Essential Friends: Ensuring Excellence In The National Parks

As lovers of national parks look forward to the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service—guardian of ”America’s Best Idea”—there has never been a better time to profile the rise and role of what may be our “Second Best Idea”—the friends groups, trusts, and foundations that support those parks.

Woman Stabbed On Trail In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A 44-year-old woman was attacked and stabbed several times Friday while hiking the Gatlinburg Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to park officials.

Unseasonably Warm Weather Bringing Synchronized Fireflies Out Ahead Of Schedule At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Fireflies in the Smokies
The fireflies at Great Smoky Mountains National Park know it's getting warmer earlier than usual. According to park officials, the synchronized fireflies that show their stuff at Elkmont are coming out ahead of schedule.
Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to all 58 National Parks Coming soon to book dealers is a hefty new guide to the national parks -- the 58 "national parks" -- that strives to go a step further than the texts offered by publishers such as Fodor's, Frommers, and Falcon Guides.

Spring Blooming Season Underway Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic delight any time of the year, but spring and early summer travel offers a bonus: blooming shrubs and wildflowers. Here are some tips for travelers on what to see and where to enjoy the show.

Reader Participation Day: How Long Should Park Personnel Look For Someone Reported Missing?

Earlier this year rangers searched extensively for two men In Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The searches went on for about a week without success. Which brings up this question: How long or how hard should park personnel look for someone reported missing?

Camping In The Parks: Big Creek Campground At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Midnight Hole on Big Creek - GRSM
Only a few miles from I-40, Big Creek Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a quiet place to place your tent. Walk up Big Creek Trail to a great swimming hole.

New Reservation System In Place For Firefly Viewing At Great Smokies June 2nd—10th

The spectacular flickering firefly display in the moist cool forests of the Great Smokies near Elkmont Campground has soared to such popularity that the park this year will create a new on-line ticketing system, operated through Recreation.gov.

“Peaceful Side of the Smokies” Will Be Hopping During Townsend In The Smokies Spring Festival

Townsend band pavilion concert.
The “Peaceful Side of the Smokies” is going to be hopping May 4&5 when the Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival arrives.

Smokies Announce Construction Closures On Extremely Popular Chimney Tops Trail

If you want to hike to a few of the Smokies’ most pyramidal, inspiring peaks—Chimney Tops— don’t target the trail Monday through Thursday from May through October 18th.

National Park Week Quiz #2 Revealed: The Edited List

We hope you had fun with this fixer-upper.

Top 10 National Parks: Is Your List Better Than Mine?

People like lists. No, check that, they love them. Particularly when they disagree with them and think they have a better list. So, here's my personal Top 10 list of national parks. How does it match up with yours?

Vista Clearing Coming to the Smokies

"Cut and Run" logging interpretive sign Great Smokies
In the first such effort in the Smokies in decades, the Park Service plans to clear forests below 34 popular overlooks in the park.

Study: Development Around National Parks Far Surpasses That In Other Parts Of The Country

Development and population density around units of the National Park System greatly outpaces that occurring around other parts of the country, according to a Montana State University study.
AttachmentSize
National Parks-Development.pdf266.88 KB

Spring In the National Parks: Where Can You Find Wildflowers?

Spring is showing up in more and more corners of the country, which means it's a perfect time to check out what's blooming in the National Park System. Here's a quick list of some reliable sites to catch wildflowers in the weeks ahead.

Camping In The Parks: Smokemont Campground In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Spring on the Bradley Fork Trail
Smokemont Campground, a friendly, comfortable place to camp in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is close to many family attractions.

Reader Participation Day: Should Locals have More Say about a National Park Issue than Others?

Should locals living around a National Park have more say on an issue affecting a Park than other Americans?

Searches For Missing Men In Great Smoky Mountains National Park Scaled Back

With no trails to follow and no clues to act upon, rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are scaling back searches for two men thought to be missing in the park.

Appalachian Spring: The Video

The Blue Ridge Parkway, between Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks, is a prime venue to a secret season—the explosive beauty and bounty of Appalachian Spring.

National Park Partners, Park Staff Meet At APPL Convention and Trade Show

Multimedia project winners
The Association of Partners for Public Lands met in Las Vegas to share how best to support our national parks and forests. In this case, what goes on in Vegas gets brought home and discussed.

Second Search For Missing Person Initiated At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A second search-and-rescue mission in the past week has been initiated at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where a 23-year-old man is thought to have vanished in the park not far from the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Discriminating Explorer: Appalachian Spring

The Blue Ridge Parkway, between Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks, is a prime venue to a secret season—the explosive beauty and bounty of Appalachian Spring.

Bats Infected With White-Nose Syndrome Found At Both Acadia And Great Smoky Mountains National Parks

White-nose syndrome, a disease deadly to bats, has been detected in both Acadia and Great Smoky Mountains national parks.

No Sign Of Tennessee Man Thought Missing In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

No signs have been found of a Tennessee man thought to be missing in the tangle of backcountry at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Update: Search Ongoing For 24-Year-old Man At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

More than two dozen people are on the ground searching Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a Tennessee man whose car was found parked at the Newfound Gap Parking Area, while overhead crews are looking from a helicopter.

The SWEAT Crew Keep the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Shape Through Great Smoky Mountains National Park

APPA - Steve Epps on Trail Crew
Keeping the Appalachian Trail in shape through Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not easy. The A.T. is so remote that the SWEAT Crew, an elite crew of maintainers, has been established by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Student Conservation Association Works To Nurture Life-Long Love For Outdoors in Youth

Who will be the next stewards and advocates of the national parks? In a society where Baby Boomers are graying steadily if not quickly, and where the "face" of the National Park Service is decidedly male and Caucasian, it's not an unreasonable question to raise.

Spring Brings Flowering of Great Smokies' Services

Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Opening dates for Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitor services.

As Time Nears To Hit The Appalachian Trail, Some Stats For Thru-Hikers To Keep in Mind

With an eye on the prize, this year's crop of would-be Appalachian Trail thru-hikers are getting ready to hit the trail. With that in mind, here are some stats, courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, to help them stay focused.