The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia and Tonga; because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal and plant life; the country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington. Sometime between 1250 and 1300, Polynesians settled in the islands that were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands.
In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a dominion. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.9 million is of European descent. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration; the official languages are English, Māori, NZ Sign Language, with English being dominant. A developed country, New Zealand ranks in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy; the service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, agriculture. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; the Realm of New Zealand includes Tokelau. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ASEAN Plus Six, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and named it Staten Land "in honour of the States General", he wrote, "it is possible that this land joins to the Staten Land but it is uncertain", referring to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America, discovered by Jacob Le Maire in 1616. In 1645, Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand. Aotearoa is the current Māori name for New Zealand.
It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans, with Aotearoa referring to just the North Island. Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui for the North Island and Te Waipounamu or Te Waka o Aoraki for the South Island. Early European maps labelled the islands North and South. In 1830, maps began to use North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907 this was the accepted norm; the New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, names and alternative names were formalised in 2013. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, South Island or Te Waipounamu. For each island, either its English or Māori name can be used. New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.
Over the centuries that followed, these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi and hapū who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to Rēkohu, now known as the Chatham Islands, where they developed their distinct Moriori culture; the Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862 because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases contributed. In 1862 only 101 survived, the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933; the first Europeans known to have reached New Zeala
A wilderness hut, backcountry hut, or backcountry shelter is a rent-free, simple shelter or hut for temporary accommodation located in wilderness areas, national parks and along backpacking and hiking routes. They are found in many parts of the world, such as Finland, Sweden and northern Russia, New Zealand and the United States. Huts range from being basic and unmanned, without running water, to furnished and permanently attended. Remote huts sometimes contain emergency food supplies. Similar shelters can be found in remote areas of the Alps. In order to complete some tours, it is necessary to spend the night in such shelters. Though Biwakschachteln are tended to by the Alpine Clubs, they differ markedly from the more accessible mountain huts, which are actual houses suitable for permanent use. Unlike mountain huts, they do not have a permanent resident who tends to the building and sells food to mountaineers. In general, these huts do not have regular maintenance schedules nor paid maintenance staff.
Unofficial rules for use have arisen. Visitors are expected to leave the hut. Fires should never be left unattended, if the firewood supply is used up, the visitors should replace it; some areas are designated fuel stove only, because cooking on a fuel stove can reduce the use of firewood. Some huts contain emergency food stores like canned food and bottled water, meant to consumed in urgent situations. No toilet facilities are present, the general rule requires that toilet waste should be buried away from the nearest watercourse or the hut. No running water is available in the huts, it is recommended when using water from a stream, that the water should be boiled for at least five minutes because of the potential danger of gastroenteritis and giardia. Detergents and soap can harm aquatic life, waterways are damaged; when leaving the hut, visitors are expected to leave it clean and secure, with the fire out, the doors and windows securely closed. Escaping fires can damage the environment. Rubbish should not be buried.
Rubbish like cans, plastic bottles or broken glass are dug out by native animals and may harm them. All waste should be disposed of by taking it away for proper disposal. Rules can differ between Europe, Australia and US. Official wilderness huts are maintained by Metsähallitus, the Finnish state-owned forest management company. Most of the wilderness huts in Finland are situated in the northern and eastern parts of the country, their size can vary greatly: the Lahtinen cottage in the Muotkatunturi Wilderness Area can hold two people, whereas the Luirojärvi cottage in the Urho Kekkonen National Park can hold as many as 16. A wilderness hut need not be reserved beforehand, they are open for everyone tracking by foot, ski or similar means. Commercial stays overnight are prohibited in the wilderness huts owned by Metsähallitus. Unofficial and unmaintained huts exist. For centuries the vast wildernesses of Finland and its resources were divided amongst the Finnish agricultural societies for the purpose of collecting resources.
Areas divided in this way were called erämaa "portion-land,". People from agricultural societies made trips to their erämaas in the summer to trap animals for fur but to hunt game and collect taxes from the local hunter-fisher population. Huts were built in the wilderness for use as base camps for fishermen. Non-agricultural Sami people built huts to help them manage reindeer; the earliest huts were only allowed to be used by people from the communities. Outsiders were not allowed to use the resources of other communities' erämaas. Huts that were free for everyone were first seen in late 18th century Finland, when dwelling places were built along walking routes for passers-by. In the 19th century the authorities started building these huts. In the 20th century they started to be built for travellers. New Zealand has a network of 950 backcountry huts; the huts are maintained by the Department of Conservation, although some of the huts have been adopted and maintained by local hiking and hunting clubs by arrangement.
There are unofficial and owned huts in some places. They vary from small bivouac shelters made of wood to large modern huts that can sleep up to 40 people, with separate cooking areas and gas; some huts were commissioned or built by clubs along walked routes, both for safety reasons as appropriate, sometimes for convenience. The network of back-country huts in New Zealand was extended in the mid-20th-century, when many more were built to serve the deer cullers of the New Zealand Forest Service. Most larger and more modern huts, like some found on the Great Walks, have been purpose designed and built to serve trampers. Many of New Zealand's back-country huts are remote and visited, it is common for recreational trampers to design trips with the idea of reaching and visiting specific huts; some people keep count of which huts they have visited, a practice, informally referred to as hut bagging. Back-country huts in New Zealand were free to use until the early 1990s, when the New Zealand Department of Conservation began charging for their use.
For most back-country huts, nightly hut tickets are purchased via an honesty system by people who use the huts, with an additional option of purchasing an annual pass for people who use huts frequently. Huts on frequen
Backcountry skiing called off-piste or out-of-area, is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas either inside or outside a ski resort's boundaries. This contrasts with alpine skiing, done on groomed trails benefiting from a ski patrol. Unlike ski touring, backcountry skiing can include the use of ski lifts including snowcats and helicopters. Recent improvements in equipment have increased the popularity of the sport; the terms "backcountry" and "off-piste" refer to where the skiing is being done, while terms like ski touring, ski mountaineering, telemark and extreme skiing describe what type of skiing is being done. Terms for backcountry skiing exist according to how the terrain is accessed, how close it is to services. Backcountry can include the following: Frontcountry: off-trail within ski area boundaries where ski lifts and emergency services are close at hand. Slackcountry: terrain outside of the ski area boundary, accessed from a lift without having to use skins or bootpack.
This includes area with access back to the lift as well. For purists, this could include where people use a car as a shuttle. Sidecountry: terrain outside marked ski area boundaries yet accessible via ski lift. Sidecountry requires the skier to hike, skin, or climb within ski area boundaries to reach or return from the sidecountry area, or both. Backcountry: skiing in remote areas not within ski area boundaries. Backcountry and off-piste skiing can be hazardous due to avalanche, weather, rock fall, tree wells. Avalanches result in about one fatality per month in the United States. Backcountry skiers following best practices carry avalanche transceivers and probes to perform avalanche rescues. In recent years training courses on how to use these tools and how to assess the risk of avalanches have become commonplace in North America. In Europe and Canada off-piste skiing is permitted at ski resorts. In the United States off-piste skiing may not be. Many ski resorts prohibit it outright and some post warning signs that skiers are leaving the patrolled ski area boundaries.
Haute Route Avalanche Rescue Ski Mountaineering
Backcountry is a 2014 Canadian nature–survival horror film and directed by Adam MacDonald. It is loosely based on the true story of a man-eating bear and 30-year-olds Mark Jordan and Jacqueline Perry, in the back country of Missinaibi Lake Provincial Park, North of Chapleau, Ontario in 2005, events for which Mark received the Star of Courage award from Governor General Michaëlle Jean. Theatrical release was scheduled for August 14, 2015. Alex and Jenn are shown driving from the city towards the country in their SUV. Jenn is seen on her BlackBerry phone, which Alex doesn't like, they arrive at the visitor center and are greeted by the park ranger, who warns them about trail closures and late season remoteness. Alex refuses to take a map and excuses himself, confident that he knows the park well because he has visited multiple times. Before heading out in a canoe, Alex takes Jenn's cell phone and puts it in the car without her knowing because he's sure she'll be on it the whole time. After a canoe hike, Alex stubbs his big toe while flipping the canoe.
As they hike, he does not tell Jenn. He plans to lead her to a lake, they believe they have reached it, climb to the top of the peak. However, when they summit, they see no lake, only miles of forest. At this point it becomes clear that they are lost, with no cell phone. Jenn is infuriated and yells at Alex, calling him a loser amongst other things and demanding to know why he insisted on leading her so deep into the woods, he responds. The two make camp, Alex fixes his broken toenail, unknowingly creating the scent of blood in the immediate area. Jenn apologizes for her outburst, Alex passive-aggressively tells Jenn that, if that's how she feels about him, he's dumping her; the couple are startled by an odd noise from the nearby blackened woods, prompting Alex to yell and scare the animal away. In the pre-dawn hours, the pair sniffs their tent; that morning, they find that all of their food has been eaten and destroyed. Not only lost, with no means of communication, but now with no food, matters are made worse when they spot a bear bed.
Realizing the danger at their tent door, they try to hike as far as possible before dark, camp for the night. Come morning, danger catches up with them: Alex unzips the tent to find a black bear 50 yards from them; the bear charges straight into the tent. He is mauled before the bear drags him out and starts to eat him alive. Seeing Alex beneath the bear, his body ripped open, Jenn finds herself fleeing for her life; when she spots the bear stalking her, she attempts to climb down a waterfall, only to slip and break her leg in the process. Improvising a makeshift splint, she stumbles through the woods until, she reaches their canoe. Despite her pain and exhaustion, Jenn manages to paddle back to the lodge. Missy Peregrym as Jenn Jeff Roop as Alex Eric Balfour as Brad Nicholas Campbell as the Ranger Casting began in October 2013 with Missy Peregrym, Eric Balfour, Nicholas Campbell and Jeff Roop being named for the script; the movie was filmed in Ontario as well as Caddy Lake, Manitoba. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2014.
D Films acquired 25% of the film's ownership and the Canadian distribution rights while Uwe Boll's Event Film Distribution bought another 25% ownership and the non-Canadian distribution rights, the latter of which they sold to independent distributors. Event Film sold the US distribution rights to IFC Midnight after a bidding war with Orion Pictures, Blumhouse Tilt, Open Road Films. Backcountry received moderate to positive reviews, it holds an 88%, "Certified Fresh", rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 42 reviews, with the critical consensus stating "Tense, well-acted, at once atmospheric as well as brutally impactful." It has a 62% rating on Metacritic based on 13 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Backcountry on IMDb Backcountry at Rotten Tomatoes Backcountry at Metacritic
National parks of New Zealand
The national parks of New Zealand are protected areas administered by the Department of Conservation. Although the national parks contain some of New Zealand's most beautiful scenery, the first few established were all focused on mountain scenery. Since the 1980s the focus has been on developing a more diverse representation of New Zealand landscapes; the parks are all culturally significant and many contain historic features. Tongariro National Park is one of the World Heritage Sites that are of both cultural and natural significance, while four of the South Island national parks form Te Wahipounamu, another World Heritage Site. There are 13 national parks; the national parks are administered by the Department of Conservation "for the benefit and enjoyment of the public". They are popular tourist destinations, with three-tenths of overseas tourists visiting at least one national park during their stay in New Zealand; the National Parks Act of 1980 was established in order to codify the purpose and selection of national parks.
It begins by establishing the definition of a national park: It is hereby declared that the provisions of this Act shall have effect for the purpose of preserving in perpetuity as national parks, for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit and enjoyment of the public, areas of New Zealand that contain scenery of such distinctive quality, ecological systems, or natural features so beautiful, unique, or scientifically important that their preservation is in the national interest. The National Parks Act goes on to state that the public will have freedom of entry and access to the parks, though this is subject to restrictions to ensure the preservation of native plants and animals and the welfare of the parks in general. Access to specially protected areas constituted under the act. Under the Act, national parks are to be maintained in their natural state as far as possible to retain their value as soil and forest conservation areas. Native plants and animals are to be preserved and introduced plants and animals removed if their presence interferes with the natural wildlife.
Development in wilderness areas established under the act is restricted to foot tracks and huts used for wild animal control or scientific research. The Act allows the Department of Conservation to provide hostels, camping grounds, ski tows and similar facilities, parking areas and tracks within the parks. In addition to these, the department provides some accommodation and other services at entry points to the parks, but these are offered by other government agencies, voluntary organisations and private firms. More comprehensive services within the parks, such as guided walks and skiing tutorials, are provided with concessions from the department; this table lists former national parks from north to south. * – World Heritage Site or part thereof
Shrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community characterised by vegetation dominated by shrubs also including grasses and geophytes. Shrubland may either occur or be the result of human activity, it may be the mature vegetation type in a particular region and remain stable over time, or a transitional community that occurs temporarily as the result of a disturbance, such as fire. A stable state may be maintained by regular natural disturbance such as browsing. Shrubland may be unsuitable for human habitation because of the danger of fire; the term "shrubland" was coined in 1903. Shrubland species show a wide range of adaptations to fire, such as heavy seed production and fire-induced germination. In botany and ecology a shrub is defined as a much-branched woody plant less than 8 m high and with many stems. Tall shrubs are 2–8 m high, small shrubs 1–2 m high and subshrubs less than 1 m high. A descriptive system adopted in Australia to describe different types of vegetation is based on structural characteristics based on plant life-form, plus the height and foliage cover of the tallest stratum or dominant species.
For shrubs 2–8 m high the following structural forms result: dense foliage cover — closed-scrub mid-dense foliage cover — open- sparse foliage cover — tall open shrublandFor shrubs <2 m high the following structural forms result: dense foliage cover — closed-heath mid-dense foliage cover — open-heath sparse foliage cover — low shrubland sparse foliage cover — low open shrubland Similarly, shrubland is a category used to describe a type of biome plant group. In this context, shrublands are dense thickets of evergreen sclerophyll shrubs and small trees, called: Chaparral in California Matorral in Chile and Spain Maquis in France and elsewhere around the Mediterranean Macchia in Italy Fynbos in South Africa Kwongan in Southwest Australia Cedar scrub in Texas Hill CountryIn some places shrubland is the mature vegetation type, in other places the result of degradation of former forest or woodland by logging or overgrazing, or disturbance by major fires. A number of World Wildlife Fund biomes are characterized as shrublands, including: Desert scrublands Xeric or desert scrublands occur in the world's deserts and xeric shrublands ecoregions, or in areas of fast-draining sandy soils in more humid regions.
These scrublands are characterized by plants with adaptations to the dry climate, which include small leaves to limit water loss, thorns to protect them from grazing animals, succulent leaves or stems, storage organs to store water, long taproots to reach groundwater. Mediterranean scrublandsMediterranean scrublands occur in the Mediterranean forests and scrub biomes, located in the five Mediterranean climate regions of the world. Scrublands are most common near the seacoast, have adapted to the wind and salt air of the ocean. Low, soft-leaved scrublands around the Mediterranean Basin are known as garrigue in France, phrygana in Greece, tomillares in Spain, batha in Israel. Northern coastal scrub and coastal sage scrub occur along the California coast, strandveld in the Western Cape of South Africa, coastal matorral in central Chile, sand-heath and kwongan in Southwest Australia. Interior scrublandsInterior scrublands occur in semi-arid areas where soils are nutrient-poor, such as on the matas of Portugal which are underlain by Cambrian and Silurian schists.
Florida scrub is another example of interior scrublands. Dwarf shrubs Some vegetation types are formed of dwarf-shrubs: creeping shrubs; these include the maquis and garrigues of Mediterranean climates, the acid-loving dwarf shrubs of heathland and moorland. Fynbos Maquis Prostrate shrub Semi-desert Shrub-steppe Shrub swamp Moorland