Ranking The National Parks By Visitation In 2011

People seem to like numbers, and hierarchy, so here's a rundown of the leading units of the National Park System in terms of 2011 visitation. The first list combs through all 397 units in the system, while the second looks only at "national parks."

Millions Of Dollars Heading To National Parks For Road, Multiple-Use Trail Improvements

Millions of dollars are flowing to the National Park System for work on aging roads and multiple-use trails in need of some TLC, and transportation systems thanks to the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in the Parks program overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Grows by 3,800 Acres

Golden Gate National Recreation Area has grown by nearly 4,000 acres, and taxpayers got a bargain, with the transfer of a prime tract known as the Rancho Corral de Tierra from the Peninsula Open Space Trust to the National Park Service.

By the Numbers: Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of the world's largest urban-oriented parks, generates some impressive statistics. Take a look at these numbers.

New Exhibit At Ellis Island National Monument Brings "The Rock" East

"The Rock" is heading east. Through mid-January a traveling exhibit on the hard times prisoners faced at Alcatraz Island when it housed a high security federal prison will explore daily life faced by the inmates.

NPS Steps In to Keep Three California State Parks Open in 2012

Budget shortfalls are expected to result in the closure of up to 70 of the 278 California state parks, but thanks to help from the National Park Service, three of those sites will get at least a one-year reprieve. Projects in a fourth state site will also receive some additional NPS support.

National Park Quiz 96: Ringer V

Nine of the first ten questions in this quiz are true. Can you tell which one is false? You might want to try the two bonus questions too.

Road Trip 2011: The National Park Lodges

"On the road again." That's what David and Kay Scott soon will be singing, as our lodging experts are heading out on a swing through the National Park System to update their book on national park lodges. And you're invited to tag along.

National Park Mystery Photo 34 Revealed: Did You See Who's In Lockup In The National Park System?

Ok, burlesque is not normally on display within the National Park System.

Efforts to Regulate Off-Leash Dogs at Golden Gate National Recreation Area Spark Debate

The only NPS area in the country that currently allows off-leash dog walking has found that efforts to impose new limits on canines is a lot harder than one might expect. After years of litigation and meetings, the park has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a dog management plan for public comments, and it's sparked plenty of additional debate.

The National Park Service Played a Vital Role in the Buffalo Soldiers Mapping Project

The National Park Service's CRGIS facility produced maps of significant Buffalo Soldier sites using data supplied by African American and Indian college students working with the Warriors Project to document the "shared history" of black soldiers and American Indians in the frontier West.

National Park Quiz 89: National Recreation Areas

How much do you know about units of the National Park System designated "National Recreation Area"? Take this quiz and find out.

More Calls For "National Park" Designations Across The National Park System

What's in a name? Apparently a lot when the name includes "national park."

The Role of Partnerships in the National Park System

Can you imagine what would be missing in the national parks if not for partnerships forged with non-profit groups?

New Rules For Fires on Ocean Beach At Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Beach fires long have flickered at night on Ocean Beach in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. But now park officials are trying to rein-in some of the behavior that has flared up around some of these night-time activities.

The Presidio's Historic Public Health Service Hospital has Been Recycled into Luxury Apartments

At San Francisco's Presidio, a bold adaptive reuse project clipped the two ungainly wings protruding from the Public Health Service Hospital. Rechristened the Presidio Landmark, the renovated historic structure now houses luxury apartments.

Luxury Lodging in Our National Parks

Lodging in America’s national parks ranges from barebones tent cabins to fashionable lodges with upscale amenities. Choose the former and you may well end up with an evening meal of grilled hot dogs, pork and beans, a bag of Fritos, and a six-pack of Bud Light. Splurge on the latter and you could enjoy an evening with a gourmet meal accompanied by fine wine.

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.

Cavallo Point: New National Park Lodging in Golden Gate National Recreation Area

As this is written, we are at the start of our third day at Cavallo Point, located in California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This is our country’s newest national park lodging facility, although a qualifier is required because the lodge is in a century-old U.S. Army post located just north of the famed Golden Gate Bridget.

Cost Savings Mean the National Park Service Can Fund More Projects In the Parks

Favorable contracts on some of the major construction projects the National Park Service has funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment dollars means the agency will be able to afford more projects this year.

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.

There Will be No Contemporary Art Museum at the Presidio

Gap founder Donald Fisher is dead, and so is his proposal to build an art museum at the Presidio. Fisher’s magnificent collection of contemporary art will instead go to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.

Does Ashy Storm Petrel Ruling Imply that Bush-Era “Ignore the Science” Policies are Being Perpetuated at DOI?

Brushing aside scientific evidence that the ashy storm petrel population is in profound decline, the Interior Department has ruled that this seabird doesn’t deserve federal protection. Having expected better from the new administration, disappointed environmentalists think it looks like same-old, same-old at Interior.

Marine Protected Areas Enhance Ocean Resources Management in California National Parks

New marine protected areas are in the offing for California’s North-Central Coast. These new MPA's will facilitate ocean resource management in the coastal waters of Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

National Park Mystery Spot 1 Revealed: Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Were Here Too

Did you take a crack at yesterday’s mystery spot quiz? If not, you might want to go ahead and do that before you read this.

National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It

It’s a place somewhere in the National Park System. Can you identify it if we give you five clues?

Update: Presidio Main Post Won’t Be CAMP site

Frustrated by fierce opposition, the Fishers have abandoned plans to build a contemporary art museum at the Main Post of San Francisco's Presidio. Alternative sites at the Presidio and elsewhere will now be considered.

Creature Feature: To Save the Mission Blue Butterfly, You Have to Save the Lupine

Saving the endangered mission blue butterfly is a lupine-focused mission. The mission blues, which now survive only in a few places near San Francisco Bay, can’t reproduce in habitats that lack certain kinds of lupine.

Updated: Brian O'Neill, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent, Dies Following Heart Surgery

Brian O'Neill, who had guided Golden Gate National Recreation Area as its superintendent since 1986, has passed away following complications from heart surgery. He was 67.

Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?

Harsh criticism forced the Presidio Trust to rethink its plans for the new Contemporary Art Museum at the Presidio. A new "chop and drop" proposal emphasizes smaller, better located structures built largely underground.