2014 was a record-setting year for attendance in the National Park System, where nearly 293 million visitors spent time, a jump of more than 5 million from the record year of 1999, according to official figures. While most of the "name brand" parks were packed, there were still some sites in the system where you could find some solitude.
What path should the National Park Service take as it enters its second century? How can the National Park Service continue to nurture landscapes, cultures, and American history without compromising the world's best collection of parks? In this unique collection of papers, National Parks Traveler will recapture Stephen Mather’s ambition of preserving “the most inspiring playgrounds and the best equipped nature schools in the world.”
Make an executive decision to visit a national park this Presidents Day weekend. All 405 national parks will offer free admission February 14-16.
Recently, a website that will go unmentioned put together a list of "the nation's worst national parks." While that list was soundly, and justifiably, ridiculed and dismissed, it brings to mind this question: What are the nation's best national parks? If you were to compile a Top 10 list of national parks, which would you include on it?
The National Park Service isn't the only entity turning 100 next year. So is Acadia National Park in Maine. If you want to stay atop of events surrounding Acadia's centennial, there's a website you should follow.
We all know about the more charismatic of the endangered and threatened bird species. Trail closures in Acadia National Park and Big Bend National Park remind us that Peregrine Falcons nest on cliffs in parks across the country. Piping Plovers are diminutive shorebirds that bring outsized responses of both appreciation and consternation when their nesting causes beach closures in the national seashores along the Atlantic.
Electric charging stations are beginning to sprout up around the National Park System, making it a bit easier for visitors with electric vehicles to recharge while enjoying the parks.
Whether it was due to lower gas costs, better weather, or an improving economy, the bottom line for the National Park System for 2014 was impressive: An increase of more than 20 million visitors over 2013 levels, for a record total of 294 million, according to unofficial statistics.
Today is not too early to make your summer vacation plans in the National Park System.
National Park Service, Unable To Complete Concessions Contracts On Time, Moves To Extend Dozens Across Park System
Hammering out concessions contracts across the National Park System is not an easy, or quick, job. Failure to reach new contracts before existing ones expired at the end of 2014 prompted the National Park Service to propose extended dozens of contracts for up to a year to keep visitor services operating without interruption.