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Joyriders Leave Tracks Across Death Valley National Park Treasures

Jan 18th - 20:48pm | rmackie

Dittos justinh.

Jan 18th - 11:49am | justinh

Thanks to the students from Longwood U!  (Camped out once at the racetrack; I really hope the damage can be undone.  It's a fantastic place.)

UPDATED: Price Of Senior Pass Going To $80; Buy It Now For $10

Jan 18th - 20:31pm | Vickie

where can we purchase the $10.00 pass now for seniors?

GAO: National Park Service Needs To Evaluate Its Approach To Tackling Deferred Maintenance

Jan 18th - 17:16pm | Lee Dalton

Desertrat, nice idea, but the local chambers of commerce would go bugnuts.  They'd be sure they might miss four or five customers because of it.  (With the probable exception of the Springdale chamber.  They are smart enough to realize that too many visitors to Zion are destroying the park, and they need the park to attract future visitors and their dollars..)

Jan 18th - 11:34am | Desertrat

This woukd be a small drop in the bucket, but it would at least be a 'drop". How about curtailing all of the "Free" days whenever there is some sort of holiday/event? IMO, the parks don't need to bring in the visitors with this program, visitation is already at all time highs. It just seems foolish to turn away any fees/cash in todays scheme of things.

Jan 18th - 01:54am | tomp2


Jan 16th - 08:18am | Harryb3570

I do not claim to understand all of this article but my impression is that the NPS is in serious need to comptent management. 

Jan 15th - 17:29pm | SmokiesBackpacker

The so called maintenance  backlog seems to be a very fluctuating figure if you quote NPS stats.  Yet we watch the NPS pull up car stop blocks and repave roads that in no way need repaving and it causes you to wonder.  Congressman John Duncan said that he has seen the maintenance backlog grow without justification.

Jan 15th - 17:01pm | Lee Dalton

No, Al, I fully agree that it was a terrible tragedy when we did away with railroads -- and other forms of mass transit, too.  It would be great if we could turn the clock back, but we can't.  I wish we could.  Instead, I think we need to look forward for ways to cope with what we have now and try to correct as much of the mess as we can.

Jan 15th - 14:56pm | Alfred Runte

Lee, you confuse me. One minute you're protesting that we need to "do something" about climate change, and the next minute denying my proposed solution "as a past that certainly will never be recovered." Europe recovered it, in fact, never lost it. Meanwhile, speaking of "a past that certainly will never be recovered," isn't that why we have national parks?

Jan 15th - 12:53pm | ecbuck

Another take on GW's efforts.  You may be seling him a little short, Kurt.  But I agree, it is ultimately Congress that makes the call.  

Jan 15th - 11:43am | Lee Dalton

Here is an alarming -- and, unfortunately, probably a realistic look at the future of public lands in general.  All who value our parks and other wild places need to be girding up for battle. This is from this morning's Deseret News -- Utah's conservative paper:

Jan 15th - 11:38am | Kurt Repanshek

Wild, you raise a good point...but George W. Bush specifically said he would wipe out the backlog. I don't recall Obama saying he would (though the 2009 Recovery Act he pushed through provided nearly a billion for park projects).

Jan 15th - 11:30am | Lee Dalton

A striking contrast in Traveler articles this morning. One lamenting a past that certainly will never be recovered and another stating the facts and challenges that face us now. One contains fantasies about our new administration and the other is an outline of how Congress could, if it would, alleviate an awful situation.  

Jan 15th - 11:17am | wild places

I'd like to see what the projected impact of the huge increase in admittance fees has on this backlog. I also find it curious that Kurt mentions Bushes failure to fix the backlog yet no mention of the Obama administrations failure. I will also chime in again how irresponsible and just plain stupid I think it is to continue to add units without adding the funding to support them.

Some Slight Changes If You're Planning To Boat At Grand Teton And Yellowstone National Parks

Jan 18th - 15:57pm | JudyG

We would like to brink kayaks to Jackson lake this summer. My question is:  Are we required to take the kayaks off the top of the truck at the inspection station?  We pull a trailer for camping and cannot take the kayaks off the truck until the camper is unhitched, which would make it difficult if we had to do this as we are entering the park.

Pruning the Parks: Mackinac National Park (1875-1895)

Jan 18th - 09:20am | ecbuck

Mackinac Island State Park is operated as a public preserve and is open year round.  Its beautiful scenery, historic structures, and slow-paced character (private autos are banned) make it popular with visitors from all over America.  

Jan 17th - 23:35pm | T K

If you look at the official Government National Park Service brochures between 1916 (When the National Park Service was created) and 1924 you will see the Hot Springs National Park was the first US National Park created in 1832.

President Obama Calls For Promoting Diversity And Inclusion In National Parks, Forests, And Other Public Landscapes

Jan 17th - 21:48pm | Rick B.

"How refreshing would it be to see a mandate that the best person for the job be hired,,,"   Wouldn't it be refreshing if that had worked all this time?

Jan 17th - 20:21pm | wild places

How refreshing would it be to see a mandate that the best person for the job be hired and that we stop trying to make sure everyone participates in everything. Except volleyball, we definitely need more short people playing volleyball.......

On Jobs And The Environment: An Inaugural Memo To Donald Trump — And Us

Jan 17th - 20:53pm | rmackie

Alfred I think you make a good point about rail and also about writing the article. As I have posted before on this issue, for what it was worth, no need to go over it again. Whatever is done, it will be a stop gap, if I have read you correctly, until we get a handle on population and the sprawl and infrastructure needed to handle it.

Jan 17th - 17:24pm | Rick B.

You:   Those making history hardly need to read it, do they?" Santayana, and later Churchill: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."   

Jan 17th - 17:09pm | Alfred Runte

Some people are making history, some people are writing history. Those making history hardly need to read it, do they? Actually, Theodore Roosevelt wrote 18 million words of American history, and added his memoirs, so I have high hopes for any American president. In the end, they all try to tell us what they did--and why--in writing.

Jan 17th - 16:17pm | Rick B.

Perhaps, Eric, it would help if you would publish visual evidence that he reads, rather than what he or others say he reads. You know - the sort of evidence you like to demand from others.

Jan 17th - 14:59pm | ecbuck

It's a well known fact that Donald does not read,  Well known to whom?  Certainly not anyone that knows how to read.  

Jan 17th - 13:28pm | William Baehr

It's a well known fact that Donald does not read, so why write such a silly article to him?

Jan 16th - 17:50pm | ecbuck

You do have a point, at the federal level some 25% of the Highway fund is diverted to non-highway projects.  In Colorado, only about 8% of the funding for state raods and interstate highways comes from the general fund the rest is auto/truck related taxes and fees. And we receive less back from the feds than we pay to them.

Jan 16th - 17:12pm | Alfred Runte

EC, if only this were true: "the reality that the highways are primarily funded by those that use them through federal and local gas taxes, tolls and registration and licensing fees, a considerable amount of which gets diverted to mass transportation." 

Jan 16th - 16:14pm | ecbuck

Alfred, you ignore the reality that the highways are primarily funded by those that use them through federal and local gas taxes, tolls and registration and licensing fees, a considerable amount of which gets diverted to mass transportation. 

Jan 16th - 15:43pm | Alfred Runte

Siglin, I just noticed your excellent comment. I've taken the train to Alpine, Texas, when I first hiked Big Bend National Park. A friend still lives there, retired from Sul Ross State. You're right. We need to restore the rest of the infrastructure, and yes, insist that Amtrak trains have priority again over freights.. Returning to Los Angeles, my train was eight hours late!

Jan 16th - 15:21pm | Alfred Runte

No, EC, that's just not the history--or the economics. Take Uber, for example. What are the drivers here in Seattle complaining about? They're only averaging $3 an hour shuttling people back and forth in town. They want to go to the airport, just like everyone else, only they don't want to pay for the privilege, i.e, pay the airport tax cabbies pay.  

Jan 16th - 12:21pm | ecbuck

You mean to say that the farther a train goes and the more people it carries, the more losses it sustains?

Jan 16th - 12:17pm | Siglin1

I rode the trains in Germany in the 50's and have since ridden them in Switzerland and I think many of us would love to ride trains. Here in Alpine, Texas we have Amtrak and it would be great to ride to the airport in El Paso or on to Tucson where my brother lives. But Amtrak is often delayed because frieght trains take precedence.

Jan 16th - 10:53am | Alfred Runte

EC, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL haa never been friendly toward Amtrak, nor THE NEW YORK TIMES, for that matter, at least not since Tom Wicker retired. At THE NEW YORKER, Rogers Whitaker kept the torch alive, but he is long since dead. Most writers in the press now haven't a clue, and believe what Amtrak tells them about passenger rail.

Jan 16th - 08:23am | Harryb3570

A wonderful and thoughtful article Al. I really hope that someone on the Trump transition teach reads your article. There is much knowledge and common sense here that is sorely needed by the nation and the national park service.

Jan 15th - 19:12pm | ecbuck

  Indeed, rebuiding interstate/intercity passenger rail as speedy natural gateways to our national parks would be good for the environment and the economy.

Jan 15th - 15:50pm | Richard Thomas

Dr. Runte evidences his New York roots and perhaps some bias for past presidential giants from his native Empire State. He hopes that Donald Trump will be the next great president who will follow the Roosevelts and rebuild our antiquated rail system. He is right rail travel spawned creation of our National Parks system.

Jan 15th - 11:18am | Rick B.

And, I'm afraid, about Trump having read Traveler? If that were so then several folks, to include me, would already have been denounced on Twitter as "sad and overerated".

Stories From 2016 That Merit A Second Look

Jan 17th - 16:44pm | Alfred Runte

Rick, you do know what it means to say something rhetorically. But yes, since a variation of that risks grandiloquence, I will try to remain dull and boring from now on.

Jan 17th - 12:05pm | Rick B.

Absolutely, Al, what constructive thoughts. Zinke, as a represeentative of an administration that is known for seeking the opinions of people outside their bubble, will take note of the fact that all of Europe listened to Al Runte and succeeded, while all of America did not listen to Al Runte, and hence failed.   Sorry, but you were just getting a bit too grandiose here.

Jan 17th - 11:20am | Alfred Runte

First, a spoiler alert. Ryan Zinke is allegedly about to announce at his confirmation hearings that he wants to address the NPS $12 billion backlog. I won't say I told you so, but give Mr. Trump a chance.

Jan 17th - 10:28am | Siglin1

Perhap I hould have been more specific and said the Trump administration is ignoring the problem.

Jan 17th - 09:23am | ecbuck

In China they are trying to with limited success while our government is ignoring the problem. What in the world are you talking about?  Our environmental protections are light years ahead of the Chinese.

Jan 17th - 09:00am | Siglin1

I just finished reading what the Trump administration nominees think about global warming and air and water pollution. It reminds me of the comments on this website regarding global warming and humanities part in it. In reality it is not worth the argument because regardless of the cause the governemts of the world are powerless to do do anything about it.

Jan 16th - 20:50pm | ecbuck

Anon - please provide us with the survey of all the scientists working in the area of global climate change and the evidence the overwhelming majority believe humans are the primary cause of climate change.  

Jan 16th - 19:40pm | Anonymous


NPS Developing Preservation Plan For Big Spring Historic District At Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Jan 17th - 13:26pm | drew hanson

Big Spring is amazing and deserves all the protection we can give it.

Senate Passes National Park Service Centennial Act Before Adjourning

Jan 16th - 10:43am | Donna Scott

Why is it that it is always the seniors who pay for new programs or increases that our government wants to do. Remember Obama Care and the millions of dollars the government literally stole from the Social Security pot to pay for the future  participants in Medicade. Why always the seniors who are signaled out first. Enough!!!

House Members Pushing To Permanently Delist Gray Wolves From Endangered Species List

Jan 15th - 23:34pm | Lisa Scharin

Soo tired of the war on wolves! TO make this statement about permanently removing them just shows you how ignorant and hateful they are of nature and the importance of predators and the balance of nature and science-I am sure she also sides with Trump that climate change is a hoax-perhaps the world is FLAT too!!!!

Jan 15th - 09:47am | Linda anderson

Save our wildlife.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

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