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Running With The Bighorn Sheep In Yosemite National Park

Dec 19th - 00:28am | Rick B.

That's a lot of hard work of many people, multiple agencies, and I think a rebound up to 600 from a low of 100 is remarkable.

Record Visitation Strained Some National Parks This Year, Creating Concern Over What 2016 Might Bring

Dec 18th - 18:54pm | Steve Nelson

Lots of people are making good points.  I would add that these parks are terrorism-free zones, at least so far. Some people apparently do think like that.   There will come a day when people will need tickets to get into the big parks.  I don't think we will ever see light rail inside a national park.

Dec 17th - 21:34pm | DBonnell

Would have to agree with the gas prices freeing up income and visitors taking advantage of it. For some it might be years if they ever see the parks again and for some that's the only time they will see them.

Dec 17th - 17:23pm | Cynthia

Sounds like your ad promos to visit National Parks has worked.  Congrats!  Now pull back and use some of that ad money to support the parks.  We live an hour from Yellowstone and NEVER go in the summer; people are crazy!  They walk right up to buffalo and then wonder why they woke up in the hospital.

Dec 17th - 11:52am | Michael Kellett

This is a case of a supply and demand imbalance. We have had an essentially fixed supply of national parks for many years. Meanwhile, we have had growing visitor demand. No wonder we have crowding problems at many well-known parks.

Dec 17th - 10:23am | Alfred Runte

Some good posts here. Yes, it is a seasonal thing, but the so-called shoulder seasons are getting longer and longer, and also need to be addressed. Also, last week in Paris, the world delegates stood up and cheered. We've ageed to solve global warming! Now, where did I park my jet?

Dec 16th - 21:05pm | Lee Dalton

I actually managed to get a reservation for a campsite in Arches.  May 18 was the first available when I called two days ago.  I have a few doubts about going, though.  Will I be trampled by other visitors?

Dec 16th - 20:49pm | Jeremy

This year I went to three new national parks, revisited several, and saw about a dozen other NPS sites.  I've seen 46/59 national parks and about 100 of the 400+ overall.  I didn't have a problem with crowds at any of them.  I pay attention to weather, visitation statistics, etc. and work to avoid the crowds.

Dec 16th - 20:14pm | Megaera

I find it absolutely fascinating (in a watching-a-car-wreck sort of way) that the only way the NPS seems to think when it comes to overuse of our parks is that they need more funding.  Yes, the park service needs more funding.  But not to facilitate too many people in the parks. 

Dec 16th - 19:09pm | Timothy C. Mayo

When an individual with NO wildlife and/or eco system experience is politically appointed as superintendent of Grand Teton National Park it makes sense that he would make reference to wolf jams which do not occur. 

Dec 16th - 16:40pm | Paul Horsted

Great story. From my visits to about 20 of the biggest National Parks in the past year, and from the anecdotes in the story, it seems we are at or near carrying capacity already in many places.

Dec 16th - 15:35pm | Rick B.


Dec 16th - 15:22pm | Patrick Cone

Maybe a few horses and buggies.....

Dec 16th - 14:31pm | Alfred Runte

When gas prices return to "normal" (and they will), the parks will get another breather. Meanwhiile, we could always rebuild our railroads. . . Okay, there I go dreaming again. But how else will the problem ever be resolved? A reservation system remains highly unpopular, as do higher fees.

Dec 16th - 12:14pm | SmokiesBackpacker

On December 3 of this month in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Daughtery, when responding to questions about the NPS not following FLREA in a pending case, said " It is obvious the public doesn't agree with the NPS, but that doesn't matter.The public doesn't get a vote"   And man, was she ever right.

Dec 16th - 10:04am | Kurt Repanshek

Well, Lee, you could always email the link. I know in the past reporters from the NY Times and Outside Online monitored the well as a number of other publications.

Dec 16th - 09:39am | Lee Dalton

This seems to underscore comments I've been making the last few days that the NPS simply has to find a way to begin educating the public about challenges faced by parks as part of their interpretive activities.  

Favorite National Park for wildlife? Tips for viewing?

Dec 18th - 17:17pm | Cole Donelson

Dang! The pictures showed up when I pasted them in, but apparently not when it got published. If you want to see them you can visit: ;)

Omnibus Budget Bill Poised To Bring Early Holiday Cheer To National Park Service

Dec 17th - 10:01am | Joe Llewellyn

Alleutia!!  Desperately needed.  Light at the end of a long dark tunnel, and it's not an approaching light!!  Happy Centennial

Dec 17th - 09:59am | JC

How much will be allocated for the Law Enforcement Division?

Sail Through Glacier Bay National Park

Dec 17th - 03:44am | Rick B.

What an incredible way to see such a magnificent park.

National Park Service Continues To Sag In "Best Places To Work" In Federal Government

Dec 16th - 20:54pm | Lee Dalton

Thank you for the explanations, Tomp.  Now it all comes back.

Dec 16th - 14:09pm | tomp2

Lee-- SES is "Senior Executive Service"; the top level of positions below presidential appointees, and above the top of the GS scale (GS-15).  They're across the executive branch, not limited to NPS or DOI.

Dec 16th - 12:58pm | tomp2

As an NPS scientist, I find Green Thumb's comments at the top surprising and depressing.

Dec 16th - 11:34am | Ray Bane

Please forgive me for the "anonymous" tag on the response to d-2.  I inadvertantly sent the message before typing in my name.  Again, I appreciate the feedback from d-2.  These issues need and deserve the thoughts and opinions of concerned supporters of the parks.

Dec 16th - 01:12am | Anonymous

d-2, thank you for the response to my earlier posts.  You obviously have intense feelings about these issues plus personal experience in caring for the parks, and I respect your point of view.  Some of what you write I agree with.  I had the pleasure and privilege of working with NPS personnel who personified the highest ideals of the Service.

Dec 15th - 23:09pm | NPSurvivor2

Ideal: The Organic Act   Reality: Commercial interests/Congress/DOI Examples: Susquehanna-Roseland 500kV transmission "upgrade", winner PPL/PSEG; Peninsula Power  upgrade, probable winner Dominion Power. Lesson: NPS will be led by the nose by commercial interests that have power in Congress and Department.

Dec 15th - 19:44pm | Lee Dalton

Please forgive my ignorance, but a whole passel of things have changed since I left the Service.  What do SES and EVS and some other abbreviations mean?  How about a quick explanation when things like that are first introduced?

Dec 15th - 14:13pm | Green Thumb

Birch, I believe it is absolutely reasonable to expect SES executives to take responsibilities for issues within the NPS.  GS-1, 5, 6, 9, 12 level employees aren't afforded the same level of authority or power inherent in their positions.  It isn't possible to create a culture of accountability from the ground up.  In some cases, they may be the lowest level of management who can

Dec 15th - 14:05pm | d-2

Ray Bane -- I am not sure you are answering the questions or points made by Birch or by Lee Dalton or the meaning of the survey by quoting the text of the Vail Agenda.  Could you go further?

Dec 14th - 22:53pm | Ray Bane


Dec 14th - 11:13am | Lee Dalton

Thank you, Ray.  That's sobering.

Dec 14th - 10:12am | Birch

Look at the Green Book.  For FY 2016 there is 1 executive series and 24 SES.  By contrast there are 55 GS-1's.  There are more GS-4s & GS-3s FTEs,  than GS-15, 14, and 13s.  I don't think you can legitimately blame SES staff for the issues within the NPS.  The issue is that there is insufficient funding to manage the parks.  There is insufficient staf

Dec 13th - 20:30pm | Ray Bane

Lee, good question.  Ultimately it comes from within - not from without - the National Park Service.

One Marina Project On Hold At Coral Bay, Another One Proposed

Dec 16th - 09:32am | Alex D

I  have a home in Fish Bay. Though I understand local concerns, and share many of them. The area does need some positive development, and a Marina makes lots of sense. It will bring tourism to the island, money to local business, and increase property values that have declined. Employment on the island could use a shot in the arm. 

Dec 15th - 12:46pm | Ken Katz

For many or more of the same reasons I believe the Coral Bay entire Ecosystem will b e adversely affected.  The salt grasses, mangroves, nurseries, community of people will all be affected and damaged by any large project that will change the National Park in any way.

Op-Ed | The Antiquities Act: Don't Break What Works For The National Park System

Dec 15th - 22:10pm | Rick B.

I have to say that I'm enjoying the maturity and experienced insight of some of the recent discussions here.

Dec 15th - 19:57pm | Lee Dalton

I agree with much of your comment, d-2.  But I certainly wasn't suggesting didactic lectures by interpreters.  Instead, what I think we somehow need to do is to find a narrative of some kind that be included as part of at least some interpretive activities.  Something that will introduce visitors to the concepts of the Organic Act, Antiquities Act, and the challenges involved in

Dec 15th - 13:07pm | d-2

What a delight to concede to ecbuck in this case ! He didn't intend to put the Secretary of the Interior (or Alexander Hamilton) in jail for articulating the Program of the President ! Deepest apologies to ecbuck.

Dec 14th - 22:42pm | Lee Dalton

Thank you, d-2 for helping explain what I have been trying with limited success to say.  I know what I want to say, but am having trouble finding ways to fully articulate the idea.  Gotta think about it some more.  

Dec 14th - 18:00pm | ecbuck

 under the ignoble system proposed by ecbuck.

Dec 14th - 17:46pm | d-2

ecbuck's yearning is only to play gotcha, without regard to merit or appropriate occasion. It is hopeless to try to engage in reasoned debate of intellectual or policy difference, when the only point is to play malign games.

Dec 14th - 17:12pm | ecbuck

Far as I know, she never was charged or arrested because in fact she didn't break any law.  That was the point.  

Dec 14th - 12:37pm | Rick B.

What charges were cited when Jewel was arrested for breaking which law?

Dec 14th - 09:22am | Lee Dalton

Marc, I know that.  But it is entirely possible to introduce the Act and the delicate balancing act it requires without becoming political.  (Although some people might feel that ANYTHING said would be political.)  The tactic used in a couple of very memorable patio talks at Colorado NM a few years ago was to simply read the Act, point out the contradiction it contains and then a

Dec 14th - 08:39am | ecbuck

So is Jewel breaking the law when she talks climate change or Jarvis when he opposed Yellowstone paddling?  There is so much other propaganda that comes out of the federal agencies I can't believe discussing the Organic Act would be illegal.  Campaigning for a candidate or other ballot item on "company" time yes.  Discussing an issue, no.  

Dec 14th - 07:52am | Marc B.

As a federal agency, the NPS and its rangers are banned from discussing political issues of their organic act with the public. So it should not surprise you, that you haven't seen any posters, leaflets or other material on the issue.

Dec 13th - 21:02pm | Lee Dalton

From today's Deseret News, the conservative Utah paper:

"If You Enter the River, You Will Die."

Dec 14th - 19:05pm | daniel stachel

there is no limit to the amount of money to be spent on saving people from their own stupidity.  your check is in the mail.

Camping In The Parks: Big Creek Campground At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Dec 13th - 18:27pm | Andy; Campgroun...

First come first serve. Difficult on weekends and Holidays. Get there early when people are leaving. Campers are mostly courteous and helpful.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

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