Fires, fire danger, and pretty big crowds will greet visitors in some corners of the National Park System this holiday weekend, and park officials are asking for both patience and great care while you're enjoying the parks.
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
The National Park Service is partnering with the University of Alaska Fairbanks to offer field courses in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve this summer.
New units to the National Park System, a face-off over concession fees at Grand Canyon National Park that impacted nearly a quarter of the park system, and even the basic relevancy of national parks were among the top stories of 2014 involving the park system.
National Park Service officials, looking to offset the recent liberalization of Alaska state hunting regulations, are proposing regulations that aim to better protect predators from hunters. The comment period on the proposed regulations runs out Wednesday.
Annual problems with predator hunting in national preserves in Alaska have prompted the National Park Service to propose a permanent federal prohibition against certain hunting practices.
Alaska Fish and Game Department employees, who in the past have gunned down wolves that roam outside of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, have wiped out an entire pack that has claimed the preserve as part of its territory.
A gravel bar at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve that long has been used by bush pilots is no longer safe for planes to land upon, according to park officials. Going forward, the National Park Service will not take responsibility for pilots who decide to land there.
In Alaska, where about 80 percent of the landscape has been identified as being permafrost, National Park Service scientists are working with several partners to inventory those lands to better monitor climate-change impacts.
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve's Wolf Population Plummets, NPS Blames State Of Alaska's Hunting Regs
Wolf numbers have plummeted at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska, where National Park Service officials attribute the steep decline to the state's desire to reduce predators to improve hunting.
It's been a record-setting year for heat, drought and wildfires in parts of the Lower 48, but Alaska is a different story. By mid-August each year the fire season in Alaska is winding down, and 2012 is headed for one of the quietest summers in years for fire crews.