National park Service

Fewer federal land workers are being threatened and assaulted on the job, according to a new analysis by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

 


A controversy over the names of two landmarks in Yellowstone National Park highlight a forgotten genocide in the U.S. and how historical awareness, conflicting narratives and misinformation help muddy the waters.


Bipartisan legislation before the Senate would finally designate congressional funds to take care of about $12 billion of deferred maintenance for national parks. 

 


Supt. Vela describes the significance of the NPS badge to a 4th grade student from Donald Stalker Elementary before awarding a Jr. Ranger badge to her at the completion of an "Every Kid in a Park" visit, sponsored by Grand Teton Lodge Co. (May, 2015)
National Park Service

The superintendent of Grand Teton National Park is rumored to be President Trump’s nominee for the National Park Service (NPS). The position has been left unfilled for 18 months. David Vela has been with the NPS on and off for 37 years. He’s worked at several historic sites, coordinated operations in Texas, and oversaw the NPS southeast region, covering 66 parks.

A year and a half into the Trump presidency and several federal land agencies do not have directors—

including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Former land managers say the lack of leadership has grave consequences for the future of public lands.


 


The head of Yellowstone National Park says he plans to retire next March, ending a more than four decade run with the National Park Service. The surprise announcement came after speculation he was being reassigned for political reasons.

The National Park Service has released a report on how sea level rise could impact its sites. The publication was delayed by about a year, and as we’ve reported, there were concerns over possible censorship in earlier drafts.

Maria Caffrey worked for years with the National Park Service researching and writing the report, only to wait for months for its actual release.

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk
NPS Public Domain

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk could leave the park. In his first television interview on a possible transfer, Wenk said he prefers to retire in Yellowstone.

Old Faithful gets all the attention, but a geyser called Steamboat is the world’s tallest active geyser. And it’s acting a little odd.

National parks tourism pumped nearly $36 billion into the U.S. economy last year, and communities just outside the parks benefited the most. That’s where more than 330 million visitors dropped more than $18-billion-dollars and supported 255 thousand jobs.

National Park Week is an annual celebration of what many people call America’s best idea, beginning with a fare-free day, April 21.

Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has backed off a decision to dramatically hike entrance fees to some National Parks. Since many of these iconic parks are in the Mountain West, this change may have an outsized effect on our region.

The sign at the entrance to Yellowstone National Park
Wikimedia Commons: Guerillero

Last year, the National Park Service (NPS) announced a plan to introduce a five-month peak season entrance fee for 17 of the most visited national parks. But it turns out the change to the entrance fee won’t be as drastic after all.

Under the original proposal, it would cost $70 to enter Yellowstone National Park during the peak season. The NPS said they needed that huge increase because of the park’s aging infrastructure and rising maintenance costs.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for an investigation into the National Park Service, pointing to a report they say follows a "pattern" of censoring scientists who study climate change. So I checked in with the scientist who wrote the latest report and is now worried about her future.

Now that a National Parks entrance fee hike is on hold, competing legislation is floating through Congress that would permanently pay for the multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog using federal mineral revenues.

National Parks Service

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's call to increase peak-season entrance fees at 17 popular national parks appears to be an unpopular idea. The overwhelming majority of submitted comments were strongly opposed to it. Now, the National Park Service is rethinking the plan.

People watching Old Faithful erupt from geyser cone, Yellowstone National Park, 1948
R. Robinson / National Park Service Photo Gallery

Several illegal actions took place within national parks during the three-day government shutdown in January. In Zion National Park, a pregnant elk was poached, in Gettysburg National Military Park, a family brought in a metal detector and a drone — both of which are prohibited—and in Yellowstone, private snowmobilers went past the legal boundary to get close to the geyser Old Faithful.

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

The Trump administration released its infrastructure plan and proposed budget for 2019. One conservation organization believes it will have brutal impacts on national parks.

President Trump and Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke’s, proposed budget requests a 16 percent cut from the Department of Interior’s 2018 budget. It also prioritizes energy and mineral development on public lands, cuts that Zinke calls unnecessary or duplicated programs, and has language detailing requirements for selling off public lands.

The sign at the entrance to Yellowstone National Park
Wikimedia Commons: Guerillero

 

Researchers at the University of Montana have found that the proposed hike in entrance fees to Yellowstone National Park will harm the economy of local gateway communities and decrease the number of visitors.

 

The National Park Service announced it is raising entrance fees to 17 popular national parks, including Yellowstone National Park. Officials are suggesting increasing the seven day car pass from $30 to $70 during May through September, the park’s most popular months.

 

National Park Service

On Friday, National Park Service Director Mike Reynolds and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced plans to better protect park service employees from harassment.

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is spearheading an effort to improve communication between 10 former Japanese American Confinement Sites.

The All Camps Consortium is a group of Japanese-American advocates and people in charge of historic sites like Heart Mountain near Powell.

The sign at the entrance to Yellowstone National Park
Wikimedia Commons: Guerillero

The Department of Interior will contribute $53 million to the National Park Service this year with funds going to 42 parks including Grand Teton and Yellowstone. The goal of the incoming money will be to address high priority maintenance projects. For Yellowstone, that means improving trails, retaining walls, and overlooks for the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

jacdupree via Flickr

Vehicle collisions with bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are up this year. A total of eight grizzlies have been hit by cars in 2016, more than records from 2012 through 2015 combined.

Most recently, a 260 pound grizzly bear was killed on Highway 89 in Grand Teton National Park.

The National Park Service received a call Sunday that a driver had seen the carcass on the side of the road. Park Rangers found the vehicle involved in the crash a mile up the road, and did not cite the driver.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The fight over the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota has brought to the fore tensions over whether tribes are adequately consulted about development that could affect them. Now, the Secretary of the Interior has issued an order addressing that.

Secretary Sally Jewell’s order directs agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to collaborate more with tribes on resource management.

Rebecca Huntington

In Grand Teton National Park, the White Grass Dude Ranch entertained visitors who came for mountain views and the chance to play cowboy. It closed in 1985 and soon the ranch's cabins and lodge started falling apart once people stopped using them.

That's how White Grass joined a backlog of some twenty-seven thousand historic properties nationwide that the National Park Service couldn’t afford to maintain. But things have changed.

Penny Preston

While the National Park Service celebrated its 100th year of existence recently, the beloved federal agency is trying to figure out how to make it through the next century, while protecting the national parks “unimpaired for future generations”. Some people are concerned new funding sources may put corporate logos in the parks.

144 years after Yellowstone National Park was established, people from around the world still gasp and cheer when Old Faithful erupts.

Wikimedia Commons

The fundraising campaign to improve the Jenny Lake area in Grand Teton National Park finished on schedule, just in time for the National Park Service centennial.

The Inspiring Journeys campaign exceeded its goal of $14 million and has already contributed to improvements of backcountry trails, wayfinding paths, and visitor facilities. Construction that began three years ago is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Jeff Gunn, Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary of the National Park Service this year, but park officials are also looking to the future. Yellowstone Superintendent, Dan Wenk, says he hopes the next 100 years will continue to see conservation efforts, like working with neighboring areas to provide the best migratory routes for wildlife. 

“The preservation efforts can’t stop at the boundaries of the park,” says Wenk. “Wildlife, for example, does not respect political boundaries and it needs a much greater ecosystem in order to live and to thrive.”

Trout Unlimited

Populations of native cutthroat trout appear to be rebounding, thanks to an effort to kill off an invasive species in Yellowstone Lake. More than 40 species, including bears, river otters and eagles, rely on cutthroat trout for food. But Trout Unlimited special project manager Dave Sweet said cutthroat have been under attack.

Western Wyoming Fire Prevention and Education Team

A campaign led by the Western Wyoming Fire Prevention and Education Team is working to remind residents and tourists of things they can do to prepare for wildfires. The team is a joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wyoming’s Forestry Division, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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