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?

Arches National Park in the Round

Professor Bob has never been to Arches or Canyonlands national parks, though he's threatening to visit this spring. In the meantime, here's something to whet his anticipation -- a 360-degree view of Double Arch in Arches National Park.

Spring in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks: The Logistics

Arches and Canyonlands national parks are colorful siblings that are great to visit any time of year, but to spare yourself the high heat of summer one of the best seasons to visit is Spring. Here are some keys to accomplishing such a trip.
AttachmentSize
ARCH-Lost_Spring_Canyon_Directions.pdf178.49 KB

Looking To Gain A Little Structured Education On Your National Park Trip?

Can you tell by looking at a wildflower in Yellowstone National Park what the underlying geology is? Or, while hiking through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, can you identify a bird simply by its song? Do you want to get relatively up close to the elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore? Here's how you can do all those things and more.

A National Park Visiting Wish List for 2010

Last year’s travels took me to half a dozen national parks new to my resume. This year there are five new ones and five old friends on the horizon. A guy could do worse.

2009 in Review: Traveler’s Checklists

We posted Traveler’s Checklists for 19 different national parks in 2009. Check ‘em out. You’re sure to find helpful advice and useful tips a-plenty.

Interior Issues Report on Drilling Near National Parks in Utah

A review of how the U.S. Bureau of Land Management handled energy leases near national parks in Utah shows some areas where the system broke down and carries recommendations for, at a minimum, review of previous leasing decisions. Some tracts, the report said, should be removed from leasing.
AttachmentSize
BLM_Utah77LeaseParcelReport.pdf349.5 KB

Clash of Viewpoints on Public Land Ownership and Protection Arrives in Congress in the Form of Red Rock Wilderness Legislation

Contrasting views on how public lands should be managed and enjoyed collided in a congressional committee hearing Thursday as distinct lines were drawn over whether more than 9 million acres of red-rock landscape in Utah's outback should be protected as official wilderness or left open for off-road vehicles, mountain bikes, and energy development.

U.S. House National Parks Subcommittee To Consider Red Rock Wilderness Act Legislation

Legislation scheduled to be taken up Thursday by a U.S. House subcommittee wouldn't create any national parks if passed, but it would go a long way toward providing some serious buffer zones around four national park units in Utah through the creation of officially designated wilderness.

Headed Into the Fiery Furnace? Get a Reservation In Advance Online

A hike in the Fiery Furnace
Most of us go out of our way to avoid a "fiery furnace" situation, but many visitors to Arches National Park are the exception. Ranger-guided hikes into the park's version of the Fiery Furnace often fill in advance, so the park is experimenting with online reservations through the end of October.

Classic Road Bike Rides in the National Parks of the Intermountain West

Experiencing our national parks’ grandeur from the saddle of a road bike is a bit like summiting a high peak. The arduous pedal through the park is rewarded with the scenery and equally thrilling descent from the park roads’ high points. Fall is sublime for cycling in national parks, so with the season quickly approaching, now is the time to experience the Mountain West’s greatest national park road cycling routes.

On Canyoneering, Politics, and Teens Studying Climate Change in the National Parks

Slipping from the top of the arch into the abyss below was a difficult move that rattled my psyche. Even though the sandstone band I was perched on was not much more than 4 feet wide, it was stable. Putting my faith into the rope cinched to my climbing harness and dropping into the 100-foot void went completely against my desire for self-preservation.

Do People Who Get Lost Really Walk in Circles? New Research Offers an Answer

Person walking in woods
Every year brings another round of news stories about people who become lost in parks. How quickly they are found often depends upon how much wandering they do trying to get "found." Do such people really walk in circles? New research offers a possible answer.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Bighorn Sheep in the Southwest

Canyonlands National Park is one of the most rugged national parks, with a harsh summer sun that bakes the dry, canyon-riddled landscape. But those deep canyons’ steep rocky slopes, which offer ample grasses and shrubs, and an openness that puts predators at a disadvantage, are an optimal environment for bighorn sheep. In fact, Canyonlands’ bighorn population has been so stable that Utah’s wildlife biologists long relied on it for stock to re-establish herds elsewhere in the state.

Visitation to National Parks Is On the Upswing, Entrance-Fee-Free Weekends Partly to Blame

There's a growing problem with national park visitation. In short, too many people are returning to the parks, creating problems for staffing and people management.

Zion National Park Gets Commemorative Licence Plate, But It's No Delicate Arch

Zion National Park is celebrating its centennial this year, and the state of Utah's gift is a commemorative license plate honoring Zion. But it pales in comparison to the state's license plate that depicts Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

Hollywood Loves Natural Arches (and Unnatural Ones, Too)

Yesterday’s Mystery Photo featured Double Arch, an Arches National Park favorite that has appeared in several movies. Here’s how to learn more about how Hollywood uses -- and messes around with -- natural arches.

NPCA Report: National Parks Provide Economic Security for Surrounding Communities

National parks can, and do, provide an economic lifeline to their surrounding communities. In its latest report, the National Parks Conservation Association points out just how valuable southeastern Utah's parks are to their nearby communities.

Group says Landscape Arch in Arches NP, Not Kolob Arch in Zion NP, is World's Largest Span of Stone

If you stood beneath both Landscape Arch in Arches National Park and Kolob Arch in Zion National Park, could you tell which span is longer? Probably not, but a group has come up with a standardized way to measure arches and says Landscape is the longer span of stone.