Republicans On House Natural Resources Committee Planning Big Changes For Public Lands

Fresh off their Election Day tidal wave, and energized by it, Republican members of the House Natural Resources Committee are planning big changes for public lands in the West, changes that could greatly impact national parks.

National Park Mystery Plant 13 Revealed: A Prostrate Little Plant with an Unlovely Name

The liverwort is a small, primitive, flowerless plant that you might easily mistake for moss or lichens.

Exploring Canyonlands And Arches National Parks By RV

Baked by time like some multi-layer geologic tort, Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah features a landscape cut by canyons, rumpled by upthrusts, dimpled by grabens, and even pockmarked, some believe, by asteroids.

New Director in National Park Service's Intermountain Region Looking Forward to Challenges

John Wessels finds himself in arguably one of the best jobs in the National Park Service, that as director of the agency's sprawling Intermountain Region, and yet there probably aren't many who envy him at this point.
Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River Part travelogue, part warning shot across the bow, Jonathan Waterman in his latest book takes us on a year-long journey down the Colorado River from source to the Sea of Cortez that should scare the wits out of those in the Southwest convince them to read the dusty writing on the wall.

Updated: NPCA Names Dirk Kempthorne to Its Board of Trustees

Former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Parks Conservation Association, a somewhat curious, and likely controversial, move in light of his oversight of the national parks.

Secretary Salazar Hopes To Negotiate R.S. 2477 Solution With Utah Officials

Long a bone of contention between state, local and federal authorities when it comes to public lands access is a nearly 150-year-old law initially passed to help advance westward expansion. Now Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hopes a pilot program in Utah can generate a solution to R.S. 2477 controversies.

John Wessels Appointed Director of National Park Service's Intermountain Region

John Wessels, who has served as the National Park Service’s Intermountain Region associate director for administration, business and technology since 2004, has been named director of the region, the largest in the agency.

Reader Participation Day: California, or Utah, For A National Park Trek?

If you had the option of either traveling to Utah for a swing through its national parks, or to California to sample its national parks, which would you choose?

One More Request For Your Help In Keeping The Traveler On-line

As we bring an end to our week-long fund-raising drive to keep the Traveler on-line, we'd like to thank the many readers who responded with donations, and make a final request to those sitting on the fence.

Arches National Park Developing Formal Climbing, Canyoneering Management Plan

Hard to believe, what with all the incredible geology with its borders, but Arches National Park never really has had a formal climbing and canyoneering management plan. Well, that soon will be rectified.

Trails I've Hiked: The Windows Section of Arches National Park

You don't need to be a long-distance hiker to tackle what arguably is not just the shortest but also the most impressive hike at Arches National Park. A comfortable pair of shoes, a bottle of water, and perhaps 90 minutes of your time will be enough to explore the Windows Section of the park.
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.
Treasures of America Before Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan came out with their view of the National Park System, many others were turning their cameras on the parks. One collection I've found that is worthy of space in your DVD collection is Treasures of America's National Parks, a six-disk collection of some of the system's icons.

National Park Quiz 83: Reproduction

Let's see how much you know about the intricate business of passing along genes in our national parks. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we'll make you write on the whiteboard 100 times: "Bacterial conjugation, which is sometime erroneously characterized as the bacterial equivalent of sexual reproduction, cannot succeed unless the donor bacterium hosts a plasmid, transposon, or similar genetic element that is conjugative or mobilizable."

"There's Something I Forgot to Tell You"

Memory lapses add spice to life.

Creature Feature: The Common Raven is an Uncommonly Intelligent Bird

The common raven is one of the brainiest birds you'll encounter in the national parks, but the same keen intellect that makes this species interesting and amusing also makes it troublesome.

Trails I've Hiked: Arches National Park's Primitive Trail, Via Landscape and Double O Arches

Landscape Arch, Arches National Park, copyright Kurt Repanshek
There might be no finer time to hike in Arches National Park than early mornings, when the soft light of the rising sun glints off the red-rock and the spindly Utah junipers and waves of fins cast long shadows.

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?
Common Southwestern Native Plants: An Identification Guide Anyone who spends time hiking in the national parks of the Southwest needs a good plant identification book. And "Common Southwestern Native Plants, An Identification Guide," is one of those books.

Republicans, Democrats Differ Over Whether National Park Designations Should Block Energy Projects

When the Bush administration late in 2008 tried to auction energy leases near national parks in Utah, there was an outcry by many who considered siting oil and gas exploration projects next to parks was anathema. The Obama administration quickly reversed the decision, but the debate over whether to locate energy projects next to parks continues.

Tamarisk, aka "Salt Cedar," A Thirsty Scourge Of Western National Parks

The showy tamarisk tree, aka "Saltcedar," long has been reviled as a thirsty scourge of Western national park riparian areas. But new research shows it's not any thirstier than some native species. However, tamarisk isn't valued as highly as cottonwoods and willows by some bird species, the studies say.

Oil and Gas Production And the National Parks

Against fears that the white-sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore soon might be darkened by an oily slick from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, natural gas production flows quietly from Padre Islands National Seashore.

Traveler's Gear Box: Moab Trails Illustrated Explorer

One CD-Rom that works with either Mac or PC. Mapping software that let's you zoom in and out, pan right or left, and take a bird's eye 3-D view of the lay of the land. And the ability to load the map onto more than a few GPS units. Has National Geographic hit upon something with its Trails Illustrated Explorer series?

Is A Tar Sands Project Coming Close To a National Park You Love?

Back in January 2008 the Traveler warned about a movement in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to allow tar sands development in Utah. Well, it seems that project could soon be sprouting near Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument.

Is There Economic Value to That National Monument in Your Backyard?

Muley Point sunset, copyright QT Luong, www.terragalleria.com/parks
While some politicians have rushed to condemn preliminary talks within the Interior Department over whether President Obama should designate any national monuments, past performance shows these establishments can bolster the surrounding economy.

How Might the National Park System Appear if Not for the Use of the Antiquities Act of 1906?

Devils Postpile National Monument, copyright Kurt Repanshek
If the Antiquities Act, which allows presidents to set aside national monuments, had never been created, how might that have affected the National Park System as we see it today?

Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Brings the Best Out In Your Camera?

Redrock and Snow, copyright Kurt Repanshek
It's a given: national parks are great places to take photographs. And yet, there are some parks that seem to produce better photos from my camera than others. Which national parks do you find the most photogenic?