It very likely will be a bit more costly to enter Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Acadia, Shenandoah and the other 126 units that charge entrance fees by the time the National Park Service's centennial arrives in 2016, and you also should brace for slightly higher fees to camp, shower, paddle, and participate in boat and cave tours.
My 10-year-old daughter, Alex, and I follow the steep and rugged New Hance Trail on a nearly 5,000-vertical-foot march down into the Earth’s most-famous hole in the ground. The sky seems to levitate steadily higher above us, but it’s just a trick played on the eyes by the severe topography of the Grand Canyon: As we slowly descend deeper, burgundy rock walls creep higher, pushing the cerulean dome overhead farther away from us.
It's been 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed The Wilderness Act into law in 1964, but the question remains: Why has so much land within the National Park System not been designated as wilderness?
Geology factors into many units of the National Park System, but there are some parks that rise above all others if you have an interest in the geologic past...and present. What follows is a short list of some of the most geologically fascinating parks in the system, though we're sure you can add others.
Grand Canyon National Park to require permits for non-commercial rim-to-rim hikes
Is the National Park System in danger of turning into a catchall system? Should a site dedicated to the nuclear arms race, another to union organizers, and another to First Ladies really fall under an agency that started out preserving spectacular vistas and landscapes, that showcases Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon?
If you can manage it, be sure to head to the National Park System on Monday, when the gates will all be open with no need to pay an entrance fee.
Railroads played a huge role in the establishment of the national parks in the early 20th century. Just how great their influence was will be discussed by Dr. Alfred Runte as part of the lecture series at Zion National Park this summer.