Canyonlands National Park

Creature Feature: The Common Raven is an Uncommonly Intelligent Bird

The common raven is one of the brainiest birds you'll encounter in the national parks, but the same keen intellect that makes this species interesting and amusing also makes it troublesome.

Trails I've Hiked: Canyonlands National Park's Elephant Hill Trail

Chesler Park, Canyonlands, copyright Kurt Repanshek
Without a doubt, there is no better time to hike in Utah's canyon country than spring. In Canyonlands National Park on the Elephant Hill Trail mid-May blends on one palette the reds, yellows, golds, and whites of wildflowers against a redrock backdrop daubed with cream and buff.

Reader Participation Day: Which Is Your Favorite National Park Gateway Town?

If you had to pick a gateway town to live in -- not because of its associated national park, but because of its atmosphere -- which would you choose?

Best National Parks for Admiring "Rock Art"

There are a handful of places in the National Park System where you can view petroglyphs or pictographs. Some are walk-up panels that you can ponder for hours, others require a float down a river or a long hike. Here's a quick look at some of those units and what you can expect to find.
Common Southwestern Native Plants: An Identification Guide Anyone who spends time hiking in the national parks of the Southwest needs a good plant identification book. And "Common Southwestern Native Plants, An Identification Guide," is one of those books.

Republicans, Democrats Differ Over Whether National Park Designations Should Block Energy Projects

When the Bush administration late in 2008 tried to auction energy leases near national parks in Utah, there was an outcry by many who considered siting oil and gas exploration projects next to parks was anathema. The Obama administration quickly reversed the decision, but the debate over whether to locate energy projects next to parks continues.

$200 Off On Float Trip Through Cataract Canyon In Canyonlands National Park

One of the classic river trips in the Southwest is riding the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon with the sandstone walls of Canyonlands National Park rising overhead. You can sign up to run that stretch this summer, and save $200 per person, but you have to act fast.

Tamarisk, aka "Salt Cedar," A Thirsty Scourge Of Western National Parks

The showy tamarisk tree, aka "Saltcedar," long has been reviled as a thirsty scourge of Western national park riparian areas. But new research shows it's not any thirstier than some native species. However, tamarisk isn't valued as highly as cottonwoods and willows by some bird species, the studies say.

Oil and Gas Production And the National Parks

Against fears that the white-sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore soon might be darkened by an oily slick from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, natural gas production flows quietly from Padre Islands National Seashore.

Researchers Exploring Cave Dwellers From Bandelier National Monument's Long Ago Past

The American Southwest is honeycombed with ruins from long-past civilizations. Mesa Verde National Park and Canyon de Chelly National Monument are well-known for their cliff dwellings, while at Bandelier National Monument the sandstone walls are pocked with "cavates" used as shelter centuries ago.

NPCA: Tell the Obama Administration That Clear Air And Clear Views Across National Parks are Vital

Debate over the country's energy needs, environmental conditions, and the resulting quality of life is not new. It's unending, ongoing, and downright rancorous at times. But does it need to be? With hazy views across spectacular parks in the Southwest, how can we turn that debate into solutions?

Traveler's Gear Box: Moab Trails Illustrated Explorer

One CD-Rom that works with either Mac or PC. Mapping software that let's you zoom in and out, pan right or left, and take a bird's eye 3-D view of the lay of the land. And the ability to load the map onto more than a few GPS units. Has National Geographic hit upon something with its Trails Illustrated Explorer series?

Stewart Udall: A Model of a Conservationist

If you've ever walked through a national park, hiked down a trail, backpacked into wilderness, or paddled a wild and scenic stream, pause and give a minute of thanks for Stewart Udall.

Is A Tar Sands Project Coming Close To a National Park You Love?

Back in January 2008 the Traveler warned about a movement in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to allow tar sands development in Utah. Well, it seems that project could soon be sprouting near Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument.

Is There Economic Value to That National Monument in Your Backyard?

Muley Point sunset, copyright QT Luong, www.terragalleria.com/parks
While some politicians have rushed to condemn preliminary talks within the Interior Department over whether President Obama should designate any national monuments, past performance shows these establishments can bolster the surrounding economy.

Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Brings the Best Out In Your Camera?

Redrock and Snow, copyright Kurt Repanshek
It's a given: national parks are great places to take photographs. And yet, there are some parks that seem to produce better photos from my camera than others. Which national parks do you find the most photogenic?

Will The Long-Desired "Completion" Of Canyonlands National Park Ever Arrive?

View from Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park
From the lip of Grand View Point, an immense ruddy sweep of a landscape in a constant state of decay runs before your eyes. And yet, though you're in the heart of Canyonlands National Park, not all you see is within the park. And for many, that's a problem that should have been corrected long ago.
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Completing Canyonlands NPCA.pdf1.64 MB

Spring in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks: The Logistics

Arches and Canyonlands national parks are colorful siblings that are great to visit any time of year, but to spare yourself the high heat of summer one of the best seasons to visit is Spring. Here are some keys to accomplishing such a trip.
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Looking To Gain A Little Structured Education On Your National Park Trip?

Can you tell by looking at a wildflower in Yellowstone National Park what the underlying geology is? Or, while hiking through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, can you identify a bird simply by its song? Do you want to get relatively up close to the elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore? Here's how you can do all those things and more.

Wanna Float Through Geologic History? Sale On For Utah Raft Trips Down Yampa, Green, And Colorado Rivers

Ever get the itch to take a float through the colorful landscape of Utah's canyon country? Well, the folks at Holiday Expeditions are offering a 20 percent-off sale on select trips through Dinosaur National Monument and Canyonlands National Park.

A National Park Visiting Wish List for 2010

Last year’s travels took me to half a dozen national parks new to my resume. This year there are five new ones and five old friends on the horizon. A guy could do worse.

Dark, Starry Skies Above National Parks Celebrated by Posters, Forthcoming Book

Some of the best star gazing can be had in national parks. Proof of that can be found at Natural Bridges National Monument, Yellowstone National Park, Big Bend National Park, even Acadia National Park. Those and other park settings are celebrated in a series of night sky posters issued in conjunction with the International Year of Astronomy.
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Night_Sky_Program_Brief.pdf197.58 KB

Updated: NPS Director Jarvis Ends "Core Ops" Budgeting Across The National Park System

In a brief, four-paragraph memorandum, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis has brought to an end a controversial budgeting process that stripped arguably key positions from parks. Dubbed "core ops" for its approach to analyzing a park's core operations, the process failed to produce wise budgeting decisions, the director said in a letter to his regional directors.
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Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough

Yellowstone. Canyonlands. Voyageurs. Grand Canyon. Great Smoky Mountains. Glacier. Surprising as it is, none of those parks has so much as a single acre of officially designated wilderness.

Interior Issues Report on Drilling Near National Parks in Utah

A review of how the U.S. Bureau of Land Management handled energy leases near national parks in Utah shows some areas where the system broke down and carries recommendations for, at a minimum, review of previous leasing decisions. Some tracts, the report said, should be removed from leasing.
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BLM_Utah77LeaseParcelReport.pdf349.5 KB

Clash of Viewpoints on Public Land Ownership and Protection Arrives in Congress in the Form of Red Rock Wilderness Legislation

Contrasting views on how public lands should be managed and enjoyed collided in a congressional committee hearing Thursday as distinct lines were drawn over whether more than 9 million acres of red-rock landscape in Utah's outback should be protected as official wilderness or left open for off-road vehicles, mountain bikes, and energy development.

U.S. House National Parks Subcommittee To Consider Red Rock Wilderness Act Legislation

Legislation scheduled to be taken up Thursday by a U.S. House subcommittee wouldn't create any national parks if passed, but it would go a long way toward providing some serious buffer zones around four national park units in Utah through the creation of officially designated wilderness.

Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels

There long have been pockets of disgust over federal land ownership in the West, and perhaps nowhere are those sentiments stronger than in Utah, where roughly two-thirds of the landscape is federally managed. While the "Sagebrush Rebellion" mightily reared its head some three decades ago, its waning vestiges are on trial this week over whether a creek bed constitutes a road in Canyonlands National Park.
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Salt_Creek-Amicus_Brief.pdf81.59 KB
Salt_Creek-NPS_Motions.pdf294.07 KB

On Canyoneering, Politics, and Teens Studying Climate Change in the National Parks

Slipping from the top of the arch into the abyss below was a difficult move that rattled my psyche. Even though the sandstone band I was perched on was not much more than 4 feet wide, it was stable. Putting my faith into the rope cinched to my climbing harness and dropping into the 100-foot void went completely against my desire for self-preservation.
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