The tarantula's fearsome appearance belies the fact that this docile, reclusive creature is nearly harmless.
Grand Canyon National Park
Not far from the bright lights and card tables of Las Vegas there's a stretch of desert so relished by developers that street names were attached to blueprints of suburbia. Now, though, that landscape and its unique collection of Ice Age fossils is being promoted as the country's next national monument.
If you've never been to the East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park, you owe yourself the trip. Naturally, the canyon from this South Rim vista is expansive, and there are wonderful views of the Painted Desert, too, but equally alluring is the Desert View Watchtower. This rustic edifice, built in 1932 by architect Mary Colter, sits hunched against the very rim of the canyon, a lonely outpost, built to be a place for contemplation.
It seems not a week goes by without some dire issue being identified as a threat to the national parks. One week it might be funding woes, another week pollution, another diversity concerns, and then, of course, there's climate change.
Lead bullets in carcasses and gut piles pose lethal poisoning hazards to carrion feeders. Among the creatures most at risk are the endangered California condors that frequent Grand Canyon National Park and other areas of Arizona and Utah.
Winter can be a blissful time to visit the national parks. You can head south, and enjoy the warm weather and simply pitch your tent, or you can head to the snow belt and explore the parks on skis or snowshoes. But where should you stay? We asked our lodging experts, David and Kay Scott, for their recommendations.
Old abandoned mines are perfect for bats, but they're not ideal for humans. To protect both, crews at Grand Canyon National Park are getting to work on installing bat gates and warning signs at some old mines within the park's borders.
Long after his death we continue to celebrate the brilliance of Ansel Adams, who arguably defined landscape photography, often while working in national parks to capture the magnificence of nature.
Add the National Parks Conservation Association to the number of organizations and developers offering a phone app to help you negotiate the national parks. A big difference here, though, is NPCA is giving its app away for free. Another is its emphasis on park wildlife and nature in general.
Whether you hold a sentimental tie to national park lodgings, or look at them nostalgically, can we afford to hold onto all historic lodge facilities in the National Park System?