Imagine, for a moment, that you're in charge of setting fees for the National Park System. What would you charge for, and how much would you charge? Or would you charge anything at all?
Yellowstone National Park
A vintage movie, typical of a "home movie," shot in Yellowstone National Park decades ago is being restored by the National Archives, casting a unique light on park visitors of an earlier day. What's particularly interesting is the grainy 16mm film, thought to be black-and-white, actually was shot in color, making it one of the first color films to be shot in the park.
Many national parks preserve aspects of the past, and in the case of Fossil Butte National Monument, that past goes back 55 million years ago, a time when the landscape of western Wyoming was very different from the windswept plains we see today.
Bison madness is in full swing in Yellowstone National Park with snorting, groaning, spitting, bison bulls chasing the girls (cows) down the roads, much to the delight of many park visitors who gladly park their vehicles in the road and film the action. No family vacation is complete without getting caught in a Yellowstone bison jam.
As big as Yellowstone National Park is -- 63 miles north to south and 54 miles east to west -- perhaps it's not too surprising that someone not interested in driving to a trailhead in the park decided to make their own on the edge of the park. But by this fall, that trail should be erased as park crews finish the second of two years' work in removing signs of the illegal trail.
Threading through the backcountry, and frontcountry, of Yellowstone National Park are creeks and streams fueled by springs and snowmelt, some only several feet across, some dozens of feet wide. More than 300 topple over waterfalls at least 15 feet high, while others meander placidly through the Lamar and Hayden valleys.
Despite advances made into the 21st century, some of the most striking posters promoting the national parks are those produced shortly before World War II by the Works Progress Administration. The artistry that went into these silk-screened promotions remains as striking today as it was 75 years ago. And if you find yourself in Washington, D.C., in the coming months, you can understand why with a visit to the Interior Department to see a collection of the posters.
In a bid to reduce the number of park bison that are sent to slaughter, Yellowstone National Park officials are exploring the process of a quarantine program that could be developed to provide brucellosis-free animals to tribes and other entities looking to build bison herds.
In this age of informational instant gratification, how has your national park experience changed? For Millennials, who grew up with smartphones, texting, and Facebook, not so much. For Baby Boomers, who learned to read with actual newspapers, books, and magazines in their hands, whose phones were attached to the wall by a cord, a great deal. Is that change for the good, or the bad?
Legislation introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives would, if enacted as drafted, require the National Park Service to determine "a nationally consistent entrance fee policy and corresponding rate structure" for the 401 units of the National Park System, a potentially sweeping requirement that seemingly could generate tens of millions of additional dollars for the parks.