National Parks

Billed as the oldest operating hotel in West Yellowstone, Mont., the Madison is a short hop from the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. With its original pine log siding and thick wood beams, the historic hotel sits on a street squeezed with camera stores and trinket shops hawking Old Faithful t-shirts, wooden grizzly bears carved by chain saws and paintings of the iconic Yellowstone Falls.

Normally these sidewalks beneath the old western facade would be humming with tourists. But obviously nothing about anything we're living through is normal.

Since the 1960s, the National Park Service has partnered with nonprofit organizations to provide environmental education services to the public. But a recent audit from the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General found that some of these Residential Environmental Learning Centers have strayed from their original mission .

This summer, the National Park Service came out with a policy allowing electric bicycles in the same places as traditional bikes. A new federal lawsuit is challenging that rule.

Invasive animals are posing a major threat to national parks throughout the country, according to a new paper published in the journal Biological Invasions.

Ashley Dayer, the study’s lead author, says her team received data from 81% of national parks and found there are more than 300 invasive animal species across the National Park Service system.

A new white paper from the non-profit Headwaters Economics says transferring public lands from the federal government to Western states would generate more revenue, but also comes with high economic costs.

Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Are the super wealthy better equipped than the government to save America's disappearing wildlands? An ex-Silicon Valley entrepreneur is trying to build the next Yellowstone — a 3.2 million acre, privately-funded wildlife reserve in eastern Montana. It's called American Prairie Reserve, and the organization is doing it by purchasing ranches, kicking out the cattle and replacing them with wild bison.

An Interior Department committee is recommending that the National Park Service privatize campgrounds in national parks and offer services such as WI-FI and food trucks.

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

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.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / publicdomainpictures.net

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.

Pixabay

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.

Bob Wick / BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

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.