Parks in the News

New Visitor Center Coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There's a new visitor center coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, over at Oconaluftee.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Identifies Pre-Nesting Closure Areas For Piping Plover

Though it's been a mostly quiet winter on the coast of North Carolina, things might get a bit testy in the coming weeks as Cape Hatteras National Seashore releases its pre-nesting closure plans to protect piping plovers, a threatened species.
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Why is Clear-cutting Allowed in Japan's Iconic Park, Daisetsuzan?

What would you think if logging were permitted in Yellowstone National Park, or if a rock quarry were allowed in Yosemite National Park, or if uranium mining was under way in Grand Canyon National Park?

A National Park Service Regional Director Shares His Priority List for 2009

Earlier this year the Traveler offered up a post on what priorities we hoped the National Park Service would address in the coming year. Mike Snyder, director of the agency's Intermountain Region, has his own list of issues his region has in its sights this year.

What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?

Much of the debate over the rule change that allows national park visitors to arm themselves has been filled with vitriol. But no one, it seems, has considered the wildlife's point of view.

Pine Beetle Outbreak Leads to Fewer Campground Sites in Rocky Mountain National Park

A massive outbreak of mountain pine beetles, which are efficient killers of lodgepole pine trees, is forcing Rocky Mountain National Park officials to reduce campground sites this summer as they work to mitigate the beetles' impacts.

NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks

Mountain bike accessibility in national parks could expand exponentially under a rule change proposed by the Bush administration, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.
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NPCA Bike Comments 2.17.09.pdf160.61 KB
PEER-Mtn Bike Comments.pdf13.04 KB

Second Century Commission on National Parks Wants To Hear From You

The National Parks Second Century Commission has been traveling around the country since late last summer looking into the needs of the National Park System. Now the commission wants to hear your thoughts about the parks' needs.

Can You Find the Desert Five-Spot In Death Valley National Park?

Desert Five-Spot, Jimmie Affholder photo.
With all the talk of late about the prospects for a colorful, and plentiful, bloom in Death Valley National Park, let's start talking flowers in earnest. For instance, have you ever seen a Desert Five-Spot in the park?

Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has asked the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to spend three months looking into the environmental consequences of allowing national park visitors to arm themselves.

Delicate Arch Road at Arches National Park Reopens After Flood-Inspired Improvements

Delicate Arch.
Winter can be a great time to visit Arches National Park, but the off-season is also a good time for maintenance and repairs. The road to Delicate Arch, one of the park's signature attractions, had been closed this month for major work inspired by flooding in 2006, but it's now open again for public use.

Grand Teton National Park's Wildlife Brigade – Applications Are Now Being Accepted

A Wildlife Brigade members works a bear jam at Grand Teton NP.
If you've spent much time in Grand Teton National Park during the summer, you've likely been caught in a wildlife jam—or seen visitors doing something really dumb in terms of wildlife safety. Grand Teton is taking a proactive approach to these problems with its Wildlife Brigade, and applications are being accepted for two internships and two volunteer positions for the upcoming summer.

How Will Stimulus Help the Parks? At Great Sand Dunes National Park It Could Mean Reclamation and Restoration

Although the National Park Service didn't receive as many stimulus dollars as it could put to work, that doesn't mean that the $750 million or so won't go to good use across the park system.

Friends of the Smokies to Get First Year Proceeds of Dolly Parton’s New CD

Dolly Parton, official ambassador of Great Smoky’s 75th anniversary celebration, is donating the first-year proceeds from the sale of her new "Sha-Kon-Hey!" CD to Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Major Bike Race Will Affect Yosemite Traffic on February 18, 2009

Scene from a previous Amgen bike race.
If your plans for Wednesday, February 18, 2009 include travel to or from Yosemite National Park, factor in some extra time. The largest cycling event in America, the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, will be passing through the Yosemite National Park vicinity.

Two Rangers Have a Narrow Escape with an Avalanche in Alaska

Avalanche blocking road in Washington State.
Your last trip home from a business meeting may have been a bit wearing, but it was probably lacked the drama of a recent drive by two rangers returning home to Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska.

NPCA Applauds National Park System's Cut of Stimulus Package, But Says Much Remains to Do

In a short, to the point, and politically understandable statement, the National Parks Conservation Association applauded the National Park System's share of the stimulus package funding. But it added that much more work needs to be done across the park system.

Heavy Metals Detected in Wildlife of Cape Krusenstern National Monument

Heavy metals are turning up in wildlife of a unit of the National Park System that's so far removed from most Americans that it might as well be on the other side of the world. But that shouldn't be cause for ignoring the report.

Bush Administration's Haste Could Doom New Gun Rules In National Parks

In its apparent haste to rewrite the rules so national park visitors could arm themselves, the Bush administration might have shot itself in the foot.

Ginseng Poachers At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Receive Jail Time

Poaching "sang" in Great Smoky Mountains National Park rewarded two North Carolina men with time in jail and fines.

Apparent Clumsiness Claims Life Of Famed Bull Elk In Yellowstone National Park

It's difficult to imagine an elk being clumsy, especially one that has lived 15 years, carried an impressive rack, and sired who knows how many offspring. But that apparently is behind the death of a bull elk at Yellowstone National Park.

NPCA, Congressman Issa Battle Over Propriety of Stimulus Funding for National Parks

Congressman Darrell Issa's continued assault on the propriety of national park stimulus funding in House of Representatives legislation drew a harsh response Tuesday from the National Parks Conservation Association, which accused the Republican of libeling the organization.
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Issa-Obey Report.pdf410.99 KB

Humane Society of America Critical of Culling Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

What doors will the culling of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park open? Is it possible that, in the wake of sharpshooters turning up shortly before sunrise in Rocky Mountain to shoot an elk or two, similar "management" actions will pop up in places like Yellowstone, Theodore Roosevelt, or Wind Cave national parks, or any other park where the natural balance of wildlife is skewed?

Logan Pass Improvements Proposed at Glacier National Park

If you've ever headed to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, more than likely the first stop you made was to the restrooms at the visitor center. If so, you're well aware of the updating they need. And so you'll appreciate the effort by Glacier National Park officials to improve that situation.

Return of the Beach – A Once Popular Site Set for a Comeback at Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Aerial view of Willow Beach
The legendary phoenix may have risen from its own ashes, but a campground and other visitor facilities will soon be rising from the mud of recurring flash floods at one location in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The mud has actually been dry for years, but there's good reason for caution in rebuilding at this location, and the project has an unusual twist or two.

Are We Properly Caring for Our Ocean-Based National Parks?

There was an essay recently that brought to my attention a startling figure: Even though there are nearly 1,700 marine protected areas in U.S. territorial waters, 99.9 percent of all our territorial waters were open to fishing in 2008.

This Coke's For You, Grand Teton National Park!

It might have been great advertising if the 93-ton truck hauling Coca Cola products hadn't snarled traffic on the main road through Grand Teton National Park. Even then, the photo of the red, Coke-logo emblazoned truck with the snow-capped Tetons as a backdrop is priceless.

Maine-based Groups Join Fight to Overturn Gun Rule for National Parks

Two groups in Maine have joined the legal bid to overturn the Bush administration's decision to allow national park visitors to arm themselves.

2008 Visitation to the National Parks Up and Down, But Essentially Flat

Visitation to the National Park System in 2008 was, essentially, flat from the year before. There were spikes in some areas, and deep drops in others, but overall the 275 million visitors who were counted represented just 800,000 fewer than in 2007, according to preliminary data from the National Park Service.
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Lecture Series On Yellowstone Ecosystem and Climate Change On Tap

A series of discussions on how climate change could impact the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is coming to Big Sky, Montana, in the weeks ahead.
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