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Creature Feature: Western Banded Gecko

The Western Banded Gecko, or Coleonyx variegatus, is no stranger to beating the heat. Their nocturnal lifestyle is ideal for the sizzling desert climate. You are more likely to encounter them on a night stroll under the stars than in the mid-day sun. Though many confuse the Western Banded Gecko with young Gila monsters, they are much smaller and lack venomous characteristics.
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Eastern National's Passport To Your National Parks Photo Contest Is Up And Running

Fancy yourself a good photographer? If you work for the Natinal Park Service, or are a Volunteer-In-Parks staffer, consider entering Eastern National's 2015 Passport To Your National Parks® Photo Contest. Ten winning national park photos will be featured on the 2015 Passport To Your National Parks® annual stamp series—nine by Passport geographic regions and one National Stamp.
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Yellowstone National Park Crews Continue Work To Erase Illegal Trail Into Bechler Region

As big as Yellowstone National Park is -- 63 miles north to south and 54 miles east to west -- perhaps it's not too surprising that someone not interested in driving to a trailhead in the park decided to make their own on the edge of the park. But by this fall, that trail should be erased as park crews finish the second of two years' work in removing signs of the illegal trail.
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"Paddling Protection Act" Raises Debate Over Wilderness Travel In Yellowstone National Park

Threading through the backcountry, and frontcountry, of Yellowstone National Park are creeks and streams fueled by springs and snowmelt, some only several feet across, some dozens of feet wide. More than 300 topple over waterfalls at least 15 feet high, while others meander placidly through the Lamar and Hayden valleys.
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Classic National Park Posters On Display In Washington Until Next Spring

Despite advances made into the 21st century, some of the most striking posters promoting the national parks are those produced shortly before World War II by the Works Progress Administration. The artistry that went into these silk-screened promotions remains as striking today as it was 75 years ago. And if you find yourself in Washington, D.C., in the coming months, you can understand why with a visit to the Interior Department to see a collection of the posters.
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Yellowstone National Park Officials Hope Bison Relocation Program Can Reduce Culling

In a bid to reduce the number of park bison that are sent to slaughter, Yellowstone National Park officials are exploring the process of a quarantine program that could be developed to provide brucellosis-free animals to tribes and other entities looking to build bison herds.
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Reader Participation Day: How Has Your National Park Experience Changed In Today's Wired World?

In this age of informational instant gratification, how has your national park experience changed? For Millennials, who grew up with smartphones, texting, and Facebook, not so much. For Baby Boomers, who learned to read with actual newspapers, books, and magazines in their hands, whose phones were attached to the wall by a cord, a great deal. Is that change for the good, or the bad?
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Research Finds Vegetation In National Parks Moving In Response To Changing Climate

It long has been expected that as the climate warms, vegetation would react by moving. Both north in latitude, and up in elevation. Now new research confirms that "because of the combination of climate change and habitat loss, up to one-quarter of the total area of the National Park System is vulnerable to vegetation shifting up slope and northward."
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Hiker Uses Bear Spray, Firearm Against Bear At Glacier National Park

The Mount Brown Lookout Trail at Glacier National Park is a tough, demanding path, climbing more than 4,200 feet from Lake McDonald Lodge in just about five miles. And, as is most of Glacier, it rambles through bear country, a fact one hiker discovered when a bear charged him and he responded first with a blast from his canister of bear spray, and then with a shot from his handgun that rangers believe hit the bear.
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Congressman Proposes Overhaul To Fee Programs On National Parks, Other Public Lands

Legislation introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives would, if enacted as drafted, require the National Park Service to determine "a nationally consistent entrance fee policy and corresponding rate structure" for the 401 units of the National Park System, a potentially sweeping requirement that seemingly could generate tens of millions of additional dollars for the parks.
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RVing In The Parks: Five Great Western Campgrounds In The National Parks

RVers who enjoy America's national parks know that most government campgrounds weren't designed to accommodate today's recreational vehicles. However, some exceptions exist, especially in the vast open lands west of the Mississippi. Here are the best national park campgrounds for RVs in California, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
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Red-Legged Frog Tadpoles Released In Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Things hopefully will be hopping in the near future in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California, where hundreds of California red-legged frog tadpoles have been released as part of the first-ever effort to expand the range of the threatened species in Southern California.
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Essential Summer Guide '14: Spanish Galleons, Elephant Seals, And Great Birding At Point Reyes National Seashore

It's the stuff of legends, of treasure seekers. Somewhere, not far from land, lies buried treasure in the seabed of Drakes Bay. Within the remains of the 16th century Spanish galleon San Agustin there could be priceless heirlooms, or merely shards of porcelain dishes that the ship was carrying from the Philippines to Mexico. What is known is that the wreck of the San Agustin in 1595 in waters now within Point Reyes National Seashore is the first recorded shipwreck on the West Coast.
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Parks And Local Economies—Observations From Glacier National Park

A recent article in the Traveler highlighted a report that describes the economic impact of NPS areas on "local communities, states and the nation." While some will quibble about the methodology used or the accuracy of the numbers, there's no question that parks are an important factor in the economy of local communities. I was reminded just how much that's the case during a recent visit to Glacier National Park.
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Trails I've Hiked: Grinnell Lake By Boat And Boot In Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is often described as a "hiker's paradise," and over 700 miles of trails offer plenty of choices for what the park describes as "adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude." Glacier also offers some fine shorter hikes that offer a taste of the backcountry with only moderate physical demands, and one of the most popular is the combination boat trip/hike to Grinnell Lake.
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Exploring The Parks: Oregon National Historic Trail In Wyoming

Plant yourself -- leaning into the wind, of course -- on the open prairie near South Pass City, Wyoming, and you can quickly envision the setting that faced Conestoga-riding emigrants more than a century ago in their exodus to the West Coast. Endless miles of sagebrush, the Wind River Range looming ever-present to the north, a boundless sky dotted here and there with distant rainstorms.
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National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide