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Sonntag, 23. Februar 2020, 21:50

Ein paar nette Bilder aus dem All von der NASA - „earth observatory“.

Reservoirs, Bends, and Canyons on the Colorado Plateau
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Mittwoch, 26. Februar 2020, 20:42

Graffiti Clowns Vandalize Joshua Tree National Park

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Graffiti clowns have been frequent visitors this year to Joshua Tree National Park, where they wielded cans of spray paint and other tools to vandalize areas of the park.
There have been a number of cases since January where graffiti has turned up in places such as Rattlesnake Canyon, the Skull Rock Natural Trail, and along Geo Tour Road.
"Joshua Tree National Park belongs to all of us. Using paint or chisels on rocks and trees destroys the beauty we are trying to protect in our parks," said Joshua Tree Superintendent David Smith in a release issued Tuesday. "It is our hope that anyone with knowledge of these incidents will come forward so that we can eliminate future problems. It is illegal to deface any of the resources in the park."
Anyone with information about these incidents, or the persons involved, should contact the park’s law enforcement staff by emailing the chief ranger at Eric_Linaris@nps.gov.
Joshua Tree officials are asking for help from visitors who spot graffiti or any other form of vandalism; they can call the park or email jotr_graffiti@nps.gov. The park also relies heavily on the efforts of volunteers to patrol areas of the park. Park volunteers help with a variety of essential tasks, including staffing park visitor centers, managing campgrounds, and helping clean up graffiti. Opportunities are available on volunteer.gov. Most volunteer opportunities are best-suited for people who can provide long-term time commitment to the park.
Vandals also hit Joshua Tree, which straddles the geographic divide in California that splits the Mojave Desert from an element of the Sonoran Desert, in January 2019 during the partial government shutdown, when they cut down at least one Joshua tree and drove out of bounds into the desert.

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Mittwoch, 26. Februar 2020, 22:45

Denali National Park road closure from landslides could mean problems for Alaska tourism

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Landslides that caused road closures last year have raised concerns about whether there will be full access to Denali National Park and Preserve during the upcoming tourism season.
The National Park Service has said it plans to open the entire Denali Park Road by early June, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.
The 92-mile road running through steep mountain passes provides the only driving access into the park's 7,344 square miles.
“Despite the concern it has raised lately, the park is committed to devoting the resources necessary to opening the Park Road as close to its traditional schedule as possible,” Denali National Park spokesman G.W. Hitchcock said in an email.
The park service repeatedly closed parts of the road last summer amid heavy rains, rockfall and mudslides.
Recent National Park Service surveys found the speed of a landslide at Pretty Rocks section of the road has increased dramatically since September, and the road was slumping nearly 2 inches every day after August.
Private vehicles are restricted beyond Mile 15 of the road. But hundreds of thousands of visitors each year use buses run by commercial operators to take them into the park. A 2011 study estimated about 60% of peak-season visits to the park went beyond Mile 15.
Business owners inside the park rely on the road to bring in supplies for guests.
Alaska’s House of Representatives passed a resolution urging the federal government to help with solutions to the road’s problems.
Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy wrote a letter this month to the U.S. Interior Department requesting short- and long-term help.
“A long-term road closure during the summer tourism season (of) the Denali road would have a disastrous cascade effect on businesses throughout the State,” Dunleavy wrote.

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Sonntag, 1. März 2020, 19:54

Gut 327 Millionen Besucher

Nationalparks in den USA bleiben Touristenmagneten

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Die Wildnis hoher Berge, riesige Höhlen, historische Schlachtfelder: Die Nationalparks in den USA bieten eine enorme Vielfalt - und haben sich auch im Jahr 2019 wieder als Besuchermagneten erwiesen.

Die Nationalparks in den USA haben ihre große Beliebtheit bei Touristen weiter gefestigt. Im fünften Jahr in Folge wurden 2019 in den 419 Nationalparkstätten mehr als 300 Millionen Besucher gezählt, wie der National Park Service (NPS) mitteilte.
Zu den vom NPS verwalteten Stätten zählen neben den 62 eigentlichen Nationalparks auch etliche National Monuments und historische Orte. Alle zusammen kamen auf gut 327,5 Millionen Besucher, was ein Plus von 2,9 Prozent und den dritthöchsten Wert überhaupt bedeutete.
33 Nationalparkstätten stellten neue Allzeitrekorde auf. Darunter waren der Black Canyon of the Gunnison Nationalpark - eine tiefe Schlucht im Zentrum von Colorado - und das Capulin Volcano National Monument rund um den gleichnamigen erloschenen Vulkan in New Mexico.
Golden Gate und Great Smokey Mountains unter den Favoriten
Nummer eins beim Interesse blieb auch 2019 die Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco in Kalifornien mit gut 15 Millionen Besuchern. Am beliebtesten unter den 62 Nationalparks waren erneut die Great Smokey Mountains: In den Bergen in den Südstaaten North Carolina und Tennessee wurden knapp 12,55 Millionen Besucher registriert.
In einigen bekannten Parks gingen die Besucherzahlen leicht zurück - etwa am Grand Canyon in Arizona, wohin ausgerechnet im 100. Jahr des dortigen Nationalpark-Bestehens gut sechs Prozent weniger Gäste als im Vorjahr reisten. Mit gut 5,97 Millionen Touristen lag der Grand Canyon unter den Nationalparks aber weiter an zweiter Stelle.
Leicht rückläufig waren die Zahlen auch in Yellowstone und in Grand Teton in den Rocky Mountains sowie im Acadia Nationalpark in Maine am Atlantik. Auch dort wurden im Jahr 2019 aber jeweils zwischen 3,4 und 4 Millionen Besucher registriert - insbesondere in der Hochsaison blieb der Andrang in diesen Nationalparks außerordentlich groß.

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285

Freitag, 6. März 2020, 21:08

Major road work begins in May at Rocky Mountain National Park

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Beginning this May and continuing through September, major road construction will occur on US Highway 36 inside Rocky Mountain National Park.
According to the park, the work will be on a three mile section of US 36, just west of Bear Lake Road junction to east of Deer Ridge Junction.
Beginning in May, this section of road will be closed nightly from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday night through Friday morning. There will be no nightly closures on Friday or Saturday nights.
When the road reopens each morning, motorists should expect delays and a rough surface. Bicyclists and motorcyclists should avoid this section of road this summer and enter the park through the Fall River Entrance.
The closures will allow for the entire depth of asphalt to be removed and replaced with a new surface. Many curves will be reconstructed to bring them into compliance with federal highway standards, and visitor pull offs will be formalized. Curbing will be added where necessary to protect vegetation.
Upper Beaver Meadows Road will also be inaccessible during nightly closures.

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Sonntag, 8. März 2020, 21:01

Cherry Blossoms Are Popping Out Early Because of Warming

The famous pink blooms in Washington, D.C., are responding to an unusually warm winter on the East Coast

Zitat

Climate change is messing with Washington’s cherry trees by forcing the plant’s pink-and-white blooms to pop earlier in the year.
The new pattern, and the unpredictability it could bring, has caught the attention of scientists, but local shopkeepers should take note, too—as the change could affect when tourists come to see the fluffy blooms.
“Long-term trends in both Washington D.C. and Japan reveal that cherry blossoms are emerging at increasingly earlier times,” Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service, said in a statement to E&E News.
Park service records show that temperatures at the Tidal Basin, where the Washington blooms are most prolific, have risen steadily at a rate of 1.1 degrees Celsius per century, from 1895 to 2017.
“These observations are consistent with the effects of rising temperatures, as the onset of warm temperatures are a known catalyst for the blossoms,” Litterst noted.
The park service predicted this week that peak bloom this year likely would occur between March 27 and March 30—which is about five days earlier than the average bloom dates of the last century.
The blooms follow on the heels of the world’s warmest January in more than a century, according to a recent report by NOAA.
And, according to the USA National Phenology Network, spring “leaf out”—the appearance of tiny leaves that signal the start of spring—arrived 24 days early for places like Washington.
Theresa Crimmins, director of the USA National Phenology Network and a research scientist at the University of Arizona, said there is “ample documentation” of warmer winters and springs generally, which means early blooming for many flowering plants.
She said it’s unclear how climate change would play out long term for the cherry blossoms, but changing warmth patterns are almost certain to affect the timing of their flowering.
That could affect decades of tradition in Washington.
Three thousand cherry trees were gifted to the nation’s capital in 1912 by Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Japan. The first saplings were planted along the Tidal Basin, and since then, they’ve become an enduring symbol of the district.
According to the park service, the National Cherry Blossom Festival attracts about 1.5 million visitors to Washington annually—which adds up to about $150 million to the area.
But research shows variable temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic could make the annual pilgrimage to the Tidal Basin harder to plan. Authors based in Seattle and Seoul, South Korea, found in 2011 that peak bloom dates for Washington’s cherry trees are “likely to be accelerated by an average of five days by 2050 and 10 days by 2080.”
Phenology experts—those who study the seasonal patterns of plants and animals—have tracked fluctuations in flowering plants, and the animals affected by them, for years due to climate change.
Japan’s own sakura blossoms also have fallen on hard times with the unpredictability of the seasons. Researchers in 2009 found, after examining blooming patterns from festivals dating back to the ninth century, that Kyoto cherries are blooming earlier than they have been in the last 1,200 years.
Climate change is affecting other blooms, too.
The Augusta National Golf Club—host to the Masters championship golf tournament—has had trouble with the variability of the blooms of its azalea flowers. An early spring in 2017 for parts of the southeast U.S. left horticulturalists worried that the colorful azaleas would pop too early to be at peak performance for the contest.
Another concern is that a too-early bloom could be ravaged by a return of cold weather. Early blooming before subsequent frosts can cause severe economic impacts for producers relying on flowering crops.
Baby leaves are hardier than flower buds, Crimmins said. They can bounce back from an early frost and reproduce. “But if the tree has already put all this energy into producing flowers and those flower buds or flowers get hit by frost, usually they don’t reinitiate flower production,” she noted. That means there’s no fruit.
But Crimmins also noted that some plants - like cherry blossoms - rely on a good chill to fully bloom during higher temperatures that follow. So without that chill, some plants actually could start blooming even later than usual depending on how the seasons fluctuate.
“So it’s really kind of a toss-up truthfully as to what might happen in the future, whether if because of increased warmth they’ll advance, or because of insufficient chill they’ll be delayed,” Crimmins said of the blossoms.
New weather patterns are “exposing these poor plants to conditions that they’re just not used to, and we don’t really know what might happen,” she added.

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Mittwoch, 11. März 2020, 21:05

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

New Hōlei Sea Arch Viewing Area Opens

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The new viewing area is located about 1,000 feet past the gate at the end of Chain of Craters Road, atop hardened pāhoehoe lava. It is set back away from the cliff edge, and is marked with orange stanchions and rope. Visitors are urged to stay away from dangerous cliff edges, and are reminded that entering closed areas puts themselves and first responders at risk.

The original sea arch viewing area has been closed since January 16 due to the discovery of cracks and instability in the coastal cliffs in the area.

The Hōlei Sea Arch is 90 feet high and was formed around 550 years ago.

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Mittwoch, 11. März 2020, 22:41

Beatrice, Nebraska

Homestead National Monument

This was the first homestead registered after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

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When traveling throughout the states that make up the Great Plains, stopping by the Homestead National Monument in Nebraska is a must.
n 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Homestead Act, which allowed millions of people to settle on open government land covering current states such as Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. Settlers were allowed to cultivate, live on, and improve upon the land. This was known as “proving up,” and after five years of such improvements, they were rewarded with a deed. Daniel Freeman is considered the first homesteader in the United States. It’s said that Freeman filed his claim 10 minutes after midnight on January 1, 1863, the first day the act went into effect. The land he claimed is now a beautiful example of what the prairie once looked like.
The welcome center sits atop a hill that overlooks most of Freeman’s land and resembles an up-side-down plow. Inside are wonderful displays of tools, everyday items, and photos of what life was like when the frontier was still being cultivated. The schoolhouse where Freeman’s wife led children through the Great Blizzard of 1888 (also known as the Schoolchildren’s Blizzard) still stands today.
There are several paths throughout the prairie grasses, and an authentic log cabin for visitors to explore. It’s a really a great place to learn about an important, but often overlooked, piece of America’s history.

Know Before You Go
In the summer, they host "Homestead Days" with demonstrations and activities. If you go, make sure to take sunscreen, bug spray, and walking shoes. Kids will almost certainly wear themselves out running in the wide-open spaces so plan on a quiet trip home.

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Samstag, 14. März 2020, 18:18

Falls es momentan irgendwen interessiert: :zwinker:
Die National Parks und Co bleiben nach NPS-Angaben erst mal geöffnet.

ABER:
Navajo Nation Closes Tribal Parks, Seeks U.S. Funding for Coronavirus

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The Navajo Nation is moving to close all Navajo Nation Tribal Parks, including four popular sites in Arizona, due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“We know that there are many concerns about the in-flow of tourism,” said Jonathan Nex, president of the Navajo Nation. “And while we don’t have oversight over all tourist attractions, we also want to let you know that we’re addressing the public concern.”
The announcement follows the Nation’s move to declare a state of emergency earlier this week for the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as “Diko Ntsaaígíí-Náhást’éíts’áadah” in the Navajo language.

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Dienstag, 17. März 2020, 20:19

National Park Closures Related To COVID-19

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Donnerstag, 19. März 2020, 20:39

32 national parks you can explore from your couch, from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone

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As many people practice social distancing or staying home and avoiding crowds and public spaces - to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, several museums, and theaters have temporarily closed in the name of public health.
But amid the coronavirus pandemic, many places of leisure and cultural institutions are opening their doors virtually to provide resources, online activities, and tours to give people a fun way to stay entertained and connected to the outside world while they're spending more time at home.
While the National Parks Service hasn't closed any of its parks to the public due to the coronavirus at the time of writing, making a special visit to a national park may not be in the cards for many Americans and travelers around the world for the time being.
Here's how to virtually visit at least 32 US national parks — all from the comfort of your couch or bed.

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