Plight of the Parks

Crews Remove Garbage From Marijuana Farms in Sequoia National Park

Nearly three tons of garbage and almost six miles of hose have been removed from backcountry marijuana farms in Sequoia National Park.

Groups Ask Congressmen To Help Halt Killing of Yellowstone National Park Bison

As the killing of Yellowstone National Park bison continues, a coalition of groups is looking for congressional support to fund a solution.
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MT Delegation RTR letter 3-11-08.pdf20.54 KB

Snowmobilers Continue to Roam Illegally Into Yellowstone National Park

Snowmoble trespass. Bob Peterson photo.
There's a section of Yellowstone National Park not too far south of the park's West Entrance where access is tricky no matter what the season. But in winter, when the snow is deep, rogue snowmobilers find their way into the park to play.

House Parks Committee To Hold Hearing On ORVs on Federal Lands

If you've got time tomorrow afternoon, you might want to pull up the live feed from a congressional hearing examining off-road vehicle use on public lands.

Sen. Obama Non-committal on Carrying Loaded Weapons in National Parks

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama believes in Americans' rights to own guns, but isn't so sure there's a need for them to be carried in national parks.

Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Southern Environmental Law Center photo.
For years folks have used off-road vehicles to negotiate some of the farther reaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. And for years the National Park Service failed to develop a management plan for those ORVers. And now it's time to pay the piper.

Violent Deaths in the National Parks

During 2006, 11 homicides were investigated across the national park system. Two involved women who had been pushed off cliffs, one was a suicide, and one was the victim of a DUI accident.

Poaching Trees from Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park. NPS photo
Illegal poaching of resources from national parks has a long, unsettling history. In Great Smokies, it’s ginseng poaching. In Petrified Forest, it’s thievery of fossilized trees.

Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System

Since boyhood I've embraced a vision of the National Park Service as an agency that not only cared for forested mountains, shimmering lakes, foaming cataracts, dusty trails and a wildlife menagerie that stretched from alligators to wolverines, but also as one with a science mission built around these wonders. How accurate is that vision?

Carrying Guns in the National Parks -- Is This Being Fast-Tracked?

Interior Department officials, no doubt with an eye on the election calendar, are wasting no time in their bid to rewrite laws pertaining to carrying guns in the national parks.
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DOI Gun Memo.pdf89.49 KB

Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?

Katmai bears. NPS Photo.
Would a change in the national park system's gun laws pose a threat to wildlife? In Alaska, there are some concerns that brown bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve might appear too threatening to some gun owners.

Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides

How do you like your fish seasoned? A little mercury, perhaps some DDT? That's what you might get if you eat fish caught in national parks in the American West.

Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems

Allowing national park visitors to carry loaded weapons would open a "Pandora's box" of problems, according to four groups hoping to build public opposition to such a change in park rules.

Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's rationales for potentially opening national parks to concealed weapons are "hypocritical in some cases and just plain wrong in others," according to the president of the Association of National Park Rangers.

Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility

Northern Arizona University photo.
Floating the Green or Yampa rivers through Dinosaur National Monument shows a side of this national park unit that is not reflected in its name. Indeed, fossils from the age of dinosaurs are the last thing that crosses your mind.

National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws

In a sharply worded statement the National Parks Conservation Association accused the Bush administration of caving into the National Rifle Association in deciding to reexamine current regulations that prohibit the carrying of loaded weapons in the national parks.

Interior Secretary Opens Door for New Gun Regulations in National Parks

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne is calling for a review, and possible overhaul, of federal regulations concerning the carrying of guns in national parks. He wants to see a draft regulation on proposed changes by the end of April.
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Kempthorne-Guns.pdf104.5 KB

Bush Administration Plan to Remove Wolf Protections Draws Criticism

Gray wolf. Kurt Repanshek photo
If a wolf turns up in Rocky Mountain National Park, it will be protected by the Endangered Species Act. But plans by the Bush administration to remove ESA protection from Yellowstone's wolves could make it incredibly hard for the predators to migrate down to Colorado.
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Wolf Delisting Q&A.pdf33.34 KB
NRDC Wolf Delisting Petition.pdf195.56 KB

Does the National Park Service Need a Quota System for Peak Seasons?

It’s conceivable that the National Park Service might eventually have to take drastic measures to reduce peak-season crowding in our most popular national parks. Overcrowding and overuse lead to congested roads and trails, excessive air pollution, accelerated erosion, and many other problems that reduce recreational pleasure and damage park resources.

Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service

This Saturday, in West Yellowstone, Montana, members of the Buffalo Field Campaign rallied outside of Yellowstone National Park's West Entrance to call attention to and protest the ongoing hazing and killing of Yellowstone bison by the National Park Service and Montana's Department of Livestock.

University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks

This week's deadly shooting at North Illinois University hasn't prompted the Interior Department to table a request that it lift the ban against carrying loaded weapons in national parks. It only spurred the department to postpone consideration of the matter until next week.

Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology

The other day I told you about the diminished role of paleontologists at Dinosaur National Monument. Now I'll touch on the motivation behind that decision.

Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff

The Blue Ridge Parkway without a landscape architect. Grand Canyon without a staff geologist. Mount Rainier National Park without a volcanologist. Dinosaur National Monument without a paleontologist.

U.S. Sen. Coburn Runs Poll On Whether "Concealed Carry" Should be Allowed in Parks

When last we left U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, it was believed that he was going to introduce an amendment to legalize the carrying of loaded weapons in national parks. Now he's taking a poll on that question.

What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?

In the past few days there have been posts about threats non-native species pose to national parks, about rafting permits for the Grand Canyon, and about the president's proposed parks budget. And yet the post that far and away has gained the most attention explored whether we should allow concealed weapons in the parks.

President's 2009 Budget Proposal Lacking for National Parks

President Bush has sent to Congress a proposed 2009 budget for the National Park Service that continues to cannibalize the agency at a time when it can least afford it.

National Lakeshores Threatened by Non-native Species

Loons, mergansers, cormorants and other waterfowl are dying by the thousands in the Great Lakes due to an invasion of non-native species that are threatening to turn the lakes' ecosystem upside down. At Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore even piping plovers, a threatened species, are dying.
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Cornell Botulism info.pdf699.4 KB

U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns

Why would a doctor be determined to provide more access to guns in the country? U.S. Senator Thomas Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, will try to do that by introducing an amendment that would bar the Interior secretary from enforcing the current ban on carrying weapons in the parks.
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CoburnGunAmendmentCAM08040_xml.pdf22.45 KB
02-01-08+multi-organization+firearms+letter.doc40.5 KB

How Will the President's 2009 Budget Proposal Treat the Park Service?

On Monday the president is scheduled to release his budget proposal for the 2009 fiscal year. What will be interesting to see is whether he continues to show some love for the National Park Service.

‘Study Group’ Meets to Determine fate of Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance

Yellowstone National Park officials met earlier this week with several representatives from Wyoming to discuss the options at their disposal for bombing snow-covered mountain slopes in our nation’s first national park. Why? To keep it clear of avalanche danger for the handful of snowmobiles and snowcoaches that enter the park through Sylvan Pass on the park’s east side each day during the winter season.
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