One of my most favorite places on the face of the Earth is Great Basin National Park. It’s one of those Get Out and Do parks, although it certainly has a bunch of stuff for you if you prefer Look and See.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
If the mention of Judge Isaac Parker doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you will remember Hang ‘em High, a popular Western from 1968 starring Clint Eastwood. The movie was loosely based on He Hanged Them High, a book by Homer Croy that was, in turn, loosely based on the life and times of Judge Parker. In the movie, Eastwood portrayed a U.S. marshal who brought wrongdoers in to face the judge.
The world’s third-oldest national park (established as Rocky Mountains Park in 1887), Banff is a wonderland of hiking, mountain biking, golfing, climbing, horseback riding, fishing, rafting, kayaking, skiing … you name it.
Garden Key is surrounded by the lapping ocean and, after the sun goes down, the nightly entertainment arrives. At first there are just a few pinpoints of light, then Venus is seen on the horizon. By the time you lie down to sleep, the stars fill the skies over Dry Tortugas National Park. The real show, though, is hours away.
There’s a park in the Canadian Rockies that features one of the country’s tallest waterfalls, one of the world’s most treasured collections of fossils, “spiral tunnels” designed to help trains chug literally through mountains, and a stunning alpine area so pristine that the number of visitors are limited to keep it that way.
National parks are far from one-dimensional. They hold history, beauty, and the natural world in all the nooks and crannies of their landscapes. Old-growth forests, canyons that streams and rivers have gnawed into the earth, colorful coral reefs, expansive lakes, and some of the first vestiges of human encounters with nature all are contained within the parks. This great diversity and intersections of nature are what draws QT Luong again and again into the National Park System with his cameras.
A distinguished historian of the New Deal and American reform, Otis L. Graham, Jr., now offers us a monumental look at the presidency. Nor in preparing this book was he unmindful of the current election cycle. Who will be our next president, and of special relevance, will he or she be concerned about the environment?
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.
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.