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Dienstag, 9. Januar 2018, 18:31

Trump signs bill to upgrade Martin Luther King's birthplace to national historic park

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President Trump signed a bill Monday to expand the Rev. Martin Luther King's birthplace in Atlanta into a national historical park - the first such park in Georgia.

Trump signed Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act of 2017 aboard Air Force One after touching down in Marietta, Ga., to attend the college football national championship game between the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.
Alveda King, niece of the slain civil rights leader, joined Trump for a small, private bill-signing ceremony aboard Air Force One.
"Through his life and work, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made America more just and free," White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard the plane. "This important historical park tells his story, and this bill will help ensure that the park continues to tell Dr. King’s story for generations to come."

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Aus meinem Reisebericht von 2009:

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Das Geburtshaus von Martin Luther King, drinnen war wieder fotografieren verboten. Der Rundgang bei einer Führung war ganz interessant.
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82

Donnerstag, 11. Januar 2018, 17:03

Shallotte River Swamp National Park, NC

"Erstaunliche Überlebenstechnik": Alligatoren frieren bei anomaler Kälte in USA im Teich ein

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Im Nationalpark Shallotte River Swamp Park im US-Bundesstaat North Carolina sind mehrere Alligatoren wegen des drastischen Temperaturabfalls in eine Eisfalle geraten. Die Tiere stecken mit herausgestreckten Rachen in einem zugefrorenen Teich fest. Dadurch scheinen sie jedoch kein bisschen bedroht zu sein – ein ausgeklügelter Mechanismus soll den Reptilien helfen, das harte Winterwetter zu überstehen.

Wie der Generaldirektor des Parks, George Howard, im Interview mit dem Portal Wect mitteilte, seien die Alligatoren in Wirklichkeit in den Winterschlaf gegangen und hätten ihre Nasen herausgestreckt, damit sie atmen können. Ihm zufolge sollen sich dadurch ihr Stoffwechsel verlangsamen und ihre Körpertemperatur sinken. Wenn das Eis wieder schmilzt, werden die Tiere beginnen, ihre Körpertemperatur zu regulieren. "Das ist einfach eine absolut erstaunliche Überlebenstechnik", sagte Howard und behauptete, noch nichts dergleichen gesehen zu haben.

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Mittwoch, 17. Januar 2018, 18:11

Civil Rights Trail in den USA
Auf den Spuren von Martin Luther King

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USA-Reisende können nun den neuen Civil Rights Trail erkunden und dabei mehr über die Bürgerrechtsbewegung erfahren. An mehr als 130 Orten gibt es Informationen über die historische Entwicklung und wichtige Akteure wie Martin Luther King.

Ein neuer Civil Rights Trail soll Reisenden in den USA bei der Suche nach wichtigen Schauplätzen der US-Bürgerrechtsbewegung helfen. Das Netzwerk führt zu mehr als 130 Orten, die mit dem Kampf um die Gleichberechtigung afroamerikanischer Bürger in Verbindung stehen. Wie das Tourismusamt des Bundesstaates Alabama mitteilt, handelt es sich unter anderem um Kirchen, Gerichtsgebäude und Schulen, die vor allem in den 1950er- und 1960er-Jahren für die Bürgerrechtsbewegung von besonderer Bedeutung waren.

Der Civil Rights Trail sei nicht als zusammenhängende Reisestraße zu verstehen, sondern als Übersicht und Wegweiser. Die 130 Schauplätze verteilen sich auf 14 US-Bundesstaaten und die Hauptstadt Washington. Zu den bekanntesten Orten zählen das National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis und das Lincoln Memorial in Washington, vor dem 1963 der Bürgerrechtler Martin Luther King seine Rede "I have a dream" hielt. Auch Kings Geburtsort in Atlanta, das "Mississippi Civil Rights Museum" in Jackson und das "Rosa Parks Museum" in Montgomery in Alabama gehören zu den Stätten des Trails.

Schwerpunkt in Alabama
Eine interaktive Landkarte zeigt, dass Alabama mit 30 Stätten der am stärksten vertretene Bundesstaat ist. Die anderen Orte des Netzwerks befinden sich in den US-Staaten Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North und South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri und West Virginia.
Der Civil Rights Trail steht unter dem Leitsatz "What happened here changed the world" ("Was hier geschah, hat die Welt verändert"). Für die US-Bürgerrechtsbewegung ist 2018 ein besonderes Jahr: Am 4. April jährt sich zum 50. Mal der Tag, an dem Martin Luther King in Memphis erschossen wurde.

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Montag, 22. Januar 2018, 18:14

Century-old pictures of Yosemite National Park by intrepid California couple capture its natural beauty in stunning black and white shots

William and Grace McCarthy took 2,998 photos of road trips across North America between 1905 and 1938
The couple made trips to Yosemite National Park in 1917 and 1935 and photographed its pristine state
Photos show their car underneath a hollowed-out Giant Sequoia and the freedom of the park before railings and nets were installed
Their photography collection has been made available online by the California State Archives
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Montag, 29. Januar 2018, 18:48

Rotting cabins, closed trails: why we're shining a light on US national parks

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Amid dangers from the Trump administration and climate change, sites including the Grand Canyon and Zion national park are facing yet another threat: ‘massive disrepair’

At Zion national park, a popular trail has been closed since 2010. At the Grand Canyon, a rusting pipeline that supplies drinking water to the busiest part of the park breaks at least a half-dozen times a year. At Voyageurs, a historic cabin collapsed.
The National Park Service is the protector of some of America’s greatest environmental and cultural treasures. Yet a huge funding shortfall means that the strain of America’s passion for its parks is showing. Trails are crumbling and buildings are rotting. In all there is an $11bn backlog of maintenance work that repair crews have been unable to perform, a number that has mostly increased every year in the past decade.
“Americans should be deeply concerned,” said John Garder, senior director of budget and appropriations at the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). The National Park Service, he argued, is hamstrung by a lack of resources and is in “triage mode”.
Today the Guardian is announcing a major expansion of This Land is Your Land, our series investigating the threats facing America’s public lands.

National parks are just one part of an unparalleled system, managed by the government and held in trust for the public, and spanning over 600m acres of forests, deserts, tundra and glacier-covered peaks, as well as historical sites such as the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. They are integral to American life: an ancestral home for Native Americans; a retreat for vacationers, sportspeople and hunters; a source of grazing; and an economic engine. Yet their future is uncertain.
Earlier this month 10 members of a National Park Service advisory board, which had promoted issues such as encouraging more minority visitors, quit en masse, complaining that the new administration was unwilling to meet with them and was not prioritizing the parks.

The Trump administration has signaled that it thinks protected areas are too expansive, and recently shrunk two national monuments created under Barack Obama and Bill Clinton – Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah.
Meanwhile advocates have raised concerns that the Department of Interior, which oversees many federal lands, is staffed with lobbyists for the energy industry. Even absent such issues, climate change, privatization and energy extraction risk changing the face of the country’s public spaces forever.
The Guardian will report intensively on these protected places, covering the threats they face, the diverse people who use them, and their critical environmental and economic role in American life.
National parks recorded 331m recreational visits in 2016 (the highest ever), boast an estimated economic value of $92bn, and have totemic significance in the national imagination.

Yet signs of deterioration are evident across the park system.
At the Grand Canyon, a 1960s-era pipeline that transports all drinking water to the park’s thronged South Rim, and is also intended for fire suppression, is 20 years past its design life. It breaks anywhere from a half-dozen to over 20 times a year, requiring repair crews to helicopter in for repairs that can take days. The cost to fix each breakdown is as much as $25,000, and officials say it may take $124m to replace it.

At Harpers Ferry national park, the setting for a town with civil war associations and an abolitionist uprising, officials have been unable to restore an 1848 building that they acquired decades ago. A base hospital during the war and later a school for former slaves, it is a solid-looking brick structure with tidy white verandas. Yet inside, it appears as if someone has taken a hammer to it.
There was “massive disrepair”, said Garder of the NPCA, who visited it in 2016. “The stairways were unsafe, there was water damage, the plaster was decaying and falling off the walls.”
And at a striking and exposed point at Voyageurs national park in Minnesota, overlooking the water, the former site of the Ingersoll Lodge is now bare. The historic building was reduced to rubble in 2014, probably after heavy weather disastrously combined with uncompleted maintenance work and existing structural weaknesses. The remains of the cabin are currently stored off-site as officials debate whether to rebuild it.

“You’re sad but you’re also frustrated,” said Christina Hausman, head of the Voyageurs National Park Association, a not-for-profit partner of the park. “We continually do not give the National Park Service the resources they need to protect these places.”
In this and other cases, visitor experience is directly impacted. At Zion, a trail leading to the Emerald Pools, a complex of waterfalls and ponds, has been off-limits since a 2010 landslide, and it is hoped that a philanthropic grant will allow it to reopen in 2020.
Meanwhile increased visitation has led to broken toilet seats and doors in bathrooms “not designed for the volume of numbers we have now”, said the park’s superintendent, Jeff Bradybaugh. The park is not always able to tend to them immediately because of its stretched purse strings.

While these issues sound minor compared with a collapsed cabin, “it’s like seeing trash on the sidewalk: you feel like it’s not cared for, and that no one cares, and that’s not at all what the park service wants to convey”, said Rob Smith, an NPCA regional director who complained of worn and illegible interpretive signs and “out of order” notices on rainforest trails and at a visitor center at Olympic national park, west of Seattle.
Much of the backlog dates to the era of Mission 66, a massive infrastructure push in the 1950s and 1960s that resulted in notable structures like the Wright Brothers National Memorial visitors center in North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway, which winds through North Carolina and Virginia. Projects from this period are now at the end of their lifespans. Roads account for about half the maintenance backlog, and there are even $183m of repairs overdue for employee housing.

The interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, has said deferred maintenance at parks is a priority, and has proposed raising ticket prices, from around $30 per vehicle to $70 at 17 of the most popular parks, as a way to deal with the issue. Yet critics note that this might only produce an additional $70m a year, or less than 1% of the current backlog, with a possible side effect of discouraging those on a budget. “What we’re doing is we’re trying to narrow the gap,” said parks spokesperson Jeffrey Olson.
The park service’s problems are also having a knock-on effect on public lands policy at large, because the White House has used the repairs backlog to justify not investing in the acquisition of new public spaces. A spokesperson for the Department of the Interior did not provide responses to a request for comment.
Tony Knowles, the former Democratic governor of Alaska and the head of the park service advisory committee whose members resigned, said the backlog was a continual worry among his former board members. He thinks it’s a missed opportunity.
“At a time when unity is something that is so lacking in all of the discourse and political actions, if there’s one subject that really brings Americans together of all parties, all parts of the country, all standards of income, all backgrounds and cultures and races, the one thing is a love of the concept of the national parks.”

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Montag, 29. Januar 2018, 19:21

Construction for new rim safety rails and a new trail begins at Horseshoe Bend

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Horseshoe Bend is a widely popular tourist destination in Page, Ariz. Its vast views in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area attracts millions of visitors each year.
Because of this, construction for new railings, parking lots and a new pathway to the overlook has started.
The city of Page suggested the idea six years ago, but their plan had finally reached fruition. In March, the city of Page and the National Park Service agreed to look into upgrades for Horseshoe Bend such as safety measures and overall improvements with parking and trails.
Improvements to the overlook started on November 6, according to Lake Powell Life, and construction will last about 90 days.
Right now, visitors must hike over a hill to reach Horseshoe Bend. The new project changes this and instead replaces the current trail with a new one that curves around the hill. This trail will also allow people with disabilities to access the viewpoint because it will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
There will also be more shaded areas.
The rim safety railing construction does shut down half of the rim to visitors, but tourists can still access the overlook in different viewing spots.
This is just phase one of the project, and phase two will feature expansions to the parking lot.

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87

Montag, 29. Januar 2018, 20:01

Don’t be distracted by the beauty. Florida’s national parks are falling

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It’s high season at Everglades National Park, the cool months when tourists finally start to outnumber mosquitoes, and the simple construction of sawgrass, sky and clouds appears most beautiful. But not everything is so pretty.
Near the main entrance in Florida City, drivers head into a visitor center parking lot worn down to gravel. Picnickers lunch near barricades and caution tape blocking steps to a shuttered dining hall at Flamingo, the park outpost on Florida Bay. Shivering campers endure broken solar-powered showers at the only overnight accommodations more than a dozen years after a hurricane demolished the old Flamingo hotel and cottages, the promises to rebuild them still unmet.
On the Southwest Coast, a trailer greets visitors at the Everglades City entrance rather than a new welcome center first approved, but left unfunded, since the first Bush presidency.
Four months after Hurricane Irma buzz-sawed its way across South Florida, the state’s busiest national park is understandably still recovering. But the shoddy conditions date way before the latest storm. Over the decades, the park and two other vast national wildernesses in South Florida have amassed enormous maintenance backlogs, lengthy lists of fixes big and small, from derelict ranger stations and research buildings to rundown visitor centers and weathered chickees.

Everglades National Park claims the largest backlog by far, with the last official tally in July calculated at $88 million. With lost revenue following Irma and the recent government shutdown, that’s now likely higher. Across the state, the tab amounts to $254 million, according to an analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
By another measure — the cost to totally replace aging facilities in today’s dollars — the tab soars into the billions, Pew found.
“They’re really starved,” New Jersey resident Tim Corlis said Tuesday after a quick stop by Everglades’ battered amphitheater as part of a bucket-list journey to visit all the nation’s parks. “We’re very cognizant that the park service does a tremendous amount, with almost nothing.”
The massive repair backlog is nothing new — the Everglades’ to-do list totaled $58 million under the Obama administration. But the Trump administration’s approach to the nation’s wild lands, from shrinking monuments and clearing the way for drilling and mining, to slashing spending in a proposed budget, is setting off alarms. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to cut the National Parks Service budget by nearly $300 million and eliminate more than 1,200 jobs — meaning 90 percent of the nation’s parks would lose staff.
Rather than ask Congress to address the $11.3 billion national maintenance backlog, the administration is also proposing doubling entrance fees at 17 popular parks during their five busiest months, angering park advocates who say the plan could backfire if higher costs drive away visitors. The administration has also ditched the nation’s efforts to address climate change, an issue especially critical to South Florida’s parks.
Earlier this month, 10 of the 12 members on the Service’s national advisory panel quit in protest, complaining that Zinke repeatedly refused to meet with them.
“It’s like if you have a car and don’t get your oil changed every six months,” said John Adornato, senior regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “These are our national treasures and we’re letting them deteriorate.”

With 6,700 square miles of vast open waters, dense mangrove forests and stretches of stark marshland, it’s easy to overlook the sublime beauty that puts South Florida among the nation’s top parks. The state’s 11 parks drew nearly 11 million visitors in 2016, and dumped more than $653 million into Florida’s economy, according to park service estimates. Arizona, which has twice as many and includes the Grand Canyon, drew 11.8 million tourists and generated nearly $1 billion.
In the 21st century, accommodations at Everglades have never been lavish. The old lodge felled by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 had noisy air-conditioners and dated decor. The park’s two houseboats come with smelly generators, flimsy mattresses and plenty of bug carcasses.
But more than a half century since the $1 billion Mission 66 project — the last national fixer upper — South Florida’s harsh climate has taken a toll. Dozens of buildings, from staff housing to the old Nike missile shelters, need repair. Campgrounds need landscaping, nearly every chickee requires fixes and despite promises to rebuild, the site of the old lodge remains vacant. Visitors seem to have taken notice, too. In the last five years, Everglades National Park numbers steadily declined from 1.1 million in 2012 to 930,907 in 2016.
“The roads are kind of bumpy,” Estella Catron, who traveled from Virginia with her son Travis, said as she looked at a map kiosk outside the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, where the patchy pavement has worn to gravel.
Some signs of disrepair are obvious, and caused by the recent hurricane: Along the Rowdy Bend walking trail, toppled white mangroves and buttonwoods crisscross the path every 30 feet or so. Canoe trails that paddlers use for short-cuts are also blocked.
“They’re not really sanctioned, but to get from point A to point B, you’ve got to go through these creeks,” said botanist and field guide author Roger Hammer, who makes regular trips to the park in search of orchids and other native plants.

After the hurricane, Hammer discovered a champion cowhorn orchid had blown over. The orchid, which he suspects began growing on a splintered tree trunk after Hurricane Donna in 1960, survived both Andrew and Wilma and had become an unofficial park highlight. Sick with the flu, Hammer was unable to rescue the plant. The park staff, with a fifth of positions unfilled, was up to their necks in bigger projects and, because the orchid was in a wilderness area, would not have saved it anyway.
“This was a grand champion,” said Hammer, who had led the former park superintendent and Interior officials across the rugged salt marsh prairie to view the orchid. “It wouldn’t have taken much to have people come and pick it up.”

In the weeks after the storm, rangers raced to make repairs to get the park up and running in time for the peak season, when bugs clear out, northerners fill up campgrounds and tourists line up for airboat rides along the Tamiami Trail. The park depends on the seasonal spike in fees to carry operations during the slow summer. But after Irma, it took weeks to reopen some popular attractions, like Shark River. Parts still remain closed, including some campgrounds around Flamingo, with incomplete fixes in danger of being moved to the backlog.
Repairs are prioritized based on “function and use,” said park spokesman Denese Canedo. Projects that don’t get done by the end of the year wind up on the deferred list, she said.
“I think they kind of opened it up on a wing and a prayer,” said camper Michael Healy, describing blocked trails and confusion over reserved campsites. “It’s full but they don’t have anybody to manage it.
A year ago, Healy and his traveling companion, Kathey Royal, sold their houses to embark on a yearlong trek to the nation’s parks with their two dogs. So far, they’ve hit Yellowstone, Olympic National Park in Washington and Badlands in South Dakota. Everglades isn’t the only one falling on hard times, he said.
“It just seems like the park service is getting slashed further and further everywhere you go. Some places are just like, ‘We don’t have enough people to staff the main entrance gate so we’re trusting you to put your money in the box and fill out your slip,’” he said.
The gatehouse at the Flamingo campground may be empty, he said, but at least there are meager services.
“There’s a bath house. There’s running water. It’s not hot water. But it’s warm enough now we can take a shower.”

That wasn’t always the case. For years, the Flamingo Lodge, part of the Mission 66 project, drew visitors year round. A bayfront pool was a remote luxury, along with the AC. After it was demolished, the park service promised to rebuild. But more than a dozen years later, the footprint remains empty. Superintendent Pedro Ramos said last year that the Service had finally selected a contractor to build and run 24 eco cottages and 20 tents slated to be up and running later this year. In August, Zinke announced a $720,000 Centennial grant to jump start work. But so far, there’s been no groundbreaking.
“Talk about lost revenue,” Hammer said. “Holey moley.”
With more than a half century since the last makeover — triggered by public outrage over deteriorating conditions — Pew’s Director for the Restore America's Parks project, Marcia Argust, said the problem is caused mostly by unreliable funding.
“When folks think of the parks, they don’t often think of the infrastructure necessary to run over 28,000 buildings and 12,000 roads,” she said. “There’s water and sewage systems that you don’t always think about.”
Take channel markers. Not sexy but critically important. Over the last three decades, boat traffic in Florida Bay has increased 250 percent, Adornato said, raising the risk of groundings and endangering vital seagrass beds that provide nurseries for young fish and hunting grounds for the lucrative sportfish industry. Irma also left the bay cluttered with submerged obstacles. A $600,000 project to install channel markers around the flats sits on the waiting list, he said.
Fixes to parking lots at Everglades National Park alone total $7 million. Water and waste projects have a $832,000 backlog, Adornato said. Another $2.9 million in work is needed at Pine Island and the Flamingo marina.

But even obvious, popular projects have been long delayed. In 1989, when Congress approved a major water project to restore the flow of water into the park, it also gave the park the go-ahead to replace the Gulf Coast visitor center with a new building named in honor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. The center sits on the edge of Everglades City, a tiny fishing village where businesses rely heavily on park visitors.
“That has not happened,” Adornato said. “And now Hurricane Irma has destroyed that building because it wasn’t up to code and able to withstand hurricane force winds.”
A bipartisan bill that would ensure money for fixes and prevent the backlog from again accumulating is now gaining support in Congress. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami, one of the bill’s 55 cosponsors, along with four other Florida representatives, worries the backlog could be causing both immediate and long-term damage to the park, said his spokeswoman Joanna Rodriguez.

“The Congressman believes any fee changes should require input from the public and, if deemed necessary, be implemented gradually,” she said.
For Mark Staszko, who has been bringing special education students from his Pennsylvania school to the park for the last decade to camp and do volunteer work, improving conditions would be a relief — especially replacing the long-lost lodge.
“That,” he said, “would be a nice little feature.”

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Montag, 29. Januar 2018, 21:16

Follow rainstorm path to find Mojave Desert wildflowers

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If you’re looking for wildflowers in the Mojave Desert this year, the best place to hunt — and maybe the only place — is along the course of a single storm that hit Las Vegas in early January.
After a “bone-dry” fall and winter, experts don’t expect much of a bloom across the desert in the coming months. The lone exception could be the roughly 50-mile-wide swath, stretching from Yucca Valley, California, up through Southern Nevada, that was soaked by the season’s only significant weather system on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10.
If there are any flowers at all, that’s where they’ll be, said Jim Andre, who tracks desert flora as director of the Granite Mountains Desert Research Center in California.
Andre said there are early signs of a “germination event” along the path of the storm, which dumped most of its rain on the eastern edge of Joshua Tree National Park, through Mojave National Preserve, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas and up through the Moapa Valley.
“There is still a chance we’ll see some annuals pop up,” he said. “This one rain in a season of bone dry might get some response. It’s not looking real promising, but it’s not a guarantee.”
Before the weather system three weeks ago, Las Vegas had gone a record 116 days without precipitation at its official weather station at McCarran International Airport. Andre said the same storm also dumped an inch or more on parts of the Mojave where no rain had fallen for 300 days or more.
He said the flower forecast is “bleak” for areas missed by the season’s only storm so far, such as the Colorado River south of Boulder City. It’s still early, Andre said, but “you can almost predict they won’t have any annuals.”
As with autumn leaves in the Northeast, a whole tourist economy has sprung up around wildflowers in the desert. Lately, Death Valley National Park has been one of the beneficiaries.
Over the past decade, the 3.3 million-acre park 100 miles west of Las Vegas has seen a handful of so-called superblooms, including one in 2016 that blanketed the valley with flowers and drew record crowds to the desert.
This year, though, Death Valley seems to be living up to its dry, desolate reputation.

Patrick Taylor, acting chief of interpretation for the park, said Death Valley saw almost no rain at all during the latter half of 2017.
“It does not look like it’s going to be a good year for wildflowers,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be nothing like a superbloom by any means.”
For people in Andre’s line of work, though, this year presents a chance to learn something new about how desert annuals respond when they get all their moisture from a single storm or when they don’t get any moisture whatsoever.
“We haven’t really seen this scenario before in the last 100 years,” Andre said.
He, for one, is curious to see what happens, even if it’s nothing at all.

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Mittwoch, 31. Januar 2018, 17:40

What it's like to work on the edge of an active volcano
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists discuss the wonder of watching Hawaii’s natural forces at work.

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A few hours before sunrise, as a lava lake swirling beneath a crack in the earth in Halemaumau crater continues to cast a scarlet glow against the dark horizon, a solitary figure walks toward Kilauea volcano’s summit caldera.

Don Swanson, a geologist studying the volcano’s eruptive history, is scooping up Halemaumau vent’s overnight ashes from 10 collection bins scattered a half mile around massive Kilauea caldera, home to the smaller pit crater. Returning to his office at nearby Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, he logs the weight of the samples, noting details such as whether the ash consists of fresh magma or old rocks. After some deskwork and a quick breakfast—there’s box of Cheerios near his bookshelves—Swanson is back in the field. His task for the rest of the morning? Measuring the thickness of aging volcanic deposits, including bulky hunks ejected violently from Halemaumau long ago.

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Mittwoch, 31. Januar 2018, 19:36

A modern land run? Trump move opens Utah to mining claims under 1872 law

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw federal protections from millions of acres of Utah wilderness will reopen much of the iconic terrain to gold, silver, copper, and uranium land claims under a Wild West-era mining law, according to federal officials.

Starting at 6 a.m. on Feb. 2 – the moment Trump’s proclamation reducing the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments takes effect – private citizens and companies will be allowed to stake claims for hard rock mining in a process governed by the General Mining Law of 1872, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The process for staking a claim remains much as it did during the Gold Rush: A prospector hammers four poles into the ground corresponding to the four points of a parcel that can be as big as 20 acres, and attaches a written description of the claim onto one of them. A prospector then has 30 days to record the claim at the local BLM office.
“We’re working on getting information and new monument maps ready for people interested in claims,” said Utah Bureau of Land Management spokesman Michael Richardson.
The costs of claiming are low: a $212 filing fee, and an annual maintenance fee of $150. Unlike laws governing petroleum extraction, there are no environmental guidelines specific to hard rock mining, and no requirement to pay a royalty. The claims provide prospectors mineral rights but not ownership of the land.
The law covers mining for uranium, gold, silver, copper and other precious metals, but excludes coal and petroleum.

URANIUM RUSH? MAYBE NOT
Conservation groups including the Southeastern Utah Wilderness Alliance are concerned that new prospecting in the area could cause environmental harm, but it’s unclear whether the rare opportunity to stake mining claims will draw much interest.
The Bears Ears area is known to have uranium deposits, but prices are currently in the dumps - at around $25 a pound compared with $130 a decade ago - due to weak domestic demand from nuclear reactors.
Kyle Kimmerle, whose family owns more than 100 uranium mining claims in Utah, said he won’t be rushing out for new land.

“The current price of uranium is not likely to warrant any new claiming,” he said. “It would take $60-$70 for me.”
U.S.-based uranium mining companies Energy Fuels (UUUU.A) and Ur-Energy (URG.A) - both of which are pressing the White House for uranium import tariffs - also said they were not currently planning to run out into the Utah wilderness with poles to stake claims.
But Energy Fuels wrote a letter in May asking the administration to adjust the monument’s boundaries to accommodate its operations - and said there were “many other known uranium and vanadium deposits located within the [original boundaries] that could provide valuable energy and mineral resources in the future.”
When Trump announced his decision to shrink the monuments in December, he billed it as a victory for local governments against what he called abusive federal overreach on western lands.
“Families and communities of Utah know and love this land the best, and you know the best how to take care of your land and how to conserve this land,” he said at the time.
The administration has denied that it intended to boost drilling or mining in the region, a policy it has pursued on other federally protected lands.
The decision reduced the size of the 1.3-million-acre (0.5 million hectare) Bears Ears monument, created by President Barack Obama in 2016, by more than 80 percent. It slashed the 1.9-million-acre (768,900-hectare) Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996, in half.
Republican Congressman John Curtis of Utah has since proposed legislation to withdraw all of Bears Ears region from future mining claims. But any claim submitted under the General Mining law before the legislation passes would be honored, Curtis’ spokeswoman Katie Thompson said.
Conservation groups and Democratic lawmakers, including Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, have long criticized the General Mining law as out-of-date.
“It’s really the last law still on the books from that Manifest Destiny era encouraging a resources free-for-all,” said Lauren Pagel, policy director of Earthworks.

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Freitag, 2. Februar 2018, 16:22

Joshua Tree National Park begins free shuttle service
Connects to downtown Palm Springs

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It has been years in the making, and finally, a new shuttle bus is in service at Joshua Tree National Park.
Beginning Feb. 1, the RoadRunner shuttle will take visitors to several designated stops in and around the park. The shuttles will leave every two hours from the Joshua Tree and Oasis Visitor Centers.
"So we've got about 6 or 7 stops inside the park," park superintendent David Smith told. "As you know congestion has been a big issue inside the park. So our goal from this process is to be able to have folks hop on the bus, leave their cars behind."

Some of the areas the shuttle will make stops at Jumbo Rocks campground, Ryan Mountain parking lot, Hidden Valley day use area, Intersection Rocks, Barker Dam and Upper Boy Scout Trail parking lot.

Officials hope the shuttle helps with traffic congestion that has come with the in visitation over the last five years. According to officials, park attendance visitation went from 1.3 million visitors to just shy of 3 million.

The shuttle service is free to use and there is even a way for folks who are in downtown Palm Springs to use public transit to get all the way up to the park and then inside.
"If they're at the airport in Palm Springs, or downtown Palm Springs, they can hop on one of the MBTA shuttle buses that comes to the high desert, get off in Joshua Tree and then just hop on one of our buses" Smith said.
The shuttle had been in the works for years and has been made possible through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Morongo Basin Transit Authority.
"The total project is $310,000. The park subsidy is approximately $230,000. The remaining amount is coming from a low carbon transit funding grant," said Mark Goodale, the general manger of the MBTA.
At this point, Goodale said, the shuttle is only a trial program.
"We will be looking at ridership numbers every month," he said. " Seeing what stops are used the most."
He said if the shuttles can get 25-thousand people to ride, it will be considered a successful program. The service will run every day (except for holidays) through the end of April and will pick back up in November.

Those looking to take advantage of the shuttle will still need to purchase passes into the park, which can be done at any visitor's center location.

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Freitag, 2. Februar 2018, 17:33

Ein Link auf eine interessante Seite des National Park Service, die mir bislang nicht wirklich bekannt war:

Hail to the Chief

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American presidents seem bigger than life. But many were just ordinary citizens who found themselves in the right place at the right time. They had the right ideas and qualities to become president of the United States. The National Park Services preserves the journeys that influenced these leaders and protects the experiences that have grown our nation. Discover the places and stories of presidents—before, during, and after their time in office.

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Freitag, 2. Februar 2018, 18:38

A Jewel in the National Park System

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“This is a small cave,” read the sign outside Jewel Cave.
“It was fun to prove that wrong,” said Jan Conn in a telephone interview.
Jewel Cave is currently known to be the third-longest cave in the world, at almost 200 miles, thanks in part to Conn and her late husband, Herb.

The Conns discovered, named and mapped more than 62 miles of passages in the cave about 13 miles west of Custer, proving it to be among the world’s longest. Mammoth Cave in Kentucky is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored. The Sistema Sac Actun/Sistema Dos Ojos in Mexico is the world’s second longest cave at about 216 miles.
When the Conns began exploring Jewel Cave in 1959, less than 2 miles of passageway had been discovered, according to the National Park Service.
Brothers Frank and Albert Michaud are credited with discovering the cave in 1900, according to the NPS. They were prospecting for minerals in Hell Canyon when they felt cold air blowing out of a small hole. They dynamited the entrance to make it larger and explored the cave. The cave is named for its calcite crystals, which sparkle like jewels. The Michauds intended to make a living off Jewel Cave by mining it and by developing it as a tourist attraction. Neither endeavor was a financial success.
Using the Antiquities Act of 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Jewel Cave a national monument on Feb. 7, 1908. The act authorizes the President to proclaim “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of historic or scientific interest” as national monuments. The intent was to protect historic and prehistoric sites on federal land.
The Conns grew up on the East Coast and had established many classic rock climbs in that region before moving to the Custer area because of the excellent quality of rock climbing in the Needles.
In the fall of 1959, Dwight Deal, recent college graduate and a member of the National Speleological Society, asked the Conns to join him to explore, survey and map Jewel Cave. Deal moved away from the Black Hills in 1961, but by then Conns became fascinated with exploring what was below the earth’s surface instead of climbing the peaks above it.
“We did that for 22 years, until we got too old to go in there,” Conn said.
While exploring Jewel Cave was not particularly dangerous, people must always be alert when surveying and mapping a cave, Conn said.
Exploration involved little walking, but instead climbing up chimneys between the crystal-coated walls and crawling in tight places, she said.
When exploring, cavers make their way to where the previous surveying ended and continue from there, marking the new boundary and then returning to their starting point. Most explorations are now four-day camping trips.
“Each trip gets a little bit harder and longer than the last one,” Conn said.
The excitement of not knowing what they would find drew them back to Jewel Cave time and time again, she said.
“To us it was the excitement of exploring and being where no one else had gone before and not knowing what you’d find around the next corner,” Conn said.
The Conns recorded their experiences as pioneering spelunkers in the book “The Jewel Cave Adventure: Fifty Miles of Discovery Under South Dakota.” First published in 1977, a new edition with color photographs will be published this summer by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association.
Instead of going down into a cave, the Conns went down in South Dakota history in 2011 when they were inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.
Herb died in 2012, but Jan continues to make her home near Custer.
As for Jewel Cave, Conn is pleased that a third generation has continued to explore, survey and map the cave “not just for fun, but to find out where the end is.”
Of the 417 park sites in the National Park Service, Jewel Cave is one of a handful whose end is not known, according to Bradley Block, chief of interpretation at Jewel Cave National Monument. Arguably one of the last frontiers for exploration, it is estimated that only 3 to 5 percent of the cave has been discovered.
Its length rather than its formations is what makes Jewel Cave amazing, according to the NPS.
Visitors to the national monument can see some of the treasures that lie below ground by taking the easy 20-minute Discovery Talk, the moderately strenuous Scenic Tour, the strenuous Historic Lantern Tour or the Wild Caving Tour which is considered one of the most strenuous tours available in the National Park Service.

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Freitag, 2. Februar 2018, 19:22

National Wildlife Refuge? National Park? National Preserve? …What’s The Difference?

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National wildlife refuges are public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. They come in all sizes, from tiny to enormous. There are 562 national wildlife refuges in the U.S., an average of more than 10 per state. Popular visitor activities are hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, interpretation and environmental education. National wildlife refuges are operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Most national wildlife refuges do not permit camping.
In South Florida: Arthur R. Marshall-Loxahatchee NWR, Crocodile Lake NWR, National Key Deer NWR, Great White Heron NWR, Key West NWR.

National parks strive to keep unique natural landscapes unimpaired for future generations while offering recreation opportunities. They are developed to serve a large number of visitors. Facilities for cars and walking are given priority, with off-road vehicles generally prohibited. National parks are operated by the National Park Service.
In South Florida: Biscayne NP, Everglades NP, Dry Tortugas NP

National preserves are also operated by the National Park Service. Activities like hunting, fishing or oil and gas extraction may be permitted at national preserves if they don’t jeopardize the park’s natural resources.
In South Florida: Big Cypress NP

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Freitag, 2. Februar 2018, 20:35

Trump administration signals move against California desert protection plan

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The Trump administration threatened Thursday to undo a hard-fought conservation plan to protect millions of acres of California’s Mojave Desert from industrial development.
The joint state-federal Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan aims to protect fragile desert lands in the state while steering renewable energy projects to lands least at risk for environmental damage. But the federal Bureau of Land Management said it is considering re-examining the plan to comply with an executive order by President Trump last year to increase energy development on public lands.

We need to reduce burdens on all domestic energy development, including solar, wind and other renewables,” said Katharine MacGregor, principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals.
The administration’s announcement brought a swift rebuke from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who has spent her entire Senate career attempting in one form or another to protect the desert, including authoring legislation for the creation and enlargements of Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.
“Scrapping the plan now is a complete waste of time and money, and I oppose this,” Feinstein said in a statement.
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan took years to complete under the Obama administration, and was an attempt to correct mistakes made during that administration’s first years in office when the California desert was opened to large-scale solar development without taking into account the broader environmental impacts.
The plan attempts to strike a balance over 22.5 million acres of the California desert between conservation efforts and solar and wind development. The area takes in seven counties: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.
Finalized in the last months of the Obama presidency, it set aside 388,000 acres, or more than 600 square miles, of public land in the Mojave for renewable-energy development and made another 842,000 acres available if needed. In all, nearly 2,000 square miles of desert could be developed currently.
The plan also set aside 5 million acres, or 7,812 square miles, for conservation.

Reopening the plan “is a very bad idea, unproductive and is not really going to help anyone,” said Karen Douglas, head of the California Energy Commission and the state’s chief official who oversaw the plan’s development.
The action was seen as especially suspect by critics given that the administration has been mostly hostile to renewable energy, seeking to cut federal funding for such projects while easing the way for oil, gas and coal development under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Last fall, the administration proposed reopening 1 million acres in the area to new mining claims.
If the administration reopens the plan, development might not necessarily be limited to renewable energy, said David Lamfrom, desert director for the National Parks and Conservation Association, an environmental group that was deeply involved in the development of the desert conservation plan.
“The administration could make any determination it wants,” Lamfrom said. “It could open up lands to resource extraction of all types. It could mean all kinds of things that are not necessarily what local communities want and not what the state of California wants.”
Douglas said the desert planning process involved numerous scientific studies and sought advice from numerous interests, ranging from the U.S. military, which has enormous bases in the area, to conservationists, recreational users, Indian tribes and solar developers.
“The record developed for the DRECP is very strong,” Douglas said. “There was a lot of data assembled.”
If the administration wants to make changes to the plan, she said, “not only would they have to have public meetings and take comment, but they’d also have to present facts and new information and point to changed circumstances or some way justify why they believe the facts on the ground merit a different conclusion.”
Douglas also said that with the plan now in effect, the state is well on its way to meeting its new goal of getting half the state’s energy from renewable sources.
Alex Daue, assistant director for energy and climate at the Wilderness Society, called reopening the plan “a cynical attempt by the Trump administration to undermine both renewable energy and conservation,” and another example of Zinke and Trump creating “chaos for our public lands.”

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Freitag, 2. Februar 2018, 21:33

Utah is getting a new state park — Echo Reservoir

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Echo Reservoir is joining Utah’s family of state parks, the first added to the 43-park system in more than a decade.
The former Echo Resort closed last fall when its long-time proprietor Joye Ray sold out the remainder of her concession contract to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which built and owns Echo Dam, site of a 1,400-acre lake on the Weber River outside Coalville.
The bureau asked the Utah Division of State Parks to take over that contract, and state officials eagerly embraced it as a way to meet burgeoning demand for water-based recreation near the Wasatch Front.

“We’re anticipating there will be a lot of overflow from Rockport and Jordanelle [state parks],” said State Parks planner Jason Allen. “Jordanelle sells out every weekend.”
Already popular for fishing, boating, sailing, swimming and water skiing, the recreation site two miles north of Coalville on Echo Dam Road includes a marina and campground tucked in a wooded enclave
The Division of State Parks will develop a plan for Echo State Park over the next few months and anticipates investing $2 million in upgrading the marina, boat ramp and other facilities. It would be the first park added to the state-managed system since 2003, with the addition of Sand Hollow Reservoir in Washington County.
Noting Echo Reservoir’s already strong visitation numbers, Allen said, “we will build on what was already up there.” Echo will open for day use this spring, he said, but its amenities will not be fully operational.
The Bureau of Reclamation has agreed to match whatever the state spends upgrading Echo’s recreational facilities. State Parks director Fred Hayes is expected to ask Utah lawmakers for the money soon, as part of a $10 million appropriation and a recently adopted strategic plan to build up the state park system.

After years of surviving on heavy state subsidies, the park system has flourished in recent years by investing in the kinds of services and amenities visitors are willing to pay for, such as yurts, ziplines, mountain bike trails, gear rentals, boat ramps and marinas. Most Utah parks now operate in the black and visitation across the system soared to 5.7 million last year.
At the request of lawmakers, state parks officials have explored establishing new state parks on federal land at Little Sahara Sand Dunes, popular with dune buggies riders, and at Hole in the Rock, the historic site east of Escalante. State Parks is also probing major expansions at Goblin Valley and Goosenecks, in partnership with the federal Bureau of Land Management.

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Donnerstag, 8. Februar 2018, 18:15

Blue Ridge Parkway

Iconic Linn Cove Viaduct to Receive Facelift during Upcoming Closure

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The National Park Service announces the closure of the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway for surface repaving and bridge maintenance from March 1, 2018 through May 24, 2018. These projects require a full closure of the Parkway, including closure of the trail below the bridge; with the reopening coinciding with Memorial Day weekend. The Linn Cove Viaduct is located at Milepost 304.
A traffic detour will be put in place from Milepost 298.6 (Holloway Mountain Rd) to Milepost 305.1 (US 221). Gates will be located at MP 303.6, Wilson Creek Overlook on the north and MP 305.1, US 221 on the south end of the work zone. Within the closed area, including the trail areas beneath the viaduct, the Parkway will be closed to all uses including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. The public’s cooperation with these closures will provide for the most efficient work schedule and will ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
During the closure, crews will remove and replace the asphalt pavement, waterproofing membrane and joints on the bridge. Repairs to the supporting structure, stone curb, railing and drainage features will also be made.

The Linn Cove Viaduct was completed in the mid-1980s, and is commonly known as the “missing link” that signaled the completion of the entire 469-mile Parkway route. The Linn Cove Viaduct is often celebrated as an engineering marvel with the road wrapping around the contours of Grandfather Mountain. It is 1243 feet long, contains 153 segments weighing 50 tons each, and is supported by seven permanent piers.

The Blue Ridge Parkway inventory of paved roads includes bridges, tunnels, parking areas, spur roads, service roads, campground and picnic area roads, and the 469-mile Parkway motor route itself. Across the Parkway, many of these areas exceed recommended life cycles for pavement and are in need of repairs estimated to total over $300 million. Funding for road maintenance on the Parkway comes in large part from the Highway Trust Fund, which is derived from a federal fuel tax. The Blue Ridge Parkway annually identifies projects and competes for these funds to repair and maintain park roads

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Donnerstag, 8. Februar 2018, 19:32

Noch ist ja nicht entschieden, ob morgen wieder heruntergefahren wird.
Aber irgendwann wird es wieder.....

A park ranger's guide to visiting national parks during a government shutdown

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During a government shutdown—when Congress fails to pass a budget that keeps large parts of the government running—rangers everywhere chain the gates of their national parks. The usually welcoming visitor centers shutter their doors. Campgrounds go unpatrolled. Bathrooms go uncleaned.
There have been 12 such shutdowns since 1981, and there’s been little ambiguity about these strict closures. But the early 2018 shutdown brought a new dose of uncertainty to a once straightforward process. Just before the January furlough, the Trump administration announced that from now on national park sites—a total of 417 parks, monuments, battlefields, and so on—should now try and stay open during a shutdown, especially those in the “open air” (as opposed to museums).
The top of every national park website said it best: “For your planning purposes, some parks in the National Park System may have areas that remain accessible to visitors; however access may change without notice, and some parks are closed completely.”
The ensuing confusion is understandable. In January, the Statue of Liberty National Monument closed completely. The Grand Canyon stayed open, but visitor centers therein remained closed. Alcatraz Island National Landmark was open, but operated only by non-park service employees.
That particular shutdown lifted after just a few days, but Congress’s short-lived budget fix is set to expire on today. In all likelihood, they’ll extend another budget fix through March. But should this climate of will-there-or-won’t-there-be-shutdowns continue, here’s how you should navigate an ambiguous and inconsistent system of park closures. You can take it from me—I’m a former park ranger.

How do you know if a park is open, “kind of open,” or just plain closed?
If a park is closed or irregularly staffed, no one is around to pick up the phone and answer your questions. But that doesn’t really matter; national parks, like you, are new to this ambiguous system, so rangers haven’t really figured out how to best relay the information they’ve got. But some simple online sleuthing can usually help potential visitors figure out what’s going on.
First, go to the park website. Every homepage will have an alert or disclaimer at the top, with a message about the closure and a link to the Department of Interior homepage for more information. This link, however, is mostly unhelpful; it gives no information about the specific park you’re seeking. In some circumstances, though, a park will give precise information about what areas are open, right there on its homepage. For instance, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California clearly stated that Muir Woods National Monument, a famous grove of ancient redwood trees therein, would be closed from January 21 onward (until the shutdown ended). It also listed the specific restrooms that would be closed in the greater recreation area.
If a park fails to provide this information on their website, check their social media accounts. National parks are typically active on both Twitter and Facebook, though this work has to cease when a shutdown begins. If you're lucky, their last post will provide some clarity.

If I enter a park during a shutdown, will I see any rangers?
During the shutdown, the park service will provide absolutely no visitor services such as staffed visitor centers. But you may still see some park rangers around.
Most rangers will be furloughed, meaning they’re told to stay home because there’s no funding to pay them. These are the folks who work in visitor centers, lead hikes, give campfire talks, and collect entrance fees. But that doesn’t mean a park will literally be empty. Of the park service’s 24,681 employees, 13 percent (3,298) are deemed “essential,” which means they stay on even when everyone else stays home. The majority of them are law enforcement rangers.
Law enforcement rangers dress in the same uniform as their non-essential peers, but are distinguishable by the fact that they carry weapons. The federal government deems these rangers as “essential” government employees necessary for the “protection of life, property, and public health and safety.” They’re there to respond to injuries, car accidents, or even to intervene if they see people try to approach large wild animals. But because parks are big and law enforcement rangers are relatively few, there’s a good chance you won’t run into any.
Private businesses that operate within a park—like hotels, restaurants, and kayak rental shops—can remain open during a shutdown, so you’ll see those employees around.

Will park resources be less protected because there aren’t as many rangers around?
Yes. Absolutely.
On Sunday, January 21, was reported that a snowmobile tour guide in Yellowstone National Park—who had a permit from the park to conduct tours—let two clients enter a closed area near the legendary Old Faithful Geyser and proceed to zip around. Fortunately, no natural resources were damaged. Their illegal actions weren’t spotted by any rangers out in the field, but some park staffers happened to catch them on a webcam. This disregard for well-known rules likely wouldn’t have occurred had the park been staffed at normal levels.
Without adequate staffing, protected park resources everywhere become more vulnerable to theft, vandalism, or harassment. For instance, it’s common in Hawaiian parks for rangers to ask visitors not to take lava rocks home as souvenirs. And in parks with large animals, like bison, rangers require visitors to stay at appropriate distances from the unpredictable creatures. Guests are infamous for getting too close to dangerous animals in the hopes of snapping pictures, and for scooping up valuable geologic relics to take home. You may intend to behave yourself in an empty park, but others won’t be so thoughtful.

Can parks become more dangerous without normal staffing?
Yes, this is quite possible.
Park rangers (even those not designated as “essential” employees by the government) play a critical role in park safety. For instance, a massive swathe of cliff recently slumped into the ocean right next to a popular trail at Point Reyes National Seashore (a park about 50 miles north of San Francisco). A visitor relayed these precarious conditions to rangers working at a visitor center. This allowed the rangers to not only directly advise future visitors of the danger, but to also prominently post news of the precarious circumstances on the park’s homepage.
If this occurred during a shutdown, it’s quite possible the message wouldn’t have been relayed at all, leaving unassuming hikers to visit an area susceptible to collapse.

What do park rangers do during a shutdown?
For those majority of rangers deemed unessential the only option is to wait it out. These furloughed employees can’t really travel anywhere, because the shutdown can end at any time.
Many rangers feel this impedes their mission to protect the park and promote its significance and meaning to visitors. Park rangers don’t get into the business for riches, but because they care about the resource, whether it’s Gettysburg National Historic Battlefield or the giants of Redwood National Park. Above all, a park ranger’s job is to encourage you to care about the cultural significance of place and the unique life that inhabits it.
And those are just the members of the park staff you’d usually see. Plenty of others work as biologists, ecologists, and resource monitors, collecting data about vulnerable critters, combating invasive species, and studying how best to balance the need to preserve an ecosystem while still affording us access to explore it. These behind-the-scenes park employees are benched during a shutdown, too. Their work might not be labeled as “essential” by the government, but without them, parks fail in their prescribed duty to responsibly manage lands for present and future generations.

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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018, 16:06

Demand for Permits to Hike the Wave Only Increasing
Demand continues to rise for the 20 daily permits to hike a geological gem on the Arizona-Utah border called The Wave, which features mesmerizing swirls of searing reds, oranges and yellow in bowl-shaped rock formations.

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Demand continues to rise for the 20 daily permits to hike a geological gem on the Arizona-Utah border called The Wave, which features mesmerizing swirls of searing reds, oranges and yellow in bowl-shaped rock formations.
More than 160,000 people applied last year for the 7,300 yearly permits to take the 3-mile (5-kilometer) hike, which crosses the state border in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area, The Salt Lake Tribune reported this week.
The number of applicants increased by 20 percent last year and is up from 87,000 in 2013.
The Bureau of Land Management issues the permits — half through a monthly online lottery and half through daily drawings at its office in Kanab. In the online lottery held last week for May hikes, about 2,800 people entered for the 10 permits on May 5 alone.
The bureau started requiring permits in the late 1980s in order to comply with the Wilderness Act, which limits visitation to protected areas.

Recently, the number of applicants seeking permits has skyrocketed, boosted by the breathtaking images of the formations printed internationally in travel publications.
Steve Sykes, a physician from Dothan, Alabama, said he started applying online for a permit in 2012. Years later, he has still not been able to obtain one.
Sykes applied online in January for a permit on May 1-3, going up against more than 1,800 people. Applicants can request up to three days each month.
Sykes was again unsuccessful.
"At age 62, I figure I can try another 10 years," Sykes said. "Hopefully (I'll) get in during my lifetime."
Fewer people show up for the daily permit drawings at the Kanab visitor center, but the event still gathers crowds. The center's parking lot sometimes overflows and applicants spill into hallways and outside.
Artist Cory Cravatta has applied in the online lotteries for six months, and he has entered the walk-in drawings 24 times. The Genoa, Illinois, resident said 17 people showed up on a day in July for the drawing, but it swelled to more than 100 last month.
Cravatta said he wanted to do a series of landscape paintings from photographs he planned to shoot of The Wave.
With 36 people attempting for the 10 permits Tuesday, Cravatta's name was called.
"Other people actually clapped when my number got drawn," Cravatta said.
The next day Cravatta hiked and photographed the formations.
"It was hard to get, but I'm glad it was hard," he said.

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Montag, 19. Februar 2018, 18:17

Zum "President's Day":

Favorite presidential vacation spots around the USA

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Vacations are times when we can disconnect from our working lives, and reconnect with family, friends and ourselves. U.S. presidents are no different. Here, we take a look at vacation spots throughout the United States that presidents have chosen for their getaways.

Arkansas
Though he was in town for business, President Truman threw in a little time for fun during his visit to Little Rock. The night before the dedication of the War Memorial Park, Truman got together with his 35th Army Division buddies with whom he served in World War I.

In 1969, college football fan President Nixon arrived in Fayetteville to watch the Razorbacks play the Texas Longhorns for the national championship; the game was known as “The Big Shootout.”
It must be in the name — President Theodore Roosevelt visited Hot Springs in 1910, and President Franklin Roosevelt followed with a visit in 1936.

California
Eight U.S. presidents have visited Rancho Mirage in California, including President Obama after he left office in January 2017.

Colorado
President Theodore Roosevelt enjoyed vacationing and hunting in Glenwood Springs, Colo., during his presidency, while President Ford made annual trips to Vail to ski and golf.

Georgia
President Eisenhower was an avid golfer who loved playing the course at Augusta National Golf Club in, well, Augusta, while President Franklin Roosevelt retreated to his Little White House in Warm Springs, about an hour south of Atlanta.

Idaho
The call of the river was heard by President Carter when he took a rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, a premier whitewater river, in 1978. The river itself runs through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, encompassing a total of more than 2.3 million acres and the largest contiguous wilderness in the lower 48.
In 2005, President George W. Bush and his family spent a few nights in the small town of Donnelly, Idaho, about 90 miles north of Boise. Year-round recreation within Donnelly and the surrounding area, including mountain biking, hiking, watersports, paddle sports and ziplining, draw visitors to this part of the Gem State.

Maine
During his time in the Oval Office, President Obama and his family visited Bar Harbor, Maine and enjoyed Acadia National Park.

Massachusetts
Not far from Washington, D.C., Martha’s Vineyard has been a vacation spot of the Clintons and the Obamas during their time in the White House.

North Carolina
The undulating hills of Asheville appealed to President Obama when he vacationed in the North Carolina town early on in his presidency.

North Dakota
President Theodore Roosevelt spent a lot of his vacation time in the Badlands of western North Dakota, and enjoyed his time in the western part of the state so much that he eventually built his Elkhorn Ranch here. Appropriately, the Badlands are part of what was first established as Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park in 1947, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1978.

Ohio
Mt. Sterling, Ohio was President Harding’s retreat of choice — he would regularly vacation in a cabin known as The Shack along the Deer Creek River in an area which is now a state park.

Oregon
Presidents Hoover, Carter and Bush have all visited the wild and scenic Rogue River in Southern Oregon.

Pennsylvania
Since their discovery in 1796, the Allegheny Region’s Bedford Springs and its eight mineral springs became a popular presidential vacation destination — 13 presidents have been said to have vacationed there, the first of which being President Jefferson in 1819. Afterwards, Presidents Harrison, Garfield, Eisenhower, Reagan, George W. Bush are just a handful of the U.S. presidents who followed in his footsteps. President Buchanan enjoyed the springs so much that he set up his “Summer White House” there, and continued to vacation in the area after he left office.

South Dakota
In 1927, President Coolidge spent the summer in South Dakota’s Custer State Park, and even made the State Game Lodge his “summer White House.” When not tending to his presidential duties, Coolidge spent a lot of time fishing the area’s lakes and even helped kick off the construction of Mount Rushmore. He must have enjoyed his time in South Dakota — what started as a three-week trip turned into three months.

Texas
His home in the Texas Hill Country just outside of Austin was President Johnson’s vacation spot of choice, and is now the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch National Historic Park. A self-guided tour of the ranch in Stonewall takes visitors past the president’s birthplace, as well as the family cemetery and the ranch house that was known as the “Texas White House.”

West Virginia
Even before he became the first President of the United States, George Washington sought out what would become a vacation spot he returned to time and again — Berkeley Springs. Washington enjoyed sitting in the warm springs from the early age of 16, and visited many times after with his family.

Wisconsin
The Bois Brule River in the northwest corner of Wisconsin is a popular vacation fishing spot for not just one U.S. president, but five: Presidents Coolidge, Grant, Cleveland, Hoover and Eisenhower have all cast lines into the river’s flowing waters. In 1928, President Coolidge spent the entire summer fishing on the river, using a local high school as his “summer vacation White House.”

Wyoming
Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park has been a notable retreat for a number of U.S. presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Carter and Obama.

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USA 1980 - Florida 1989 - Südwesten 2004 - West-Kanada 2005 - Südwesten 2008 - Florida 2009 - Südstaaten 2009
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