In conjunction with national park week, 122 groups sent a letter to Congress Tuesday urging members to oppose any legislation that might weaken protections of national parks and monuments.
The letter — signed by various groups representing the LGBTQ community, women, disabled Americans, African-Americans and others — calls the shrinking of national monuments an attack on the Antiquities Act.
“Any attack on our public lands, monuments, oceans, and waters is an attack on our communities, our history, our contributions to this great nation, and our culture; and it robs the next generation of a chance to learn from these shared treasures,” reads the letter. “It has often been said that our nation’s public lands system is one of our best ideas; we must now come together to protect these special places.”
Interior Department officials are backing away from a plan to dramatically increase entrance fees at the most popular national parks after receiving more than 100,000 public comments from Americans nearly unanimously opposed to the idea.
In October, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed to increase peak-season entrance fees at 17 parks from $25 to $70 — the largest hike since World War II. Joshua Tree National Park in California, where the peak season starts in January, would have been the first to charge the higher rate, followed by a dozen other parks where visitation peaks in May and June. The cost of riding a motorcycle into the parks would have risen to $50, and walking or biking in would have cost $30.
But as temperatures climb and parks prepare for another season of potentially record-breaking visitation, Interior and National Park Service officials are rethinking the plan based on public comments that inundated the NPS website over an abbreviated 30-day period.
Depending on where you live in the world, viewing the night sky in its natural, unhindered state can be a rarity. Due to light pollution, fewer than 500 stars are viewable in urban settings, compared to the 15,000 stars apparent in some of the darkest skies.
National parks provide some of the darkest and clearest night skies across the country. And that’s why the National Park Foundation supports programs that help connect visitors with night sky viewing opportunities in some of these special places.
A grant from the National Park Foundation funded the startup of Mammoth Cave After Dark, a program aimed at showing visitors the night sky at Mammoth Cave National Park. Visitors who participated in Mammoth Cave After Dark enjoyed a guided hike, guided cave tour, dinner, and stargazing.
Canada’s national parks and historic sites hosted a staggering 24.7 million visitors last year. Not bad for a country with a population of only 36 million people. Which of it’s 39 national parks are the most popular? Here are the top ten:
Immediately after he took office, on January 20, 2017, [U.S. President] and his officials began opening up public lands to the energy industry. Ever since, it’s been hard to keep track of all the regulation rollbacks and revoked protections.
First, there was the announcement on January 30, 2017, to reorganize government agencies, including the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior. Two weeks later, [U.S. President] repealed a rule that stopped mining companies from dumping waste into rivers. Then Ryan Zinke was confirmed as secretary of the interior, and from there the deregulation pace quickened. Zinke oversaw reviewing national monuments, streamlining oil and gas industry permits, opening Arctic waters to drilling, and, finally, shrinking two monuments in Utah.
National Parks Adventure, a 2016 documentary that was originally screened in IMAX theaters, follows three travellers who set out to explore some of the vast landscapes of the U.S. national parks. Those adventurers include explorer Conrad Anker, climber Rachel Pohl, and photographer and filmmaker Max Lowe.
The MacGillivray Freeman film, narrated by Robert Redford, is available on Netflix for the first time this month.
Amid the miscellany of thoughts and links populating this site, you may find something useful. Have a rummage.