On a warm summer day, under calm blue skies, the Railroader's Festival came off without a hitch, but a lot of steam, at Golden Spike National Historic Site.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
Taiga is a word of just two syllables, and yet it connotes remoteness. Its synonym – boreal – is slightly more familiar, though it too conjures the distant, the mysterious. But if you travel to the Great Lakes, to the national lakeshores that line the southern shores of those inland oceans known as Superior and Michigan, you can find yourself deep in the coniferous forests, the taiga or boreal forests, more familiar to the Canadian landscapes to the north.
From enjoying the park’s waters, to relishing the changing scenery and observing the raucous wildlife, autumn in Rocky Mountain National Park is full of adventures and sights you won’t want to miss.
Perhaps few people today remember Nancy Ayers, but I will never forget her. Certainly, on being informed of her death last winter, a flood of memories came rushing back. In her honor, I decided to reread Polly Welts Kaufman's National Parks and the Woman’s Voice. Although I recalled no woman in the book quite like Nancy, I owed it to her to reflect on our friendship. A book reminiscent of her qualities seemed the perfect touch.
September into the heart of November are my favorite months in the National Park System. The days aren’t quite as long as they are in July and August, but the bugs and crowds are on the wane, wildlife is on the move, and the crisp night air is perfect for sleeping under the stars, or in a cozy cabin.
There has been lots of discussion and debate on the Traveler in recent months over the size of the National Park System as well as the propriety of some of the units in that system. Most recently, a reader took issue with a piece looking at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site that questioned what the goal of the historic site really was.
Editor's note: The Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, previously known as the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, maintains the National Park System in its current form is too small, and that more effort should be made to expand it. In this article, the Coalition explains its rationale for such an effort.
I’m really not sure what to write about Fort Vancouver. It’s a concoction of miscellany that is very hard to define, much less describe. It didn’t take me very long to begin wondering just where this place should fit in the big scheme of national parks – or even if it should.
Hagerman, Idaho, is a very small town. I think the sign said something like 470 people live there. About halfway down Main Street, right across from the high school and next door to a storefront church you will find the visitor center for Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. Be careful. You might miss it and have to go around the block.
It’s a winding drive through Idaho fields of corn, grain, sugar beets and potatoes. Out into the middle of a vast plain of irrigated fertility. But just 74 years ago, it was a spreading plain of sagebrush squatting beside a large irrigation canal carrying Snake River water to farms further west. It was a desolate, nearly empty place. A perfect place for a prison camp.
Fewer than 100 miles separate Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida from Biscayne National Park, yet when it comes to views on preservation the two parks are light-years apart.bicy-donahue_wilderness_survey.pdf
What about all that green marketing and certification that surrounds ecotourism these days? It sounds good, but is ecotourism all it claims to be? Once established, does the inevitable cycle of tourism development change the very environment and local culture that ecotourism is meant to protect?
Autumn is a spectacular time to visit Denali National Park. The alpine and subalpine tundra at higher elevations gleam with fall color by mid- to late-August. The taiga at lower elevations is aglow in reds by early September, a time when the aspen and balsam poplar near the park entrance turn brilliant yellow and gold.
First, some warnings. If you plan to visit John Day Fossil Beds, be prepared. Road maps might make it look as if the national monument is plunk in the middle of pretty well-inhabited country with towns frequent along the roads.
If California senator Dianne Feinstein has her way, Congress will finally vote on a new national monument encompassing 965,000 acres in the Mojave Desert. Other preservation measures are also planned. Lying roughly between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park, this particular monument would in effect round out the California Desert Protection Act of 1994.
At Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah you can stand at 10,000 feet elevation on the rim of a spectacular 2,000-foot deep amphitheater of eroded rock stretching a width of about three miles. You will marvel at the dramatic shapes of the columns and spires, and at the reds, yellows and oranges of the stone formations.
It is time to rethink the direction and management of the National Park System. It is time to ask if the Ssystem has grown so large that it is unmanageable and not fundable.
It sounds like a page from the script of Jaws, a blockbuster 40 years old this summer in which a massive great white shark terrorizes a fictional New England beach town during the Fourth of July weekend. No great white sharks are thought to be involved in the attacks at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and there have been no deaths, but three separate incidents there in the past week have officials warning beach goers to stay out of the water if they fear sharks.
There are many historic trails that are part of the National Park System. If you’re headed out West this summer, take the high route along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers in Montana and retrace one of our nation’s most historic explorations.
With the Green and Colorado rivers in the neighborhood, it's not surprising that the Yampa River that flows through Dinosaur National Monument is overlooked. And that's not a bad thing.