Archive List

National Accessibility Achievement Awards Recognize Accomplishment in an Area of Vital Concern to the National Park Service

The National Park Service began making National Accessibility Achievement Awards in 1999 to recognize outstanding accomplishments in architectural design, program design, and sustained efforts to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities. For the FY 2008 awards round, a five-member panel of experts will vet 14 nominations in four categories.

Grand Canyon Railway May Expand Rail Service to the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon Railway currently operates two trains daily between Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon’s South Rim tourist hub. Now the Park Service is considering whether to allow a third daily train and an evening excursion trip from the South Rim.

Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area

A federal appellate court in New Jersey has upheld a lower court's finding that the National Park Service was within its rights to lease nearly three dozen historic buildings at Gateway National Recreation Area to a commercial developer.

Public Hunt Scheduled to Reduce Grand Teton National Park Elk Herd

It's that time of year grizzly bears and hunters love in Grand Teton National Park -- time for the annual elk reduction hunt. Mandated by the park's enabling legislation and fueled, more than a few believe, by the state of Wyoming's elk feedlots and the National Elk Refuge, the hunt is scheduled to open October 11.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: It's Really About the Islands

No one postcard can fully capture Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Indeed, "lakeshore" might just be the wrong category for this jewel of Lake Superior, as the park's essence is an archipelago of 21 islands.

At Statue of Liberty National Monument, Save Ellis Island, Inc., Works to Restore Ellis Island’s Time-Ravaged Buildings

When Ellis Island became part of Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, its buildings were in terrible condition. By 1990, only the Main Building and some other north side buildings had been restored. In 2000, Save Ellis Island, Inc. and its partners began the expensive task of stabilizing and restoring the south side buildings.

Heavy Rains and Flooding from Hurricane Ike Remnants Left a Mess at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

The torrential rains, high winds, and flooding that plagued northwest Indiana as the remnants of Hurricane Ike passed through were some of the worst on record. They left a big mess at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, too. The big storm came at an awkward time, necessitating hurry-up cleanup and repairs to get the new Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk ready for dedication ceremonies on October 16.

Update: At Grand Canyon National Park, an Abandoned Uranium Mine Must be Cleaned Up

The Orphan Mine, which produced uranium during 1956-1969, is situated on and below the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park. Abandoned in 1969, the site is contaminated with hazardous materials, some of which are radioactive. Now the site must be cleaned up, and it’s a time-consuming, complicated process.

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.
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