Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

National Park Road Trip 2010: Lewis & Clark on the Columbia

Greetings from Lewis & Clark Trail State Park in eastern Washington, where we are finishing our seventh week on the road. Heading east on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, we've followed the Columbia River and found memorable places galore.

North Dakota is Still on My Bucket List

Adding Theodore Roosevelt National Park to my life list has proven to be an immensely frustrating task. The darn thing is in North Dakota.

National Public Lands Day is Right around the Corner

On September 25th, more than 175,000 people are expected to volunteer for National Public Lands Day at more than 2,000 of our nation’s beautiful public lands. Volunteers will perform work ranging from pulling invasive species, clearing trails, planting trees and removing trash.

Smokey the Bear Campaign Enters the 21st Century!

Smokey the Bear has been around for decades, but he just got some updating to bring his message about preventing forest fires into the 21st century.

Easy Park Hikes – Lily Lake Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park

Lilly Lake trail overlook.
Sometimes a short, easy hike is just what you need for a nice change of pace during a park visit. Here's a suggestion for a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park—and an alternative to the justly-popular Bear Lake Trail.

The Presidio's Historic Public Health Service Hospital has Been Recycled into Luxury Apartments

At San Francisco's Presidio, a bold adaptive reuse project clipped the two ungainly wings protruding from the Public Health Service Hospital. Rechristened the Presidio Landmark, the renovated historic structure now houses luxury apartments.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Beginning at the End

Here we go again, only along a different route. This time we are headed east instead of west, and along the Lewis & Clark Historic Trail rather than the Oregon Trail. We would have preferred to follow the Corps of Discovery on its outbound journey to the Pacific, but we need to get back to our home in South Georgia.

Easy Park Hikes – Forest Loop Trail in Glacier Bay National Park

Forest and pond
Sometimes a short, easy hike is just what you need for a nice change of pace during a park visit. Here's a suggestion for a trip to Glacier Bay National Park.

Traveling the Oregon National Historic Trail: Looking Back

What would it take, and be like, to follow the Oregon National Historic Trail from Missouri to the coast of Oregon? David and Kay Scott look back on their three-week odyssey.

Bona fide Deal or Bailout? Should the NPS Acquire Grant's Farm near St. Louis?

Old McDonald had his farm, but Grant's Farm, owned by the Busch family of brewing fame, puts him to shame. Their place near St. Louis is home to some 100 species of animals, including zebras, elephants and farm animals, and it's recently been studied as a possible addition to the National Park System. Is this a bona fide prospect for the NPS—or another bailout?

At Ninety Six National Historic Site, Management Strives to Serve Steak on a Mac & Cheese Budget

At South Carolina's Ninety Six National Historic Site, where Americans fought and died in two Revolutionary War battles, the Park Service has been locked in a different sort of struggle. Although critical preservation and interpretation issues must be resolved, the resources available allow for little more than a holding action. It's awfully difficult to serve steak on a mac-and-cheese budget.

National Park Road Trip 2010: End of the Oregon Trail

Here we are at the end of the Oregon Trail following a three-week drive of 2,600 miles from Independence, Missouri. This represents 500 more miles compared to the route taken by most of the pioneers, but the two of us were unable to follow many of the cross-country shortcuts favored by the emigrants.

National Park Road Trip 2010: The Barlow Road

Greetings from Oregon City, the western terminus of the Oregon Trail. This is the promised land for hundreds of thousands of pioneers who set out from Independence and St. Joseph, Missouri.

America's Great Outdoor Initiative Visits Asheville, North Carolina

Noting that the younger generations are "taking on the mantle of the outdoors," National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis and other officials solicited suggestions on how to connect people with the outdoors during a North Carolina stop on the nationwide tour of America's Great Outdoor Initiative.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Decision at The Dalles

Greetings from The Dalles, Oregon, located on the Columbia River at a point where pioneers following the Oregon Trail were required to make a major decision. Some chose to rent, make, or buy rafts on which they placed their wagons and possessions to float west on the Columbia River.

Was This the Most Environmentally Insensitive Movie Ever Filmed in a National Park?

Back in the 1950s, environmentally responsible behavior was not a basic requirement for filming on location in a national park. If you don't believe it, watch the 1956 film "Forever, Darling." OMG!

"Let's Leave the Balcony Door Ajar"

Some ideas are good ones. Others are not so hot.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Pioneer Missionary

Greetings from Whitman Mission National Historic Site, a relatively small NPS unit located a few miles west of Walla Walla, Washington. One of the rangers estimated the site welcomes about 50,000 visitors annually.

Mr. President, Some Suggestions for Your Long Weekend At Acadia National Park

Three days might not qualify for official "vacation" status, but the First Family's trip this weekend to Acadia National Park should provide enough time for President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their kids to sample some of the highlights of this Down East treasure.

Rock Falls In Yosemite National Park, the Video!

Despite the towering walls of granite that rim the Yosemite Valley in the heart of Yosemite National Park, the place is decidedly not static. Rather, it's a constantly evolving geologic entity that is both deadly and mesmerizing.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Crossing into Oregon

Greetings from Baker City, Oregon, a small town with a rich history. Baker City, formerly just Baker, was (and may still be) a town of wealth, as gold was discovered nearby

By the Numbers: World War II Memorial

At the National World War II Memorial, the numbers speak of effort, achievement, and sacrifice on a monumental scale.

Upscale Cabins Latest Trend in Commercial Campgrounds Bordering National Parks

There’s a new structure showing up this summer in campgrounds bordering national parks, one that offers a higher level of comfort than the family camper or pop-up tent. More and more campgrounds are adding cabins to their available accommodations, for while more people are heading to the parks, not all want to sleep on the ground in a tent.

Trails I've Hiked: Anthony Creek Trail to Spence Field in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A.T. Shelter, Spence Field, Great Smoky Mountains NP, Kurt Repanshek photo
As with so many of the footpaths in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Anthony Creek Trail doesn’t hesitate much before pulling you up into that landscape.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Pioneers Cross the Snake

Greetings from Three Island Crossing State Park, located on the Snake River between Twin Falls and Boise, Idaho. It is the morning of July 7 and life is good here in the land of the spud.

Reader Participation Day: Should Rangers Cite, or Merely Warn, Visitors For Their Wrongs?

What should National Park Service rangers do when they come across a visitor who has gone astray of park regulations? For instance, should they have cited those women in Glacier National Park who squeezed off a round from a .357 to scare a deer, or was the warning enough?

Pruning the Parks: Shasta Lake Recreation Area (1945-1948)

California's Shasta Lake Recreation Area was a National Park System property for only three years before it was transferred to the Forest Service on July 1, 1948. The Forest Service now administers the lake as a component of Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Into Idaho on the Oregon Trail

Greetings from Idaho’s Massacre Rocks State Park on the Snake River. It is the morning of July 5th and the weather is excellent. Potential travelers to the state of famous potatoes will be pleased to know the park wasn’t named for RV owners massacred by road bandits.

How many of us have the courage of Elouise Cobell?

Thanks to a tenacious Native American banker who grew up on the flanks of Glacier National Park, the federal government is moving to correct mismanagement of oil and gas royalties due Native Americans across the country.

National Parks Road Trip 2010: Across Wyoming

Greetings from the town of Rock Springs, in the southwestern corner of Wyoming. Another night in a motel as the wind was blowing hard and we were unable to locate two BLM campgrounds in the high country northeast of here. Plus, the weather forecast was spotty and we were both tired.