Archive List

Former NPS Director Fran Mainella; NPS Photo.At a time when politics in Washington truly are a “contact sport,” we shouldn’t be too surprised when we learn that science has been trumped when it comes to decisions affecting the national park system. Should we be disappointed? Of course. But surprised? Unfortunately not. Directors Fran Mainella and Mary Bomar provide interviews for this podcast.

Former Park Service Director Mainella: Interior Department Called Yellowstone Snowmobile Decisions

Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis (left) and former National Park Service Director Fran Mainella (right) review snowmobiles in this J. Sullivan photo illustration.
Former National Park Service Director Fran Mainella says her bosses in the Interior Department in effect tied her hands on the question of recreational snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park. And now she says science should have the final say in whether snowmobiling continues to be allowed in the park.

Falling Tree Kills Hiker in Rocky Mountain National Park

A 68-year-old hiker in Rocky Mountain National Park was killed in a freak accident when a tree fell on him.

Park Trips: Canyonlands National Park's Horseshoe Canyon

Off to the west of Canyonlands National Park proper, Horseshoe Canyon offers a fascinating trip back into prehistory, a time when nomadic tribes would follow the washes through the Southwest's canyon country from camp to camp.

Yosemite Valley Case Returning to the Courtroom

There's scheduled to be a court hearing in California today to revisit the issue of whether the National Park Service is properly taking care of the Yosemite Valley.

Mammoth Cave National Park Adding Hiking, Biking Trail

Another nine miles of hiking and biking trails are coming to the national park system on December 8, when Mammoth Cave National Park dedicates the "Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail."

Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be

For years, summer trips to Cape Cod were an annual ritual for my family. My parents had retired to the Cape, and our boys loved romping in the surf and building castles in the sand. Lobster feasts, game-fishing, and whale watching were added benefits, as were exploring the seashore’s lighthouses, roaming its dunes, and looking for sea creatures in its mudflats.
Don Barry, Wilderness Society Executive Vice PresidentRecently, former assistant secretary at the Interior Department and current executive vice president at The Wilderness Society, Don Barry, spoke at the Association of National Park Rangers' annual conference. He described a right-wing program to systematically shrink the size of the federal government, called "starve the beast," that he says has detrimental effects on land-management agencies.
Wild Soundscapes: Discovering the Voice of the Natural World [With CD] With sound recorder in hand, I had looked to the book "Wild Soundscapes" to help me figure out the details of creating a really great field recording of my visits to the parks. The book met some of my expectations, but fell short of others. I thought the best part of the book was the included audio CD; whales in Alaska, coyotes in New Mexico, and elk in Yellowstone. Read on for the details.

National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings

If your local paper didn't run the story, you might be interested to learn about the financial pinch that is preventing the National Park Service from buying private parcels located within the national park system.

Acadia National Park Offers Half-Price Deal For Annual Pass

If you live relatively near to Acadia National Park, you just might want to make a notation for Dec. 6 on your calendar. That's the day the park kicks off a 50-percent-off sale for its annual pass.

Park Visitation: Olympic National Park Reports 10 Percent Increase

Visitation to national parks continues to be strong this year, with another park reporting growth at the entrance gate.

Yellowstone Park Foundation Raising Money to Help Rangers

Restoring backcountry patrol cabins. Buying GPS units to help with search and rescue missions. Caretaking of the exhibits at the Museum of the National Park Ranger. These are some of the projects the Yellowstone Park Foundation hopes to pay for with its Yellowstone Ranger Fund.

Glacier National Park Art Contest Displays Kids' Love for the Park

While there's much concern across the country about kids losing touch with nature, that doesn't seem to be the case in Montana, where schoolchildren have created new postcards for the Glacier Natural History Association.

Grand Canyon Officials Release EA on Bright Angel Trailhead Improvements

A plan to improve the area around the Bright Angel Trailhead in Grand Canyon National Park is now available for public comment.

Section of Skyline Drive Through Shenandoah National Park to be Rebuilt

A 34-mile stretch of Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park will be reconstructed during the coming year, with work starting after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Park Trips: Paddling Into Yellowstone National Park

Slipping away from the Lewis Lake boat dock in Yellowstone National Park opens the door to a backcountry adventure few parks can match. Paddling, hiking, and hot springs are just part of the package.

Exploring New York City's National Parks

East Coast viewers get a chance this holiday weekend to update themselves with national parks and monuments in the greater metropolitan area of New York City via public television station WNET, Channel 13.

Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision

Six conservation groups are condemning the National Park Service's decision regarding snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park, saying it goes against the core values of the national park system. To right that wrong, the groups said they would seek judicial relief.

FAQs for Yellowstone's Snowmobile Decision Revealing

A National Park Service script of "Frequently Asked Questions" on the decision to continue snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park is revealing on several fronts.

Park Service Issues Record of Decision On Snowmobiling in Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks

A day later than planned, National Park Service officials today signed off on their record of decision to continue snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The ROD was called a "shocking stewardship decision" by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision Missing Record of Decision

Despite months and months of work and planning, National Park Service officials have failed to get a Record of Decision on snowmobiling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks signed off on on schedule. But that doesn't mean the upcoming winter season is in limbo. Indeed, a greater threat at this point is lack of snow.

Everglades National Park Asked to Give Manatees Protection From Boaters

A recent Miami Herald article on manatee research in the Everglades does a good job of identifying some of the questions that still need to be answered with regard to this fascinating but still poorly understood species. However, the question of a major cause of manatee deaths within the boundaries of Everglades National Park is already well documented.
Tallgrass Prairie; Jeremy Sullivan photo.A 3 minute video postcard from a recent visit to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas. Interpreters show the historic house, and lead us on a bus tour of the prairie. Follow along on a short hike as well.

Park History: Zion National Park

Sandstone monoliths and a tight slot canyon are what most stands out about Zion National Park, and rightfully so. When you enter Zion Canyon your eyes can't help but be drawn to the Sentinel, the Three Patriarchs, and the Mountain of the Sun.

Plague Confirmed As Cause of Death for Grand Canyon Biologist

The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that plague caused the death of a Grand Canyon National Park wildlife biologist earlier this month.

Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?

Thousands of folks trek to the top of Half Dome each summer. Their footprints have created a well-worn path up past Vernal and Nevada falls and onto the granite behemoth. Which begs the question: Does Half Dome offer visitors a wilderness experience?

EPA's Perplexing Position On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park

Perplexing. That's my initial reaction to the Environmental Protection Agency's response to the snowmobile decision out of Yellowstone National Park. In five short paragraphs the EPA officials went from seemingly complimenting the decision to saying park planners failed to fully address their concerns.

Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns

One of the most intriguing interpretive tours I’ve joined across the national park system was the “wild cave tour” offered at Mammoth Cave National Park. For six or more hours in sections of the cave off-limits to the more traditional tours we scooted through tight places on our bellies when not able to get by on hands and knees.

Crater Lake, On Average, Is Deepest Lake in North America

It's easy to determine that Crater Lake is not the deepest lake in North America when you focus on maximum depth. But what happens when you compare lakes by "average" depth?