The next time you go into a national park visitor center to buy a map, look at the person at the register. She or he won't be wearing the green and gray of a national park uniform; rather an employee of a cooperating association will be taking your money. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains Association, a membership organization, runs the visitor center bookstores and does a lot more.
A decades-long dispute is expected to come to an end Saturday when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar travels to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to sign off on a monetary settlement over the "Road to Nowhere" saga.
People who find themselves lost in the boonies, whether it's forest, field, desert or other terrain, frequently make the same mistake. If you find yourself unsure which route leads back to civilization, a recent incident at the Buffalo National River offers a clue about your most important task.
Perhaps it was the sour economy that kept folks close to home on their vacations, or maybe it was the lure of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 75th anniversary. Whatever the reason, Great Smoky saw nearly 9.5 million visitors in 2009, which is the greatest turnout in nearly a decade in the park.
Can you tell by looking at a wildflower in Yellowstone National Park what the underlying geology is? Or, while hiking through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, can you identify a bird simply by its song? Do you want to get relatively up close to the elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore? Here's how you can do all those things and more.
A conservation group is petitioning the federal government with a request that it close all caves and mines inhabited by bats on public lands in a bid to stop the spread of white-nosed syndrome among bats. At the same time, the Center for Biological Diversity wants the Eastern small-footed bat and the Northern long-eared bat to be listed as endangered species.
Elk populations seem to be growing satisfactorily in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But does that mean North Carolina wildlife officials should remove the protective status that prevents elk from being hunted in the area?