Throughout the past century, the NPS has excelled at providing opportunities for adventure, beauty, and shared experience. Looking forward, I challenge the agency to embrace its role in providing a place where the global public can step outside the social trappings that obscure their vision in everyday life in order to address the most challenging social issues of our day.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
One of Yellowstone National Park's most ambitious construction projects is nearing completion. Canyon Lodge, largest of the park's nine lodging facilities, has undergone a facelift of major portions. Five large modern lodge buildings, each with approximately 80 guest rooms, will replace all of the 350 Frontier and Pioneer cabins that have been removed.
The centennial of the National Park Service (NPS) is inspiring an impressive amount of soul-searching about the agency and the lands for which it is responsible. This is timely and potentially beneficial. As many analysts as well as agency employees themselves have long argued, the NPS faces serious challenges that affect the preservation and management of these precious lands.
As the National Park Service tries to determine just how extensive sexual harassment and misconduct might be across its 20,000-workforce, questions about the appropriateness of Sports Illustrated's use of national parks to show off scantily glad models have surfaced.
When thinking about national park lodges most of us visualize impressive rustic structures such as Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn, Glacier’s Many Glacier Hotel, or the Grand Canyon’s El Tovar. These iconic lodges tend to garner most of the publicity and nearly all the personal pictures taken by travelers. Other national park lodges including Yellowstone’s Lake Hotel, Grand Teton’s Jackson Lake Lodge, and the Majestic Yosemite Hotel are not rustic in the manner of Old Faithful Inn, but they are certainly quite impressive.
Created separately and with different purpose from the vast nature preserves of the West, America’s battlefield parks took a long, often circuitous route to full integration into the National Park System.
What does it take to run a lodge in the National Park System, especially a small operation that is not part of a corporate conglomerate? Traveler's lodging experts, David and Kay Scott, recently sat down with the owner of the Pisgah Inn along the Blue Ridge Parkway to discuss his business.
This summer the National Park Service turns one hundred years old, and many Americans—including the presidential family—are taking summer vacations to enjoy what Wallace Stegner called America’s “best idea.” In order to better appreciate what makes our National Parks so valuable, these vacationers might want to bring along the latest book by one of Stegner’s students, Wendell Berry.
Running more than 160 pages, the National Park Service Management Policies provides park managers with quick reference to how they are to manage their units, what uses are appropriate, and how to usher visitors out of the park when Congress fails to fund the National Park Service. But the Management Policies, which last were updated in 2006, also leave much to interpretation and exception.
America can be justly proud of many accomplishments from its emphasis on democratic ideals to its promotion of equality and justice for all its citizens. But perhaps one of the nation’s greatest contributions to the global marketplace of ideas is the national park.
Harry S Truman was a true Missourian. It is the state where he was born and raised, where he met his wife to be, where he ran for public office, and where he chose to return following his presidency. Our 33rd president was born of modest means, worked as a businessman and farmer, and progressed up the political ladder from county judge, to U.S. Senator, Vice-President, and, upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States. After it was all over, he returned to his home in Independence to live a down-to-earth life in the town he loved.
The nation’s first national park was founded in 1872; in 1916, Congress founded the National Park Service (NPS) to administer and manage parks. Since then, the NPS and parks have been mired in policy and management controversies.
It is an architectural wonder of the world, one located in one of the most unique places on the planet. Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park is no ordinary destination—and one that everyone should visit in their lifetime. If you’ve never heard of this tiny cluster of secluded islands off the Florida Keys, it’s time you did.
“The first time I went to Yosemite, it was like Heaven” - An incarcerated teenager reflects on the impact of the trips to Yosemite National Park led by rock climber Ron Kauk.
Wisconsin’s northernmost edge, consisting of the spectacular mainland sea caves at the tip of the Bayfield Peninsula and the matrix of beautiful and historic islands stretching 25 miles into Lake Superior, was forever protected when Congress established the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in 1970. Located on the northern tip of Sand Island, the Gothic-style Sand Island Light was constructed in 1881 from sandstone quarried right at the building site.
The Robin’s egg blue poster with the bold block lettering was stained, worn, faded, and even tattered a bit around the edges. It promoted ranger programs (“a free government service”) at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and is one of a unique set of posters that artists from the Works Progress Administration created in the late 1930s and early 1940s to draw interest to our national parks.
America's National Park System, you could say, is priceless. But if that's a bit too open-ended for you, an economic study released by the National Park Foundation puts a firmer, though still conservative, dollar amount on the national parks' value: $92 billion. To put it another way, the park system is comparable in value to 92 B-2 Spirit bombers, or 34 Virginia class nuclear submarines.
We recently returned for a stay of several nights in Isle Royale, one of America’s most lightly visited national parks. Based on our memory of the previous trip nine years ago, pretty much everything was unchanged, and that was fine with us. The park remains quiet and uncrowded with beautiful vistas, friendly people, and cool temperatures.
Finally. The long days of summer are upon us in Estes Park, the base camp for Rocky Mountain National Park. There’s plenty of daylight to really put some miles under your boots, take a hike with your kids and listen to nature, or even take a multi-day backpack trip to the high lakes and solitude. There’s a hike for every skill level, and every length of stay, from the lazy amble to epic mountaineer routes.