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.

Making Sense Out Of National Park Visitation Statistics

Making sense out of National Park System visitation statistics can be tough due to faulty counters, late opening dates, and storms that close parks. All that considered, though, attendance at the parks seems to be up a bit this year through the first six months.

National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines

Once considered largely to be worthless, national parks today are economic engines that generate $26.5 billion for the nation's economy.

Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem

In a 25-page motion attacking not just the propriety but also the legality of a backcountry user fee at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a group of backpackers has not only asked that the fees be tossed out, but shined some light on the conundrum of how to afford our public lands.
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Reader Participation Day: What Role Should Horses Have In The National Parks

Horses have a long, long history in America. They came to the New World with the Spaniards, and have carried riders ever since. In many national parks horses are icons, seen as both honorable steeds that carry mounted rangers and as work horses that carry both visitors and gear. But they also have impacts on the landscape, and there have been calls to ban them from the parks. But should they be banned?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Proposing Rules For Firewood You Can Bring Into Park

Globalization is not just a sweeping economic trend, but also one involving insects that's been going on for decades, one that is a serious threat to national park forests. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, officials are taking a step they hope will slow any infestation of non-native insects that can wreak havoc on native forests by proposing a rule that only heat-treated firewood can be brought into the park for campfires.

"Seasons In The Smokies" To Premier In Mid-July

Seasons in the Smokies, the second in the Smoky Mountain Explorer Series from Great Smoky Mountains Association, will make its first appearance on the big screen during a premiere showing of the film Thursday, July 17.

Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Bears have a sweet tooth, too. And that's why the Gregory Bald area at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been temporarily closed to humans. The reason is the cherry crop that has attracted black bears looking for a tasty meal.

Take A Minute To Help Friends Of The Smokies Land $5,000 For Work In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Take a minute this week to help out Friends of the Smokies. All week the First Tennessee Foundation is taking votes for its 150 Days of Giving. This week's winner receives $5,000. Friends of the Smokies can put that money to good work in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Exploring The Parks: Fontana Lake At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Video

Fontana Lake, which ebbs along the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, is a watery aspect to the park that might get lost among the forests and mountains. But it offers a rich recreational side to the park, as this video shows.
Waterfalls of the Blue Ridge: A Hiking Guide to the Cascades of the Blue Ridge Mountains The natural geologic cut of the Appalachian Mountains, and the plentiful moisture and frequency of springs in the region, combine to produce a cascading system of waterworks from Shenandoah National Park down through the Blue Ridge Parkway and into Great Smoky Mountains National Park that provides more than enough incentive to take a hike.

Move Over Baseball, National Parks Have Trading Cards, Too

People have been collecting stuff forever. When adults visit national parks, they can collect passport stamps or pamphlets. Children earn Junior Ranger badges, though getting one takes a lot more effort and time than a passport stamp. But there’s something else out there to collect, too, and it looks a lot like baseball trading cards
Wildlife Watching in America Spotting wildlife in national parks seems intuitive. After all, bears, moose, elk and other wildlife are the calling cards for such parks as Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Great Smoky, and so many others. Still, knowing when and where to look can improve your success rate of spotting specific species, and this book can help you accomplish that.