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The latest news from around the National Park System.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Gets a Construction Permit at Long, Long Last

Much has transpired in the 13 long years since Congress authorized the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial for our nation’s capital. Now, nearly three years since the groundbreaking, a construction permit has finally been issued. Completion is slated for 2011.

More Than A Few Ghost Stories Swirl About Crater Lake National Park

Have you ever heard a man describe a woman as being “so beautiful it hurts”? Well, it’s a phrase that suits Crater Lake National Park perfectly. Just under 2,000 feet deep, Crater Lake is the clearest, cleanest, and deepest body of water in the United States. To the Klamath Indians, it was a sight too sacred for human eyes. To their way of thinking, to gaze upon the azure waters was to risk “death and lasting sorrow.”

Each Generation Seems To Stamp Its Imprint on the National Parks

For those who see the national parks as being preserved time immemorial under gigantic bell jars, there is evidence that each succeeding generation makes an imprint or two on the parks. It wasn't too terribly long ago, for instance, that you climbed into the bleachers to watch the bear buffets in Yellowstone National Park, or that the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon National Park had separate dining areas for men and women.

Visiting Zion National Park in November? Here’s the Fall Schedule for the Free Park Shuttle

Fall can be a wonderful time to see Zion National Park, and the free shuttle service in Zion Canyon allows you to concentrate on the scenery instead of a search for a parking place. The shuttle will continue to run during November, but on a reduced schedule. Here's what you need to know for a visit.

How Interstate 40's Closure Is Affecting Travel To Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It could take three months or longer to clean up a rock slide and reopen a section of Interstate 40 on the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That means getting to the park from some areas will be a bit tricky. It also means don't rely on your GPS units to find a shortcut, as that could spell trouble.

You'll Need to Win the Lottery to Attend This Year’s National Christmas Tree Lighting

People who want to attend this year’s National Christmas Tree lighting on December 3 (invited VIPs excepted, of course) will need to score tickets distributed to the general public by lottery. You can enter the lottery online or by phone during November 4-6. Here are the details.

Anniversary Celebration of California Desert Protection Act at Mojave National Preserve

October 31 isn't just about pumpkins and goblins anymore. The date also marks the anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act, a major milestone for Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve. The day will be celebrated at a special event on Saturday at the Mojave National Preserve.

Winter Lodging Deals at Mammoth Cave, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Death Valley National Parks

Comparatively few people think of visiting national parks during the winter months, and that's unfortunate for a variety of reasons. Not only does this season present an entirely different view of the parks than the one you normally experience during spring and summer, but lodging typically is less expensive, as the following offers demonstrate.

Mammoth Cave National Park Harbors More Than A Few Ghost Stories

With more than 150 documented paranormal events, many of them experienced by credible witnesses such as rangers and scientists, Mammoth Cave National Park easily qualifies for the title “most haunted natural wonder in the world.” Park rangers Colleen O’Connor Olson and Charles Hanion have recorded many of the park’s creepiest tales in their book Scary Stories of Mammoth Cave, a must read for anybody intrigued by the park’s supernatural history.

Congress Boosts National Park Service Budget by $130 Million to $2.7 Billion

Congress on Thursday gave the National Park Service a 9 percent budget bump, one that translates into a $130 million boost above the appropriation sought by President Obama. If signed by the president, which is expected to prevent the government from grinding to a halt this weekend, the Park Service's Fiscal 2010 budget will stand at $2.7 billion.

Yosemite Fund Provides Nearly $6 Million For Yosemite National Park Improvements

It's well-known that the National Park Service doesn't have all the funding it needs to protect the national parks. That's why contributions, such as the $5.8 million check the Yosemite Fund handed over to Yosemite National Park officials the other day, are so important.

Bison Will Soon Roam Again at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Thirteen bison fresh from Wind Cave National Park will soon be released in Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Destined to become one of the preserve's main attractions, the charismatic animals restore an important element of biodiversity and historical character to a national park that was established to protect one of America’s last remaining large tracts of tallgrass prairie.

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