Rocky Mountain National Park elk are not shy about posing for you. Indeed, they are the ubiquitous ambassadors for the park, and appear seemingly everywhere, at any time.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
There are trips where the road is the destination. In America, there’s Route 66, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, and Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. After my wife and I explored the northern nexus of Jasper National Park, the world-famous Icefields Parkway beckoned.
“Animal Life as an Asset of National Parks,” proposed two revolutionary ideas, first, that predators should live unmolested in the parks, and second, that education was essential to the visitor experience.
First, north to the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Then, a 9-mile drive on a narrow, twisting road through towering trees. Finally, another half-mile hike over a creek and into the heavens. And there, at the end of the Path of the Glacier Trail, a giant mass of rock reaches into the clouds. At the foot of 11,033-foot Mount Edith Cavell, you feel like you’re worshipping in a temple at the top of the world.
My first day in Costa Rica’s famed Manuel Antonio National Park was, surprisingly, underwhelming. We set out to find sloths and Technicolor birds, but instead we were greeted by dense vegetation, a few spiders, and crowded beaches, with sand too hot to walk on. We left, not understanding what all of the hype was about—much like the first time I went to Yellowstone National Park and didn’t see a bison.
Photographers know the golden hour as those fleeting minutes in the early morning and again in the early evening when the angle of sunshine creates softer, more vibrant lighting for photos. In Yosemite National Park, the golden hour is more like the golden season: autumn.
As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, we celebrate ongoing Earth and atmospheric research made possible by conservation efforts.
Swaying to and fro in the afternoon breeze, the River of Grass appears more like a wind-tussled meadow than a river. But beneath the sawgrass the water gurgles and creeps. It flows slowly south from Florida’s great inland sea—Lake Okeechobee—and into Everglades National Park, headed towards its final destination in Florida Bay.
The candles have all been blown out, the balloons popped, and nothing but crumbs are left from the many birthday cakes that marked the National Park Service’s 100th birthday. Now what?
The designation of Kathadin Woods and Waters National Monument was not without contention. When I visited, signs opposing the national monument were common, and the decision will be both positive and negative news to people throughout Maine.
We are nearing the end of a trip of nearly three weeks during which we stayed in or visited 24 national park lodges in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier national parks. As a conclusion to three weeks in three of America's most popular national parks we thought it might be worthwhile to offer some thoughts about the trip, the lodges, and the people.
Consider this future scenario: the desire to see the wonders of the American outdoors is considered uninteresting, unfruitful to thought, and an unproductive experience that doesn’t help with life. These thoughts are coming from the parents of the future who pass on their knowledge to their children.
National park leaders today worry about a growing disconnect between national parks and our techno-savvy youth. But our government no longer toils alone with such problems as unemployment and disaffected youth. Today there are hosts of nonprofit park partners and even local communities willing to help. Recently reintroduced to a handful of parks through public spirited philanthropy, the conservation corps for youth is an exceptionally impactful program from the past that should be a part of every national park's future.
When you're done hiking in the park or touring Skyline Drive, these Blue Ridge small towns have much to offer visitors.
The slide projector whirred on the table next to my desk as Mrs. Sampson, our fourth-grade teacher, worked the balky advancement mechanism. She had purchased the Kodachromes in strips from a gift shop during her summer vacation, and the images on the screen transfixed me: vertical cliffs of white granite, waterfalls misting in midair, pine trees rising from a grassy riverbank.
Throughout the past century, the NPS has excelled at providing opportunities for adventure, beauty, and shared experience. Looking forward, I challenge the agency to embrace its role in providing a place where the global public can step outside the social trappings that obscure their vision in everyday life in order to address the most challenging social issues of our day.
One of Yellowstone National Park's most ambitious construction projects is nearing completion. Canyon Lodge, largest of the park's nine lodging facilities, has undergone a facelift of major portions. Five large modern lodge buildings, each with approximately 80 guest rooms, will replace all of the 350 Frontier and Pioneer cabins that have been removed.
The centennial of the National Park Service (NPS) is inspiring an impressive amount of soul-searching about the agency and the lands for which it is responsible. This is timely and potentially beneficial. As many analysts as well as agency employees themselves have long argued, the NPS faces serious challenges that affect the preservation and management of these precious lands.
As the National Park Service tries to determine just how extensive sexual harassment and misconduct might be across its 20,000-workforce, questions about the appropriateness of Sports Illustrated's use of national parks to show off scantily glad models have surfaced.