Ranking anything is highly subjective. Nevertheless, the following stories from the national parks rose above most others in 2012. They range from the tragedy of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger gunned down in the line of duty on New Year's Day to the ongoing struggle over the future of an oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Ranger Shot And Killed At Mount Rainier National Park
A 34-year-old Mount Rainier National Park ranger was shot and killed in the line of duty Sunday as she tried to apprehend a man who fled a check stop at Paradise. Fellow rangers were prevented from reaching the downed ranger for about 90 minutes as the shooter pinned them down with gunfire.
Budget Cuts Forced On National Park Service By Failure To Avert Fiscal Cliff Could Be Crippling
Don't start planning your 2013 national park vacation just yet, for poised like the sword of Damocles over the National Park Service is the looming "fiscal cliff" that threatens to impact not only the agency but anyone considering a trip into the national parks next year.
House Republicans Aim To Exempt Border Patrol From Environmental Laws
When Congress returns to Washington later this month, watch for Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee to resume a push to exempt the Border Patrol from a wide variety of environmental and National Park Service regulations.
Study Says Pythons Behind Startling Declines In Common Mammals in Everglades National Park
Non-native Burmese pythons, which are exploding in number across Everglades National Park, are being blamed for "precipitous declines" in mammals that once were commonly seen in parts of the park, according to a study.
On The Eve Of America's Summit On National Parks, Some Questions To Mull
On the eve of America's Summit on National Parks, it's timely to recall Edward Abbey's belief that "(T)he chief reason so many people are fleeing the cities at every opportunity to go tramping, canoeing, skiing into the wilds is that wilderness offers a taste of adventure, a chance for the rediscovery of our ancient, preagricultural, preindustrial freedom."
After Three Days Lost in Mount Rainier National Park, 66-year-old Snowshoer Walks Out and Goes Home
As the search for a missing 66-year-old snowshoer in the backcountry of Mount Rainier National Park moved into its third cold, snowy day, more than a few of those involved began to fear the worst. But in the end, they found Yong Chun Kim able to walk and in no immediate need of medical care.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Issues Final Rule Guiding Off-Road Vehicle Management
Years of acrimony over how to regulate off-road vehicle use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore are, barring another lawsuit, nearing an end, as final rules governing ORVs on the seashore are set to take effect next week.
Effort To Reduce Horse Access To Wilderness In Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks Turning Into Wedge Issue
Horses are becoming the latest wedge issue in the National Park System, as efforts to reduce their access to wilderness in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks are being portrayed both as a job killer and a denier of your right to visit the parks.
Yellowstone National Park's Winter-Use Proposal Would Allow 110 "Transportation Events" A Day In Winter
A draft winter-use plan for Yellowstone National Park redefines over-snow entries into the park under a system that stands to increase the number of over-snow vehicles into the park beyond the total that has been permitted in past winters.
Massive Landslide Coats Glacier Bay National Park's Johns Hopkins Glacier Like Chocolate Frosting
A massive landslide, one of the biggest ever seen in North America and which registered on seismographs in Canada and the United States, has covered a more than 5-mile run of the Johns Hopkins Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve like chocolate frosting on cake.
Fluky Convergence Of Factors Possibly Behind Hantavirus Outbreak At Yosemite National Park
Though the calendar is running down on the incubation period for Hantavirus infecting visitors who stayed in Yosemite National Park this summer, a ninth case has been confirmed, park officials said Thursday. Three of those individuals died from the rare, rodent-borne disease, while the others are recovering.
Legal Challenge Coming To Backcountry Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park
It might not cost you extra to venture off into the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park for an overnighter next year. That's because the park's intention to levy a $4 per person per night charge is going to face a legal challenge.
Solo Backpacker Fatally Mauled By Grizzly In Denali National Park
A solo backpacker along the Toklat River in Denali National Park and Preserve has been fatally mauled by a grizzly bear, according to park officials, who added that it is believed to be the first fatal mauling in the park's history.
Scientific Panel Calls On NPS To Recommit To, And Reemphasize, Science In The Parks
Climate change, biodiversity, and the current state and understanding of ecosystem management all were unknown to A. Starker Leopold 50 years ago when he oversaw a report that became the National Park Service's guide to managing wildlife in the parks. That so-called Leopold Report, though valuable for its time, is now drastically obsolete, so much so that the National Park Service needs to, in essence, reinvent how it approaches scientific study, and management of natural resources, within its nearly 400 parks.
Interior Secretary Rules Oyster Farm Must Vacate Drakes Estero At Point Reyes National Seashore
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, citing the value of wilderness and congressional intent, on Thursday ruled that an oyster farm at Drakes Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore must end its operations.
King Salmon Spotted Migrating Back Into Olympic National Park
The kings are back. Less than five months after the Elwha Dam was taken down, king salmon have been spotted migrating back up the Elwha River and into Olympic National Park.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota State Parks Feeling Pressures Of Energy Boom
On clear, calm nights, from the top of Buck Hill you can see them flickering off in the distance. Not campfires, but rather gas flares, emblematic of North Dakota's energy boom, glimmering after dark.
The Aftermath Of Superstorm Sandy On The National Park System
Nearly 70 National Park System units along the Eastern Seaboard were either fully or partially closed due to impacts from "superstorm Sandy," and it could be days before some reopen.
Experimental High Flow Release Coming To Grand Canyon National Park Next Week
Come Monday, the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park will take on the appearance of "Big Muddy" as flood gates in the Glen Canyon Dam are cranked open to spawn a controlled flood down the river.