Travel two centuries ago was a water world, where rivers were the highways for exploration and movement across new lands. Thick forests hampered overland travel, but the need for connections between river drainages was keen, and primitive overland trails were created. The Natchez Trace is one such trail, stretching 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
Climbing gently through the piney woods, the rock staircase curves gracefully, flowing with the landscape. Unlike its predecessor, which made the climb in just 23 huge steps, this 47-step pathway takes more steps, but they are of the bite-sized variety and without uneven slabs that can trip up the unwary.
Winter wonderlands come in many shapes, forms, and temperatures in the National Park System. They can be pine forests shrouded in snow, or turquoise waters swimming with green parrotfish, blue tangs, and silvery barracudas. You can climb ice walls at Acadia National Park, kick-and-glide or skate to an overlook of Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley, or find your way to the 13,159-foot summit of Wheeler Peak atop Great Basin National Park.
What’s your ideal place to stay for a wintry escape into the National Park System? Is it a cozy cabin with fireplace and ample wood, or perhaps something in a warmer climate with views of sun-kissed turquoise waters? Or does your desire lie somewhere in-between? Fortunately, the park system is large and diverse. Finding that perfect home-away-from-home for a winter adventure may come down to deciding if you like it cold and snowy, or hot and sandy.
Winter is not the season to leave the rig in the driveway. Across the National Park System there are wonderful places to explore while half the nation is locked in snow and cold.
A thin ribbon of Yosemite National Park asphalt that during summer can be backed up with traffic enjoys its quiet season from mid-November through April, and often into May. That’s a long, wonderful period when snows muffle sound and block wheeled-traffic on a long stretch of the Glacier Point Road.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an enormous outdoor playground with 800-plus miles of trails stretching across its 500,000+ acres. As you can imagine, those trail miles require quite a bit of upkeep.
Among individuals associated with the Cherokee and their forced journey to a land they didn’t consider home, none was more influential than Sequoyah, the Cherokee who gave his people a system for recording and reading their language.
When it comes to construction skills, male Anhingas are slackers. Oh, they’re good at pulling together nesting materials, but that’s about it. Instead of turning the sticks, twigs, and leafy greenery they collect into a nest for their mates, they stash the materials in trees and let the females build the actual nest.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area has just released a set of six maps that describe "self-guided adventures that range from quick trips by car, to peaceful raft trips down the river to a four-wheel-drive backcountry trip to Lake Mead." What makes these maps unique is the fact they're being used to promote the park's nine wilderness areas.
Adam Markham, director of climate impacts for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Climate and Energy Program and a co-author of the report “National Landmarks at Risk," has written the following rebuttal to Dr. Daniel B. Botkin's column on climate change and his thoughts on what is, and isn't, driving it.
For those of us who love our national parks and are confronted daily with media, politicians, and pundits warning us of a coming global-warming disaster, it’s only natural to ask what that warming will mean for our national parks. This is exactly what the well- known Union of Concerned Scientists discuss in their recent report, National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires Are Threatening the UnitedStates’Most Cherished Historic Sites.
After 50 years, you would expect that the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), which administers the largest inventory of wilderness in the world, would have the best wilderness management program in the world. But, you would be very wrong.
Federal biologists believe elk hunters in Grand Teton National Park and on the National Elk Refuge in the next nine years will kill six more grizzly bears than originally anticipated.
As we told you last month, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis has given his superintendents the OK to increase entrance and other fees in their parks once they've conducted the requisite public outreach and engagement. While many fees are likely to increase by $5 or $10, there could be more creativity into fee collections aimed at generating more money for the parks.
The Missouri River, often referred to as the “Big Muddy” due to the large amount of sediment it carries, once served as the country’s major thoroughfare to the West, first by trappers and traders, and later by Lewis & Clark as the Corps of Discovery searched for a water route to a western ocean. Today it offers an incredible waterscape for paddlers in search of beauty.
You might think the arid climate of Saguaro National Park precludes trail woes, but you’d be wrong. Last year Friends of Saguaro National Park helped the park land a grant of more than $71,000 to help pay for the rerouting of a nearly mile-long section of the Carrillo Trail in the Cactus Forest. Over the years the trail had become badly eroded, no doubt because of its popularity as part of the “Three Tanks Loop” that gives hikers a panoramic view of the Cactus Forest and even the city of Tucson.
With a park system that is being strangled by its maintenance backlog and operating costs, would the National Park Service, and the system, be better off if the agency outsourced entire parks?
There are 3,381 miles that separate my quaint and humid Baton Rouge neighborhood from the front door of Mount McKinley in Alaska's Interior. I have no doubt you can envision the stark contrast between the two, but let me give you a first-hand perspective.