Plight of the Parks

Strange Bedfellows: The National Park Service and the American Recreation Coalition

It's nice to have your cake and eat it too, isn't it? Of course it is. But it's not always appropriate, is it? Take the National Park Service. One of its main jobs is to preserve beautiful places. Can it adequately do that if it cozies up to industries that pollute those places?

Is Mining Threatening Our National Parks in Alaska?

The history of mining in Alaska has left a legacy of pollution and other harmful negative impacts to our lands and waters, including those now protected within our National Park System. While some of these old mines are now being cleaned up, others are creating new problems.

Despite All the Talk About A Bountiful NPS Budget, Not All National Parks Doing Well

We've heard lots about how bountiful the National Park Service's 2008 budget is thanks to the Bush administration. Well, don't let that talk make you think all is great across the park system.

Why Did The Park Service Agree To Secret Meetings Over Yellowstone Snowmobiling?

Yellowstone National Park officials plan to meet in private with representatives from the state of Wyoming and the town of Cody to discuss snowmobiling over Sylvan Pass. Does that mesh with Park Service Director Mary Bomar's pledge of transparency?

NPCA Keeping An Eye on Utah Tar Sands Developments

U.S. Bureau of Land Management efforts to spur development of "tar sands" in Utah near several national park units are being watched by the National Parks Conservation Association.

Great Basin National Park's Air Could Be Compromised By Proposed Power Plant

Great Basin National Park, which boasts the cleanest air of any park in the Lower 48, could lose that distinction if a coal-fired power plant is allowed to go on-line as proposed just 38 miles northwest of the park.
GRBA-Power Plant Letter.pdf414.87 KB

Tar Sands Development Could Impact Canyonlands National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon NRA

A natural resources juxtapositonal twist of fate has placed the spectacular Canyonlands National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in close proximity to an energy deposit whose extraction could sully the park units.

NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees sees no need to change gun laws in the national parks, saying that allowing the public to carry weapons in the parks could jeopardize the safety of visitors.

Conservation Groups Sue DOE To Halt Transmission Corridors Without Further Study

In a bid to protect endangered species as well as national park viewsheds and landscapes, a coalition of conservation and environmental organizations is suing the U.S. Department of Energy over its National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors plans for the Mid-Atlantic and Southwestern states.
NIETC_MidAtlantic_Area_Corridor_Map.pdf1.64 MB
NIETC_Southwest_Area_Corridor_Map.pdf1.49 MB

Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?

Coming to the national park nearest you, professional hockey! OK, not every national park, just Yosemite National Park.

National Park Service Retirees Outline 2008 Goals for Park Service

Science-led decisions. More principled leadership. A halt to fee hikes. Those are some of the things the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees would like to see from the National Park Service this year.

Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?

Two Segway entrepreneurs have their sights on Yosemite and Sequoia national parks as the next frontier for these two-wheeled contraptions.

Is The National Park Service Protecting Its Heritage in Santa Fe?

One of New Mexico's best and best-preserved historic monuments, the former Southwest Regional Headquarters of the National Park Service at 1100 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe, is in jeopardy from the very ones who are entrusted with its protection.

World Heritage Report on Yellowstone National Park's Threats Called "Superficial"

A draft report Yellowstone National Park officials have prepared on threats to the park has been dubbed "superficial," and even park officials admit it's not overly comprehensive.
YELL-World Heritage Report.pdf52.23 KB

Association of National Park Rangers: Parks Should be Viewed in a National Context

Judging from the lobbying that revolves around the national parks, it's easy to see that local interests view the parks as local treasures, not the national jewels that they are. At the Association of National Park Rangers, President-elect Scott McElveen would like to see that change.

Groups Sue Park Service Over ORV Use in Big Cypress National Preserve

A coalition of seven groups is suing the National Park Service over its decision to reauthorize off-road vehicle use in an area of Big Cypress National Preserve, saying the move directly impacts sensitive Florida panther habitat.

Senators' Letter to Open National Parks to Concealed Weapons

Attached is the letter a number of senators sent to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne asking him to overturn the National Park Service's ban on concealed weapons in national parks.
Firearms-Parks Letter.pdf607.75 KB

Senators Pushing To Allow Concealed Weapons in National Parks

There's a move under way in the U.S. Senate to have Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne reverse the National Park Service's ban against the public carrying concealed weapons in the national parks.

Economic Greed Tarnishes Our National Park System

For longer than the National Park Service has been in business, capitalists have pulled at national parks, looking for a way to get their financial cut of natural resources. Should we be surprised at this behavior? Of course not. Disappointed? I'd like to think so.

Are The National Parks Not Part of Our Federal Lands?

A funny thing seems to have happened to U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Mike Crapo on their way to fighting to keep public lands in the public's hands: They overlooked the 84 million acres of the national park system.

Mountain Bike Association Considering Bid To Alter Park Service's Rulemaking Policies

The International Mountain Bicycling Association quietly is exploring a bid to change National Park Service rule-making policies with hopes of cutting through the bureaucracy to open up more park terrain to cyclists.

Entrance Fee Repeal Legislation Would Have Little Impact on National Parks

Legislation introduced to Congress this week by senators from Montana and Idaho would limit the fees land managers could charge for recreation on public lands. However, the measure would have little impact on units of the national park system.
Fee Repeal Act.pdf40.06 KB

Big Cypress National Preserve: Is More ORV Access In Bear Island Unit Wise?

Snowmobiles, off-road vehicles, and personal watercraft are perhaps the most polarizing recreational issues within the national park system. In this guest column, the specter of greater ORV access in Big Cypress National Preserve's Bear Island Unit is examined.

Park History: Everglades National Park

Rooted in the "River of Grass' that once was the dominant landmark in south Florida, Everglades National Park is in a state of flux due to environmental pressures.

Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans

A trio of conservation groups is asking the National Park Service to reinstate bans against personal watercraft in Gulf Islands and Cape Lookout national seashores as well as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. If the agency balks, the groups say they'll take it to court over the matter.
Jet ski NOI.pdf784.17 KB

Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?

It's been months since Glacier National Park officials concluded after lengthy environmental studies that snowsheds, not 105mm howitzer shells, should be used to protect freight trains from avalanches sliding off the park's southern flanks. And yet Interior Department officials have yet to sign off on that decision.

Former Park Service Director Mainella: Interior Department Called Yellowstone Snowmobile Decisions

Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis (left) and former National Park Service Director Fran Mainella (right) review snowmobiles in this J. Sullivan photo illustration.
Former National Park Service Director Fran Mainella says her bosses in the Interior Department in effect tied her hands on the question of recreational snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park. And now she says science should have the final say in whether snowmobiling continues to be allowed in the park.

National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings

If your local paper didn't run the story, you might be interested to learn about the financial pinch that is preventing the National Park Service from buying private parcels located within the national park system.

FAQs for Yellowstone's Snowmobile Decision Revealing

A National Park Service script of "Frequently Asked Questions" on the decision to continue snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park is revealing on several fronts.

EPA's Perplexing Position On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park

Perplexing. That's my initial reaction to the Environmental Protection Agency's response to the snowmobile decision out of Yellowstone National Park. In five short paragraphs the EPA officials went from seemingly complimenting the decision to saying park planners failed to fully address their concerns.
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