Archive List

Dry Conditions Blamed For Bear Problems in Grand Teton, Yosemite

Unseasonably dry conditions are believed to be behind bear problems in both Grand Teton and Yosemite national parks this year, according to officials in those parks.

NPS Remembers 9-11 with Website

9-11 Remembrance
The National Park Service has set up an online web exhibit that remembers the human response to Sept. 11, 2001. The exhibit is a few years old (probably created in 2002), but the content is still meaningful and relevant today.

Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear

It's beginning to sound like open season for black bears in Grand Teton National Park. For the third time in less than a month rangers have killed a black bear that had grown too accustomed to tying humans to food. This time the bear was a 60-pound male.

The New NPCA Podcast

NPCA Podcast
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has just jumped into podcasting, a welcome addition for those of us who love to listen to an insiders perspective on parks. The first program is with an interpreter in Yosemite National Park. It is a quality program, the likes of which we are sure to hear more of, in the months to come.

Two Drown on Yellowstone's Shoshone Lake

Two elderly Idaho men who planned a three-day fishing trip on Yellowstone National Park's Shoshone Lake have drowned, apparently victims of waves kicked up by gusting winds.

Around the System: Yellowstone's Snowmobiles, Everglades' Restoration, Glacier's Party, Valley Forge's Developers

There's plenty of news around the national park system, if you take a look. Newspapers are questioning Yellowstone planners on their snowmobile decision, politicians are making hey with the Everglades, Glacier is celebrating its Peace Park status, and Valley Forge is facing development on its doorstep.

Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve

Brace yourself, I'm about to delve into one of those public conversation taboos. You know, you don't talk sex, politics, or religion in public. But at times I find the debates spurred by symbols fascinating. And, of course, religious symbols seem to spur the most debates. The one I want to focus on involves Mojave National Preserve, where a federal judge has ruled that a cross can no longer stand atop Sunrise Rock.

Olympic National Park Releases Environmental Assessment on Fisher Recovery

A cat-sized carnivore long missing from the forests of Olympic National Park could soon be roaming the park under a plan drawn up to return the animal to one of its native haunts.

GAO: Interior Failed to Provide Park Service With Tools To Cope With Climate Change

Folks for some time have realized that there's something going on with the climate, and whether you believe it's human-caused or cyclical is besides the point. What's key is how we react to it. And the federal government's Government Accountability Office says the Interior Department has failed to adequately help the National Park Service react to those changes.

Another Black Bear in Grand Teton Put Down

Grand Teton National Park officials have had to kill another black bear that had become accustomed to linking humans with food. This is the second bear in less than a week that park officials killed because it had become habituated to human food.
Bridge over Frijoles Creek in Bandelier National MonumentRelax next to the cascading waters of Frijoles Creek in Bandelier National Monument, under the shade of the trees along the picnic road. You'll be able to hear some birds chirping along, as well as a child's call about half-way through.

The Secret Life of Drugs in Parks

Moss in Olympic National Park; "sometimes drywall" photo via Flickr
I was inspired recently to write an article about the problems drugs bring to the parks when I visited Olympic National Park earlier this summer. As recreational visitors to the national parks, we may not be aware of the battle behind the scenes to keep drugs out of the parks. I was told a story by a long-time law enforcement ranger that surprised me, and made me realize the burden to the resource they represent.

Plan to Expand Civil War Museum Could Bring Artifacts to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP

There's an effort being launched to create a network of Civil War museums across the state of Virginia, and one might be located in Fredericksburg, home to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Marketing Alaska's National Parks; Why Not All National Parks?

I hate jumping to conclusions. But that apparently is exactly what I did when I surmised that the proposed $1.5 million centennial project involving the Alaska Travel Industry Association would benefit the cruise-ship industry more than the parks.

Federal Real ID May (Not) Be Required For Park Visit

Michael Chertoff, DHS portrait
It is hard to imagine at this point, but in just over a year, under a plan developed by Homeland Security, you may be asked to show a special federal identification to enter a national park. I can understand the security need behind having a passport to enter the country, and I can understand the need for important background checks before entering a nuclear facility, but needing the same federal security check to drive through a park? Absurd! -- Note: important update added to original story

Programming Note : 'Traveler' on the Radio Today

Old Sony Radio; Roadsidepictures photo via Flickr
Kurt has been invited to a round table radio discussion today (Sept 5) about the National Parks. The San Francisco radio station, KALW, produces a daily show called "Your Call", which is a political affairs call-in program on public radio. The show is scheduled to air between 10 am and 11 am Pacific time. You can listen online.

Search Under Way in Rocky Mountain National Park for Fort Collins Couple

A search is under way for a Fort Collins, Colorado, couple that failed to return Sunday from an overnight backcountry trip in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Landscape, Not Wolf Numbers, Govern Wolf Hunts in Yellowstone

With Yellowstone's healthy wolf population, you might think that elk, their main prey, would be on the dinner menu pretty much anywhere in the park. However, a University of Alberta wildlife biologist says topography, not wolf distribution, governs elk predation by wolves.

Grand Teton Bears, Update

I recently was wondering how many citations Grand Teton National Park rangers have handed out to folks for either feeding bears or making food available to them. Well, so far this year 43 warnings have been written, along with 63 citations.

Centennial Projects: Do They All Prepare the National Parks for the Next 100 Years?

National Park Service Centennial Logo
A $12 million jazz museum. Marketing the parks for a specific industry. Installing composting toilets. These are some of the centennial projects that the National Park Service believes will "add sparkle to America's 'Crown Jewels.'" Am I the only one wondering how?
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At Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, The Facilities Seem Almost as Old as the Fossils

Though the facilities at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument aren't as old as the fossils the site protects, at times it seems like they are.

When Nature Calls, It's Hard to Find a Restroom on the National Mall

Portable Toilets Set Up for July 4; Indrani Soemardjan Photo
Twenty-five million visitors a year visit the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. And for those millions, there are 80 public toilets and 26 urinals. What's a guy or gal to do when nature calls?

Blog Day 2007

Blog Day 2007 Logo
Today is Blog Day. Never heard of it? Either had I until this morning. It's an opportunity for us to share some of our favorite websites that may not necessarily have anything to do with National Parks. Four of the sites I've listed cover some aspect of travel (both domestic and international), but I've thrown in a non sequitur just for fun.

Black Bear Put Down in Grand Teton. How Many Visitors Ticketed For Providing Food?

A press release from Grand Teton National Park arrived in my in-box this morning, informing me that a 6-year-old female black bear had been put down because it had become habituated to human food. While the release gave a pretty good history of the bear's short life, it never mentioned how many tickets have been written to park visitors and employees for making food available to bears in the park.

Should the NPS Be Given Mount St. Helens?

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. U.S. Forest Service photo.
Both the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service are hamstrung by deficient budgets. In the case of the Forest Service, one symptom of its financial plight is that the agency wants to close a visitor center at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. That move has spurred calls that the Park Service be given the monument to manage, and the National Parks Conservation Association now is echoing those calls.

Yosemite Falls All Dried Up

Yosemite Falls Run Dry; gjenkin photo.
Check out this strange picture. At first glance, it looks like a fake, as if someone has edited out the waterfall. It's the real deal though, Yosemite Falls has dried up this summer. The dry weather has produced a fire hazard this season in Yosemite.

Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle; Vincent Ma photo.
My, my, my. Leave town for a little over a week and look what breaks out. Dangerous Park Service uniforms, an elderly, and theoretically over-the-hill, National Park Service, a proposed centennial project to create a $12 million jazz museum, debate (arguments?) over who should manage lodging in the parks and how, and much, much more.

Interpretation on the Tallgrass Prairie

Blue Flower on the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Owen Hoffman has just returned from a trip across Kansas. He has provided us with a detailed trip report from his visit to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The wide open skies and history of the area piqued his interest, but the interpretive program on-site left something to be desired.

10 Best Lodges in the National Parks

The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park; Jim Brekke photo.
It would seem to be an impossible task, to compile a list of all the lodges across the park system and figure out the 10 best. Well, someone has done it, although I'm not sure I agree with the results. Is your favorite on this list?

National Park Service to Charge for Clean Air?

Mount Rainier Mist; mbollino photo via Flickr;
Is the National Park Service preparing to charge us for the clean air in parks? Based on a recent survey request, in which the parks were seeking our "willingness to pay to improve visibility at national parks", and considering all of the other use-fees charged in the parks, I was ready to believe they were. The good news? I was wrong! Find out why.