National Parks

Legislation making its way through the U.S. Congress would significantly increase funding for roads in national parks.

MOAB — About 40 miles north from the tourist hordes in town and set against a backdrop of tan clay and red mesas, the vista looked primed for a nature magazine cover shoot: early afternoon, the desert bloom in full force, awash with purple and yellow flowers. Quiet.

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, UTAH — The dark blue, predawn sky was just beginning to brighten over Mesa Arch — a once-hidden gem in southern Utah — as Jonathan Zhang frantically set up his camera and tripod.

Memorial Day weekend kicked off the summer season for national parks in the Mountain West. And according to new data, 2018 was good year for the country and the region.

No new oil and gas leases. No more shrinking monuments. Free entrance to national parks.

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National Parks and public lands in the West are having trouble with cactus poachers. But some park rangers are fighting back by micro-chipping their cacti.

During the partial shutdown, the National Park Service said it was using visitor entrance fees for basic operational costs. That's now changed following a congressional hearing last week by Democratic lawmakers criticizing the use of visitor fees for daily operations. Traditionally, these fees are used for more long-term or major maintenance projects.

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

In an unprecedented move, the National Park Service has decided to dip into entrance fee funds to pay for expanded operations during a government shutdown that has furloughed many of its workers.

The decision comes after reports of degradation in the parks — trash thrown on the ground, human waste piling up, and visitors behaving irresponsibly by letting their dogs off leash or even driving off-road to do donuts in the desert.

6:30 a.m. is one of the best times to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley.

Everything smells like sage. It’s really cold and there are a bunch of retirees staring through hire-powered telescopes at a lush, verdant hill.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is nothing fancy when you first drive in. No towering cliffs or dramatic canyons. It’s a calm, sunny valley – 6,000 acres all totaled -- of meadow and ponderosa pine forest.

The Trump administration is forcing the head of Yellowstone National Park out of his job. Dan Wenk said the National Park Service will replace him with a new superintendent this August.

The head of Yellowstone National Park says he plans to retire next March, ending a more than four decade run with the National Park Service. The surprise announcement came after speculation he was being reassigned for political reasons.

The National Park Service has released a report on how sea level rise could impact its sites. The publication was delayed by about a year, and as we’ve reported, there were concerns over possible censorship in earlier drafts.

Maria Caffrey worked for years with the National Park Service researching and writing the report, only to wait for months for its actual release.

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Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has backed off a decision to dramatically hike entrance fees to some National Parks. Since many of these iconic parks are in the Mountain West, this change may have an outsized effect on our region.

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Across eight western states, voters increasingly consider themselves to be conservationists, according to a poll out Thursday from the Colorado College "State of the Rockies" Project. The survey also found that westerners largely prioritize protection of air, water and wildlife over energy development.