Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

From Visitor To Advocate: A Student’s Journey Through National Parks

How can you interest today's youth in national parks and the outdoors? Have them join the Student Conservation Association and take their park experiences a few steps beyond summer vacation trips.

Essential Friends + Gateways: The Boone Area High Country, An NC Parkway Gateway

The scenery and attractions of the lofty Blue Ridge Mountain bastion called the High Country are a pinnacle of the Blue Ridge Parkway experience.

Essential Friends + Gateways: The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Long On Road, Innovation, And Impact

Innovations the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is introducing on America’s most scenic road are finding their way all over the nation.

Secret Sleeps, Tips For Snagging A National Park Campsite This Summer

There is nothing as traditional as camping out in the national parks for summer vacation. Reserving a campsite on www.recreation.gov can lock in a site long before you hit the road, but sometimes you just don’t get around to doing that. So what to do?

Essential Friends + Gateways: Friends Of Acadia, Working On The Next 100 Years

Though the centennial for Acadia National Park, and the National Park Service, still is three years offer, Friends of Acadia already are working towards ensuring the park has a memorable second century.

Essential Friends + Gateways: Trust For the National Mall, New Efforts To Save Our Icons

National Mall at night, copyright Stephen R. Brown
The term “national park” has a kneejerk meaning to many—only the clued-in know how diverse “units” of the park system really are. Towering Half Dome in Yosemite National Park isn’t the only grand granite monument protected by the National Park Service—and you don’t even need to look beyond the borders of Washington, D.C., to prove it.

Biscayne, The Closest National Park To Miami, Remains A Mystery

Miami’s number one boating destination has an identity crisis. While it has won over Washington D.C. politicians, residents look right past it. Even thousand of volunteers who care enough to clean up the city’s main body of water, Biscayne Bay, don’t know that they are touching holy waters of the federal kind.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Friends + Gateways

Traveler's 2nd Annual Essential Friends + Gateways publication, a collaboration between the Traveler and a core group of national park foundations, cooperating associations, trusts, friends groups, and gateway communities, is aimed at enhancing and furthering the now nationally significant role of these organizations and entities in the preservation and enjoyment of our parks.

America’s Premier Hut System is 125 Years Old—A Classic Appalachian Trail Adventure

America’s premier hut system is 125 years old this year. Scattered for 56 miles along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in New Hampshire, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s system of 8 huts and two major lodges are all about a day’s hike apart. “This is an AT adventure of the first order,” says Rob Burbank, of the Appalachian Mountain Club. “Imagine an opportunity to hike one of the most rugged and spectacular sections of the Appalachian Trail with just a tooth brush in your pack!”

Traveler's Essential Friends + Gateways Initiative Celebrates National Parks

Just in time for National Park Week -- Traveler's 2013 magazine Essential Friends + Gateways! Flip through 50+ pages of full-color features celebrating national parks, their increasingly indispensable friends' groups—along with great park gateways and the local insight and travel tips you need to savor summer in the country's top national parks.

Denali And Rainier: Classic Climbs And Challenges

Mountaineers have a mystique all their own. They are the stuff of legends.

American Rivers: Colorado River Tops List Of 10 Most Endangered Rivers In United States

Despite taking in what the Green, Yampa, and other tributaries large and small contribute, the Colorado River is in a death spiral, over-allocated and a victim of growing climate change, left in a state of constant thirst that has made the river the most-endangered in the country, according to American Rivers.

Parks Beyond Borders: Pioneer Of Iraq’s First National Park Wins Global Environmental Award

The world’s largest prize for grassroots environmentalism has been awarded to Iraqi Azzam Alwash for the impending creation of Iraq’s first national park. The startling fact—this soon-to-be realized preserve in the Mesopotamian Marshland had to be recreated from scratch after being completely destroyed by Saddam Hussein.

Yes, The Sequestration Has Hit The National Parks. But They're Still Open And Still Spectacular!

Yes, our national parks are grappling with the loss of millions of dollars due to the failure of Congress and the Obama administration to treat the country's ailing fiscal condition, but they're still open, and still spectacular places to explore.

Wake Nicodemus!

What value is a site in the National Park System if the National Park Service can't afford to preserve it or tell its stories? That's the question looming over Nicodemus National Historic Site in Kansas.

Isle Royale National Park's Wolf Population Down To Just Eight, No New Pups Last Year

Just eight wolves can be found at Isle Royale National Park, the lowest count ever tallied, and no new pups were brought into the population last year, another first that seemingly moves the population closer to extinction.

Desert Treasures: Spring Blooms In Big Bend National Park

Thoughts of spring wildflowers usually bring visions of lush hills and meadows with picturesque streams. But not the desert. Certainly not arid West Texas. Yet by April, especially in years following a wet autumn, wildflowers and cacti turn the rugged landscape of Big Bend National Park into a palette of rainbow hues. And migrating birds add their colorful magic to the trees and thorn-covered vegetation.

Merced Wild And Scenic River Management Plan III: Will The Latest NPS Plan Protect The River (Or Hold Up In Court)?

With their latest management plan for the Merced River now out for public review, Yosemite National Park officials now face the task of defending it. Will it protect the river, and can it withstand a court challenge?

Photography In The National Parks: A Winter Watching Wolves In Yellowstone National Park

I woke up one morning thinking about wolves and realized that wolf packs function as families. Everyone has a role, and if you act within the parameters of your role, the whole pack succeeds, and when that falls apart, so does the pack. -- Jodi Picoult

Timeless Inspiration: Glacier National Park And The Art Of The Empire Builder

Railroads were around at the very start of the National Park System, and posters and paintings pairing the parks and trains once were common. Landscape artist J. Craig Thorpe preserves these two, parks and trains, in a number of artworks involving Glacier National Park and the Empire Builder passenger line.

Updated: Parks Beyond Borders: Can Africa's Elephants Survive Poachers, Ivory Markets ... And The Internet?

Wildlife-based tourism is vital to the economy of several African nations, but a surging demand for ivory is putting some elephant populations at risk. Can the animals in and out of the continent's national parks survive the combined power of poachers, ivory markets--and the Internet?

Parks Beyond Borders: Are African Forest Elephants On A Path To Extinction?

If you were to ask Americans to compile a short list of wildlife most associated with Africa, it's a pretty safe bet that elephants would be included. Unfortunately, it's gotten a lot harder lately to find as many of the iconic animals in central Africa, and a just-released study has confirmed a "devastating decline" in the population of forest elephants. Could they be headed for extinction?

Traveler's View: Congress, National Park Service Need To Restructure Fees For Centennial Celebration

"Mountaineers are always free" is West Virginia's state motto, but that sentiment is getting harder and harder to find in the National Park System, where an imbalance in fee structures charges you for sleeping on the bare ground but not for burning gas as you negotiate the 11-mile loop of Cades Cove.

Rebuilding After Sandy: Moving The National Park Service Forward With An Eye On Climate Change

If ever there was an exclamation point to a report warning of the consequences of climate change, Hurricane Sandy was it. As the storm swept up the Eastern Seaboard last fall it cut national seashores in two, inundated mainland parks that lie at sea level, downed untold scores of trees, and in its aftermath left the National Park Service with a glowing opportunity to put its parks back together with similarly potent storms in mind.
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Rebuilding After Sandy: Putting Gateway National Recreation Area Back Together Again

Photographic slides paper-clipped to strings to dry out. Officer's Row at Fort Hancock propped up with two-by-fours. Multi-use paths ripped out in places and buried in sand elsewhwere. That was part of the aftermath from Hurricane Sandy at Gateway National Recreation Area.

Skiing The Appalachian Trail—Get It While It's Cold: Video And Feature

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a great destination for cross country skiers—especially right now as the latest storm dumps more snow on the AT from North Carolina to New England. The AT only seems to be about summer. Backcountry ski enthusiasts—get out there!

Rebuilding After Sandy: How Assateague Island National Seashore Officials Are Dealing With Climate Change

While Hurricane Sandy brought torrential rains and heavy surf to Assateague Island National Seashore, the park greatly avoided staggering damage thanks to its relative lack of infrastructure when compared to Gateway National Recreation Area farther up the Eastern Seaboard.

Teaching Park Politics In Yellowstone National Park

When I tell people that I teach a summer course on the politics of Yellowstone, I always brace myself for the next question. “What politics can there be in a national park?” Plenty, as it turns out.

Rebuilding After Sandy: A Breach In The Wilderness At Fire Island National Seashore

Barrier islands are creatures of the seas, cast about and pushed around by the waves and currents. Proof of that can be found today at Fire Island National Seashore along the New York coast, where the barrier island it sets on was cut in two as well as shoved closer to the Long Island mainland by Hurricane Sandy.

Rebuilding After Sandy: How The National Park Service Is Putting The Pieces Back Together Again

Today, four months after Hurricane Sandy battered and bruised the Eastern Seaboard, the disarray the storm delivered across many units of the National Park System continues to be cleaned up. Some damage remains to be discovered. And though summer remains months away, some units will be severely challenged to be fully operational by Memorial Day.