Archive List

Why Is The Park Service Bending Over Backwards For Developer?

Why is the NPS so determined to help a developer who lacks financing?
National Park Service Director Mary Bomar months ago promised that the agency would improve its business savvy. And yet, her agency seems to be ignoring sound business judgment in its blind desire to see a developer who lacks deep pockets turn a portion of Gateway National Recreation Area into a commercial district.

Who is Gen-Y and Should the Park Service Care?

Computer animations can bring 18th-century cannon fire to life, but can they bring Gen-Yers to the national parks? Can an audiocast leading teens across a battlefield entice them enough to set foot in Saratoga National Historical Park? Can tracing a hike in Glacier National Park from the comforts of their homes convince this generation to beg their parents to visit Glacier on their next vacation? Those are questions that have more and more park managers searching for answers.
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No electronics, just an old-fashioned book that sparks youngsters' imaginations, is the driving force behind Tedrick de Bear's travels across the national park system. Teddy's Travels, America's National Parks, is an award-winning book by Trefoni Michael Rizzi that teaches kids a little something about the parks while they're enjoying them.

Alcatraz Event on YouTube

YouTube coverage of the ExpreScion event held on Alcatraz Island recently. I am struck by the comments of one participant who is troubled that a party is happening on a site protected for its past agony.

Congress Takes a Step Toward Restoring the Great Lakes

President Bush isn't going to like this. The House of Representatives has adopted an Interior Appropriations Bill that contains more money than he proposed for the agency. But would the president veto funding that would help clean up sewage in the Great Lakes and work to stop the spread of invasive, non-native species in the lakes?

Cast Your Vote for the Future of Gateway National Recreation Area

Should a unit of the national park system, once created, be redesigned? When the unit in question is Gateway National Recreation Area, the folks at the National Park Conservation Association think so. And they're asking for your input on how that makeover should be handled.

Great Smoky Trails Reopened

It took nearly a month, but all the trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that were closed by the Buck Shank fire have been reopened.

Selling Scions by the Seashore

Toyota Scion
Alcatraz Island was used for a special private party on Saturday with the purpose of marketing the Toyota Scion to a youthful audience. Since when did the Park Service decide that 'car lot' was an appropriate use for our public lands?

Glacier's Sun Road Could Be Open End-to-End on July 1

It's been a long time coming, but Glacier National Park officials are cautiously optimistic that they'll be able to open the Going-to-the-Sun Road from end to end this coming Sunday. That, of course, is barring any unexpected torrential downpours or snowstorms.

Your Chance To Help Guide Everglades' Future

What comes to mind when you think of Everglades National Park? What sort of experiences would you want to encounter when you visit the park? How should the lands within the park boundaries be managed? Should powerboats have unlimited freedom? Should there be more designated wilderness? These are some of the questions you can provide input on as Everglades officials chart the park's next 20 years.

The Political Blotter

Too often politics and management of the national parks are entwined. Doubt it? The fingerprints of Vice President Dick Cheney are all over the Yellowstone snowmobile fracas, as well as on failed efforts to safeguard the park's famed cutthroat trout populations.

Welcome to the National Parks Traveler 2.0

Logo, National Parks Traveler
Welcome to National Parks Traveler 2.0, which is a significant upgrade from the original version launched in August 2005 that we believe will provide you with even more value from the site.

Is the Everglades Out of Danger?

Is "almost" good enough when you're talking about the health of a World Heritage Site such as Everglades National Park? Apparently the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne think so. On Sunday, UNESCO officials voted unanimously to remove the Everglades from its "sites in danger" list.

Let the Bidding Begin

There's an interesting poker game under way in Washington, D.C., and the national parks are right smack dab in the middle of it. The question, of course, is who will blink first?

Paying to Enjoy The Parks

A National Park Service lifeguard watches visitors; NPS Photo
How much would you pay to hike a trail in Shenandoah, or Great Smoky Mountains or Sequoia? What do you think is a reasonable fee to take a dip at Cape Cod or Cape Hatteras national seashores?

Hawaii Volcanoes Displaying its Geologic Might

Hawaii Volcanoes; USGS Photo
Things are rockin' and rollin' at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where new vents have been spewing hot lava for much of the past week. While witnessing these geologic machinations in person would be pretty cool, park officials are urging visitors to take special care in some sections of the park.

Senate Appropriations Committee Backs Snowmobiles in Yellowstone

1997 Arctic Cat ZR 580 snowmobile
What do the National Park Service hierarchy and members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee know about snowmobiles and their impacts that Yellowstone's scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency, and seven former NPS directors don't know?

Repairing Rainier: A Question of Values

Road repairs in Mount Rainier National Park; NPS Photo
While park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga wants to rebuild a section of the road, the storm redesigned the Carbon River, in some places sculpting deep pools valuable to bull trout, a species protected by the Endangered Species Act.

A Modern History Of Public Lands Mismanagement

What's become of our public lands, you wonder? Why has there been so much pressure in recent years to drastically rewrite the National Park Service's Management Policies? What was the point behind a congressional committee's review of the National Park Service Organic Act?

Mammoth Cave Ferries Docked Due to Low Water

Green River Ferry at Mammoth Cave National Park; NPS Photo
Rainfall at Mammoth Cave National Park this year has been so low -- 10 inches below normal since the start of the year -- that the Green River is too low for the Green River Ferry and Houchins Ferry to operate.

Yosemite Fee Hike Spiked

A Twenty Dolar Bill
Under pressure from the gateway towns surrounding Yosemite, Director Bomar agreed to spike the proposed increase in the park's entrance fee, from $20 to $25.

EPA Takes Issue With Yellowstone's Winter Use DEIS

Snowmobiles in Yellowstone; NPS Photo
The EPA in its formal comments to the Yellowstone snomobile DEIS says the parks' preference to allow as many as 720 snowmobiles in Yellowstone on a daily basis in winter "may not ensure adequate resource protection" and would result in much more pollution than the snowcoach-only alternative.

Judge Allows Groups to Intervene In Death Valley Case

Areas in which Inyo County wants to build highways. Earth Justice Graphic.
At issue is whether Inyo County, California, should be allowed to bulldoze roads in a portion of Death Valley that is designated wilderness. In agreeing to let the conservation groups intervene in the matter on behalf of the National Park Service, Judge Anthony Ishii wrote that the groups have a "significant protectable interest" in how the legal battle plays out.

C&O Canal Hopes to Land Some Centennial Funding

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, NPS Photo
As the National Park Centennial Initiative moves forward, it definitely will be interesting to see how many projects arise and how decisions are made to fund them.

Tragedy Stalks the National Parks

Hiking up Half Dome in Yosemite; K. Repanshek photographer.
It's been a rough few days in the national parks. A three-day search in Mount Rainier has led to the discovery of the body of a missing hiker, while in Yosemite another hiker has died while trying to negotiate Half Dome.

Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?

Summit of Angel's Landing, Daniel Smith Photographer
What should the National Park Service do, if anything, with Angel's Landing in Zion National Park? This question arises every time there's a fatality, and rightly so. The recent death of Barry Goldstein has rekindled the debate, with at least one reader believing the Park Service should, in essence, certify the ability of hikers determined to reach the landing.

Take an Audio Snapshot of the Parks

Zoom H4
A recent entry on the WildeBeat about the natural soundscapes present within our parks, has me inspired to share my experience and equipment list used to capture an 'audio snapshot' of my own visits.

A New Foundation Arises to Aid Lake Superior Parks

National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation
As times grow increasingly tougher, financially, for the National Park Service, individual parks can find a bit of a lifeline in non-profit friends groups. The latest non-profit to surface is the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation.

Off The Well-Worn Path: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Rasberry Island Light House, NPS Photo
Still wondering where to head for your summer vacation? Well, if you live in or anywhere near the Midwest, there's a gorgeous national lakeshore with a nice chain of islands to explore, called the Apostle Islands.

USOC Feeling Overly Proprietary About "Olympic"

Mount Olympus in Olympic National Park. NPS Photo
The USOC is focusing its power on an Olympic National Park ranger, demanding that he be careful with how he uses the world "Olympic." And it wants him to forget about trademarking his guidebook 'Best of the Olympic Peninsula'.