Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change

Adam Markham, director of climate impacts for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Climate and Energy Program and a co-author of the report “National Landmarks at Risk," has written the following rebuttal to Dr. Daniel B. Botkin's column on climate change and his thoughts on what is, and isn't, driving it.

Guest Column|Climate Is Changing, And Some Parks Are Endangered, But Humans Aren't The Cause

For those of us who love our national parks and are confronted daily with media, politicians, and pundits warning us of a coming global-warming disaster, it’s only natural to ask what that warming will mean for our national parks. This is exactly what the well- known Union of Concerned Scientists discuss in their recent report, National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires Are Threatening the UnitedStates’Most Cherished Historic Sites.

Op-Ed|The National Park Service And Wilderness: 50 Years Of Neglect

After 50 years, you would expect that the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), which administers the largest inventory of wilderness in the world, would have the best wilderness management program in the world. But, you would be very wrong.

Hunters In Grand Teton National Park Likely To Kill More Grizzlies

Federal biologists believe elk hunters in Grand Teton National Park and on the National Elk Refuge in the next nine years will kill six more grizzly bears than originally anticipated.

Higher Fees Coming To Your Favorite National Parks As Officials Search For Cash

As we told you last month, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis has given his superintendents the OK to increase entrance and other fees in their parks once they've conducted the requisite public outreach and engagement. While many fees are likely to increase by $5 or $10, there could be more creativity into fee collections aimed at generating more money for the parks.

A Visit To Missouri National Recreational River

The Missouri River, often referred to as the “Big Muddy” due to the large amount of sediment it carries, once served as the country’s major thoroughfare to the West, first by trappers and traders, and later by Lewis & Clark as the Corps of Discovery searched for a water route to a western ocean. Today it offers an incredible waterscape for paddlers in search of beauty.

Sweating The Trail Details In The National Parks: Rehabbing Trails In Saguaro National Park

You might think the arid climate of Saguaro National Park precludes trail woes, but you’d be wrong. Last year Friends of Saguaro National Park helped the park land a grant of more than $71,000 to help pay for the rerouting of a nearly mile-long section of the Carrillo Trail in the Cactus Forest. Over the years the trail had become badly eroded, no doubt because of its popularity as part of the “Three Tanks Loop” that gives hikers a panoramic view of the Cactus Forest and even the city of Tucson.

Is Outsourcing Parks A Key To Solving The National Park Service's Financial Woes?

With a park system that is being strangled by its maintenance backlog and operating costs, would the National Park Service, and the system, be better off if the agency outsourced entire parks?

Winning The Denali Road Lottery, And Loving Every Mile Of It

There are 3,381 miles that separate my quaint and humid Baton Rouge neighborhood from the front door of Mount McKinley in Alaska's Interior. I have no doubt you can envision the stark contrast between the two, but let me give you a first-hand perspective.

Grand Canyon National Park's Concessions Issue Impacting National Parks Nationwide

A problem roughly a century in the making that left Grand Canyon National Park in a nearly $200 million hole is impacting parks from coast to coast, with superintendents forced to find programs and projects they can postpone, cutback, or simply cut.

UPDATED: Court Upholds National Park Service Decision To Put Recreation Above Preservation

A ruling on off-road vehicle access at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida supports the park's expansion of ORV routes in lands eligible for wilderness designation and that serve as habitat for endangered and threatened species is seen by some as chipping away at the longstanding mandate that the National Park Service prioritize preservation over recreation.
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Sweating The Trail Details In The National Parks: Restoring Jenny Lake Area At Grand Teton National Park

Currently one of the largest, most ambitious projects in the National Park System is the rejuvenation of not just the spiderweb of trails around Jenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park but of the entire area.

Autumn National Park Tours No. 4: Color At Every Turn

It matters little whether you start in the south and drive north, or start in the north and drive south; the fall finery that cloaks the Appalachian Range has few peers when the climatic conditions converge in mid-October.

A Return To Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The two of us recently returned to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for the first time in many years. It was a good time to visit northern Wisconsin, in light of the oppressive early September temperatures and humidity of south Georgia. The trip turned out to be quite an adventure beginning at 2:30 a.m. on the morning of departure when we received a call from Delta that our flight had been cancelled.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Autumn Park Tours, No. 3: The Land Of Giants

Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the third of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.

Photographer QT Luong Puts Focus On Acadia National Park

The grandeur of America’s national parks so inspired QT Luong, he quit a career in computer science, and embarked on a decades-long project to photograph all 59 parks, from Acadia National Park to Zion.

Savoring The Fruits Of Fall In The National Parks

There are endless ways to experience our magnificent national parks. We are surrounded by stunning scenery, awash in light and color. Our ears capture the rush of waterfalls in spring and elk bugling in autumn. Scents of crisp air, pines, and wildflowers greet us. Stick your feet into a mountain stream and feel the bonechilling temperatures, or touch the softness of a Pussytoes flower. These types of activities allow us yet another type of experience.

Sweating The Trail Details In The National Parks: Building Trails At Acadia National Park

Trails, basically, are connections. They connect one place to another. At Acadia National Park in Maine, Friends of Acadia this year helped the park improve connections by adding a trio of trails that link the Blackwoods Campground and the village of Otter Creek with some of the park’s most popular hiking trails.

A Step Back In Time: Charit Creek Lodge Offers Glimpse Into Tennessee's Pioneer Past

I recently received an invitation to sleep in a log cabin. Not something new and swanky, mind you. Instead, my imagination was sparked because this cabin was built in 1817, around the time Davy Crockett was earning his reputation as a frontiersman, storyteller, and politician.

The Unusual Story Behind Death Valley National Park's Popular Zabriskie Point

Death Valley National Park has plenty of colorful place names, including Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Last Chance Mountain and Devil's Golf Course, so modern-day visitors might be curious about the one given to a popular scenic overlook in the park: Zabriskie Point. The explanation may be a bit surprising, since the name is tied to an activity not usually associated with national parks, and the story of the overlook itself offers a fascinating glimpse into the park's history.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Sweating The Trail Details In National Parks, No. 1

Floods. Windstorms that down trees. Wildfires. Millions of feet. Hiking trails take a pounding from all these things. And while the paths are the responsibility of the National Park Service, the agency often lacks money and staff to tackle all but the most pressing needs. That’s where national park friends groups come into play with their financial resources and, at times, volunteers.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Autumn Park Tours, No. 2: An Uncivil War

Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the second of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.

A Fall Escape Into Grand Canyon National Park

My 10-year-old daughter, Alex, and I follow the steep and rugged New Hance Trail on a nearly 5,000-vertical-foot march down into the Earth’s most-famous hole in the ground. The sky seems to levitate steadily higher above us, but it’s just a trick played on the eyes by the severe topography of the Grand Canyon: As we slowly descend deeper, burgundy rock walls creep higher, pushing the cerulean dome overhead farther away from us.

Of Puffins And Wilderness At Acadia National Park

People love puffins so much that visitors to Acadia National Park often ask rangers where they can see them, even though they are too far from shore to be visible.

The “Maine” Event: Acadia’s Best Fall Color Hikes

One could argue that there is no bad time to visit Acadia National Park—and one would likely receive little resistance from those who have experienced the magical park. However, like a proud peacock showing off its striking plumage, autumn’s arrival to Maine’s coastal gem ushers in a symphony of fleeting shades of red, yellow, gold, and even purple as maple, beech, birch, oak, white ash and other deciduous trees don their brilliant fall leaves beginning in early October.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Autumn Park Tours, No. 1, The Road To Ruins

Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the first of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Celebrating Rocky Mountain National Park's Centennial, Join The Party At Estes Park

I don’t usually look to elk for hiking companions, but as I worked my way from Nymph Lake to Dream Lake towards my final destination at Emerald Lake, I couldn’t ignore the cow elk and her young calf. We didn’t share the trail, but they paralleled my travels and stuck close to the cascading creek that wore the lakes like gems on a necklace. They enjoyed the succulent vegetation while I enjoyed the Rocky Mountain grandeur.

Essential Fall Guide '14: The Big Wild: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park And Preserve

Visitors to the far north might think they know what’s big. That is, until they see it, touch it, and feel it. In Alaska, peaks and glaciers, rivers and lakes, waterfalls and forests, beaches and bays stretch far away to all horizons, nearly untouched by the hand of man. Even the chattiest air traveler will grow quiet as they fly for hours over pristine landscapes. Things are different up North, and that’s why we love it.

Essential Park Guide, Fall '14: Fish, Bike, Hike, Or Photograph The Fall From West Yellowstone

Finding yourself in West Yellowstone, Montana, this fall is the easy part. Deciding what to do, well, that could take some time

Essential Fall Guide '14: Find Your Place In The West At A Dude Ranch Near A National Park

There’s a sense of place in the West. It flows from endless stands of lodgepole pines, glades of aspen tinged gold by the season, horizons that spread the sky wider than you’ve ever noticed. Spend a little time here, and it seeps into you. It’s the distant bugle of a bull elk, a band of pronghorn darting across the open range, the chortling flock of sandhill cranes, southbound, high overhead. They all fill your senses with the West as it’s always been, as it always should be.