Archive List

Park Service Pays $2 million To Settle Negligence Suit Out of Haleakala NP

Over the past five years the National Park Service has paid more than $4 million as the result of lawsuits following drownings at a popular swimming area in Haleakala National Park. After the most recent payment, of $2 million, the Park Service moved to adopt safety measures at Seven Sacred Pools.

West Yellowstone: A Gateway Town Worth Hanging Around

Of Yellowstone's five gateway towns, West Yellowstone is my favorite. It's the closest to the park, as Yellowstone's West Entrance is at the end of Yellowstone Avenue, and it has this wonderfully funky vibe flowing through it.

Private Party At Charlestown Navy Yard Doesn't Lack Alcohol

So cash-starved are some units of the national park system that they're resorting to leasing out their facilities for private parties. One of the latest bashes, at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston earlier this week, didn't lack for alcohol, involved one arrest, and generally impeded the public in places.

Sandy Hook: A Good Place to Escape Manhattan's Heat

Peel through the controversy surrounding the Sandy Hook area of Gateway National Recreation Area and you'll find a seaside setting perfect for fleeing Gotham's high summer heat and humidity.

Olympic Backcountry Still Buried in Snow

Planning a backcountry visit to Olympic National Park any time soon? If so, you might want to be sure to pack crampons and an ice axe, as last winter's heavy snowfall has left a good bit of the high country still buried this far into the summer.

Climate Change: What Implications Does it Carry for the Parks?

Melting in Glacier Bay National Park; NPS Photo, Rosemarie Salazar photographer.
Whether you believe in climate change or global warming doesn't really matter these days. There is change ongoing with our climate. Evidence exists in melting icecaps, unusually potent storms, droughts, and warming temperatures in general. How these changes are affecting our national parks is a question that the National Parks Conservation Association explores in a special report.

National Geographic Rates the Best Parks

Horses at Theodore Rooselevel National Park; NPS Photo
National Geographic's Adventure Magazine has created a list of the 5 best parks in 7 different categories; hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing, trekking, driving, climbing and lodges. Did they get it right?

Everglades To Host Another Meeting on Managing Boats

Concerns by powerboaters that they might be banned from portions of Everglades National Park in the future have prompted park officials to schedule another public meeting on proposals for managing boating in the park.

Swimming In Yellowstone's Rivers On the Rise

Swimming in Yellowstone rivers, aside from in a small stretch of the Firehole River, along the Gardner River outside of Mammoth Hot Springs, and in the Bechler region, is prohibited. Yet rangers don't seem to be enforcing that rule very stringently.

Fire Danger Rating In Yellowstone, Grand Teton "Very High" and "Extreme"

Precipitation in the Rockies has been below normal, temperatures have been above normal. Those two conditions alone are creating very dangerous fire conditions in the national parks. In Yellowstone and Grand Teton, for example, officials have rated the fire danger at "extreme."

Considering a Hike up Half Dome?

Waiting to Climb Half Dome; San Fran. Chronicle photo by Michael Maloney
An article in the San Francisco Chronicle is worth reading if you have been considering the day hike up Yosemite's Half Dome. Climbing on the weekends in summer can be crowded.

Ferrets Return to Wind Cave

NPS Biological Barb Muenchau releases ferret at Wind Cave; NPS Photo.
We have had requests to share more 'good news' about the national parks. How about this: 30 years after the last ferret was seen at Wind Cave, the park has returned seven to their native habitat.

Park Shuttles, More Than Just A Bus?

Drawing of Glacier's new shuttle; The Douglas|Group/DEA
Riding a bus in the city is part of the daily grind; kids take them to school, adults take them to work. Should we settle for having to ride a bus on a vacation to a national park too? My feeling is now 'yes, we should'.

Gateway NRA Officials Seem to Run Counter to Other Park Managers

How unusual is the decision by Gateway National Recreation Area officials to constantly give a developer more time to come up with the financing to restore and commercialize buildings at Fort Hancock? Apparently pretty unusual according to a survey by the Asbury Park Press.

Product Testing in West Yellowstone

Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park; NPS Photo
You'll have to excuse the somewhat reduced rate of posts for the next few days. Not only is it a holiday weekend, of sorts, but I'm off product testing in Yellowstone.

Hikers in Grand Canyon Resort to PLB To Save Themselves

Personal Locator Beacon
More and more, modern technology allows us to save us from ourselves. A perfect example occurred earlier this week in the Grand Canyon, where hikers beaten down by the heat used a “personal locator beacon” to save themselves. The help, incidentally, came from across the country in Florida.

The Essential Grand Teton

The Tetons are the focal point of their namesake park.
Grand Teton National Park holds up western Wyoming's border, soaring to nearly 14,000 feet. While the young crags with their snowfields hold your eye, there's much more to do in this park than grab a rope and ice axe and climb to the roof.

Mount Rushmore Recreated in Cheese

Mount Rushmore depicted in cheese. AP Photo/The Post-Crescent, Michael P. King
In case you've been wondering, this is what Mount Rushmore would look like if it were cut from Land O' Lakes cheese and not the granite of South Dakota's Black Hills.

Audio Adventure - Solo Hike through Denali

Dirtbag Diaries podcast by Fitz Cahall
Engaging audio program about a solo hiking trip in Denali National Park in which the hiker (a photographer) encounters unexpected challenges on his way back to civilization.

You Want How Much For That Campsite?!?

Ahh, you have to love Americans' capitalistic tendencies. I mean, where else can you spit in the face of someone hoping to enjoy a low-cost stay in a national park by reserving a $20 campsite in Yosemite National Park and then putting it up for auction for $249 on Ebay?

Congressman Calls for Investigation Into Fort Hancock Deal

One of the old buildings at Fort Hancock in need of restoration.
A congressman from New Jersey, calling the Park Service's handling of a lease of three dozen historic buildings at Fort Hancock a "debacle," wants a federal investigation into the matter. Representative Frank Pallone called for the investigation Monday in a letter to the Interior Department's Inspector General.

Be Careful Celebrating the Fourth of July

Heading into the long Fourth of July holiday, fire managers across the West are keeping their fingers crossed that folks are careful when they head into the national parks, national forests, and other public lands. The landscape is, as they say, tinder dry, due to unseasonably dry and hot conditions.

Leatherback Turtle Nests on Cape Hatteras

Whether it's the result of climate change or simply a growing and expanding population of leatherback turtles is for the scientists to determine. For now, just the fact that a leatherback turtle has left a nest of eggs on a beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore is pretty exciting news.

Concessionaire News

After 80 years, Carlsbad Caverns National Park has replaced the Cavern Supply Company. And, at Write Brothers National Memorial, air tours departing from a nearby airstrip have been canceled indefinitely.

Why Is The Park Service Bending Over Backwards For Developer?

Why is the NPS so determined to help a developer who lacks financing?
National Park Service Director Mary Bomar months ago promised that the agency would improve its business savvy. And yet, her agency seems to be ignoring sound business judgment in its blind desire to see a developer who lacks deep pockets turn a portion of Gateway National Recreation Area into a commercial district.

Who is Gen-Y and Should the Park Service Care?

Computer animations can bring 18th-century cannon fire to life, but can they bring Gen-Yers to the national parks? Can an audiocast leading teens across a battlefield entice them enough to set foot in Saratoga National Historical Park? Can tracing a hike in Glacier National Park from the comforts of their homes convince this generation to beg their parents to visit Glacier on their next vacation? Those are questions that have more and more park managers searching for answers.
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No electronics, just an old-fashioned book that sparks youngsters' imaginations, is the driving force behind Tedrick de Bear's travels across the national park system. Teddy's Travels, America's National Parks, is an award-winning book by Trefoni Michael Rizzi that teaches kids a little something about the parks while they're enjoying them.

Alcatraz Event on YouTube

YouTube coverage of the ExpreScion event held on Alcatraz Island recently. I am struck by the comments of one participant who is troubled that a party is happening on a site protected for its past agony.

Congress Takes a Step Toward Restoring the Great Lakes

President Bush isn't going to like this. The House of Representatives has adopted an Interior Appropriations Bill that contains more money than he proposed for the agency. But would the president veto funding that would help clean up sewage in the Great Lakes and work to stop the spread of invasive, non-native species in the lakes?

Cast Your Vote for the Future of Gateway National Recreation Area

Should a unit of the national park system, once created, be redesigned? When the unit in question is Gateway National Recreation Area, the folks at the National Park Conservation Association think so. And they're asking for your input on how that makeover should be handled.