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