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: 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.

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.

Friends Of Saguaro National Park Passes Resolution Opposing New Highway Near Park

While a proposed highway corridor through the Avra Valley of southern Arizona would not go through Saguaro National Park, it would nevertheless adversely impact the park, according to the Friends of Saguaro Board of Directors.

Saguaro National Park Offers Busy Schedule Of Programs This Month

February can be a great month to visit Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona. Moderate temperatures make for perfect hiking conditions, and the park staff offers plenty of programs -- including sunset and moonlit hikes -- to catch your attention.

Welcome Traveler's Newest Supporters And Advertisers

Observant readers of the Traveler no doubt noticed some new sponsors and advertisers who believe in our mission to nurture advocates and stewards for the National Park System while exploring how best to get the most out of the park experience.

What's Going On At Saguaro National Park This Month?

Curious about what you can do at Saguaro National Park in Arizona this month? Check out the following list of events.

Consider A Year-End Donation To Your Favorite National Park Friends Group

Trail improvements, interpretive programming, historic preservation, and even transportation are some of the projects tackled by national park friends groups. With time running out in 2013, consider a year-end tax deductible donation to your favorite friends group to help them through 2014.

Essential Park Guide: Winter Doesn’t Have To Mean Cold, Snow And Ice During Your National Park Adventure

Cold, snow, and ice aren’t the only backdrops to a winter’s visit to the National Park System. There’s a flip side to the Glaciers, Yellowstones, and Mount Rainiers of winter park vacations. They’re found in the Caribbean, south Florida, and even Nevada and Arizona.

Birding In The National Parks: Twitching

Are you a "twitcher" or a "chaser" when it comes to birding in the national parks?

Birding In The National Parks: Telling The Birds From The Cacti At Saguaro National Park

One of the complaints about birding in summer in many parts of the country is the plethora of leaves hiding the birds. Just when you think you’re about to get a good look, the sparrow dives into a bush or behind a leafy branch, never to be seen again. I figured that meant desert birding would be easy. Cacti don’t have leaves.

Birding In The National Parks: Enduring The Heat To Bird In Saguaro National Park And Chiricahua National Monument

I was all set to regale you with stories and video of adorable Piping Plover chicks from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore this week, but I seem to be running out of time. By the time you read this, I’ll be on a plane to Tucson, ultimately to do some birding in Saguaro National Park and Chiricahua National Monument. Thus, you’re stuck with a behind scenes look at how one birder prepares for a trip to a never-before-visited destination.

Fall In The National Parks: Ride Off Into The West, And A National Park, From A Dude Ranch

It’s after a soft, pattering rain, with the clouds clearing and the sun streaming through, that the essence of the Western landscape rises up. The pungent scent of sagebrush is wicked up by the moist air, mingling with the sweet aroma of pine.

Saguaro National Park, Other Park Units, Ban Campfires

Fire danger in the Southwest has gotten so bad that a ban on campfires is being implemented in a handful of national park units, including Saguaro National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Saguaro Cacti Tagged By Vandals At Saguaro National Park

It appears little is free from graffiti vandalism, not even age-old saguaro cacti at Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona.

Birding In The National Parks: Birding In Saguaro National Park In Summer

It’s no secret that we birders tend to do things a little differently than “normal” travelers. Valentine’s Day weekend at the sewage treatment plant? Getting up at 4 a.m. every morning of your vacation? Perfectly acceptable behavior for the seasoned birder. But Saguaro National Park in August???
Birding the Southwestern National Parks (W. L. Moody Jr. Natural History Series) Just in case I wasn’t aware that I very badly need to do more birding in the Southwest, a copy of Birding the Southwestern National Parks by former Park Service employee Roland Wauer arrived in my mailbox. Now I find myself checking plane fare to Las Vegas, El Paso, and Los Angeles. This may be one of the most expensive book reviews I’ve ever written.

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.

Sales of Disposable Bottles Of Water And Soda Banned At Saguaro National Park

If you're planning on visiting Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona, be sure to bring a reusable water bottle, as the park has banned the sale of disposable bottles of water and soda.

Saguaro National Park Using New Technology to Deter Cactus Rustlers

Saguaro National Park is using some new technology to help deter an old-time problem—cactus poachers. Operation PIT Tag inserts tiny micro-chips into cacti to allow positive identification of saguaro cacti which have been heisted from the park. The program makes those plants less attractive targets for rustlers, since it's easy to verify that a tagged cactus is "stolen goods."

Warmer Temperatures From Climate Change Likely To Change Vegetative Landscape In Southwestern National Parks

While desert-thriving vegetation commonly is thought to love heat, too much heat can doom them. A new study into the likely impacts of climate change says higher temperatures will recast the native plants we find in places such as Saguaro National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

'Tis the Season for Scenic Drives and Easy Hikes at Saguaro National Park

Winter and spring are popular seasons for visiting Saguaro National Park, and for good reason. It's a great time of the year to enjoy the Arizona desert, and two "roads less traveled" and a variety of trails offer access to fine desert scenery.

Counting Cacti At Saguaro National Park

In an ongoing effort to better understand the life cycle of saguaros, and what, if any, threats are fatal to them, Saguaro National Park officials are conducting a saguaro census in the park and are looking for help.

BioBlitz Turns Up More Than 850 Previously Undetected Species in Saguaro National Park

Gila monster, Saguaro National Park, Kurt Repanshek photo
Do you ever wonder what we know about the world around us? The somewhat recent phenomenon known as "BioBlitzes" is rewriting what we know about the natural world that resides in national parks. In some cases, what we didn't know can appear astounding.

Biodiversity Inventory Coming To Saguaro National Park in October

Saguaro National Park is well-known for its namesake cacti, but what else can you find in the park when it comes to living things? An answer to that question is coming in late October, when the park is the focus of a two-day "bio-blitz."

Fire Danger Leads To Partial Closure of Saguaro National Park

With Arizona undergoing one of its worst fire seasons ever, officials at Saguaro National Park have instituted a closure of parts of the Rincon Mountain District as a precaution.

Reader Participation Day: Where in The National Parks Do You Head To Bird, and What Birds Do You Hope To See?

Birding is one of the many popular activities in the National Park System, and by carrying your binoculars and perhaps a field guide to help you identify what you see, you quickly can expand your "life list" during a park visit. If you're a birder, where in the system do you go, and what are you looking for?

A Year in the Parks

The past year was very kind to me in terms of getting out to visit some of the incredible units of our National Park System. Here's a look back at a year in national parks.

GAO Study Says More Interagency Coordination Needed To Address Illegal Border Crossings in Southwest

Six years after a Government Accountability Office review found poor coordination between federal land managers and Border Patrol officials tasked with combating illegal border crossings in the Southwest, a new analysis finds not much has changed.