Plight of the Parks

New Gun Regulations for National Parks, Wildlife Refuges Won't Take Effect for Nine Months

Don't go armed into a national park or wildlife refuge this weekend. New gun regulations for those federal properties won't take effect for nine months.

House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System

Thanks to a brilliant tactical move, gun rights advocates are a step closer to arming themselves in national parks and national wildlife refuges across the country following a U.S. House of Representatives' vote on a credit card bill.

Great Basin National Park Is Facing Threats to its Clear Air and Water Resources

Not even its remote location in eastern Nevada can protect Great Basin National Park from the pressures, demands, and impacts of urban areas. Proposed power plants threaten its air, and growing Las Vegas could impact the park's water resources.

NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System

When you think about threats to national parks, you can point to air pollution, water pollution, development on a park's boundaries, and genetic bottlenecks affecting a park's wildlife. But few people seem to think about climate change. Well, the National Parks Conservation Association wants you to start thinking about it.

Stimulating the National Parks: Good For the Short-Term, But Then What?

Over the coming months there will be a flurry of construction work across the National Park System thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But then what?
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Secretary Salazar Scuttles Oil and Gas Leases Near National Parks in Utah

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in a move that repudiates the Bush administration's energy policies, on Wednesday scuttled a series of controversial oil and gas leases near national parks in Utah.

On Stimulus Packages, Lobbyists, and Congressfolk

If you've been paying any attention to how Congress is treating the National Park System in terms of the economic stimulus package, you'd have to agree there are a few interesting, and possibly even amusing, side stories.

Senate, House Far Apart on Economic Stimulus Funding for National Parks

As of today the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are miles and miles apart over how they view the needs and worthiness of the National Park System when it comes to crafting an economic stimulus bill for the country.

What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?

Kurt Repanshek photo.
Yellowstone snowmobiles. Guns in the parks. Climate change. Infrastructure in shambles. These are just some of the issues the next director of the National Park Service will inherit. But how should he or she prioritize their approach to managing the National Park System and addressing its problems?

Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?

The impending change of rules that would allow national park visitors to arm themselves stands a good chance of being placed in limbo, if not overturned, by legal challenges in the coming weeks and months. But if that doesn't happen, it'll be interesting to see how many gun owners actually follow the rules.

On the Political Front: Good And Bad News From the Bush Administration

There's mixed news today on the environmental front. On one hand, the Bush administration has pulled back a proposal that would weaken air quality rules for coal-fired power plants. But on the other it has moved forward with a rule to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield

Northern Virginia is a much more crowded place than it was during the Civil War. But Civil War historians, preservationists, and buffs, as well as National Park Service officials, are still flummoxed by Wal-Mart's wish to place a super center next to one of the most poignant battlefields of the Civil War.

Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves

Interior Department officials finally did what was expected Friday when they published a rule change that will allow national park visitors to arm themselves.

Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?

Remember earlier this year all the controversy over a proposed rule change to allow concealed weapons holders to arm themselves in the National Park System? Well, it's still lurking out there.

Bush Administration: Slash and Burn on The Way Out of Office?

As the end of the Bush administration nears, it's natural for many to look back on the past eight years and try to assess the sum impact. In the case of public lands and natural resources, it's relatively easy to castigate the outgoing administration for its seemingly heavy hand on that landscape.

From Job Creation to Everglades Czar, Green Groups Have Lengthy National Parks Wishlist

Lower Falls, Yellowstone National Park. Kurt Repanshek photo.
A coalition of nearly 30 "green groups" has a lengthy to-do list for the incoming Obama administration when it comes to the National Park System. For starters, they say, let's include the parks in the economic stimuli being proposed, expect more from National Park Service leadership, and protect the natural resources.
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National Park Service Chastized For Poor Cultural Resource Oversight

Whoever takes the helm of the National Park Service under the Obama administration will find an agency that has fallen far short in its stewardship of cultural resources across the National Park System.
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Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day

In one of the most bizarre public lands dramas in recent history, Yellowstone National Park officials Monday afternoon said they would allow up to 720 snowmobiles into the park every day this winter.
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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.

Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications

The campaigns are over, the results are in, and it’s time to consider what the 2008 elections portend for the National Park System. We highlight several foregone conclusions, make a couple of fearless forecasts, and invite you, the readers, to share your prognostications.

Bush Administration Poised to Sell Oil and Gas Leases Around Dinosaur National Monument, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

How much is too much? When the oil and gas industry in Utah has nearly 3,500 drilling permits in hand, but which have not been acted upon, why is the Bush administration selling them more, particularly in sensitive areas around national parks and monuments?
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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: Bush Administration: "A Legacy of Failure for Our Public Lands," Claims Congressman Grijalva

During the past eight years the Bush administration has "pushed a concerted strategy of reducing the protections for our public lands, parks, and forests, and opening up these lands for every type of private, commercial and extractive industry possible." So says Congressman Raul Grijalva.
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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.

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?

Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems

A survey stemming from the Bush administration's plan to allow concealed carry of guns in national parks and national wildlife refuges predicts the result will be more wildlife shootings and management problems.

Interior Officials Planning To Make It Easier for Mountain Bikers to Gain Backcountry Access in Parks

Three years after the International Mountain Bicycling Association said it simply wanted mountain bike access to dirt roads in national parks, Interior Department officials are said to be working to make it easier for the bikers to gain access to backcountry trails.

Imagine the Impacts of Climate Change on the National Park System

Waterless Yosemite Fall, Kurt Repanshek photo
Imagine Yosemite National Park without Yosemite Fall. Or Glacier National Park without glaciers. Or Old Faithful becoming less faithful. Across the National Park System, the effects of climate change could be quite dramatic.
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Musings from Yosemite National Park

El Capitan, Kurt Repanshek photo
There arguably is no national park that better showcases geology than Yosemite National Park. Sure, Arches National Park offers more arches in one place than anywhere else on the planet, and Grand Canyon National Park has that incredible gouge. But stand before Half Dome or El Capitan and you can't help but marvel.

Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area

A federal appellate court in New Jersey has upheld a lower court's finding that the National Park Service was within its rights to lease nearly three dozen historic buildings at Gateway National Recreation Area to a commercial developer.
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