Fire in the Hole! Explosives Help Uncover Fossils At Dinosaur National Monument

In a field that often employs paint brushes and dental picks to unlock fossils from their encasing rock, you'd think explosives would be the last tool paleontologists at Dinosaur National Monument would reach for. But, actually, it can come in quite handy when you have hundreds of tons of overburden to remove.

Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?

Should search-and-rescue subjects be billed for the cost of their rescue? It's long been a thorny issue, one that organizations that respond to SARs long have opposed.
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So, How'd Spot Do in the Backcountry of Dinosaur National Monument?

So, what'd you think of SPOT's test run through the backcountry of Dinosaur National Monument? Overall, it seemed to perform well, but I have a couple of suggestions for the designers.

Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument

A snowbound couple were rescued from a fire tower in Dinosaur National Monument last weekend in an incident that highlights some of the challenges faced by the folks who do search and rescue work.

Kurt Made it to Jones Hole on the Green

Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek’s Dinosaur National Monument rafting excursion has taken him to the Utah side of the park and to Jones Hole on the Green River. What a great place for hiking, photography, and trout fishing. Check it out.

Terrain Map Shows that Kurt’s Wednesday Campsite on the Yampa Was Way Cool

After spending Tuesday ashore, presumably hiking, Kurt Repanshek headed down the Yampa River again Wednesday and ensconced himself at a new campsite for the night. SPOT has marked the spot in scenic Dinosaur National Monument, and the Terrain topographic map reveals that it's a dramatic place.

Kurt's Yampa River Sojourn Marks Step for a Day

Kurt’s Yampa River rafting trip encounters a one-day delay due to bad weather. Kurt's SPOT gizmo is still reporting his location. The satellite imagery is way cool. Check it out.

Kurt’s Still on the Yampa, and He Wishes We Were There Too

Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek is still on the Yampa, and thanks to his SPOT GPS gizmo, we know he’s still OK and making his overnight camps as planned. He says he wishes we were there with him, but we suspect he's fibbing.

Yampa River, Lifeblood To Dinosaur National Monument, Eyed for Water Diversions

Somewhat small in stature at just about 250 miles in length, the Yampa River that flows through Dinosaur National Monument is significant not just for its white-water rapids but for its unbridled flows. Not a single dam stands in the way of this river famous with rafters and the lifeblood for four species of endangered fish.
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Kurt's on the Yampa, and on the SPOT

Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek's paddling excursion on the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument is underway. Using his SPOT GPS gizmo, Kurt has reported the location of his Sunday night camp and let us all know he's OK.

Electronic Technology in National Park Backcountry: Good or Bad?

Where do you draw the line when it comes to electronics in the backcountry of the National Park System? Does use of it reflect self-doubt about your abilities, or a savviness in putting the latest technology to work for you?

Secretary Salazar Scuttles Oil and Gas Leases Near National Parks in Utah

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in a move that repudiates the Bush administration's energy policies, on Wednesday scuttled a series of controversial oil and gas leases near national parks in Utah.

BLM, NPS Modify Oil and Gas Lease Auction near National Parks in Utah

Some tweaks to a proposed oil and gas lease auction in Utah could spare some potential impacts to Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Dinosaur National Monument, but conservationists say the National Park Service still dropped the ball.

Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"

There's an economic report out touting the benefits that a Mount St. Helens "National Park" would bring surrounding communities. And that begs the question of whether units of the National Park System should be viewed largely as economic engines?
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President-Elect Obama's Team Hints At Reversing BLM Leasing Decisions in Utah

A decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to open thousands of acres of public lands abutting national park properties in Utah could be halted by President-elect Barack Obama once he takes office, according to his transition team.

Bush Administration Poised to Sell Oil and Gas Leases Around Dinosaur National Monument, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

How much is too much? When the oil and gas industry in Utah has nearly 3,500 drilling permits in hand, but which have not been acted upon, why is the Bush administration selling them more, particularly in sensitive areas around national parks and monuments?
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New BLM Management Plans Could Have Major Impacts on Utah National Parks

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park.
If you want to enjoy some of those iconic views from places like Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, you might want to plan your trip sooner rather than later. While most Americans and their elected officials have been mesmerized by the economic crisis and the upcoming election, enormous changes in the management of public lands in Utah are afoot. The effects on a number of national parks could be substantial.

Park History: Dinosaur National Monument

If it were designated part of the National Park System today, what would we call Dinosaur National Monument? True, it offers a treasure trove of fossilized dinosaur remains, one that continues to be studied. But there's also the riverine component, mountains, and high desert that all offer outstanding experiences befitting a national park setting.

Paddling Dinosaur National Monument and Niobrara National Scenic River

When folks think about paddling trips in the National Park System, quite often floating the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park rises to the top of the mind. But there are other paddling treks out there, trips that are just as beautiful and inspiring and which just might offer a tad more solitude.

Why Stop At Golden Gate National Recreation Area? What Other NRAs, Monuments, Etc., Should Be Renamed?

What's in a name? That's a good question in light of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's unsolicited bid to turn Golden Gate National Recreation Area into a "national park."

Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?

As energy prices creep steadily higher, there's a growing segment of America that believes short-term relief can literally be tapped from fossil-fuel resources in the Western states. But many of those resources are found on public lands that buffer national parks, national wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas, and their development could have dire consequences for those landscapes.

NPR on the National Parks

National Public Radio is on the road in the National Park System this week, visiting both iconic and obscure parks. But is there a chink in NPR's coverage?
Adios Amigos: Tales of Sustenance and Purification in the American West "River time." It's that blissful oasis reached only by pushing off from terra firma, leaping board a raft, kayak, or canoe, and leaving the real world behind. Preferably for more than an afternoon. In the West, this generally is accomplished by heading for the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the Green, the Selway, or the Lochsa rivers. For those truly lucky souls, it means putting in from Lee's Ferry onto the Colorado River for two or more weeks of riverine solitude.

Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System

Since boyhood I've embraced a vision of the National Park Service as an agency that not only cared for forested mountains, shimmering lakes, foaming cataracts, dusty trails and a wildlife menagerie that stretched from alligators to wolverines, but also as one with a science mission built around these wonders. How accurate is that vision?

Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility

Northern Arizona University photo.
Floating the Green or Yampa rivers through Dinosaur National Monument shows a side of this national park unit that is not reflected in its name. Indeed, fossils from the age of dinosaurs are the last thing that crosses your mind.

Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology

The other day I told you about the diminished role of paleontologists at Dinosaur National Monument. Now I'll touch on the motivation behind that decision.

Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff

The Blue Ridge Parkway without a landscape architect. Grand Canyon without a staff geologist. Mount Rainier National Park without a volcanologist. Dinosaur National Monument without a paleontologist.

NPCA Keeping An Eye on Utah Tar Sands Developments

U.S. Bureau of Land Management efforts to spur development of "tar sands" in Utah near several national park units are being watched by the National Parks Conservation Association.

Tar Sands Development Could Impact Canyonlands National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon NRA

A natural resources juxtapositonal twist of fate has placed the spectacular Canyonlands National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in close proximity to an energy deposit whose extraction could sully the park units.