Archive List

Lodging Deals Can be Had in the National Parks

While it seems the cost of booking a room in a national park seems to be on an ever-upward spiral, there are bargains to be had if you're flexible in your travel.

Haleakala National Park Officials Call For Safety Summit For Bicyclists

In the past year, three bicyclists have died in Haleakala National Park while descending from the park's summit. The latest death, that of a 65-year-old Ohio woman, occurred earlier this week when she ran into a bicycle company's van.

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park: A World Heritage Site in Danger?

Montana's two U.S. senators are seeking to have the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park declared a World Heritage Site in Danger because of proposed energy development near the headwaters of the Flathead River. This is just the latest flare-up over how British Columbia officials are managing energy development near the two national parks.

Public Lands Day. Wahoo.

Well, it's "Public Lands Day," which means you can get into your favorite national park for free. Newspapers across the country are heralding this rare event, but I find it hard to jump on the bandwagon. Frankly, I wish they'd focus on the substantial issues the national park system is facing.

GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil

The silliness of the 2008 presidential campaign has finally made it to the national park system, and in a very bizarre way. During a recent stop in Florida, Republican Fred Thompson allowed that he'd support drilling for oil in Everglades National Park if major reserves were found there.

Fall's Brightest Colors Descending on National Parks

Cataloochee Creek against Fall's vibrant colors.
With Fall officially under way, it won't be too long before the season's most spectacular colors are daubed, stroked, and splashed across the national park system. The good news is that you haven't missed the peak yet. The bad news is that if you don't already have a room reservation, you probably won't find a vacancy in any of the well-known fall foliage parks.

Proposed Fee Increase for Crater Lake National Park Tabled

Local opposition to a proposed doubling in entrance fees at Crater Lake National Park apparently has worked.

Longtime Yosemite Wilderness Ranger Retires

Laurel Boyers; WildeBeat photo.
For the last 31 years, Yosemite Park Ranger Laurel Boyers has had your dream job. She's been working for the park, patrolling and managing the wilderness backcountry of Yosemite. In a few days, she'll retire. Our story links to a WildeBeat audio program.

Satellite Image Captures 747 Above Yellowstone National Park

Someone has found a satellite photo of a 747 flying over Yellowstone National Park using Google maps. Not much of a story here, I just thought the photo/technology is kind of cool. 'Read more' to see the full resolution image and map.

Bay Area Cartoonist with Yosemite Park Focus has Died

Farley Comic Strip; Copyright San Francisco Chronicle
Phil Frank, the author of the comic strip 'Farley' which appears in the San Francisco Chronicle, has died. Only days earlier, he had announced his retirement from the newspaper. Frank had been suffering from a brain tumor. He was 64.

Death Valley May Be On Lookout For Steve Fosset

Steve Fossett; Mary Frances Howard photographer.
Leads from the Air Force suggest that Fossett may have been traveling in the direction of Death Valley National Park when his plane was lost. It is an area of rough terrain near the park's northern boundary. Searchers in planes and on foot will canvas the area this weekend.

Death Valley Looking to Electronic Rangers to Raise Money, Lure Younger Generations

Did you hear about the "electronic rangers" you can now rent in Death Valley National Park? For $15 a day these gadgets, which you place on your rig's dashboard, will give you a guided tour of the park. Park officials hope these devices, among other things, will generate a new revenue stream for Death Valley.

Developing Diversity in the National Parks

Earlier this summer we had a, shall I say 'spirited,' discussion revolving around how to increase diversity in visitation to the national parks. This topic has resurfaced in an Associated Press article that looks at efforts a group is taking to introduce minorities to the parks.
Ethnic_and_Racial_Diversity_Report_12_2003.pdf414.8 KB

Tour Operators Get A Break From Higher Park Entrance Fees

Who says special interest groups don't have clout? While national park entrance fees for families and individuals have been inching ever upwards, the National Tour Association has negotiated a deal with the National Park Service to freeze entrance fees for tour groups through 2009.

Overdue Hiker Turns Up in Rocky Mountain National Park

Boyd Severson.
A hiker who failed to return from a climb of Mummy Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park turned up almost 24 hours later than planned.

Search for Hiker in Wrangell-St. Elias Suspended

Officials in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve have greatly scaled back the search for a 68-year-old Wisconsin man, saying there's little hope of finding him alive.

NPS Snowmobile Plan for Yellowstone, Grand Teton Bucks Science, the Public, and Itself

Yellowstone Snowmobiles, March 2000; Photo, Jim Peaco NPS
Yellowstone National Park planners seem to have shunted aside science, the public, even their own management guidelines, in their desire to see more snowmobiles in the park by backing a final Environmental Impact Statement on snowmobile use that favors more of the machines in the park than have been in use in recent years. Yet to be seen is whether Park Service Director Mary Bomar will override Yellowstone officials.

Biodiversity Studies in the Parks Reveal Previously Unknown Species

New Moth Species at Great Smoky Mountains National Park; NPS Photo.
Imagine taking the time to go into your backyard, or the nearby woods, or even a pond close to your home, to catalog all the life you found in it. Not just the deer or snakes or fish, but the birds and insects, reptiles, plants and fungi and everything else biological or botanic. Imagine how fascinating that would be. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park they've been working on just that, and what they've found has been incredible.

Amusing Looking Sign on Blue Ridge Parkway

"MLF_0412cropped"; '_MIMI_' photo via Flickr
I'm sure we all get the message this sign is trying to convey, it's just that it looks pretty silly! Can't you just imagine that rider saying "weeeeee"?

Padre Island Interpretive Program Simply Succeeds

Padre Island touch table; 'qnr' photo via Flickr
Interpretive programs, when done well, can provide an important aspect of resource protection. The guided beach walk at Padre Island National Seashore is one such example. By the end of the program, this newspaper reporter had a different outlook on his environment.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalized

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalism; NPS photo by Terry Adams.
Earlier this month, on September 7th, someone walked along the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with some type of oil, squirting it secretly on the Wall as they walked by. The unknown oil has done real damage to the polished granite surface.

How Would YOU Fix the Statue of Liberty?

Liberty's Spiral Staircase; 'Blondie5000' photo via Flickr
We are fortunate to have a creative bunch of folks that provide comments to the National Parks Traveler. Using our combined brain power, what do you think would be the best way to restore access to the crown of the Statue of Liberty? New stairs? An elevator? Provide very limited access? Provide no access? What is your opinion?

Arches and Canyonlands In the Fall: Rock Architecture and Dwindling Crowds

Arches is one of the world's, not just one of the United States', most incredible national parks. Its rock architecture -- windows cut from stone, spindly arches longer than a football field, balancing rocks -- and desertscape are otherworldly. And fall is perhaps the best time to visit.

St Louis Wants to Develop Land under Gateway Arch

The park next under the Gateway Arch; 'stepha1202' photo via Flickr
St. Louis wants to revitalize its waterfront area. A former senator has a plan, but the development of new attractions would have to be done on land currently managed by the National Park Service. The city wants the land back, but there isn't a lot of support for that idea outside of Missouri.
Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite Death is the final appointment we can't avoid, the one we most regret. And yet we're fascinated with tragic deaths such as those that occur in the parks. Indeed, posts on this site about deaths in the parks draw large readership. For those fascinated by such stories, Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite is a must-read.

Management of Lady Liberty Discussed in Congress

Statue of Liberty; 'Dutchnatasja' photo via Flickr.
UPDATED: The United States Congress is mad at the National Park Service. Congress cannot figure out why the parks are not listening them, after they've been asked more than once by the House to open up the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Congress has given unsolicited money to Liberty to get it open, and there had been a campaign which raised millions from across the nation for the same purpose, but still, 6 years after it was closed, there remains no public access to the crown.

This Just In : Fort Hancock STILL a Mess

Officers Club at Ft Hancock Needs Some Work; NPS Photo
The saga at Fort Hancock continues. A judge has ruled the 60 year lease given to a developer by the NPS, to manage the dilapidated old public buildings commercially, has not broken any rules. The developer still hasn't come up with the money yet, but he's got 90 more days to prove that he can get it (or else, perhaps, get another extension).

Centennial Projects: Mountain Biking in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend's Lone Mountain; photo by Jeff Blaylock, used with permission.
Among the 201 projects "certified" to meet the criteria for celebrating the National Park Service's centennial in 2016 is one to establish a dual-use, hiking and mountain biking trail in Big Bend National Park in Texas. What seems odd, though, is that this project made the list at a time when the Park Service is in the middle of a five-year study examining mountain bike use in the park system.

If You Have to Ask the Price, The Ahwahnee And Jenny Lake Lodge Are Probably Out of Reach

Earlier this summer we ran a list of the Top 10 Lodges in the park system. Admittedly it's a "soft" list, one that definitely is not objective. But what some might find objectionable are the nightly costs for staying in some of these places.

Olympic National Park Ready for Wolves?

Gray Wolf; USFS Photo, Gary Kramer
Wolves in Olympic National Park? I thought that issue was played out in the late 90s. I was glad to learn that the spark of idea had not died, and during a recent meeting on the Olympic peninsula the general attitude of the public surprised me. Instead of fear, there was excitement for the idea. "Bring them back," they said.