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Stories From 2017 That Deserve A Second Look


Little Cinnamon Bay, Virgin Islands National Park/NPS

Hurricanes, Recovery, And Resiliency In The Caribbean's National Parks

Though it will take months for national parks in the Caribbean to fully recover from the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the impacts to the ecosystems and human environment are slowly being erased.

The much-prized Thorofare outhouse/Robert Pahre

The Most Remote Outhouse In The Lower 48
My son and I are sitting on the porch of Yellowstone National Park’s Thorofare Ranger Station, about 32 trail miles from our car. We got here a little sooner than we expected this morning, so we’ll have a second breakfast of dried fruit and nuts while we take turns using the outhouse.

Yellow-faced bee on Ka‘ū silversword flower head/NPS, Janice Wei

Biologists Save Native Plant Species From Extinction At Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

A team of biologists has accomplished two herculean feats in Hawaiian plant conservation: the successful reintroduction of the endangered Ka‘ū silversword and Pele lobeliad on Mauna Loa and Kīlauea volcanoes in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

A New, Free Audio Book Of The Exploration Of The Colorado River And Its Canyons From LibriVox

A unique service allows you to download, for free, an audio copy of John Wesley Powell's The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons so you can listen to what Powell saw on your next trip down the Colorado River through Canyonlands and Grand Canyon national parks.

A surprising range of pollutants was found in the heart of Congaree National Park/Kurt Repanshek

Scientists Find Pollutants Deep Within Congaree National Park

Traces of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and chemicals turned up in a sampling of water deep within Congaree National Park in South Carolina, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Study Finds That Giant Sequoias Are Being Impacted By Drought Driven By Climate Change

Giant sequoias, long viewed as majestic, impervious guardians of the high Sierra, are beginning to struggle with the multi-year stretches of drought, according to research conducted in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks and elsewhere in the Sierra.

A process involving a laser helped remove biofilm from atop the Jefferson Memorial/NPS

National Park Service Completes Successful Laser Treatment Test For Removal Of Jefferson Memorial Biofilm

National Park Service staff were satisfied with a test using a laser treatment to remove a "biofilm" that has darkened the dome of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The test paves the way to ultimately clean the rest of the memorial.

Rock dust kicked up by the rockfall Wednesday was captured in this photo by Tom Evans/Via NPS 

13-Story-Tall Slab Of Rock Calves Off El Capitan, Kills One In Yosemite National Park

For the second day in a row Thursday a massive slab of rock peeled from the face of El Capitan and fell to the floor of the Yosemite Valley. This rockfall, though larger than the one Wednesday that killed a British citizen, resulted in no fatalities but did injure one, Yosemite National Park officials said.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways Continues Recovery From Devastating Floods

Following historic flooding this spring along Missouri’s Current and Jacks Fork rivers, staff and volunteers at Ozark National Scenic Riverways have worked to reopen as many areas as possible while scoping the effort for a more sustainable recovery in the river corridor.

Ranger From Mount Rainier National Park Honored With Harry Yount Award

Geoff Walker from Mount Rainier National Park is the recipient of the annual Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award, one of the National Park Service’s most prestigious honors. Walker received his award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Park Foundation, the official charitable partner of the National Park Service.

The National Park Service at Point Reyes National Seashore had to consider the outcome of removing livestock from the park/Karen Klitz

Point Reyes National Seashore Must Review Impact, Consider Removal Of Ranchers

The National Park Service must consider a future that doesn’t include beef and dairy cattle ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore and will conduct a public environmental review of how the those operations, some of which date to the 1800s, impact the park’s California coastline under a settlement agreement filed Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Justice.
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Yellowstone National Park bison near Frying Pan Spring/NPS, Jacob W. Frank

Bison In The West: Returning Bison To The Landscape

Clattering down the plank-lined chute, the 14 bison were leaving the big city for the high plains. Penned into individual crates that were then loaded into two steel express railroad cars, they rolled west late in 1913 on a 2,000-mile journey that would prove more astonishing than it might have seemed.

Brown boobies turned up at Channel Islands National Park/NPS

New Seabird Species Settles On The Channel Islands

Last week seabird biologists discovered brown boobies actively nesting on Santa Barbara Island, within Channel Islands National Park off the coast of California. This first record of brown boobies nesting in the park is a significant northward expansion of their breeding range, the National Park Service said.

The area outlined in a red-and-black line is where the Mexican wolf recovery effort is based in the United States/USFWS

Conservation Groups Pan Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan Released By U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service

A recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service falls far short of enabling the species to rebound, according to conservation groups that panned the plan for not providing enough habitat or allowing wolf populations to grow large enough before delisting.

Interior Department officials have ordered the National Park Service to halt work on a grizzly recovery plan for the North Cascades Ecosystem, which includes North Cascades National Park/North Cascades Institute

National Park Service Ordered To Stop Work On Grizzly Recovery For North Cascades

While the National Park Service back in January outlined a plan to help grizzly bears repopulate North Cascades National Park with hopes of establishing a self-sustaining population of 200 grizzlies, Interior Department officials have put the brakes on that effort.

A Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling heads out to sea at Assateague Island National Seashore/NPS

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nest Sends 100 Hatchlings To Sea At Assateague Island National Seashore

Sea turtle nests and the resulting hatchlings are common at places such as Padre Island National Seashore, Canaveral National Seashore, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but not so much at Assateague Island National Seashore. That's why the news of a Loggerhead turtle nest hatching at Assateague Island is great to hear.

Caltrans is proposing the construction of a wildlife crossing over Highway 101, which could benefit the isolated mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains/Caltrans

Wildlife Crossing That Would Aid Mountain Lions In Santa Monica Mountains Closer To Reality

Help may be on the way for an at-risk population of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, as the California Department of Transportation intends to move forward with building a wildlife crossing over busy Highway 101, which could both help reduce the number of animals struck and killed by vehicles in addition to increasing the genetic diversity of the pumas by bringing new big cats into the area.

A great white shark got all paddle board, no human, when it took a bite at Cape Cod National Seashore/NPS

Great White Shark Likely Predator On Paddle Board Attack At Cape Cod National Seashore

A Cape Cod man never saw the shark that tried to take a bite out of his paddle board, but national seashore officials say it likely was a white shark that mistook the board for a seal.

Wolves could lose their protection under the Endangered Species Act/NPS, Jim Peaco

Renewed Effort In Congress To Remove Wolves From ESA Protections

A bipartisan effort has been launched in the U.S. Senate to not only end Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region but to also prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from addressing lead poisoning related to fishing gear, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

A $25,000 reward was offered for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) who shot a white wolf in Yellowstone National Park/NPS

Reward For Information On Yellowstone Wolf Shooter Upped To $25,000

A reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot a rare white wolf that called Yellowstone National Park home has been increased to $25,000.

It has been 50 years since a significant investment has been made in the infrastructure of the National Park System/NPS

National Park Infrastructure Hasn't Seen Major Infusion Of Funding In More Than 50 Years

Not since Mission 66, a concerted, decade-long effort to prepare the National Park System for the then-novel vacation traffic of Baby Boomers, has the system seen a significant infusion of funding for infrastructure, a House subcommittee was told Thursday.

This building at Crater Lake National Park recently was broken into by a thief, or thieves, who took thousands of rounds of ammunition, according to the National Park Service/NPS

Thousands Of Rounds Of Ammunition Stolen From Crater Lake National Park

Despite being one of the snowiest winters in recent years, someone headed into Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and broke into a locked building to steal thousands of rounds of ammunition, according to the National Park Service.

An impressive exhibit of Chaco Culture artifacts, many from Pueblo Bonito, including the Pueblo Bonito Frog, was to go on display at Chaco Culture National Historical this spring but has been put off indefinitely/NPS

Problems Plague World-Class Museum At Chaco Culture National Historical Park

David Hurst Thomas had planned to personally carry the "Pueblo Bonito Frog" from its safe storage at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City to Chaco Culture National Historical Park in a remote and dusty corner of New Mexico as the hallmark of a world-class exhibit of Chaco Culture artifacts. But as problems continue to plague the park's new museum, the exhibit has been put off indefinitely and the frog is remaining in hibernation.

The remaining structure of Sperry Chalet after it was engulfed by the Sprague Fire this summer / NPS

What Remains Of Sperry Chalet Stabilized For Winter In Glacier National Park

Amid freezing rain and a foot of snow in Glacier National Park, 10 crew members spent 12 days stabilizing the remains of the historic Sperry Chalet, which was deemed lost when the Sprague Fire engulfed the dormitory building on August 31.

In a reversal, the National Park Service dropped a proposed dog management plan for Gold Gate National Recreation Area/NPS

National Park Service Opts Not To Revise Dog Management Regs At Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Not quite a year after announcing that it would enforce new regulations for managing dogs at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the National Park Service has reversed course and dropped the effort, a move that drew applause from dog groups in the San Francisco Bay area.

Interior Secretary To Create Public Lands Advisory Committee, One That Might Suggest New User Fees

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is moving to form a Recreation Advisory Committee to develop suggestions not only on how "public-private partnerships" can improve access and infrastructure on public lands, but also on how to generate more user fees to support "sustainable operations."

Office Of Inspector General Highlights Challenges Facing Interior Department

Overcrowded parks, questionable fee collection systems, and safety issues for both members of the public and employees are among the key issues the Office of Inspector General has highlighted as challenges facing the Interior Department as it manages the National Park System.

The Congressional Anti-Parks Caucus In Power

Who in Congress can be described as having an "anti-parks" voting record? With 535 members of Congress, that could be a difficult question to soundly answer. But the Center for American Progress has come up with a list of 19 members who, perhaps emboldened by the Trump administration's views on public lands, it has defined as the "anti-parks caucus" in Washington, D.C.

National Park Service Better, Slightly, In Best Places To Work Survey

As an agency, the National Park Service made strides in the annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government survey, but there remain improvements to be made in the areas of work-life balance, support for diversity, pay, and strategic management.

National Park Service Slashes 2018 Fee-Free Days

In an eyebrow-raising move, the National Park Service has greatly slashed the number of entrance-free days for 2018, offering the public just four days to enter parks without paying a fee to do so. During the Park Service's centennial year of 2016, there were 16 such days, while this year there were 10 days.

Eco-tents will be part of the lodging options coming to Flamingo in Everglades National Park/NPS

Financial Creativity Leads To Return Of Lodging To Flamingo At Everglades National Park

After years of rejection, an atypical approach to funding lodging is soon expected to return lodging to the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park, a popular destination in the park that has gone without overnight accommodations beyond a campground since two hurricanes pounded the area in 2005.

A better parking experience is coming to Muir Woods National Monument/NPS

Muir Woods National Monument To Get Better Parking, Transit System

Work won't start for two years, but the National Park Service has completed environmental compliance for a project to improve parking, transit, and visitor access to Muir Woods National Monument just north of San Francisco. The Muir Woods Sustainable Access Project is expected to enhance safety, visitor experience, and protection of park resources through the reorganization of parking areas, optimization of traffic flow, and redesign of the visitor entry plaza.

Concern Growing For Grand Canyon National Park Over Growth In Tusayan

A spurt of potential growth in the skyline of Tusayan, Arizona, to the south of Grand Canyon National Park has generated concern for how commercialism is impacting the national park.

President Trump Donates $78,333 To National Park Service, Critics Label It Publicity Stunt

President Trump on Monday donated his salary for the first three months of the year to the National Park Service, a move quickly ridiculed as a publicity stunt by some groups.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva: Public Opinion For Public Lands Can Sway Congress

"Starve the beast," a phrase fashionable with fiscally conservative politicians dating to the mid-1980s, has returned in full force to Congress, where U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva worries about how national parks and public lands in general will fare if Republicans aren't checked.

David Rockefeller and the Rockefeller family were honored at the August 27, 2016, “Gift of Acadia” celebration for the Acadia National Park and National Park Service centennials/Friends of Acadia

David Rockefeller, Benefactor Of Acadia National Park, Passes At 101

David Rockefeller, who continued his family's long-running love affair with national parks, died the other day at 101. The last surviving grandchild of oil baron John D. Rockefeller, Mr. Rockefeller had a particular keenness for Acadia National Park, which his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., helped established in 1916.

OIG: Poor Bookkeeping By National Park Service Proves Costly

A random review of contracting practices the National Park Service is supposed to follow but doesn't always manage to shows the agency is missing the opportunity to spend tens of millions of dollars assigned, but not needed, on other projects in the park system.

A poll indicates that park visitation would suffer if higher entrance fees are implemented/NPS

Poll Says Higher Park Fees Will Hurt Attendance, Study Says Gateway Communities Would Suffer

While polling shows strong opposition to a proposal to increase entrance fees to 17 national parks, and that more than 60 percent of Americans might skip a park visit if fees increase, a study shows higher entrance fees likely would hurt gateway communities to the parks.

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