National park Service

House Democrats railed against the Trump Administration’s proposed National Parks budget in a committee hearing this week.

National Park Service officials are reconsidering a plan would require would-be visitors to make reservations to enter Arches National Park after receiving pushback from local businesses.

President Trump’s proposed budget includes significant cuts to the Department of Interior, including the National Park Service. 

National Park Service funding in 2020 plan
U.S. Department of the Interior

The Interior Department's Acting Secretary David Bernhardt released his first budget request to Congress. The 2020 financial plan promotes an "all of the above" domestic energy strategy. For Interior, that would mean adding hundreds of millions of dollars into streamlining oil and gas drilling and coal mining on public lands. It would also support increased logging within national parks.

National Parks Service

The National Park Service has named a new superintendent for Devils Tower National Monument.

Despite being cleared of unfounded harassment allegations last month, the head of Grand Canyon National Park is refusing to return to her job right away. Park superintendent Chris Lehnertz was hastily reassigned five months ago after the federal investigation was launched.

 

The details on the lengthy federal investigation exonerating Chris Lehnertz of creating a hostile work environment were released Tuesday.

NPS / Kurt Moses

During the partial shutdown, the National Park Service said it was using visitor entrance fees for basic operational costs. That's now changed following a congressional hearing last week by Democratic lawmakers criticizing the use of visitor fees for daily operations. Traditionally, these fees are used for more long-term or major maintenance projects.

The head of Grand Canyon National Park is returning to her job after a four-month federal investigation found unspecified allegations against her were “unfounded.”

The National Park Service may have lost millions of dollars in revenue during the recent government shutdown, and recovering from this setback may take a while.

National Park Service

During the partial government shutdown, national parks remained open but did not collect entrance fees—an important source of revenue, especially for local maintenance. It's unclear how this will affect the National Park Service's budget.

As the partial government shutdown heads into its fifth week, private businesses continue to pour thousands of dollars to help keep National Parks open and accessible.

 


As the partial government shutdown stretches toward a third week, both the public and public employees alike are feeling the pain. But there’s another casualty: public information.

Unlike previous administrations, President Trump’s Interior Department has directed national parks to keep their gates open while furloughing most workers during this latest government shutdown. But as the partial shutdown enters its third week, critics argue the parks are becoming unsafe.

The National Park Service is giving museums and universities across the country grants to return ancestral artifacts and human remains taken from Native American tribes over the years.

The Trump Administration has finally nominated a director for the National Park Service. The new director will manage a public lands system facing record-breaking visitation and $11 billion in maintenance backlog.

 


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.

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