Archive List

Fall Colors: What Can We Expect Across the National Park System?

A Labor Day weekend cold front dropped snow levels in some parts of the Rockies to below 10,000, which is a pretty good indicator that fall is not far off. And so, with that warning, it's only natural to wonder how the fall color displays will be in the national parks.

Fort Davis National Historic Site Commemorates a Key Frontier Military Post

Established 47 years ago on September 8, 1961, Fort Davis National Historic Site is an outstanding example of a western frontier military post. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis guarded travelers, mail, and freight moving on the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail.

The Denali Road Lottery Offers Regulated Leaf Peeping at Alaska’s Denali National Park

After the shuttle buses cease operating at Denali National Park, motorists with lottery-distributed permits can take fall color tours on the 92-mile shuttle road. This year’s Denali Road Lottery will take place September 12-15, weather permitting. Up to 400 vehicles per day will be allowed.

Canyon Wilderness of the Southwest

Sweeping panoramas, fluted slot canyons and fossilized sand dunes are among the subjects that Jon Ortner brings into focus with Canyon Wilderness of the Southwest, an expansive coffee table book.

Mountain Pine Beetles Chewing into Grand Teton National Park Forests

There are splashes of fall color showing up in Grand Teton National Park, but the reds and rusts are not associated with the changing of the seasons. Rather, they're a dire harbinger of what climate change could exact from the park's forests.

Is Climate Change Driving A New Forest Regimen in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem?

As ecological drivers go, you wouldn't think an insect roughly the size of a rice grain would be that significant in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. And yet, the mountain pine beetle, aided by a warming climate, is poised to send quite a shudder through the ecosystem.

Landscape Painting Donated to Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park's art collection has grown by one. A landscape painting of the Tetons by the late Harrison R. Crandall, who made a career photographing and painting the Tetons, has been donated to the park by his daughter, Quita Crandall Pownall, and her husband, Herb Pownall.

Sky-High Ginseng Prices Boost Illegal Harvest in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With ginseng fetching record high prices, illegal harvesting has increased in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is a serious federal crime. Convicted ginseng poachers get hefty fines and jail time.

It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park

President Bush received a very special tour of Gettysburg National Military Park. To paraphrase Mel Brooks, “It’s Good to be the President.”

Management Shuffle Yields New Superintendent for Shenandoah National Park

Martha Bogle, Deputy Superintendent of Blue Ridge National Parkway, has been appointed superintendent of Shenandoah National Park. An innovative project she supervised during an earlier assignment at Congaree National Park testifies to her remarkable managerial skills.

Pilgrim Places: Civil War Battlefields, Historic Preservation, and America’s First National Military Parks, 1863-1900, Part VI

With the exception of Grover Cleveland, every United States president from Ulysses S. Grant through William McKinley was a veteran of the Union army, as were many congressmen. Following reconstruction, the sectional reconciliation paved the way for ex-Confederates and their political spokesmen in Washington to join Northern leaders in supporting battlefield commemoration.

Yellowstone National Park Reporting Bullish Visitation

Ahhh, Yellowstone National Park. Its magic captures just about anyone who visits, or reads an article about this incredible park. Perhaps that's why, when other parks are reporting dips in visitation, Yellowstone is reporting strong tourist traffic.

Concern in Thailand: Too Much Private Investment in National Parks

Concern over private investment in national parks is not strictly an American issue. In Thailand there are worries that too much private investment is being allowed in that country's parks.

Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace

Flamingo Lodge, the only major lodging facility in Everglades National Park, was trashed by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005. If enough money can be found somewhere, it’ll be replaced with a lodging complex that is smaller, greener, and more hurricane-resistant.

Hanna Forcing Evacuations, Closures at Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout National Seashores

Tropical storm Hanna's approach to the Carolinas has forced some evacuations and closures at Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras national seashores, and more steps could be taken depending on the severity of the storm.

Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them

In 1970, a United Native Americans-led contingent of Indians staged a 10-day occupation of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and asserted the right of the Lakota people to reclaim the Black Hills. On August 29, a small group of Lakota gathered at the memorial to share cultural experiences and commemorate the historic event.

Hawaii’s National Parks Are Attracting Fewer Visitors

Hawaii’s national parks are attracting fewer visitors than last year. As of July, attendance tallies were down nearly 10% for the year and showing signs of getting worse, especially at the parks located furthest from the main tourism/convention hub at Honolulu.

Four Billion Dollars from the Land and Water Conservation Fund is a Good Start, but the National Park Service Needs More

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was signed into law on September 3, 1964, took effect on January 1, 1965, and has since provided $4 billion to buy national park land and easements. That’s not nearly enough. The National Park Service’s acquisitions backlog has grown to $1.9 billion, and it’s getting bigger every year.

Big Bend National Park: Is It Ready For A Mountain Bike Trail?

Officials at Big Bend National Park in Texas want to know what you think of a plan to develop a multi-use trail backcountry trail, one whose primary mission would be to accommodate mountain bikers.

Brucellosis Solution: Kill All Elk and Bison in Yellowstone National Park

Here's a novel solution to the woes Montana's livestock industry suffers from elk and bison in Yellowstone National Park: Kill them all. Yup, that's the panacea being promoted by an Oklahoma newspaper.

The Wilderness Act At Age 44

Is the salvation of our natural souls tied to the preservation of wilderness? And if it is, must we actually travel into the wilderness to achieve its benefits, or is it simply enough to know wilderness exists? As the Wilderness Act turns 44, how much has it done to protect nature?
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National Park Quiz 18: A Potpourri of National Park Trivia

While past quizzes have focused on specific genre involving the National Park System, this week's quiz is a more wide-open, undefined quiz of national park trivia. Answers are at the end.

Have High Gas Prices Deterred Travel within Theodore Roosevelt National Park?

High gas prices are causing many motorists to travel less and choose destinations closer to home. Do motorists who visit national parks also drive less inside the parks? Visitor data from North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park suggest that this might be happening.

A View from Abroad: Don't Let Tourism Overwhelm Our National Parks

Are national parks in need of a facelift to attract the tourist dollar? Should wild places be better at catering for those wanting some luxury and pampering? If you talk to some in the tourist industry, they would strongly agree.

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial You See Over There By the Tidal Basin Is Not the Original

The impressive Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial situated near the Tidal Basin is not the original FDR Memorial. The first Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was a simple plaque installed near the National Archives on the 20th anniversary of FDR's death. It was a humble memorial, and that’s just what FDR wanted

Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park

Scientists fear that sylvatic plague may decimate the black-footed ferret population of Badlands National Park. The deadly disease began killing prairie dogs and ferrets in the Conata Basin area of nearby Buffalo Gap National Grasslands last spring. Now an aggressive spray-and-vaccinate campaign is the last line of defense for the remaining ferrets.

Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historical Site Commemorates a Great Achievement in Early Transportation

The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historical Site is located in southwestern Pennsylvania about 12 miles west of Altoona. Authorized on August 31, 1964, this park commemorates an ingenious inclined plane system that provided a vital trans-mountain link in the 400-mile long trade route connecting Philadelphia with the Ohio River Valley during the mid-1800s.

Is Technology Compatible With The National Park Wilderness Experience?

The recent posts about GPS Rangers and SPOT beg the question of whether technology is compatible with wilderness values in the National Park System. Are these truly useful tools, or do they diminish the wilderness experience? Where do you draw the line?

Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System

Remember the good old days, when you could enter a national park and there was no cost to hike a trail, tour a museum, or enjoy nature? Well, those days seemingly are fleeting. In a move likely to disappoint many, the folks at Gettysburg National Military Park are thinking of charging a fee to access their museum.

Pilgrim Places: Civil War Battlefields, Historic Preservation, and America’s First National Military Parks, 1863-1900, Part V

In marked contrast to the involvement of Confederate veterans, African American participation in Civil War battlefield commemoration was minimal in virtually all cases. Prior to President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1, 1863, some blacks served as soldiers (and sailors) for the North.