Parks in the News

Arches National Park Finds Its Birthday Overshadowed By Drilling Concerns

Fiery Furnace, Arches National Park. Kurt Repanshek photo.
How happy can a birthday celebration be when it's overshadowed by the possibility of a blight on the landscape? Of course, one person's blight is another's prosperity. But in the case of Arches National Park, it would seem that we as a nation need to better define how we value those special places called national parks.

Zion National Park Planning To "Rehabilitate" Mount Carmel Highway

Talk about ambitious. The folks at Zion National Park are planning to do the first substantial rehabilitation of the Mount Carmel Highway in nearly 80 years, something that will not be an overnight job.

New Solar Power System Puts This Park in the Forefront of Alternative Energy Use

The photovoltaic solar system at Furnace Creek in Death Valley N.P. Photo courtesy of Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
If you had to select a national park in the United States where solar power could reduce consumption of electricity from traditional energy sources, which one would you choose? In one Western park a major system is already up and running.

Acadia National Park Institutes Road Closures to Thwart Poachers

Acadia National Park officials have instituted their annual nighttime closures of sections of roads in the park to thwart poachers who might find the park's deer too tempting.

President-Elect Obama's Team Hints At Reversing BLM Leasing Decisions in Utah

A decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to open thousands of acres of public lands abutting national park properties in Utah could be halted by President-elect Barack Obama once he takes office, according to his transition team.

Zion National Park Officials To Examine Needs of Canyon Shuttle System

The shuttle system that takes visitors into and out of Zion Canyon at Zion National Park long has been singled out for its success. But even a good thing can have problems.

Bison Might be Allowed to Range Further Beyond Yellowstone National Park Borders

Work is under way on a proposal to give bison more room to roam outside of Yellowstone National Park this winter without being killed or hazed back into the park. Though still in the preliminary stages, the proposal would help expand safe winter range for the iconic animals.

Snows Close Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park For the Winter

Don't use Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park as a climate change gauge. While snows have closed the road for the season, a check of past years shows this year's closure is neither particularly late nor early.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials to Outline Paving Options for Cades Cove

It ain't gonna be pretty, but it's gotta be done. And with that in mind, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials will hold a public meeting next week to discuss alternatives for paving the 11-mile loop road around Cades Cove.

Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department

Don't be surprised if there's a decided Clintonesque influence in the Interior Department of President-elect Barack Obama. Several Clinton administration officials have been asked to work on the transition team for the incoming president.

National Park Service Signs Off on Decision Not To Allow Bombing of Avalanche Chutes in Glacier National Park

It took a while, but the National Park Service has signed off on a plan that prevents railroads from routinely using explosives to clear avalanche chutes above tracks that run along the southern border of Glacier National Park.

Yosemite National Park Officials Considering Improvements to Tioga Road Trails

Tenaya Lake, copyright Kurt Repanshek
Finally, a non-controversial topic. Or is it? Yosemite National Park officials are launching a study into how they can improve eight of 12 trails that have trailheads along the Tioga Road.

Wetlands Restoration Project at Golden Gate National Recreation Area is Well Worth the Cost

It cost $12 million to create the newly flooded Giacomini Wetlands at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This is not just an exercise in “feel good” environmental action. Because wetlands provide many valuable benefits, this project will more than pay for itself.

New River Gorge Bridge Hosted 1,062 BASE Jumps on Bridge Day, and Jumpers Say that is Not Nearly Enough

The 29th annual Bridge Day Festival that was held October 18 on New River Gorge Bridge attracted 155,000 people, including 383 BASE-jumpers. During the course of the day the jumpers collected 1,062 jumps, two fractures, and one impromptu trip (sans raft) through class IV whitewater. Will jumpers get more access to the bridge in the future?

Yellowstone National Park Releases Winter-Use Proposal

Yellowstone National Park officials, having had their initially preferred winter-use plan shot down by a federal judge, are back with another proposal. This one would allow up to 318 commercially guided snowmobiles, and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches, into the park each day.

Update: Land Acquisition Moves Flight 93 National Memorial Closer to Completion Target

A key land acquisition has moved the National Park Service and the Flight 93 Advisory Commission and Task Force closer to their goal of completing the Flight 93 National Memorial in time for the tenth anniversary of the fatal flight.

NPS Entrance Fees Waived on November 11th for Veterans, Military Personnel and Their Families

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In honor of Veterans Day, U.S. military veterans, members of the U.S. armed forces and their families will be admitted without charge on November 11th to public recreation lands managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Forest Service.

Plenty of National Park Issues for Next Administration, But Will They Get Tackled?

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone. Kurt Repanshek photo.
With the days of the Bush administration vanishing more quickly than the fall colors, what's in store for the next administration in terms of national park issues? Quite a bit, actually. The real question is whether they'll get tackled.

Updated: Body Of Overdue Hiker Found in Glacier National Park; Suicide Suspected

Glacier National Park officials say the overdue hiker whose body was found Wednesday evening in a rugged section of the park apparently committed suicide.

How About Some Economic Stimulus for the National Park System?

With the Bush administration and Congress looking to one-up each other with economic stimuli, perhaps a little love could be shown to the National Park System. Lord knows it could use some.

A Popular Overlook in Yosemite Gets a Makeover

View from Tunnel View overlook.
For the past 75 years, one of the most popular scenic overlooks in Yosemite National Park has lured visitors with its memory-making views of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, and Half Dome. During the height of the visitor season, an estimated 5,000-7,000 people stop at Tunnel View Overlook each day. The view hasn't changed, but the overlook itself has received a makeover.

Skyline Drive Designated as a National Historic Landmark

Skyline Drive.
A perennial favorite with generations of travelers is the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Earlier this month, the scenic drive was one of 16 sites in 11 states designated by the Secretary of the Interior as new National Historic Landmarks.

Bringing Zebra Mussels to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Could Cost You $2,500

Bringing non-native zebra mussels into Glen Canyon National Recreation Area can be a costly proposition. One individual who failed to decontaminate their boat of the mussels recently was ordered to pay $2,500 in restitution costs.

Shuttles Make Visiting Cades Cove In Great Smoky Mountains National Park A Bit Easier

If you've ever driven through Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you know how slow that can be due to all the vehicles trying to negotiate the 11-mile loop road. Well, things are going to be a bit easier now thanks to a shuttle service that debuted today.

How Will the Next Administration Deal With the Environment?

After eight years of highly questionable management of public lands by the Bush administration, the next administration will face myriad environmental issues when it takes office in January. But how will it respond?

IMBA: Not Every Park Suitable For Mountain Biking, No Interests, Currently, For Trails in Wilderness Areas

Spend time poking around the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s website and you might start to wonder about the group’s thoughts regarding pedaling in proposed wilderness and officially designated wilderness. After all, head over to their “frequently asked questions’ and you’ll find the following position regarding “Wild Places.”

Colorado Man Falls to His Death in Zion National Park

A 34-year-old Colorado climber working on one of Zion National Park's more popular climbing routes has fallen an estimated 300 feet to his death.

Update: Virgin Islands National Park Takes a Swipe, not a Direct Hit, from Hurricane Omar

Damage surveys and cleanup work are underway at Virgin Islands National Park after Hurricane Omar passed thorough the islands on Thursday. It appears that main park facilities on St. John escaped a major hit.

Rockfalls Down Upon Curry Camp in Yosemite National Park Are Not Unusual

The most recent rockfalls from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park are not the first to shower Curry Camp and certainly won't be the last. With that in mind, geologists are taking a close look at Glacier Point to try to determine just how safe, or unsafe, its rock face is.
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"Talking" Buoys Deployed Along Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

It'd be impractical for the National Park Service to station interpretive rangers at various points along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. But that hasn't stopped the agency from providing that interpretation to boaters in the Chesapeake Bay.
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