Free Entrance to All NPS Sites during National Park Week, April 17-25

NPS entrance station.
If you're planning a spring trip to a National Park Service site, you may be able to save a little money if you schedule your visit between April 17 and 25, 2010. Free admission to all 392 NPS sites is being offered during National Park Week

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park: A Jewel Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

Much of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina currently is closed due to ice, snow, and at least one rock slide. But visitors can still access some parks along the Parkway.

Blind Hiker Plans to Hike The Entire Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Hundreds of hikers set out along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia, come springtime with sights set on reaching Mount Kathadin in Maine before summer expires. But how many are blind?
When the Parkway Came Part of FDR's "New Deal," the Blue Ridge Parkway was envisioned as an economic development tool that would pump both life and dollars into the Appalachian Mountain Range between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks. But the long and winding road with the fantastic vistas also took a good deal of life out of the landscape as farms that stood in the path were razed and the families moved off.

Kentucky's Sen. Bunning Singlehandedly Idles Road Construction Projects Nationally, Including Many in National Parks

Jim Bunning, Kentucky's contrary U.S. senator, singlehandedly has shut down road construction projects across the nation, including many in national parks, because he doesn't want to help middle-class families weather the economic storm, U.S. Department of Transportation officials said Monday.

When Is Conservation of Park Lands Prudent, and When is the Spending Wasteful?

While some House Republicans are denigrating a proposal to spend $50 million to create a national historic site in the Virgin Islands, one that would preserve a centuries-old plantation and critical natural resources, a GOP senator is asking for $75 million to be spent on land acquisition for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Deadly Weather Buffets Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Parks

Powerful winds and heavy rains descended on the Appalachians on Sunday and lingered into Monday, downing trees, flooding roads, and resulting in a death in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Winter Storm Closes Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive and Some Sections of Blue Ridge Parkway

A major winter storm has created hazardous driving conditions in the three major Appalachian parks. All of Skyline Drive and some sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway have been closed. Great Smoky's Newfound Gap Road is subject to closures at night due to ice.

Some Unusual Lodges To Consider For Your Next National Park Visit

Any mention of national park lodges causes most people to envision park icons such as Old Faithful Inn, El Tovar, Ahwahnee, or Many Glacier Hotel. Dozens of other national park lodges are scattered across the country, of course, although many receive little publicity and remain virtually unknown to many experienced travelers.

Blue Ridge Parkway and Cumberland Gap among Parks Still Coping with the "Blizzard of 2009"

Snow on Blue Ridge Parkway
For travelers and emergency workers in much of the country, any dreams of a "White Christmas" will likely be remembered as bad ones this year. Many parks have been impacted by recent storms, but among the hardest hit are the Blue Ridge Parkway and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

Tough Times or Wanton Poaching Along the Blue Ridge Parkway?

The sour economy has created tough times across the country. Whether that was behind an apparent poaching incident along the Blue Ridge Parkway is hard to say.

National Park Lodging Rates, On Average, Stay Ahead of Inflation

Regular guests of national park lodges have undoubtedly noticed persistent increases in room rates. Although we no longer have the receipt, it seems that we paid $225 per night during our 1996 stay in Yosemite National Park’s Ahwahnee for a room that now goes for approximately $500 per night. It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that during the past decade lodging rates in national parks have risen faster than the Consumer Price Index.

Endangered Species Coalition Lists 10 Species Endangered By Climate Change

A small turtle from the eastern U.S. A species of trout native to Glacier and North Cascades national parks. Grizzly bears. A prairie orchard. A coral. These are among the ten plant, fish, animal, and bird species listed in a new report as being the "hottest" species imperiled by climate change.
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Blue Ridge Parkway Bear Poachers Get Prison Time

As a recent court case illustrates, people convicted of poaching animals in national parks face stiff penalties. Two North Carolina men who pleaded guilty to killing a bear on the Blue Ridge Parkway were given prison time to reflect on the error of their ways.

BRP75 Opening Weekend in Asheville Highlights Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary Celebration

Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary is next year, but the celebration is already getting under way. Two BRP75 Opening Weekend events are taking place today in Asheville, North Carolina, a city that learned on a happy day in November 1934 that it would become a parkway community after all.

Conservation Easement Protects Nearly 1,500 Wooded Acres Rimming the Blue Ridge Parkway

A nearly $4 million deal with one of the country's largest railroads has placed almost 1,500 wooded acres, including some that are highly visible from Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks, into a conservation easement that will protect them from ever being logged or developed.

Bad Timing: Road Closures Along the Blue Ridge Parkway During Leaf-Peeping Season

If you're planning to head on down the Blue Ridge Parkway from end-to-end this leaf season, you better read the following regarding road closures and detours.

Potential Slide Forces Closure of Short Section of Blue Ridge Parkway near Ashville, NC

Blue Ridge Parkway in fall
Fall color season is a busy time on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but busy or not, officials at the Blue Ridge Parkway aren't taking any chances with the risk of a potential landslide on the scenic roadway. An emergency closure of a short section of the parkway near Ashville is in effect.

Bridge Repairs on Blue Ridge Parkway Completed Just in Time for Fall Color Drives

Fall scene on Blue Ridge Parkway.
Fall is a wonderful season to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the park has good news for travelers on the North Carolina portion of the scenic drive. Work on the Goshen Creek Bridge has been completed and the section of the Parkway between mileposts 285 and 288 has reopened to traffic

Picnic Area on Blue Ridge Parkway Closed Temporarily Due to Bear Activity

Black bear.
When we think about problems with bears in national parks, areas such as Yellowstone and Yosemite often come to mind, but bruins can be an issue "back East" as well. A picnic area along the Blue Ridge Parkway has been closed temporary to help resolve a bear-people food issue.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals

The climate is not static. Ice ages come and go, pushing rivers of ice south and then pulling them back north across continents as temperatures and snowfalls rise and fall. Animal and plant species either stay ahead of these icy incursions and adapt, or perish.

Just Down the Hallway: Saving Money at a National Park Lodge by Choosing a Room without a Private Bathroom

Even experienced travelers often are surprised to learn that some national park lodges still offer rooms without a private bathroom. In fact, in making a reservation at one of the lodges you might discover there is no choice other than a room that requires use of a community bathroom. While European visitors are not surprised and might even expect rooms without a private bathroom, many U.S. travelers don’t look kindly on the need to use a bathroom that is just down the hallway.

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation's Plans For 75th Anniversary License Plate Collapse, But There Are Limited Edition Posters

If you live in North Carolina and were hoping to attach a Blue Ridge Parkway commemorative 75th anniversary license plate onto your rig, you can forget about it. The foundation has decided too many obstacles stand in the way of producing the special plates.

New Electronic Applications Aim to Enhance Your National Park Visit

Where once we had guidebooks, topographic maps, and campfire talks to help us appreciate and understand the national parks, there's now a growing number of electronic applications for your iPhones, iPod Touches, and other cellphones and media devices to overwhelm the senses.

Planning For Blue Ridge Parkway's 75th Anniversary Moving Along

Plans for celebrating the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary in 2010 are moving along well. There's a rich mix of activities and events being planned, including community programs as well as professional seminars.

National Park Quiz 58: Tunnels

Tunnel vision is one thing, but tunnel knowledge is quite another matter. See if you can sort things out in this week’s quiz. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you hold the steel for a cross-eyed sledge wielder.

Looking For Lodging: the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway attracts more visitors than any other unit of the National Park System. Which makes this guide to lodging along the parkway so valuable.

Spring Blooms Not Too Far Away in Shenandoah, Blue Ridge Parkway, And Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sunflowers, violets, trillium and other wildflowers are just around the proverbial corner in the Appalachian Mountains. You can spot these and dozens of others in Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks, as well as along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Five Units of National Park System to Benefit From Trails Dollars

A coming infusion of $330,000 will help five units of the National Park System improve their trail networks.

2008 Visitation to the National Parks Up and Down, But Essentially Flat

Visitation to the National Park System in 2008 was, essentially, flat from the year before. There were spikes in some areas, and deep drops in others, but overall the 275 million visitors who were counted represented just 800,000 fewer than in 2007, according to preliminary data from the National Park Service.
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