Archive List

EPA's Perplexing Position On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park

Perplexing. That's my initial reaction to the Environmental Protection Agency's response to the snowmobile decision out of Yellowstone National Park. In five short paragraphs the EPA officials went from seemingly complimenting the decision to saying park planners failed to fully address their concerns.

Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns

One of the most intriguing interpretive tours I’ve joined across the national park system was the “wild cave tour” offered at Mammoth Cave National Park. For six or more hours in sections of the cave off-limits to the more traditional tours we scooted through tight places on our bellies when not able to get by on hands and knees.

Crater Lake, On Average, Is Deepest Lake in North America

It's easy to determine that Crater Lake is not the deepest lake in North America when you focus on maximum depth. But what happens when you compare lakes by "average" depth?

Online Geothermal Inventory to Yellowstone National Park

I have yet to find someone not fascinated, if not mesmerized, by the geothermal features to be found in Yellowstone National Park. And now there's a great on-line resource to help "geyser gazers" track the park's geothermal resources without living the comforts of home.

Park History: Arches National Park

How would you describe Arches National Park to someone who had never been to the Southwest? You could try to explain the landscape by comparing it to the old Flintstones cartoons, but what if they weren't familiar with the Flintstones? Do you think they'd believe you if you said Arches was a cathedral of rocks, where gravity doesn't always work, where the sunsets stain the cliffs?

The Yellowstone Precedent

As the latest decision on permitting snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park draws to conclusion, the question of the impact that decision will have comes up. To those closely following the issue, the National Park Service's stance could have devastating effects across not just the park system, but over all public lands.

With The Off-Season Here, Lodging Deals Are Popping Up Throughout the National Park System

Students are back in school, the weather is turning, the leaves have mostly fallen. Also falling are the costs of booking a room in national park lodges for the next few months.

Park History: Congaree National Park

Though a veritable youngster in the national park realm, Congaree National Park is a vegetative museum, harboring some of the eastern United States' tallest trees in what's said to be the largest old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the country.

Park History: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

A tribute to Teddy Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt National Park sprawls across the same North Dakota landscape where the nation's 26th president established his Maltese Cross Ranch in 1883. Today the park marks its 29th birthday.

Park History: Badlands National Park

Mykl Roventine photo.
Given birth as a national monument in 1939 and then transformed into a national park in 1978, Badlands National Park marks its 29th birthday today. Across its 244,000 acres you'll find vestiges of prehistoric life, the largest expanse of protected prairie in the park system, and a rebounding mammal once thought bound for extinction.

Plague Suspected In Death Of Grand Canyon National Park Employee

Plague is suspected as the cause of death of a 37-year-old National Park Service employee at Grand Canyon National Park. Eric York, a wildlife biologist, was found dead in his home on the South Rim earlier this month.

Volcanics Pushing Yellowstone National Park Higher

The volcanic basement of Yellowstone National Park has risen by roughly 7 inches during the past three years, evidence of volcanics but not indicative of an impending eruption, according to University of Utah scientists.

Olympic National Park Could Begin Fisher Recovery Program this Fall

Completion of an environmental assessment into the question of returning fishers to Olympic National Park has cleared the way for a recovery program to begin, possibly before year's end.

Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park

After negotiating a paperwork gauntlet, a tract of more than 1,100 acres has been transferred by the Rockefeller family to Grand Teton National Park.

Blue Ridge Park Foundation Gives Back to the Parkway

Another $100,000 has been given by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to the Blue Ridge Parkway for use in educating students who live along the 469-mile-long scenic byway about the wonders of the national park system.

House Resources Considers Legislation To Increase National Park Properties

The House Natural Resources Committee today is considering legislation that calls for studies to determine whether the national park system should grow even larger and whether the National Trails System should be expanded.

Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is one of the Southwest's premier boating areas, but in recent years the drought has really lowered Lake Powell. While that has opened up some fascinating canyon landscapes that had been underwater, the drought also has created some logistical problems for boaters.

Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks

The International Mountain Bicycling Association has a friend in the National Park Service's Intermountain regional director, Michael Snyder. In a recent memo to park superintendents in his region, Mr. Snyder says IMBA can provide "some great partnership ... that you may want to take advantage of."

Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System

Talk volcanoes and national parks and folks usually think of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and perhaps Lassen Volcanic National Park. In truth, though, there are at least 13 units of the national park system that have a volcanic past in some form or fashion.

How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?

Park Pork?
Two-hundred-and-fifty million dollars buys an awful lot of museum. But does that mean the latest proposal to "save" some of the private land surrounding Harpers Ferry National Historical Park from development is a good one?

Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths

Religion in the national parks is a white-hot topic. Just mention that park rangers at Grand Canyon National Park can't discuss the geologic age of that canyon, as PEER suggested late last year, and you'll draw a crowd.

New Orleans Businesses Want National Park Service to Stop Free Tours

Long one of the beauties of a national park visit have been the ranger-led tours, tours that traditionally have been free. While some parks sadly are beginning to charge for interpretive tours, others aren't moving in that direction quickly enough to suit some in private enterprise.

Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft

After nearly 30 years with the National Park Service, Patricia Buccello retired last Friday after serving most recently as the agency's top special agent in charge. Yesterday she entered a guilty plea to stealing from the Park Service.

Watching Wolves in Yellowstone National Park

Wolves seem to have a magnetic attraction on humans, at least the wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Wolf-related tourism has soared in the park since the wolf recovery program was launched in 1995, and it continues throughout the year.

Giving a Name to Yosemite Area Peak for Longtime Ranger Carl Sharsmith.

Ranger-naturalist Carl Sharsmith photo by Allan Shields
Since at least 1976 an attempt has been made to formally establish the name Sharsmith Peak on a Yosemite National Park summit. In 2003 a group of citizens formed a committee to complete this task. I've asked Bill Jones, the lead member of the 'Name4Carl Committee', to provide for us an update on their efforts. Read on for his report.

Haunted House at Antietam National Battlefield?

Pry House at Antietam National Battlefield; NPS photo.
Are there ghosts haunting the Pry House at the Antietam National Battlefield? Reporter Erin Julius of the Hagerstown Herald Mail went to investigate last weekend. There is a history of ghostly sightings at the former Civil War field hospital. Read on to discover what the reporter found while ghostbusting.

Will Bear Costume Get Presidential Candidates Talking About National Parks?

Teddy for President; NPCA photo
The NPCA has launched a new campaign. They've put Teddy Mather (a person in a bear costume) in the race for President. The idea is a bit amusing, but it's got a serious point. Of the dozen or so contenders for the Oval Office, why haven't we heard any of them talking about the National Parks yet?

Lyle Laverty Confirmed as Assistant Interior Secretary Over National Parks

Lyle Laverty; Denver Post photo.
Lyle Laverty was somewhat quietly confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an assistant Interior secretary with responsibilities that include policy oversight for the National Park Service. But how quiet will his term be?
Haunted Hikes: Spine-Tingling Tales and Trails from North America After Mr. Blevins passed away, park staff began to notice unusual things at the Blevins Farmstead. More than one ranger reported getting the "willies" while at Oscar’s farm. One hot summer evening, a ranger was unsaddling a horse inside the corral behind the barn when his hair stood up on end. Someone was watching him.

A Springtime Visit to Denali National Park and Preserve: Is It For You?

Denali National Park and Preserve, with its soaring mountains, rushing rivers, and wildlife menagerie of moose, wolves, caribou, wolves, bears and more, is one of those tantalizing destinations within the national park system. Rooted in Alaska only 300 miles south of the Arctic Circle, it can seem almost mythical to those in the Lower 48 who don't normally roam far afield.