Flying into Kalispell, your eyes dart here and there, trying to take in all the peaks clawing skyward. While this laid-back Montana town is the western gateway to Glacier National Park, it's also seated in the Crown of the Continent, an idea as much as a phrase that captures Rocky Mountain wildness.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
I recently headed south from home toward Arizona where grand daughter number one just finished becoming a mechanical engineer. The end of something like six years of grueling work – with a cum laude to boot – meant that a proud grandpa absolutely had to be in the crowd at Arizona State to cheer her on. She even managed to do it without student loans although she does owe a bunch on the beautician’s training that helped pay the bills.
Big Bend National Park offers an incredible mix of experiences, from the rugged mountainous part of the park down to the Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry on the Rio Grande River, which offers much different and a unique experience.
Maine isn’t all rocky coastlines. Travel to the Pine Tree State’s interior and you’ll find a mythical, verdant, forested woodland of hemlock and balsam that inspired Henry David Thoreau’s treatise, The Maine Woods
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.
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.