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Appellate Court Says National Park Service Violated First Amendent By Requiring Permits for Free Speech

In an ironic development considering its role in tracking the nation's history and its efforts to preserve civility in national parks, the National Park Service's practice of requiring permits for public gatherings, demonstrations, or "expressions of views" has been found unconstitutional by an appellate court.
NPS-Free Speech Ruling.pdf
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Isle Royale National Park's Wolf Population Loses Two Packs, Moose Population Steady

A decline in the moose population at Isle Royale National Park, along with inbreeding, are being blamed for the loss of two of the island's four wolf packs. Where once the island's wolf population had numbered more than 50 individuals, by the close of 2009 there were fewer than 20, researchers say.
ISRO-2009 Wolf Report.pdf
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Sen. McCain Has Proposal For Air Tours Over Grand Canyon National Park, But is It A Good One?

During the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain of Arizona was applauded by many as a friend of the national parks. However, some groups are now wondering why the senator is supporting legislation that would increase air tours over Grand Canyon National Park, an experience that offers many incredible views of the park and yet one that others criticize for the noisy intrusion on the park setting.
McCain Overflights Amendment.pdf
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Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List Loggerhead Turtle Species As Endangered

Loggerhead sea turtles, one of four turtle species that have come ashore to nest from Cape Hatteras National Seashore south to Gulf Islands National Seashore, are not doing well, population-wise. The species currently is being proposed for listed as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act.
Loggerhead Turtle Proposed Listing.pdf
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Groups Argue Against Transmission Line Proposal for Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Transmission-line corridors sprouting 200-foot-tall towers should not be permitted within the National Park System, according to a coalition of groups opposing such a corridor through Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River.
Final Joint DEWA Powerline Scoping Comments 3.12.10.pdf
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Is The American Pika Really On The Road To Extinction Due to Climate Change?

Less than a month after a conservation group expressed its displeasure with the Obama administration for not providing Endangered Species Act protection to the American pika due to the plight it might face due to climate change, a new study suggests the tiny mammals are more widespread than thought and seem to thrive in a temperature range greater than long thought possible.
Millar&Westfall-pikas.pdf Beever-Low-Elevation Pikas.pdf Beever-Climate-Mediated Extirpations.pdf Pikas-National Monuments.pdf
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"Poor Judgment and Performance" Acknowledged in National Park Service Investigation of Hubbell Trading Post Operations

National Park Service investigators and managers who looked into the business operations at Hubbell Traing Post National Historic Site exhibited "poor case management" and "poor judgment and performance," according to top agency officials.
NPS-Hubbell Response.pdf
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Cape Cod National Seashore Plan to Protect Piping Plovers By Killing Some Crows Not Welcomed by All

In the world of bird hierarchy, crows are considered one of the most intelligent birds out there. And it's this intelligence that has Cape Cod National Seashore officials considering a plan to kill some of the smartest crows on the cape with hopes of bolstering populations of piping plovers, a diminutive bird that, while perhaps not as brainy as crows, could face extinction if its numbers don't increase.
CACO Plover factsheet.pdf
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Will The Long-Desired "Completion" Of Canyonlands National Park Ever Arrive?

From the lip of Grand View Point, an immense ruddy sweep of a landscape in a constant state of decay runs before your eyes. And yet, though you're in the heart of Canyonlands National Park, not all you see is within the park. And for many, that's a problem that should have been corrected long ago.
Completing Canyonlands NPCA.pdf
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Republicans Chafing At "Prospective" List of Western Landscapes Obama Administration Could Protect

Mindful no doubt of President Clinton's surprise creation of the 1.9-million Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument back in 1996, Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee are chafing over a tentative list of Western landscapes the Obama administration is reviewing for possible protection through use of the Antiquities Act.
Ltr_to_Obama_Re_AntiquitiesAct_021810.pdf
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Cape Hatteras National Seashore Rangers Counted 104 Sea Turtle Nests in 2009

While the number of sea turtle nests observed on Cape Hatteras National Seashore in 2009 slightly declined from 2008, the 104 verified nests were far above the 43 counted just five years ago. Those 2009 nests also produced roughly 5,000 turtle hatchlings, according to the seashore's annual sea turtle report.
CAHA-2009_Sea_Turtle_Report.pdf
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Obama Administration Draws Criticism for Declining ESA Protection To Pikas

A diminutive creature that struggles with warmer temperatures brought on by climate change will not receive Endangered Species Act protection for its predicament, the Obama administration has decided in a move that brought quick condemnation from some corners.
USFWS-Pika_Finding.pdf
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Regulatory Landscape For Guns to Change in National Parks on February 22

A controversial rule change concerning firearms in national parks takes effect February 22, a change likely to cause confusion and raise concerns over personal safety, but one also that could go largely unnoticed and give some a measure of personal security.
Maine-Proposed_Gun_Law.pdf
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Updated: Strong Positions Developing As Yosemite National Park Officials Again Attack Merced River Plan

Climbers are expressing concern over how a renewed effort to craft a plan that controls development along the Merced River in the Yosemite Valley could impact their access to certain routes. At the same time, others are urging park officials not to turn Yosemite Valley into a "Popcorn Playground."
Wild_Wilderness-Merced_River_Plan.pdf
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When Is Conservation of Park Lands Prudent, and When is the Spending Wasteful?

While some House Republicans are denigrating a proposal to spend $50 million to create a national historic site in the Virgin Islands, one that would preserve a centuries-old plantation and critical natural resources, a GOP senator is asking for $75 million to be spent on land acquisition for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Castle_Nugent-CBO_Estimates.pdf NPCA-Castle_Nugent.pdf
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Latest NPS Study of Valles Caldera Finds it Worthy of Inclusion in the National Park System

For more than a century folks have talked about creating a national park around the unique geology and beautiful landscapes of the Valles Caldera area in New Mexico. Now the latest National Park Service study on that proposal reconfirms that the caldera's landscape is suitable for inclusion and says such an acquisition would be feasibly sound.
Valles_Caldera-NPS_feasibility_study_2009.pdf
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Officials at Lassen Volcanic National Park Proposing Work for Lassen Peak Trail

The trail to the top of Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park is in need of work to improve safety, install turnouts along the 2.5-mile path, and add a new trailside toilet. Plus, the park is proposing a trail to connect the Manzanita Creek Trail to the Lassen Peak Trail.
Lassen_Peak_Trail_EA.pdf
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Updated: NPS Director Jarvis Ends "Core Ops" Budgeting Across The National Park System

In a brief, four-paragraph memorandum, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis has brought to an end a controversial budgeting process that stripped arguably key positions from parks. Dubbed "core ops" for its approach to analyzing a park's core operations, the process failed to produce wise budgeting decisions, the director said in a letter to his regional directors.
Jarvis-Core_Ops.pdf
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Endangered Species Coalition Lists 10 Species Endangered By Climate Change

A small turtle from the eastern U.S. A species of trout native to Glacier and North Cascades national parks. Grizzly bears. A prairie orchard. A coral. These are among the ten plant, fish, animal, and bird species listed in a new report as being the "hottest" species imperiled by climate change.
hottestspecies.pdf
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Yellowstone National Park Officials Release Development Vision For Tower-Roosevelt

Tower-Roosevelt might be viewed as one of the sleepier areas of Yellowstone National Park, but it's one rich in beauty and history and, since the late 1990s, has become somewhat of a magnet for wildlife viewers anxious to spot wolves. In developing a vision for the area, park officials are trying to contain development, although some argue they are not entirely succeeding.
YELL-Tower-Roosevelt_Comprehensive_Plan_EA.pdf
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Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park

A group has gone to court to halt the development of a uranium mine within 10 miles of Grand Canyon National Park. Filed on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, the Grand Canyon Trust, and the Sierra Club, the lawsuit claims the U.S. Bureau of Land Management failed to update environmental reviews and mining plans before approving the project.
Uranium_lawsuit.pdf
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Split Appellate Court Erects Another Roadblock to World's Largest Dump Next to Joshua Tree National Park

What would you think if, on the way to your favorite national park, you had to drive past the world's largest landfill? One that would take in 20,000 tons of garbage a day, six days a week. While the prospect of such a landfill adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park remains on the drawing board, it's less likely to break ground any time soon following an appellate court's ruling.
Ninth_Circuit_Opinion.pdf
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National Park Service Sued Over Termination of Indian Trader at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

A case stretching from the dusty high desert of Arizona all the way to Washington, D.C., has many of the markings of a Tony Hillerman novel -- conspiracy, intrigue, and wrongdoing in Indian country. It also has spurred a lawsuit accusing a number of National Park Service officials with misconduct and wrongful seizure of property belonging to a man described as one of the "last authentic Indian traders."
Malone_Civil_Complaint.pdf
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Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images

A lengthy investigation into allegations that Gettsysburg National Military Park Superintendent John Latschar acted unethically in running the park found no wrongdoing, but it reportedly turned up thousands of instances in which the superintendent's computer was used to access pornographic images.
OIA-Latschar.pdf
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Curing Society's Disconnect With Nature Could Be As Easy As A Walk In the Woods

For the past four years, since Last Child in the Woods hit bookstores, there has been a greatly heightened concern over how society connects with nature. Across the United States there has been hew and cry from many corners that society is losing not just its comfort in the outdoors, but also its concern for it. A new study indicates that while there should be reason for concern, perhaps the solution is as simple as a walk in the woods.
Outdoor_Foundation-Survey_Trends.pdf
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It's Official: Picky Yosemite National Park Bears Prefer Their Meals in Minivans

Fuel economy, it seems, is just as important to black bears in Yosemite National Park as it is with many visitors. And so when the bruins shop for fuel, more and more they tend to find themselves munching out in minivans, according to a study published in the Journal of Mammalogy.
YOSE-Black_Bears-Minivans.pdf
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Greenpeace Activists Exploited Security Failings at Mount Rushmore National Memorial To Stage Protest

Greenpeace activists were able to scale to the top of the iconic Mount Rushmore in July and unfurl a banner of protest over the U.S. approach to global warming because of a number of glaring security lapses, breakdowns and shortcomings at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, according to a National Park Service investigation.
MORU-Security_Report.pdf
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Interior Issues Report on Drilling Near National Parks in Utah

A review of how the U.S. Bureau of Land Management handled energy leases near national parks in Utah shows some areas where the system broke down and carries recommendations for, at a minimum, review of previous leasing decisions. Some tracts, the report said, should be removed from leasing.
BLM_Utah77LeaseParcelReport.pdf
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Eight Years After 9-11, National Park Service Lacks Adequate Security Approach, According to GAO Report

Despite years' old concerns that terrorists might strike at iconic units of the National Park System, the National Park Service's approach to security is haphazard, inefficient, and ineffective, according to a Government Accountablity Office report.
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National Park Service, Advocacy Groups Reach Settlement Over Merced Wild and Scenic River Litigation in Yosemite National Park

After years of at-times acrimonious ligation, a settlement was announced Wednesday between the National Park Service and advocacy groups over development in the Yosemite Valley and how it might impact the Merced River, a wild and scenic stream. It's an agreement that could substantially redefine the human impact on one of the most scenic valleys in the world.
YOSE-Merced_Settlement.pdf
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Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped

Some push-back has surfaced against U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein's efforts to see oyster farming continue in an area of Point Reyes National Seashore that has been destined for official wilderness designation.
PORE-Feinstein_Rider.pdf PORE-Rep._Dicks_Letter.pdf
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Updated: Federal Judge in Wyoming Says He Can't Boost Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park

A federal judge in Wyoming who in the past has supported higher numbers of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park ruled Thursday that he could not overturn the National Park Service's decision to cap daily snowmobile numbers at 318 this coming winter.
Brimmer-Snowmobiles.pdf
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Hundreds of Groups Urge Senate to Invest in Climate Change Legislation That Could Help National Park Wildlife, Natural Resources

Groups as diverse as the Great Old Broads for Wilderness and the Quiet Use Coalition urged the U.S. Senate on Tuesday to pass climate change legislation and a national energy policy that would slow greenhouse warming of the Earth, and called for millions of dollars to be invested in helping wildlife and natural resources cope with climate-change impacts. In all, more than 600 groups signed off on the letter.
Green_Groups-Climate_Change_Funding.pdf
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Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels

There long have been pockets of disgust over federal land ownership in the West, and perhaps nowhere are those sentiments stronger than in Utah, where roughly two-thirds of the landscape is federally managed. While the "Sagebrush Rebellion" mightily reared its head some three decades ago, its waning vestiges are on trial this week over whether a creek bed constitutes a road in Canyonlands National Park.
Salt_Creek-Amicus_Brief.pdf Salt_Creek-NPS_Motions.pdf
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President Obama Designates September as "National Wilderness Month"

While the National Park System protects wide swathes of officially designated wilderness, there are many, many wilderness-quality acres in the parks that are not so designated, though they are managed as de facto wilderness. President Obama, with hopes Americans would become more familiar with wilderness, has designated September as National Wilderness Month.
NPS-Recommended_Wilderness.pdf
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Court Ruling Blocks Some ORV Access to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Other Federal Lands

A split ruling this week by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concerning off-road vehicle access to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and other public lands in southern Utah could also affect ORV issues on national park lands throughout the region.
10th_Circuit-R.S._2477.pdf
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Second Century Commission Explores Role of National Park Service in its Second Century

What do you expect from the National Park System? How would you like to see the National Park Service manage the 391 parks? Those are at the same time simple and complex questions. Perhaps the obvious answer is that we want parks managed for people to enjoy. But from there the obvious quickly fades away. Do we want them managed for preservation, for the betterment of species that inhabit the parks, for their landscapes to persist immemorially?
2nd_Century-Previous_NPS_Reviews.pdf 2nd_Century-Education_Mission.pdf 2nd_Century-Collaboration.pdf 2nd_Century-NPS_Budget.pdf 2nd_Century-Shaping_the_Park_System.pdf
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National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide