Archive List

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.

Bear Mauls Woman in Gates of the Arctic National Park

On August 28, a young grizzly mauled a woman hiker in the remote Okokmilaga River drainage of Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. Thanks to the quick action of the woman’s companions, the bear was driven away and the victim received only non life-threatening injuries. Bear attacks are rare in the park, but this incident shows that bear country travel always entails risk.

Gulf Coast National Parks Prepare for Possible Arrival of Hurricane Gustav

As Tropical Storm Gustav nears the Gulf of Mexico, three Gulf Coast national parks in the projected landfall zone of the soon-to-be hurricane have moved to a higher level of hurricane preparedness and are making preparations for possible closure and evacuation. Five other national parks within the five-day forecast cone are in planning and monitoring mode.

Reclaiming Ground in Yellowstone National Park

Crews in Yellowstone National Park are working on turning back the clock on some lands that had once been used as agricultural fields. A pilot project getting under way north of Mammoth Hot Springs aims to restore native vegetation on 22 acres.

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The release of Firefox 3.0 has created a formatting problem when viewing National Parks Traveler. We're aware of this and are working to correct the problem. In the meantime, you might want to hold off from upgrading.

Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East

Policing National Capital Parks-East can be downright scary at times. On August 21, for example, Park Police officers patrolling Anacostia Park arrested two men who had brought a loaded submachine gun to a picnic area playground.

Video: Birds and Bike Paths in Grand Teton National Park

It was big news when the decision was announced to install some bike paths in Grand Teton National Park. But how might those affect ground-nesting birds and other park wildlife? This video looks into that question.

Flooding Nurtures Life in Congaree National Park

The Congaree River is flooding again, and as far as Congaree National Park is concerned, that’s a good thing. Periodic flooding is the very lifeblood of the extraordinary river bottom forest that the park preserves.

Body of Kayaker Missing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Recovered

Rangers in Great Smoky Mountain National Park have recovered the body of a kayaker who was reported missing during a short paddle on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

First Piping Plovers, Now Sea Turtles Descend on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Call it serendipity, the fate of the gods, or simple biology, but it seems that Cape Hatteras National Seashore is undergoing an invasion of sea turtles. And that means more beach closures to off-road vehicles and pedestrians.

National Park Quiz 17: Presidents

This week’s quiz tests your knowledge of national parks related to the presidents. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you memorize the entire 42-person list in chronological order.

Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System

Missing commas and wayward apostrophes are an endangered species when confronted by Jeff Michael Deck and Benjamin Douglas Herson. But that was before the grammar vigilantes ran afoul of the law after editing an historic sign in Grand Canyon National Park.
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NPS-Sign Vandals.pdf251.83 KB

Presidential Politics and the National Parks

With the Democratic National Convention under way, and the Republican National Convention soon to follow, it's natural to wonder what these two parties are thinking of in terms of the environment in general and national parks specifically.
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2008 Draft Democratic Platform.pdf253.24 KB
NPCA_Phone_Online_Survey_Results.pdf65.75 KB

Glacier National Park Officials Plan to Scale Down Search for Missing Hiker

Glacier National Park officials, frustrated by six days of fruitless searching for a missing hiker, say they'll scale back efforts on Tuesday unless new leads are discovered.

The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble

Is the National Park System primed for decline? One of the world’s most respected international periodicals thinks so. The Economist blames shifting public interests and anti-development environmentalists for falling attendance and warns that public support for national parks may quickly erode.

Find Me, Spot. Staying Found in The National Parks

Backcountry rangers in some Alaska national parks routinely signal their position with "Spot," a personal locater beacon that can be used to summon help or to simply let friends know you're OK. Recently, Spot helped rangers find two backcountry travelers in Sequoia National Park who found themselves in trouble.

North Cascades National Park Officials Over a Barrel With Stocking Trout

Yellowstone has its snowmobiles, Cape Hatteras has its piping plovers, and North Cascades National Park has its trout. Or maybe it doesn't, and that's the problem.

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

Once the national cemeteries were established, they were effectively the only areas of the battlefields in a condition adequate to receive the public in any numbers, and they became the focal points for official ceremonies and other formal acts of remembrance. Most widely observed was Decoration Day, begun at about the end of the war in response to the massive loss of life suffered during the four-year conflict.

Another Look at Those GPS Rangers in the National Parks

It was just about a year ago that I wrote about the invasion of "GPS Rangers" into the national parks. Back then I wasn't so keen on this hand-held electronic tour gizmo, but there does seem to be a hidden blessing in it.

A Century of National Parks in Utah To be Celebrated Labor Day Weekend

A little more than century after President Theodore Roosevelt designated Natural Bridges National Monument, making it the first National Park System unit in Utah, the monument will serve as the backdrop for a celebration of 100 years of national parks in the state.

"Designing the Parks"

For three years National Parks Traveler has served as a forum not just to inform the general public about issues concerning the National Park Service and its system, but to encourage debate and discussion over how the agency and its parks can become stronger. Now there's another forum with that goal in mind.

National Park Quiz 16: Waterfalls

A waterfall is defined as a steep descent of water from a height. Whatever you call these falling waters, they delight the senses. This week’s quiz will see how much you know about waterfalls in the national parks. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, you’ll be assigned plunge pool cleaning duties.

National Park Service Admits Mistakes With Proposed Little Bighorn Visitor Center Expansion

In an about-face, National Park Service officials have admitted they erred in pushing an expansion of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument visitor center and are reversing course. "Sometimes you just have to admit that you didn't do your homework as well as you might have thought," says Intermountain Regional Director Mike Snyder.

Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished

The National Park System grew by 69 units via the Reorganization of 1933, which was signed August 10, 1933. However, six of the “1933T” national parks were subsequently abolished. This serves to remind us that periodic pruning is a natural and healthy function of large, complex systems.

Grand Canyon National Park "Short Haul" Operations

The thrills didn't end for a group of 16 Colorado River rafters when high water stranded them at the bottom of Grand Canyon National Park. As the accompanying picture shows, their rescue was just as, if not more, thrilling as bucking the river's rapids.