New Solar Power System Puts This Park in the Forefront of Alternative Energy Use

The photovoltaic solar system at Furnace Creek in Death Valley N.P. Photo courtesy of Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
If you had to select a national park in the United States where solar power could reduce consumption of electricity from traditional energy sources, which one would you choose? In one Western park a major system is already up and running.

Thanks to the California Desert Protection Act, Death Valley National Park is the Biggest Park in the Coterminous U.S.

On October 31, 1994, the California Desert Protection Act redesignated Death Valley from National Monument to National Park and added 1.3 million acres to the new National Park’s holdings. In one fell swoop, Congress had transferred bragging rights for “biggest park in the 48-state U.S.” from Yellowstone to Death Valley.

The Abandoned Keane Wonder Mine at Death Valley National Park is Too Dangerous to Visit

Citing serious safety hazards, the National Park Service has barred public access to the abandoned Keane Wonder Mine site at Death Valley National Park. The old mine site, which has already claimed one visitor’s life, is loaded with hazards of many kinds.

Greening the National Parks: Environmental Achievement Awards Highlight Sustainable Design, Energy-Efficiency, and Recycling

To encourage eco-friendly operations, the National Park Service presents Environmental Achievement Awards each year to parks and concession companies that have excelled in incorporating high environmental standards into their operations. The 2007 awards were presented to Blue Ridge Parkway, Yosemite National Park, Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts, and Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

Federal Judge Refuses to Let County Cut Highways in Roadless Section of Death Valley National Park

A desire by county officials in California to open roads in roadless areas of Death Valley National Park has been doused by a federal judge, who says the officials missed their opportunity years ago.
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Battling Invasive Species in Arches National Park

Our national parks are places of incredible beauty and rich history. But they also are under siege. Across the National Park System, the landscape is being invaded by non-native species that are not just out of place, when you consider what should be growing, but in some cases are actually driving out the natives.

National Park Quiz 10: Speak of the Devil

Is your toponymic acuity devilishly good? This week’s quiz will find out. Answers are at the end. It would be a sin to peek.

National Park Quiz 5: Biggest This or That

Bigger is not always better, but it certainly can be interesting. Many national parks claim bragging rights to the biggest something-or-other. Can you sort them out? Take this week's quiz and see how you measure up. Answers are at the end. No peeking.

National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers

Folks had fun with the little quiz we published last week, so we’ve decided to publish a national park system quiz in Traveler every week. Most will be themed. The first one was about centers, and this one is about straddlers. Straddlers are parks that straddle state lines, rivers, mountain ranges, or anything else a park can straddle. There's an extra credit question that's a little off the wall. Answers are at the end. Don’t peek.

Is Death Valley National Park A Burial Ground For Manson Murder Victims?

It's not too often that a national park plays a role in a murder investigation, particularly not one out of the "cold file" bin. But authorities think Death Valley National Park just might be holding the remains of victims of the Manson Family.

National Park Quiz 1: Are You Centered?

Do you know where the national parks are located? This little quiz will test the accuracy of your National Park System “mental map.” The answers are at the end. No peeking!
Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West Though most Americans hardly ever glimpse them, wild horses are synonymous with the American West. From John Wayne Westerns to The Electric Horseman, the iconic horse gallops across our memories, wild and free. But how did they arrive in the West? And how have we coexisted with horses?

Winter Visits to the National Parks

Planning a national park visit during the winter months is not as easy as it might seem. Do you pack your long johns, or your swimsuit?

Tiny Lizard That Calls Death Valley National Park Home Could Be Added to ESA List

A small lizard that skitters about Death Valley National Park might soon gain protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Will Spring Bring Gorgeous Wildflowers to Death Valley National Park?

Spring 2005 in Death Valley National Park gained venerated status among flower lovers for its incredible wildflower blooms. Those blooms --dubbed the "bloom of the century" -- were trigged by heavy fall and winter rains that dumped nearly 6.5 inches of moisture on Death Valley. So, with 2008 starting out stormy in the West, how will Death Valley's blooms be this spring?

Death Valley's Bobcats Likely Lured In By Poor Food Handling at Inn

Two recent bobcat attacks at Death Valley National Park likely were spurred by poor food handling at the Furnace Creek Inn, according to park officials.

Bobcats Attack Two at Death Valley National Park

Think of Death Valley wildlife and you think of....well, rattlesnakes perhaps. But the park has a population of bobcats, as a visitor and Furnace Creek resort employee learned recently when they were attacked by two of the felines.

With The Off-Season Here, Lodging Deals Are Popping Up Throughout the National Park System

Students are back in school, the weather is turning, the leaves have mostly fallen. Also falling are the costs of booking a room in national park lodges for the next few months.

RS2477 And the National Parks

East Rim Trail in Zion; East Zion Tourism Council Photo
The other day a federal judge tossed out a lawsuit that aimed to open Surprise Canyon in Death Valley National Park to ORV traffic. That post generated a lot of debate over the propriety of a road in that rugged canyon. Those who filed the lawsuit claimed they had a right to the road thanks to a Civil War-era statute known as R.S. 2477. Well, Death Valley isn't the only park that could suffer from this statute.
National Parks of the American West For Dummies Well, I hate shameless self-promotions, but I did write this book and I think it does a pretty good job of giving you a lay of the land for the parks it covers. Let me know what you think.