Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Fish In National Parks From Alaska To Colorado Have Unhealthy Mercury Levels

Timing often is happenstance, but with Earth Day arriving next week, word of high mercury levels in fish in national parks from Alaska to Colorado is particularly sobering. In some cases, the levels exceed limits OKed for human consumption.

Is The Human Footprint Strangling Old Faithful In Yellowstone National Park?

We all go through growing pains as we get older, and that seems to be the case with the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, as the geyser isn't as faithful as it once was and could eventually go dormant.

This New National Park Would Be Unlike Any Other In The World

Across our country and around the world, national parks come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. They may be large or small, urban or remote, natural areas or historical sites, but few bear any similarity to one that was proposed last week. This potential national park would cover 579 square miles, include 170 museums, and be home to 1,500 species of flowering plants, 300 species of birds...and eight million people. It's certainly not another Yellowstone.

Essential Paddling Guide: Everglades, Exploring The River Of Grass

On a windless morning, under the kind of flawless blue sky that always appears in ads for Florida vacations, our paddles send quiet ripples across the otherwise glassy surface of Chokoloskee Bay. As our two canoes glide past a signpost marking the Indian Key Pass water channel, two ospreys lift off from their nest atop the post and flap lazily over the water.

With A Little Help From Friends Groups, National Parks Benefit

“I get by with a little help from my friends,” sang the Beatles. When it comes to national parks, it had better be a lot of help. The National Park Service often struggles with funding. Now, with tighter budgets and more demands, friends groups are proving invaluable in helping out parks.

Jewel Of Belize's National Park System Tarnished By Poaching, Gold Seekers, Border Strife

Gold is an alluring color, whether woven into the feathers of a Scarlet macaw winging through Maya Mountains rainforest or mixed in the gravels of streams that thread beneath the understory of Chiquibul National Park in the Belizean highlands.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Teach Your Children Well, National Parks As Learning Centers

Climate change. Glaciology. Sustainability. These are not the subjects that leap to mind when you consider sending your kids to summer camp. But blend them with backpacking, canoeing, or a walk in the woods, and the result is a generation with not only a better connection with nature, but perhaps a career path.

Essential Paddling Guide: Rio Grande River Grapples With High Salinity, Bacteria Loads

Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River claim 245 miles of this renowned river. And while many of those miles wend their way through rugged and remote canyon country, sections of the river nevertheless are on the state of Texas’ list of impaired water bodies. The primary concern is high total dissolved solids (high salinity), but bacteria can be a problem in the very upper reach.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Spring Into The Parks

While spring in some parks (mostly those in the Rockies, Sierra, and Pacific Northwest) is rightfully described as “mud season,” there are some great early season hikes—and some wonderful camping—to be found across the National Park System. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights.

Making A Difference Through Hard Work With The Student Conservation Association

I had two job offers the summer before my junior year of high school. I chose the job that came with new boots.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Small Town Perks

West Yellowstone is one of the smaller gateway towns you’ll find in the National Park System...which isn’t such a bad thing.

Essential Paddling Guide: Can Hogs Be Farmed Safely Upstream Of Buffalo National River?

Often the health of our rivers, lakes, and streams in the National Park System is endangered by something we don’t immediately see. Such is the case in Arkansas, where a hog farm less than 6 miles upstream from the Buffalo National River poses an industrial threat to the river.

Land Of Caves, Keys, And Ancient Art

“Pirates used to hide in these keys,” Carlos, our guide, tells us as our boat swings behind a small, steep-sided island. Numerous forested islets dot the shoreline like floating haystacks. “English and French pirates hid in Samaná Bay to ambush Spanish gold ships leaving Santa Domingo. The 58 cays and inlets made perfect hiding places.”

Will A Proposed Solar Power Plant Near Mojave National Preserve Defeat Good Planning?

Renewable energy projects can pose a challenge for environmental organizations—they may like the "green" aspects of solar and wind power, but in the wrong location such projects can have big impacts on values such as scenery and wildlife. A proposed solar project near Mojave National Preserve has united opposition by numerous groups, and now the question is whether the developer will succeed in defeating years of good planning for siting major solar projects.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Yellowstone Reborn

Winter had loosened its icy grip on the high country. Faint stirrings from burrows and dens and caves led the young critters into a new world of running water, budding plants, and warm sunshine. Warm weather and life springs abundant.

Essential Park Guide, Spring: A Season Of Renewal In The National Park System

Spring. It's a fresh, vibrant season in the National Park System, one of renewal, for the parks’ wildlife, vegetation, and even for human visitors. After long, dark months of cold and snow across much of the system, the arrival of March, April, and May provide greater warmth, daylight, and access in the parks.

Essential Paddling Guide: Asian Carp Just One Aspect Of Non-Native Invasion Of Great Lakes

They are some of the most acrobatic fish you’ll ever encounter, hurtling their silver bodies high out of rivers when motorboats pass by. But Asian carp that have been invading the Mississippi River drainage the past two decades pose a serious threat to both the native fish in the Great Lakes and Minnesota’s waters and to regional economies.

Essential Paddling Guide: Cataract Canyon, Sample The Best Of The Southwest's Rivers

It’s just two days on the river, but the section of the Colorado River that flows through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park is one of the best not only in the West but in the entire country for whitewater aficionados and admirers of spectacular red rock scenery.

Essential Paddling Guide: Exploring The Big Lakes Of Voyageurs National Park

Of Minnesota’s fabled 10,000 lakes, none are so pristine, so haunting, so alluring to anglers, boaters, and campers as the rockribbed lakes of the north woods, where the cry of loons and howl of wolves soar over the gray water.

Essential Paddling Guide: Colorado River’s Flows Threatened By Growing Demands, Drier Climate

“Running on empty” unfortunately is a very apt description of the Colorado River Basin, which long has had its water overcommitted. Today, the vast watershed that stretches from the mountains of Colorado to the Gulf of California and helps nourish some 30 million residents in the Southwest and Mexico is mired in a long-running drought that threatens to dramatically recast the already-arid region.