Great Excuses To Visit The National Park System This Fall

No one really needs an excuse to visit a national park in the Fall, one of the most glorious seasons across the National Park System. Still, the Traveler offers up the following if you feel you need one!

Fall Spectacular: What's That Sound? Where To Listen To -- And Look For -- Wildlife in the National Parks

In the fall, animals and birds prepare for winter. Bears eat constantly to fatten up before they slow down. Many birds are already on their migration path. Elk and other ungulates are preparing for the mating ritual, the rut. Take a look -- or stop and listen -- in many national parks this Fall and you'll catch a glimpse of this autumnal spectacular.

Reader Participation Day: Acadia National Park, or Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Glance at a map of the Eastern Seaboard and a number of intriguing national parks jump out: Acadia National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Everglades National Park. But which one to visit? If you had to choose between Acadia and Great Smoky, which of the two would be at the top of your list?

Pocket Guides Help Explain The Nature You See in National Parks

A series of inexpensive folding pocket guides can help you easily identify some of the nature you see in national parks.

National Park Mystery Plant 10 Revealed: It's False Hellebore

Don't mess with this one, folks, and don't let your livestock mess with it either.

Trolley Tours Come To Crater Lake National Park

Glacier National Park has its Red Jammers, Yellowstone National Park has its National Park Buses, and now Crater Lake National Park has its trolleys.

Mr. President, Some Suggestions for Your Long Weekend At Acadia National Park

Three days might not qualify for official "vacation" status, but the First Family's trip this weekend to Acadia National Park should provide enough time for President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their kids to sample some of the highlights of this Down East treasure.

Upscale Cabins Latest Trend in Commercial Campgrounds Bordering National Parks

There’s a new structure showing up this summer in campgrounds bordering national parks, one that offers a higher level of comfort than the family camper or pop-up tent. More and more campgrounds are adding cabins to their available accommodations, for while more people are heading to the parks, not all want to sleep on the ground in a tent.
Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks (Springer Praxis Books / Popular Astronomy) Add Stars Above, Earth Below, a Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks to your library and you'll not only gain a better appreciation of the dark skies over national parks, but you'll also be better informed on the stars twinkling at you.

ReserveAmerica Can't Find a National Park Campground It Likes

ReserveAmerica, the company that manages camping reservations for the National Park System and other federal agencies, can't seem to find a national park campground it likes. In listing its "Top 100 Family Campgrounds," the company doesn't cite a single national park campground.

Updated: Phone App Reviews: Chimani's Acadia and Nomad's Great Smoky Mountains

The number of national park phone applications recently grew by two, with Chimani's Acadia National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park guide(s) recently sent to market by Nomad Mobile Guides. We recently test drove both. Here's what we found.

With A Growing Number of National Park Phone Apps, What Should You Expect?

Like it or not, we are indeed becoming a society tethered to our electronics. If anyone doubts that this is the "information age," know that recent surveys estimate that nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population carries a smart phone in their pocket or purse.

Mark Your Calendars: Acadia National Park's Night Skies To Be Celebrated in September

If your idea of an excellent trip to a national park includes gazing at the starry skies overhead, consider making plans to visit Acadia National Park in September when the 2nd Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is celebrated.
Dream Hikes Coast to Coast: Your Guide to America In Dream Hikes Coast to Coast author Jack Bennett has done something more than a few folks would like to do: Head out on some great hikes, and then write about them. In assembling his hiking list, he took an approach that is both laudable...and disappointing.

Help Friends Groups Help the National Parks

Throughout the year my mailbox is filled with solicitations from various causes, among them national park-related events and projects. Here's a look at just some of the latest you might consider giving to.

Reader Participation Day: Which Is Your Favorite National Park Gateway Town?

If you had to pick a gateway town to live in -- not because of its associated national park, but because of its atmosphere -- which would you choose?

Trails I've Hiked: Acadia National Park's South Ridge of Cadillac Mountain

Any visit to Acadia National Park should involve a walk in the woods. Whether you're just looking for a short lake-side stroll or a more demanding trek up the Precipice Trail, there are options for most visitors. Perhaps my favorite hike in the park is the 7.4-mile-long roundtrip up the South Ridge of Cadillac Mountain.

The Way We Used To Describe And Enjoy National Parks

The written word is a marvelous thing, so much more so when it's used to describe a place. In the early part of the 21st century, those employed by the Government Printing Office had a stylish way to describe national parks. Perhaps not as eloquent as some of today's finer writers, but stylish just the same.

Updated: Effort In Maine To Restrict Guns From National Park Units Falls Short of Goal

A concerted effort in Maine to draw the line on national park visitors arming themselves has fallen short of the original goal. But the measure Gov. John Baldacci signed this week will at least outlaw open carry in Acadia National Park.

Nesting Time In Acadia National Park Means Some Trail Closures

With peregrine falcons once again staking out their nesting territories in Acadia National Park, it's time for park officials to enforce some temporary trail closures to give the raptors some peace.

Cost Savings Mean the National Park Service Can Fund More Projects In the Parks

Favorable contracts on some of the major construction projects the National Park Service has funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment dollars means the agency will be able to afford more projects this year.

Return of the Peregrine Prompts Viewing Opportunities and Seasonal Closures in Several Parks

Peregrine. NPS photo.
Peregrine falcons have long fascinated humans with their beauty, speed and dramatic dives, but the birds had all but disappeared from much of North America only a few years ago. They're making a dramatic comeback, and seasonal closures of key nesting areas in several parks are both helping in that recovery and offering opportunities to see the birds.

National Park Quiz 78: Harbors

Don’t harbor any illusions; this month’s quiz is no walk in the park. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write on the whiteboard 100 times: "During the 1950s, some scientists suggested that 'instant harbors' could be created with well-placed atomic bombs."

Frogs Are A Sure Sign of Spring, But That Doesn't Mean You Won't Hear Them Now

If you want to know whether Spring is on the way, don’t look to groundhogs for the answer. Instead, listen for the frogs. Certain species of frogs, such as the wood frog, begin singing even when there is still snow on the ground.

The Dark Side of National Park Visits

When you're planning a visit to a national park, don't overlook the dark side. No, we aren't suggesting you join forces with Darth Vader, but many parks offer a great opportunity to enjoy a view that's unfortunately becoming increasingly rare—the night sky. An upcoming nationwide event and several other opportunities can help you protect and enjoy the beauty of the night.

Acadia National Park Accepting Applications for Raptor Interpretation Internship

Crowd watching peregine falcons.
Acadia National Park is one of the premier locations in the country for viewing raptors, including peregrine falcons and hawks. The park is looking for an intern to help monitor raptor activity and provide interpretation for the thousands of visitors who come to Acadia to see the birds

The Bridges of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island

One of the glories of Acadia National Park are the carriage paths that wend their way through the forests of Mount Desert Island. And one of the wonders of those paths are the bridges that you pass under, and cross over, while exploring the paths on foot, carriage, or bike.

Summering At Acadia National Park: The Logistics

The calendar says January, but if you're planning to head to Acadia National Park this coming summer it's not too early to begin laying the groundwork for that trip.
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21 National Park System Units Nominated For "Marine Protected Area" Status

Twenty-one units of the National Park System, including five national seashores and four national lakeshores, have been nominated for status as "Marine Protected Areas."
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National Park Mystery Plant 5 Revealed: It’s the Red Baneberry

Did you identify the red baneberry as the mystery plant in yesterday’s quiz? Here are some more interesting facts about this widely-distributed plant and its toxic effects.