We recently returned to Keweenaw National Historical Park in Michigan after an absence of nearly a decade following our first visit in 2007. The national historical park covers a substantial amount of real estate as it spans much of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This large expanse makes it likely a visitor will miss at least some of the park's important features, one of the reasons we chose to visit a second time.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
I placed a mix of boneless breast meat, boneless thighs, and bone-in thighs into the bottom of the Dutch oven, and the meat began to sizzle in the hot olive oil. Diced onions, potatoes, sliced celery, and dried morels from the nearby mountains soon followed.
As part of National Parks Traveler's Centennial Series, a collection of papers and essays commemorating the National Park Service Centennial, Chelsea Skoject, a natural resources conservation student on track to graduate in 2017 from the University of Florida Natural Resources Conservation, explores the question of who will preserve national park landscapes in the future.
Everglades National Park is our only national wetland park, and one of the largest aquascapes in the world. Perhaps more than any other U.S. national park, Everglades' treasures are hard to defend. Lying at the southern end of an immense watershed the size of New Jersey, Everglades National Park is caught between the largest man-made water project in the world upstream and a rapidly rising ocean downstream.
Mexico's Islas Marietas National Park is a gem, with fascinating wildlife, and interesting caves and cliffs. But today, one of the most famous sites, Playa Escondida (Secret Beach) has been closed for rehabilitation.
A plan to crisscross 110 square miles of swampy landscape in a search for oil promises to test the National Park Service's ability to balance the unimpairment of resources with the "enjoyment of privately owned oil and gas interests" at Big Cypress National Preserve, a nearly three-quarters-of-a-million-acre wildland that nurtures endangered species and filters a good portion of the sheet of water that nourishes the "river of grass" on its way into neighboring Everglades National Park.
The majesty of Yosemite is all around. Just across from Glacier Point Lower and Upper Yosemite falls plummet thousands of feet. To the right the Merced River feeds Nevada Fall, then Vernal Fall, emptying into America’s grandest landscape. Cloud’s Rest and Half Dome, of course, anchor the horizon to the east, while deep in the valley the forests, meadows, and river murmur.
As part of National Parks Traveler's Centennial Series, a collection of papers and essays commemorating the National Park Service Centennial, Dr. Harry Butowsky, a National Park Service historian who oversaw the agency's digital library, put together the following list of key events and legislation from the first century of the National Park Service.
Spring in Yosemite National Park following a wet winter is spectacular. Waterfalls roaring, thundering, pouring over granite cliffs, cascading down boulder-strewn canyons. Rainbows in waterfalls. Merced River at flood stage. Lush green meadows. Trees bursting with new spring growth. Lovely white blossoms on graceful branches of dogwood trees reaching out over the Merced River. Snow-capped peaks in the backcountry.
Imagine a 2.5-mile-long lake in Zion Canyon, one nearly 400 feet deep that shimmered in the canyon for roughly 700 years. It's hard to grasp, but even harder to envision is a mountainside peeling off the face of what is known today as the Sentinel in Zion National Park and filling the valley floor in seconds with 286 million cubic meters of rock and dirt.
The rich cobalt blue waters of Crater Lake are the centerpiece for this national park in southern Oregon. Its geologic birth has left an enormous volcanic caldera, in which the lake rests today. The story of the lake’s birth is as fascinating and striking as the park itself.
I met the bison calf who took a ride in an SUV early one evening as I drove west in Lamar Valley, past the pullout known as “Picnic.” The late afternoon sun on a stormy day landscape was the light that photographers dream of shooting, with wild animals on a horizon and Yellowstone National Park's gorgeous mountains off in the distance.
The National Park Service Centennial in 2016 presents an important opportunity to reflect on the system’s enormous growth and change since its inception. From a mere handful of national parks scattered across the West in 1916, the system now exceeds 410 units stretching across all 50 states and covering roughly 84 million acres.
We stand on the cusp of the National Park Service’s second century, at an intersection of retrospection and promise. It’s the perfect point from which to look back on the first 100 years of the management of the world’s greatest park system, and to examine how it can be improved moving forward into the future.
Despite a few lingering snow squalls, spring has settled over the National Park System, and summer isn't too far off. Road trips, hikes, and exploring the parks are on your to-do list. To help you out with that, turn to our Essential Park Guide Summer 2016.
As Vanessa McDonough scanned the ocean floor off the South Florida coast, she spotted an empty beer bottle among the fish, corals, and sponges protected by Biscayne National Park. Only the bottle wasn’t empty. Upon closer examination, a small fish had swam inside, and pebbles and shells had blocked the exit. “The poor fish was a prisoner in this Corona bottle,” she said.
Abraham Lincoln saw in the name renewal—the Union Pacific. Chartered by Congress in 1862, it was a railroad forged out of the depths of civil war. Lincoln then fervently hoped to heal the Union by stretching its tracks across the West. Finally, with Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, the great undertaking could begin. By then, Lincoln had been assassinated, but the Union would indeed endure.
There was a large grizzly bear that roamed Yellowstone National Park, purposeful in his long stride. His profile distinct, due to the indentation of the collar he normally wore, his thin neck and long nose, and a mangled right ear and scars on his face from a battle.
The Ivory Burn is about to happen and for days the internet has been full of pictures of the pyres being built, conservationists having their pictures taken with tusks, and heart-felt video pleas.
Matt Holly is a lifelong parks and maps enthusiast. He put his interests together and created the website National Park Maps, which now has more than 1,000 free maps.