Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Hard Choices Ahead: Are New NPS Areas Compatible with Calls for a Balanced Budget?

Two bills introduced this month by Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) illustrate major challenges that lie ahead for parks and for the nation's economy. Are proposals for possible new additions to the National Park System compatible with calls for a balanced federal budget?

By the Numbers: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns National Park preserves some of the world's finest publicly accessible caves.

Traveler Classic: Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at Gettysburg

With the Civil War 150th anniversary commemoration gathering steam, this is a good time to reach into the Traveler archives for one of our all-time popular posts: links to videos showing movies of Civil War veterans at the Gettysburg 75th anniversary reunion in 1938. Get ready for goosebumps.

Grand Teton National Park, The Land of Legends

Technology and art often are intertwined to bring a subject to life. For Mike Cavaroc, Grand Teton National Park was the subject, and time-lapse photography was his tool for bringing the park to life.

Traveler's Checklist: Crater Lake National Park

Copyright QT Luong
Despite its deep, shimmering namesake lake, Crater Lake National Park is one of the lesser visited of the great national parks. For those who make the journey, that's a great reward. For those who don't, well, they're missing something special.

Grand Canyon National Park Releases Draft EIS On Park Air Tours

Years of modeling, planning, and talks, interrupted by lawsuits and inter-agency differences, have produced a proposed air-tour management plan for Grand Canyon National Park that officials believe will restore natural quiet over much of the iconic canyon.

A Short History of the Flat Hat's "Lemon Squeezer" Pinch

The Montana Peak, that symmetrical quadrant pinch in the crown of the ranger's iconic "flat hat," was born out of the need for a practical solution to an Army trooper's significant problem.

Will This Be Remembered As Our Preamble To Losing The Wolverine?

Are we willing to stand idly by while the wolverine heads down the path of the dodo, the carrier pigeon, and the Caspian tiger?

Enter Traveler's "Take Your Family to the National Parks" Essay Contest!

If you've always dreamed of visiting a national park, and wanted to take your family along, here's your opportunity. Three grand-prize winners of the Traveler's first Take Your Family to the National Parks essay contest will win lodging for four members of their family in one of the country's national parks, and some gear to help to help them enjoy the trip.

Keeping Track So They're Never Forgotten: National Park Service Workers Who Died on The Job

The list is long, more than 200 names stretching over a century and then some. It's a somber one, as well, tracking the deaths of National Park Service employees from a wide range of fates, from heart attacks to rockfalls to cold-blooded murder.

Updated: Budgeting At Grand Canyon National Park Is Not Always As Simple As You Might Think

The recent debate over mule rides in Grand Canyon National Park has left park officials, who say they have to live within their budgets and the public's desires, strongly criticized by mule backers, who say trail impacts might be less of an issue if park managers were smarter with how they spend their money.

Trails I've Hiked: The Smokemont Loop Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Bradley Fork on the Smokemont Loop
Hike the Smokemont Loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the winter. The hike offers streams, a cascade, and plenty of history.

Capitol Reef National Park: Winter Solitude & Silence

Capitol Reef National Park is far enough off most people's radar that they miss out on this red-rock paradise when visiting Utah's other, more famous, parks. In the wintertime? Capitol Reef becomes a virtually private playground.

Updated: Winter's Work: Plan Your Summer or Fall National Park Vacation Now

Now is the time to be planning your summer or fall vacations to the national parks.

The Fire Lookouts of Mount Rainier National Park

While many fire lookouts across the National Park System are no longer actively staffed, thanks to higher tech options for monitoring lighting strikes, many of these lookouts remain, aging sentinels that recall an earlier day of fire prevention in the national forests and parks. Here's a look at some of the lookouts to be found within Mount Rainier National Park.

Watching Climate Change Across the National Park System

Across the National Park System many changes are expected from climate change, from more wildfires and vanishing glaciers to invasions of non-native species and flight of long-term residents. Writer/photographer Michael Lanza, concerned that today's park landscapes will change significantly by the time his young kids are his age, has been touring the park system with his family to show his children what they might miss later in life.

The Traveler's First "Take Your Family to The National Parks" Essay Contest

copyright Kurt Repanshek
If you've always dreamed of visiting a national park, and wanted to take your family along, here's your opportunity. Three grand-prize winners of the Traveler's first Take Your Family to the National Parks essay contest will win lodging for four members of their family in one of the country's national parks, and some gear to help to help them enjoy the trip.

Updated: The National Park Foundation And The Special "National Parks Edition" Toyota FJ Cruiser

A promotion announced late in December, one that pairs the National Park Foundation with a massive Toyota sport utility vehicle, appears to be at odds with the foundation's stated mission and the National Park Service's approach to climate change.

At Cowpens National Battlefield, Site Restoration Helps Take You Back to 1781

At South Carolina's Cowpens National Battlefield, the National Park Service is restoring the battlefield where Patriot forces won a pivotal victory over the British on a cold winter morning 230 years ago.

The Gate Lodges Of Acadia National Park: Rockefeller's Little Castles

Photographer and writer Steve Perrin was working in the planning office at Acadia when he lived at Brown Mountain gate house (or “gate lodge” as it’s officially called) during the winter of 1995–1996, “a true Maine winter, very cold with lots of snow.” Like other park employees before and after, Perrin was housed in a magnificent piece of history, employee housing whose great beauty belies its commonplace purpose.

The National Park Service Played a Vital Role in the Buffalo Soldiers Mapping Project

The National Park Service's CRGIS facility produced maps of significant Buffalo Soldier sites using data supplied by African American and Indian college students working with the Warriors Project to document the "shared history" of black soldiers and American Indians in the frontier West.

A Day At Big Cypress National Preserve In "The Dry"

On the Florida Trail
Big Cypress National Preserve is a good winter day outing. The preserve offers hiking, large wading birds, waves of sawgrass and a fantastic photographic gallery. But nothing can top seeing alligators up close.

Annual Count Shows Huge Decline In Yellowstone National Park Elk Herd, But How Accurate Is It?

Nearly one-quarter of the northern elk herd at Yellowstone National Park is missing, according to the annual winter count, but biologists aren't sure if there's been a stunning decline in the herd or if other factors have skewed the tally.

Photo Spot: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

How best can Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park be photographed? Let professional photographer QT Luong highlight the way for you.

Thermophile Research in Yellowstone Helps Guide the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Scientists studying heat-loving microbes in Yellowstone's hydrothermal sites expect to gain key knowledge about life's origin, evolution and limits.

Trickle of Documents Highlights National Park Service's Mistakes In Hubbell Trading Post Investigation

A lengthy Interior Department investigation into the National Park Service's investigation into alleged embezzlement at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site raises troubling questions pertaining to managerial oversight, investigative thoroughness, and an inappropriate relationship between the agency and a concessionaire.

Traveler's Checklist: A Winter Trip to Kings Mountain National Military Park

KIMO-Major Ferguson's grave
Kings Mountain National Military Park offers a great winter day out. After watching the film explaining the battle, kids could play Loyalist and Tories for hours taking turns climbing to the top of the hill and declaring victory.

Report Lists 10 U.S. Ecosystems Whose Species Are Most-Threatened By Climate Change

A new report names the 10 ecosystems in the United States whose species are most-threatened by climate change. Among the parks included in those ecosystems are Yellowstone, Everglades, and Yosemite.
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Summering at Cape Lookout National Seashore: The Logistics

Cape Lookout National Seashore is a wilderness vestige of North Carolina's barrier islands. Not as developed as its northern sibling, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it offers a wilder beach vacation, one definitely worth pursuing.
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Civil War-Related National Parks Schedule Commemorative Events for Civil War 150th Anniversary

During 2011-2015, the Civil War will be commemorated with special events in dozens of Civil War-related national parks. This month's schedule includes highlighted events in four parks in four different states.