Archive List

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.

Letter from Congress Urges Director Bomar To Ban Snowmobiles from Yellowstone National Park

National Park Service Director Mary Bomar has been asked by nearly 100 members of Congress to ban snowmobiles from Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone congressional letter.pdf1.45 MB

Big Cypress National Preserve: The Latest Battleground Over ORVs in the Parks

In the not-too-distant future the swampy landscape of Big Cypress National Preserve will become a key battlefield over off-road vehicle use on the national park system.

Quiet Time is Just Around the Corner at Acadia National Park

Most folks view Acadia National Park as a summertime destination, a place to head to to flee the Northeast's high heat and humidity in July and August to go in search of fresh lobster and popovers. It's a destination where you can relax in the pines listening to the crash of the surf. Clearly, that high season in the park has passed. But that doesn't mean Acadia is any less appealing during the winter.

Trekking to Dick Proenneke's Cabin in Lake Clark National Park

Self-reliance in the wilderness can be an intoxicating goal. Shucking society's masses, plights, and foibles for a perceived 'simpler' life in the backcountry can be a heady ambition. Dick Proenneke did it nearly 40 years ago, finding self-reliant comfort in the backwoods of Alaska in a place now known as Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

Museum of the National Park Service Will be Built in West Virginia

A behind-the-scenes effort to both protect Harpers Ferry National Historical Park from neighboring development and obtain land for a Museum of the National Park Service has been pulled off.
Camping in Comfort Camping in comfort! Who wouldn't want to? Here, I thought, was a book made for me, one that would provide the hints necessary to have an even more comfortable experience in the great outdoors than what I had grown accustomed to the past four decades.

Hunting Across the National Park System: Good or Bad?

In the wake of the uproar over hunting brown bears in Katmai National Preserve, does anyone care that Cape Cod National Seashore officials have cleared the way for pheasant or turkey hunts? Or is it only hunts involving charismatic mega-fauna that draw ire?
Stream near Lake Quinalt; Jeremy Sullivan photo.Video tour of the Lake Quinault area of Olympic National Park. Dave Huber shows us around the historic Lake Quinault Lodge, and former park ranger Roger Blain leads us on a walk of the Maple Glade trail, a very green, mossy temperate rain forest experience, topped off with some Roosevelt Elk.

Lake Quinault Lodge: A Tale Of Two Rooms

Lake Quinault Lodge; Jeremy Sullivan photo.
Lake Quinault Lodge is a picturesque lodge in a picturesque setting. Kurt stayed there in August, Jeremy stayed there in June, and our experiences could not have been more different. Jeremy would recommend this place, Kurt's not so sure. Read on for the details.

Is New Jersey Delegation Unduly Forcing Great Falls of Paterson Park on NPS?

USGS Photo
I grew up in New Jersey, so I have no qualms about questioning the efforts by the Garden State's congressional delegation to force the National Park Service to add a waterfall to its collection of sites. This is just the latest instance of politicians simply looking to bring the Park Service brand closer to home for economic benefits.

Kids Detached From Nature? Here's One Example

The Boring Woods of Sequoia Kings
Think electronics aren't getting in the way of kids and nature? While it might not be true in every nook and cranny of the country, it is happening in some areas. Take California, for instance. Tommy Nguyen told the San Francisco Chronicle trees are pretty boring.

Leadership Summit: Some Afterthoughts

Coke Vending Machines at National Battlefield; 'Adventurer Dustin Holmes' photo via Flickr
If nothing else, last week's Leadership Summit on Partnership and Philanthropy hosted by the National Park Foundation demonstrated that some major corporations want to support the national parks. The question that lingers, though, is to what extent?

60 Minutes : The Age of Megafires

60 Minutes : The Age of the Megafire
"60 Minutes" examines the increasing rate, intensity, and size of wildfires in the West. This is an issue that affects all land management agencies, including the National Park Service. Past fire management practices and climate change are a combination that foster the new age of megafires.

Jumping Off Bridge an Annual Tradition in New River Gorge

New River Gorge Bridge Day BASE Jumper; 'goldmember' photo via Flickr
Annually, on the third weekend of October, thousands of spectators watch over the course of the day as hundreds of BASE jumpers leap from the top of New River Gorge Bridge with the hope their parachutes take them safely to the river's shore, 876 feet below.

Director Bomar: Let Science, Not Politics, Decide the Yellowstone Snowmobile Issue

The pledge by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Service Director Mary Bomar to let science prevail in national park management decisions is nearing its defining test. If science is not supported in Yellowstone, where else in the park system will it have the final say?

November Lodging Deals To Be Found in Shenandoah National Park

Even though parts of the country are unseasonably warm this Fall, the end of the season for many lodges across the national park system isn't too far off. With that in mind, the folks who run the lodges in Shenandoah National Park are offering a deal for much of the month of November.

Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic

Southern Environmental Law Center photo.
Back in July I predicted that the managers of Cape Hatteras National Seashore would be sued for allowing off-road vehicles to navigate the seashore without a valid ORV management plan in place. Well, that lawsuit has arrived in court.

2008 Marks 50 Years of Wolf, Moose Studies At Isle Royale National Park

Michigan Technology University Photo.
I've long wanted to visit Isle Royale National Park. The mix of rock and forest surrounded by Lake Superior has intrigued me for many years, as has the park's resident wolf and moose populations.

Yellowstone Bison Population Healthy; Montana Priming For Hunts

Yellowstone Bison in Winter; 'GGeter' via Flickr
The bison herd in Yellowstone National Park is doing quite well, thank you very much. According to the summer count, there are nearly 5,000 bison in the park. Up in Montana, meanwhile, state officials are already planning this winter's bison hunt just north of Yellowstone.

Leadership Summit: Building For the Future

Laura Bush addresses the National Park Foundation Leadership Summit. White House photo by Shealah Craighead.
Now the hard work begins. Congress needs to be cajoled, new-found friends need to cash-in, and the national park system needs some loving attention if the National Park Service's centennial nine years hence is to truly be noteworthy.