New OSV rule doesn’t affect current winter travel plan

Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 12:00 am

Updated: 12:48 am, Sat Jan 31, 2015.

New OSV rule doesn’t affect current winter travel plan


SANDPOINT – Snowmobile and other over-snow vehicle riders won’t encounter any surprises when they hit the trail in the northern zone of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

The interim winter travel plan that was implemented following legal proceedings in 2006 and 2007 will remain in effect for the time being despite the U.S. Forest’s release of a management plan for winter motorized travel across all national forest lands.

“In order to release the court order completely, we’ll have to go back to them with our final travel plan,” said Jason Kirchner, a Forest Service spokesman for IPNF.

Conservation groups filed suit in U.S. District Court because there were no winter travel plan in the northern zone of the IPNF and snowmobile riders were accessing caribou habitat. Snowmobile access was initially shut down in parts of Bonner and Boundary counties until an interim travel plan was developed.

Kirchner said work on a final winter travel plan is tentatively forecasted to start next year.

“We hope to start in 2016. That’s our goal,” Kirchner said, adding that it could take up to two years to complete the plan.

The development of a final winter travel plan was sidelined by work to complete overall forest plans for the Idaho Panhandle and Kootenai national forests, which was completed earlier this month.

Moreover, the agency has to finalize a summer travel plan on the St. Joe Ranger District. Wheeled travel plans have been in place in the north and central zones of the IPNF since 2005.

Brad Smith of the Idaho Conservation League, one of the parties to the caribou habitat litigation, said the time has come to get a better grip on snowmobile use in the northern zone.

“There are certainly places in the national forest system that we should allow people to ride snowmobiles and to recreate, but we need to manage them so that we can balance those recreational uses with things like wildlife and also non-motorized winter recreation,” Smith said.

Smith notes that the new over-snow vehicle plan is the counterpart to the existing wheeled plan and both plans have language about minimizing impacts to natural resources and wildlife.

“The kinds of minimization criteria that applied to off-road vehicles in the summertime will also apply to snowmobiles in the wintertime,” Smith said.

Smith also hopes Congress provides the Forest Service with resources it needs to complete the final winter travel plan.

“They’re so important for balancing the recreational uses of the forest with natural resources and resolving user conflicts,” he said.

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Saturday, January 31, 2015 12:00 am.

Updated: 12:48 am.

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Swiss Travel Pass celebrates its 25th anniversary with new innovations

SWITZERLAND, January 31, 2015 – Throughout the ages four inventions have altered the course of history; the wheel, the printing press, the computer and the Swiss Travel Pass.

Switzerland’s intricate rail system has been operating for more than a century, but the rail pass, a youngster by comparison, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015. For travelers the Swiss Travel System is the Mona Lisa of rail transportation.

Bernina Express goes over, under, around and through a circular viaduct (wikipedia)

Put away that American concept of renting a car for the ultimate independent travel experience and leave it at home. In Switzerland, trains, and their sister forms of transportation, can get you anywhere you need to go fast, efficiently, on time and without any hassles. It is truly travel perfection.

Veteran travel writer and author Paul Theroux once wrote about the “optimism” of rail travel, but until you try it yourself, it may be difficult to understand his meaning. In Switzerland a rail pass is somewhat of a misnomer. What you actually have is a key that unlocks an entire transportation network that operates like a precision Swiss watch.

For travelers that translates into the ultimate travel adventure.

Glacier Express crosses the Landwasser Viaduct (wikipedia)

Not only does a Swiss Travel Pass provide unlimited access to the Swiss national rail system, it is also valid for hundreds of private rail companies. The key however, is the multitude of bonus services that frequently go unnoticed by users who may think they are only purchasing a rail pass.

In Switzerland, the Swiss Travel Pass is also good for all public transportation in more than 75 cities. In addition, you can use it for boats, lake steamers, postal buses, funiculars and some cable cars. Excursions to mountaintop regions such as the Schilthorn, Jungfraujoch or the Brienzer-Rothorn train offer discounts ranging between 25 and 50 percent.

Swiss funiculars are another way to climb mountains (wikipedia)

In other words a Swiss Travel Pass is good for practically any transportation need you have within its completely synchronized system.

But here’s the kicker that adds even greater value to the ticket. A Swiss Travel Pass is valid for free admission to nearly 500 museums throughout the country.

Among the outings that can be done for free with a Swiss Travel Pass is the historic train to the top of the Rigi. Situated along the shores of the Lake of Lucerne, Mark Twain described the Rigi in his book Innocents Abroad.
Also featured with the pass are classic Swiss rail journeys such as the Golden Pass between Lucerne and Montreux and the Centovalli Railway which begins in Switzerland before it tiptoes into Italy and ends in Domodossola.

Lake steamer on the Lake of Lucerne (wikipedia)

One of the most recent additions to the pass is a combination rail/boat trip on Lake Constance where the boat also travels along the Rhine River.

Children under 16 ride free if they are traveling with at least one parent and Intercity trains also feature playgrounds for the little ones. Older passengers may even find a Starbucks coffee car on a couple of selected trains.

Majestic waterfall in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (wikipedia)

Even the famed Jungfraujoch has opened a chocolate shop in the highest railway station in Europe.

On Golden Pass Classic trains riders can experience a wine tasting while coasting through rolling countryside.

The Swiss have even added an hour of free Wi-Fi in many railway stations throughout the country.

The popular excursion to Mount Titlis now features a rotating cable car and new gondolas have been added to the mountain outing to Pilatus. Pilatus, which opened in 1889, also features the steepest rack railway in the world.

Piz Gloria made famous in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (wikipedia)

Opening in early 2016, the 35-mile Gotthard Base Tunnel will become the longest and deepest railway tunnel in the world cutting travel time between northern and southern Europe through the St. Gotthard pass to 2 hours and 50 minutes. At speeds of nearly 150-miles per hour, travelers will enjoy the novelty of burrowing 8,000 feet, or one-and-a-half vertical miles beneath the surface of the earth.

The Swiss Travel System allows travelers the option of purchasing consecutive day passes or passes with flexible choices. There are also Grand Train Tours lasting 4 to 8 days in which visitors are able to travel according to a predetermined itinerary. Grand Train Tours also include hotel accommodations.

Castle of Chillon on Lake Geneva (wikipedia)

Finally, just to demonstrate Swiss ingenuity and ease for travelers, there are three levels of luggage service. One of the drawbacks of rail travel is the difficulty of traveling with luggage. In Switzerland, you can check your bags in many railway stations before 9 a.m., travel throughout the day without your luggage and then pick up your bags at your next station by 4 in the afternoon or sooner.

For comfort, convenience and the “optimism” of rail travel, the Swiss Travel System has it all. For more information contact the Swiss National Tourist Office or RailEurope.

You won’t be disappointed and all it takes is a little training.

Contact Bob at Google+

About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.

He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

Read more of Travels with Peabod and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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‘Travel is all about new discoveries’

Chris Oaks spoke with Lee Abbamonte, travel expert and adventure-seeker.
Q: With Monday being Groundhog Day, that will get many people thinking about spring. But for those who just can’t wait, what is your favorite warm-weather getaway destination?
A: In my top 10 list this year, my favorite domestic destination is Phoenix, Arizona, and it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl.
Or, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, how about Egypt? It’s not considered a popular tourism destination right now because of political concerns, but, to me, that’s what makes it perfect. You can have places like the pyramids all to yourself.
Q: I understand that it’s a great time for international travel in general.
A: With the dollar going up, we have the best exchange rate in years just about anywhere in the world. Flights are cheaper, hotels are cheap, so it’s a great time to go.
Q: You are known for being the youngest American to visit every sovereign country in the world. What’s your secret to having an unforgettable experience no matter where you go?
A: To me, travel is all about new discoveries. I’m not a big believer in planning, but you do have to do some research and put together a rough idea of what you want to do at your destination.
But the key is leaving enough time that you can go off and explore those places that you can’t plan for. You can read all the guidebooks and travel blogs out there, and there will still be surprises that will capture your imagination.
Q: That’s what you mean by having an adventure, instead of just a vacation?
A: Exactly, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be someplace exotic.
For example, I recently visited Miami. Now, everyone knows South Beach, Coconut Grove or Key Biscayne, but I found an amazing Spanish monastery to explore that is one of the oldest buildings in North America and a true hidden gem. This is something that really gives that region a character all its own.
Don’t schedule yourself so rigidly that you miss what could be the best part of the experience.
Q: To be fair, getaways don’t always have to be strictly warm-weather destinations. Some of those on your top-10 list are examples of that.
A: Calgary, Alberta, and the Canadian Rockies are some of the best places in North America. Norway has some of the best hiking and most scenic views in all of Europe. Or even Reykjavik, Iceland, with its amazing ice caves and the Northern Lights.
“Good Mornings!” with Chris Oaks airs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays on WFIN, 1330 kHz. He can be reached by email at, or at 419-422-4545.



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What are your travel management priorities in 2015?

The travel managers over at Carlson Wagonlit Travel compile an annual report analyzing the priorities within the TMC world. Do their priorities reflect yours?

The report is an analysis of 1,113 responses from individuals representing 515 organizations in 56 countries.

Data security is a top priority

The ability to successful protect data was the top concern of the queried travel managers, as it was identified as the number one trend affecting their respective travel programs. This matched with the managers’ top priority, which was using data to model behavior to build predictive models.

In order to successful deliver on this use of data, the travel managers must ensure complete security of this data.

Millennials and managed travel

Leveraging data into better travel policy compliance was also of interest to the surveyed travel managers. Yet they were also skeptical of any large impact of Millennials’ travel behavior on their programs.

Somehow gamification and social media continue to be talked about as tools to promote policy and compliance. Both Carlson Wagonlit and American Express launched elements of gamification back at GBTA in 2013, and yet it seems that travel managers are still not jumping on board.

Either these sorts of compliance tools are not working well, or travel managers are having a hard time selling it to their managed groups. Either way, apply a healthy skepticism to report’s admonishment that 95% of travel managers are missing out on using gamification.

Determining return on investment

One useful piece of data was the determination of whether a trip was worth the expense to the company. By looking at how often trips were approved, the data shows the sweet spot as far as ensuring ROI for the human and financial resources expended.

Not only does it cost money to travel, but you lose valuable productivity on travel days and during times away from the usual office routines. The most unsuccessful trips were proven to be the least-planned trips that had few meetings of short durations.

Basically, the trips with the most ROI were planned at least 2 weeks in advance, and included 6 or more meetings over at least 2 days.

Sharing economy and mobile

Mobile continues to be a significant priority for respondents; the sharing economy much less so.

In fact, only one in three see the sharing economy as high impact for their travelers. Part of this is due to the unreliability as far as quality on Airbnb — business travelers require consistency of product so that there are few surprises on the road. The lack of consistent brand standards is the primary impediment to delivering more business traveler throughput on sharing economy platforms like Airbnb.

However, Uber and Lyft continue to be popular among business travelers, so perhaps there are some differences in opinion according to different sharing economy uses.

The full listing of trends and priorities in 2015 for travel managers

NB: Puzzle image courtesy Shutterstock.


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Why Travel With Kids, By Kids

No one expresses it quite so clearly or truthfully as children. At my family travel website, I’ve interviewed many children about their experiences of family holidays and their responses about why they like to travel are unique, inspiring and sometimes hilarious.

From a parent’s perspective, family holidays can seem like a lot of work. No home comforts, a change of routine, jet lag and no familiar babysitters or support. But despite these inconveniences, there are so many reasons to travel with kids. As a self-confessed travel addict, travel writer of many years and founder of a family travel website, I can give lots of reasons to pack up all the gear and invest in a family holiday – phrases such as global citizen, cultural tolerance and lifelong shared memories come to mind.

But it’s the kids who are the ones who really express the magic of a life on the road the best. So here are some of my favorite quotes from my “little globetrotters” about why you should travel with kids.

“You have to sleep on a bed when you’re at home, but you don’t have to sleep on a bed when you’re in an aeroplane.”
Jed, 5

“You can see what other people do, like if they put a dot on their head.”
Sean, 7

“Every kid has their own personality but I can see that I have many stories to tell, exciting stories, while many others don’t. In Zambia one morning while we were camping an elephant from a big herd came to us! Curious! He was only 5 meters from us and we couldn’t move because they are wild and might be dangerous. We were having breakfast. He stared at us just looking; that was scary and nice; I wish that could happen one more time.”
Pampa, 11

“[The best thing I've ever done on family holidays was] quad biking in Cambodia because it was so fun and my brother fell off.”
Josie, 11

“I don’t miss home or school. I’m getting a much more authentic experience on the road and life isn’t so plastic here. The reason why I don’t miss school should be obvious.”
Miro, 13

“I am the real Spider-Man that goes traveling with my webs everywhere in the world.”
Tehue, 8

And then, sometimes, there are the not so positive aspects of travel.

“Customs! It is a long line and there is no point to it. It is really boring.”
Mia, 10

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Travel (and Stay) Healthy

The last thing you want to happen on your vacation or while you are traveling–or even when you return home–is to get sick. That’s no fun at all.

So it pays to be prepared…before and during your trip.

Here are a couple of tips that can help keep you healthy and happy:

Before you go…

Make sure you’re up-to-date with routine immunizations.
If you don’t believe in vaccinations, that’s certainly your choice. But if you do, now is a good time to make sure you’re current with routine immunizations like measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc. You may also want to consider getting vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and–depending what country you are moving to–yellow fever.

Courtesy of Jason Holland,

One resource for health care recommendations for travelers and those planning an extended stay overseas is the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

While your chances of getting Yellow Fever are low unless you travel deep into jungled areas, some countries–such as Costa Rica, where there is no risk–require proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling there directly from other countries where the disease can be found. If you get a Yellow Fever vaccination, ask for an International Certificate of Vaccination and keep it with you when you travel. And note that the vaccine is to be given 10 days before travel to an endemic area.

What about malaria?
Malaria is endemic in the tropics, there’s no doubt about that. But in most countries visited by casual tourists, you’ll find little risk. Again, the CDC offers helpful information at its website.

We personally have traveled extensively in the tropics of Latin America and somewhat in Southeast Asia, and we’ve never taken any malaria treatment nor ever felt the need to do so.

A bigger risk in the tropics is dengue fever, another mosquito-borne disease for which there is no vaccination. Primarily prevalent during rainy seasons, your best prevention is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Use repellant and take other precautions, such as having screens on windows. Learn more here.

We also recommend that you make decisions beforehand about how you will pay for any health care needs that might arise while traveling. Do you have health insurance that will cover you overseas? Now’s the time to find out. If you’re not covered, you may want to purchase a supplemental travel policy that includes evacuation insurance.

Have an emergency plan. Be sure your travel partner or family and friends back home know how to access your health information and/or contact and financial information if you should become incapacitated in any way.

A helpful tip: Before you leave home, stock up on prescription medications you may be taking…while you may be able to find local equivalents, what happens if you can’t? And be aware that not all medications are the same. Our son had an allergic reaction to antibiotics he once bought in Mexico. His doctor back in the U.S. told him the reaction was probably not due to the medication itself, but to a different coating used on the tablets. A handy website to look up comparable medications available in various countries is

While you are traveling…

Wash your hands often. This goes without saying. We always have a small airline-size-approved hand sanitizer or (better yet) wipes tucked into our carry-on bags and backpacks.

And while it may make you look paranoid to wipe down the armrests and tray table, it may save you from illness. Those are where the largest amount on bacteria are found on airplanes. And when it comes to your health, who cares what anyone else thinks?

Similarly, in airplane, airport, and other public bathrooms, we never touch those other common bacteria vectors…door handles…with our bare hands. Use a paper towel or your forearm or elbow to open them.

And surely you’ve heard the term “filthy lucre?” It’s true, money is literally filthy, and you touch it often while traveling. So learn to wash your hands far more frequently, before meals and after you’ve paid the bill.

Be careful about drinking the tap water. We’ve learned to ask for bottled water even when traveling in countries where tap water is deemed safe. And even in the U.S. Every municipality has different water treatment systems. And you never know what shape the pipes are in any particular neighborhood or building.

And we learned this the hard way: if someone tells you the water they are serving is purified, don’t just take their word for it. Be sure you get water in a bottle (not a glass) with a sealed cap.

Follow the crowds. Watch and see where the locals eat. If you are eating at a roadside stand or cart, eat at the places that look the cleanest and where the largest crowds of locals are. They know where the best, freshest food is and the places with the best sanitary practices. Follow their lead.

Use common sense. In the tropics, food can spoil quickly. Don’t eat food that appears to have been sitting out a long time…including salsas and other common condiments left on tables. Don’t eat in places with lots of flies or other insects. Check and see if the food service workers have clean clothes and hands.

And for goodness sake, keep your wits about you. If you go out partying, be extra careful. Don’t accept drinks (or anything else) from strangers and don’t think you can stumble home drunk alone at night. Call a taxi. And remember, sexually transmitted diseases are everywhere. Protect yourself at all times.

Once you get home…

Sick? Tell your doctor where you’ve been. If you become ill after returning home and you can’t seem to shake what’s ailing you, go see a doctor. Be sure to tell him or her where you’ve been. There are some diseases that are endemic to certain locations, such as Valley Fever, common in the desert southwest of the United States.

Related Articles:
Improve Your Health with a Better Diet in Ecuador
The Six Best Hospitals in Mexico
The World’s Healthiest Places To Live In 2014

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Kayak Opens Up Travel-Search Engine to Cuba, Other Online Travel Agencies …

Closely on the heels of President Obama’s recent opening up of Cuba, the world of online travel had an  announcement of its own: flights and hotels to Cuba are now searchable on travel search-engine Kayak.

On Kayak, users can search for over 300 hotels in Cuba. The flight options are limited, as the search-engine only features connecting flights through other countries. The search-engine sited “significant interest in travel to Cuba” as a reason why they have decided to add the feature.

Americans can now visit Cuba for one of 12 purposes, without having to apply for license. These purposes include visits to close relatives, academic programs, professional research, sports competitions, and journalistic or religious activities. However, tourism is still not legal, so wait before booking your beach vacation.

Travel to Cuba is easier thanks to recent legislation and travel search-engine Kayak. Photo credit: Alexandra Talty.

Prior to the new regulations that were announced on January 16th, American could travel to Cuba for some of the 12 purposes, but needed to apply for a license, a process that required paperwork and could take a long time. Now travelers can mark a box and be on their way, as long as they keep receipts of their travel transactions for five years after they return. However, United States citizens still need a Cuban visa to visit the country.

While the new regulations open up commercial airline flights to Cuba, airlines have warned that it could take a year or more to negotiate air service agreements. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines are some of the companies that have expressed interest.

It is important to note that as a travel search-engine, Kayak is uniquely positioned to add Cuba-searches before other travel web sites, as the legislation surrounding travel to Cuba remains vague for American companies.

Kayak, as a meta-engine, offers information for booking only and then re-directs users to book through other outlets. For the moment, their services for Cuba will be even less comprehensive.

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The 9 Most Underrated Time Travel Movies

I skipped out on Tuesday night’s Project Almanac screening. My wife wants to see it too so I offered to wait and catch a Friday matinee at a theater near me, but in the meantime check out Aaron Neuwirth’s review. The film is of course a found footage variation on the time travel thriller. So, in “honor” of the film’s release today, I will be discussing my picks for nine underrated time travel movies. To wit, these are films I indeed consider underrated, which means don’t expect acknowledged classics like 12 Monkeys, under-seen gems like Primer or “shoulda-been-even-bigger-hits” like Looper here. Because I lack the courage for ranking, these will be in order of release date. And without further ado, here we go…

Back to the Future 3 (Universal/Comcast Corp.)
Usually considered the black-sheep of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s Back to the Future trilogy, this finale lacks the discovery of the first film and the chaos theory-fueled madness of the second. But what it does have is genuine drama and an opportunity for Christopher Lloyd to take center stage. His romance with Mary Steenburgen works, the action finale aboard a speeding train is a corker, and the film ends on an uncommonly heartfelt and satisfying conclusion during a time when franchises didn’t really “end.” It was by far the lowest-grossing of the series, although $245 million worldwide was nothing to sneeze at in 1990. As someone who doesn’t “love” the first film and merely appreciates the gonzo “don’t mess with time” shtick of the second, Back to the Future III is my favorite entry in a justly beloved cinematic trilogy.

The Kid (Walt Disney)
We like to make fun of Bruce Willis today for his deluge of direct-to-DVD action films, but in his prime there was no one better at balancing blockbusters, more upscale fare, and heartfelt melodrama. This goes in the third category, as this somewhat forgotten gem landed in the middle of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. So yeah, that’s a three-film run of terrific performances. This one involves a man who gets a visit from his ten-year old self as a gift from the gods to try to deduce where it all went wrong. The film has a too-pat finale, but it realty delves into the idea of how few of us get to be the person we thought we were going to be when we grew up. The John Turtletaub film earned $110m on a $65m budget in 2000, and it has mostly been forgotten. It remains a fine example of the kind of live-action kid-friendly entertainment that would soon become endangered.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Warner Bros. /Time Warner Inc.)
If you can forgive the goofy initial ten minutes or so, this third Terminator installment is a brutal and punishing action thriller, a B+ sequel to two A-level predecessors. What’s worthwhile about this third installment, aside from the first act car chase and the stunningly downbeat finale, is that this is the rare Terminator film where the humans are more interesting than the machines. Nick Stahl and Clare Danes are strongly-written and sympathetic human foils, and again, those last twenty minutes are a knockout. The film was poo-pooed prior to release, surprised many by being halfway decent and grossing $433m worldwide, but now sits again with an oddly blemished reputation. I can hope Terminator: Genesys is half as good as this exciting and mournful spectacular.

13 Going On 30 (Sony)
13 Going On 30 is better than Big. There, I said it. If Tom Hanks snagged an Oscar nomination for playing an overgrown version of his ten-year old self in 1988, then Jennifer Garner deserved the same for playing her 13-year old future self. Like The Kid, this romantic comedy captures the horror of realizing that you’ve grown up to be a pretty terrible person or at least one contradictory to your kid-centric hopes and dreams. And as good as Garner is, the film is made even better by the heartfelt presence of Mark Ruffalo in prime romantic dramedy foil mode. This was a solid hit in 2004 ($96m on a $37m budget), but sadly Garner followed it up with Elektra which pretty much killed her as a box office movie star. The film is funny when it needs to be, but it can also get under your skin if you let it while Garner and Ruffalo are superb together.

The Butterfly Effect (New Line Cinema)
I kinda love this utterly insane and go-for-broke time travel thriller. And yes, I think Ashton Kutcher did just fine in a rare dramatic turn, even if in-his-prime child actor Logan Lerman almost steals the film. The film is a full-blown time travel horror story, with Kutcher realizing that he has the gift to hop to any time in his life and potentially change the outcome. The morbid joy of the film, aside from how unremittingly bleak it is, is watching good intentions go horribly awry over and over again with clockwork precision. This is precisely the kind of go-for-broke and unapologetically R-rated original major studio release that we all say is lacking in a given year. The Butterfly Effect earned $96 million on a $13m budget and spawned two direct-to-DVD sequels, and I still hold it up as a flat-out terrific time at the movies.

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You can look it up: ‘Almanac’ isn’t worth the time travel

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You can look it up: ‘Almanac’ isn’t worth the time travel

How about a moratorium on the found-footage genre? What was once fresh and innovative now feels tired and overdone in ‘Project Almanac.’

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A brilliant high school student and his friends uncover blueprints for a mysterious device with limitless potential, inadvertently putting lives in danger in ‘Project Almanac.’

It’s tough to tell what’s shakier in Project Almanac: the illogical premise or the nausea-inducing camera work.

And how about a moratorium on the found-footage genre? What was once fresh and innovative now is tired and overdone (* ½ out of four; rated PG-13; opens Friday nationwide).

In this case, paranormal activities entail time travel rather than ghosts. Lest that sound vaguely intriguing, it’s not. The time jumps are never more than a few weeks back and involve nothing historically significant. Leave it to high schoolers to use time-travel to attend Lollapalooza or improve their test scores rather than do something more substantial.

In 2007, Paramount cleverly seized upon Paranormal Activity, and a phenomenon was born. But the studio still seems to be looking for its next Paranormal. Lightning does not strike twice here.

And by bringing in Michael Bay as producer, Almanac is as rushed and frenetic as one of the recent Transformers movies.

The film’s logic is strained in several circumstances as the “rules” of time travel are established and then broken.

The film opens with brainy David (Jonny Weston) getting accepted to MIT His mother is beaming, his father would have been so proud. He was a science guy too, but he died when David was 7.

Weston is gently awkward and charming in the part, which helps offset the distancing effect of the shaky found-footage format.

His sister Christina (Ginny Gardner) is documenting David’s every move, but this doesn’t make events feel more contemporary or immediate. Instead, it’s an impediment. The conceit can work, such as with Earth to Echo where a young camera geek constantly filmed as his pals rode around on bikes with an alien that landed nearby. In that film, events felt personal through its film-within-a film conceit. However, Almanac could have used a more straightforward approach.

When David doesn’t get the necessary scholarship money, he begins exploring his family’s basement, searching through his dad’s things for an invention, something that could make him some money.

David and Christina find an old video camera documenting David’s 7th birthday. Upon closer inspection they catch a glimpse of what looks like modern-day David in the background of the shot. Then they go rooting more and find a “temporal displacement” device — aka a time machine. A mystery seems to surround their dad’s death, which the story doesn’t bother to explore, and for all his smarts and curiosity, David doesn’t seem to care.

The cast of unknowns is likeable enough, but the movie is far too caught up in the details. Repetitive scenes of levitating tools don’t convey the sense of wonder that they should.

In fact. the time-travel scenes generally don’t convey much excitement. For such smarty-pants teens, they are remarkably unimaginative in their choices. OK, they win the lottery and find ways to become popular, but David has somehow determined that jumping more than three weeks back could cause someone to be stranded. A lot of time is spent seeking a powerful enough battery and power source. Hardly riveting.

It’s as though screenwriters Jason Pagan and Andrew Deutschman and director Dean Israelite had no idea how to conclude the story. It sends David down a dark path, then abruptly ends.

Talk about running on empty.