Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota State Parks Feeling Pressures Of Energy Boom

On clear, calm nights, from the top of Buck Hill you can see them flickering off in the distance. Not campfires, but rather gas flares, emblematic of North Dakota's energy boom, glimmering after dark. Here, in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the flares are just one sign of how the boom, spurred in large part by fracking, are impacting the park.

You Can Feel It In The Air, See It In The Landscape

It was obvious in the reds and oranges flecking the forests, the crispness of the air, and even in the slow gait of the old bison. Summer's long gone in Yellowstone National Park, and winter isn't far off.

Musings From Hovenweep National Monument

In Hovenweep National Monument you can lose yourself in the silence, and worry about the future of this magnificent landscape.

Parks Beyond Borders: New Success As Ecuador Involves The World In Preserving Amazon Park

Ecuador’s revolutionary Yasuní-ITT initiative—which seeks to preserve one of the largest, most diverse national park regions on the planet—got a big boost last week when Italy pledged 35 million Euros to the project.

Unexpected Treasures on Nebraska’s High Plains: Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

In the ranching country of western Nebraska lies a small national park unit with a big name, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. It emphasizes two treasures, but it also holds some unexpected riches on this prairie landscape.

Creature Feature: A Fairy Of A Different Sort

Dotting the sandstone floors of the Colorado plateau are countless potholes -- shallow depressions that hold water only for short periods after rains. But during those wet periods, these potholes come to life with a variety of intriguing creatures, including fairy shrimp.

Death Valley National Park Officially Recognized As World Champion When It Comes To Hot Temps

How hot can it get at Death Valley? Why, there was a day back in 1913 when it was so hot that "swallows in full flight fell to the earth dead."

Precaution, Funding, And Science-Based Policy: Revisiting Leopold Could Move NPS In The Right Direction

When a team of scientists and conservationists led by A. Starker Leopold wrote the Leopold Report in 1963, national park visitors were still feeding bears through their car windows, nocturnal wildlife still feasted on park garbage dumps, and park rangers still shot cougars and wolves to maximize the number of visitor-friendly elk and pronghorn.

What Goes On At A National Park BioBlitz? Well, Counting Butterflies Is One Task

Clouded sulfur? Mormon fritillary? Hoary comma? I had never heard of such intriguing creatures before last month, but the Rocky Mountain BioBlitz put me in close proximity to all three. No fear factor or injuries sustained. Just a stroll in a sub-alpine meadow in an effort to inventory butterflies.

State Of Utah Hoping 10th Circuit Judges Agree A Creek In Canyonlands National Park Is Also A Road

A creekbed that carries water intermittently through Canyonlands National Park is also a road that should be open to vehicles. At least that's the argument the state of Utah will press this week when its attorneys appear before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

UPDATED: Fluky Convergence Of Factors Possibly Behind Hantavirus Outbreak At Yosemite National Park

Though the calendar is running down on the incubation period for Hantavirus infecting visitors who stayed in Yosemite National Park this summer, a ninth case has been confirmed, park officials said Thursday. Three of those individuals died from the rare, rodent-borne disease, while the others are recovering.

How Have National Parks And Public Lands Fared Under The Obama Administration?

With the Obama administration nearing the end of its first term, it has a track record for its stance on public lands in general and national parks specifically, and it's not as rosy as many conservationists had hoped for when the president came into office.

New Visitor And Research Center Starts A New Chapter At Mesa Verde National Park

A long-held dream of superintendents at Mesa Verde National Park is about to come true. Construction workers are putting the finishing touches on the Mesa Verde National Park Visitor and Research Center, a $12.1 million facility set to open November 26.

Postcard From Alaska: Aboard The Serac At Kenai Fjords National Park

Spending summers in Kenai Fjords National Park and Preserve can be a wonderful experience, even if you're tasked with pulling invasive weeds out of a breathtaking landscape.

Scientific Progress Could Help Share Yellowstone National Park's Pure-Bred Bison With Other Sites

One small bison calf born in New York is causing a big stir in the wildlife conservation and scientific community, and for good reason. He could represent a breakthrough in efforts to introduce genetically pure bison from Yellowstone National Park to other parts of the country.

A View From The Overlook: Global Warming, Goat Haunt, And North America's Best Hike (Maybe)

Waterton Lakes National Park, copyright Kurt Repanshek
Musing on climate change, International Peace Parks, and North America's best hike. Or maybe it's only Canada's best hike.

White-Water, Apple Harvests, And Indian Summer On The Coast Are Among 10 Great Fall National Park Activities

Fall is, in many people's eyes, the best season to enjoy the National Park System. Temperatures are moderating, insects are a thing of the past, forests wrap themselves in dazzling colors, and wildlife is easy to see and often vocal. Here are ten great fall destinations in the park system.

Wolf Trap Foundation For The Performing Arts To Present Face Of America: Spirit Of South Florida

Inspired by graceful herons, crawling insects, and even alligators, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is focusing on south Florida's national parks in its latest edition of Face of America.

Report Warns Of Climate Change Impacts To National Seashores Along Eastern Seaboard

Seven national seashores dotting the Eastern Seaboard stand to suffer significant storm damage, loss of acreage to sea level rise, and hotter summer temperatures if climate change isn't blunted, according to the latest in a series of reports describing how the National Park System stands to be impacted by the phenomenon.

Trails I've Hiked/Video: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

September 4th, the popular National Park Exploration Video Series releases "The Great Smoky Mountains: Crown Jewel of the Appalachians." The video's on-camera guide is Randy Johnson, Traveler's travel editor and author of "Best Easy Day Hikes of Great Smokies." Our 10-minute video preview showcases why the Smokies is such a great place to hike.

Scientific Panel Calls On NPS To Recommit To, And Reemphasize, Science In The Parks

A year-long review of how wildlife management and other sciences are studied in the National Park System has produced a call for the National Park Service to both recommit its staff to the sciences and to reemphasize science in the park system.

Off-Beat And Unexpected—Assateague Island National Seashore

Most points along the Atlantic shorelines of the United States are polluted by the lights of crowded cities when the sun goes down. When sitting beneath the stars on the fine sands of Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland, you can become distracted by the gleam of lights from Ocean City to the North. But if you peak above, the sky is a pure midnight black with the constellations brightly shining.

Discriminating Explorer: Enjoy Western National Parks With Tips From National Park Friends Groups

August is on the run, but that doesn't mean the time to get the most out of your favorite national park in the western part of the country has passed by. Take the following tips from friends groups in Big Bend, Glacier, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone national parks to heart and you'll create years of memories.

The Blue Ridge Parkway's Linn Cove Viaduct: 25 Years As An Iconic National Park Experience

Linn Cove Viaduct in Fall.
The Blue Ridge Parkway's iconic Linn Cove Viaduct will have been wowing motorists for 25 years on September 11th, 2012. After decades of controversy over the long-waited, much delayed completion of the road on Grandfather Mountain, the Parkway was done. But the classic postcard views—and even TV commercials—were still in the future for the most spectacular section of “America’s Most Scenic Road.”

Founder’s Day: Honoring The Legacy Of Those Who Built The National Park Service

Sure, the National Park Service could just call August 25th its birthday, but the term “Founder’s Day” seems more fitting since the Park Service was the brainchild of a great many people who contributed to its inception.

Fall Is The Best Time To Make Discoveries At The National Parks

If you’re in mood to travel, September and October are wonderful months to spend in the national parks. The crowds have departed, the animals are busy, and the fall color beckons. Now is the time park friends also host an array of workshops tailor-made for life-long learners.

Discriminating Explorer: Friends Groups Sample The Secrets Of The East’s Best National Parks

Cataloochee Valley Great Smoky Mountains National Park
It’s hard to argue that Acadia, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smokies, and Shenandoah don’t represent the cream of what the National Park Service offers in Eastern America. There are a lot of great experiences in these top East Coast national parks, but for the truly discriminating explorer, the friends groups for these parks have truly awesome best-kept-secret suggestions.

Appalachian Trail Celebrates 75 Years As The World’s—Yes, The World's—Quintessential Hike

Appalachian Trail Lakes of the Clouds Hut Mount Washington, NH.
2012 is the 75th anniversary of the world’s quintessential hike—the Appalachian Trail.

Discriminating Explorer: Fort Monroe National Monument—Hub Of A Classic Historic Harbor Tour

“Freedom’s Fortress” is the perfect place to start a visit to one of the nation’s most historic harbors. The massive Chesapeake Bay and the historic towns that cluster at its mouth are a premier destination for history buffs and water enthusiasts.

Explore Yellowstone National Park With Yellowstone Park Foundation's Insider Tips

Yellowstone National Park is huge, covering some 2.2 million acres. How best to explore this landscape? Take to heart some of the following tips from the Yellowstone Park Foundation.