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Pristine lakes, unspoiled land and fresh air: that's the picture that comes to mind when talking about America's national parks. But air pollution in the nation's crown jewels actually rivals levels found in big cities. And that's driving people away from those protected lands, according to a new study.

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.


 


Twenty-eight great plains tribes are demanding two different sites in Yellowstone National Park be renamed. The request says Hayden Valley and Mount Doane are offensive because they memorialize a racist and a murderer. But with local government officials opposing the change, it seems unlikely to happen.

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.

Screenshot/U.S. Department of the Interior

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.

istock

National Park Week is an annual celebration of what many people call America’s best idea, beginning with a fare-free day, April 21.

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.

KUER

Americans love their national parks. But the agency that oversees them, the National Park Service, is facing budget cuts. And, worse, they’re $12 billion behind on a growing to-do list that includes repairing guard rails on steep cliffs and replacing broken campsite toilets. Their solution? Higher entrance fees. But KUER's Judy Fahys explains it's not that simple.

Original Story: http://kuer.org/post/looking-fixes-national-park-fans-worry-fees-will-climb-12b-do-list-wont-go-down#stream/0

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Drones were brought into Gettysburg. A pregnant elk was poached in Zion National Park. And in Yellowstone, commercial snowmobile tour guides encouraged other riders to pass the legal boundary and get up close to the geyser, Old Faithful.

Erik Neumann / KUER

On this first Monday after the government shutdown was announced, Utah’s national parks and monuments remain open, but visitors will get slightly more of a wilderness experience than normal. 

Judy Fahys/KUER

Opposition seems to be growing against plans for raising entrance fees at some national parks, and some critics in Utah want the National Park Service to reconsider.

National Park Service

Americans love their national parks.

But what do they think about paying more to play in them?

Edward Snow / iStockphoto.com

Conservation groups are asking federal land managers to avoid proposing oil and gas leases that undermine the appeal of nearby national parks and monuments.

johnnya123 / iStockphoto.com

The Trump administration has proposed trimming funding for the nation’s national parks. The administration calls it a “balanced” approach, but others say the spending plan is headed down the wrong path.

AndrewSoundarajan/ / istockphoto.com

Utah is home to five parks, seven national monuments and a national historic site. They’re part of the national park system’s centennial celebration this week even as a debate continues about federal management of public lands.

JUDY FAHYS / KUER NEWS

Archeologists say as tourism increases in Utah, graffiti becomes a growing problem in the state’s national parks and public lands.

Tourism Spending At Record High

May 27, 2016
Brian Grimmett

A new report from the University of Utah shows that tourists spent 8 billion dollars in the state last year. 

Arches Turns 87 and Feels Some Growing Pains

Apr 13, 2016
National Park Service Photo

Arches National Park celebrated its birthday this week. This year is shaping up to be a memorable and exhaustive one for the park.

Mr.TinDCn via Creative Commons

National parks in Utah are reporting less trash in their bins thanks to bans on selling bottled drinks within the parks.

National Park Service Web Page

Outdoor industry leaders unveiled plans Thursday for celebrating the upcoming centennial of the national parks.

The Outdoor Retailer winter trade show is back in Salt Lake City this week, bringing together around 25,000 representatives from companies that make clothing and equipment for outdoor recreation, along with advocacy groups that promote public lands protection.

Utah Named #1 Go To Destination For 2016

Dec 8, 2015
Brian Grimmett

Fodor’s Travel has named Utah their number one go to destination for 2016

National Park Service

Recreation fees provide money for campfire talks and other visitor programs that take place on public lands. Utah Congressman Rob Bishop wants to update those user fees, and he’s got backing from some unlikely supporters.

National Park Visits Down in 2013

Jul 25, 2014
Brian Grimmett

A new report from the National Park Service shows that fewer people visited Utah’s National Parks in 2013 compared to 2012.

Utah Symphony to Tour the Mighty 5

Apr 15, 2014
Andrea Smardon

The Utah Symphony and Opera will be taking their show on the road this summer, pairing live classical music with Utah’s natural landscape. In a new partnership with the Office of Tourism, the Symphony announced Tuesday it will be offering free open-air concerts at Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks this August.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he expects the federal government will reimburse the state for the money spent to keep its five National Parks open in the final days of the shutdown.

Outdoor businesses and conservation groups are calling on the federal government to protect the land in and around Utah’s parks. 29 organizations sent a letter Monday to President Barack Obama calling for lasting protections for state and national parks from overdevelopment. 

Utah Launches New Tourism Campaign

Mar 27, 2013
Brian Grimmett

The Utah Office of Tourism launched a brand new regional ad campaign today to help promote the state’s five national parks.

The $3.1 million dollar campaign will include TV commercials in major western markets like Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco as well outdoor and digital advertisements. Governor Gary Herbert was on hand for the launch. He says tourism has and will continue to help Utah’s economy.