National Parks

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.

 


Courtesy of CSU

A new safety campaign from Colorado State University’s communications and natural resources departments is teaching national park visitors about safe selfies.

The Safe Wildlife Distance program includes educational materials for park staff, as well as ads and social media campaigns explaining how to get a good photo of wild animals without putting yourself -- or the animal -- at risk.

“Potentially people didn’t know what a safe distance was,” said Katie Abrams, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Journalism and Media Communication. “So, they would look to try to read the cues of the wildlife and see if they could make a determination or they would approach the wildlife to a distance that felt safe to them.”

Rae Ellen Bichell / Mountain West News Bureau

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.

Wally Gobetz/Flickr

The National Park Service is raising entrance fees at more than a hundred of its parks starting as soon as April 15 this year — but not by as much as previously proposed. The increases come after the NPS received more than 100,000 public comments, many critical, on potential fee increases.

Patrick Myers / National Parks Service

If it weren’t for the snowy alpine peaks in the background, camels would look perfectly at home in the undulating yellow sand hills of Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

“It’s really a very special place. And it is very unusual. It’s almost like an alien landscape when you happen upon it,” says Vanessa Mazal, who has been visiting the national park since she was a kid and now works with the National Parks Conservation Association.

Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management

Across eight western states, voters increasingly consider themselves to be conservationists, according to a poll out Thursday from the Colorado College “State of the Rockies” Project. The survey also found that westerners largely prioritize protection of air, water and wildlife over energy development.

 

Matt Bloom

The proposal to raise entrance fees at 17 national parks is “horrendous” and “hugely stupid.”

Those are just two of the tens of thousands of comments recorded by the National Park Service in response to its recent idea to hike one-time entrance fees from $20 or $30 to $70.

“This is NOT Disneyland,” one Grand Junction resident wrote. “I know many families who would not be able to afford taking their kids to more than one park at this increase.”

Matt Bloom

Speak now or forever pay more to enter the country’s most popular national parks.

Friday, Dec. 22 is the last day to submit a public comment on a proposal to increase entrance fees at 17 parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park. After that, the National Park Service will determine if - and by how much - it will ramp up the cost during parks’ peak seasons.

Courtesy of the National Parks Service

The Alpine Visitors Center is the busiest visitor’s center in all of Rocky Mountain National Park, where roughly 7,000 people come every day to take in the views. But it’s also a symbol of a park changing with growing demand - more people means more litter, more noise and fewer parking spaces. Visitors looking for the solitude of the great outdoors need to work even harder to find it in the park, and officials have few solutions.

Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado is known for its iconic cliff dwellings, but archaeological artifacts left by the Ancestral Pueblo are all over. Rocky remnants of homes and farming sites are scattered throughout the dense pinyon juniper forest.

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