Spring is a Great Time To Watch For Migratory Birds in the National Parks

Spring is a fantastic time to be outdoors. Along with the beauty of plants in bloom, a trip to a national park can reveal mammals emerging from their hibernation and frogs singing up a storm. But the one spring event that brings countless new and life-long nature lovers to our nation’s parks is the return of migratory songbirds.

Heavy Rains and Flash Floods Lead to Backcountry Road Closings at Big Bend National Park

At Big Bend National Park, heavy rains and flooding have forced the closing of some backcountry roads. Motorists planning to use the park’s roads should check with the park for updated road information and plan accordingly.

Reader Participation Day Bonus Survey: Should Border Security Trump Wilderness, Endangered Species?

Should The Wilderness Act and the Endangered Species Act be suspended in areas along the U.S.-Mexico border to allow the Border Patrol to perform its job?
AttachmentSize
BishopBorderSecurityBill.pdf31.19 KB

Traveler's Tips for a Spring Break Visit to Big Bend National Park

Campground full sign at Big Bend
The annual travel rite known as "Spring Break" isn't limited to students headed for the beach—it's also peak season for Big Bend National Park. Is that park is too crowded to enjoy a visit in March? Here are some observations from the Traveler, along with tips to help make a future spring trip to Big Bend a lot more fun.

It Must be Spring at Big Bend National Park—Multiple Incidents Challenge the Park Staff

Sunrise at the Basin in Big Bend NP.
Poets tell us where young men's thoughts turn in the spring, but the staff at Big Bend National Park knows the arrival of warmer weather means life in that park is going to get crazy. Big Bend's busy season is here, and a spate of recent incidents proves it must be spring in the desert.

Big Bend National Park Offers A Drastic Change From Vistas This Easterner is Accustomed To Seeing

South Rim Trail view, Danny Bernstein photo.
It's not easy to get to Big Bend National Park. Located in the crook of Rio Grande River in West Texas where the river turns from a southeast to a northeastern direction, the park promises spectacular vistas, river canyons, and desert plants. But it's a 225-mile drive from Midland-Odessa and 325 miles from El Paso, the closest airports, so no one goes there on a whim.

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.

Big Bend National Park Completes New Wildlife Viewing Platform at Rio Grande Village

Beaver Pond at Rio Grande Village.
The lower elevation areas in Big Bend National Park are popular with winter visitors, especially during the week between Christmas and New Years. An added attraction this year will be a new wildlife viewing platform at Rio Grande Village.

Updated: Big Bend National Park Draft Wilderness Proposal Draws Attention For Road Corridors

Big Bend National Park officials are drawing up a wilderness proposal that could come into play if someone in Congress proposes wilderness legislation for the park. While many have been calling for officially designated wilderness in the park, the proposal is drawing some concern for the wide buffer zones it would create for roads. Park officials, though, maintain the wide corridors are needed to address such things as archaeological and paleontological sites as well as flash-floods.

Where to Find Your Christmas Feast in the National Park System

'Tis the season for quiet and peace, snowy woods, frosty starry nights, time with loved ones, festive activities, and eating way too much food. What better way to accomplish all that than to spend the holidays at a national park?

Dark, Starry Skies Above National Parks Celebrated by Posters, Forthcoming Book

Some of the best star gazing can be had in national parks. Proof of that can be found at Natural Bridges National Monument, Yellowstone National Park, Big Bend National Park, even Acadia National Park. Those and other park settings are celebrated in a series of night sky posters issued in conjunction with the International Year of Astronomy.
AttachmentSize
Night_Sky_Program_Brief.pdf197.58 KB

Pancho Villa, the Army Air Corps and Big Bend National Park

Douglas airplane on the field at Johnson's Ranch.
Every NPS area, even if it wasn't created specifically to commemorate a historical event, includes some interesting tales from the past. At Big Bend National Park, one of those stories involves Pancho Villa and the Army Air Corps.

Traveler's Checklist - Big Bend National Park

Big Bend scene.
If you're looking for dramatic desert scenery, a chance to get away from crowds, and lots of variety in elevation, climate and things to do, you'll find all that and more in Big Bend National Park in Texas. Here are some tips to help you plan a visit.

Fall and Winter Are Prime Seasons for Camping in These Parks

Campsite at Organ Pipe Cactus Nat. Mon.
It's just too hot to enjoy camping in some parks during the summer, but fall and winter are prime times for outdoor activity in those areas. Here's a sampling of NPS sites where the "off season" in the rest of the country can be the best season for camping.

Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks

What's ho-hum in one park, when it comes to bikes, is decidedly more controversial in another. Which should make the coming few weeks interesting.

No Oscar, But DoctorLoopy Wins the National Park Foundation's Video Contest

Well, DoctorLoopy didn't win an Oscar for his short video on visiting Big Bend National Park, but his production has made him the grand prize winner in the National Park Foundation's "Your Parks" video contest.

Grant From Friends Group Helps Preserve Night Skies Over Big Bend National Park

It's no secret the National Park Service lacks the budget it needs to properly take care of the 391 units of the National Park System. Thankfully, there are groups such as Friends of Big Bend to help meet some of the needs, such as improved lighting to help minimize light pollution at Big Bend National Park.

Doctorloopy's Video Trip Through Big Bend National Park Won't Win An Oscar, And Yet....

Oscar-quality Doctorloop's video trip through Big Bend National Park is not. And yet, it's corny enough to make it interesting.

Is an International U.S.-Mexico Park At Big Bend Moving Closer to Reality?

Case Grande in Big Bend NP.
The idea of an international park along the U.S.-Mexican border around Big Bend National Park has been kicking around for decades. A statement released after the recent North American Leaders Summit has revived hopes of supporters of the concept, but what did that statement really say?

Floating Through Life on the Rio Grande And Big Bend National Park

We don’t expect adventure on a flatwater river, but sometimes it just happens.

Big Bend National Park Helps Protect Night Skies. You Can, Too—Here's How!

Photos comparing old and new lighting at Panther Junctions.
NPS areas are becoming increasingly valuable as places where we can enjoy the night sky with minimal light pollution from civilization, and protecting the "dark" can also save money. A project in Big Bend National Park demonstrates what can be done, and shows what all of us can do, wherever we live.

National Park Quiz 62: Paired Parks

This week’s quiz deals with National Park System units that are linked to each other in some way. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write on the whiteboard 100 times: “The efficient enzymatic resolution of conduritol B and C derivatives is an important step in synthesizing all possible enantiomeric pairs of conduritol stereoisomers.”

Predictions for the 2009 Wildfire Season

Firefighter and brush fire.
What might 2009 hold for wildfires, in parks and other areas? Experts at the National Interagency Fire Center have issued a fire season outlook for the next several months that provides an educated guess.

A U.S. – Mexico International Park. Will This Long-Standing Idea Be Revived?

Boquillas Canyon
Will President Obama's recent visit to Mexico revive interest in a formal U.S. – Mexico International Park in the Big Bend area of Texas? Supporters of the idea hope so, but the plan, which dates back over seventy years, faces some challenges.

Best Solitude in the National Park System? Here Are Traveler's Choices

Solitude. Who doesn’t treasure some from time to time? And some of the greatest draws of national parks is their peacefulness and the ability for you to pass through an entrance gate and escape the pressures of day-to-day life. Where can you find some of the best solitude in the National Park System? Read on for some of the Traveler’s top picks for solitude.

Bears with a Foot Fetish? Big Bend National Park Offers New Bear Safety Advice

Black bear.
Officials in Big Bend National Park have issued some slightly unusual guidelines for backcountry campers in parts of the Texas park: "Leave shoes outside tents or in bear boxes if camping in High Chisos backcountry sites." Recent experience suggests this is good advice.

Friends of Big Bend Land Grant to Help Fund New Orientation Film

Every little bit helps, particularly in these challenging times. Just ask the folks at Friends of Big Bend, who just received an $8,000 grant to help pay for a new orientation film for Big Bend National Park.

Nevada Barr’s Latest Anna Pigeon Book is Set for April Release

There’s good news for Nevada Barr fans. The best selling author has sent another manuscript off to the printer. “Borderline,” the 15th novel starring super ranger Anna Pigeon, is due out in April. This one’s set in Big Bend National Park, and Nevada’s sister Molly says it’s a dandy.

Don't Overlook Park Advocates and Friends Groups When You Make Your Charitable Donations

Programs to lure youngsters into the parks. "Healthy Kids/Healthy Parks." Research to gauge the impact of visitation on park natural resources. Restoration work. These are just some of the projects that your taxable donations allowed to occur across the National Park System in 2008.

Interior Officials Planning To Make It Easier for Mountain Bikers to Gain Backcountry Access in Parks

Three years after the International Mountain Bicycling Association said it simply wanted mountain bike access to dirt roads in national parks, Interior Department officials are said to be working to make it easier for the bikers to gain access to backcountry trails.