Archive List

Devils Tower National Monument has a Climbing Management Plan that Takes Native American Cultural Values into Account

Devils Tower National Monument, the first national monument, celebrates its 102nd birthday on September 24. The tower is a mecca for climbing, but managing the sport requires the National Park Service to respect Native American cultural values and traditions. The annual June closing of recreational climbing is designed to do that.

Archaeological Survey At Big South Fork River National River and Recreation Area

The National Park Service is seeking to inventory and preserve archaeological sites across the National Park System until funding permits their excavation. With the largest number of archaeological sites in the Southeast, the spotlight is turned on the relatively humble Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

How Far Should National Park Rangers Go To Safeguard Your Life?

How many hats should we expect national park rangers to wear? Already we expect them to cover law enforcement, interpretation, and backcountry patrols, and to be quick to put on their "search and rescue" hat when need arises. Should they also be lifeguards or, perhaps more generally, safety officers to protect park visitors, at times from themselves?

National Park Quiz 21: Railroads

You don’t need to be a railfan to do well on this week’s railroad-focused quiz. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you polish the brass in Traveler’s private rail car.

The Abandoned Keane Wonder Mine at Death Valley National Park is Too Dangerous to Visit

Citing serious safety hazards, the National Park Service has barred public access to the abandoned Keane Wonder Mine site at Death Valley National Park. The old mine site, which has already claimed one visitor’s life, is loaded with hazards of many kinds.

Floods Washing Across Big Bend National Park

Images of volunteers filling sandbags in a race against rising waters have unfortunately become commonplace this year, in locations from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast. You don't normally expect to see such scenes in the desert Southwest, but they were repeated last week in Big Bend National Park.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Celebrates Its "Stand-Alone" Birthday and Kilauea Provides the Fireworks

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park came into being as a component of Hawaii National Park in 1916, but it it wasn't until September 22, 1961, that it became a stand-alone unit. The fireworks for its 47th "stand-alone birthday" are being provided by Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. An eruption that began March 19 has yielded half a dozen explosive eruptions, a roiling lake of lava, and a mile-high ash plume.

Musings From Yellowstone National Park

Lower Falls. Kurt Repanshek photo.
Despite all the issues that constantly swirl around the National Park System -- funding constraints, staffing woes, rising fees -- there's still more to be proud about than disappointed.

Japanese Artist Creates Peace Sculpture for Tribal Connections Interpretive Site at Devils Tower National Monument

The new Tribal Connections interpretive site at Devils Tower National Monument features a dramatic sculpture by renowned Japanese artist Junkyu Muto. Muto’s Wind Circle/Sacred Circle of Smoke sculpture, the third in his world “peace sculpture” series, symbolizes Devils Tower as a sacred place for Native Americans.

Yellowstone, Grand Teton Officials Searching For Snowmobile, Snowcoach Solution

Officials at Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, concerned about a judge's ruling that blocks recreational snowmobiling and snow coach use in the parks, are searching for a way to get around that ruling.

The Wild Side of Yellowstone National Park

Bigger than a saucier pan, the paw print held in the wet sand of a beach deep in the South Arm of Yellowstone Lake was unmistakable: here was the home of Ursus arctos horribilis, aka grizzly bear.

Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush

A trigger-happy camper, possibly fueled by alcohol, shot another man in an Oregon campground after hearing rustling in the brush. The incident, while not occurring in a national park setting, could fuel arguments of those opposed to the legalization of carrying concealed weapons in national parks.

"Hidden Fire" Continues To Burn In Sequoia National Park

A lightning-sparked fire continues to burn in Sequoia National Park. Covering more than 800 acres and forcing the closure of Crystal Cave, the fire is only about 30 percent contained.

A Section of the Appalachian Trail Designed for Wheelchair Access Opens in Vermont

A wheelchair accessible 900-foot section of the Appalachian Trail recently opened along the Ottauquechee River near Killington, Vermont. That makes the fourth section of the AT designed for accessibility. A fifth is under construction near West Point.

Pruning the Parks: Shoshone Cavern National Monument (1909-1954) Would Have Cost Too Much to Develop

Wyoming’s Shoshone Cavern National Monument was established by presidential proclamation on September 21, 1909. Because it would have cost too much to develop and operate this minor park, it was abolished in 1954 after nearly half a century of benign neglect.

Mount Rainier National Park Proposing to Reroute Section of Wonderland Trail

One of the must-do national park backcountry treks in the West is the circumnavigation of Mount Rainier via the Wonderland Trail. Storm damage in recent years has officials at Mount Rainier National Park proposing to reroute part of that trail, and are interested in your thoughts.

Federal Government to Back Off on Wolf Delisting In Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Federal wildlife authorities who once were so confident the gray wolf could survive without Endangered Species Act protections now say they didn't do all their homework as completely as they should have.

National Park Quiz 20: The Last Frontier

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s vice presidential nomination has put Alaska in the national spotlight, so let’s orient this week’s quiz to the national parks of The Last Frontier. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write “Alaska’s state fish is the Oncorhynchus tshawytscha” 100 times on the whiteboard.

How Did The National Park Service Err So Badly On the Yellowstone Winter-Use Plan?

How did the National Park Service err so badly in developing a winter-use plan for Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks? According to a federal judge who blocked the plan from taking effect, the agency overlooked its own science and its own mission.

Park History: Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

The scenic, recreational Big South Fork River in eastern Tennessee/Kentucky might well have been dammed and flooded. But a national park was created instead, and now Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area offers high quality recreation opportunities of many types.

At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers

In the predawn darkness of September 9, a 25-year old Ohio man leaped to his death from the New River Gorge Bridge at New River Gorge National River. In his car, investigators found a Mapquest map with directions from his home to the bridge. Like many before him, this victim had carefully planned to end his life at an architectural icon far from his home.

Federal Judge Blocks Recreational Snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park

A federal judge, ruling that Yellowstone National Park's decision to continue recreational snowmobile use in the park runs counter to science and the National Park Service's conservation mission, has tossed out the park's winter-use plan.
Yellowstone Snowmobile Ruling-9-15-08.pdf213.2 KB

Minnesota’s Grand Portage National Monument Commemorates the Historic Fur Trade Era

Located on an Indian reservation in northeastern Minnesota, Grand Portage National Monument was established September 15, 1951, to commemorate the historic North American fur trade. A British fur trading company operated a summer headquarters and western supply depot at Grand Portage from 1778 until 1802.

Parade of Raptors at Hawk Hill Delights Birders in Golden Gate National Recreation Area

With the fall migration underway, birders are beating a path to Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It’s one of the world’s best places for watching hawks, eagles, falcons, vultures, and other raptors.

Getting American Youth More Involved in the National Parks is a Difficult Challenge and a Golden Opportunity

Nurturing broadly-based advocacy for the national parks has never been more critical, and promoting greater youth interest and visitation is a key consideration. Some progress is being made, but much more can be done.

Attendance Shortfalls at Steamtown National Historic Site Prompt Calls for Privatization

Visitation has plunged at Pennsylvania’s Steamtown National Historic Site, primarily because budget problems have prevented the park from meeting visitor expectations. Critics insist that only privatization can provide critical operational improvements and resuscitate Steamtown visitation.

Greening the National Parks: Environmental Achievement Awards Highlight Sustainable Design, Energy-Efficiency, and Recycling

To encourage eco-friendly operations, the National Park Service presents Environmental Achievement Awards each year to parks and concession companies that have excelled in incorporating high environmental standards into their operations. The 2007 awards were presented to Blue Ridge Parkway, Yosemite National Park, Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts, and Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

Prime Location and Varied Habitat Help Make Point Reyes National Seashore a Biodiversity Treasure Trove

Point Reyes National Seashore plays a vital role in maintaining healthy biodiversity. A prime location and key physical factors have combined to make the park, which marks its 46th anniversary September 13, one of the six most biologically significant areas of the U.S. The variety of life found there is astonishing.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps

On Saturday, September 27, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a day of activities celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps. At various times during 1933-1942, around 4,000 enrollees assigned to 22 CCC camps built roads, trails, fire towers, and other structures in the park.

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

After Vicksburg’s establishment as a military park in 1899, it was not until 1917 that Congress authorized the next Civil War battlefield park at Kennesaw Mountain, northwest of Atlanta, where the Confederates stalled, if only for a while, the Union army’s southward march through Georgia. In the mid-1920s, other famous Civil War battlefields became military parks, including Petersburg and Fredericksburg, in Virginia.