A Trio Of Desert Parks To Enjoy This Winter

If you’ve got some extra time in California this winter, take a detour to three fascinating desert parks. Winter in the Mojave Desert brings blue skies, cool temps, and fewer visitors.

More Fee Proposals From National Parks, Including One For A $20 Day Pass

National parks around the country continue to push out proposals to increase fees in an effort to fund their operations. Among the latest proposals is one for a $20 day pass at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Joshua Tree National Park Campgrounds Reopen For The Season

While more than a few parks are winding down their high seasons and getting ready to ease into the winter months, at Joshua Tree National Park in California the high season is coming and to prepare the park has reopened all of its campgrounds.

Parks Can Provide Great Viewing Platforms For Night Sky Events Like A Super Moon

Parks, especially those in locations with minimal night sky distractions from artificial light, can be great locations for observing—and photographing—celestial events such as Monday's so-called Super Moon. A number of parks offer special night sky programs, but your opportunities to enjoy those out-of-the-world scenes aren't limited to organized events. As the photo accompanying this story confirms, the right locale and timing can provide a chance for a super photo.

Creature Feature: Western Banded Gecko

The Western Banded Gecko, or Coleonyx variegatus, is no stranger to beating the heat. Their nocturnal lifestyle is ideal for the sizzling desert climate. You are more likely to encounter them on a night stroll under the stars than in the mid-day sun. Though many confuse the Western Banded Gecko with young Gila monsters, they are much smaller and lack venomous characteristics.

Research Finds Vegetation In National Parks Moving In Response To Changing Climate

It long has been expected that as the climate warms, vegetation would react by moving. Both north in latitude, and up in elevation. Now new research confirms that "because of the combination of climate change and habitat loss, up to one-quarter of the total area of the National Park System is vulnerable to vegetation shifting up slope and northward."

National Park Service Rangers Honored For Valor On The Job

National Park Service rangers from across the park system have been honored by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for valor in the line of duty.

Annual Butterfly Count Nets New Species at Joshua Tree National Park

Each Spring, a group of dedicated volunteers and park staff members conduct an annual butterfly count at Joshua Tree National Park to catalog species found inside the park. The park's wilderness areas offer many such opportunities for ongoing scientific discovery, and this year's effort yielded an exciting surprise: a new butterfly species for the park.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Teach Your Children Well, National Parks As Learning Centers

Climate change. Glaciology. Sustainability. These are not the subjects that leap to mind when you consider sending your kids to summer camp. But blend them with backpacking, canoeing, or a walk in the woods, and the result is a generation with not only a better connection with nature, but perhaps a career path.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Spring Into The Parks

While spring in some parks (mostly those in the Rockies, Sierra, and Pacific Northwest) is rightfully described as “mud season,” there are some great early season hikes—and some wonderful camping—to be found across the National Park System. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights.