National Park Week: April 18-26

National Park Week, 2015 edition, is just a handful of weeks away. While any day is a great day to visit a national park, during this special week April 18-26 there will be more than a few events and activities to take part in.

Birding In The National Parks: New Festivals For Birders In National Park Settings

Looking for a birding festival in the National Park System? You can add the woods and shorelines of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which is hosting its very first birding festival this May.

National Park Service Maintenance Backlog Approaching $11.5 Billion

The backlog in maintenance across the National Park System is approaching $11.5 billion and touches many areas of the visitor experience, from campgrounds and trails to visitor centers and roads and bridges, according to the National Park Service.

Springtime At Acadia National Park: It Could Be Cold, Wet, And Frozen

The cold and snowy winter that buried New England in feet of snow could likely leave some calling cards around Acadia National Park for spring visitors, according to park officials.

National Park Turns: The Slides Of March

All signs point to spring: warm winds, green budding trees, flowering bulbs, and... skiing? Sure enough! Spring’s a great time to spend some time sliding around on those broad bowls, snow-covered roads, and long ridges. The weather is mild, the skies are blue, and the days are long: it’s just a lot more comfortable spring-skiing than going on a mid-winter slog in a blizzard through deep snow.

Don’t Let “Mud Season” Keep You From The Parks

Mud season is here. In most national parks above the Mason-Dixon Line, and quite a few south of that line, it can be a messy time. Choosing a destination can be problematic due to the weather in general and the snow line specifically.

Spring Is No Season To Be Cooped Up

Springtime is a bit of an “in-between” season. It’s somewhere between the longer, warmer days of summer, and the cooler and muddier days of a late winter. Hopefully you’ll find your place farther from winter’s cold and closer to summer’s breezes.

Thinking Of A Seasonal National Park Job? Here's Where To Look

It's bitterly cold, you're tired of snow and ice, and a seasonal job in a beautiful, and warm, location somewhere in the National Park System sounds ideal. So where do you look?

Obama Administration Offers Year-Long Free National Park Access To Fourth Graders And Their Families

With a goal of luring more youngsters, and their parents, into the National Park System and onto other public lands, President Obama on Thursday announced the Every Kid in a Park initiative that will provide every fourth-grader in the country a park pass good for one full year of free access to the nation's public lands.

Reader Participation Day: Where Are The Best National Park Campgrounds?

Summer really isn't as far off as you might think. With that in mind, is anyone thinking about camping? And, in particular, are you thinking about your favorite campground in the National Park System?

Official Numbers Point To 2014 As Record-Setting Year For National Park Attendance

2014 was a record-setting year for attendance in the National Park System, where nearly 293 million visitors spent time, a jump of more than 5 million from the record year of 1999, according to official figures. While most of the "name brand" parks were packed, there were still some sites in the system where you could find some solitude.

Call For Papers: National Parks, The Next Century

What path should the National Park Service take as it enters its second century? How can the National Park Service continue to nurture landscapes, cultures, and American history without compromising the world's best collection of parks? In this unique collection of papers, National Parks Traveler will recapture Stephen Mather’s ambition of preserving “the most inspiring playgrounds and the best equipped nature schools in the world.”

Free Entry To Entire National Park System This Presidents Day Weekend

Make an executive decision to visit a national park this Presidents Day weekend. All 405 national parks will offer free admission February 14-16.

Reader Participation Day: How Would You Build A "Top 10" National Parks List?

Recently, a website that will go unmentioned put together a list of "the nation's worst national parks." While that list was soundly, and justifiably, ridiculed and dismissed, it brings to mind this question: What are the nation's best national parks? If you were to compile a Top 10 list of national parks, which would you include on it?

Keep Track Of Events Surrounding Acadia National Park's Centennial Celebration At This Website

The National Park Service isn't the only entity turning 100 next year. So is Acadia National Park in Maine. If you want to stay atop of events surrounding Acadia's centennial, there's a website you should follow.

Birding In The National Parks: Rusty Blackbirds, Where Have You Gone?

We all know about the more charismatic of the endangered and threatened bird species. Trail closures in Acadia National Park and Big Bend National Park remind us that Peregrine Falcons nest on cliffs in parks across the country. Piping Plovers are diminutive shorebirds that bring outsized responses of both appreciation and consternation when their nesting causes beach closures in the national seashores along the Atlantic.

More Charging Stations Popping Up In National Park System For Electric Vehicles

Electric charging stations are beginning to sprout up around the National Park System, making it a bit easier for visitors with electric vehicles to recharge while enjoying the parks.

National Park System Visitation Was Up More Than 20 Million In 2014, To A Record 294 Million

Whether it was due to lower gas costs, better weather, or an improving economy, the bottom line for the National Park System for 2014 was impressive: An increase of more than 20 million visitors over 2013 levels, for a record total of 294 million, according to unofficial statistics.

Now's The Time To Be Making Plans For Summer In The National Parks

Today is not too early to make your summer vacation plans in the National Park System.

National Park Service, Unable To Complete Concessions Contracts On Time, Moves To Extend Dozens Across Park System

Hammering out concessions contracts across the National Park System is not an easy, or quick, job. Failure to reach new contracts before existing ones expired at the end of 2014 prompted the National Park Service to propose extended dozens of contracts for up to a year to keep visitor services operating without interruption.

Photography In The National Parks: Looking Back On 2014

Whether you were looking to improve your technical expertise with a camera, or curious about the thought processes that professional photographers went through in framing their photos, Contributing Photographers Deby Dixon and Rebecca Latson covered the bases for you through the past 12 months. Here for your review, and just a click away, are the columns they wrote in 2014.

Books We Read In 2014, And Which You Might Like

Despite all the electronic gadetry that allows you to consume media, hard-bound and paperback books continue to hold a considerable marketshare. And more than a few of those titles have something to do with national parks. We read as much as we could this year, and came away with the following reviews for your consideration.

Acadia National Park's Visitor Use Plan For Isle Au Haut Allows For Slight Increase In Daily Visitation

Visitors to Acadia National Park who want to escape the crowds might consider a trip to Isle au Haut, a relatively little-known piece of the park that occupies an island south of Mount Desert Island. Under a visitor use management plan adopted by the park, daily visitation to the island will be capped at 128, although the park will allow higher visitation on six days in July and August.

Some Eastern National Park Destinations For Winter

Winter wonderlands come in many shapes, forms, and temperatures in the National Park System. They can be pine forests shrouded in snow, or turquoise waters swimming with green parrotfish, blue tangs, and silvery barracudas. You can climb ice walls at Acadia National Park, kick-and-glide or skate to an overlook of Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley, or find your way to the 13,159-foot summit of Wheeler Peak atop Great Basin National Park.

Saguaro National Park Officials Voice Opposition To Development Proposed Across From Rincon Mountain District

Should there be a development buffer around national parks? That's a tough question, particularly when you look at West Yellowstone's proximity to Yellowstone National Park or Gatlinsburg's presence at the Sugarlands Entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At Saguaro National Park, officials say a development proposed for a 45-acre parcel across from the Rincon Mountain District entrance is too close.

Winter Lodging In The National Parks: The Choices Are Many And Intriguing

What’s your ideal place to stay for a wintry escape into the National Park System? Is it a cozy cabin with fireplace and ample wood, or perhaps something in a warmer climate with views of sun-kissed turquoise waters? Or does your desire lie somewhere in-between? Fortunately, the park system is large and diverse. Finding that perfect home-away-from-home for a winter adventure may come down to deciding if you like it cold and snowy, or hot and sandy.

Draft Report On Recognizing National Park Philanthropy Calls For Logo Placements, Naming Opportunities

National parks long have been largely devoid of overt advertising via logos and sponsorships, but that could change as the National Park Service approaches its centennial in 2016.

Finding Fall Color In Unexpected Places

Many areas in the National Park System are famous for autumn color, and visitors flock to places like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Acadia National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy the seasonal palette of natural beauty. There are, however, some other parks where fall color can be either a surprise—or a favorite destination for savvy travelers.

Reader Participation Day: How Much Extra $$ Do You Send The National Park Service?

After you've purchased your annual parks pass, or paid your week-long entrance fee to your favorite national park, how much more money do you send to the National Park Service?

National Park Basics For RVing Newbies

When planning a national park camping trip, many RVing newbies are surprised to learn that a stay in these public campgrounds is quite different from the usual RV park experience. From 1950s-era campgrounds with short parking aprons that are unsuitable for modern RVs, to strict generator use hours, the learning curve can be steep for inexperienced RVers. If you're a new RV traveler and considering a national park campground visit, here are five simple ways to have a great RV camping experience.