Archive List

Blog Day 2007

Blog Day 2007 Logo
Today is Blog Day. Never heard of it? Either had I until this morning. It's an opportunity for us to share some of our favorite websites that may not necessarily have anything to do with National Parks. Four of the sites I've listed cover some aspect of travel (both domestic and international), but I've thrown in a non sequitur just for fun.

Black Bear Put Down in Grand Teton. How Many Visitors Ticketed For Providing Food?

A press release from Grand Teton National Park arrived in my in-box this morning, informing me that a 6-year-old female black bear had been put down because it had become habituated to human food. While the release gave a pretty good history of the bear's short life, it never mentioned how many tickets have been written to park visitors and employees for making food available to bears in the park.

Should the NPS Be Given Mount St. Helens?

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. U.S. Forest Service photo.
Both the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service are hamstrung by deficient budgets. In the case of the Forest Service, one symptom of its financial plight is that the agency wants to close a visitor center at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. That move has spurred calls that the Park Service be given the monument to manage, and the National Parks Conservation Association now is echoing those calls.

Yosemite Falls All Dried Up

Yosemite Falls Run Dry; gjenkin photo.
Check out this strange picture. At first glance, it looks like a fake, as if someone has edited out the waterfall. It's the real deal though, Yosemite Falls has dried up this summer. The dry weather has produced a fire hazard this season in Yosemite.

Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle; Vincent Ma photo.
My, my, my. Leave town for a little over a week and look what breaks out. Dangerous Park Service uniforms, an elderly, and theoretically over-the-hill, National Park Service, a proposed centennial project to create a $12 million jazz museum, debate (arguments?) over who should manage lodging in the parks and how, and much, much more.

Interpretation on the Tallgrass Prairie

Blue Flower on the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Owen Hoffman has just returned from a trip across Kansas. He has provided us with a detailed trip report from his visit to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The wide open skies and history of the area piqued his interest, but the interpretive program on-site left something to be desired.

10 Best Lodges in the National Parks

The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park; Jim Brekke photo.
It would seem to be an impossible task, to compile a list of all the lodges across the park system and figure out the 10 best. Well, someone has done it, although I'm not sure I agree with the results. Is your favorite on this list?

National Park Service to Charge for Clean Air?

Mount Rainier Mist; mbollino photo via Flickr;
Is the National Park Service preparing to charge us for the clean air in parks? Based on a recent survey request, in which the parks were seeking our "willingness to pay to improve visibility at national parks", and considering all of the other use-fees charged in the parks, I was ready to believe they were. The good news? I was wrong! Find out why.

91st Anniversary for National Park Service

A Birthday Cake for the National Parks
91 years ago today, Congress approved a bill which is now simply known within the Park Service as the Organic Act. On August 25th each year, those close to the parks recognize today as Founder's Day. There are a number of events happening around the country in honor of the day, here are just a few.

The Essential Death Valley

Sand dunes in Death Valley; Kurt Repanshek photo.
Towering sand dunes that ripple across the heart of a 3.4-million-acre landscape, hidden canyons that echo with splashing, gurgling water that nourishes a surprising cache of lush vegetation, a human history of anguish as well as prosperity. The surreal landscape of Death Valley can be deadly hot in summer, and yet it is one of the more intriguing units of the national park system because of its stark beauty and demanding nature.
Secretary Kempthorne Announces the 2008 Centennial Projects in Yosemite National Park; DOI PhotoIn this audio program, we hear Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announce the first round of programs eligible for funding under the Centennial Initiative, a ten year plan which could bring $3 Billion in new appropriations for the National Parks.

Learning About the Parks, and Getting Credit for It, Too!

It's one thing to visit the National Park Service's web site to learn about the national park system, and it's entirely another thing to enroll in a college course that takes you to school on the parks. That's just what Bob Janiskee does with his course on the national parks.

NPS Retirees Prepare for the Centennial Announcements

Yellowstone Ranger gives interpretive talk; LiveALittle.org Photographer
Anticipating the announcement of Park Service Centennial projects and programs today, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees have released a statement which both celebrates the upcoming centennial, and cautions that new programs shouldn't overlook the core values which have made the park agency a success for 91 years.

NPS Centennial Projects and Programs Announced

Interior Secretary Kempthorne and NPS Director Bomar; DOI Photo
The long list of projects and programs for the National Park Service Centennial Initiative has been announced today. Secretary Kempthorne and Director Bomar shared the details of the plan for a crowd of reporters in Yosemite National Park.
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Mining, Nuclear Power, and Parks in the Balance

Ratcliffe Power Plant, Nottinghamshire U.K.; Alan Zomerfeld Photographer
As worldwide demand for clean nuclear power increases, mining claims for uranium and other material have boomed in the western United States. Many of these claims are being staked very close to the sensitive areas just outside of national parks, places like the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Arches. This has led to a plea for updated mining laws, which in present condition have remained nearly unchanged since 1872.

The Park Service's Historic Buildings Can Be Saved Without Resorting to Leases

It's no secret that I've been troubled by the National Park Service's seemingly quick reliance on the private sector to preserve historic buildings on its properties. The agency's ongoing efforts to allow a private developer to lease three dozen buildings at Fort Hancock in Gateway National Recreation Area are being done in the name of preservation. Yet there are parks that are managing restoration without resorting to privatization.

Someday, Elwha River to Flow Free

How to Tear Down a Dam
Removing the dams in Olympic National Park has been a very long process, but when it is finally completed, river restoration for the Elwha will mean the return of salmon, bears, eagles and more.
One Best Hike: Yosemite Climbing to the precipice of Half Dome is not a task easily done, nor one that should be lightly considered. That much I think is a given to anyone who has accomplished the day-long hike, or anyone who has read or heard of the tragedies that have taken place on this famous outcrop of granite.

The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai

Map of Katmai National Park and nearby Katmai National Preserve
Starting October 1, 2007, the annual fall brown bear hunting season will open for three weeks in Alaska’s Katmai National Preserve. I bet you’re surprised. Brown bear hunting in a national park site?! Yep, here in Alaska national preserves are just like national parks with one exception: sport hunting is allowed. For three weeks in the Fall, hunters may take as many bears as they want.
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Celebrating the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Three-quarters of a century ago, the peace and friendship between the United States and Canada led to creation of the world's first "Peace Park," Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. To commemorate that event, and to explore how best to manage transboundary protected areas, particularly Peace Parks, a conference will be held in September at Waterton Lakes National Park.

Clara Barton's House Goes High-Tech

Clara Barton at desk
Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, knew how to heal the wounded, but surfing the web was probably not something she did often, especially considering she died in 1912. Well, fortunately for us, the modern day web surfers of the world, the Park Service has set up a new online exhibit which provides an interactive look at her home in Glenn Echo.

Stamps Celebrating Nature to be Unveiled at Rocky Mountain NP

Nature, particularly that preserved in the national parks, is being celebrated by the U.S. Postal Service with a plate of stamps capturing the alpine beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite

Though much of the news involving national parks and marijuana plantations has been focused on Sequoia National Park, a bust the other day in Yosemite shows that that park has some pretty fertile ground for pot as well.

Missing Hiker in Yosemite Found Dead

An 80-year-old hiker who's been missing in Yosemite since July 30 has been found dead.

Are Car Campers An Endangered Species in National Parks?

Generations of Americans got their first taste of national parks via car camping, that venerable tradition of driving to a park and setting up a tent or two in a roadside campground. That genre of park visitation seems to be slipping these days, though, and at least one car camping veteran blames it on economics -- there's more money to be made in lodgings than campgrounds.
Nancy at the Sand Creek Masacre NHSNancy Bandley is the president of a club which promotes national park visitation. The favorite club activity is collecting park passport stamps from around the nation. In this 18 minute interview, Nancy and I talk about the stamp program, her club, and the club's annual conference being held this weekend in Olympic National Park.

Fire Continues to Keep Yellowstone's East Entrance Closed

For those planning a Yellowstone vacation in the immediate future, know that the East Entrance to the park currently is closed due to forest fires burning in the area.

The Traveler's Code of Conduct

The blogosphere is a pretty free-wheeling place. As a result, its developed a persona, right or wrong, of playing fast and loose with facts, with running roughshod over some posters, with allowing anonymity to serve as a shield for attackers. Some bloggers have called for a code of conduct for the blogosphere, and we at the Traveler support that movement.

The Fight Against Fees Losses a Champion

Robert Funkhouser, President of the Western Slope No Fee Coalition
The fight against charging fees to access our public lands lost a true champion this weekend. Robert Funkhouser, the president of the Western Slope No Fee Coalition, died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack on August 10 at his home. He was 50.
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How is Secretary Kempthorne Doing After Year One?

Dirk Kempthorne is sworn in as Secretary of the Interior; White House photo by Eric Draper.
It's been just over a year since Dirk Kempthorne was sworn in as the new Secretary of the Interior. The Seattle Times has written an article reviewing some of the highs and lows for Mr. Kempthorne since he's been in office.