Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Video Feature: Take A Civil War Trust History Hike

One of the biggest preservation stories of 2012 was the Civil War Trust’s purchase of 235 acres of the Gaines' Mill battlefield in Richmond, Virginia. The Trust builds such achievements on inspiring history hikes where experts introduce potential donors to unprotected “hallowed ground.” This video follows one of those hikes.

What Were The Top National Park Stories Of 2012?

Ranking anything is highly subjective. Nevertheless, the following stories from the national parks rose above most others in 2012. They range from the tragedy of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger gunned down in the line of duty on New Year's Day to the ongoing struggle over the future of an oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore.

Discriminating Explorer: Richmond, Virginia—An Epicenter Of Civil War Sesquicentennial Travel

Surrounded by battlefield parks, Richmond’s history transcends any single Civil War anniversary you might try to coincide with. Best plan—get to Richmond when the getting’s good and there’s more than enough to see and do to turn a “national park vacation” into a true historical travel experience.

A Year In The Parks: From Arches National Park To Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Living in the Rocky Mountains is a great asset when it comes to visiting national parks, for there are so many in just about any direction you head. The past year took me north and south through the region to a diverse collection parks, and I also ventured to Virginia to explore the National Park System.

Guest Column: Of Wolves And Science

This fall has been a tough one for those who love the wolves of Yellowstone National Park, as more than a few of the predators have been killed outside the park by hunters. Wolf hunting and trapping also is an issue in the Midwest, and the controversy around that issue prompted writer Greg Breining to take a close look at how wolves and science intertwine. It's not always as neat as you might think

Photography In The National Parks: Capturing The Moods Of Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier is known for its subalpine meadows filled with bright, colorful wildflowers in late July to mid-September, depending on the year, but photographing the mountain in its many moods requires spending time on it throughout the year.

National Park Lodging: Who's Taking Care Of These Buildings? Part II

While many national park lodges are on the National Register of Historic Places, not all lodges reflect the preservation and well-maintained appearance you might expect for such properties. In this, the second of our two-part series, the Traveler looks at why some properties are not as well-maintained as you might expect.

National Park Lodging: Who's Taking Care Of These Buildings? Part I

While many national park lodges are on the National Register of Historic Places, not all lodges reflect the preservation and well-maintained appearance you might expect for such properties. In a two-part series, the Traveler looks at the highs and lows of upkeep in the National Park System.
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Traveler's View: Don't Bestow "Rock Star" Status On Yellowstone's Wolves

Why is one wolf a "rock star," and another simply a wolf?

Budget Cuts Forced On National Park Service By Failure To Avert Fiscal Cliff Could Be Crippling

Don't start planning your 2013 national park vacation just yet, for poised like the sword of Damocles over the National Park Service is the looming "fiscal cliff" that threatens to impact not only the agency but anyone considering a trip into the national parks next year.

The Kids Are Alright: Discovering National Parks Through Service

America’s kids are suffering from “nature deficit disorder” and that includes national parks. As the National Park Service closes its first century, park proponents across the country are trying to get young people engaged in parks and their preservation. It’s a big challenge, but not all of the news is bad. One university town in North Carolina is showing how proximity to national parks invites newbies into involvement.

Lost In Bryce Canyon National Park: Wrong Turn Transforms Day Hike Into 30-Hour Odyssey

Sue Mitchell planned on a day hike in the beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park to let go of her mother, but a wrong turn led her through a 30-hour odyssey.

A View From The Overlook: Conspiracies And The Parks

Interested in a good conspiracy theory? There are plenty in the National Park System.

Climbing To The Top Of A 247-Foot Sequoia Tree Just Part Of The Job For David Quammen

For a few wonderful minutes, David Quammen was perched amid the snow-clad branches of "the President," a soaring, sturdy sequoia that is acknowledged as the second-largest tree in the world.

Elk Management Proposals Near Yellowstone National Park Include Reducing Numbers of Elk ... and Wolves

Few recent national park wildlife management issues have been more contentious than those involving bison and brucellosis concerns by ranchers near Yellowstone National Park. Now those same concerns have prompted new proposals by Montana officials for managing elk populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area, with options including reducing numbers of both elk and wolves.

National Park Service Urged To Follow The "Precautionary Principle" In Overseeing Cultural, Ecological Systems In The Parks

Can the National Park Service more fully embrace the "precautionary principle," the concept that it err on the side of "science-informed prudence and restraint," as suggested by Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks?

Photography In The National Parks: Reading The Book Of Nature

National parks are a great place to experience wildlife in their natural element, and to photograph them. But at times the plight of nature can generate pangs of helplessness, as nature photographer Deby Dixon realized in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Guest Column: Science, Open Space, And The Future Of Our National Parks

While a report to the National Park Service on how to overhaul its approach to science in the national park is laudable, the authors of Revisiting Leopold failed to address a large issue that goes to the health of the parks -- "an abiding respect for open space."

It's "Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site," Not "Beautiful Collection Of Late-Victorian Furniture National Historic Site"

It’s called Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. It isn’t called “Beautiful Collection of Late-Victorian Furniture National Historic Site. The theme is the open range cattle era. The theme is not how much the paneling in the dining room cost.

Creature Feature: A Whale Of A Big Blue Leviathan

Blue whale Channel Islands National Park, California.
The blue whale is one of the earth’s loudest (its song travels thousands of miles), longest-lived (80-90 year lifespan) and largest animals known to have ever existed. Though long and slender, with a tapered body and a small dorsal fin, blue whales measure in at up to 100 feet in length. These more than 200-ton leviathans are truly creatures to be reckoned with.

Following The Film Lincoln Around Richmond: How One Surprising City Dominates The New Spielberg Blockbuster

If you’re about to see the new movie Lincoln—you’ll be seeing a lot of Richmond, Virginia. Virtually the entire movie was filmed there. Take "Lincoln: The Movie Trail" and trace the film's locations for truly exciting insight into the Civil War, Richmond, and Steven Spielberg's new blockbuster.

Were Seven Killed Wolves With Ties To Yellowstone National Park Targeted By Hunters?

Wolves roaming Yellowstone National Park don't discriminate between park drainages, meadows, and woods and those features in the national forests rimming the park. They head where the scent takes them, and when they do, they sometimes find themselves in the gunsights of hunters. Such was the case recently for seven wolves whose lives came to an end in the forests outside Yellowstone.

Saving Ginseng In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s ginseng poaching prevention program is equal parts science, conservation, and crime scene investigation. How the park approaches ginseng poaching is addressed in the following article from Friends of the Smokies.

Guest Column: Chipping Away At The National Park Service Mission One Park At A Time

Is the National Park Service about to do an "about face" on its position opposing a professional bike race through Colorado National Monument? In a guest column Joan Anzelmo, the monument's former superintendent, expresses her confusion over this possibility and voices hopes the Park Service will stand by its mission and Management Policies.

Outdoor Industry Groups Urge President Obama To Create 1.4-Million-Acre National Monument Around Canyonlands National Park

President Obama is being urged by a broad coalition of outdoor industry businesses to create a 1.4-million-acre national monument around Canyonlands National Park in Utah to preserve a "world-class landscape."
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Advancing Science In The Parks: Acting On The Revisiting Leopold Report

Will the Revisiting Leopold report that aims to move the National Park Service into a new direction with natural resources management succeed, or become yet another dusty report in some back room? Those closest to the report believe the vision it charts can, and will, be achieved.

Musings On Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

I really didn’t know exactly what to expect when I pulled up to the first overlook at Black Canyon. But when I walked to the edge of the canyon at Tomichi Point and looked down, the only thing I could think was "Oh, my goodness!"

Postcard From The Backbone Of The Continent: Days Of Discovery At Glacier National Park

My heart nearly stopped when I received the internship offer from the lead interpretive ranger at Glacier National Park. My first question, of course, was “Where’s that?” As a Floridian, I had never heard of this Glacier and could not believe I would be heading to Montana.

Guest Column: Election Day And The Dangers Of H.R. 4089, The Sportsmen’s Heritage Bill

In the not-so-distant past, Republicans as well as Democrats were strong proponents of America’s public lands. And both parties usually supported the national parks—most beloved of all public lands. But now, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan reflect the contempt of the Republican Party’s far right for all public lands—even the national parks, long renowned as “America’s Best Idea.”

A Five-Pack Of Parks Where Winter Is Anything But Off-Season

acadia cadillac mountain view in winter
From snowsports to whale watching, America’s national parks have it all come winter. Check out our five-pack of parks where winter gives you the entire country's worth of geographical getaways.