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.
Yosemite National Park
While firefighters continue to battle the El Portal Fire along the western border of Yosemite National Park, traffic once again is being allowed to travel the Big Oak Flat Road, aka Highway 120.
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 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?
The El Portal wildfire that flared up several days ago from unknown causes had burned more than 3,000 acres along Yosemite National Park's western border by Tuesday and was just 19 percent contained, but the park remained open for visitors.
It long has been expected that as the climate warms, vegetation would react by moving. Both north in latitude, and up in elevation. Now new research confirms that "because of the combination of climate change and habitat loss, up to one-quarter of the total area of the National Park System is vulnerable to vegetation shifting up slope and northward."
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.
Access to Yosemite National Park was hampered Sunday, and several campgrounds had been closed, due to a wildfire that had covered more than 2,000 acres and reportedly claimed at least one structure.
Mid-summer's arrival in western parts of the National Park System have been accompanied by restrictions on campfires in such parks as Sequoia, Mesa Verde, and Yosemite.
Once considered largely to be worthless, national parks today are economic engines that generate $26.5 billion for the nation's economy.