national parks

Jon Sullivan, PD Photo

An anonymous donor plans to give a historic acre of land surrounded by Grand Teton National Park to the park.

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.

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.

flickr: Old Man Travels

When Community Naturalist Zach Hutchinson moved to Wyoming three years ago, he had trouble finding updated guide books for where to find the best places in the state to view birds. So in his spare time, he started creating a map. This summer, in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Audubon Society, he plans to release an app called the Great Wyoming Birding Trail.

“Let’s say you’re coming to the National Parks in the northwest corner to see the great grey owl, but you have no idea where to start. This is going to put you in the place to see that great grey owl.”

A 27 year veteran of the National Park Service has been selected to be the new Superintendent of Devils Tower National Monument. Tim Reid has spent the last six years working as the Chief Ranger at Yellowstone National Park. 

Reid is known as someone who provides a balance of resource protection, while providing an excellent visitor experience. He says the key is communication with stakeholders.

John Hebberger

Grand Teton National Park is joining up with a National Parks initiative that would raise the cost of entrance fees.

The proposal would double the price of a 7-day entrance fee to access both Grand Teton and Yellowstone. The parks would also have separate 7-day entrance fees. The fifty-dollar annual pass to Grand Teton and Yellowstone would also be eliminated, instead offering a sixty-dollar annual pass to Grand Teton alone.

This week a federal judge placed Wyoming’s wolves back on the endangered species list after ruling that the state’s management plan did not offer adequate protection for the wolves. The plan that the state and federal government negotiated would keep the number of wolves that are outside of National Parks to over 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs. But the Judge ruled that Wyoming’s plan was not binding.

Tyler Nordgren

An exhibit opening this weekend at the University of Wyoming Art Museum is among the first major displays of astrophotography as art. ‘Starstruck: The Fine Art of Astrophotography’ is a dazzling exhibition, ranging from night skies and landscapes to deep space photography.

National Parks Could See More Money

Apr 7, 2014

President Obama wants to add 55 million dollars to the National Park Service budget, including ten million dollars to get parks ready for their centennial celebration in 2016.   John Garder with the National Parks Conservation Association says the money is needed to address billions of dollars in maintenance.

Wallpaperslot.com

A report by the National Park Service indicates that parks are major economic drivers for surrounding communities.

The report shows that park visitation generated more than $700 million in Wyoming in 2012 and supported thousands of jobs and local businesses. Nation-wide, tourists spent more than $26 billion when visiting parks.

Trespassing citations have been issued to several people attempting to enter Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks since the federal government shutdown closed the parks.

 Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash says that the park is running on minimal staff, with hundreds of employees furloughed due to the shutdown.

 “We have just over a hundred national park service employees on duty on any given day during this shutdown” explains Nash “Across 2.2 million acres mind you, and hundreds of miles of road.”

An advocacy group is warning that fracking could cause air pollution and other problems in national parks.

Sharon Mader with the National Parks Conservation Association says they’re concerned that ozone from gas development in Sublette County could spread to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. She says that hasn’t happened yet, but they’re worried about the future.

The University of Wyoming will host a panel discussion Thursday on how climate change can impact planning and management at national parks. 

Researchers from around the world will discuss how environmental changes can impact tourism.   UW Professor Patricia Taylor is one of the organizers.  She says it’s important that those in running parks consider how stakeholders are impacted by decisions park managers make on topics concerning climate.