Virgin Islands National Park Battened Down For Hurricane Earl

Hurricane Earl with its 120 mile-per-hour winds on Monday was ripping through the Caribbean, where a hurricane warning was posted for Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John.

Surprising Coral Reef Found At Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

A surprising discovery along the mangrove-rooted shores of Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument has raised questions about whether some coral reefs can tolerate higher water temperatures brought on by climate change.

Virgin Islands National Park Grows by 2 Acres Thanks to Donation

It's only 2.2 acres, but the spit of land recently donated to Virgin Islands National Park will protect views of the Caribbean Sea and protect some unusual vegetation.

ReserveAmerica Can't Find a National Park Campground It Likes

ReserveAmerica, the company that manages camping reservations for the National Park System and other federal agencies, can't seem to find a national park campground it likes. In listing its "Top 100 Family Campgrounds," the company doesn't cite a single national park campground.

Reader Participation Day: Which Is Your Favorite National Park Gateway Town?

If you had to pick a gateway town to live in -- not because of its associated national park, but because of its atmosphere -- which would you choose?

Best National Parks for Admiring "Rock Art"

There are a handful of places in the National Park System where you can view petroglyphs or pictographs. Some are walk-up panels that you can ponder for hours, others require a float down a river or a long hike. Here's a quick look at some of those units and what you can expect to find.

Kentucky's Sen. Bunning Singlehandedly Idles Road Construction Projects Nationally, Including Many in National Parks

Jim Bunning, Kentucky's contrary U.S. senator, singlehandedly has shut down road construction projects across the nation, including many in national parks, because he doesn't want to help middle-class families weather the economic storm, U.S. Department of Transportation officials said Monday.

Traveler's Checklist: Virgin Islands National Park

Ahhh, the sun-kissed Caribbean. Is there a better place for a mid-winter's getaway than one with sugar-sand beaches lined by palms and washed by warm turquoise waters that provide habitat for turtles the size of trunks, colorful fishes like blue tang and parrotfish, and menacing barracuda? If you don't think so, then Virgin Islands National Park is your destination.

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.
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National Park Mystery Photo 14 Revealed: A Brainy Block

During the colonial days of the West Indies, building supplies were much in demand. Ingenious builders looked to the sea for some of their construction materials, and came away with a particularly good item, one that started out pliable but soon turned to rock. Or at least rock-like.

Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?

Quick, pick an ocean setting for next summer's national park vacation. Are you heading to the Northeast, the Northwest, or looking South or somewhere else for your destination?

To Protect Rare Virgin Islands Plants, an Environmental NGO Holds Government Feet to the Fire

The Center for Environmental Diversity has goaded the Fish & Wildlife Service into honoring its obligation to responsibly manage two rare and imperiled plants in the Virgin Islands.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Coral Reefs

Neon-hued parrotfish. Graceful angelfish the size of dinner platters. Delicate sponges that sway in the currents. Coral communities teeming with colorful marine life. Our fascination with the oceans and their denizens has led Congress to include within the National Park System some of the nation’s most incredible and beautiful marine ecosystems. Ninety-five percent of Biscayne National Park, for instance, is underwater.

National Park Mystery Plant 2: There’s Good Reason They Call This Thing "the Death Apple”

This tree, which can be found growing in a few of our national parks, is one you’ll want to treat with respect. Its various parts are full of toxins that can irritate your skin, temporarily blind you, make you very sick, or even kill you.

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.

Musings From Virgin Islands National Park

Salt Pond Bay, Virgin Islands NP, Kurt Repanshek photo
Floating face down in the Caribbean, with snorkel clenched in your mouth, lacks the structure, the regimentation, of observing the natural world in the way we’ve grown up to accept while walking through a forest, strolling through a meadow, or hiking up a mountain. Clouds of neon blue tangs drift by while black-and-yellow striped sergeant majors flit about, lacking the tangs’ regimented approach to life in the ocean.

Trails I've Hiked: Reef Bay Trail, Virgin Islands National Park

Mango trees, lime trees, and one of the best preserved ruins of a sugar plantation in Virgin Islands National Park are among the payoffs of the Reef Bay Trail.

Trust For Public Land Leverages Land Purchase for Virgin Islands National Park

For roughly 47 cents on the dollar, Virgin Islands National Park is growing by more than 400 acres thanks to the efforts of the Trust for Public Land.

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.

Update: Virgin Islands National Park Takes a Swipe, not a Direct Hit, from Hurricane Omar

Damage surveys and cleanup work are underway at Virgin Islands National Park after Hurricane Omar passed thorough the islands on Thursday. It appears that main park facilities on St. John escaped a major hit.

Virgin Islands National Park: Another Park Threatened By Inbounds Development

Valley Forge National Historical Park isn't the only unit of the national park system threatened by development on private lands that fall within its borders. Far from it. The latest case involves Virgin Islands National Park, where development on roughly 1,400 privately owned acres within the park's borders is harming the park's resources.

Despite All the Talk About A Bountiful NPS Budget, Not All National Parks Doing Well

We've heard lots about how bountiful the National Park Service's 2008 budget is thanks to the Bush administration. Well, don't let that talk make you think all is great across the park system.

If You Have to Ask the Price, The Ahwahnee And Jenny Lake Lodge Are Probably Out of Reach

Earlier this summer we ran a list of the Top 10 Lodges in the park system. Admittedly it's a "soft" list, one that definitely is not objective. But what some might find objectionable are the nightly costs for staying in some of these places.