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.
Shenandoah National Park
A slice of Shenandoah National Park, Whiteoak Canyon, soon will be added to the national Old-Growth Forest Network.
Winter had loosened its icy grip on the high country. Faint stirrings from burrows and dens and caves led the young critters into a new world of running water, budding plants, and warm sunshine. Warm weather and life springs abundant.
Spring. It's a fresh, vibrant season in the National Park System, one of renewal, for the parks’ wildlife, vegetation, and even for human visitors. After long, dark months of cold and snow across much of the system, the arrival of March, April, and May provide greater warmth, daylight, and access in the parks.
Winter might be tossing its last fits of the season at the eastern sweep of the country, but that's not altering plans to move Shenandoah National Park's facilities into the spring season later this month.
A wildfire that flared up in Shenandoah National Park was caused by an illegal campfire that wasn't doused, park officials say.
President Obama's fiscal year 2015 budget contains a slight, $55 million increase for the National Park Service, though that number could swell to more than $650 million if Congress goes along with the president's vision.
How far the national parks have come, from being described in the 19th century as unproductive wastelands to get congressional approval to now being described as economic engines that are behind nearly $27 billion in business.
The Rocks Mountain Fire in Shenandoah National Park had spread to more than 100 acres Saturday, and nearly 60 firefighters were working the wildfire.
When the National Park Service finalizes its visitation numbers for last year, don't be surprised to hear there was a decline from the 283 million tally made in 2012.