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Dienstag, 1. August 2017, 18:30

10 of the most dangerous spots in U.S. national parks

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Dangerous beauties
Every year, America's national park system gets more than 300 million visits. These popular natural attractions are not dangerous on the whole, but there are, on average, 160 deaths inside U.S. parks each year. Most of these fatalities are due to drowning, car accidents or falls. Perhaps surprisingly, deaths from things like grizzly bear attacks or snake bites are extremely rare.
Some of the most dangerous sections of national parks are quite remote, so most people never set foot there. Other spots where deaths have occurred are surprisingly accessible. Many people have likely set foot in these places without being aware of the relative danger. The National Park Service is aware of the dangers, however. They regularly post or broadcast warnings about safe usage of these places and the presence of unsafe conditions, like in instances of flooding in the Narrows of Zion National Park (pictured).
Here are 10 of the most dangerous spots in national parks.

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Dienstag, 8. August 2017, 18:21

Glacier National Park

Glacier Park Attracts More than 1 Million Monthly Visitors for the First Time

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Glacier National Park ushered more than 1 million visitors through its gates last month for the first time in history, shattering the previous monthly record and forecasting another groundbreaking summer for attendance.
Nearly 1,010,000 people visited Glacier Park in July compared to 818,500 monthly visitors last year for a 23.4 percent increase, or 191,184 additional visitors, according to National Park Service statistics.
“Surpassing a million visitors is definitely pretty significant for the park, and for the park service,” Lauren Alley, a spokesperson for Glacier, said Aug. 7. “For our staff that haven’t yet seen them, these numbers aren’t going to come as a surprise. It feels as busy as it is.”
Through the first seven months of 2017, Glacier has already attracted 1,998,628 visitors, a 17.7 percent increase over the first seven months of 2016.
After three consecutive years of record-breaking attendance, park officials are beginning to accept the frenetic pace of summer as the new normal, and Glacier Park staff recently hosted an emergency congestion management workshop to help prepare for challenges next year and into the future. Preliminary solutions include reconfiguring some parking areas and providing time-limited parking adjacent to restrooms and camp stores.
In the next week, the park will implement a one-hour time limit for approximately 60 parking spaces at Logan Pass. The intent of the time limit is to provide an opportunity for people hoping to make a quick stop, use the restroom, snap a few pictures, and go for a short walk to do so, according to a press release.
The workshop was hosted by the firm that is helping Glacier with its multi-year planning effort to address transportation and visitor use within the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor, which experiences extreme crowding and congestion between June and August.
Visitor pressure has also increased substantially in other corners of the park, including the North Fork Flathead River area and Bowman Lake, the Two Medicine area and the Many Glacier area, stretching thin an already hard-pressed park staff hemmed in by budget reductions.
In addition to the increase in visitors, the park also saw a comparable increase in the number of emergency medical calls and total calls for ranger service. To date, the park has seen a 29 percent increase in emergency medical calls over the same time last year.

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Dienstag, 8. August 2017, 19:46

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Elevator contract awarded for Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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California company has been awarded a $4.7 million contract to completely modernize the primary elevators at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico.
Tutor Perini Corporation will handle the project, which is expected to be completed by summer 2018.
The caverns’ larger primary elevators went out of service in November 2015 when a motor shaft unexpectedly sheared off, leaving the empty elevator car hanging in the hoistway 600 feet down.
Park officials say the demolition part of the modernization will begin almost immediately, followed by installation of two new motors, elevator cars, sheaves, cables and controllers.

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Donnerstag, 17. August 2017, 18:50

The 10 national monuments Trump is most likely to shrink

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is wrapping up his review of nearly two dozen national monuments targeted for downsizing or elimination by the Trump administration.
By next week, Zinke is supposed to send to President Trump recommendations on the future of those land monuments, which were created or expanded by presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Zinke has already said he'll recommend no changes to five monuments, leaving 17 under review, from the California desert to the woods of Maine.
Click through to see the monuments Trump is most likely to downsize or eliminate, in alphabetical order, based on interviews with supporters and opponents of the monuments review:

Environmental groups say more than 2.7 million people submitted comments to the Interior Department on the monuments review, and that that vast majority of them expressed support for keeping or expanding existing monuments. Separately, the Commerce Department is reviewing 11 marine monuments and sanctuaries.
It's not clear whether Trump has the legal authority to eliminate monuments established by previous presidents, but several presidents have reduced the size of monuments.

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Sonntag, 3. September 2017, 19:18

Devils Tower National Monument

7 Majestic Facts About Devils Tower

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Steven Spielberg fans are likely familiar with Devils Tower, even if they don’t know it by name. The dramatic butte—which towers 1267 feet above the plains of northeastern Wyoming and the Belle Fourche River—was famously featured in 1977’s film culminating in a scene in which an alien mothership descended upon the rock formation.
Thanks to the film’s upcoming 40th anniversary—which will be celebrated with a theatrical re-release, a special Labor Day weekend screening at the base of Devils Tower itself, and other festivities—the iconic butte is back in the limelight. That said, there’s a lot more to this natural wonder than what you’ve seen on the silver screen.

1. DEVILS TOWER IS SACRED TO MANY NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES.
To the Northern Plains Indian Tribes, Devils Tower isn’t just a stunning landmark—it’s a sacred place. It appears in multiple oral histories and sacred narratives, and is also known by multiple ancient names.
For example, the Arapahoe call Devils Tower “Bear’s Tipi”; the Kiowa refer to it as "Aloft on a Rock” or "Tree Rock”; and the Lakota people know it as "Bear Lodge," "Bear Lodge Butte," "Grizzly Bear's Lodge," "Mythic-owl Mountain," "Grey Horn Butte," and "Ghost Mountain.” However, it’s commonly referred to as “Mateo Tepee,” which is likely Sioux for “Bear Wigwam,” or “Bear Lodge.” (Long ago, the surrounding region was home to many bears.)
To this day, Devils Tower is frequently the site of ceremonial rituals, including sun dances, sweat lodges, and prayer and artifact offerings. (While visiting the park, make sure not to touch or move any religious artifacts.)

2. ITS NAME IS CONTROVERSIAL.
Devils Tower received its popular English name in 1875, when Colonel Richard Irving Dodge led geologist Walter P. Jenney’s scientific expedition through the Black Hills region. They were there to confirm claims of gold, first initiated by General George Armstrong Custer. But when they arrived at the rock formation, they were overwhelmed by its natural beauty. Dodge described the landmark as “one of the most remarkable peaks in this or any country."
Dodge recorded the butte’s name as “Devils Tower,” writing that the Natives “call this shaft The Bad God’s Tower, a name adopted with proper modification, by our surveyors." But since so many Native names for the towering formation referenced a bear—plus, Native translations for "Bear Lodge" appeared on early maps of the region—it’s likely that Dodge’s expedition simply mistranslated the landmark’s name. (In the Lakota language, the bad god or evil spirit is called wakansica, and the word for black bear is wahanksica.)
In recent years, Native tribes have petitioned to officially change the name of Devils Tower to Bear Lodge, as they find the current moniker offensive. Meanwhile, other locals argue that changing the formation's name would cause confusion and harm regional tourism.

3. DEVILS TOWER WAS AMERICA'S VERY FIRST NATIONAL MONUMENT.
Devils Tower was the very first official United States National Monument. It was proclaimed by President Theodore Roosevelt—who famously loved the American West—on September 24, 1906, shortly after he signed the Antiquities Act into law. Roosevelt made Dodge’s translation the tower’s official name, but along the way, the apostrophe in “Devil’s Tower” was dropped due to a clerical error. The error was never corrected, and to this day, the tower is simply called “Devils Tower.”

4. IT'S NOT A VOLCANO.
Some claim that Devils Tower is an old volcano, but geologists say it’s likely an igneous intrusion, meaning it formed underground from molten rock, or magma, that pushed up into sedimentary rock and became solid. Over millions of years, the surrounding sedimentary rock eroded away to display the tall, grayish core within.
Experts estimate that the formation of Devils Tower occurred about 50 million years ago, whereas the erosion took place between 5 and 10 million years ago.

5. IT'S NOT HOLLOW.
Devils Tower is composed of a rock called phonolite porphyry, which is like a less sparkly granite, as it contains no quartz. And while it may appear hollow at a distance, the striated monument is actually solid. (The NPS compares it to "a bunch of pencils held together by gravity.”)

6. BUT IT'S STILL REALLY BIG.
Devils Tower isn’t simply tall—it’s also very wide. Its summit is around 180 feet by 300 feet—roughly the size of a football field—and the circumference of its base is around one mile.

7. IT'S A FAMOUS ROCK-CLIMBING ATTRACTION.
Devils Tower is popular among rock climbing enthusiasts, who rely on its many parallel cracks to shimmy their way to the top. (Long before modern climbing equipment existed, local ranchers simply made do with a wooden ladder.) According to the National Park Service, Devils Tower sees between 5000 and 6000 rock climbers a year.
However, the site is closed to climbers each June, as Native American ceremonies are often held during and around the summer solstice. Additionally, some routes are closed each spring to protect nesting prairie or peregrine falcons.

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Montag, 4. September 2017, 18:56

Glacier National Park

Evacuation Order in Effect Between Apgar Loop Road and Logan Pass

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Based on recommendations from the Sprague Fire Incident Management Team, Glacier National Park has issued an Evacuation Order effective September 3, 2017 at 10 am for all residents and visitors from the south end of Lake McDonald to Logan Pass. This includes the Lake McDonald Lodge, concession housing, Kelly Camp Area, and the Avalanche and Sprague Creek Campgrounds.

Logan Pass is still accessible from the east side of the park. The duration of the evacuation is unknown at this time.

The Sprague Fire Incident Management Team made the recommendation in preparation for this evening’s forecasted high east winds, which could increase activity on the west side of the Sprague Fire.

Park rangers will be making notifications in the area. Don’t wait to be contacted by authorities to leave. Visitors should take all of their belongings with them as it is unknown when the area will be safe to return. Evacuating the fire area early helps firefighters keep roads clear of congestion and allows them to move more freely to do their job.

Once residents and visitors leave, they will not be allowed in the closed area until it is deemed safe again. Law enforcement officers will be patrolling the closed area to provide security.

Remember the Five P’s of Immediate Evacuation:
• People and Pets (and other livestock too)
• Papers (important documents)
• Prescriptions (medications, eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.)
• Pictures (and other irreplaceable memories)
• Personal computer (e.g., information on hard drives and disks)

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Dienstag, 5. September 2017, 17:35

Mal was zu kanadischen National Parks

These charts show the boom in attendance at Canada’s national parks

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Canadians heading to a national park this weekend might not get as much solitude as in years before. The country’s national parks have had more than 1.5 million more visitors this year than during the same time last year—a 12 per cent overall increase.
The numbers of visitors at national parks and historic sites have increased in the past several years, but not as much as this year, when Ottawa did away with admission fees for all national parks to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
One park—Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta—even had to temporarily shut down after an influx of visitors during the August long weekend this year. The closure lasted two hours, though it was the only national park to turn visitors away, according to a CBC article.

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Donnerstag, 7. September 2017, 17:50

Auch im Nordwesten der USA brennt es - das betrifft auch National Parks und Co

Here are the largest wildfires in Washington state, Oregon

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Continued dry weather and wind are contributing to the growth of wildfires in Washington and Oregon, which have threatened homes, prompted evacuations, closed some popular ski resorts and hiking trains and caused the governor of Washington to declare a state of emergency.
Ash from the fires has even fallen on the Seattle area.
Close to Seattle, the National Park Service has closed the inbound visitor access to Mount Rainier National Park at the White River entrance Visitors at Sunrise and the White River Campground are being advised to leave.
In addition, State Route 410 east of Cayuse Pass will remain closed through Saturday because of fires in the Norse Peak Wilderness outside the park.

Here are the largest fires affecting Washington and Oregon:
• The Eagle Creek Fire, on the border of Washington and Oregon, grew from 10,000 acres on both sides of the Columbia River Gorge to 31,000 since Monday, according to fire officials. It has also merged with the nearby Indian Creek fire and closures have been expanded “due to extreme fire behavior and rapid fire growth.” There are extensive evacuations and road closures along the Columbia River Gorge, including Interstate 84, which is closed from Troutdale to Hood River. This is a changing situation and the public is encouraged to check TripCheck.com for more information on road closures and evacuations. The winds have shifted to the west, bringing cooler and moister air to the fire area. The wind shift could push the fire to the east, especially in the higher elevations in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness.

• In Washington state, the Diamond Creek Fire, near the Canadian border in the Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest, grew from 75,000 acres Monday to more than 100,000 acres and has closed several roads and trails. Southeast winds may spur more spread to the west and northwest in Canada. Some growth is anticipated along most areas of the fire due to near record high temperatures and near record low humidity. There are currently more than 60 roads or trails closed for public safety. The smoke from that fire continues to affect air quality in the upper Methow Valley.

• The Norse Peak Fire more than doubled its size in the last two days, growing to near 45,000, closing Crystal Mountain Ski Resort and prompting Level 3 “go now” evacuations of some residents in the Gold Hills Community and Pick Handle Basin, among others.

• The Jolly Mountain fire, near Cle Elum, Roslyn and Ronald, grew to more than 24,000 acres on Wednesday. It had previously caused the evacuation of morethan 1,000 people. A community briefing is set for 6 p. m. Thursday at the Walter Strom Middle School gym in Cle Elum.

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Samstag, 9. September 2017, 13:34

Ein wenig zur Geschichte der National Parks & Co

The Early Master Plans for National Parks Are Almost as Beautiful as the Parks Themselves
In the 1930s, park planning was pretty.

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In the beginning, there was Yellowstone: more than 2,000,000 acres of mountains, fields, forests, geysers, and rivers, a place of such commanding beauty that, according to an early account describing the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, “language is entirely inadequate to convey a just conception of the awful grandeur and sublimity of this masterpiece of nature’s handiwork.”
Yellowstone was declared the country’s (and the world’s) first national park in 1872, and by the time the National Park Service (NPS) was established in 1916, the program had grown to include Casa Grande Ruins, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia, and Yosemite, among others. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt reorganized and expanded the NPS in 1933, there were 137 parks and monuments across the country (today, the National Park System includes 417 areas, including the White House)—all of which required, and still require, significant management and planning.
The first master plan - a document packed with maps and recommendations for preserving and monitoring a park and the visitor experience - was drawn up in 1929 for Mount Rainier National Park, 369 square miles in Washington state. It was created by Thomas Chalmers Vint, landscape architect and, from 1933, Chief of the NPS Branch of Plans and Designs. It served as a kind of blueprint for the plans to come, and included proposals for a new hotel complex and an expansion of the facilities on the south slope of the glacier-covered volcano.

Throughout the 1930s, a series of master plans for parks and monuments followed. They became the essential documents for the management of every square mile of protected land. “Its use is to steer the course of how the land within its jurisdiction is to be used,” stated Vint. “Each project, whether it be a road, a building, or a campground, must have its construction plan approved. In the course of approval it is checked as to whether it conforms with and is not in conflict with the Master Plan.”
Vint was a crucial figure in the early decades of this form of park planning. When designing or overseeing the design of facilities for national parks, his priority was to complement the natural environment. “The work has to do with the preservation of the native landscape and involves the location and construction of communities, buildings, etc within an existing landscape,” Vint wrote in a 1928 analysis.

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Samstag, 9. September 2017, 14:54

Anbei ein leider aktueller Beitrag zum Feuer in der Columbia River Gorge.

Eagle Creek Fire
Viele Grüsse .......andie


. . . welcome-ontour


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Mittwoch, 13. September 2017, 17:48

Road Closures in Joshua Tree National Park

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Damage and debris caused by heavy rains over the weekend has resulted in several road closures. The Desert Queen Mine Road is closed as well as the Key’s Ranch Road from Echo Tee. Queen Valley Road, O’Dell Road, and Big Horn Pass are also closed. Repairs may take up to two weeks.

Old Dale Road and Black Eagle Mine Road remain open. However, travel is not recommended at this time. Please obey all closure signs and don’t drive through fast moving water during rainy conditions.

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Freitag, 15. September 2017, 18:50

Mal was aus Alaska

Denali National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary

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Everybody say, “Awww.” Even the sled-dog puppies are birthday-themed this year as Denali National Park and Preserve marks 100 years since it was established.
Cupcake, Happy, Pinata and Party will greet guests this year at one of the park’s most popular activities, the ranger-led sled dog demonstrations. These “bark rangers” are scampering to join the ranks of Denali’s 30 adult huskies, the only working sled dogs in the National Park Service.
Of course, the pups only set the stage for the abundant animal life visitors expect to see in Denali.
Alaskan author Sherry Simpson pretty much nailed it when she wrote that the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the park each year do so “hoping for a wildlife encounter that doesn’t involve bloodshed.”
That wildlife draws eager visitors to the massive park in south-central Alaska. Most tourists sign up for a bus tour, since Denali doesn’t allow private vehicles past Mile 15 of the Denali Park Road, the park’s only thoroughfare.
In September 2016, my husband and I took one of the 13-hour narrated tours that wound around for 92 miles to Kantishna, the farthest spot you can drive into the park. We piled into a school bus early in the morning and often felt like kids on a field trip as we stopped regularly for snacks and potty breaks along the way.
We saw grizzlies, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, eagles, ptarmigans and what we thought was a wolf from the safe confines of the bus.
Park Superintendent Don Striker says he sometimes feels guilty because the animals people see from the buses are “habituated, so you don’t get the true wilderness experience.”
And we saw Denali, North America’s tallest peak at 20,310 feet. About two-thirds of park visitors never even see the mountain Alaska’s first people called “The High One,” because it’s often obscured by weather, some of which is of its own making.
The Eielson Visitor Center tries to take the edge off guests’ disappointment with what Striker terms a “consolation prize,” a view of the peak etched on a window, showing what the mountain would look like on a clear day.
Striker offers this upbeat reassurance: “When the mountain isn’t out, the bears are.”
He suggests people wanting to make sure they see the mountain come to the park in winter. That would be March, April and May. “There may not be as many amenities,” he says. “But the light is awesome, and the mountain is out a lot.”
As the park moves into its next century, Striker says Rangers are working to provide more winter activities, including perhaps letting people ski from camp to camp, with sled dogs hauling gear for them.
In February, Striker and his team marked the official anniversary of the park’s creation in 1917.
Charles Sheldon II, grandson of Charles Sheldon, a passionate conservationist and one of the forces behind the park’s founding, presented his grandfather’s rifle — the only gun Sheldon ever used to hunt in the northland — to the park for safekeeping and display.
n the early 1900s, Charles Sheldon studied the Dall sheep found on Alaskan slopes and pushed Congress to designate the park to protect the animals and their habitat from hunters who would be coming with the development of the Alaska Railroad .
Striker says Sheldon’s efforts, which were joined by territorial delegate James Wickersham, the conservation-minded Boone and Crockett Club and others, show the power of community.
“It shows what it took to make the park. Public and private partners came together,” he says, adding that he hopes for Denali’s next century the same kind of partners can “come together on common ground and focus on what we can do now to make sure Denali is in as good a shape 100 years from now as it was 100 years ago.”
Denali kicked off its Centennial Summer on June 10 with music, birthday cake, children’s activities and more. During peak season, rangers will lead on- and off-trail hikes and programs at the park’s six campgrounds, plus the sled dog demonstrations. All are free and don’t require reservations.
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says visiting Denali is an experience like none other.
“It’s hard not to be in awe of the vast wilderness around you,” Walker says via email.
Henry David Thoreau of Walden Pond fame wrote that “a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”
Denali may be one sure sign of America’s prosperity as the park begins its next century.

About the park
Size:4,704,911 acres in the park; 1,334,117 acres in the preserve.
Visitors: 599,8
22 in 2016.
Established: 1917.

History: Originally called Mount McKinley National Park, it was expanded in 1980 and the name was changed to Denali National Park and Preserve. The name of North America’s highest peak was changed from Mount McKinley to Denali in 2015.
When visiting: Summer is the main visiting season. Bus service begins May 20 each year, although the entire park road doesn’t open to buses until June 8. Buses operate through the second week after Labor Day each year. The main visitor center is open daily, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Info: (907) 683-9532 or nps.gov/dena.

Of note: Many visitors arrive at Denali via the Alaska Railroad, which has a station at the entrance to the park.

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