There should be little doubt that the National Park Service's Find Your Park campaign for its centennial in 2016 was a resounding success, with overall visitation up nearly 8 percent to 331 million, setting a record for the third consecutive year. But those visitation levels are having adverse impacts on both park resources and the national park experience in some corners of the National Park System.
Death Valley National Park
Whether the anti-public lands sentiment among Utah's Republican Party was fomented in the state's far-flung rural counties and flowed across the country to Washington, D.C., or vice versa, the goal is highly visible. From the Statehouse in Salt Lake City to the Capitol in Washington, Utah Republicans are working to either force the transfer of federal lands to the states or to open up more of federal acres to energy development, mining, and even water storage.
Visitors from around the world complain about off-road vehicle tracks marring the beauty of Death Valley National Park. Illegal off-road driving is a problem in multiple areas of the park, including the Racetrack, Ibex Dunes and Badwater. The National Park Service seeks public support for a grant application that would help fund restoration of these damaged areas.
No visitors have been allowed into historic Scotty’s Castle since the "largest flood event in recorded history of the area" washed through Death Valley National Park in October 2015, but that’s about to change. The park and the Death Valley National History Association are offering a limited number of tours this spring to see the damage caused by the floods and learn about the restoration of the historic district.
Death Valley National Park will host MarsFest 2017 from March 10 through 12. MarsFest explores and celebrates the extremes of Earth and space with a weekend of field trips, an expo, children’s programming, and a lecture series.
Star shows are on the calendar for this weekend in both Death Valley National Park and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California.
Three Canadians from the group High On Life on Thursday entered guilty pleas to damaging resources in Yellowstone, Zion, Death Valley, and Mesa Verde national parks.
There are a few in every national park. While most visitors are courteous and respectful of the parks and their resources, there are always a few who couldn't care less. At Death Valley National Park in California, those few drove their vehicles across both the Racetrack playa and the salt flats of Badwater.
Artists Drive, one of Death Valley National Park’s top attractions, will be closed through mid-March for repair work.