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.

Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sometime in recent years two trails running more than a mile-and-a-half was cut into the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, allegedly for the use of a private resort that borders the park, according to court documents.

National Park Service Key Player In Nurturing Tomorrow's Park Interpreters, Naturalists

Hoh Rain Forest ranger program/Kurt Repanshek
Reaching into his daypack, the ranger pulled out a banana slug. Not a real one, but a stuffed animal version, a perfect prop to explain just exactly what banana slugs were to the youngsters in his audience here in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park.

National Park Service Rangers Honored For Valor On The Job

National Park Service rangers from across the park system have been honored by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for valor in the line of duty.

Friends Of The Smokies Use Proceeds From Specialty License Plate Sales To Put SCA Interns To Work In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

When you purchase a specialty license plate in North Carolina to show your love for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, that $35 you spent helps fund a number of projects in the park. For instance, the Friends of the Smokies use some of the money to underwrite seasonal internships in the park and wildlife management programs.

Landslide Closes Gunter Fork Trail In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A landslide has closed the Gunter Fork Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park indefinitely.

Work On Chimney Tops Trail At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Will Require Weekday Closures Into October

Extensive rehabilitation work on the Chimney Tops Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will require that it be closed to the public Mondays through Thursdays through mid-October.

Firefly Viewing At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Set For June 4-11

Growing up, chasing fireflies was a popular after-dusk summertime activity. But our fireflies didn't blink in unison, which is what makes the fireflies at Great Smoky Mountains National Park such a big deal.

Meet Billy Jones, Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Billy Jones, A.T. ridge runner - 1
What does an Appalachian Trail ridgerunner actually do? And what are the attractions to this seasonal job? Meet Billy Jones, ridgerunner in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

10th Annual Music Of The Mountains Next Weekend At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Celtic music, traditional mountain music, and bluegrass tunes will waft from the Tennessee side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park next weekend during its 10th annual Music of the Mountains festival.

Anonymous Donor Gives $2.2 Million For Great Smoky Mountains National Park

An anonymous benefactor has greatly helped the National Park Service with its facility needs at Great Smoky Mountains National Park by writing a check for $2.2 million for the park's benefit.

Birding In The National Parks: Where The Birds Are

Spring is an exciting time for both birds and birders across North America. The colorful songbirds are on their way back to their northern nesting grounds after spending a lazy winter in the tropics. Warblers, with a rainbow of plumages and equally diverse collection of songs, are the most sought-after birds during migration.

With A Little Help From Friends Groups, National Parks Benefit

“I get by with a little help from my friends,” sang the Beatles. When it comes to national parks, it had better be a lot of help. The National Park Service often struggles with funding. Now, with tighter budgets and more demands, friends groups are proving invaluable in helping out parks.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Teach Your Children Well, National Parks As Learning Centers

Climate change. Glaciology. Sustainability. These are not the subjects that leap to mind when you consider sending your kids to summer camp. But blend them with backpacking, canoeing, or a walk in the woods, and the result is a generation with not only a better connection with nature, but perhaps a career path.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Spring Into The Parks

While spring in some parks (mostly those in the Rockies, Sierra, and Pacific Northwest) is rightfully described as “mud season,” there are some great early season hikes—and some wonderful camping—to be found across the National Park System. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights.

Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed

A lawsuit challenging the backcountry user fee assessed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park can proceed, a federal judge has ruled.
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Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Yellowstone Reborn

Winter had loosened its icy grip on the high country. Faint stirrings from burrows and dens and caves led the young critters into a new world of running water, budding plants, and warm sunshine. Warm weather and life springs abundant.

Essential Park Guide, Spring: A Season Of Renewal In The National Park System

Spring. It's a fresh, vibrant season in the National Park System, one of renewal, for the parks’ wildlife, vegetation, and even for human visitors. After long, dark months of cold and snow across much of the system, the arrival of March, April, and May provide greater warmth, daylight, and access in the parks.