Not long into the development of the world’s first national park system, ranchers in and around the valley floor of Estes Park, Colorado, came to an obvious realization: keeping guests happy was easier, and more profitable, than cattle.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
The deafening roar of the 225-horsepower Mercury engine propelled our skiff across the turquoise expanse of Biscayne Bay. It was hard to imagine that less than an hour earlier I’d been sipping a café cubano in the heart of downtown Miami. Here we were though, making headway toward an offshore reef to explore some of South Florida’s renowned marine habitat.
For more than a century, freight trains have rumbled up and over Marias Pass, skirting the south boundary of Glacier National Park, casting rolling shadows on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River below. Until recently the major threat was a grain car derailment, which on occasion left bears woozy from eating fermented grain. Today a derailment involving a 100-car train hauling highly combustible Bakken crude oil risks an environmental catastrophe unprecedented in National Park Service history.
Located roughly mid-way between New York City and Philadelphia, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a verdant, mountainous oasis cut by a cooling river that attracts millions every year, with most coming during the summer months to relax and gain a bit of respite from the region's notorious humidity. Those millions, though, can be oppressive when squeezed too closely together.
Is that number, $2.5 million, accurate, Budweiser, or is there a zero missing? I mean, you get to be a proud partner of the world's most incredible national park system for two years, get to have your corporate logo on the same page as the National Park Service arrowhead, and all it costs you is $2.5 million?
The National Park Service reminds me of a proud old ship sailing confidently across the North Atlantic. The captain is beaming and the passengers seem contented, at least, those traveling first class on the upper decks. It’s below decks that the problems lurk. The crew is perhaps too easy going, believing the ship will always reach New York. However, the engines are old, the iron plating is thin, and the rivets are working loose.
Find yourself deep in the Southwest in spring and you’ll enjoy the mild weather, perfect for this trio of parks.
Well, readers, as you might have guessed, the Traveler had a pretty extreme technical meltdown this afternoon. Fortunately, it's back and running. Unfortunately, it lost two days' worth of copy...and comments. We can somewhat easily replace the copy, but not so easily replace the comments.
As I gazed out on the bay and up to the roof of Acadia National Park, it was hard to believe that it had been 40 years since I first set foot on Mount Desert Island. I was only about nine or 10 years old at the time, and on my very first trip to a national park. I didn't understand Acadia National Park, or know what to expect. To me it was just our family vacation.
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis waived agency policies against partnering with alcoholic beverage companies so the National Park Foundation could sign a multi-million-dollar agreement with Anheuser-Busch, a deal that provides Budweiser with valuable branding placements during the Park Service's centennial campaign.
Rising before the sun, I was out the cabin door not long after its rays started cascading on the Continental Divide. The early departure was necessary to catch the gentle morning light warming the landscape of Rocky Mountain National Park. I also wanted to snag a parking spot at Bear Lake and head up the trail.
On a day set aside to celebrate the Earth and the environmental movement, the Interior Department and National Park Service gave us dollars and cents.
The National Water Trails System currently includes 18 trails in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin for a total of 2,674.2 miles of NWT.
National Park Week officially kicks off tomorrow, April 18, and if you're wondering how to celebrate, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation have some ideas.
We splash downstream in The Narrows of the North Fork of the Virgin River, deep in the backcountry of Utah’s Zion National Park, mostly craning our necks up like turkeys hypnotized by falling rain. But our fascination is not with rain, but red walls on both sides that rise hundreds of feet overhead. The sun does not find us in this deep canyon, where the air temperature approximates the inside of a refrigerator, and the ankle- to calf-deep water feels about the same.
As a longtime resident of northern Virginia, I feel like I know Shenandoah National Park fairly well. I’ve driven the 105-mile length of Skyline Drive several times, stayed in and near the park, and spent many weekends hiking there. And yet I’ve never experienced the park from the back of a horse...until now.
Arizona is rich in history -- from the 1800s all the way back to the Late Triassic Period. Stitch together this trip that winds out of Flagstaff to Montezuma Castle National Monument, to Petrified Forest National Park, and ends at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. You’ll experience fascinating chapters of geologic and cultural history.
“...One Of The Sweetest, Brightest, Grandest, And Loneliest Of Primitive Regions Still Remaining In Our America...”
Roller-coaster wave trains. Holes that could swallow Volkswagens. Scenery that takes your breath away.
The National Park System offers countless paddling opportunities...as well as impediments to paddling. There are free-flowing, gin-clear streams, and pollution threats in the form of fracking operations, agriculture, and population growth. And there are experiences that will pull you into wilderness settings that seemingly turn the calendar back a century or more.
Take a walk to the Bloody Angle at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, stand before the Kirkland Memorial just below the Sunken Road, or gaze at the bed where General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson died and the gravity of this nation’s greatest internal conflict washes over you.