The 12 Best Hikes in Utah’s National Parks

From natural arches, hoodoos, and hanging gardens to balanced rocks and towering mesas, slot canyons and vast chasms, the desert Southwest holds in its dry, searing, lonely open spaces some of America’s most fascinating and inspiring geology. The writer “Cactus Ed” Abbey no doubt had this region in mind when he said there “are some places so beautiful they can make a...

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Park Staff Ordered to Violate Laws and Stand Aside as People Trashed Parks During Shutdown

Rangers describe the despair of watching national parks sustain preventable long-term damage, as well as the terrible effects the historic standoff has had on morale. The partial government shutdown is over, but some of the damage national parks sustained during the 35-day standoff will last long into the future. During the shutdown, the Trump administration directed...

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Shutdown thefts and odd animal crimes in Smokies; Tennessee NPS sites “lucky”

Thefts, break-ins, and odd crimes involving animals have surfaced in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) as rangers take stock of any damages during the government shutdown. GSMNP spokesperson Dana Soehn said rangers discovered the theft of several tools from a facility in Cosby. The rangers had not determined the total value of stolen items. There was also a...

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National Park Superintendents stay mum during ‘blackout on news’

There’s an easy reason to explain why National Park Service superintendents have suddenly gone mum: They’re scared. That’s according to former National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. “In my conversations with folks that are in the field, there is an element of fear that has been conveyed down, that you’ll be punished if you speak...

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Park Service takes ‘extraordinary step’ of dipping into entrance fees to bolster operations at popular sites

The National Park Service will take the unprecedented step of tapping entrance fees to pay for expanded operations at its most popular sites as the federal government shutdown threatens to degrade some of the nation’s iconic landmarks. Under a memorandum signed by the Interior Department’s acting secretary, David Bernhardt, park managers will be permitted to bring on...

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States are out of money to keep national parks safe during shutdown

We are now 11 days into this partial government shutdown, and our beloved national parks are really feeling the hurt. These shutdowns are not without consequences. Key scientists had holiday plans canceled and are being forced to work without pay. The Violence Against Women Act was allowed to expire. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency ran out of money. Many...

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Veterans Day Is Fee Free at Our National Parks

Many national parks have direct connections to the American military—there are dozens of battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that commemorate and honor the service of American veterans. In addition, every national park is part of our collective identity that defines who we are and where we came from as a nation. They are tactile reminders of the values, the...

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Study: National Parks Bearing The Brunt Of Climate Change Impacts

Yellowstone National Park escaped the summer without any large conflagrations in its forests, but that could be an anomaly under the current pace of climate change. Pikas could vanish from parks such as Lassen Volcanic and Great Basin. Glaciers and Joshua trees could be seen only in photographs and paintings in their namesake parks, and Virgin Islands and Hawai’i...

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10 (Truly) Hidden National Park Gems

The wonders of the National Park System don’t generally play hard to get. Want to see the Grand Canyon? It might be a haul to get to the park, but it will be hard to miss once you’re there. Some park jewels, however, are simply out of reach for almost every visitor. The reasons for this are multiple. In some cases, the Park Service consciously keeps the location of...

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You’ve Never Seen National Parks Looking Like This Before

The world’s national parks are a unique natural resource. Not only for their biological diversity but also for their beauty and accessibility – many are otherworldly, an environment alien to our everyday but close enough to travel to with relative ease. Every park is different too. So whether you’re looking to explore waterfalls or lakes, jungles or deserts, glaciers or...

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New national parks around the world

Southern Chile is famous for Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia but much more of the region’s spectacular landscape is now being made accessible. Donations of vast tracts of wilderness by foundations run by US philanthropists and environmentalists to the Chilean state has led to the creation of national reserves covering 4.45m hectares. 17 national parks and...

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The 10 National Parks with the Most Endangered Species

National parks are critical for protecting the animals and plants that live in them, and no park denizens need that protection more than endangered species. The Endangered Species Act has helped boost the populations of numerous imperiled species since it became law in 1973, and it has contributed to the recovery of iconic species such as the bald eagle, which was...

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Tips and Tricks for Visiting 26 National Parks, Straight From Park Employees

Each of the National Park Service’s 417 locations, from national parks and monuments, has unique sights and activities — that can be best appreciated with a few insider tips. For example, a hidden gem at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan is Port Oneida Rural Historic District, which is filled with turn-of-the-century farmhouses, beautiful views of Lake...

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Why Artists are Heading to National Parks and Monuments

When the sun rises at Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), it slowly peaks out from behind Eagle Cliff, casting a pink-orange morning glow onto the pine-flecked slopes of the Continental Divide. The William Allen White Cabin, once owned by the eponymous Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, has a front-row seat to the grandeur. Inside, the scene is just as...

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A Perilous Shutdown Plan for National Parks

During the 21-day government shutdown of 1995-1996, an enormous blizzard left up to three feet of snow in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park—and no one was there to shovel the parking lots. But that was the least of Bill Wade’s problems. The park’s superintendent at the time, Wade knew that several campers had entered the Shenandoah backcountry before the shutdown....

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National Parks to Waive Entrance Fees on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, national park units across the country will offer visitors free entrance into the parks on Monday, January 15, 2018. Martin Luther King, Jr. day will be the first of four fee-free days this year. Those days include April 21 to celebrate the start of National Park Week, September 22 for National Public Lands Day and November 11 in...

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Wire the wilderness? As cell service expands, national parks become the latest digital battlegrounds

When John Muir helped establish the National Park Service, he argued that such parks were vital to help people unplug from the world. “Break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods,” Muir was quoted as saying in 1915. But these days at Yosemite National Park, hikers to Half Dome are likely to encounter people talking on cell phones...

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10 best national parks for sunrises and sunsets

Have you ever spent several pre-dawn hours climbing to the summit of a mountain so that you can get the best angle to see the sunrise? Some people will go to great lengths to witness the daily dramas of sunrise and sunset. It’s not just about watching the big yellow ball appear or disappear over the horizon, but about the surrounding landscapes and clouds at the...

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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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