A new year is just beginning to shed its first blush, so the time couldn't be better to compile a list of things we'd like to see happen across the National Park System in 2015, so let's jump right in!
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
One of the busiest weeks of winter has brought heavy snows to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, but staffing woes have closed the sledding and snow play areas at Paradise, frustrating locals and businesses in the areas close to the Nisqually Entrance in the park's southwestern corner.
New units to the National Park System, a face-off over concession fees at Grand Canyon National Park that impacted nearly a quarter of the park system, and even the basic relevancy of national parks were among the top stories of 2014 involving the park system.
A prominent figure of Seattle, Washington, Carsten Lien grounded his career in business and government with a love for Olympic National Park. Alfred Runte recounts how Lien fought to save the park after observing that it had been logged. The result was a history of the park disclosing the controversy of saving old-growth forests from the Park Service itself. The book is again available as Olympic Battleground: Creating and Defending Olympic National Park. Second edition, reissued.
Though the summer months are the peak travel seasons for national parks in the Rocky Mountain region, the winter months with their snow and cold...and often crystalline skies...are perfect for a retreat to the Rockies. Here's a handful of parks worthy of your consideration.
With long, cold, snowy months descending on the northern half of the country, it's not a bad time to cast your eyes to the south and national parks where you can find warm weather, sandy beaches, and plenty of sunshine.
Winter isn’t the best season to be outdoors in the East, but what better season to truly appreciate what the Colonials endured 240 years ago?
As Isle Royale National Park managers mull the future of the park's wolf population, biologists and ecologists are urging them to step in with a genetic rescue.
The enormous variety of areas in the National Park System means there's also quite a range of experiences when it comes to getting to and from your park destination. Whether you're taking the subway or city bus to an urban park or riding a train, small plane or ferry to reach your destination in Alaska, there are plenty options for a memorable trip...and sometimes they can be memorable indeed.
In response to a guest column on climate change that disputed the belief that human activities are driving global warming, a quartet of scientists and former National Park Service employees say the evidence for anthropogenic global warming is indisputable.
Why is an outdoor equipment manufacturer tutoring kids in Tanzania, and donating part of their profits around the world? It's just another day for Davis Smith, the founder of Cotopaxi. Smith spent his childhood growing up in Latin America with his father, often camping on Ecuador's Mount Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, and the origins of his company name.
The 1950s and 1960s were a period of strife coupled with significant progress in America’s struggle with civil rights. Marches, sit-ins, and violence were accompanied by legislation, desegregation, and, in some instances, accommodation. Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Greensboro, and Washington, D.C. are remembered as some of the principal battlegrounds in the conflict and struggle for equal rights.
Over the years park rangers have demonstrated some impressive talent, but when it comes to securing a place in entertainment history, few can compete with Stan Jones. He was working as a ranger in Death Valley National Monument in the late 1940s when a series of serendipitous events led to a remarkable new career, and his story is told in an entertaining new book, Ghost Riders In the Sky: The Life of Stan Jones, The Singing Ranger.
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.
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.