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TVL BRIEFS IN SEARCH OF ...

The top international destination searches for 2004, from aol.com:

1. Ireland

2. Mexico

3. Cancun

4. Italy

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5. Jamaica

6. Costa Rica

7. Aruba

8. Bahamas

9. Philippines

10. Dominican Republic

WORLD HIKES

NEW YORK -- Where in the world are the most breathtaking hikes?

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Peter Potterfield answers that question in a new book, "Classic Hikes of the World" (W.W. Norton, $39.95). The author traveled to every continent and came up with a list of his 23 favorite treks&; The book includes maps, photos, descriptions and practical information about routes, seasons, permits, supply points and transportation near each hike.

Locations for the 11 North America hikes listed in the book are the John Muir Trail in Southern California; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Chesler Park and Buckskin Gulch in Utah; Maroon Bells Circuit in Colorado; the Wonderland Trail and the route from Diablo Lake to Lake Chelan in Washington; the White Mountain Traverse in New Hampshire; McGonagall Pass in Alaska; the West Coast Trail in British Columbia, Canada; and the Rockwall Trail in Canada's Yoho and Kootenay national parks. The Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii, is listed as a Pacific trek, along with the Routeburn Track on New Zealand's South Island.

In South America, Potterfield picked out the Fitz Roy Grand Tour in the Argentine Patagonia and the Torres del Paine Circuit in the Chilean Patagonia. In Europe, he recommends the Kungsleden, in Lapland in Arctic Sweden; the Tour de la Vanoise Glaciers in the French Alps, and West Highland Way in Scotland. Antarctica is represented with the Shackleton Crossing on South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic, and in Africa, there is Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Asia offers the Royal Trek in Nepal's Annapurna Region; the Everest Base Camp Trek in the Himalayas; and the route between Pakistan's Baltoro Glacier and the base camp for K2, the second-highest peak on earth.

BUFFALO BILL CENTER

CODY, Wyo. -- The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is hoping to boost attendance by luring more people from nearby Yellowstone National Park.

For $40, one or two parents plus their children younger than 17 can visit the BBHC under its new family package.

"We're trying to aim at younger families, 35 and younger," BBHC Director Bob Shimp says.

BBHC attendance in 2004 dropped almost 7 percent. The park declined less, 4 percent, but the East Entrance was off about 17 percent.

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The center's facilities include the Buffalo Bill Museum, which interprets the Bill Cody's life in the context of the American West; the Whitney Gallery of Western Art; the Plains Indian Museum; the Cody Firearms Museum, which boasts the "world's most comprehensive assemblage of American arms," and the Draper Museum of Natural History, which focuses on the ecosystem of the Yellowstone area. The historical center is 2 miles from Yellowstone via the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway.

MOUNTAIN BIKERS

BRIGHTON, Mich. -- By the mile and sometimes by the yard, the Michigan Mountain Biking Association is knitting a statewide network of trails for themselves and others.

The association's 2,000 active members not only ride Michigan's trails year-round, but also build, maintain and oversee trails throughout the state, according to the Detroit Free Press. They also teach classes in erosion-free trail building and, increasingly, do work that the state and local recreation departments can't afford. Members soon will build a new trail link in Oakland County's Addison Oaks park, near Lake Orion.

Mountain-bike and rails-to-trails groups have joined with the Michigan Department of Transportation to form the Metro Region Nonmotorized Advisory Committee. The new group intends to attack problems such as trails that make their way through suburban areas, only to be virtually severed where they meet busy roads.

For more information about the Michigan Mountain Biking Association's programs and events, visit www.mmba.org.

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