Tag: National Parks

Happy 75th to the Great Smokies

Happy 75th to the Great Smokies Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park turns 75 this year. So go there and take a hike (or listen to some mountain music or check out the wildflowers or…) Then, come back and tell us all about it. Or, of course, if you already have a tale of the Smokies, share away.

My favorite memory of the Smokies: seeing evidence of the lives lived there before the land was designated a park. While on a horseback ride in the park, my guide pointed out a nearly perfect square of bright pink flowers. Though the cabin they had been planted around was long gone, the flowers have returned year after year to give a pretty tip of the hat to the woman who used to live on the land.

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Save the Joshua Tree (Again)

Save the Joshua Tree (Again) Photo by tomsaint11 via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by tomsaint11, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

We’ve noted, rather sadly, that we can’t imagine Joshua Tree National Park without its signature Joshua tree. (Who can?) Scientists have warned that the giant yucca may disappear in 50 years because global warming is changing the desert’s fragile ecosystem. U2 famously showcased a Joshua tree on the Anton Corbijn-photographed cover of its 1987 album, and I wonder if the band silently praised it during its awesome pre-inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial (or at least after President Obama affirmed his faith in scientists and pledged to help them deal with a planet in peril.)

Ecopreneur John Ivanko is optimistic, if guardedly so. Ivanko, who recently visited the park with his family, offered this ode, with the hope that a new outlook will help save the imperiled, iconic tree and its park, and other “great places” in the natural world.

For nostalgia’s sake, here’s some Corbijn-shot footage of (then youthful) members of U2 wandering the desert.

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Morning Links: Robots Around the World, ‘Pizza Huh’ and More

reimagined WPA poster Design by Open.
WPA poster, reimagined by Open.


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5 Money-Saving Resolutions for ‘09

‘Tis the season for budget travel tips. With the recession well and truly upon us, it seems everyone in the travel industry is looking for a money-saving angle. At About.com, Mark Kahler offers a list of helpful budget travel resolutions to kick off the New Year. My favorite is No. 5—“I will visit a National Park”—but all are practical.

(Via BlogHer)


Morning Links: Warrior Monks, Sustainable Fuel, ‘The Big Belch’ and More


R.I.P. Richard Marks

Marks suffered from leprosy, aka Hansen’s Disease. Like thousands of others with the disease, he was banished to the Kalaupapa leprosy colony on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai. Marks helped overturn the quarantine, and he remained on the island, operating a tour company and educating travelers about the disease. He also “achieved his goal of establishing Kalaupapa National Historical Park in 1980 with the help of late Hawai’i congresswoman Patsy Mink,” according to the obituary in the Honolulu Advertiser. He was 79.


Oil and Gas Drilling Coming to Arches, Canyonlands

Utah’s Bureau of Land Management has stirred the ire of the National Park Service by announcing its plan to expand drilling in eastern Utah to on or near boundaries of Arches National Park, Dinosaur National Monument and Canyonlands National Park, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.  “We’re not anti-oil and gas,” said one Park Service official. “But we’re very much pro-park.” Should drilling begin in these parcels of land—including sections dedicated as wilderness as well as Nine Mile Canyon—tourists may soon be seeing oil rigs pop up in their photos, a prospect that has wilderness outfitters concerned. Said one cycling guide, “It’s not a world-class outing if you can see oil wells.”


Can Mountain Bikers and Hikers Share Trails on Federal Lands?

Can Mountain Bikers and Hikers Share Trails on Federal Lands? Photo by brimelow via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by brimelow via Flickr (Creative Commons).

The National Park Service is considering a regulation change that will allow park managers to open some trails to mountain bikers, and it’s stirring up advocates on both sides of the issue. At least one environmental group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, says such a change will invite hiker-biker friction and disturb the land. The International Mountain Bicycling Association, on the other hand, supports the change.

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Traveling ‘Typo Vigilantes’ Sentenced in Arizona

Photo by Salim Virji, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

When I first heard about Jeff Deck’s traveling typo hunt this past spring, I never dreamed that his quest would lead him to a criminal record. But, as the AP reports, a rogue apostrophe on a vintage, hand-painted sign at Grand Canyon National Park was his undoing: Deck and an accomplice pleaded guilty to defacing the sign (to correct the error), and were given probation, along with a one-year ban from all national parks.


The Winding Road to Joshua Tree

The Winding Road to Joshua Tree Photo by Galen Hunt.

She moved to Los Angeles, found herself in the midst of a personal monsoon and began skipping dinner parties. Then Deanne Stillman rearranged her life around trips to her new church: Joshua Tree National Park.

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