The Latest News & Views

At Big Thicket National Preserve, a Combative Drug Dealer Changes His Mind When Ranger Stafford Shows Him His Taser

At Big Thicket National Park, a man involved in a drug transaction started to resist arrest. He abruptly changed his mind when ranger Johnny Stafford drew his Taser and displayed the spark. Did the miscreant holler “Don’t taze me, bro!”?

A Historian's Take on the National Park Service

Once a decision is made, it's left to the historians to decide how sound it was. After all, history can speak volumes. It can point to incredibly great decisions, as well as point out some horrendous ones. With that understood, here are some thoughts from Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, a former chief historian of the National Park Service.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area Hosts 150,000 Weekenders and a Hells Angels Poker Run

More than 150,000 visitors enjoyed Lake Mead National Recreation Area on Labor Day weekend. Park officials planned carefully beforehand to handle the throng, which included about 150 Hells Angels bikers passing through on a poker run. Despite a severe thunderstorm and other complications, there were few serious incidents and only one fatality.

National Parks Will Waive Entrance Fees on September 27, National Public Lands Day

You’ll love what they see at the national park entrance gates on Saturday, September 27. It’s the 15th annual National Public Lands Day, and all parks will be waiving their admission fees. It’d be nice if you volunteered to help with the site restoration and cleanup efforts planned for that day.

Visitation Decline at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Has Area Businesses, Residents, and Governments Worried

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the busiest of the flagship National Parks, reports 5% lower visitation at its main entrances and anticipates 250,000 fewer visitors this year. The related decline in visitor-based income and tax revenues has area businesses, employees, and governments fretting.

The National Park Service's First Plane Was a Tough-As-Nails 1928 Fairchild FC-2W2

In the 1930s the National Park Service’s first plane, a 1928 Fairchild FC-2W2 piloted by legendary aviator Dave Driskill, shuttled passengers, mail, and other stuff to and from CCC camps in the Outer Banks. Now privately owned, it is still flying.

Fall Colors: What Can We Expect Across the National Park System?

A Labor Day weekend cold front dropped snow levels in some parts of the Rockies to below 10,000, which is a pretty good indicator that fall is not far off. And so, with that warning, it's only natural to wonder how the fall color displays will be in the national parks.

Fort Davis National Historic Site Commemorates a Key Frontier Military Post

Established 47 years ago on September 8, 1961, Fort Davis National Historic Site is an outstanding example of a western frontier military post. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis guarded travelers, mail, and freight moving on the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail.

The Denali Road Lottery Offers Regulated Leaf Peeping at Alaska’s Denali National Park

After the shuttle buses cease operating at Denali National Park, motorists with lottery-distributed permits can take fall color tours on the 92-mile shuttle road. This year’s Denali Road Lottery will take place September 12-15, weather permitting. Up to 400 vehicles per day will be allowed.

Canyon Wilderness of the Southwest

Sweeping panoramas, fluted slot canyons and fossilized sand dunes are among the subjects that Jon Ortner brings into focus with Canyon Wilderness of the Southwest, an expansive coffee table book.

Mountain Pine Beetles Chewing into Grand Teton National Park Forests

There are splashes of fall color showing up in Grand Teton National Park, but the reds and rusts are not associated with the changing of the seasons. Rather, they're a dire harbinger of what climate change could exact from the park's forests.

Landscape Painting Donated to Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park's art collection has grown by one. A landscape painting of the Tetons by the late Harrison R. Crandall, who made a career photographing and painting the Tetons, has been donated to the park by his daughter, Quita Crandall Pownall, and her husband, Herb Pownall.

Sky-High Ginseng Prices Boost Illegal Harvest in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With ginseng fetching record high prices, illegal harvesting has increased in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is a serious federal crime. Convicted ginseng poachers get hefty fines and jail time.

It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park

President Bush received a very special tour of Gettysburg National Military Park. To paraphrase Mel Brooks, “It’s Good to be the President.”

Management Shuffle Yields New Superintendent for Shenandoah National Park

Martha Bogle, Deputy Superintendent of Blue Ridge National Parkway, has been appointed superintendent of Shenandoah National Park. An innovative project she supervised during an earlier assignment at Congaree National Park testifies to her remarkable managerial skills.

Pilgrim Places: Civil War Battlefields, Historic Preservation, and America’s First National Military Parks, 1863-1900, Part VI

With the exception of Grover Cleveland, every United States president from Ulysses S. Grant through William McKinley was a veteran of the Union army, as were many congressmen. Following reconstruction, the sectional reconciliation paved the way for ex-Confederates and their political spokesmen in Washington to join Northern leaders in supporting battlefield commemoration.

Yellowstone National Park Reporting Bullish Visitation

Ahhh, Yellowstone National Park. Its magic captures just about anyone who visits, or reads an article about this incredible park. Perhaps that's why, when other parks are reporting dips in visitation, Yellowstone is reporting strong tourist traffic.

Concern in Thailand: Too Much Private Investment in National Parks

Concern over private investment in national parks is not strictly an American issue. In Thailand there are worries that too much private investment is being allowed in that country's parks.

Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace

Flamingo Lodge, the only major lodging facility in Everglades National Park, was trashed by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005. If enough money can be found somewhere, it’ll be replaced with a lodging complex that is smaller, greener, and more hurricane-resistant.

Hanna Forcing Evacuations, Closures at Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout National Seashores

Tropical storm Hanna's approach to the Carolinas has forced some evacuations and closures at Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras national seashores, and more steps could be taken depending on the severity of the storm.