Reader Participation Day
Is the National Park System in danger of turning into a catchall system? Should a site dedicated to the nuclear arms race, another to union organizers, and another to First Ladies really fall under an agency that started out preserving spectacular vistas and landscapes, that showcases Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon?
How much should the National Park Service rely on volunteers? That's a difficult question, as there are teachers, retirees, and others with valuable knowledge and skills that the parks could benefit from, particularly as the agency struggles to make ends meet. But does Apple, or JP Morgan, or any Fortune 500 company rely as much on volunteers for day-to-day operations as does the Park Service?
Imagine, for a moment, that you're in charge of setting fees for the National Park System. What would you charge for, and how much would you charge? Or would you charge anything at all?
In this age of informational instant gratification, how has your national park experience changed? For Millennials, who grew up with smartphones, texting, and Facebook, not so much. For Baby Boomers, who learned to read with actual newspapers, books, and magazines in their hands, whose phones were attached to the wall by a cord, a great deal. Is that change for the good, or the bad?
Horses have a long, long history in America. They came to the New World with the Spaniards, and have carried riders ever since. In many national parks horses are icons, seen as both honorable steeds that carry mounted rangers and as work horses that carry both visitors and gear. But they also have impacts on the landscape, and there have been calls to ban them from the parks. But should they be banned?
What maintenance needs have you seen in your travels about the National Park System? Let's build a list on what needs fixing out there.
If you were given a blank piece of paper, and asked to design a national park, what would you consider to be indispensable?
Is there an overrated unit of the National Park System, one that doesn't quite meet your criteria for being among the properties carrying the tag of national park?
Which unit of the National Park System would you most like to see...but fear you won't for one reason or another (most likely distance and/or cost)?
Visit Mesa Verde National Park in December and you can experience cliff dwellings by the soft glow of luminarias. Head to Yosemite National Park later in the month and you can feast at The Ahwahnee. But what other winter events are there that interest you?
Last week we wondered how many folks were using their smartphones as cameras in the national parks. Let's stay with the smartphone theme this week: Do you have a national park app on your phone, and do you use it?
Reader Participation Day: What Was Your Best, And Worst, Experience In The National Parks This Summer?
With the bulk of the summer national park vacations having been taken, we want to know what was the best experience you had in the parks, as well as the worst.
Reader Participation Day: What Impacts On The National Parks Have You Noticed From The Budget Sequestration?
In your travels through the National Park System this summer, have you noticed any impacts from the budget sequestration? If so, how did they impact your visit?
Which historic person would you take on a hike in a national park?
If costs and scheduling didn't get in the way, what would be the national park trip that would top your bucket list? Want to float the Colorado through Grand Canyon National Park, or climb Mount McKinley in Denali?
How would you market and promote the national parks to build not just overall visitation, but visitation that reflects the country's diversity and various age groups?
Are dogs a good fit with national parks?
Will expanded wireless service for cellphones and the Internet enhance your national park experience, or will it clutter it with a technological Disneyification of the parks, one that will detract from, not add to, the national park experience?
We've flipped the calendar pages to another year, and for some people, that means it's time for some New Year's resolutions. Does your list include any items that stir up the travel juices and generates a little bit of excitement in terms of plans—or at least wishes—connected with national parks?
If you are in reach of a unit of the National Park System in the coming months of winter, which hike is a must-do in your opinion?