Reader Participation Day: Which Is Your Favorite National Park Gateway Town?

If you had to pick a gateway town to live in -- not because of its associated national park, but because of its atmosphere -- which would you choose?

Best National Parks for Admiring "Rock Art"

There are a handful of places in the National Park System where you can view petroglyphs or pictographs. Some are walk-up panels that you can ponder for hours, others require a float down a river or a long hike. Here's a quick look at some of those units and what you can expect to find.
Common Southwestern Native Plants: An Identification Guide Anyone who spends time hiking in the national parks of the Southwest needs a good plant identification book. And "Common Southwestern Native Plants, An Identification Guide," is one of those books.

Republicans, Democrats Differ Over Whether National Park Designations Should Block Energy Projects

When the Bush administration late in 2008 tried to auction energy leases near national parks in Utah, there was an outcry by many who considered siting oil and gas exploration projects next to parks was anathema. The Obama administration quickly reversed the decision, but the debate over whether to locate energy projects next to parks continues.

$200 Off On Float Trip Through Cataract Canyon In Canyonlands National Park

One of the classic river trips in the Southwest is riding the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon with the sandstone walls of Canyonlands National Park rising overhead. You can sign up to run that stretch this summer, and save $200 per person, but you have to act fast.

Tamarisk, aka "Salt Cedar," A Thirsty Scourge Of Western National Parks

The showy tamarisk tree, aka "Saltcedar," long has been reviled as a thirsty scourge of Western national park riparian areas. But new research shows it's not any thirstier than some native species. However, tamarisk isn't valued as highly as cottonwoods and willows by some bird species, the studies say.

Oil and Gas Production And the National Parks

Against fears that the white-sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore soon might be darkened by an oily slick from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, natural gas production flows quietly from Padre Islands National Seashore.

Researchers Exploring Cave Dwellers From Bandelier National Monument's Long Ago Past

The American Southwest is honeycombed with ruins from long-past civilizations. Mesa Verde National Park and Canyon de Chelly National Monument are well-known for their cliff dwellings, while at Bandelier National Monument the sandstone walls are pocked with "cavates" used as shelter centuries ago.

NPCA: Tell the Obama Administration That Clear Air And Clear Views Across National Parks are Vital

Debate over the country's energy needs, environmental conditions, and the resulting quality of life is not new. It's unending, ongoing, and downright rancorous at times. But does it need to be? With hazy views across spectacular parks in the Southwest, how can we turn that debate into solutions?

Traveler's Gear Box: Moab Trails Illustrated Explorer

One CD-Rom that works with either Mac or PC. Mapping software that let's you zoom in and out, pan right or left, and take a bird's eye 3-D view of the lay of the land. And the ability to load the map onto more than a few GPS units. Has National Geographic hit upon something with its Trails Illustrated Explorer series?