Nearly Five Years Later, Congress Balking On "Road To Nowhere" Payments At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Nearly five years after what was considered to be an historic moment, Congress is dragging its feet to make good on a $52 million settlement with a North Carolina county that lost a connection when Fontana Dam was built and its reservoir flooded a section of state highway 288.

Some Good Reads To Prepare You For The National Parks

Heading to a national park for the first time can be intimidating. Where should you go, what should you see, what do you need to know before you pass through the entrance gate?

Alum Cave Trail At Great Smoky Mountains National Park In Line For Some Serious Restoration

One of the most popular areas of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Alum Cave area, is on tap for some serious restoration work that will take about two years and result in some occasional trail closures. The result, though, will make the trail safer for hikers and better protect natural resources, according to park officials.

39th Annual Festival Of Christmas Past Coming To Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will stage its 39th annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration, complete with music, stories out of the past, and even apple cider, on December 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sugarlands Visitor Center on the western side of the park.

With Longer Nights, Time To Be Extra Careful When Driving Through National Parks

They're big, hard to see until the last minute, can do substantial damage to your vehicle, and likely will wind up dead if you run into them. With longer nights having arrived across the National Park System, it's time to drive a little more carefully and slowly so you don't run into wildlife.

Saguaro National Park Officials Voice Opposition To Development Proposed Across From Rincon Mountain District

Should there be a development buffer around national parks? That's a tough question, particularly when you look at West Yellowstone's proximity to Yellowstone National Park or Gatlinsburg's presence at the Sugarlands Entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At Saguaro National Park, officials say a development proposed for a 45-acre parcel across from the Rincon Mountain District entrance is too close.

Winter Lodging In The National Parks: The Choices Are Many And Intriguing

What’s your ideal place to stay for a wintry escape into the National Park System? Is it a cozy cabin with fireplace and ample wood, or perhaps something in a warmer climate with views of sun-kissed turquoise waters? Or does your desire lie somewhere in-between? Fortunately, the park system is large and diverse. Finding that perfect home-away-from-home for a winter adventure may come down to deciding if you like it cold and snowy, or hot and sandy.

Visitation Booming At Great Smoky Mountains National Park; October Numbers Best In Nearly Three Decades

Visitation to national parks this October had to be higher than 2013 numbers, if only because of last year's partial government shutdown that closed the parks. But this October had a tremendous bounce at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where visitation was the highest in nearly 30 years.

Court Documents Show Resort Illegally Maintained Trail In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Documents entered into a court case over the backcountry fee at Great Smoky Mountains National Park confirm that a private resort outside the park boundaries cleared and maintained a trail inside the park for a number of years.
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Trails Forever Rock Stars And The Stairway To Heaven At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an enormous outdoor playground with 800-plus miles of trails stretching across its 500,000+ acres. As you can imagine, those trail miles require quite a bit of upkeep.

Essential Park Guide, Winter '14: Your Guide To Exploring The Parks This Winter

When it comes to construction skills, male Anhingas are slackers. Oh, they’re good at pulling together nesting materials, but that’s about it. Instead of turning the sticks, twigs, and leafy greenery they collect into a nest for their mates, they stash the materials in trees and let the females build the actual nest.

It's Physics: Why Smaller Backpackers Can Carry Heavy Packs

Physics seems to have an answer for just about everything. How else could you explain why smaller backpackers can carry rather large backpacks?

Reader Participation Day: How Do You Mix Parks And Politics?

Do national park-related issues affect your decisions at the ballot box?

Finding Fall Color In Unexpected Places

Many areas in the National Park System are famous for autumn color, and visitors flock to places like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Acadia National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy the seasonal palette of natural beauty. There are, however, some other parks where fall color can be either a surprise—or a favorite destination for savvy travelers.

Reader Participation Day: How Much Extra $$ Do You Send The National Park Service?

After you've purchased your annual parks pass, or paid your week-long entrance fee to your favorite national park, how much more money do you send to the National Park Service?

Reader Participation Day: Where Is The Best Microbrew In The National Park System?

After a long day in a national park, it's nice to sit back and enjoy one of the local microbrews. Which raises the question: Where is the best-tasting microbrew with a park connection located?

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail At Great Smoky Mountains National Park To Close For Bridge Repairs

One of the most idyllic drives in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, but if you don't venture down that road soon you'll miss your chance until late next Spring as work is scheduled to replace eight bridges along the 5.5-mile one-way road.

Autumn National Park Tours No. 4: Color At Every Turn

It matters little whether you start in the south and drive north, or start in the north and drive south; the fall finery that cloaks the Appalachian Range has few peers when the climatic conditions converge in mid-October.

Whiteoak Sink Area Of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Closed To Visitors To Protect Bats

A unique and beautiful area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is temporarily being closed to visitors in an effort to protect bats that enter caves there.

Savoring The Fruits Of Fall In The National Parks

There are endless ways to experience our magnificent national parks. We are surrounded by stunning scenery, awash in light and color. Our ears capture the rush of waterfalls in spring and elk bugling in autumn. Scents of crisp air, pines, and wildflowers greet us. Stick your feet into a mountain stream and feel the bonechilling temperatures, or touch the softness of a Pussytoes flower. These types of activities allow us yet another type of experience.

What To Do In Shenandoah National Park Now: Take A Hike Into The Landscape

It's mid-September, and while the temps are still almost summerish, the trees know fall is right around the corner, and that's a great reason to head to Shenandoah National Park now.

Around The Parks: Enchanted Chalet Moved, Shenandoah Science, Park After Dark

Take a look around the National Park System and you'll see historic buildings being moved, citizen science at work, and a wonderful evening gathering around a historical park.

Wilderness Act Being Celebrated At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting a celebration on Saturday, September 27, at Sugarlands Visitor Center in honor of the Wilderness Act, which was signed into law 50 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson.

Check Out The Mountain Life Festival At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The annual Mountain Life Festival in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will take place on Saturday, September 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. This special event preserves the legacy of Appalachian folkways and is a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that later became the national park.

Man Sentenced To 22 Weeks In Jail For Poaching Ginseng From Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A North Carolina man who has been convicted four times for digging ginseng plants in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will spend 22 weeks in jail for his latest conviction.

20th Annual Telethon To Support Great Smoky Mountains National Park Coming Thursday

If you live in the Tennessee-North Carolina area, tune in Thursday night to support Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?

Imagine, for a moment, that you're in charge of setting fees for the National Park System. What would you charge for, and how much would you charge? Or would you charge anything at all?

Photography In The National Parks: Avoid Those Bison (And Other Wildlife) Jams

Bison madness is in full swing in Yellowstone National Park with snorting, groaning, spitting, bison bulls chasing the girls (cows) down the roads, much to the delight of many park visitors who gladly park their vehicles in the road and film the action. No family vacation is complete without getting caught in a Yellowstone bison jam.

Reader Participation Day: How Has Your National Park Experience Changed In Today's Wired World?

In this age of informational instant gratification, how has your national park experience changed? For Millennials, who grew up with smartphones, texting, and Facebook, not so much. For Baby Boomers, who learned to read with actual newspapers, books, and magazines in their hands, whose phones were attached to the wall by a cord, a great deal. Is that change for the good, or the bad?

Congressman Proposes Overhaul To Fee Programs On National Parks, Other Public Lands

Legislation introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives would, if enacted as drafted, require the National Park Service to determine "a nationally consistent entrance fee policy and corresponding rate structure" for the 401 units of the National Park System, a potentially sweeping requirement that seemingly could generate tens of millions of additional dollars for the parks.