Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Essential Summer Guide '14: Looking For Ponies At Assateague Island National Seashore

Ponies in the morning mist-they’re a sight to see at Assateague Island National Seashore. You might awake in your dune country campsite to find them gazing right back at you. More likely, you’ll spot them throughout the day roaming free about the 48,000-acre seashore’s beaches and marshlands.

Exploring The Parks: Return To Shiloh

Over the years the two of us have visited numerous Civil War battlefields, memorials, monuments, and museums (sometimes referred to as “the cannonball circuit”), but none better than Shiloh National Military Park. Shiloh is a world apart from better-known and much busier Gettysburg. It is a superb place to walk, bike, and simply linger during an exploration of the site of this important battle during the early part of America’s Civil War.

Clark Bunting Comes To National Parks Conservation Association At A Time Of Transition

Transitions can be tricky, and for Clark Bunting his arrival as president and chief executive officer of the National Parks Conservation Association coincided with two pivotal events for the National Park Service: the shuttering of the National Park System last fall, and the challenge of attracting younger, more diverse generations into the parks.

Millennials In The Parks Are Not An Endangered Species

What is better than packing a car with sleeping bags, tents, new tunes, and good friends? Not much in my opinion! Here in northern Utah I am spoiled with weekend desert adventures that range from meandering around Devils Garden in Arches National Park to canyoneering the narrow ravines of Zion National Park. Exploring the natural wonders, and connecting with friends, is kept alive by the National Park System. The parks make for a great getaway.

Pick Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore For A Bracing Summer Vacation

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where Lake Superior’s stupendous power pounds Michigan’s craggy shore, is a tremendous place to kayak. But plan for a few extra days unless you have a really favorable weather report.

Estes Park, A Natural Extension Of Rocky Mountain National Park

Strolling, appropriately enough, down Elkhorn Avenue, the small band of elk didn’t notice that Estes Park is not inside Rocky Mountain National Park, and you likely won’t, either.

Exploring The Parks: Fort Pickens At Gulf Islands National Seashore

Fort Pickens in GUIS
Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore is an oasis of history and nature in a sea of Florida development. It's also one end of the Florida National Scenic Trail, a flat but challenging walk.

Essential Summer Guide '14: Cape Lookout National Seashore, A Slice Of Wild America

Dancing on the morning breeze, the sea oats sway to and fro while the Atlantic surf crashes the beach. Two surfcasters, knee deep in the water, wait for the inevitable bite. This is seashore perfection: no crowds, no boom boxes, no wafting sunblock mixed with the fresh ocean air. It doesn’t get much better if you’re searching for a slice of wild America.

National Park Service Key Player In Nurturing Tomorrow's Park Interpreters, Naturalists

Hoh Rain Forest ranger program/Kurt Repanshek
Reaching into his daypack, the ranger pulled out a banana slug. Not a real one, but a stuffed animal version, a perfect prop to explain just exactly what banana slugs were to the youngsters in his audience here in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park.

It's Summertime, And The Options Are Many In The National Park System

Summertime, for many, equates with beach time, and there’s no shortage of that in the National Park System. From the 10 national seashores that line the country’s coasts to the four national lakeshores that rim the Great Lakes, the park system offers you plenty of freshand saltwater options when it comes to escaping the heat.

Investigation: National Park Service Long Ignored Preservation Laws In Desecrating Sacred Ground At Effigy Mounds National Monument

Ancestral burial grounds and ceremonial mounds at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa that were considered sacred by a dozen Native American tribes were desecrated by National Park Service managers who "clearly knew what they were doing was against the law" during a decade-long campaign of building boardwalks and trails across the monument grounds, according to a voluminous investigation.

Wilderness Character Narrative Offers Added Insights Into Glacier Bay National Park And Preserve

Designated wilderness areas exist in national parks from coast to coast, but many of them can be described as "islands of wildness surrounded by development." Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a rare exception, "a wild place within the context of equally wild and sometimes wilder surroundings," and the park has prepared a document that "clearly defines the current status of and threats to the park's wilderness character.

Opinion | It's Time For Year-Round Bison Habitat In Montana

As officials from Montana, Wyoming, and the National Park Service continue to work towards a solution for bison that roam outside Yellowstone National Park, a group of non-profit organizations is calling for Montana to allow bison to roam in their state year-round.

Opinion | Yosemite's Merced Wild And Scenic River Plan: Brought To You By Billionaires And Their Politicians

I chose a sandy spot near a copse of willows south of the river near Sentinel Bridge. What better place to sit and ponder the recently released plan to protect the Merced as it flows through Yosemite National Park?

Wilderness Under Siege, The Ongoing Battle Over Public Lands In America

Is there too much public land in America? Some think so, which is why it's important to understand the ongoing battle over those lands, whether they fall under the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, or U.S. Bureau of Land Management or other federal land manager.

Meet Billy Jones, Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Billy Jones, A.T. ridge runner - 1
What does an Appalachian Trail ridgerunner actually do? And what are the attractions to this seasonal job? Meet Billy Jones, ridgerunner in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fish In National Parks From Alaska To Colorado Have Unhealthy Mercury Levels

Timing often is happenstance, but with Earth Day arriving next week, word of high mercury levels in fish in national parks from Alaska to Colorado is particularly sobering. In some cases, the levels exceed limits OKed for human consumption.

Is The Human Footprint Strangling Old Faithful In Yellowstone National Park?

We all go through growing pains as we get older, and that seems to be the case with the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, as the geyser isn't as faithful as it once was and could eventually go dormant.

This New National Park Would Be Unlike Any Other In The World

Across our country and around the world, national parks come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. They may be large or small, urban or remote, natural areas or historical sites, but few bear any similarity to one that was proposed last week. This potential national park would cover 579 square miles, include 170 museums, and be home to 1,500 species of flowering plants, 300 species of birds...and eight million people. It's certainly not another Yellowstone.

Essential Paddling Guide: Everglades, Exploring The River Of Grass

On a windless morning, under the kind of flawless blue sky that always appears in ads for Florida vacations, our paddles send quiet ripples across the otherwise glassy surface of Chokoloskee Bay. As our two canoes glide past a signpost marking the Indian Key Pass water channel, two ospreys lift off from their nest atop the post and flap lazily over the water.

With A Little Help From Friends Groups, National Parks Benefit

“I get by with a little help from my friends,” sang the Beatles. When it comes to national parks, it had better be a lot of help. The National Park Service often struggles with funding. Now, with tighter budgets and more demands, friends groups are proving invaluable in helping out parks.

Jewel Of Belize's National Park System Tarnished By Poaching, Gold Seekers, Border Strife

Gold is an alluring color, whether woven into the feathers of a Scarlet macaw winging through Maya Mountains rainforest or mixed in the gravels of streams that thread beneath the understory of Chiquibul National Park in the Belizean highlands.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Teach Your Children Well, National Parks As Learning Centers

Climate change. Glaciology. Sustainability. These are not the subjects that leap to mind when you consider sending your kids to summer camp. But blend them with backpacking, canoeing, or a walk in the woods, and the result is a generation with not only a better connection with nature, but perhaps a career path.

Essential Paddling Guide: Rio Grande River Grapples With High Salinity, Bacteria Loads

Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River claim 245 miles of this renowned river. And while many of those miles wend their way through rugged and remote canyon country, sections of the river nevertheless are on the state of Texas’ list of impaired water bodies. The primary concern is high total dissolved solids (high salinity), but bacteria can be a problem in the very upper reach.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Spring Into The Parks

While spring in some parks (mostly those in the Rockies, Sierra, and Pacific Northwest) is rightfully described as “mud season,” there are some great early season hikes—and some wonderful camping—to be found across the National Park System. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights.

Making A Difference Through Hard Work With The Student Conservation Association

I had two job offers the summer before my junior year of high school. I chose the job that came with new boots.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Small Town Perks

West Yellowstone is one of the smaller gateway towns you’ll find in the National Park System...which isn’t such a bad thing.

Essential Paddling Guide: Can Hogs Be Farmed Safely Upstream Of Buffalo National River?

Often the health of our rivers, lakes, and streams in the National Park System is endangered by something we don’t immediately see. Such is the case in Arkansas, where a hog farm less than 6 miles upstream from the Buffalo National River poses an industrial threat to the river.

Land Of Caves, Keys, And Ancient Art

“Pirates used to hide in these keys,” Carlos, our guide, tells us as our boat swings behind a small, steep-sided island. Numerous forested islets dot the shoreline like floating haystacks. “English and French pirates hid in Samaná Bay to ambush Spanish gold ships leaving Santa Domingo. The 58 cays and inlets made perfect hiding places.”

Will A Proposed Solar Power Plant Near Mojave National Preserve Defeat Good Planning?

Renewable energy projects can pose a challenge for environmental organizations—they may like the "green" aspects of solar and wind power, but in the wrong location such projects can have big impacts on values such as scenery and wildlife. A proposed solar project near Mojave National Preserve has united opposition by numerous groups, and now the question is whether the developer will succeed in defeating years of good planning for siting major solar projects.