Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

What Were The Top National Park Stories Of 2013?

Flooding pummeled a handful of units in the National Park System this past fall, budget cuts hamstrung the National Park Service, and a 16-day closure of the national parks drew the public's ire. Those were just some of the top stories of 2013 across the National Park System. Here's a look at some of the year's top stories.

National Parks We Explored During 2013

So many parks, so few months in a year. Still, the National Parks Traveler staff and contributors managed to reach a fair number of parks in 2013 and returned home with the following stories.

Yosemite, For What And For Whom?

The path-breaking beginning of America’s national parks in Yosemite is the subject of these two anniversary-related books. For Dayton Duncan, in Seed of the Future, the Yosemite Grant remains the story of a national triumph. For Jen Huntley, in The Making of Yosemite, the act of June 30, 1864, bears irrefutable evidence of a national theft.

Exploring The Parks: Big Bend National Park In December

Happy Holidays, everybody! It’s almost the end of the year and after digging up some extra vacation days from beneath the couch cushions, I decided to take a mid-December road trip to Big Bend National Park

First State National Monument Shines A Light On The Nation's Origins

Whether due to oversight, a lack of political expediency, or inadvertent shunning, the country's first state was last in landing a unit of the National Park System within its borders. And now, though First State National Monument is open for business and shining a light on the country's origins, it continues to struggle.

The National Parks Are Now Open. How Can We Try To Keep Them Open?

turtles in the Everglades
What can we do to show Congress that national parks are important? Writing to your legislators is important, but not the only way to raise the visibility of our parks to Washington.

Exploring the Parks: Up And In The Mounds In Ocmulgee National Monument

OCMU - funeral mound
Ocmulgee National Monument, in Macon, Georgia, protects earth mounds from the Mississippian Period. The Earth Lodge Mound still has the original floor from more than a thousand years ago. The surrounding grounds offer a relaxing, easy, place to walk while you're exploring the monument.

Appreciating Space In National Parks

There are worries that a majority of today's younger generations are not interested in spending much time outdoors in natural areas. The Student Conservation Association exists to help nurture and immerse these generations in places such as national parks and national forests. Jane Wong discovered that working in the field with the SCA gave her a great appreciation for the outdoors. This is her story.

Draft Ozark National Scenic Riverways Plan Draws Charges NPS Is Trying To Limit Access

A pitched battle is under way over the future of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, one that goes to the heart of whether national parks are to be managed for the country's best interests, or for unrestricted local interests.

Essential Park Guide: Winter Doesn’t Have To Mean Cold, Snow And Ice During Your National Park Adventure

Cold, snow, and ice aren’t the only backdrops to a winter’s visit to the National Park System. There’s a flip side to the Glaciers, Yellowstones, and Mount Rainiers of winter park vacations. They’re found in the Caribbean, south Florida, and even Nevada and Arizona.

"Conscience Letters" From Petrified Forest National Park Thieves Tie Bad Luck To "Hot Rocks"

Think twice during your visit to Petrified Forest National Park about walking away with a colorful shard of petrified wood, for that "hot rock" just might bring you a world of hurt.

Essential Park Guide, Winter: Painting The Parks, Driven By Nature's Beauty

Outdoors, in the majesty of the national parks, masterpieces are created by artists drawn to nature's beauty.

Exploring The Parks: Andersonville National Historic Site--A Sad History

ANDE commemorative wall
Andersonville National Historic Site is a sad reminder of the Civil War. It's so well interpreted, it's been called the South's Holocaust Museum.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide Winter 2013-14

It was a (hopefully not) one of those once-in-a-lifetime visits to a far off national park, and I was flat on my back. That, however, was not all bad at Virgin Islands National Park on the Caribbean island of St. John, where basking under the February sun on the sugar-sand beaches in between snorkeling adventures is de rigueur. Preferably with a cool drink in hand and a rattan mat beneath you.

After 125 Years, Pinnacles National Monument Becomes The Nation’s Newest 'National Park'

Pinnacles National Park took 125 years to become the nation’s newest designated parkland. But it took immensely longer for the mountains to arrive at the present location 40 miles southeast of Salinas, California.

Suzanne Ditmanson Discusses Life As A National Park Superintendent's Wife

Suzanne Ditmanson on the trail
Suzanne Ditmanson, wife of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson, talks about her National Park Service life. How did her husband's career affect her and their children?

A View From The Overlook: The Advantages Of National Parks

“What good are national parks?” This is a question often raised by the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party when faced by non-utilitarian public land use.

Survey Shows Public Blames Congress, Not The White House, For National Parks Closure

Congress, not the Obama Administration, must shoulder the blame for the 16-day closure of the National Park System last month, according to a recent survey of voters.

Traveler Housekeeping, Please Take Note

It's been quite a month or so here at National Parks Traveler, with a new look and new features to grow your national parks community.

Exploring The Parks: Seeing Zion National Park From A Different Perspective

Nearly 3 million visitors explored Zion National Park last year...but they saw only a fraction of it.

Canoeing The Buffalo, Finally

Fall might seem an unusual time to paddle the Buffalo National River, but you can be rewarded with incredible solitude and beauty.

Walking Le Chemin De St. Jacques In France - Part 2

In a field of sunflowers
In this, part two of her series on walking Le Chemin de St. Jacques in France, Danny Bernstein travels the second half of her month-long journey along one of France's national trails. Fall is firmly setting in, painting its colors along the countryside.

Senator Coburn Blames Congress, Bloated National Park Service, For State Of National Park System

Our National Park System has become a bloated, underfunded, kowtowing shadow of the ideal for which it was created, according to U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, who lays out his case in a report that casts a withering portrait of Congress as a poor overseer.

Walking Le Chemin De St. Jacques In France - Part 1

Scenery in the Aubrac
Le Chemin de St.Jacques in France, also the Grand Route 65, is a pilgrimage and hike, a segment of the El Camino de Santiago. You walk through forests and villages and past farms. This is part 1 of the 440-mile trail.

National Parks Traveler Member Giveaways-Clarification

Sometimes what seems like a great idea gets shot down before it's launched. That's the case with our members-only giveaways.

Guest Column: Where's The Vision For Properly Funding The National Park System?

In the wake of the recent closure of the National Park System, park supporters should redouble their efforts to build a country in which reliable long-term investment in our parks is part of a broader recommitment to our nation’s public interest.

A Day At Chateau d'If And The Frioul Archipelago In The French Mediterranean

Chateau d'If
Just off shore from Marseille lie two jewels of the French national park system, one a national monument that lives immortally in literature, the other a national park comprised of four islands.

Traveler's View: The National Park Service Has An Image Problem It Needs To Address

The National Park Service has a serious image problem, part of it earned, and part of it manufactured, that it needs to address.

Fall In Zion National Park, Magic And Majesty

There is only one word to describe Zion National Park in the fall and that is, magical. Or, would it be majestic?

If You Support Outdoor Advocacy Groups, We Want You As A Traveler Member!

If you support the National Parks Conservation Association, The Wilderness Society, the Southern Utah Wilderness Association, the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the American Hiking Society, or any other outdoors advocacy group, we want you as a National Parks Traveler member.