What Were The Top National Park Stories Of 2013?

Flooding pummeled a handful of units in the National Park System this past fall, budget cuts hamstrung the National Park Service, and a 16-day closure of the national parks drew the public's ire. Those were just some of the top stories of 2013 across the National Park System. Let's take a look at those that drew the most attention.

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Closed For Business: America's National Parks

Once-in-a-lifetime trips to majestic places such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone crumbled Tuesday as Congress's failure to avert a shutdown of the federal government interrupted countless vacation plans as closure gates came down across the National Park System.

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National Park Service Says Looming Sequestration Will Impact Visitors, Shorten Hours Of Operations In Park System

Failure by Congress and the White House to avert a budget sequestration by March 1 will force the National Park Service to reduce visitor services, shorten hours of operation, and possibly even close areas to the public, according to Park Service Director Jon Jarvis.

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Yellowstone's winter-use plan passes muster. Kurt Repanshek photo.

Yellowstone National Park's Final Winter-Use Rule Published In Federal Register

More than a decade of debate, disagreement, and litigation took a step closer to settlement Tuesday when the National Park Service published in the Federal Register its final rule for managing recreational winter-use in Yellowstone National Park.

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Oyster Company Wants Full 9th Circuit Panel To Consider Injunction Against National Park Service

An oyster company battling to keep farming oysters in a wilderness area of Point Reyes National Seashore wants the entire 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear its case against the National Park Service.

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Groups Working To Prevent Hog Farm From Polluting Buffalo National River

An industrial hog farm that could produce more than 2 million gallons of manure and wastewater annually over porous karst geology roughly 5 miles up a tributary from the Buffalo National River was permitted based on erroneous information, according to a coalition opposing the project.

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Poorly prepared visitors lead to too many SARs. Grand Teton National Park photo.

National Park Service's 2012 Search-And-Rescue Caseload Reflects Many Ill-Prepared, Out-Of-Shape Visitors

Search-and-rescue missions in the National Park System in 2012 cost the agency nearly $5.2 million, and in many cases the individuals spurring the rescues were ill-prepared or out of shape.

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First State National Monument Shines A Light On The Nation's Origins

Whether due to oversight, a lack of political expediency, or inadvertent shunning, the country's first state was last in landing a unit of the National Park System within its borders. And now, though First State National Monument is open for business and shining a light on the country's origins, it continues to struggle.

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Are Isle Royale's wolves on their last legs? John Vucetich photo.

Isle Royale National Park's Wolf Population Down To Just Eight, No New Pups Last Year

Just eight wolves can be found at Isle Royale National Park, the lowest count ever tallied, and no new pups were brought into the population last year, another first that seemingly moves the population closer to extinction.

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Magistrate Finds Lassen Volcanic National Park Officials Destroyed Evidence In Boy's Death

Lassen Volcanic National Park officials "purposely destroyed material evidence" in the case of a young boy who was killed when a retaining wall on the Lassen Peak Trail collapsed, a U.S. magistrate has concluded.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Draws Lawsuit

What authority does the National Park Service have to charge access fees in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and, presumably, other national parks? That question is the focus of a lawsuit filed in a bid to overturn the Smokies' move to charge backcountry users.

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Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plan Tries To Balance Recreation And Preservation

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Can Yosemite solve its crowding problems? Barbara Moritsch photo.

As Yosemite National Park officials work to draw up a defensible plan for managing visitors in the Yosemite Valley, they are striving to delicately balance preservation of resources against recreation.

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Mammoth Cave National Park Detects White-Nose Syndrome Among Its Bat Colonies

Mammoth Cave National Park officials announced today that they've confirmed white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease to bats, among one of the bats that hibernate in the park.

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As Storms Ease, Damage To Rocky Mountain National Park Is Revealed, Lengthy Rehab On Tap

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The Roaring River, living up to its name, cleaved the Endovalley Road on the northern end of Horsehoe Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. NPS photo.

Roads severed. Walls of rock and mud blocking access. Trails washed out. That is some of the aftermath at Rocky Mountain National Park, where streams and rivers normally feeble at this time of year swelled to spring runoff levels and more after days of rain.

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Mudslide Buries Parts Of Stehekin At North Cascades National Park

They've been shoveling mud this weekend at Stehekin in North Cascades National Park, where a potent storm spawned a mudslide that inundated parts of the lake-side community.

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Heavy Rains Lead To Closure Of Guadalupe Mountains National Park In Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas was closed Thursday afternoon due to heavy rains that were causing flooding in the park.

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Sally Jewell Confirmed As Interior Secretary By Senate

Sally Jewell, a businesswoman with a diverse background ranging from the energy and banking sectors to running Recreational Equipment, Inc., was confirmed Wednesday by the U.S. Senate as the 51st secretary of the Interior.

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National Park Visitation In 2012 Rose To Nearly 283 Million

Despite a sour economy and expensive gasoline, nearly 283 million visitors traveled to the National Park System in 2012, an increase of nearly 4 million from 2011 and the highest level of visitation since 2009.

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Interior Secretary Orders National Park Service To Better Manage National Mall

The nation's front yard -- the National Mall in Washington, D.C. -- is hammered pretty hard each year by more than 25 million visitors. To reduce their impact on the grassy expanse, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has directed the National Park Service to better manage the promenade that stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol.

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