Archive List

Greening the Parks: A Former Brownfield is Converted to a Lakefront Gem at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

A former brownfield on the Lake Michigan shoreline now sports a marvelous new recreational facility. The Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is finally up and running, thanks to years of planning, an innovative partnership, and a $10 million construction project incorporating green technology.

Director Bomar Extends Freeze on Fee Increases Through 2009

National Park Service Director Mary Bomar has extended her previous freeze on higher entrance and "amenity" fees through the end of 2009.

Fifty Year Ago Today, Warren Harding and His Buddies Conquered “Unclimbable” El Capitan

November 12, 1958, was an auspicious day for the climbing world and Yosemite National Park. Using siege tactics now considered primitive, a team led by Warren Harding finally conquered El Capitan, a granite monolith that was considered unclimbable. The Nose Route that Harding established is now a classic climb attracting talented weekend climbers, pros, and audacious speedsters.

Flooding Forces Closure of Mount Rainier National Park

Two years after torrential rains unleashed flooding across Mount Rainier National Park heavy rains have returned and forced the park's closure.

Our Only Privately-Owned National Park Celebrates a Birthday and a Vital Conservation Easement

A new conservation easement has made today’s 12th anniversary celebration extra special at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, America’s only privately-owned national park. A buffer now protects three miles of the border, providing a big boost to the park’s prairie preservation efforts and helping to solidify the park’s reputation as a good neighbor.

You Still Can Visit Herman Melville's New Bedford

Books can take us on adventures and to places we never thought possible. Through Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, one can travel the mid-19th Century world's oceans and return to a tiny East Coast sea port once viewed as the world's richest cities.

Arches National Park Finds Its Birthday Overshadowed By Drilling Concerns

Fiery Furnace, Arches National Park. Kurt Repanshek photo.
How happy can a birthday celebration be when it's overshadowed by the possibility of a blight on the landscape? Of course, one person's blight is another's prosperity. But in the case of Arches National Park, it would seem that we as a nation need to better define how we value those special places called national parks.

National Park Quiz 28: Rivers

This week’s quiz deals with rivers flowing within or through the national parks. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write “Tributaries joining main streams at right angles is a signature feature of trellis drainage” 100 times on the whiteboard.

Zion National Park Planning To "Rehabilitate" Mount Carmel Highway

Talk about ambitious. The folks at Zion National Park are planning to do the first substantial rehabilitation of the Mount Carmel Highway in nearly 80 years, something that will not be an overnight job.

New Solar Power System Puts This Park in the Forefront of Alternative Energy Use

The photovoltaic solar system at Furnace Creek in Death Valley N.P. Photo courtesy of Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
If you had to select a national park in the United States where solar power could reduce consumption of electricity from traditional energy sources, which one would you choose? In one Western park a major system is already up and running.

23,110 Candles -- One for Each Soldier Killed, Wounded, or Missing

The 20th Annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination is slated for December 6, weather permitting. Situated along the five-mile driving tour are 23,110 luminaries – one for each solder killed, wounded, or missing in 12 hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862.

Colonial America and the Other San Juan Capistrano

Mission Concepción
When we hear the term "Colonial America," locations west of the Mississippi aren't often the first to come to mind. Long before the Liberty Bell became a symbol of the United States, however, a story involving a European power other than Great Britain was already well underway in another part of our country.

A Bison Roundup and a Birthday Celebration Make for Busy Times at Theodore Roosevelt National Park

November 10 marks the 30th anniversary of National Park designation for Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The past few weeks have been busy at the park, which has staged a bison roundup as well as a celebration of Theodore Roosevelt’s 150th birthday.

November 10, 1978, is a Date Writ Large in National Park System History

The National Parks and Recreation Act of November 10, 1978, heavily impacted the National Park System by establishing 15 new national parks, designating 1.9 million acres of parkland wilderness, and providing funds to address the land acquisition, facilities improvement, and other needs of existing parks.

Acadia National Park Institutes Road Closures to Thwart Poachers

Acadia National Park officials have instituted their annual nighttime closures of sections of roads in the park to thwart poachers who might find the park's deer too tempting.

President-Elect Obama's Team Hints At Reversing BLM Leasing Decisions in Utah

A decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to open thousands of acres of public lands abutting national park properties in Utah could be halted by President-elect Barack Obama once he takes office, according to his transition team.

Zion National Park Officials To Examine Needs of Canyon Shuttle System

The shuttle system that takes visitors into and out of Zion Canyon at Zion National Park long has been singled out for its success. But even a good thing can have problems.

Bison Might be Allowed to Range Further Beyond Yellowstone National Park Borders

Work is under way on a proposal to give bison more room to roam outside of Yellowstone National Park this winter without being killed or hazed back into the park. Though still in the preliminary stages, the proposal would help expand safe winter range for the iconic animals.

Glory, Shame, and Remembrance at Colorado’s Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

One of the most shameful episodes of the Indian Wars occurred on November 29, 1864, when Colorado militia attacked a peaceful Indian village at Sand Creek and brutally murdered women, children, infants, and old men. Though long overdue, the November 7, 2000, authorization of a national park at the massacre site testified to America’s willingness to shine light into the darker corners of its past.

Fort Davis National Historic Site, Home of the Buffalo Soldiers

Dining room of commander's residence. Claire Walter photo.
With Barack Obama set to become the first American president of African-American descent, 3,000 or so of the 19th Century Army veterans who served at Fort Davis must be high-fiving each other somewhere in the beyond.

Snows Close Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park For the Winter

Don't use Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park as a climate change gauge. While snows have closed the road for the season, a check of past years shows this year's closure is neither particularly late nor early.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials to Outline Paving Options for Cades Cove

It ain't gonna be pretty, but it's gotta be done. And with that in mind, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials will hold a public meeting next week to discuss alternatives for paving the 11-mile loop road around Cades Cove.

Upon Further Review - How Wet Is a Rain Forest?

Olympic National Park Rain Forest, NPS Photo.
Most people have a mental picture of what to expect on their first visit to a new location, and that was definitely the case for a woman at Olympic National Park. However, one of the things that makes travel interesting is that expectations and reality sometimes take different paths in the Great Outdoors.

Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department

Don't be surprised if there's a decided Clintonesque influence in the Interior Department of President-elect Barack Obama. Several Clinton administration officials have been asked to work on the transition team for the incoming president.

National Park Service Signs Off on Decision Not To Allow Bombing of Avalanche Chutes in Glacier National Park

It took a while, but the National Park Service has signed off on a plan that prevents railroads from routinely using explosives to clear avalanche chutes above tracks that run along the southern border of Glacier National Park.

Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications

The campaigns are over, the results are in, and it’s time to consider what the 2008 elections portend for the National Park System. We highlight several foregone conclusions, make a couple of fearless forecasts, and invite you, the readers, to share your prognostications.

Bush Administration Poised to Sell Oil and Gas Leases Around Dinosaur National Monument, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

How much is too much? When the oil and gas industry in Utah has nearly 3,500 drilling permits in hand, but which have not been acted upon, why is the Bush administration selling them more, particularly in sensitive areas around national parks and monuments?
GAO-Drilling Report.pdf733.79 KB

Poets, Ports and Politics – The Long Battle for a New Kind of Park

NPS Director Steven Mather and others tour Indiana Dunes in 1916.
According to this park's administrative history, it was the first area considered for addition to the newly-established national park system by the agency's first director, Stephen T. Mather. Mather visited the area in October 1916, but fifty years would elapse before a bill authorizing the park was finally passed.

National Park Quiz 27: The Border Parks

This week’s quiz focuses on border parks-- that is, the parks that border on Canada or Mexico. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you take a TSA training course. Aaaaaaargh!!

Yosemite National Park Officials Considering Improvements to Tioga Road Trails

Tenaya Lake, copyright Kurt Repanshek
Finally, a non-controversial topic. Or is it? Yosemite National Park officials are launching a study into how they can improve eight of 12 trails that have trailheads along the Tioga Road.