfaction from seasoned travelers looking to save money. Both programs make it easy to convert your airline travel (as well as other select purchases) into free flights. If you’re going to be traveling by plane, there is no good reason not to take advantage of these programs. You can also sign up to earn points with Marriott Bonvoy, which is a loyalty program that gives you kickbacks on lodging such as free stays, members-only rates and free wifi. 

Get a discount with Airbnb 

Even travelers who frequent Airbnb might not know about the weekly or monthly discounts available. A quick search of the platform will show you the options — though not all hosts have discounts for longer stays. There’s no stronger argument for staying an extra few days (or weeks) than a discounted rate. Note: You have to enter dates in order to see the discount. Simply searching a city and its rental options won’t reveal the offers. 

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Track foreign exchange rates 

One other simple way to save more on travel is to head where the dollar is strong. Doing so means your money goes further so you can see, do and eat more, for less. In other words, the stronger your dollar in relation to another currency, the less you have to shell out. Check out this currency calculator before booking a trip to see what current rates are for the country that you’re considering traveling to. Our Canadian neighbors to the north are currently a good option as are Mexico, Vietnam and Hungary.

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Best Kingdom Hearts Games – Kingdom Hearts III ReMind DLC Details



Kingdom Hearts is a weird science experiment with a twisty plot and ridiculous narrative “dont’s,” and yet it remains my, and many others’, favorite game series. For all intents and purposes, these games shouldn’t work, and yet they’ve charmed a whole generation by cramming Final Fantasy into Disney fluff. Whether we all love Kingdom Hearts for the emotional, nostalgic storytelling, the fact that we’ve grown up with it, or because we like trying to explain the ass-backwards plot to no avail, one thing’s for sure: This franchise is an exception. With one of the most blindly devoted fan bases (I am damn well aware that this includes me), it’s one of few series that rarely catches hate from its own fans. Only love and praise.

With the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III ReMind DLC—which promises new worlds, Keyblades, playable characters, modes, and story updates, both through the $30 DLC and a free update—out January 23 for PS4 and February 25 for Xbox One, the fan forums are overflowing with hype. So we thought, there are a nice, crisp 10 games in the series (not counting the many re-rereleases and remakes), and that makes for a nice, clean listicle of the 10 best Kingdom Hearts titles of all time. Just base games released in the U.S., to clarify. Of course, the remastered and Final Mix versions are the definitive ways to play, so feel free to assume that’s the version we mean.

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10. Kingdom Hearts Re:coded

Released 2011; Nintendo DS

“Mickey, it’s Riku. They put bugs in him.” This is a quote from this game. I’m a diehard for the series, but this is the one game I played once and never really wanted to go back to. It was a lot of filler, which isn’t necessarily off-brand for Kingdom Hearts, but I mean, they released it on mobile phones in 2011, and it was just kinda boring, comparatively speaking. Not a terrible game, but it had some of the worst writing in the series. Skip it and read the Wiki if you’re just looking for the road to Kingdom Hearts III, but it’s worth playing if you’re a diehard like me.

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9. Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ

Released 2016; mobile

I played the shit out of this when it came out. It was a mobile game where you and your friends could make your own character. The story finally started to interact with the main series, but there was one huge issue. Microtransactions. You didn’t need to buy anything to play, and the story was pretty easy to get through on free-to-play, but there were a lot of the negative parts of the mobile game industry in this title. It was a fun one, a good time-killer, and great with some friends, but overall, χ was just an aftertaste of what we’ve come to appreciate about the series.

8. Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue

Released 2017; PS4

Fans love this “game.” I love this “game.” It’s a great “game.” So why is it ranked eighth? Because arguably, it’s not a game. It’s a really good, substance-heavy, three-to-five hour tech demo. It is so good I couldn’t leave it off the list, but in my right mind, it can’t go higher than the other full-fledged games with 30-to-80 hours of content. Playing as Aqua and experiencing the engine for Kingdom Hearts III, while getting some nice lore on how everything would connect, was wonderful. It also had some of the best boss battles and cutscenes in the series so far. If Nomura and friends ever wanted to build a full title out of this, I’d be all for it. But as it stands, it’s a glorified tech demo, in the best way.

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7. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Released 2012; Nintendo 3DS

This game gets a lot of hate—some deserved, and some because for some reason, when 2010 rolled around, the video game community and the Kingdom Hearts community all of the sudden decided they were gonna be hypercritical. It’s a solid game, with fun mechanics and a wonky story that felt like it was all going to be filler but actually featured some integral plot points. Dream Drop Distance brought the flomotion controls to the series as seen in Kingdom Hearts III, as well as smoother vertical platforming. It included characters from the absolutely phenomenal cult classic The World Ends With You, which was rad. DDD also showcased some of the coolest worlds in the series, including those based on Fantasia, The Three Musketeers, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and a return to a personal favorite, Traverse Town. While the writing was really not stellar here, the game gave Riku a lot of playtime, which is always a plus. The boss battles were awesome, and the way it helped fold together Xehanort’s “Master Plan” for Kingdom Hearts III was pretty goddamn cool. Admittedly, it plays much better on the PS4 than the 3DS, but that’s really no surprise.

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6. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Released 2009; Nintendo DS

This game is like subpar wine that somehow ages better and better over time. I was a fan of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days when it was released, but really enjoyed the titles starring Sora. Now, over a decade later, myself and much of the community have more appreciation for the story told in this title. Focused on the inner workings and politics of those black-coated nobodies, Organization XIII, you got deeper insight into Roxas and Axel’s friendship, and a character who defied all odds, Xion. Xion quite literally started out being vastly disregarded by the community, and now he is one of the most fleshed-out, heartstring-pulling figures in the series. This game got better as the full, convoluted story came together.

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5. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

Released 2004; Game Boy Advance

WTF, why are there cards in my action RPG? Nine-year-old me was so excited to get this game for Christmas, and then I had to put in so many painstaking hours to learn how to fight and play goddamn poker at the same time. This was one of those rare instances where a game completely changed its mechanics and stumbled upon something brilliant. I have never played a title quite like Chain of Memories since, well, Chain of Memories. Players built decks and strung together combos, micromanaging a number-based card battle. It was hard, but an absolute blast. I can’t honestly say I want Kingdom Hearts to take the series here again, but I would love some new spin-off titles. The game also set up the plot for Naminé, Castle Oblivion, and the Organization, making it a crucial title in the series, and one of the best story-driven games you could play on the Game Boy Advance.

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4. Kingdom Hearts

Released 2002; PS2

The game that started it all—a relic of simpler times and a whole lot of sloppy retcon. “There can only be one Keyblade wielder,” it promised. Yeah, well, there are like 45 now and counting. Hell, I don’t know why they haven’t just given Goofy a fucking Keyblade yet. But that’s beside the point. This fever dream of a game felt like it marked a point where our timeline broke off from the others, and if string theory is true, I’m convinced we’re inhabiting the only timeline that has Kingdom Hearts. The idea that Final Fantasy and Disney could come together to make a semi-edgy story with inventive worlds, both original and Disney-based, and allow so many crossovers to happen, was unheard of, but nevertheless absolutely amazing. The first title gave us a new way of playing action RPGs, and everything hit just right (at the time), from the music to the graphics. I liked this game so much that I would constantly play through the beginning with my brother, over and over again, since we didn’t have a memory card to save. This is the title that started my blind obsession and the never-ending ordeal of trying to explain the twisty plot to my poor parents, who had to endure that shit for years. The first Kingdom Hearts opened a lot of our eyes to narrative gaming, and it remains a classic.

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3. Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep

Released 2010; PSP

This is one of my most replayed titles in the series: three characters, three stories, and hands-down the darkest and most upsetting narrative of the series. Birth By Sleep takes place when Xehanort (the Big Bad) first puts his master plan into motion. Following Aqua, Terra, and Ventus, three younger Keyblade wielders, it tied up a lot of questions about the past and helped clarify some stuff for future games. Birth By Sleep showed the darker points of the series and, more importantly, revealed the true villain in a badass way. It helped develop the signature combo command system seen in the newer titles, along with some other great quality of life changes. Birth by Sleep also brought some fantastic modes, like online multiplayer with the mirage arena. It remains one of the most well-constructed titles in the series and really helped steer the narrative towards what we see now.

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2. Kingdom Hearts III

Released 2019; PS4 and Xbox One

There are a lot of strong feelings about Kingdom Hearts III; that’s what happens when longtime fans are given nearly 15 years to wait—and theorize—between main franchise installment. To be completely honest, even with all the great 2019 games, this is the one that brought me the most joy. Whether that was because a young man’s dreams finally came true, or because I got to play while my brother watched and asked questions about the incoherent plot, just like old times, or the fact that it is genuinely a well-made and extremely polished game, I’m not sure, but I dig it. Kingdom Hearts III has some of the best combat in the series, even if it’s riddled with attraction commands. There are enough reunions that fans had been waiting to see for years that it is nearly impossible not to get the warm fuzzies. The story also feels like a satisfying end for Sora, with fingers crossed that the ReMind DLC will create a more satisfying finale for all the Keyblade crew. I know it has its problems, but so does the entirety of Kingdom Hearts, and we’re supposed to be the one fan base that ignores silly things like plot holes for the greater cause.

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1. Kingdom Hearts II

Released 2005; PS2

This game fucking ruled. It did all of it right. The plot started to get convoluted, but still hadn’t completely gone off the deep end. The worlds all felt new. It added forms, Keyblades, and thrilling battles, from fighting with Cloud Strife, Leon, and Tifa to taking on the 1000 Heartless. It revealed Roxas and more about the Organization, all bundled in phenomenal gameplay. It was a truly complete title. With the game consistently getting delayed, this was 10-year-old Cam’s first major test in patience, but that made it so much sweeter when it finally came out. The memories I have of playing this game with my grade school and middle school friends are fantastic, and they prove how Kingdom Hearts swept my generation up in its charm and remarkably in-depth yet kid-friendly story. Kingdom Hearts II feels like the purest form of Kingdom Hearts that you can find to this day, and it remains one of the most replayed titles in the series for a reason.

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How to Fit and Load a Backpack for a Pain-Free Hike

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5 Classic Multi-Pitch Climbs for Beginners

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6 National Parks With the Best Water Adventures, From Kayaking to Diving

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Last Prisoner Project Is Working With Cannabis Industry to Free Incarcerated People



She’s a white weed bitch. She listens to Snoop Dogg half-ironically while zoning out in Whoopi Goldberg’s THC/CBD-infused menstrual soak, and she would never attend Coachella without a glimmering gold Firefly vape in hand (or fanny pack). She got into CBD briefly, when everyone else did, but now has reverted back to the hard stuff. She’s never been punished for smoking pot, unless you count that one time her mom found her stash and grounded her. And he, his pockets lined with capital rich for the investing, is seeking a new opportunity in the burgeoning legal cannabis market, where he recognizes a gold mine when he sees it. She’s going to buy what his money funds, at a California dispensary perhaps, or at whatever retail system Illinois cooks up. No one above the law will bat an eye. But outside this sparkling clean weed bubble are people still stuck below the law, sitting in prison for nonviolent offenses that are no longer illegal. They can’t make money off this new legal market. They can’t even go home. Cannabis, for all its promise in America, has never been the cause of more inequality.

The transfer of money: That’s what it took for Eric Rachmany, front man of the reggae band Rebelution, to start to feel angry about weed. Not angry like that weed bitch’s mom. He’d been smoking the stuff since he was a teen in San Francisco, when listening to the reggae greats showed him that marijuana didn’t send you barreling down the road to destruction. It could, he found, be a spiritual tool to achieve a higher level of consciousness, a stronger connection to the earth, and also a damn good cure for what ailed him. Angry because it was his band’s success that made selling marijuana products under the Rebelution name a possibility at all, which prompted him to face an uncomfortable truth.


Eric Rachmany donated tour profits to Last Prisoner Project.

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Today, Rachmany and his band are profiting off the legal marijuana industry when not 10 years ago, that would’ve been called drug dealing, and it could’ve landed them in jail. “It makes me angry thinking that there are people locked away for cannabis offenses, nonviolent cannabis offenses,” Rachmany told me this fall. “But instead of just being angry, I think the best way to go about this is to raise funds for these people that need to get out of prison.” Enter Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit organization founded by Steve DeAngelo, the so-called “father” of the cannabis industry and founder of several cannabis businesses, his brother Andrew DeAngelo, and Dean Raise, aiming to advocate for the freedom of these prisoners. Rachmany eagerly joined its board as an advisor, along with other marijuana-adjacent celebrities like Stephen and Damian Marley, as well as ambassadors like Melissa Etheridge and Willie Nelson, all who have their own cannabis projects.

Last Prisoner Project emerged from a kind of ugliness of the cannabis industry: Depending on which state and which year (as well as what color your skin is, in many cases) you ate an edible, lit a blunt, or hit a bong, doing that exact thing could give you a jail sentence or be a complete nonissue. At this writing, as legalization criss-crosses the country, thousands sit in jail cells for nonviolent marijuana offenses, some even for life sentences, because they bought or sold the stuff, transported it across state lines, or possessed it before legalization.

So, yes, it’s a very uncomfortable reality, but it’s also repairable to an extent. Last Prisoner Project’s goal—to free all of these nonviolent offenders, which is estimated to be at least 40,000 across the U.S. (the exact number is difficult to pin down)—will help cut deep into the system, if successful. And it’ll do it by using resources already embedded in that system, from celebrities to industry leaders to ex-cons to cannabis-using laymen like you, me, cool moms in Colorado, curious dads in Michigan, and that weed bitch in California.

Weed is a booming industry in the United States. It’s attracting Wall Street financiers and celebrity star power. Dispensaries look like Apple stores, while cannabis companies build twee little websites that urge consumers to forget marijuana’s formerly dingy, unlawful vibes. Former House Speaker and anti-weed politician John Boehner became a marijuana pitchman when a potential $20 million paycheck was on the line. In the House, a bill to decriminalize marijuana federally and expunge records of marijuana convictions made it past an important committee vote in late 2019. In more states that have actually legalized recreational weed, many criminal records have been or will be expunged. But before decriminalization started kicking in, American law enforcement was rounding up marijuana growers and users, and historically far more from minority groups, and slapping them with criminal charges.

It’s an unfairness that hit home for DeAngelo one afternoon in a meeting with bankers and brokers as they prepared to expand into California’s new legal market. In a tall office building with beautiful views, he and these other powerful people made their business projections for the next couple of years, talking “literally tons and tons of cannabis being cultivated,” DeAngelo recalls, “and very large amounts of money attached to that.” Not long after, DeAngelo says, he got a call from his buddy Chuck Cox, from a correctional facility in Pennsylvania where Cox was serving a four-year sentence for transporting 14 pounds of cannabis.


Steve DeAngelo co-founded Last Prisoner Project.


“I was just struck by the disparity of sitting at the table with people, and we were talking about tons of legal cannabis, and nobody at that table had the slightest fear of any kind of legal intervention,” he says. “Meanwhile, my friend Chuck is sitting in prison behind bars for a very, very tiny fraction of the amount of cannabis that we were talking about.”

DeAngelo’s sense of activism had come from his first cannabis, ingested at age 13 to life-changing effect, and the resulting realization that with the way things were, if he wanted cannabis in his future in any sort of way, he’d have to choose to live a criminal life, which he wasn’t too keen on. He has since been arrested a few times, though his jail time wasn’t more than a year of his life—“but I’ve had that experience of hearing that barred door lock behind you and being in that confined space and being taken away from your loved ones,” he says.

DeAngelo was also embedded in the cannabis community early on, where grassroots organizing at the hands of people with little to no entrepreneurial power or privilege was bound to rub off. As such, Last Prisoner Project’s mission statement echoes decades of activism focused on criminal justice, legalization, and racial inequality, and shares goals a handful of other like-minded groups that straddle the business and prisoner-advocacy spheres, like Cage-Free Cannabis and Freedom Grow. In the retail sphere on its own, Seth Rogen’s new cannabis brand Houseplant is partnered with Cannabis Amnesty in Canada, while Think BIG, the cannabis company started by CJ Wallace, The Notorious B.I.G.’s son, supports California’s Prison Arts Project and NORML. The MedMen dispensary chain partnered with Jesse Williams and Spike Jonze last year to put out a commercial drawing attention to racial injustices. So the Green Boom has a philanthropic shadow, but still, the legal industry is just too new, too buzzy for some folks to be well versed on the darker issues.

“We were talking about tons of legal cannabis, and nobody at that table had the slightest fear of any kind of legal intervention.”

As we try to catch up, Last Prisoner Project officially launched with DeAngelo, current and former marijuana prisoners, lawyers, CEOs, and celebs at its helm in September with a many-many-pronged approach, but one that mostly wants to ensure the legal weed industry “actually serves the interests of people who have a relationship with this plant,” he says. That is, not just hedge fund investors and wealthy entrepreneurs swooping into to legal states to chase the next wellness trend.

Thing is, some of those people still need to get out of jail. The steps Last Prisoner Project has taken to that end so far include, but are not limited to (and pardon the laundry list): partnering with national criminal defense organizations to create and staff a clemency program to secure pardons for prisoners across the country; getting the medical marijuana company Harvest Health & Recreation to sponsor a reentry program into the cannabis industry for released prisoners; creating a Partners for Freedom program for consumer-facing cannabis companies in which they funnel funds to Last Prisoner Project in exchange for a Last Prisoner Project stamp of approval on their products; and locking down a list of major cannabis company donors and partnering with institutions like High Times.

Last Prisoner Project isn’t the first group to try to get nonviolent offenders free, but it’s probably the most connected, thanks to DeAngelo, with a plan that asks—and so far, successfully—for the support of growers, manufacturers, companies big and small, dispensaries, lawyers, nonprofits, consumers, and more. “I felt it was really, given that position that I had, it was my obligation to do that,” DeAngelo says.


Damian Marley joined Last Prisoner Project as an advisor.

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Celeb advocacy from the likes of Rachmany, Willie and Lukas Nelson, not to mention Jim Belushi, Talib Kweli, Redman, Susan Sarandon, and Doug Benson, is intended to actually help prisoners (many of whom went to jail before celebrity strains of cannabis were even a thing). Damian Marley, the youngest son of Bob Marley and a four-time Grammy-winning reggae artist, is another such celebrity. His family sells cannabis through its company Marley Natural, among other cannabis-related ventures, plus a Marley musical legacy built around the culture of cannabis and the rights of people who smoke it. Business and artistry aside though, he says his criminal justice advocacy is built on the Rasta belief in marijuana as a spiritual sacrament. “I would be involved in it if I was a carpenter,” he says.

As an advisor for Last Prisoner Project with his half-brother and sometimes musical collaborator Stephen, Marley considers it is his responsibility to be a voice on behalf of the prisoners, to talk to journalists like me, so he can educate voters in the U.S. (cannabis consumers or otherwise) on the issue who can then demand action from their representatives.

“I think they’re becoming aware,” he says of the voting public. “I think there’s much more awareness now than there was definitely 10 years ago, but there’s still more work to be done.”

For his part, Rachmany went on tour last month doing 12 acoustic sets of Rebelution’s greatest hits for the biggest fans—“It’s just a big singalong,” he says—with all of the money made going to Last Prisoner Project. “It feels good to give back,” he continues. “And I think that the listeners, the fans, are all very supportive of this venture in getting these prisoners out.”


Willie Nelson voiced support for Last Prisoner Project.

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There’s a heap of irony in relying on rich people—actors, musicians, business leaders—to fix systematic inequality. But when the alternatives here are pretty much limited to traveling back in time to the ’70s to knee-cap the War on Drugs before it could get going, it’s somewhat hard to see a downside. Justice systems will save money and resources. Celebrities get to spread positive vibes. Cannabis companies get good PR, no doubt about it, but not for free. Marijuana users can pinpoint companies doing good by prisoners with Last Prisoner Project through seals on products, social media, and more, and buy their marijuana accordingly. And fundamentally, former prisoners can have their records expunged, their lives restarted as best they possibly can be after years-long detours through the American legal system. It’s not like politicians alone, at least the ones we’re stuck with, could get that done.

The industry is ready to put money where its guilt is. “It’s a groundswell,” DeAngelo says. “People are realizing that you don’t keep on punishing people for something that’s not a crime anymore.”

Is Last Prisoner Project able to free 40,000, or more? Marley thinks so. As a kid, he never thought he’s see the day that he could walk into a store in California or Jamaica and buy marijuana, after all. “There’s nothing daunting,” he says. “If we reached that far then, would you say that? No, no. Anything is possible. People make the world go around. People make the decisions that got these guys locked up in the first place, so people can make a decision to let them out.”

Correction: The previous version of this article mistakenly identified Willie Nelson and Melissa Etheridge as “advisors.”

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How to Prevent (and Properly Treat) Hypothermia in the Backcountry

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Why Mallorca is Europe’s Overlooked Adventure Destination

For many travelers, the idea of escaping to an idyllic island setting is the perfect getaway. It represents the right recipe for rest and relaxation: the warm sun radiating off a white-sand beach tuned to lapping waves that lull weary bodies to sleep, cool drinks in hand. For many adventurers, however, more than a day or two spent horizontal quickly yields to serious cabin fever, even if on a beach. To scratch that restless itch, many will opt for a well-known thrill-seeking destination like New Zealand or the surf-friendly islands of the South Pacific. Or closer still, the Hawaiian islands have always offered an active playground with warm water and world-class hiking, though even some of Hawaii’s most remote reaches have been cataloged and geotagged — begging for a return to the expired ‘three’s a crowd’ mantra.

Europeans are lucky with their close proximity to boundless archipelagos and islands, like Andros in Greece, serving as a heralded hiking destination. Sweden’s coastline shares a similar draw for sailors and kayakers. But just off the coast of Spain, the island of Mallorca is one of the best places to double-dip on plentiful choices for adrenaline junkies and the optional lazy beach day.

Cycling near Alcudia, Mallorca, Spain Shutterstock – kovop58


Though geographically, the Balearic island of Mallorca is a bit higher in latitude than Southern California, it shares a nearly identical Mediterranean climate, where both coastal locations boast over 300 days of sun per year. The clear and typically warm weather, along with endless windy roads, makes Mallorca a mecca for cyclists.

Narrow roads climb from sea level to ragged mountaintops dwarfing the drove of riders of all levels who come here every year. The Cap of Formentor is probably the most well-known route beginning at the northern town of Port de Pollensa and ending at a lighthouse. During the summer months, you’ll have the roads to yourself and won’t have to share them with any motor vehicles; they are banned over the months of July and August. Professional cycling teams also train on Mallorca and frequent the longer hauls like the 68-mile west coast road that climbs a grueling 8,270 feet over the highest point on the island. The route threads together some of the most charming towns, which all cater to the desires of the two-wheel variety. In fact, you can find accommodations and shops all over the island specifically tailored to the needs of the 150,000 riders who visit every year.

Expansive views of the mountains near Andratx (Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca) Shutterstock / Daniskim


The limestone mountains, Roman ruins and medieval villages make Mallorca one of the best islands to explore on foot. In fact, you can even spend a day in towns like Deià, which offer steep climbs from the sea to spectacular views in just about every direction. Along the way, the locals are warm, welcoming and willing to point you to the right trails, tapas or a delicious glass of Spanish wine. As it does with cycling, the island of Mallorca offers trails for every level, and you can’t go wrong whatever waypoint you pick — just remember that the more popular trails are packed with tourists in later summer months.

Avoid that chaos on trails to the ruins of the castle of Alaro, or scramble through deep slot canyons in the Torrent de Pareis Gorge. Hikers can also go the distance and hoof it 104 miles along the GR221 Dry Stone route that stitches together eight stages of ancient pathways and unmarked private property that is best trekked under the watchful eye of a guide.

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The deep-water solo climbing that’s made Mallorca famous. Shutterstock / Andrii-Vandych

Rock Climbing

Hiking isn’t the only way to get better acquainted with the magic of Mallorca’s terra firma. The island is known as one of Europe’s prime climbing destinations, mainly due to the abundance of natural limestone crags concentrated in relative close proximity to each other.

Right outside of Palma where you’re likely to land, there are over 17 spots to wield a rope and chalk bag with over 660-plus routes. It’s also a magnet for deep-water soloing, a white-knuckle method of climbing that relies on the ocean below to break your fall if your grip slips.

SUP paddlers and sea kayakers exploring Mallorca’s unique geological formations from the water. Shutterstock / Marina-Kryuchina

Ocean Paddling

Like many European islands, Mallorca is proud of its seafaring roots. Case in point: the tiny village of Valldemossa, that looks like the setting for a swashbuckling scene straight out of a pirate movie. Sea caves are also abundant, adding to the island’s allure with a number of outfitters offering kayak or standup paddleboard ocean tours to explore the unique formations, plus a number of other remote beaches only accessible from watercraft.

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5 Things Colin O’Brady Learned on “The Impossible Row” to Antarctica

Colin O’Brady is the kind of guy who makes you to want to throw out your couch. He recovered from a debilitating burn injury by winning a triathlon and summited the 50 High Points in the U.S. in record time — just for kicks. Did we mention the Explorer’s Grand Slam? (That’s climbing the tallest mountain on each continent plus trips to both poles.) You likely know O’Brady as the first human to solo trek 932 miles across Antarctica unsupported in 2018, in what was known as “The Impossible First.

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The Impossible Row crew, left to right: Colin O’Brady, Andrew Towne, Captain Fiann Paul, Jamie Douglas-Hamilton, John Petersen and Cameron Bellamy. Photo courtesy Discovery. Discovery

While most of us would never want to see that frozen continent again, O’Brady decided to revisit it in December. This time, however, it was a team venture. Rounding up a bunch of similarly insane trip-mates, the crew of six rowed from the southern tip of South America to Antarctica, powering a 25-foot custom vessel continuously around the clock as they rotated between rowing shifts and rest in a tiny cabin. The crew — captained by Fiann Paul, a decorated world record-holder in his own right, having rowed all five of Earth’s oceans — completed the harrowing 600-mile journey across the Drake Passage in 12 days. The unsupported world’s first, crossing the passage entirely by human power, was a fiercely demanding voyage that combined physical and mental strength (as well as the ability to get along with five other dudes sitting in your lap for almost two weeks).

Here are five lessons Brady learned from The Impossible Row:

I’d never rowed before. I only started rowing in August and the Impossible Row was in mid-December. I went out in a single skull with the guidance of a rowing coach in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. He taught me the basic mechanics. I fell out of the rowboat a couple of times. (laughs)

One of the curiosities after coming off my crossing of Antarctica was the ability to grow to whatever we want to be. I think it’s a willingness to put myself into a beginner’s mind, to say, ‘Yeah, I may hold these world records, but it’s kind of fun to start at the very beginning with something and try to acquire the skill as fast as possible.’

When you’re in the Atlantic or Pacific, you have dominant trade winds and currents. But with the Drake Passage, all bets are off. There’s no way to know what direction the wind and swell are going to come from, what’s going to kick up where, when and how quickly it will change. There were a couple of times we thought we were hitting our flow, and within a matter of hours, the wind is completely against us with 40-foot swells smashing over the boat.


The Drake Passage. Photo courtesy Discovery. Discovery

We would row in 90-minute shifts. A couple of times the storms were so bad that we couldn’t row. We’d have to smash into these cabins, literally on top of each other. When teams are firing on all cylinders, it’s incredible. But we’ve all experienced in school, sports or careers, when a team is not on the same page, it falls apart really quickly.

We finally arrived in Antarctica after two weeks, so excited to jump onto dry land. And we all basically fell right onto the ground. We’re stumbling around like we all just drank 20 beers. It’s one thing to be seasick but our bodies had adjusted to being on the rowboat. So the six of us are celebrating, all tripping over our own feet.

Cruising into Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Discovery. Discovery

On my solo crossing, there was no wildlife at all. But in the Drake Passage, particularly when you get close to the Antarctic Peninsula, the wildlife is just thriving. You’re seeing penguins and albatross just a few feet from the boat and that’s awesome. But let me tell you that when a humpback whale breaches 10 feet away from your rowboat that’s only 29 feet long, it’s also pretty terrifying. I was constantly in awe of the wildlife, but also just felt so small.

Check out Brady’s book to learn more about The Impossible First, as well as 29029, Brady’s U.S. event-challenge series designed to inspire endurance athletes to climb the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest.


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