Traveler's View: Senate Should Either Fund New Parks In Defense Bill, Or Strip Them Out

There are at least 75 million reasons why the U.S. Senate should either fully fund the national park projects contained within the defense authorization bill, or strip them out.

Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands

Confusion, misspoken words, and fear mongering swept the public lands landscape this past week following word that the U.S. Forest Service was planning to squash your right to snap a photo in the woods if you didn't pony up $1,500 for a picture-taking permit. The uproar stemmed from a poorly worded Federal Register notice, and was fanned by media worried about their First Amendment rights and very possibly by federal government critics.

Traveler's View: National Park Service Logos Lack Creativity, Fail To Celebrate "America's Best Idea"

National parks, it's held up, are "America's best idea," but logos chosen for the National Park Service to celebrate its centennial and to use in other venues fail to reflect that belief. Indeed, they ignore the rich heritage and beauty of the National Park System in a curious attempt to "engage and connect with new audiences."

Traveler's View: Packrafting Deserves Consideration In Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks

At Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, the National Park Service should welcome a discussion into a form of backcountry travel that, if properly managed, need not alter the decades-long experience of visiting these two magnificent parks, but rather enhance it for a small number of wilderness travelers.

Traveler's View: Anti-Government Politicians Bear Watching This Election Year

How much federal land is too much? When it comes to the state level, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas believes 50.5 percent is too much. While he recently failed to force the federal government to reduce the size of its holdings, the Republican and other anti-government politicians bear watching, particularly with the coming fall elections.

Traveler's View: National Parks Are Boring, Outside Magazine? Really???

Did you hear the news? National parks, those wondrous and scenic expanses of Nature's eye candy, those wild and rumpled landscapes that test your skills and will kill you if you're not careful and prepared, or maybe just in the wrong place at the wrong time, are boring. They've been transformed -- or, perhaps, kept since their creation -- as "drive-through museums."

Traveler's View: National Park Service Should Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park officials, rather than forcing private equestrians to pay a guide to lead them on trail rides, should see the marketing and PR value in having rangers saddle up to lead rides much as they lead hikes, for free.

Traveler's View: National Park Service Needs To Improve Its Transparency

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis' thoughts on a range of topics that are of interest to both the general public and the National Park Service staff deserve transparency and response from the director.

Traveler's View: Rep. Smith Looking In The Wrong Direction For Economic Boost

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith is misguided in thinking tourism would be helped by transforming Ozark National Scenic Riverways into a Missouri state park.

Traveler's View: Don't Let The Sportsmen's Heritage And Recreational Enhancement Act Undermine National Parks

The U.S. Senate should strip from the Sportmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act an amendment that would bar the National Park Service from better managing motorboat access in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

A Look Back At Traveler's Views In 2013

At National Parks Traveler, we don't profess to have all the answers to issues and controversies swirling about the National Park System. But there were a handful of times in 2013 when we felt it necessary to raise concerns about what was transpiring in the parks.

Traveler's View: The National Park Service Has An Image Problem It Needs To Address

The National Park Service has a serious image problem, part of it earned, and part of it manufactured, that it needs to address.

Traveler's View: There's No Lack Of GOP Chutzpa In The House When It Comes To National Parks

Despite the estimated loss of $76 million a day, the furlough of more than 20,000 federal and non-profit employees, and the ruination of countless vacations, 94 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives want to know how many rangers it takes to keep the World War II Memorial on the National Mall closed.
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October 9, 2013 Letter to Director Jarvis.pdf1.42 MB

Traveler's View: The Arrogance Of Congress

The arrogance of Congress is withering and shameful.

How Big A Difference Is There Between Professional And "Recreational" Bike Events In National Parks When It Comes To Impacts?

When it comes to cycling events in national parks, how heavily should the National Park Service weigh whether an event is a professional race when deciding if it's a worthwhile event, and what other factors should it take into consideration?

Traveler's View: Congress, National Park Service Need To Restructure Fees For Centennial Celebration

"Mountaineers are always free" is West Virginia's state motto, but that sentiment is getting harder and harder to find in the National Park System, where an imbalance in fee structures charges you for sleeping on the bare ground but not for burning gas as you negotiate the 11-mile loop of Cades Cove.

Traveler's View: National Park Service Shouldn't Contribute To Technological Disconnect With Nature

While the National Park Service is moving ahead to test expanded cellphone and Wi-Fi service in some units of the National Park System, it should consider that testing carefully and measure it against the relative solitude and release from the seemingly nonstop attention wireless technology can demand that park visits provide.

Traveler's View: Proposed Monument Around Canyonlands National Park Deserves Serious Consideration

A proposal to create a 1.4-million-acre national monument wrapping Canyonlands National Park in Utah should not be dismissed out of hand, but receive serious consideration from the Obama administration. And it should receive equally serious consideration from Utah officials who promote the state's recreational wonders in one breath and demand a turnover of federal lands in the next.

Traveler's View: National Park Service Is Sending Conflicting Messages Concerning Bike Race At Colorado National Monument

Sadly, in less than four months the National Park Service seemingly has reversed itself and cracked open the door to a professional bicycle race climbing through Colorado National Monument.

Traveler's View: Yellowstone National Park Deserves A Better Winter-Use Plan

Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park and the place that started the global national parks movement, deserves a better winter-use plan than the one being pushed by park officials.

Traveler's View: National Park Foundation Erred In Licensing Air Fresheners And Tricked Out Trucks

The National Park Foundation erred in reaching licensing agreements with trucks tricked out for conquering wilderness and air fresheners many associate with bathrooms.

Traveler's View: No Professional Bike Racing At Colorado National Monument

If a professional bike race charging through Colorado National Monument is the key to the rugged red-rock landscape and its treasures in western Colorado being redesignated as a "national park," then it's time to end the discussion over a name change.