Love the Outdoors? The U.S. National Parks Are Hiring

Have you ever wished you could spend your workdays surrounded by awe-inspiring nature? You can now make that dream a reality: the National Park Service is hiring for a variety of positions across its U.S. parks for next year. California’s Yosemite National Park, for example, is currently taking applications for roughly 300 different jobs for next summer. The positions,...

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A reminder that this weekend national parks are fee-free for Veterans Day

This Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 is Veterans Day in the United States. Dedicated to those who have served their country, the federal government has set aside this day to honor those still alive and those fallen. The National Park Service does their part to remember veterans by waiving entrance fees at all National Park Service sites for Nov. 11 and 12, as they typically do...

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National parks set their sights on being litter-free

  “I know how to eliminate litter at national parks,” he told the Undersecretary of the Interior. “How? How?” he responded, animated. The Interior’s collective yearning to take on littering could create a template that could be effective for park districts across America. The Interior manages the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and...

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National Parks Struggle With a Mounting Crisis: Too Many Visitors

The rocky shorelines, shifting deserts and winding canyons of the country’s 59 national parks have been hallmarks of American vacations for generations. But the number of park visitors has reached an unprecedented level, leaving many tourists frustrated and many environmentalists concerned about the toll of overcrowding. In 2016, the National Park Service tracked a...

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National Parks offering free admission for 3 days this fall

The National Park Service offered 10 fee-free days in 2017, but nearly a third of those days are yet to come. This fall, travelers will get three opportunities to get into national parks free of charge: on Sept. 30 for National Public Lands Day, and on Nov. 11 and 12 for Veterans Day weekend. On those days, all entrance fees will be waived, though camping and other fees...

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For the National Parks, a Reckoning

Even though the National Park Service is charged with keeping places like Sequoia “unimpaired” for future generations, it doesn’t usually step in when trees meet their end because of thirst and pestilence. Droughts and insects are supposed to be normal, natural occurrences. But it’s hard to say whether the changes witnessed here — or at neighboring Kings Canyon National...

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The National Parks Like You’ve Never Experienced Them Before

Veteran travelers of national parks may think they’ve done it all, but not so fast: There are 417 sites managed by the National Park Service, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy each of them. Non-profit friends groups and NPS officials compilde a short list of National Park activities and spots that are a bit off the beaten path, and just plain cool. Lookout Point...

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National parks are already setting attendance records. Now come the eclipse chasers.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will blaze through 20 national parks and nine national trails in its path of totality across the United States, which begins in Oregon and ends in South Carolina. And those who were lucky enough to book campsites and hotels in time will be heading into these parks to experience it in gorgeous natural splendor. While the parks in...

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National parks brace for eclipse crowds

The U.S. National Park Service is gearing up for some historically large crowds August 21, 2017 when a total solar eclipse will occur over a swath across the nation from Oregon to South Carolina, crossing over 21 national park units and seven trails. If you haven’t planned ahead, be aware that lodging and camping is full around most of the parks, the NPS site warns, and...

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National Parks Are Great Classrooms

This summer, millions of visitors will descend on America’s National Parks. National Parks attract visitors of all ages from countries across the globe, but many of this summer’s visitors will be children and their families on summer vacation. And that’s a valuable learning opportunity for both those children and their families. America’s 59...

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When and where to spot the best Autumn scenery in our national parks

Fall color isn’t always where you expect to find it. Quick story: The assignment, years ago, was to do a story on fall color at Yosemite National Park. Got there, and everything Yosemite was supposed to have was present that day in mid-October: Half Dome, El Capitan, waterfalls, all of it. And from Glacier Point, one of the world’s great overlooks and the...

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The Best Secret Spots in America’s National Parks

Each one of America’s 59 national parks has its well-known, must-see stops – for example, you probably aren’t going to hit Yellowstone without swinging by Old Faithful. While those sites became musts for a reason, they also have their drawbacks in the form of insane tourist traffic (and, sometimes, insane tourists) and not a whole lot of tranquility. And yet,...

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Human noise pollution is everywhere, even in the national parks

In wintertime, the sounds of nature are so subtle they’re almost imperceptible: The whistling of the wind though craggy mountaintops, the whispering branches of the trees; the soft, delicate patter of an unseen animal’s paws across snowy ground. “It’s a really quiet experience,” said Rachel Buxton, recalling a recent winter hike in southwest...

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9 simple ways to be a better national parks visitor

America’s best idea, the national parks, continue to rise in popularity each year. 2016 saw the third year in a row where attendance to the national parks broke the previous all-time attendance record. Over 330 million visitors enjoyed the 417 national park sites last year, and that number is almost certainly going to increase yet again this year. With these kinds of...

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National Parks are Fee Free the Next Two Weekends

The National Park Service has long encouraged visitors to avoid peak crowds by planning their trips in the spring. And to give you even more impetus, here’s another good reason to visit this month: free admission. For four days in April, 2017 — April 15, 16, 22 and 23 — the National Park Service will waive entrance fees at the 118 national parks that normally charge...

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Reintroduction and recovery of the California condor is a success story that spans many parks

Today, the California condor is regarded as one of the rarest birds in the world. In Pleistocene times, condors ranged from Canada to Mexico, across the southern United States to Florida, and north on the east coast to New York. During that period, condors were a common resident of the Grand Canyon judging by bones, feathers and eggshells found in caves where they once...

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National Parks Commemorate African American History Month

From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the quiet wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the National Park Service preserves many pivotal, but lesser known, sites related to the African American experience. These places are among the dozens of national parks that convey stories of soldiers, educators, musicians, entrepreneurs, and freed slaves who blazed trails for...

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Federal hiring freeze to impact WNC

The federal hiring freeze of all civilian employees, ordered by President Trump on Jan. 23, 2017, could negatively impact employment in Western North Carolina and the public services those agencies provide. According to the executive order, no vacant positions existing at noon Jan. 22 may be filled and no new positions may be created. The order does not include or apply...

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How the Parks of Tomorrow Will Be Different

When Congress passed the act creating the National Park Service in the summer of 1916, it instructed the agency to leave park scenery and wildlife “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” The law did not define “unimpaired.” To Stephen Mather, the charismatic borax magnate who served as the first director of the Park Service, it meant simply “undeveloped.”...

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Trump taps well of protest with calls for more drilling in national parks

President-elect Donald Trump aims to open up federal lands to more energy development, tapping into a long-running and contentious debate over how best to manage America’s remaining wilderness. The U.S. government holds title to about 500 million acres of land across the country, including national parks and forests, wildlife refuges and tribal territories stretching...

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Ticks that carry Lyme disease found in Eastern US national parks

Lyme disease has been spreading across the United States over the past several decades, and a new study has confirmed that ticks carrying the disease are present in eastern national parks. According to the study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Park Service (NPS)...

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China tries to build a coherent system of national parks

Roughly 18% of China is given over to national parks or protected areas of some sort. But there is no overarching system for managing or even designating such places; instead, they are subject to a complicated, overlapping and haphazard mix of local, provincial and national administration. Laoshan is a case in point. Since its establishment in 1991, its official status...

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A Guide to the National Parks of Florida

Bill Reynolds has been with the national parks service for a decade, and has visited a ton of them—particularly in Florida. It’s fair to say the spokesman is a super-fan. Of the famed Everglades, he crows, “If the National Parks are America’s crown jewels, the Everglades are some of the shiniest!” But it’s not the only gem in the Sunshine State. Florida’s...

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Reducing Noise in National Parks

The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division at the U.S. National Park Service provides scientific support to all the national park units. Its researchers help park administrators understand the current state of their resource conditions and what the effects of pollution are on visitor experience and wildlife, and give them suggestions for how they might reduce pollution...

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Climate Change Is Causing Earlier Springs in National Parks

The National Park Service was created to protect and preserve the United States’ natural wonders. But what happens when climate change starts to alter these sites? U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a new report revealing that three-quarters of 276 national parks are experiencing an earlier onset of spring. Half of the parks studied are experiencing “extreme”...

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How the National Park Service Is Planning for Climate Change

Five years ago, just after archaeologist Marcy Rockman joined the National Park Service’s new climate change response program, the GOP-controlled Congress slashed its budget by 70 percent. Republicans were determined to squash President Barack Obama’s climate agenda, and many federal officials were deeply discouraged. So Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis convened his...

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Climate change will mean the end of national parks as we know them

After a century of shooing away hunters, tending to trails and helping visitors enjoy the wonder of the natural world, the guardians of America’s most treasured places have been handed an almost unimaginable new job – slowing the all-out assault climate change is waging against national parks across the nation. As the National Park Service (NPS) has charted the loss of...

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The Antiquities Act and America’s National Parks

As Americans anticipate family vacations, many are planning trips to our nation’s iconic national parks, such as the Grand Canyon, Zion, Acadia and Olympic. But they may not realize that these and other parks exist because presidents used their power under the Antiquities Act, enacted on June 8, 1906, to protect those places from exploitation and development. The...

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Americans are proud of their national parks and are willing to pay more to preserve them

Researchers from Harvard and Colorado State have found that Americans would be willing to pay 30 times more than the current annual appropriation in order to preserve and maintain the US National Park system. According to the study, the US public would pay more than $90 billion a year to sustain and protect America’s iconic places. Yet the US National Park system...

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3 national parks in Oregon that never happened

Oregon is no stranger to National Parks. Since 1902, the state has been home to Crater Lake National Park, and over the last century four other spots have won lesser designations from the National Park Service. But in the mid-20th century, Oregon’s scenic beauty was prized by the park service, which proposed several sprawling national parks around the state. Three...

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Overlooked Wildlife Experiences in Our National Parks

Think of wildlife in U.S. national parks, and certain images pop to mind: Bears. Bison. Elk. Wolves. All spectacular critters, to be sure. But the National Park Service protects a wide range of wildlife, large and small. Some of these species are cryptic or elusive. But other smaller denizens offer fascinating viewing opportunities. For example, Great Smoky Mountains...

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How Photography Shaped America’s National Parks

Have you ever gotten a postcard from a national park? Chances are the picture that comes to mind—maybe the powerful eruption of Old Faithful spouting up in Yellowstone or the rocky depths of the Grand Canyon—is the same shot that people across the world have seen. There’s a reason for that. The idea of America’s national parks that’s ingrained in the collective...

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