Glance through National Park System visitation statistics for a few years, and some puzzling numbers surface. For example: Doesn't anyone like to backpack?
Yellowstone National Park
With the National Park Service's 100th birthday little more than a year away, the agency and the National Park Foundation are beginning to rollout the celebratory campaign, urging Americans to "Find Your Park."
National park concessionaires, deeply concerned over what they see as three decades of stagnant visitation to the National Park System, want Congress to authorize better marketing of the parks, longer "high" seasons in the parks they believe would generate more revenues for infrastructure improvements, and expanded concessionaire opportunities in the parks.
A much publicized conference, Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century, opens today at the University of California, Berkeley. Led by the National Park Service and National Geographic Society, conference sponsors propose “to launch a Second Century of stewardship for the parks, 100 years after the historic meetings at UC Berkeley that helped launch the National Park Service.” A specialist on those meetings, Dr. Alfred Runte reports on why the story does not end there.
The backlog in maintenance across the National Park System is approaching $11.5 billion and touches many areas of the visitor experience, from campgrounds and trails to visitor centers and roads and bridges, according to the National Park Service.
You'll definitely want to dress in layers, and perhaps use booties to shield your feet, but cycling season, without visitor traffic, is open in Yellowstone National Park.
With the National Park Service Centennial little more than a year off, the National Park Hospitality Association is unhappy with the pace of visitor facility and services upgrades across the National Park System.
For the next three months state and federal agencies will take public ideas how on best to manage bison that leave Yellowstone National Park, the first step in replacing the Interagency Bison Management Plan adopted in 2000.
Across the National Park System, the National Park Service has an estimated half-a-billion-dollars of obligations owed concessionaires who run lodges, restaurants, and even some activities. It's a sum that, while agency officials say it's manageable, has seemingly stifled concessions competition in some parks and diverted tens of millions of dollars from others to reduce debts.
Summer really isn't as far off as you might think. With that in mind, is anyone thinking about camping? And, in particular, are you thinking about your favorite campground in the National Park System?