Parks in the News

A Historian's Take on the National Park Service

Once a decision is made, it's left to the historians to decide how sound it was. After all, history can speak volumes. It can point to incredibly great decisions, as well as point out some horrendous ones. With that understood, here are some thoughts from Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, a former chief historian of the National Park Service.

Mountain Pine Beetles Chewing into Grand Teton National Park Forests

There are splashes of fall color showing up in Grand Teton National Park, but the reds and rusts are not associated with the changing of the seasons. Rather, they're a dire harbinger of what climate change could exact from the park's forests.

Is Climate Change Driving A New Forest Regimen in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem?

As ecological drivers go, you wouldn't think an insect roughly the size of a rice grain would be that significant in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. And yet, the mountain pine beetle, aided by a warming climate, is poised to send quite a shudder through the ecosystem.

Landscape Painting Donated to Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park's art collection has grown by one. A landscape painting of the Tetons by the late Harrison R. Crandall, who made a career photographing and painting the Tetons, has been donated to the park by his daughter, Quita Crandall Pownall, and her husband, Herb Pownall.

It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park

President Bush received a very special tour of Gettysburg National Military Park. To paraphrase Mel Brooks, “It’s Good to be the President.”

Management Shuffle Yields New Superintendent for Shenandoah National Park

Martha Bogle, Deputy Superintendent of Blue Ridge National Parkway, has been appointed superintendent of Shenandoah National Park. An innovative project she supervised during an earlier assignment at Congaree National Park testifies to her remarkable managerial skills.

Yellowstone National Park Reporting Bullish Visitation

Ahhh, Yellowstone National Park. Its magic captures just about anyone who visits, or reads an article about this incredible park. Perhaps that's why, when other parks are reporting dips in visitation, Yellowstone is reporting strong tourist traffic.

Concern in Thailand: Too Much Private Investment in National Parks

Concern over private investment in national parks is not strictly an American issue. In Thailand there are worries that too much private investment is being allowed in that country's parks.

Hanna Forcing Evacuations, Closures at Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout National Seashores

Tropical storm Hanna's approach to the Carolinas has forced some evacuations and closures at Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras national seashores, and more steps could be taken depending on the severity of the storm.

Big Bend National Park: Is It Ready For A Mountain Bike Trail?

Officials at Big Bend National Park in Texas want to know what you think of a plan to develop a multi-use trail backcountry trail, one whose primary mission would be to accommodate mountain bikers.

The Wilderness Act At Age 44

Is the salvation of our natural souls tied to the preservation of wilderness? And if it is, must we actually travel into the wilderness to achieve its benefits, or is it simply enough to know wilderness exists? As the Wilderness Act turns 44, how much has it done to protect nature?
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Is Technology Compatible With The National Park Wilderness Experience?

The recent posts about GPS Rangers and SPOT beg the question of whether technology is compatible with wilderness values in the National Park System. Are these truly useful tools, or do they diminish the wilderness experience? Where do you draw the line?

Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System

Remember the good old days, when you could enter a national park and there was no cost to hike a trail, tour a museum, or enjoy nature? Well, those days seemingly are fleeting. In a move likely to disappoint many, the folks at Gettysburg National Military Park are thinking of charging a fee to access their museum.

Gulf Coast National Parks Prepare for Possible Arrival of Hurricane Gustav

As Tropical Storm Gustav nears the Gulf of Mexico, three Gulf Coast national parks in the projected landfall zone of the soon-to-be hurricane have moved to a higher level of hurricane preparedness and are making preparations for possible closure and evacuation. Five other national parks within the five-day forecast cone are in planning and monitoring mode.

Reclaiming Ground in Yellowstone National Park

Crews in Yellowstone National Park are working on turning back the clock on some lands that had once been used as agricultural fields. A pilot project getting under way north of Mammoth Hot Springs aims to restore native vegetation on 22 acres.

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Video: Birds and Bike Paths in Grand Teton National Park

It was big news when the decision was announced to install some bike paths in Grand Teton National Park. But how might those affect ground-nesting birds and other park wildlife? This video looks into that question.

Flooding Nurtures Life in Congaree National Park

The Congaree River is flooding again, and as far as Congaree National Park is concerned, that’s a good thing. Periodic flooding is the very lifeblood of the extraordinary river bottom forest that the park preserves.

Body of Kayaker Missing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Recovered

Rangers in Great Smoky Mountain National Park have recovered the body of a kayaker who was reported missing during a short paddle on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

First Piping Plovers, Now Sea Turtles Descend on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Call it serendipity, the fate of the gods, or simple biology, but it seems that Cape Hatteras National Seashore is undergoing an invasion of sea turtles. And that means more beach closures to off-road vehicles and pedestrians.

Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System

Missing commas and wayward apostrophes are an endangered species when confronted by Jeff Michael Deck and Benjamin Douglas Herson. But that was before the grammar vigilantes ran afoul of the law after editing an historic sign in Grand Canyon National Park.
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Presidential Politics and the National Parks

With the Democratic National Convention under way, and the Republican National Convention soon to follow, it's natural to wonder what these two parties are thinking of in terms of the environment in general and national parks specifically.
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Glacier National Park Officials Plan to Scale Down Search for Missing Hiker

Glacier National Park officials, frustrated by six days of fruitless searching for a missing hiker, say they'll scale back efforts on Tuesday unless new leads are discovered.

Find Me, Spot. Staying Found in The National Parks

Backcountry rangers in some Alaska national parks routinely signal their position with "Spot," a personal locater beacon that can be used to summon help or to simply let friends know you're OK. Recently, Spot helped rangers find two backcountry travelers in Sequoia National Park who found themselves in trouble.

North Cascades National Park Officials Over a Barrel With Stocking Trout

Yellowstone has its snowmobiles, Cape Hatteras has its piping plovers, and North Cascades National Park has its trout. Or maybe it doesn't, and that's the problem.

Another Look at Those GPS Rangers in the National Parks

It was just about a year ago that I wrote about the invasion of "GPS Rangers" into the national parks. Back then I wasn't so keen on this hand-held electronic tour gizmo, but there does seem to be a hidden blessing in it.

A Century of National Parks in Utah To be Celebrated Labor Day Weekend

A little more than century after President Theodore Roosevelt designated Natural Bridges National Monument, making it the first National Park System unit in Utah, the monument will serve as the backdrop for a celebration of 100 years of national parks in the state.

"Designing the Parks"

For three years National Parks Traveler has served as a forum not just to inform the general public about issues concerning the National Park Service and its system, but to encourage debate and discussion over how the agency and its parks can become stronger. Now there's another forum with that goal in mind.

National Park Service Admits Mistakes With Proposed Little Bighorn Visitor Center Expansion

In an about-face, National Park Service officials have admitted they erred in pushing an expansion of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument visitor center and are reversing course. "Sometimes you just have to admit that you didn't do your homework as well as you might have thought," says Intermountain Regional Director Mike Snyder.

Grand Canyon National Park "Short Haul" Operations

The thrills didn't end for a group of 16 Colorado River rafters when high water stranded them at the bottom of Grand Canyon National Park. As the accompanying picture shows, their rescue was just as, if not more, thrilling as bucking the river's rapids.
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