Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the first of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
Essential Fall Guide '14: Celebrating Rocky Mountain National Park's Centennial, Join The Party At Estes Park
I don’t usually look to elk for hiking companions, but as I worked my way from Nymph Lake to Dream Lake towards my final destination at Emerald Lake, I couldn’t ignore the cow elk and her young calf. We didn’t share the trail, but they paralleled my travels and stuck close to the cascading creek that wore the lakes like gems on a necklace. They enjoyed the succulent vegetation while I enjoyed the Rocky Mountain grandeur.
Visitors to the far north might think they know what’s big. That is, until they see it, touch it, and feel it. In Alaska, peaks and glaciers, rivers and lakes, waterfalls and forests, beaches and bays stretch far away to all horizons, nearly untouched by the hand of man. Even the chattiest air traveler will grow quiet as they fly for hours over pristine landscapes. Things are different up North, and that’s why we love it.
Finding yourself in West Yellowstone, Montana, this fall is the easy part. Deciding what to do, well, that could take some time
There’s a sense of place in the West. It flows from endless stands of lodgepole pines, glades of aspen tinged gold by the season, horizons that spread the sky wider than you’ve ever noticed. Spend a little time here, and it seeps into you. It’s the distant bugle of a bull elk, a band of pronghorn darting across the open range, the chortling flock of sandhill cranes, southbound, high overhead. They all fill your senses with the West as it’s always been, as it always should be.
For many, fall conjures images of blizzards of golden leaves, the eerie bugles of bull elk, and the first crisp, possibly snow-dusted, days of year’s end. For the northern half of the country these are the realities of the National Park System. There are the breathtaking days of hiking, watching wildlife on the move, and even tasting the season in the bounties of wild berries and other fruits.
Concessions Contract Will Cost Grand Canyon National Park $100 Million, But Benefit Park In Long Run
A new concessions contract for businesses on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will cost the park $100 million, an amount that could impact just about all operations in the park, Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said Wednesday. In the long run, however, the move stands to benefit both the park and its visitors, observers believe.
In central New Jersey, just a short distance from New York City, the Continental Army hunkered down in a place called Jockey Hollow for a long, cold, harsh winter of monitoring the British troops across the Hudson River in New York City. Today you can get a feel for this setting -- though it's heavily urbanized these days -- with a visit to Morristown National Historical Park where General George Washington and 10,000-12,000 troops spent what's believed to be the coldest winter on record.
Next time you find yourself in a gift shop at a national park, check out where the items were made. You just might be surprised that a majority of the items are made in America, with fewer and fewer bearing an oval gold-and-black 'Made in China' sticker on them.
At Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, the National Park Service should welcome a discussion into a form of backcountry travel that, if properly managed, need not alter the decades-long experience of visiting these two magnificent parks, but rather enhance it for a small number of wilderness travelers.
Many national parks preserve aspects of the past, and in the case of Fossil Butte National Monument, that past goes back 55 million years ago, a time when the landscape of western Wyoming was very different from the windswept plains we see today.
Threading through the backcountry, and frontcountry, of Yellowstone National Park are creeks and streams fueled by springs and snowmelt, some only several feet across, some dozens of feet wide. More than 300 topple over waterfalls at least 15 feet high, while others meander placidly through the Lamar and Hayden valleys.
Legislation introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives would, if enacted as drafted, require the National Park Service to determine "a nationally consistent entrance fee policy and corresponding rate structure" for the 401 units of the National Park System, a potentially sweeping requirement that seemingly could generate tens of millions of additional dollars for the parks.
Essential Summer Guide '14: Spanish Galleons, Elephant Seals, And Great Birding At Point Reyes National Seashore
It's the stuff of legends, of treasure seekers. Somewhere, not far from land, lies buried treasure in the seabed of Drakes Bay. Within the remains of the 16th century Spanish galleon San Agustin there could be priceless heirlooms, or merely shards of porcelain dishes that the ship was carrying from the Philippines to Mexico. What is known is that the wreck of the San Agustin in 1595 in waters now within Point Reyes National Seashore is the first recorded shipwreck on the West Coast.
Plant yourself -- leaning into the wind, of course -- on the open prairie near South Pass City, Wyoming, and you can quickly envision the setting that faced Conestoga-riding emigrants more than a century ago in their exodus to the West Coast. Endless miles of sagebrush, the Wind River Range looming ever-present to the north, a boundless sky dotted here and there with distant rainstorms.
Once considered largely to be worthless, national parks today are economic engines that generate $26.5 billion for the nation's economy.
Essential Summer Guide '14: Turtles, Birds, And Surf-Kissed Beaches At Padre Island National Seashore
Turtles and birds are some of the higher profile visitors to the stretch of Texas along the Gulf Coast that's home to Padre Island National Seashore.
The warm Gulf waters are the main attraction at Gulf Islands National Seashore, but anyone with an interest in American history – from the Colonial days up through World War II – will find a reason to visit as well.
Canada’s Point Pelee National Park is for the birds, literally. Established in 1918, the park was created to protect some of the last remaining wild marsh and forest habitat along the north shore of Lake Erie. Bird fanciers, both those who watched them and those who hunted them, spearheaded the drive to protect the land. Duck hunting is no more at Point Pelee, but the bird watching remains, and this curious spit of land continues to enjoy the guarantee of preservation from Parks Canada.
"Chatham." That one word captures a rich and poignant chapter of American history spanning nearly 250 years.