Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails

A legal challenge to a backcountry user fee at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has failed, with a federal judge ruling the National Park Service was within its rights to levy the $4 per night per person fee.
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Road Work Coming To Newfound Gap Road At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Driving the Newfound Gap Road at Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring, summer and fall will be a bit more trying as work to repave more than 4 miles of the road is carried out.

National Park Week: April 18-26

National Park Week, 2015 edition, is just a handful of weeks away. While any day is a great day to visit a national park, during this special week April 18-26 there will be more than a few events and activities to take part in.

An Early Opening For Clingmans Dome Road At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Barring a late snowstorm, the road to Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will open Friday.

Facility Opening Schedule Published For Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With the official spring just a few days away, the schedule of facility openings at Great Smoky Mountains National Park shows busy times coming to the park in the weeks ahead.

Great Smoky Mountains Association Donates Nearly $3 Million In 2014 To Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Good weather and rebounding visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park combined to produce a strong year for the Great Smoky Mountains Association, which was able to contribute $2.6 million for park projects in 2014.

The Cemeteries Of Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area

Years ago during a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, as impressed as I was with what was underground, I was equally struck by the park's surface and the cemeteries that told a silent story of the generations dating back to Revolutionary War times that had called this place home. Cemeteries going back decades, if not hundreds of years, can be found throughout the National Park System, and represent a moving chapter of the country's settlement.

Don’t Let “Mud Season” Keep You From The Parks

Mud season is here. In most national parks above the Mason-Dixon Line, and quite a few south of that line, it can be a messy time. Choosing a destination can be problematic due to the weather in general and the snow line specifically.

Time To Register For Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you like wildflowers and hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, now's the time to register for the 65th Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage in the park.

Free Entry To Entire National Park System This Presidents Day Weekend

Make an executive decision to visit a national park this Presidents Day weekend. All 405 national parks will offer free admission February 14-16.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Mapping Streams

Did you know, or have any idea, that Great Smoky Mountains National Park, that rumpled stretch of Appalachia, contains nearly 3,000 miles of streams?

More Charging Stations Popping Up In National Park System For Electric Vehicles

Electric charging stations are beginning to sprout up around the National Park System, making it a bit easier for visitors with electric vehicles to recharge while enjoying the parks.

Birding In The National Parks: Which Parks Do You Need To Hit?

I’ve managed to get around North America quite a bit during my five years as a serious birder. At least it seems like I have. When I plot a map of every checklist I’ve ever entered at eBird, it looks like I’m neglected large swaths of the continent. What’s with the interior plains? The west coast south of Olympic National Park? Alaska isn’t even on the map because there were no pins there, so I cropped it out.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Changes Firewood Rules To Protect Forests

In a further step to help protect the forests of Great Smoky Mountains National Park from non-native insect pests, park officials beginning in March will only allow heat-treated firewood that has been certified by the USDA or a state agriculture department, and dead and down wood collected from the park's forests, to be used in campgrounds.

Cades Cove Loop Road At Great Smoky Mountains National Park To Be Closed Temporarily In January

A need to remove some hazardous trees in Cades Cove at Great Smoky Mountains National Park will require the temporary closure of the cove's loop road for a number of days this month. The road will be closed to all pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists January 6 through January 8 and January 13 through January 15.

The Top National Park Stories Of 2014

New units to the National Park System, a face-off over concession fees at Grand Canyon National Park that impacted nearly a quarter of the park system, and even the basic relevancy of national parks were among the top stories of 2014 involving the park system.

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.