Study Shows that Dirty Snow Reduces Colorado River Runoff

Human-produced dust, mostly from grazing and farming, settles on mountain snowpacks in the Upper Colorado River basin and significantly reduces runoff. Eliminating this "dirty snow" phenomenon, which impacts national parks as well as the regional economy, would require a huge reduction in soil-disturbing activities.

Storm Aftermath Makes it Impossible to Negotiate White Rim Loop in Canyonlands National Park

One of the best mountain bike adventures in the National Park System is the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. However, a potent storm that swept through the park last month has washed out a section of the route and officials are not sure when it will reopen.
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.

Updated: Severe Weather Pounds Canyonlands National Park, Strands Rigs Below White Rim

A powerful thunderstorm that raked Canyonlands National Park did substantial damage to routes along the famed White Rim and has stranded some vehicles at the bottom of the Mineral Bottom switchbacks, park officials said Friday.

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.

National Park Mystery Photo 25 Revealed: It's The Cowboy Camp At Canyonlands National Park

Cowboys and the landscape that today is Canyonlands National Park long went together. Early in the 1900s, one cattle company actually grazed from the area now known as Natural Bridges National Monument all the way north into the Needles District of Canyonlands.

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.
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.
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: Canyonlands National Park's Elephant Hill Trail

Chesler Park, Canyonlands, copyright Kurt Repanshek
Without a doubt, there is no better time to hike in Utah's canyon country than spring. In Canyonlands National Park on the Elephant Hill Trail mid-May blends on one palette the reds, yellows, golds, and whites of wildflowers against a redrock backdrop daubed with cream and buff.

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?

Best National Parks for Admiring "Rock Art"

There are a handful of places in the National Park System where you can view petroglyphs or pictographs. Some are walk-up panels that you can ponder for hours, others require a float down a river or a long hike. Here's a quick look at some of those units and what you can expect to find.
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.

$200 Off On Float Trip Through Cataract Canyon In Canyonlands National Park

One of the classic river trips in the Southwest is riding the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon with the sandstone walls of Canyonlands National Park rising overhead. You can sign up to run that stretch this summer, and save $200 per person, but you have to act fast.

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.

Researchers Exploring Cave Dwellers From Bandelier National Monument's Long Ago Past

The American Southwest is honeycombed with ruins from long-past civilizations. Mesa Verde National Park and Canyon de Chelly National Monument are well-known for their cliff dwellings, while at Bandelier National Monument the sandstone walls are pocked with "cavates" used as shelter centuries ago.

NPCA: Tell the Obama Administration That Clear Air And Clear Views Across National Parks are Vital

Debate over the country's energy needs, environmental conditions, and the resulting quality of life is not new. It's unending, ongoing, and downright rancorous at times. But does it need to be? With hazy views across spectacular parks in the Southwest, how can we turn that debate into solutions?

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?

Stewart Udall: A Model of a Conservationist

If you've ever walked through a national park, hiked down a trail, backpacked into wilderness, or paddled a wild and scenic stream, pause and give a minute of thanks for Stewart Udall.

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.