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national parks

Photo of trees and a cliff side at Zion National Park
Nate Hegyi / KUER

On a recent cold and rainy morning at Zion National Park in Southern Utah, Andrew Smith and Blake Cubria throw a blue tarp on top of their tent to keep the water out. They’re in the midst of an impromptu vacation out West that began after they both lost their restaurant jobs in Chicago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of a line of cars at the entrance of Arches National Park.
KUER File Photo

Updated 9:11 a.m. MDT 3/17/2020

“Please. Do. More. Now.” 

That's the message Moab Regional Hospital sent yesterday to Gov. Gary Herbert. In a letter, the hospital’s leadership asked Herbert to close all non-essential businesses in Moab for two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. They wrote that Moab could see up to 6,000 visitors next weekend, based on current hotel bookings. 

Close up of street car at a station.
Wikimedia Commons

Friday morning, December 27, 2019

A parking lot is lined with several of Zion National Park's iconic natural-gas-powered busses. The canyon walls rise up in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

Along with other U.S. Department of Interior agencies, Zion National Park will send three of its rangers south next year to support law enforcement efforts at national parks and monuments along the U.S. - Mexico border. 

Photo of Interior Inspector General Mark Greenblatt.
U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

The Interior Department’s chief watchdog updated Congress Wednesday on the agency’s efforts to curb a long-term pattern of sexual harassment. 

Photo of bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Jacob W. Frank / NPS

Taxpayers are willing to spend way more than they currently do to fund and protect national parks, according to a recent economic analysis compiled by professors from Harvard and Colorado State University. 

A congressional watchdog agency has decided that the Interior Department broke the law by using entrance fees to keep national parks open during the government shutdown this past winter. 

Photo of bike trail sign.
iStock.com / jonathange

Electric bikes are coming to national parks and other public lands managed by the Interior Department. 

photo of tourists at delicate arch.
iStock.com / claffra

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.

Photo of a stairway at Arches National Park
Judy Fahys / KUER

Congress is dusting off last year’s plan to chip away at the rising maintenance and repair to-do list for the nation’s federal public lands.

Photo of closed road at Arches National Park.
Judy Fahys/KUER News

U.S. House Democrats are holding a hearing Wednesday to look at how the Interior Department paid to keep national parks open during the partial government shutdown.

Photo of Joshua Tree entrance sign.
National Parks Service

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.

Photo of closed road at Arches National Park.
Judy Fahys/KUER News

The U.S. Interior Department announced Sunday it will take the extraordinary step of using entrance fees for daily operations during the partial government shutdown.

Photo of old faithful.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

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.

Photo of Capitol Reef closed.
StephenTrimble.com

As the partial government shutdown appeared likely to enter its third week, Utah’s tourism office assembled plans to fund another week of skeleton services at the state’s two busiest national parks.

iStock.com

Utah tourism officials were braced  for a partial government shutdown that threatened to close the gates at the five national parks in the state – Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Zion. KUER’s Judy Fahys spoke with Vicki Varela, director of tourism for Utah, about preparations in case of a shutdown, which ultimately did begin over the weekend.

Photo of vehicles at Arches National Park entrance.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has appointed a Utahn to the revamped advisory board for the National Park system.

slightl smog over rolling desert landscape.
EPA AirNow

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.

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