Plight of the Parks

Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush

A trigger-happy camper, possibly fueled by alcohol, shot another man in an Oregon campground after hearing rustling in the brush. The incident, while not occurring in a national park setting, could fuel arguments of those opposed to the legalization of carrying concealed weapons in national parks.

How Did The National Park Service Err So Badly On the Yellowstone Winter-Use Plan?

How did the National Park Service err so badly in developing a winter-use plan for Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks? According to a federal judge who blocked the plan from taking effect, the agency overlooked its own science and its own mission.

Progress To the North: Canada Has "Extraordinary Year" In Protecting Parks and Wilderness

Imagine if the National Parks Conservation Association, or the Sierra Club, or The Wilderness Society reported that the U.S. government deserved credit for an "extraordinary year" in protecting the National Park System. That would be some news, wouldn't it?

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.

Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace

Flamingo Lodge, the only major lodging facility in Everglades National Park, was trashed by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005. If enough money can be found somewhere, it’ll be replaced with a lodging complex that is smaller, greener, and more hurricane-resistant.

Four Billion Dollars from the Land and Water Conservation Fund is a Good Start, but the National Park Service Needs More

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was signed into law on September 3, 1964, took effect on January 1, 1965, and has since provided $4 billion to buy national park land and easements. That’s not nearly enough. The National Park Service’s acquisitions backlog has grown to $1.9 billion, and it’s getting bigger every year.

Brucellosis Solution: Kill All Elk and Bison in Yellowstone National Park

Here's a novel solution to the woes Montana's livestock industry suffers from elk and bison in Yellowstone National Park: Kill them all. Yup, that's the panacea being promoted by an Oklahoma newspaper.

A View from Abroad: Don't Let Tourism Overwhelm Our National Parks

Are national parks in need of a facelift to attract the tourist dollar? Should wild places be better at catering for those wanting some luxury and pampering? If you talk to some in the tourist industry, they would strongly agree.

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.

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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The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble

Is the National Park System primed for decline? One of the world’s most respected international periodicals thinks so. The Economist blames shifting public interests and anti-development environmentalists for falling attendance and warns that public support for national parks may quickly erode.

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.

That Booming You Hear in the Skies Over Yellowstone National Park? It Soon Could be the Sound of Artillery

Ahh, the sounds of winter in Yellowstone National Park. The raspy rustle in the wind of dried leaves that forgot to fall from aspens. The trickling of a creek beneath its sheath of ice. The eruption of a geyser, the gurgling of mudpots. The explosion of a howitzer round as it smacks into a mountainside.

Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?

With the National Park Service's centennial eight years off, it's not too early to take the measure of both the service and the National Park System it manages. Has the time arrived to overhaul and strengthen this venerable agency?
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What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?

The National Park Service likes to promote that visitors give the National Park System a 96 percent approval rating. That's pretty lofty, but is it accurate?

Battling Invasive Species in Arches National Park

Our national parks are places of incredible beauty and rich history. But they also are under siege. Across the National Park System, the landscape is being invaded by non-native species that are not just out of place, when you consider what should be growing, but in some cases are actually driving out the natives.

Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?

How far will the National Rifle Association go to overthrow gun control measures? Apparently infiltrating groups who favor gun control isn't out of the question. Among the groups infiltrated? Apparently the National Parks Conservation Association.

National Park Service and US Border Patrol to Share a New Operations Center at Lake Amistad National Recreation Area

The National Park Service and the U.S. Border Patrol have agreed to jointly fund and occupy a new 30,000 square-foot operations center at Lake Amistad National Recreation Area. Both agencies stand to gain a great deal. The new arrangement will not only consolidate and upgrade scattered facilities, but also foster interagency cooperation in an area of the U.S.-Mexican border that is difficult to manage and patrol.

Any Question About Who's Calling the Shots in Yellowstone National Park?

While the National Park Service might be an apolitical agency, it's nothing if not a hot property in the political world. So is it any surprise that a pro-business, anti-environment administration in the White House would have the final say over snowmobiling in the world's first and best-known national park?

Why Stop At Golden Gate National Recreation Area? What Other NRAs, Monuments, Etc., Should Be Renamed?

What's in a name? That's a good question in light of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's unsolicited bid to turn Golden Gate National Recreation Area into a "national park."

Visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Try Not To Breath the Air

High ozone levels have prompted Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials to issue an air pollution advisory for today and Saturday. So if you're visiting the park, you might want to ease back on your physical activity, especially if you already have respiratory problems.

Study Claims National Park Service is Failing to Protect Biscayne National Park's Coral Reefs

The National Park Organic Act of 1916 directed the fledging National Park Service to, more than anything else, protect the resources of the growing National Park System. Sadly, a new report contends the agency is failing to do just that at Biscayne National Park, where coral reefs are facing "imminent" collapse.

Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves

The comment period regarding a proposal to allow national park visitors to carry concealed weapons has been reopened.

Will The Superintendent's Summit Chart The Path For The National Park Service's Next Chapter?

What does the future hold for the National Park Service and its wonderful system? It's a question worth asking as the Bush administration nears the end of its eight years in office, one that is particularly timely to ponder considering the Superintendents' Summit '08 that will be held at a Utah ski resort later this month.

Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?

As energy prices creep steadily higher, there's a growing segment of America that believes short-term relief can literally be tapped from fossil-fuel resources in the Western states. But many of those resources are found on public lands that buffer national parks, national wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas, and their development could have dire consequences for those landscapes.

“10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!

National Geographic might be considered a gold standard authority on national parks. Why, then, is a hilariously flawed “10 Best National Parks” list included in a recently published National Geographic book? Is NG testing us to see if we’re paying attention?

Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close

Barring a last-minute change of heart, the Interior Department on Monday will close the public comment period on a proposal to allow national park visitors to arm themselves.

NPCA Report Offers Poor Grades For Protection of National Parks

If the National Park Service were graded on how it's managing the National Park System, its latest report card would reflect a mediocre student, one with poor attention to detail.

A Solution to the National Park Service's Funding Woes Lies Within Each of Us

A few weeks ago, a colleague and I were discussing the financial plight of the National Park System and I wondered aloud how it possibly could be improved. After all, this country has some enormous bills, starting with those from the Iraq war and running on down to Social Security and the national infrastructure, just to name the most obvious.

Director Bomar Suggests Special "Parks Edition" Mountain Bike

National Park Service Director Mary Bomar not only sees a "special bond" between her agency and the International Mountain Bicycling Association, but can even picture a special "parks edition" mountain bike.
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