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Death Valley National Park Facing Months Of Recovery From Largest Flood Event In Area's Recorded History

Oct 31st - 11:26am | E.S.

It would be helpful for this blog and/or the NPS on the Death Valley official site to post exact and accurate information about what roads are washed out, where, if local detours are not in place (from the damage you show, I'd guess driving around on a temporary road isn't happening).  I have been planning a trip there this winter (December) and it is not as though it's easy to turn around

Oct 30th - 20:10pm | A Nickey

How about volunteers?

Interior Department Opposes Visitor Fee Legislation As Drafted, Communities Want Cut Of Fee Revenues

Oct 31st - 10:22am | Kurt Repanshek

I do believe the original Recreation Fee Demonstration Program that took effect in 1997 changed the money flows, EC, from the Treasury to special accounts set up for each land-management agency.

Oct 31st - 09:53am | ecbuck

 I would also strongly suggest that the Park Service be required to publish an annual report showing what every dollar collected paid for.

Oct 31st - 09:07am | Clearly Candid

Partners and citizens living near parks should be concerned about the ultimate benefit in the park from each dollar of fee collected.  My vote would be to return a portion directly to Treasury.  I would also strongly suggest that the Park Service be required to publish an annual report showing what every dollar collected paid for.  This practice would surely tighten things up.

Oct 30th - 11:53am | SmokiesBackpacker

FLREA abuses are being documented by the committee.  One of the most telling sentiments at the previous hearing was when the head commented on her concerns about varying things to include backcountry fees in the NPS. And that makes me smile:)

Oct 30th - 09:19am | ecbuck

Lee - perhaps you can explain how filling an empty position in the NPS and giving that position expanded authority translates to  "We wanna tell the parks what we want 'em to do for us and how we want it done."  Seems to me it would strengthen the NPS's role not weaken it.  

Oct 30th - 09:06am | Lee Dalton

". . . the responsibilities expanded to include providing technical assistance to park superintendents and local communities in developing public/private partnerships to preserve and maintain historic, cultural, and natural resources that create new businesses to better tell the story of a community and provide exceptional travel experiences."

Heavy Rains, High Winds Expected To Pound Mount Rainier National Park, Evacuations Could Be Needed

Oct 30th - 20:14pm | Megaera

Here we go again.  We're supposed to get almost four inches of rain here in the lowlands over the weekend, too. It must be almost November [wry g].

Musings From Kalaloch In Olympic National Park

Oct 30th - 14:00pm | Lee Dalton

Uh Oh!  I just went back and checked my notes and found I had written Annette.  I thought I even took that off her nametag.  But I have a bad feeling that you know her better than I do. So if I messed up, I apologize, Danielle.  Regardless of whether you are Annette or Danielle, you're one terrific park ranger!

Oct 30th - 11:33am | Regnar

The Ranger that lead tge beach cleanup is named Danielle, not anette.

Update: Sylvatic Plague and Tularemia Afflict Prairie Dogs in Badlands National Park

Oct 30th - 10:46am | Lona Pierce

I just visited Badlands (October 2015) and a large dogtown is right by the main road and a designated stop for tourists. Didn't see any alerts for disease precautions, and people walk within feet of mounds along a little loop trail. I hope that means the prairie dogs at this spot are disease free!

Annual Elk Reduction Hunt At Grand Teton National Park Begins This Weekend

Oct 30th - 10:44am | tahoma

The term “elk reduction” is intended, by design, to be a mild-sounding euphemism for what, in some years, is a poorly managed, full-on slaughter of wapiti. The more one learns, the more it becomes clear that this spectacle is an anachronism unbefitting of a crown jewel U.S. national park.

Trails I've Hiked: Water Canyon To Spanish Bottom Via The Doll House In Canyonlands National Park

Oct 30th - 10:00am | bp


Bluffs Lodge Along The Blue Ridge Parkway Shuttered For 2011

Oct 29th - 12:45pm | Bill

The closing of Bluffs Lodge was an important part of the Obama administration's huge federal program to create jobs and improve infrasture. The rock walls and highway surface including shoulders was supposedly repaired. Also most of the bridges and tunnels needed repair. There were a number of problems with how all this was done.

Huge Crowds Prompt Return To Daily Shuttles At Zion National Park

Oct 29th - 09:51am | Bill

As stated in the article and other responses, they shut down at the normal time.  These shuttle services are contracted out, they are not free to the park, and are likely fairly expensive.  The balance of cost vs. need comes into play and weather does too.  You get a nice weekend forecast and boom, you get a huge inflow of people.

Oct 28th - 12:54pm | Lee Dalton

Anon, you're largely correct.  But based just on my personal observations these last several months, there's still a good mix of American visitors of all ages.  I was surprised when in YELL and GRTE earlier how many families with children were camping and traveling.  I was wondering why all those kids were not in school. 

Oct 28th - 11:50am | ecbuck

And gas is under $2.50 a gallon.  Doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict that visitation would be higher.  

Oct 28th - 11:39am | ES

It would be useful for the Parks to have some basic demographic information on the visitors at this time of year: my own sense, and common sense, prompts me to think that the Baby Boom retirees are swelling the numbers of shoulder-season visitors, as they have resources and in 2015 the first part of the big wave of the 50's is hitting age 65.

Oct 28th - 11:18am | Lee Dalton

They were not shut down early.  It was the date that has been used for several years.  Normally, use in Zion drops off very sharply in mid-October.  This has been a very unusual year in many of our parks.  Zion was absolutely jammed when I was there both on New Years and the middle of May.  Yellowstone and Grand Teton were crawling with visitors at the first of this mon

Oct 28th - 09:49am | ecbuck

I have to wonder about the thought process that led to the decision to shut down the shuttles early.  You are running 10-15% ahead of last year's visitation.  Wouldn't it make more sense to extend the shuttle schedule rather than shortenit?

Oct 28th - 09:19am | Lee Dalton

Two observations:

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Visitors Urged To Watch Out For Nēnē On The Move

Oct 29th - 02:29am | Rick B.

They're cute, they're protected, and they are really really dumb. I hope folks will be specially careful at this time.

Waiting On Winter At Mount Rainier National Park

Oct 28th - 17:21pm | Kathy oriole

Beautiful pic, sad to see the mountain so naked

Major Concessions Contract Up For Bid At Denali National Park And Preserve

Oct 28th - 17:00pm | Dallin

Does anyone know if the NPS has selected a new concessionaire for Denali? 

Flooding Runs Counter To Death Valley's Image, Remakes National Park Landscape

Oct 28th - 10:21am | Elizabeth Dale

Holy Mackerel!

Oct 28th - 08:34am | Dan Smith

A natural event that will shape the park and make for more interest this next year. As for the pupfish, if this does anything - it is naturally occuring and should be allowed to happen.

Oct 27th - 21:35pm | Rick B.

Mike Reynolds was the superintendent for National Park of American Samoa when it was hit by the 2009 tsunami. and was a good steady hand through the recovery process. I would expect similar work here.

Oct 27th - 20:03pm | Kurt Repanshek

It's a quirk of the system. We're trying to cure it.

Oct 27th - 19:27pm | Brenda Priddy

Why would a "journalist" post as Anonymous? (See above.) As a journalist myself, that's very odd.

Oct 27th - 15:08pm | Preston Chiaro

I was lucky enough to visit Scottys Castle last Saturday, Oct 24 (escorted by Park Service employees as part of a media tour; the site is closed to the general public). The scale of damage is hard to visualize from photos or videos.

House Committee Poised To Rewrite National Park Fee Authority

Oct 28th - 06:48am | Clearly Candid

The NPS uses fee money for many things, and I believe there needs to be more accountability.  Fee managers sometimes act as if they are big bankers and forget they are trusted public servants.  I say send it to Treasury.

Oct 27th - 18:08pm | SmokiesBackpacker

..the reality of the integrity of park officials?"    Like Jarvis brother who lobbies the NPS or the Supt who cut down trees for the football team or the Super who shut down the Indian trader and ruined a man's life?  Yeah, tell me about integrity in the NPS, it doesn't exist at that level.

Oct 27th - 17:26pm | Lee Dalton

No, I don't think it's at all unfair to think that taxes are not being used wisely.  (I didn't mean the Park Service is using them unwisely.)  When Congress insists upon production of a new fighter aircraft that the Pentagon had to be strongarmed into deploying, and that still doesn't work well at all with new problems cropping up nearly every day -- that's what I mean.

Oct 27th - 16:04pm | ecbuck

because taxes are not being used wisely I would agree with that but I suspect we would have different views on what using them wisely would entail.  Believe it or not, lke you I would allocate more to the parks. Our difference is who we would take it away from.  

Oct 27th - 15:55pm | Shannon Pound

It's unfair to say taxes are not being used wisely....there simply isn't enough in the park service budget to provide the level of services park visitors demand.  The parks are being loved to death.  Fees create parks that only the rich can afford to visit.  

Oct 27th - 13:46pm | d-2

SmokiesBackpacker's level of cynicism once again distorts the reality of the integrity of park officials.  Only yesterday i received a letter from the park service in response to public comments on a national park in Hawaii, at the same time news articles went out where the park service backed away from proposed boundary changes and park management changes BECAUSE of public input.  Pe

Shuttle Schedule Moving Into Winter Hours At Zion National Park

Oct 27th - 23:37pm | Eric S.

The past 2 days the parking lots were full in the morning. People trying to park all over. Rangers posted at the lots essentially turning people away. Some tried parking along the road wherever they could. A real mess. Alot of idling cars...."wonderful" for increased exhaust levels.

Oct 27th - 16:00pm | Shannon Pound

Not good!  Yesterday, the first day without the shuttle they closed access to Zion Canyon at 9:30 am because the parking lots were all full.  Unless you were fit enough to walk or bike in you were turned away.  The shuttles are still needed.

Trails I've Hiked: Phelps Lake At Grand Teton National Park

Oct 27th - 19:51pm | lynnccrn

We volunteered for several years with USF&WS.  This is one of my favorite hikes.  Good place to see a moose  or bear.

September Brings Record Visitation To Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Oct 27th - 19:46pm | Gary Wilson

You know what's funny about "Backpacker" is that he claims he's part of some big "watchdog group", but it's actually more like that yippy little toy lapdog that barks a lot, really just a neighborhood nuisance, and if you left it outside for longer than an hour unattended it would be snatched up by a blind old owl.

Oct 27th - 18:41pm | Kurt Repanshek

Ok, friends, let's not get carried away. Please move on to more serious discourse. For instance, you see the Death Valley story today? There's a massive, expensive, cleanup coming to that park.

Oct 27th - 18:20pm | Rick B.

Backpacker, you've made such a classically sour and cynical personality so omnipresent in everything you post - with a distinct lack of actual substance - that, frankly, it is difficult to avoid ad hominem 'attack the personality' comments.  You might honestly do your cause more benefit if you avoided posting anything at all.  

Oct 27th - 18:04pm | SmokiesBackpacker

Spoken again, like a true NPS employee.  Anytime you guys are called on your bs, your start the attack machine on personalities.  Guess it beats actually having to refute date, doesn't it Gary?

Oct 27th - 15:48pm | Gary Wilson

Wow, another year, another record fall crowd in the Smokies, and another year of whining and crying foul from the resident whiner.  Yeah, I got to admit, I don't like driving the traffic this time of year either... but hiking into those forests will land one awe inspiring solitude.  Instead of whining about it, you should learn to enjoy it.  Life is passing you by quickly.

Bull Elk Illegally Killed During Grand Teton National Park's Elk Reduction Hunt

Oct 27th - 18:52pm | chad

Prosecute this man to the fullest extent of the law. Stupidity at this level should actually cause physical pain.

Stephen Mather's Ghost: Revisiting The Consensus For National Parks

Oct 27th - 17:22pm | Anonymous

It is very important to remember that Mather was essential after the National Park Service was created in defining what the NPS was actually supposed to do. He helped to set precedence that is still in effect today and created some of the most important icons of the NPS like a dedicated ranger service.

National Park Service Moves To Restrict Certain Sport Hunting Practices In National Preserves In Alaska

Oct 27th - 15:47pm | Lee Dalton

Thanks, d-2 for a fine set of comments.  While I strongly disagree with 1, you're spot on with 2 and 3.

Oct 27th - 13:50pm | d-2

Donations to the National Park Traveler is a terrific thing, and i hope everyone concerned with parks regardless of perspective does donate.  Reminds me i need to donate before the end of the year.  

Oct 27th - 13:44pm | Kurt Repanshek

d-2, for an operation with one full-time staffer, I'd argue that the Traveler does a pretty good job of surveying the landscape of the National Park System and National Park Service. We are the only website that generates daily content on the parks, and only the parks.

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