Archive List

Park History: Biscayne National Park

Having already seen snow this fall in the Rockies, the thought of heading to a nice, warm patch of sand being slapped by warm Atlantic waters sounds pretty good right about now. And if airfares weren't what they are, a quick jaunt to Biscayne National Park to commemorate the park's birthday would seem just about right.

A Surprising Option for a Western River Trip

Black Canyon, Lake Mead National Recreation Area. USGS photo by Phil Stoffer.
This short float trip on a desert river offers dramatic cliffs, wildlife and bird watching, and side canyons with hot springs. Its location in a heavily-visited Western park may surprise you.

Francis Beidler’s Long-Ago Decision Saved the Forest that Became Congaree National Park

In an action unusual for its time, timber tycoon and early conservationist Francis Beidler put his vast holdings of South Carolina forestland in timber reserve status in the early 1900s. Six decades later, Congaree Swamp National Monument, now Congaree National Park, was created from the remnants. The park celebrates its 32nd birthday today, October 18.

Update: Virgin Islands National Park Takes a Swipe, not a Direct Hit, from Hurricane Omar

Damage surveys and cleanup work are underway at Virgin Islands National Park after Hurricane Omar passed thorough the islands on Thursday. It appears that main park facilities on St. John escaped a major hit.

Beach Cleanup is Focus for National Parks America Tour Stop at Padre Island National Seashore

The Unilever-sponsored National Parks America Tour, a volunteer program with over 25 scheduled stops in the national parks this year, has organized a beach cleanup at Padre Island National Seashore for Saturday, October 18. The huge volume of storm debris left by last month’s Hurricane Ike has been very difficult to deal with and continues to wash ashore daily.

How to Hijack a National Park

Gateway Arch and grounds. NPS photo.
From time to time we see a news story about some government project or proposal that causes us to think, "That sure doesn't sound right," and wonder how it happened. Here's a current example.

Rockfalls Down Upon Curry Camp in Yosemite National Park Are Not Unusual

The most recent rockfalls from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park are not the first to shower Curry Camp and certainly won't be the last. With that in mind, geologists are taking a close look at Glacier Point to try to determine just how safe, or unsafe, its rock face is.
YOSE Rockfalls-USGS.pdf581.68 KB

"Talking" Buoys Deployed Along Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

It'd be impractical for the National Park Service to station interpretive rangers at various points along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. But that hasn't stopped the agency from providing that interpretation to boaters in the Chesapeake Bay.

Conservation Groups Sue to Cut Air Pollution Over Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Whenever talk turns to air pollution and impacts on national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the first parks mentioned. A coalition of conservation groups went to court today with hopes of preventing the park's pollution problems from growing.

Damage from Tropical Storm Hanna Created Expensive Repair Problems at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

It’s unusual for a national park in the Mid-Atlantic region to suffer tropical storm damage, but that’s what happened last month to Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park near Washington, DC. Flooding due to torrential rains from Tropical Storm Hanna breached the towpath wall, necessitating repairs that could well be in excess of $1 million.

Visit Savannah’s Fort Pulaski National Monument and See Why Brick Masonry Forts Became Obsolete in April 1862

Savannah’s Fort Pulaski National Monument celebrates its 84th birthday today, October 15. Brick masonry harbor forts like Fort Pulaski were thought to be impregnable until an astonishing thing happened on April 11, 1862. After that day it would never again make sense to build a harbor fort of brick masonry.

New BLM Management Plans Could Have Major Impacts on Utah National Parks

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park.
If you want to enjoy some of those iconic views from places like Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, you might want to plan your trip sooner rather than later. While most Americans and their elected officials have been mesmerized by the economic crisis and the upcoming election, enormous changes in the management of public lands in Utah are afoot. The effects on a number of national parks could be substantial.

Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems

A survey stemming from the Bush administration's plan to allow concealed carry of guns in national parks and national wildlife refuges predicts the result will be more wildlife shootings and management problems.

National Park Quiz 24: Old, Older, Oldest

Are you chronologically challenged? Take this week’s quiz and find out. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write 100 times on the whiteboard: “Isotopic stratigraphy, a branch of chemostratigraphy, should not be confused with lithostratigraphy or cyclostratigraphy”.

Trails I've Hiked: Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Most avid hikers know Half Dome. In fact, as the signature landmark for Yosemite, its image is recognized worldwide. It's even on the 2005 U.S. quarter. From mid-May to mid-October, visitors can attempt this extremely strenuous 16-mile hike.

Interior Officials Planning To Make It Easier for Mountain Bikers to Gain Backcountry Access in Parks

Three years after the International Mountain Bicycling Association said it simply wanted mountain bike access to dirt roads in national parks, Interior Department officials are said to be working to make it easier for the bikers to gain access to backcountry trails.

The Lost Arrow Spire Highline in Yosemite National Park is a Slackliner’s Dream and an Acrophobe’s Nightmare

So, you think you’re ready for the Lost Arrow Spire Highline? Have a look at this videoclip and see if you still feel that way.

Park History: Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Believe it or not, Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Mammoth Cave National Park have something in common. Both owe their discovery, in part, to hunters. At least that's the local lore.

Pruning the Parks: Atlanta Campaign National Historic Site (1944-1950) was Developed as a Dixie Highway Tourist Attraction

Atlanta Campaign National Historic Site was established by order of the Secretary of the Interior on October 13, 1944. Less than six years later, Congress transferred the components, five pocket parks along the historic Dixie Highway, to the state of Georgia. Interestingly, one of the Atlanta Campaign markers commemorates a strategically significant non-event.

Shenandoah National Park To Celebrate Wilderness This Weekend

It was more than three decades ago that Congress designated nearly 80,000 acres of Shenandoah National Park as wilderness. This coming weekend the park is planning a variety of activities to celebrate that wilderness.

Trails I've Hiked: John Muir Trail, Lyell Fork drainage, Yosemite National Park

Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River, Kurt Repanshek photo
Woven tufts of gold knit the meadows together, thick pine forests give way to observation towers of granite and sky-scraping peaks, and a river runs through it. That's the setting the John Muir Trail wanders through in the High Sierra of Yosemite National Park.

Boulder Dam National Recreation Area – Forgotten but Not Gone?

October 13, 1936, marked the creation of Boulder Dam National Recreation Area and a brand-new category of management units for the National Park Service. The recreation area no longer exists by its original name, but its legacy continues in one of the most heavily-visited parks in the country. During their first 30 years the park and the dam underwent more name changes than the rock entertainer formerly known as….

Park History: Obed Wild and Scenic River

Obed Wild and Scenic River, which preserves one of the best whitewater rivers in the eastern United States, is tucked away in the wilds of Morgan and Cumberland Counties in Tennessee. Having been established on October 12, 1976, the park celebrates its 32nd birthday today.

Body of Man Missing in Shenandoah National Park Found Outside Park

The body of a man who went missing during an outing in Shenandoah National Park has been found outside the park.

Part of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Lands on National Register of Historic Places

Great Lakes fishing history has led to a segment of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore being named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Yorktown Day – Our Country's "Other Birthday"

Our nation will celebrate its 227th birthday on October 19, 2008, in Yorktown, Virginia—and you're invited to the party! "Whoa, not so fast," some of you may be thinking; what happened to the Fourth of July?

Imagine the Impacts of Climate Change on the National Park System

Waterless Yosemite Fall, Kurt Repanshek photo
Imagine Yosemite National Park without Yosemite Fall. Or Glacier National Park without glaciers. Or Old Faithful becoming less faithful. Across the National Park System, the effects of climate change could be quite dramatic.
sap4-4-final-report-Ch4-Parks.pdf1.52 MB

First Ladies National Historic Site Struggles to Attract Visitors

First Ladies National Historic site, which was established on October 11, 2000, has a prime location. Nevertheless, the Canton, Ohio, park attracts scarcely more than 10,000 visitors a year. Why is that, and does it really matter?

Musings from Yosemite National Park

El Capitan, Kurt Repanshek photo
There arguably is no national park that better showcases geology than Yosemite National Park. Sure, Arches National Park offers more arches in one place than anywhere else on the planet, and Grand Canyon National Park has that incredible gouge. But stand before Half Dome or El Capitan and you can't help but marvel.

Now “Thirtysomething,” Big Thicket National Preserve Has Matured Nicely

On October 11, 1974, Congress grafted a new and controversial branch onto the National Park System family tree by creating the first two National Preserves – Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas and Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. Big Thicket, like its Florida cousin, is now a nicely maturing “thirtysomething” park with a lot of visitor appeal.