Archive List

Denali National Park Officials Intensify Search for Missing Backpackers

Searchers in Denali National Park have been unable to locate two female backpackers missing since Friday when they didn't return from a scheduled overnight trip in the park. Officials have intensified ground and aerial search efforts in a 100-square mile area of rugged, trailless terrain.

Flood Watch Continues at Heartland National Parks

It’s “so far, so good” for national parks in the flood-weary Heartland. Only Indiana’s George Rogers Clark National Historical Park has experienced significant flooding.

What's In Your National Park Reading Room?

After tramping through national parks for upwards of four decades, I've understandably picked up a few books on the parks. Among my collection are the usual trail guides and park guides, natural history selections and park histories. While many folks no doubt have a few park-related texts on hand, such as hiking guides and park guides, how might the park aficionado round out their library?

Air and Ground Search Under Way for Missing Backpackers in Denali National Park and Preserve

An air and ground search is under way in Denali National Park and Preserve for two backpackers missing in the Savage River drainage.

Commentary: Who Runs the National Park System?

Who runs the National Park System? Is it the National Park Service, or communities that fuel their economies off the parks? That's a good question to consider in the wake of the moxie and clout that tiny Cody, Wyoming, summoned to turn the heat up on its golden goose, Yellowstone National Park.

Park History: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established 74 years ago this month. Now this big, automobile-convenient park attracts more than 9 million visitors a year and entertains them with forested mountainsides, winding roads, flowering shrubs, pioneer-era relics, and other delights. Great Smoky has great scenery, interesting history, and amazing biodiversity.

Exploring the "Other Half" of Our National Parks: Stargazing Under Protected Dark Skies

The renowned amateur astronomer and telescope maker, John Lowery Dobson, 92, once said, "National Parks are special places where dark skies and curious minds collide." Dobson and the famed Sidewalk Astronomers have spent three decades taking their home-made telescopes to the national parks to meet park visitors willing to stay out after dark to help them explore the "other half" of their parks.

Powerful Storm Spares Witness Trees at Antietam National Battlefield

The powerful storm that struck the National Capital Region on June 4 damaged many park units. Antietam National Battlefield was hit very hard, but it could have been worse. The park’s witness trees escaped unscathed.

Rare Leatherback Sea Turtle Nest Discovered at Padre Island National Seashore

A leatherback sea turtle nest has been discovered at Padre Island National Seashore. This is the first time since the 1930s that a leatherback has nested on the Texas Gulf Coast. What are we to make of this remarkable event?

Yellowstone's Latest Snowmobile Decision for Cody: Politically Motivated or Simply Neighborly?

Were Yellowstone National Park officials simply being neighborly when they reversed themselves recently on whether to keep Sylvan Pass open for snowmobile traffic during the winter months? Or were their feet being scorched by the political fires that too often seem to influence management decisions?

Mount Rainier National Park Shuttle System Stretching to Ashford

So many folks flock to Mount Rainier National Park, and Paradise, specifically, in summer that the park uses an electric sign at the Nisqually Entrance to alert incoming visitors to parking problems at Paradise. Well, on weekends a new shuttle line could make that sign inconsequential for the informed traveler.
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National Park History: Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park celebrated its 64th birthday June 12. More than just a marvel of biodiversity, this remote and scenic park offers a wide range of recreational choices. To get the most from your visit you’ll need to do some homework, time your visit wisely, make some prior arrangements, and be prepared for changing conditions.

Day Hike Turns Fatal at Mount Rainier National Park

A day hike onto the flanks of Mount Rainier has turned fatal, with blizzard conditions killing one man and leaving two others stuck on the mountain.

National Park Quiz 6: Watchable Wildlife

Wildlife viewing is a prime attraction of our national parks. Not every wildlife species we might encounter in the parks is as charismatic as a bison, a bald eagle, or a sea otter, but every species is interesting in its own way. Take this week's quiz and see whether your knowledge of watchable wildlife is as keen as you think. Answers are at the end. No peeking.

Geotourism Map Shows You Around the Crown of the Continent

There's a new map you should toss in your bag if you're heading to Glacier National Park. It's not a traditional road map, but rather a map that helps you navigate the "Crown of the Continent" and all it has to offer.

Winter Exiting Yellowstone National Park "Kicking and Screaming"

Heat waves baking the East Coast, torrential rains dousing the Midwest. In Yellowstone National Park, it's snow that's highlighting the park's weather.

Bird Nests and Closures Spurring Civil Disobedience at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

As more nesting plovers and oystercatchers lead to more temporary beach closures at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it appears more folks are acting in civil disobedience to protest the closures.

GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Sometimes that GPS unit doesn't know that you can't get from here to there. A Pennsylvania couple learned that the hard way when they tried to take a backroad in southern Utah.

Creature Feature: Texas Banded Gecko

Big Bend National Park is remote and dry – not exactly a place that most people think of right away when they plan a vacation. But the desert is full of interesting things, some of them so small that they might escape notice. Take, for example, the ghostly Texas banded gecko.

Fall Down Steep, Snow-covered Slope Kills Visitor to Rocky Mountain National Park

A Colorado man has died in a 500-foot fall down a steep, snow-covered slope in Rocky Mountain National Park.

How Can We Build Advocates for the National Parks?

What draws people to national parks in general, and to national park issues specifically? Why is it that gun issues and deaths inevitably draw attention to the national parks, but stories of insufficient budgets and deteriorating infrastructure and harsh impacts on the "parkscape" draw comparatively scant notice?

National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz

In a move certain to dismay many national park advocates, the National Park Service has proposed to convert to commercial use a number of buildings on Alcatraz, a popular component of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The proposed developments would include souvenir stands, special venues, and lodging facilities.

Glen Canyon NRA Starting Random Boat Inspections to Prevent Mussel Infestation

In a bid to keep non-native and invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels out of Lake Powell, officials at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are beginning random inspections of boats heading to the reservoir.

How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow

We all love America's national park system, but we often have different expectations about local federal parks than about places farther away. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in arguments about Point Reyes National Seashore.

Ribbon-Cutting Planned for $70,000 "Bio Toilet" at Mount Rainier National Park

From the outside it looks pretty much like any other composting toilet in the National Park System. But the new $70,000 'loo' at Mount Rainier National Park has been deemed worthy of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Hamilton Grange National Memorial Relocation Update

If you're going to be in New York City on Saturday, you might want to head over to the Hamilton Heights section of Harlem to see the Hamilton Grange National Memorial arrive at its new location.

24 Trails Added to National Trails System

The National Trails System, launched 40 years ago, has gone through a growth spurt courtesy of the addition of two dozen trails in 16 states. The segments added range from the 62-mile-long multiple-use Black Canyon Trail in Arizona to roughly 100 miles of water trail in Florida.

Park History: Lowell National Historical Park

Lowell National Historical Park tells the story of the farm-to-factory transition, immigrant and labor history, and the emergence of America’s industrial technology. Key attractions include a cotton mill museum, boarding houses, guided tours, special programs, and canal boat rides.

Fallen Climber Rescued on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park

A solo climber who slid nearly 2,000 feet down a steep pitch on Mount McKinley has been rescued by Denali National Park mountaineering rangers. Rangers hoped to transfer the 44-year-old man from the mountain to a hospital once weather allowed.

National Park Quiz 5: Biggest This or That

Bigger is not always better, but it certainly can be interesting. Many national parks claim bragging rights to the biggest something-or-other. Can you sort them out? Take this week's quiz and see how you measure up. Answers are at the end. No peeking.