Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Birding in the National Parks

This past year we started a bimonthly column on birding in the national parks, which is a great way to enjoy the parks while learning more about the hundreds of species that flit about the National Park System. Here's a look back at those columns.

Keep Friends Groups In Your National Park Thoughts

Don't overlook the good work of the various friends groups that strive to bring a little extra to the national parks scattered throughout the country.

A Look Back At Some Of The Year's Top Stories in the National Park System

Planning for the next century of the National Park Service, ecosystems at risk, and fatal grizzly bear maulings were some of the stories that surfaced across the National Park System in 2011. Here's a glance at some of the top stories that the Traveler followed.

A Year In The Parks, From Cape Lookout National Seashore To Glacier Bay National Park

The past year took me across the National Park System, from Cape Lookout National Seashore on the North Carolina coast to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The stories that spooled out from these trips into the National Park System told of advocacy and nurturing, of history and recreation, and even of controversy. Here's a look back.

By the Numbers: Stones River National Battlefield

Stones River National Battlefield commemorates an extraordinarily bloody battle fought at Murfreesboro, Tennessee on December 31, 1862 and January 1, 1863. Here are some relevant statistics.

Pruning the Parks: White Plains National Battlefield Site (1933-1956) Was a Stillborn National Park

The National Park Service administered the White Plains National Battlefield Site for several decades, but no national park materialized there and the property was eventually delisted.

A December Rarity: Driving The Tioga Road Through Yosemite National Park

Winter has been easy on Yosemite National Park so far, easy enough that Santa might actually be able to drive the Tioga Road on his deliveries.

NPS Director Jarvis Allows Parks To Ban Disposable Plastic Bottles

Those seemingly ubiquitous disposable plastic bottles, the ones that generated a storm of controversy over their proposed ban at Grand Canyon National Park, may now be banned by park superintendents nationwide.
AttachmentSize
Policy on Disposable Plastic Water Bottles.pdf251.91 KB

Birding in the National Parks: Time For The Christmas Bird Counts

It's that time of year again. Yep, time to grab your binoculars and notebook and head out into the national parks for the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Top Six Family Adventures In National Parks

A year's worth of family vacations to national parks led to the following list of top family adventures in the national parks.

Humans, Comfort-Loving Animals That They Are, Are Changing Their National Park Habits With Climate Change

Humans are creatures of comfort, so perhaps it should not be a surprise that warming temperatures associated with climate change are altering the seasons slightly when it comes to visiting national parks, according to a study.

Life in the Parks: "Come Quick! There's Been an Explosion!"

Rangers who both work and live in parks receive some unusual after-hours phone calls, but this one was guaranteed to get my adrenalin flowing: The woman on the line was nearly hysterical, but her message got right to the point: "Come quick! There's been an explosion!"

Rehabilitating Forney Ridge Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Forever

Forney Ridge Trail pic 1 - before
The Smokies Trails Forever endowment has paid for the rehabilitation of Forney Ridge Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The formerly muddy and slippery trail is now a beautiful work of trail art.

Looking At The National Park Service's Goal To Eliminate Plastic Bottles

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis is determined to rid plastic bottles from the national parks, but wants to consider all factors before doing so, the agency's communications chief said today while addressing the uproar over the director's decision to put a hold on a water bottle ban at Grand Canyon National Park.
AttachmentSize
NPS-Bottle Bans.pdf1.04 MB
NPS-Bottles Cost Factor.pdf619.13 KB
NPS-Green Parks Plan Bottles.pdf206.69 KB
NPS-Jarvis Bottles.pdf221.9 KB

UPDATED: Economists, Academics Urge President Obama To Protect Public Lands, Create New National Parks

Western public lands are not only an iconic slice of America's national identity, but also a valuable economic driver if properly protected and managed, according to a group of more than 100 economists and academics who want President Obama to set aside more public lands as national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas.

National Park Service Falls in "Best Places To Work" Rankings

As an agency, the National Park Service is moving in the wrong direction in the annual "Best Places To Work" directory of federal agencies.

Birding in the National Parks: Searching For the Colima Warbler In Big Bend National Park

If you plan to notch your "Big Year," you need to head down to Big Bend National Park to catch a glimpse of the Colima Warbler.

Group Pushing Proposal To "Complete" North Cascades National Park

Though it was designated in 1968, North Cascades National Park embraces an incomplete landscape, one that could be made more robust and attractive to visitors with the addition of nearly 238,000 surrounding acres, according to a group pushing for park expansion.

Why The Delay In Designating Official Wilderness In National Parks?

There is a false sense of security in the National Park System surrounding officially designated wilderness. And political actions, or, rather, inaction, demonstrates why there should be concern for the long-term fate of lands with wilderness qualities.

By the Numbers: Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of the world's largest urban-oriented parks, generates some impressive statistics. Take a look at these numbers.

A Potpourri of Suggestions For Visiting The National Park System This Winter

Just because winter is on its way and the weather is turning gray and colder, that doesn't mean there aren't great places to enjoy in the National Park System. Here are some random suggestions.

Fears Rise That Congress Could Open More Units Of National Park System to Hunting

Few units of the National Park System are open to hunting, but there are fears that legislation now working its way through Congress could clear the way for hunting across dozens of parks in the system.

By the Numbers: Homestead National Monument of America

Nebraska's Homestead National Monument of America is a very special place that contains, among other things, America's oldest homestead and second-oldest restored tallgrass prairie.

License Tag Law Threatens Support for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

License tag money has helped support national parks in North Carolina for over a decade. But a new law enacted by the Republican legislature will decrease the amount of money that will go to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Blue Ridge Parkway Management Alternatives Draw More Than A Little Debate

The first-ever management plan for the Blue Ridge Parkway treads a fine line between two forces park managers have juggled for the 76-year history of the high road—the economic development aspirations of adjacent communities and the need to ensure the integrity of a “national park” that’s 469-miles long and a half-mile wide.

NPCA Report Paints Somber Portrait Of An Underfunded National Park Service

America is abundantly rich in the "natural assets" found within the National Park System, but inadequate funding by Congress is threatening the core health of that system, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.

Updated: Report Details How Corporate Pressure Seemingly Derailed Plans For a Plastic Bottle Ban at Grand Canyon National Park

A plan that would, in part, showcase the National Park Service's commitment to reduce plastic bottle litter was partially derailed when Coca Cola raised its concerns over the plan with Park Service Chief Jon Jarvis, who blocked a ban on disposable water bottles at Grand Canyon National Park.

As A Federal Agent, Carter Niemeyer Killed Wolves For A Living

Mary Roberson's painting Alpha, Alpha, Beta, Omega
Carter Niemeyer has had a hand in killing more American wolves in the Lower 48 states than any wildlife manager in modern history. In the following interview, he discusses his book, "Wolfer," and offers his thoughts on the current state of wolves and wolf management in the Rocky Mountains.

Hiking the Appalachian National Scenic Trail: It Takes More Heart than Heel

APPA - A lake in Maine
Do you have the right stuff to hike the Appalachian National Scenic Trail next year? It's not about the right gear but as Grandma Gatewood said, "it takes more heart than heel."

A Winter Visit To Virgin Islands National Park: The Logistics

While winter is the slow season for many national parks, it is the very best season to visit Virgin Islands National Park.