Plight of the Parks

Scientists Gather to Discuss Yellowstone’s Future in a Rapidly Changing World

Scientists, public land managers and others will gather in Yellowstone National Park this week to discuss and help shape the future of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Circumstances Force National Park Service to Actively Manage Wildlife

Florida panther kittens dosed with dewormers. Black-footed ferrets inoculated against plague. Sterilizing horses at Cape Lookout National Seashore and elk at Rocky Mountain National Park. And now Yellowstone National Park bison that could be vaccinated against brucellosis via air gun.

Environmental Groups Cite Public Treasures Threatened By Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster

Hoping to raise the nation's -- and politicians' -- awareness of the rich resources in the Gulf of Mexico, two environmental groups Wednesday released a list of 15 state and federal properties that could be fouled by oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

90 Years On, Dr. Michael Frome Continues To Lament The State of the National Parks

Nine decades of life understandably will slow a person down, if they're fortunate to count that many. And while Michael Frome, who reaches 90 on Tuesday, has understandably slowed down a bit, he hasn't lost an ounce of his passion for the national parks.

An Idea in Trouble: Thoughts about the Future of Traditional National Parks in the United States

Historians point out that ideas, and the organizations associated with them, sometimes age and lose their relevance. Today, as the National Park Service (NPS) approaches the centennial of its establishment, the agency faces huge potential problems with its founding mission and subsequent land management policies.

Oil and Gas Production And the National Parks

Against fears that the white-sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore soon might be darkened by an oily slick from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, natural gas production flows quietly from Padre Islands National Seashore.

Reader Participation Day Bonus Survey: Should Border Security Trump Wilderness, Endangered Species?

Should The Wilderness Act and the Endangered Species Act be suspended in areas along the U.S.-Mexico border to allow the Border Patrol to perform its job?
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NPCA: Tell the Obama Administration That Clear Air And Clear Views Across National Parks are Vital

Debate over the country's energy needs, environmental conditions, and the resulting quality of life is not new. It's unending, ongoing, and downright rancorous at times. But does it need to be? With hazy views across spectacular parks in the Southwest, how can we turn that debate into solutions?

Regulatory Landscape For Guns to Change in National Parks on February 22

Marble Hall in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave. NPS photo.
A controversial rule change concerning firearms in national parks takes effect February 22, a change likely to cause confusion and raise concerns over personal safety, but one also that could go largely unnoticed and give some a measure of personal security.
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Updated: Is Big Brother Heading for Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry?

What would you think if your travels in Yellowstone National Park's backcountry were being watched by rangers via a remote webcam? It's not out of the realm of possibility under a Wireless Communications Services Plan that the park adopted last spring.
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What We'd Like To See Across The National Park System in 2010

A fresh new year is upon us, one still brimming with hope, confidence, and high expectations. So, what better time to sort through our list of things we'd like to see happen across the National Park System in 2010?

New Coalition Brings Groups Together to Push for Water Stewardhip in Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Everglades, and Puget Sound

There was a news event earlier this week that seemed to sail under the radar, but it's something to keep an eye on. A large coalition of groups has come together to lobby for the waters that flow through Everglades National Park, the parks and lakeshores that dot the Great Lakes and touch the Chesapeake Bay, as well as many other watery ecosystems across the country.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Officials Concerned Over Indiana's Plans for Seawall

Plans by the state of Indiana to build a hardened stone seawall along a portion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore don't sit well with lakeshore officials, who cite a number of problems, including the lack of permits from the National Park Service and requisite environmental studies.

Gold Strike Just North of Glacier National Park Another Concern for Park's Environmental Health

Copyright Joe Riis/ILCP
A gold strike in the rugged mountains of British Columbia just across the U.S.-Canadian border from Glacier National Park is yet one more concern for the park's environmental health, which already is being threatened by another mining project eyed in the same general area.

Lake Michigan, Home to Two National Lakeshores, On Brink of Being Invaded By Voracious Asian Carp

If you thought round gobies and zebra mussels were scary invaders of the Great Lakes, brace yourself for the arrival of Asian carp, a voracious fish that could decimate the lakes' native fisheries.

To Drill Or Not To Drill For Oil Beneath Big Cypress National Preserve, That Is The Question

If there weren't enough controversial issues swirling about Big Cypress National Preserve, a cash-strapped Miami-Dade County has been mulling the possibility of drilling for oil beneath the preserve.

House Passes Legislation That Could Lead the National Park Service to Rebuild Road at North Cascades National Park

In a sign of bipartisan meddling when it comes to how the national parks should be managed, the House of Representatives has passed legislation that could force the National Park Service to tweak wilderness boundaries and rebuild a road in North Cascades National Park. The chamber's majority was evidently unmoved by a Park Service analysis that best interests of taxpayers and the park would be served by not rebuilding the Upper Stehekin Road.

FY 2010 Budget For National Park Service Can Only Go Up

No matter how you cut it, unless President Obama decides to veto some items, the FY 2010 budget for the National Park Service is going to be up roughly $200 million from the current funding level.

Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels

There long have been pockets of disgust over federal land ownership in the West, and perhaps nowhere are those sentiments stronger than in Utah, where roughly two-thirds of the landscape is federally managed. While the "Sagebrush Rebellion" mightily reared its head some three decades ago, its waning vestiges are on trial this week over whether a creek bed constitutes a road in Canyonlands National Park.
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On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System

The National Park Service's National Leadership Council met in Ohio last week. The meeting of the agency's top management was supposed to be the first under the direction of Jon Jarvis as Park Service director. Political gamesmanship, and apparently a dose of bureaucracy, unfortunately left Mr. Jarvis wearing his Pacific West Region director's hat.

Planners In "Wilderness Wal-Mart" Matter Oppose Development on Fringe of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

In somewhat of a surprise, county planners in northern Virginia have voted to oppose the development of a Wal-Mart Supercenter on hallowed land abutting the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. But that's only a temporary victory for those who oppose the project.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals

The climate is not static. Ice ages come and go, pushing rivers of ice south and then pulling them back north across continents as temperatures and snowfalls rise and fall. Animal and plant species either stay ahead of these icy incursions and adapt, or perish.

Our National Parks: "For the Benefit And Enjoyment Of The People" (If You Don't Mind the Entrance Fee)

While the three "entrance-fee-free" weekends in the National Park System are now behind us, the debate over the propriety of park entrance fees no doubt will go forward, if not heighten, in the wake of some impressive visitor numbers logged by some parks. One organization that you won't hear lobbying for a permanent waiving of the fees, though, is the American Recreation Coalition, which was a strong voice for them more than a decade ago and continues that stance today.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Loon and Other Birds of the Great Lakes

Change is under way in the Great Lakes, the source of 84 percent of North America’s fresh water and more than 20 percent of the world’s supply. It is a progressive sweeping change that threatens to greatly transform the ecosystems of these inland seas by warming their waters and supplanting native species with harmful invasives. And it is a change that ultimately may threaten the viability of the common loon and dozens of other birds that depend on the lakes.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Grizzly Bears

Natural events — wildfires, floods, windstorms — often leave behind obvious marks on the landscapes they touch. Charred trees and scorched meadows, washed out trails, and swaths of fallen trees are some of the reminders of these powerful forces. The impacts wrought by other naturally occurring events and cycles are not always so easy to discern.

IUCN Scientists to Visit Glacier National Park in September to Study Possible Risks From Coal Mining

A team of international scientists will visit Glacier National Park and its northern neighbor, Waterton Lakes National Park, in September to study risks that might be posed by coal mining in British Columbia not far from the parks.

Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?

Chesler Park, Canyonlands National Park, Kurt Repanshek photo.
Are national parks no longer for the people? Have environmental groups succeeded in legally creating roadblocks to prevent their enjoyment? An Ohio man believes so. But what do you think?

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is In Excellent Condition, But Could That Be Jepodarized By Mining Interests?

When Dick Proenneke fled to Alaska in 1967, he headed to a remote, rugged, and incredibly beautiful wilderness. Today that setting -- Lake Clark National Park and Preserve -- continues to be remote, rugged, and incredibly beautiful. While an analysis of impacts to the park and its resources shows it's in excellent condition, overall, the prospect of mining just outside the park poses a significant threat to Lake Clark's resources.

With 391 Units In the National Park System, You'd Think TripAdvisor Could Find 10 It Liked

Memo to TripAdvisor: If you're going to run a story on the top 10 parks in the National Park System, make sure they're all in the National Park System, and, preferably, make sure they're all "national parks."

Updated: Coal Mine Proposed North Of Glacier National Park Strains US-Canadian Relations

The longstanding relations between the United States and Canada are being strained a bit by a proposal to mine for coal in a biologically diverse region of British Columbia that just happens to be upstream of Glacier National Park.
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DOI-Comments-Lodgepole-Coal-Mine-2-21-07-FINAL.pdf596.87 KB
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