Remembering John Lowry Dobson, Evangelist For Interpreting The "Other Half" Of Our National Parks

John Lowry Dobson (1915-2014) amateur telescope maker, co-founder of the Sidewalk Astronomers, and an evangelist for interpreting the "other half" of our national parks, dies at age 98

"Bears In My Kitchen" Offers A Look At Life In The Parks In An Earlier Era

Many of us have some occasional moments of nostalgia—or perhaps just a bit of curiosity—about life in our parks during what we presume was a less frantic world a generation or two ago. If that's the case, and you'd like to get a peek at life as a ranger and his spouse in Yosemite and several other western national parks in the 1930s and 1940s, you'll likely enjoy reading a book that's a park's classic: Bears in my Kitchen.

A History Of Yosemite Nature Notes...In A Video

Starting in 1922 as a type-written news sheet, Yosemite Nature Notes the periodical went on to become a charming magazine with more than 400 issues during its 40 years of publication.

"Muir's Ride" Will Range From San Francisco Bay Area To Yosemite National Park

This year's edition of "Muir's Ride," part of a campaign to see the Hetch Hetchy Valley of Yosemite National Park drained of its water and restored, will stretch from the San Francisco Bay Area to Yosemite.

Reader Participation Day: What Are The Most Unnerving Trails In A National Park?

Hiking is a popular activity in our parks, and trails—long and short, easy to arduous—provide almost unlimited opportunities for us to stretch our legs or challenge our abilities. Whether a hike on a particular trail seems "scary" is a pretty subjective question, since our tolerance for steep drop-offs, uncertain footing or other factors varies widely from person to person.

Satellite Photos Show How Dire Snow Conditions Are At Yosemite National Park, Sierra Range

How skimpy are snow levels across the Sierra Nevada this winter? The above satellite photo pretty much sums things up.

Slow Start To Winter Snowpack Raising Concerns At Yosemite National Park - And All Of California

Winter snows may have arrived in abundance in parts of the country, but it's a different story so far in California, where the first snow survey of the season has already raised concerns for the coming summer. At Yosemite National Park, skiers have more immediate concerns, with the Badger Pass Ski Area not yet open for the season.

Inspiration For 2014: My Top 10 Family Adventures

If you’re looking for some ideas and inspiration for 2014, here are my 10 favorite family adventures at The Big Outside (another list that will keep growing and evolving), as well as a bonus 11th trip that made this list last year but saw its spot usurped this year.

Yosemite, For What And For Whom?

The path-breaking beginning of America’s national parks in Yosemite is the subject of these two anniversary-related books. For Dayton Duncan, in Seed of the Future, the Yosemite Grant remains the story of a national triumph. For Jen Huntley, in The Making of Yosemite, the act of June 30, 1864, bears irrefutable evidence of a national theft.

The National Parks Are Now Open. How Can We Try To Keep Them Open?

turtles in the Everglades
What can we do to show Congress that national parks are important? Writing to your legislators is important, but not the only way to raise the visibility of our parks to Washington.

New NPS "Wildland Fire Strategic Plan" Offers Some Candid Insights Into Fire Management Challenges

Among the functions performed by the National Park Service, few can top "fire management" in terms of costs, public safety, and impacts on both park and adjacent property and activities. That said, you may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to review and comment on the agency's new Wildland Fire Strategic Plan: 2014-2019.

Essential Park Guide, Winter: Painting The Parks, Driven By Nature's Beauty

Outdoors, in the majesty of the national parks, masterpieces are created by artists drawn to nature's beauty.

Yosemite Nature Notes: Fall In Yosemite

Winter is on its way, and has already arrived in some parts of the country, but vestiges of fall remain elsewhere. Take a few minutes to enjoy the fleeting colors of fall in Yosemite National Park via this video produced by Steven Bumgardner as part of his Yosemite Nature Notes series made possible by the Yosemite Conservancy.

Tracking Climate Change In Sequoia National Park: What Will Happen?

What will climate change bring to the national park landscapes, places like Everglades National Park or Kenai Fjords National Park or Sequoia National Park? That is one of the questions now being asked to help park interpreters better explain climate change to visitors.

Reader Participation Day: Which Is Your Favorite Winter Event/Activity In The National Park System?

Visit Mesa Verde National Park in December and you can experience cliff dwellings by the soft glow of luminarias. Head to Yosemite National Park later in the month and you can feast at The Ahwahnee. But what other winter events are there that interest you?

Yosemite National Park Plans Restoration Of Mariposa Grove

Pine cones the size of bread loaves. Trees that climb 20 stories into the sky. These are some of the wonders of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias at Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park Working With Gateway Communities To Celebrate Fall

With the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant that set aside the Yosemite Valley for preservation within reach, Yosemite National Park officials are working with gateway communities to celebrate the anniversary and the season.
To Conserve Unimpaired: The Evolution of the National Park Idea There is no better time than now -- with the searing aspects of a shuttered National Park System still fresh -- to sit down with a copy of To Conserve Unimpaired, The Evolution of the National Park Idea.

Seeing The Parks By Webcam During The Shutdown

Among the many casualties of the government shutdown are some of the popular webcam views of locations around the National Park System, since NPS and some other government web services have been disabled for the duration of the dispute. If you enjoy the ability to check in on favorite park locations via those cameras, all is not lost, however, and we'll provide some tips about park webcam views provided by non-government sources.

Tenth Annual Yosemite Facelift Shows Power Of Volunteerism At Yosemite National Park

Late September marked the tenth year that the Yosemite Climbing Association has spearheaded a major volunteer effort at Yosemite National Park known as Yosemite Facelift. The 2013 version of the event ran from September 24-29, and over 1,200 volunteers once again made a huge positive impact on the park and its resources

Google Maps "Street View" Coming To The National Parks

Google Maps has become a useful electronic option to paper maps for many people, and one feature of that site—"Street View"—allows users to see a ground-level, 360 degree photographic view of many locations around the world. Now that service is adding parts of some national parks, including the Grand Canyon and even one rather surprising location that lies beneath the ground.

Update: Rep. McClintock Pushing For Timber Salvage Sales In Yosemite National Park, Surrounding Area

A California congressman is pushing legislation that would turn aside federal environmental laws to allow for the salvage of timber burned by the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park and the adjacent Stanislaus National Forest.

"Find A National Park Service Map" Offers A Wealth Of Information For Map Fans

Over the years the National Park Service has developed quite an array of maps for use in park publications and exhibits, and you can access them on a link tucked away on the NPS website. If you're planning a park visit or just enjoy looking at maps, you'll find plenty of material at a link called "Find A National Park Service Map."

Photography Workshops, Hiking Sojourns Coming To Yosemite National Park

Fall is a great time to experience the national parks. The weather is cooling, the crowds are shrinking, and the wildlife is moving. You can take advantage of this season at Yosemite National Park by signing up for one of the custom trips being offered by YExplore.

Traversing The Range Of Light: 24 Days On The John Muir Trail

High among the pinnacles of Mt. Whitney’s sheer western face, we hiked upward with measured breath and watched from our shifting, precarious vantage as the sun’s first light peeled back the long gown of night, revealing the contours of so many miles we’d recently walked, cragged mountain faces and clear sky aglow in lakes like mirrors, far below.

Elite National Park Service Helicopter Unit Marks Forty Years Of Service

News of a dramatic rescue via helicopter in a national park often involves locations like Yosemite or Grand Teton National Parks, but there's also an elite National Park Service helicopter rescue team based in the East. This year marks 40 years of service by the United States Park Police (USPP) Aviation Unit, and the group has been involved in some unusual and high-profile incidents

Wawona Tunnel Repairs At Yosemite National Park Will Cause Traffic Delays

Work to clean and repair interior sections of the Wawona Tunnel at Yosemite National Park will lead to occasional traffic delays beginning Sunday and extending into December.

National Park Service Director Jarvis: Been Tough To Gain Funds For Work Preventing Wildfires

Federal land managers have been fighting an uphill battle to gain additional funds to reduce the threat of wildfires in the West, according to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis.

Video Offers A "Tanker's-Eye View" Of Yosemite National Park And The Rim Fire

Retardant drops from air tankers have become a standard weapon in the fight against large wildfires, such as the Rim Fire affecting a corner of Yosemite National Park. There's occasional debate about the pros and cons of that technique, but there's no doubting the skill and courage of the crews of those aircraft. Here's a video with a pilot's-eye view of Yosemite during operations over the Rim Fire.

Yosemite's Rim Fire, Yellowstone's Summer Of '88, And Climate Change

As the Rim Fire continues to advance across the northern reaches of Yosemite National Park, challenging firefighters and alarming onlookers, it's hard not to recall perhaps the worst fire season ever to strike a national park, that of the dry, hot, and smoky summer of 1988 in Yellowstone National Park.