Ana through Wanda, This Year’s Hurricane Names are Ready to Go

NOAA forecasters expect a normal- to low-activity hurricane season this year, but you never know for sure. There are 21 storm names pre-selected for use in 2009.

Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing

Breeding populations of Burmese pythons have been established in Everglades National Park and some other parts of Florida. Limiting the growth and spread of this ecologically disruptive, potentially dangerous invader will be a daunting task.

Creature Feature: Feral Burros are "Equina Non Grata" in the National Parks

Guys who holler “watch this!” just before they do something incredibly stupid aren’t the only jackasses in our national parks. We’ve got the real kind too, and where there are feral burros the habitat is degraded and native wildlife suffer. Cute though they may be, burros are unwelcome in our national parks.

Creature Feature: Meet the Asian Swamp Eel, "the Animal Equivalent of the Kudzu Vine?"

The Asian swamp eel is prolific, hardy, voracious, ecologically disruptive, and on its way to becoming the scourge of the Everglades. Is it already too late to stop it?

Climate Change and Coral Bleaching: Changing the Seascape of Virgin Islands National Park

Forget what you might have heard about polar bears being the first species to gain Endangered Species Act protection due to climate change. Two species of coral lay claim to that unfortunate distinction.

National Park Mystery Plant 1: Will This “Lime-Green Cancer” Derail Everglades Restoration?

This virulently invasive plant, sometimes called the “lime-green cancer” and "the most dangerous plant in Florida," already infests some areas of Everglades National Park. If not controlled soon it might wipe out decades of ecosystem restoration efforts. Do you know what this nightmare plant is?

Why On Earth Would Anybody Want to Do That?

At War in The Pacific National Historical Park, vandals and thieves have desecrated memorials erected in honor of the more than 16,000 Chamorros and American servicemen who suffered and died on Guam during World War II.

Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?

Harsh criticism forced the Presidio Trust to rethink its plans for the new Contemporary Art Museum at the Presidio. A new "chop and drop" proposal emphasizes smaller, better located structures built largely underground.

Petrified Forest National Park is Still Being Stolen One Piece at a Time

A decade ago, visitors at Petrified Forest National Park were stealing the park’s petrified wood at the rate of 12 tons a year. Warning signage, hefty fines, legal purchase options, and other countermeasures have done some good, but losses continue to mount.

Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws

Fearing that Democrats may win the White House as well as strengthen their control of Congress, President Bush is rushing to eviscerate as many environmental protection laws as he can before the moving trucks arrive. Though undemocratic and unethical, the methods he is using are quite legal.

Beach Cleanup is Focus for National Parks America Tour Stop at Padre Island National Seashore

The Unilever-sponsored National Parks America Tour, a volunteer program with over 25 scheduled stops in the national parks this year, has organized a beach cleanup at Padre Island National Seashore for Saturday, October 18. The huge volume of storm debris left by last month’s Hurricane Ike has been very difficult to deal with and continues to wash ashore daily.

How to Hijack a National Park

Gateway Arch and grounds. NPS photo.
From time to time we see a news story about some government project or proposal that causes us to think, "That sure doesn't sound right," and wonder how it happened. Here's a current example.

New BLM Management Plans Could Have Major Impacts on Utah National Parks

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park.
If you want to enjoy some of those iconic views from places like Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, you might want to plan your trip sooner rather than later. While most Americans and their elected officials have been mesmerized by the economic crisis and the upcoming election, enormous changes in the management of public lands in Utah are afoot. The effects on a number of national parks could be substantial.

Hurricane Ike Storm Debris Creates a Mammoth Cleanup Problem at Padre Island National Seashore

Hurricane Ike storm debris has drifted southwest along the Texas Gulf Coast and littered the beaches at Padre Island National Seashore. Cleaning it up is a mammoth task that must be done quickly. Protecting seashore wildlife is a major concern.

Uranium Exploratory Drilling Near Grand Canyon National Park is Halted Pending a Full Environmental Review

The Forest Service illegally approved 39 uranium exploration drilling holes in the Kaibab National Forest near Grand Canyon National Park. Now a court challenge has produced a settlement that stops the drilling and calls for full environmental and public reviews. Many fear that uranium development may contaminate water in the park and the Colorado River.

Padre Island National Seashore Offers Lots of Fun for Visitors and Lots of Problems for Managers

Padre Island National Seashore celebrates its 46th anniversary on September 28. Extending along the Texas Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi to the Mexican border, this narrow coastal barrier offers plenty of high quality recreation. There are many managerial difficulties, though, and some may get lots worse.

Update: At Grand Canyon National Park, an Abandoned Uranium Mine Must be Cleaned Up

The Orphan Mine, which produced uranium during 1956-1969, is situated on and below the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park. Abandoned in 1969, the site is contaminated with hazardous materials, some of which are radioactive. Now the site must be cleaned up, and it’s a time-consuming, complicated process.

Attendance Shortfalls at Steamtown National Historic Site Prompt Calls for Privatization

Visitation has plunged at Pennsylvania’s Steamtown National Historic Site, primarily because budget problems have prevented the park from meeting visitor expectations. Critics insist that only privatization can provide critical operational improvements and resuscitate Steamtown visitation.

House Subcommittee Considers Bill to Relax ORV Rules for Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Today the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands is scheduled to consider HR 6233, a bill that would reinstate the Interim Management Strategy for ORV beach use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. There are heated arguments on both sides of this issue, which has strong implications for wildlife management, beach access, and tourist spending.

Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East

Policing National Capital Parks-East can be downright scary at times. On August 21, for example, Park Police officers patrolling Anacostia Park arrested two men who had brought a loaded submachine gun to a picnic area playground.

Super Storm Impacts Linger at Guam’s War in the Pacific National Historical Park

Guam's War in the Pacific National Historical Park, which celebrated its 30th birthday August 18, was so badly mauled by supertyphoons that its visitor center, bookstore, museum, and research library have all been put out of action. But visitors are back, so rangers serve them while keeping a wary eye on the weather.

What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?

The spit of sand that buffers the North Carolina coast from the worst the Atlantic Ocean can toss at it carries a wide array of contentious issues that seemingly have no easy answers. And as with most contentious issues, there's no doubt a measure of spin when talk comes to access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
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Battling Invasive Species in Arches National Park

Our national parks are places of incredible beauty and rich history. But they also are under siege. Across the National Park System, the landscape is being invaded by non-native species that are not just out of place, when you consider what should be growing, but in some cases are actually driving out the natives.

Native Hawaiians Don’t Want a Giant Telescope on Their Sacred Mountaintop at Haleakalā National Park

Haleakalā National Park celebrates its 92nd birthday on July 1. Meanwhile, angry Hawaiian Natives continue their struggle to prevent the construction of a giant telescope atop their sacred mountain. The Park Service doesn’t like the project either.

Threats to the Parks: Biscayne National Park

Situated a few miles south of Miami, Biscayne National Park is the only place in the world where a living coral reef lies adjacent to a large metro area. Biscayne’s metro periphery location, fragile resources, and heavy visitation make it one of our most vulnerable parks.

Threats to the Parks: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Struggles with Invasive Plants

Many nonnative plant and animal species that have invaded our national parks pose a danger to the native species. On Hawaii’s Big Island, invasive plants are threatening to wreak ecosystem havoc in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. To combat this onslaught, the Park Service uses manual and mechanical removal, herbicide spraying, and biological controls.

National Park Service Issues Beach Access Report for Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Users

The National Park Service Beach Access Report for June 12, 2008, provides detailed background and regulatory information concerning ORV use at the popular Cape Hatteras National Seashore under the terms of the consent decree signed on April 30. The Park Service is soliciting your opinion about modifying the format and content of the Beach Access Report.