After you've purchased your annual parks pass, or paid your week-long entrance fee to your favorite national park, how much more money do you send to the National Park Service?
Funding provided by the Shenandoah National Park Trust is enabling Shenandoah National Park officials to offer a research fellowship program designed to facilitate and encourage scientific research in the park.
As fall colors begin to sweep down the Eastern seaboard, units of the National Park System are beginning to move to their winter hours. At Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, many facilities will begin closing in late October with many more shutting down for the winter by the end of November.
It matters little whether you start in the south and drive north, or start in the north and drive south; the fall finery that cloaks the Appalachian Range has few peers when the climatic conditions converge in mid-October.
Confusion, misspoken words, and fear mongering swept the public lands landscape this past week following word that the U.S. Forest Service was planning to squash your right to snap a photo in the woods if you didn't pony up $1,500 for a picture-taking permit. The uproar stemmed from a poorly worded Federal Register notice, and was fanned by media worried about their First Amendment rights and very possibly by federal government critics.
Rock outcrops at Shenandoah National Park, places such as Hawksbill, Old Rag, and Little Stony Man, offer great opportunities for viewing the surrounding landscape as well as climbing. But concerns about visitor pressures on these features have led park officials to develop and adopt a Rock Outcrop Management Plan that aims to protect these natural features and their biological communities while continuing to allow visitor access.
There are endless ways to experience our magnificent national parks. We are surrounded by stunning scenery, awash in light and color. Our ears capture the rush of waterfalls in spring and elk bugling in autumn. Scents of crisp air, pines, and wildflowers greet us. Stick your feet into a mountain stream and feel the bonechilling temperatures, or touch the softness of a Pussytoes flower. These types of activities allow us yet another type of experience.
It's mid-September, and while the temps are still almost summerish, the trees know fall is right around the corner, and that's a great reason to head to Shenandoah National Park now.
Take a look around the National Park System and you'll see historic buildings being moved, citizen science at work, and a wonderful evening gathering around a historical park.
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.