Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Traveler's View: No Professional Bike Racing At Colorado National Monument

If a professional bike race charging through Colorado National Monument is the key to the rugged red-rock landscape and its treasures in western Colorado being redesignated as a "national park," then it's time to end the discussion over a name change.

Can We Afford The America's Great Outdoors Initiative?

Months in development, the America's Great Outdoors initiative is a broad road map drawn by the Obama administration to both reconnect Americans with the outdoors and outline how the country can preserve much of its natural landscape. But how timely, in light of current fiscal and political winds, is it?

America's Great Outdoors Report Touches On Possible Additions To Roster of National Monuments

There is was, a bit over halfway through the 110-page America's Great Outdoors report: how President Barack Obama could use the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate national monuments through presidential proclamation.

America's Great Outdoors Report Carries Lofty Goals That Need Widespread Support For Success

Though bold and lofty in its vision, with chapters devoted to youth, communities, both public and private lands, and heritage, the Obama administration's detailed report on how to reconnect the country to its outdoors landscape is threatened to be undercut by today's fiscal and political realities.

Efforts to Regulate Off-Leash Dogs at Golden Gate National Recreation Area Spark Debate

The only NPS area in the country that currently allows off-leash dog walking has found that efforts to impose new limits on canines is a lot harder than one might expect. After years of litigation and meetings, the park has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a dog management plan for public comments, and it's sparked plenty of additional debate.

The National Park System's Cultural-Historical Wing: America's Story in 10 Chapters

The more than 200 national parks established to preserve nationally significant cultural-historical resources "tell America's story" by interpreting about ten broad themes that increase our awareness and understanding of what American culture is and how it got that way.

Updated: National Park Service Budget Would Grow by $138 Million Under President's FY12 Proposal

President Obama's FY12 budget request, if approved by Congress, would give the National Park Service a $2.9 billion budget, an increase of nearly $138 million above current funding levels.

Traveler's View: The National Park Service Failed Its Mission With Plan For Addition Lands at Big Cypress National Preserve

Faced with a wondrous opportunity to truly preserve a large swath of Florida still bearing wilderness characteristics, one that can play a critical role in the recovery of North America's most endangered mammal, the National Park Service instead looked the other way.
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EPA-BICY Addition Lands.pdf1.01 MB
Alcee Hastings - Letter to Director Jarvis-ORV-Feb3 2011.pdf145.08 KB

Hard Choices Ahead: Are New NPS Areas Compatible with Calls for a Balanced Budget?

Two bills introduced this month by Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) illustrate major challenges that lie ahead for parks and for the nation's economy. Are proposals for possible new additions to the National Park System compatible with calls for a balanced federal budget?

By the Numbers: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns National Park preserves some of the world's finest publicly accessible caves.

Traveler Classic: Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at Gettysburg

With the Civil War 150th anniversary commemoration gathering steam, this is a good time to reach into the Traveler archives for one of our all-time popular posts: links to videos showing movies of Civil War veterans at the Gettysburg 75th anniversary reunion in 1938. Get ready for goosebumps.

Grand Teton National Park, The Land of Legends

Technology and art often are intertwined to bring a subject to life. For Mike Cavaroc, Grand Teton National Park was the subject, and time-lapse photography was his tool for bringing the park to life.

Traveler's Checklist: Crater Lake National Park

Copyright QT Luong
Despite its deep, shimmering namesake lake, Crater Lake National Park is one of the lesser visited of the great national parks. For those who make the journey, that's a great reward. For those who don't, well, they're missing something special.

Grand Canyon National Park Releases Draft EIS On Park Air Tours

Years of modeling, planning, and talks, interrupted by lawsuits and inter-agency differences, have produced a proposed air-tour management plan for Grand Canyon National Park that officials believe will restore natural quiet over much of the iconic canyon.

A Short History of the Flat Hat's "Lemon Squeezer" Pinch

The Montana Peak, that symmetrical quadrant pinch in the crown of the ranger's iconic "flat hat," was born out of the need for a practical solution to an Army trooper's significant problem.

Will This Be Remembered As Our Preamble To Losing The Wolverine?

Are we willing to stand idly by while the wolverine heads down the path of the dodo, the carrier pigeon, and the Caspian tiger?

Enter Traveler's "Take Your Family to the National Parks" Essay Contest!

If you've always dreamed of visiting a national park, and wanted to take your family along, here's your opportunity. Three grand-prize winners of the Traveler's first Take Your Family to the National Parks essay contest will win lodging for four members of their family in one of the country's national parks, and some gear to help to help them enjoy the trip.

Keeping Track So They're Never Forgotten: National Park Service Workers Who Died on The Job

The list is long, more than 200 names stretching over a century and then some. It's a somber one, as well, tracking the deaths of National Park Service employees from a wide range of fates, from heart attacks to rockfalls to cold-blooded murder.

Updated: Budgeting At Grand Canyon National Park Is Not Always As Simple As You Might Think

The recent debate over mule rides in Grand Canyon National Park has left park officials, who say they have to live within their budgets and the public's desires, strongly criticized by mule backers, who say trail impacts might be less of an issue if park managers were smarter with how they spend their money.

Trails I've Hiked: The Smokemont Loop Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Bradley Fork on the Smokemont Loop
Hike the Smokemont Loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the winter. The hike offers streams, a cascade, and plenty of history.

Capitol Reef National Park: Winter Solitude & Silence

Capitol Reef National Park is far enough off most people's radar that they miss out on this red-rock paradise when visiting Utah's other, more famous, parks. In the wintertime? Capitol Reef becomes a virtually private playground.

Updated: Winter's Work: Plan Your Summer or Fall National Park Vacation Now

Now is the time to be planning your summer or fall vacations to the national parks.

The Fire Lookouts of Mount Rainier National Park

While many fire lookouts across the National Park System are no longer actively staffed, thanks to higher tech options for monitoring lighting strikes, many of these lookouts remain, aging sentinels that recall an earlier day of fire prevention in the national forests and parks. Here's a look at some of the lookouts to be found within Mount Rainier National Park.

Watching Climate Change Across the National Park System

Across the National Park System many changes are expected from climate change, from more wildfires and vanishing glaciers to invasions of non-native species and flight of long-term residents. Writer/photographer Michael Lanza, concerned that today's park landscapes will change significantly by the time his young kids are his age, has been touring the park system with his family to show his children what they might miss later in life.

The Traveler's First "Take Your Family to The National Parks" Essay Contest

copyright Kurt Repanshek
If you've always dreamed of visiting a national park, and wanted to take your family along, here's your opportunity. Three grand-prize winners of the Traveler's first Take Your Family to the National Parks essay contest will win lodging for four members of their family in one of the country's national parks, and some gear to help to help them enjoy the trip.

Updated: The National Park Foundation And The Special "National Parks Edition" Toyota FJ Cruiser

A promotion announced late in December, one that pairs the National Park Foundation with a massive Toyota sport utility vehicle, appears to be at odds with the foundation's stated mission and the National Park Service's approach to climate change.

At Cowpens National Battlefield, Site Restoration Helps Take You Back to 1781

At South Carolina's Cowpens National Battlefield, the National Park Service is restoring the battlefield where Patriot forces won a pivotal victory over the British on a cold winter morning 230 years ago.

The Gate Lodges Of Acadia National Park: Rockefeller's Little Castles

Photographer and writer Steve Perrin was working in the planning office at Acadia when he lived at Brown Mountain gate house (or “gate lodge” as it’s officially called) during the winter of 1995–1996, “a true Maine winter, very cold with lots of snow.” Like other park employees before and after, Perrin was housed in a magnificent piece of history, employee housing whose great beauty belies its commonplace purpose.

The National Park Service Played a Vital Role in the Buffalo Soldiers Mapping Project

The National Park Service's CRGIS facility produced maps of significant Buffalo Soldier sites using data supplied by African American and Indian college students working with the Warriors Project to document the "shared history" of black soldiers and American Indians in the frontier West.

A Day At Big Cypress National Preserve In "The Dry"

On the Florida Trail
Big Cypress National Preserve is a good winter day outing. The preserve offers hiking, large wading birds, waves of sawgrass and a fantastic photographic gallery. But nothing can top seeing alligators up close.