Reader Participation Day

Reader Participation Day: Are Our National Parks Losing Their Relevancy?

Have our national parks lost their relevancy? I raise that question because on one hand we saw an upwelling of interest last fall when The National Parks: America's Best Idea, riveted many to their televisions for six consecutive nights, and yet on the other hand National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis shortly after he was appointed cited a need to prevent the parks from becoming irrelevant.

Reader Participation Survey: Help Us Name the Top 100 National Park Locations to See Before You Die

Earlier this week we touched on the national parks mentioned in the book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Somehow, Mammoth Cave National Park didn't make the cut, and if you've been there, you know it should have. Help us compile a list of the top 100 national park locations to see before you die. We'll start the list.

Reader Participation Day: Where's Your Favorite National Park Cabin?

If I'm not sleeping in a tent in a national park, the next best place is a cabin, preferably a log cabin. And there certainly are lots of them, from the Colter Bay cabins at Grand Teton National Park to the tent cabins in Yosemite National Park. Which cabins are your favorites when it comes to visiting the national parks?

Reader Participation Survey: Let's Build A Top 10 Most-Endangered Park List

OK. You knew this day was coming. After reading stories about imperiled parks week in and week out on the Traveler, it's time that you tell us which parks you think are most imperiled.

Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?

What do you think of the price of a room in a national park lodge? Too much, too little, or just about right? Are some folks quite literally being priced out of a national park stay?

Reader Participation Day: Which is Your Favorite National Park Lodge?

Yellowstone has its magnificent log cabin, Yosemite its blue-blooded Ahwahnee, Grand Teton its charming Jenny Lake. These are just three of the many lodges, hotels, and inns that can be found throughout the National Park System. Which is your favorite, and why?

Reader Participation Day: A Two-Fer, Mixing Thanksgiving With Year-End Holidays

With Thanksgiving tomorrow and Christmas and the other year-end holidays right around the corner, we decided to spring two questions on you in this week's Reader Participation Day: One, any plans to mix Thanksgiving with a national park visit, and two, what item would you like to find in your holiday stocking that would make your national park visits more enjoyable?

Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?

Is there one particular national park campground you like to return to again and again and again?

Reader Participation Day: What's the Most Important Part of Your National Park Trip?

Arches National Park, copyright Kurt Repanshek
There are so many components that go into a successful national park escape. Travel to the park of your choice, comfortable and reasonably priced lodging, well-marked trails to explore, good interpretive programs, and nutritious, tasty meals are just some of the most obvious aspects. What's most important in your estimation to a successful park trip?

Reader Participation Survey: What Was Your Most Fascinating National Park Interpretive Program?

Across the National Park System you'll encounter some pretty incredible interpretive programs. In Virgin Islands National Park there are underwater trails. At Mammoth Cave and Sequoia national parks you can go on a "wild cave" tour. Let fellow travelers know which national park interpretive programs you've found to be extraordinary.

Reader Participation Day: Is Your Guidebook Actually Bound, Or Do You Prefer Pixels?

How do you navigate your national park visits? Are you someone who needs to actually experience the tactility of a printed and bound guidebook, one with pages that can be dog-eared, notated, cluttered with Post-its, and tossed into the backseat when you're done with it? Or are you right at home with a digital guidebook, whether the material is displayed on an iPhone, iPod, iPod touch, or some similar digital media device?

Reader Participation Day: Winter Park Visits, Snow or Sand?

With winter not too far off here in the Rockies, it's only natural to begin to consider which national park to visit before the spring thaw arrives. Our question to you: Do you focus on snow, or sand, when you think of a winter national park escape?

Reader Participation Day: What Epic Treks in the National Parks Are on Your To-Do List?

Fall is here in the Rockies, and winter won't be far behind. For many that means outdoor adventures are being shunted to the back burner. But it also means there's lots of time to plan next year's epic adventures in the National Park System. So what treks are you mulling?

Reader Participation Survey: Should Hunters Be Used to Manage National Park Wildlife?

It's fall. There's a crispness in the air, trees are painting the landscape with their colorful leaves, elk are in the rut. And in some national parks, hunters are being dispatched to tamp down those elk populations. Is that the right way to approach wildlife management in the National Park System?

Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?

We're at the halfway mark of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. So what do you think? Has Ken Burns pulled off another masterpiece, or do you find it lacking in some regards?

Reader Participation Day: What Aspect(s) of the National Park System Do You Want to Read More About?

For 364 days a year, the brain trust here at the Traveler tries to come up with thoughtful, occasionally thought-provoking, entertaining, and informative posts on the National Park System. Today we turn the editorial keys over to you.

Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?

Quick, pick an ocean setting for next summer's national park vacation. Are you heading to the Northeast, the Northwest, or looking South or somewhere else for your destination?

Reader Participation Day: What "Must Have" Article Do You Pack for a National Park Visit?

It never fails. Before heading out to a national park, my wife and I always remind each other to grab the birding guide. And we always forget it. Which raises a question: What item do you always make sure is in your duffel for your national park trips?

Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Is Your Favorite For Fall Colors?

Hard to believe, but already the Wasatch maples are starting to take on the hues of fall here in Utah. Which means the colorful kaleidoscope of fall cannot be far off. With that in mind, which national park is your favorite for fall leaf-peeping?

Reader Participation Day: What Indelible Image Best Reminds You of the National Parks?

If you've stood before Old Faithful as it erupts against a golden sunset, or perhaps a frosty sunrise, you're likely going to carry that image with you for the rest of your life. Or maybe the profile of Half Dome, as seen from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, leaps first to mind when you think of national parks.

Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?

So, how was your latest visit to a national park? Were rangers present to answer your questions? How was the parking? Restrooms clean? We'd like to hear from you.

Reader Participation Day, Fine Arts Division: Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, or Maynard Dixon?

If cost were no object, whose national park painting would you hang on your wall? Would it be a Thomas Moran, an Albert Bierstadt, or a Maynard Dixon?

Reader Participation Day: Do You Believe There Should Be Overflight Tours of National Parks?

Have you ever had the itch to fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter? Do you want a bird's eye view of Crater Lake? Or do you believe the airspace over national parks should be reserved strictly for, well, the birds?

Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?

What's your favorite trail in the National Park System? That can be a tough question. Some believe hiking the "Narrows" in Zion National Park is as good as it gets. Others might say a multi-day outing on the John Muir Trail through Yosemite National Park down to Devil's Postpile and on to Sequoia National Park and Mount Whitney is the best there is.

Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?

Tell us what your favorite national park is, and why.

Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?

Earlier this summer Interior Secretary Ken Salazar designated three weekends as "entrance free" weekends in the National Park System. Anecdotally, the first of those three weekends attracted larger-than-normal turnouts to many parks. Which makes us wonder, do you mind paying entrance fees, or should they be eliminated?

Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?

While we at the Traveler have in the past raised the issue of what units of the National Park System should be jettisoned, today's survey is just the opposite. Tell us what you would like to see added to the system.

What is YOUR Favorite Park Experience?

Entrace to Cave in Lava Beds National Monument; NPS photo (David Hays).
While Kurt has been in Austin, he's had a chance to chat with a few folks close to the National Parks. One of his recurring questions has been, "What has been your favorite experience in the National Parks?" How would YOU answer that question? I've provided my own answer in this story.
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