National park Service

National parks in the Mountain West are seeing a surge in visitors. And while tourism can spell good news for struggling local economies, some are worried not only about spikes in COVID-19 cases but also added pressure on the landscape.

The Department of Interior is proposing a rule change that could open the door for more private companies to operate within national parks.

National Park Service

The National Park Service has partnered with Grand Teton National Park Foundation to improve access to the Snake River.

Jacob W. Frank / NPS

Most national parks around the Mountain West remain closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And it remains unclear when or if parks will reopen in the coming months. 

CC0 / Public Domain

Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are officially closed to all visitors indefinitely.

On a recent cold and rainy morning at Zion National Park in Southern Utah, Andrew Smith and Blake Cubria throw a blue tarp on top of their tent to keep the water out. They’re in the midst of an impromptu vacation out West that began after they both lost their restaurant jobs in Chicago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Interior Department has announced it’s temporarily waiving entrance fees for recreation areas, national monuments and national parks. Secretary David Bernhardt said he wanted to make it easier for people to recreate on public lands.

Updated 9:11 a.m. MDT 3/17/2020

“Please. Do. More. Now.” 

That's the message Moab Regional Hospital sent yesterday to Gov. Gary Herbert. In a letter, the hospital’s leadership asked Herbert to close all non-essential businesses in Moab for two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. They wrote that Moab could see up to 6,000 visitors next weekend, based on current hotel bookings. 

Catherine Wheeler

Devils Tower National Monument has begun construction on a new project that will make the park more accessible, especially for people with physical limitations.

There will be three phases of improvements made, and the main goal is to make the first overlook of the Tower more accessible.

Devils Tower Chief of Interpretation Nick Myers says focus will be improving the trail from the parking lot to the base of tower.

President Donald Trump unveiled his budget proposal Monday, and a significant cut to the Department of Interior is on the table.

The Trump administration wants to cut funding for all but one agency within the Interior, for a 16% overall reduction.

A fight is brewing in eastern Utah over whether the National Park Service should include nearly 200 rock art sites in the National Register of Historic Places.

In March of last year, a group of volunteers and preservationists submitted a proposal to add 199 rock art sites to the Register, an effort that took a decade to complete.

Diane Renkin / NPS

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is calling on the National Park Service to cancel its plans to use aerial gunning to remove invasive mountain goats from Grand Teton National Park.

On Wednesday, the commission passed a resolution condemning the plan, writing, "Having government personnel kill mountain goats from helicopters and leaving them to rot and be wasted is unacceptable."

Diane Renkin / NPS

Herds of mountain goats occupy mountain ranges all around the Mountain West. Not all are native, though, and some of those transplants are causing problems. That's the case in Wyoming's Teton Range.

Since the 1960s, the National Park Service has partnered with nonprofit organizations to provide environmental education services to the public. But a recent audit from the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General found that some of these Residential Environmental Learning Centers have strayed from their original mission .

Credit: Björn / Flickr

This summer, the National Park Service came out with a policy allowing electric bicycles in the same places as traditional bikes. A new federal lawsuit is challenging that rule.

Savannah Maher

The library at Wyoming Indian Middle School in Ethete is hands-down the coziest place in the building. When I walk in after driving through a snow storm, the lights are dim and there's some kind of woodsy incense burning. But a few weeks ago, librarian Jenn Runs Close to Lodge said the atmosphere was a bit more chaotic.


Invasive animals are posing a major threat to national parks throughout the country, according to a new paper published in the journal Biological Invasions.

Ashley Dayer, the study’s lead author, says her team received data from 81% of national parks and found there are more than 300 invasive animal species across the National Park Service system.

NPS

An Interior Department committee is recommending that the National Park Service privatize campgrounds in national parks and offer services such as WI-FI and food trucks.

Flickr

 

Visitors to Wyoming's National Parks could run into the First Lady during their trips this week.

Grand Teton National Park

David Vela, the former superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, is now the acting director of the National Park Service.

Off-road vehicles such as ATVs and UTVs will soon be allowed on roads in Utah’s national parks after a controversial policy change last week.

 


Taxpayers are willing to spend way more than they currently do to fund and protect national parks, according to a recent economic analysis compiled by professors from Harvard and Colorado State University. 

NPS / Neal Herbert

This Saturday, September 28, is National Public Lands Day. It's called the largest single-day volunteer effort for America's public lands.

National Park Service

In the past month, Yellowstone National Park has gone viral a couple of times on social media with videos of bison charging at visitors. Bison-human incidents happen every season sometimes causing injuries. Yellowstone is always trying to figure out how to get the message across that the bison, elk, bears and even badgers that people encounter in the park are wild and dangerous. But why are people continually getting too close to wildlife?

A new analysis shows that despite record visitation, the National Park Service is hiring fewer rangers and other staff.

 


Public Domain

Devils Tower National Monument has announced a series of summer activities for park visitors. Park staff worked with the Devils Tower Natural History Association to create a series that represents the history and culture of the monument.

National Park Service

Memorial Day weekend kicked off the summer season for national parks in the Mountain West. And according to new data, 2018 was good year for the country and the region.

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, UTAH — The dark blue, predawn sky was just beginning to brighten over Mesa Arch — a once-hidden gem in southern Utah — as Jonathan Zhang frantically set up his camera and tripod.

Dinosaur National Monument is known for its fossils and footprints. But now it could become known for its stargazing.

National Park Service

All across the nation, national parks will be celebrated next week with special events and programs. To kick off National Park Week, park entrance fees will be waived Saturday.

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