Thursday, April 28, 2016

Arches National Park Seeks Graffiti Vandals

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people? Arches National Park recently discovered another act of graffiti vandalism, and posted this message on their Facebook page yesterday:
We need your help. Staff recently discovered new graffiti at Frame Arch, just off the trail to Delicate Arch. If you saw anyone carving or writing on the rock on the Delicate Arch trail, please contact the park via email or phone listed here:

Graffiti—marking, scratching, chalking, and carving on rocks—is unsightly and illegal. It damages the rocks and ruins other people's experience in this natural place. Rangers and volunteer groups spend hundreds of hours every year removing graffiti from the park. Help us protect your national park: if you discover graffiti in the park, please let us know.
No doubt, the two losers who did this, "Staten" and "Andersen", likely took congratulatory selfies after leaving their mark. By the way, this isn't an isolated case. This type of "tagging" seems to be a growing trend in parks around the country. Here's the photo Arches published on their FB page which shows the damage done:


Tourism to Yellowstone National Park creates $638.6 Million in Economic Benefits

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 4.1 million visits to Yellowstone National Park in 2015 totaled $493.6 million in spending in communities near the park. That spending supported 7,737 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $638.6 million.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Facility Opening Dates for Grand Teton National Park

Opening dates for seasonally operated facilities and roads in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are as follows:


• Teton Park Road-May 1
• Moose-Wilson Road-May 1
• Signal Mountain Summit Road-May 1
• Grassy Lake Road-June 1, dependent on snow conditions
* Paved multi-use pathways are open when they are predominately free of snow and ice.

Visitor Centers & Ranger Stations:

Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center-Open
Colter Bay Visitor Center-May 7
Jenny Lake Visitor Center-May 27
Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center-June 4
Flagg Ranch Information Station-June 6
Jenny Lake Ranger Station-June 4


Gros Ventre-May 6
Signal Mountain-May 6
Jenny Lake-May 6
 Colter Bay-May 26
Colter Bay RV Park-May 12
Headwaters Campground & RV Sites-May 20
 Lizard Creek-June 10

All backcountry camping permits cost $25. Backcountry reservations may be made until May 15 with an additional $10 fee for advanced booking. Reservations can be made online at After May 15, all backcountry site permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis no more than one day before the trip begins.


Signal Mountain Lodge-May 6
Jackson Lake Lodge-May 16
Colter Bay Cabins-May 26
Triangle X Ranch-May 22
Jenny Lake Lodge-June 1
Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch-June 1

Entrance Stations:

The Moose, Moran, and Granite Canyon entrance stations are open and charging entry fees.

Bicyclists are reminded that they must stop and show an entry pass before proceeding through the gates, just as vehicles are required to do. An automated self-serve machine is located on the multi-use pathway adjacent to the Moose Entrance Station. People traveling on the pathway by foot, bike, or rollerblade will be required to stop and pay or have a valid pass in possession.

Personal identification is required with any pass that requires a signature.

For additional information about activities and services within Grand Teton National Park or the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, please visit the park's website, stop by any visitor center, or call 307.739.3300. For detailed information on hiking trails in the park, please click here.


Total Eclipse Of The Sun Will Pass Through Grand Teton National Park

There's no time like the present to begin planning for the future. Yesterday I just happened to come across a website that mentioned there will be a total eclipse of the Sun next year. This is significant because it will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States since 1979.

In case you fell asleep during your high school astronomy class, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thus totally (or partially) obscuring the Sun. If you're located within the narrow path of a total solar eclipse, the Moon will appear to be larger than the Sun, thus blocking all direct sunlight and briefly turning the day into night.

Next year's lunar/solar event will take place on Monday, August 21, 2017. The path of the total eclipse will pass directly over Grand Teton National Park, with the center passing between Wilson and Teton Village.

The longest duration of totality will take place within the Shawnee National Forest, located just south of Carbondale, Illinois, and will last for 2 minutes and 41.6 seconds. The greatest extent will occur between Hopkinsville and Princeton, Kentucky. Viewers must be within the central path to see the total phase of the eclipse, though you'll still be able to see a partial eclipse hundreds of miles away (as seen in the nearby NASA GIF map).

For much more information, please visit the NASA website which has an interactive map, as well as tables listing times for important stages of the eclipse.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Grizzly Bear Research Trapping Begins in Grand Teton National Park - Public Reminded to Heed Warning Signs

Biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team will be conducting grizzly bear research and trapping operations within Grand Teton National Park beginning Wednesday, April 13, through April 30. This research is part of on-going efforts required under the Endangered Species Act to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

When bear research and trapping activities are being conducted, the area around the site will be posted with bright warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring. For bear and human safety, the public must respect these signs and stay out of the posted areas.

Trained professionals with the interagency team will bait, trap and handle grizzly bears in accordance with strict protocols. Once trapped, the bears are sedated to allow wildlife biologists to collar the bears and collect samples and data for scientific study.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to research and monitor bears across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in a collaborative effort between federal land managers and state wildlife agencies. Gathering of critical data on these protected bears is part of a long-term research effort to support the recovery of the area's grizzly bear population. The team includes representatives from the National Park Service, U. S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Fish and Game Department, and the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Video Hike to Ramsey Cascades

Awhile back the Great Smoky Mountains Association published a video of the hike to Ramsey Cascades. Dropping roughly 100 feet over the course of multiple tiers, Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the Smokies. The popular trail takes hikers though the largest old-growth forest remaining in the Great Smoky Mountains, and passes the 6th tallest tree in the park. For more information on this beautiful hike, please click here.

© GSMA 2010. All rights reserved.

With more than 800 miles of trails meandering throughout the park, hiking is the absolute best way to see the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition to Ramsey Cascades, the park offers many other outstanding hikes. If you do plan to visit the Smokies this year, please note that our hiking website also offers a wide variety of accommodation listings to help with all your vacation planning.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Many Glacier and Chief Mountain Roads Open

The National Park Service announced today that Many Glacier and Chief Mountain Roads on the east side of the Park are now open to vehicles for the season. Visitors are welcome to drive the 8-mile Many Glacier Road as far as the Many Glacier Campground. The Swiftcurrent Nature Trail loop on the valley floor is open in its entirety with parking available at Grinnell Picnic area.

Currently, no services are available along the Many Glacier Road with the exception of pit toilets at the ranger station and picnic area. The access road to the Many Glacier Hotel is closed due to construction at the hotel. Temporary parking for hotel trailheads is available along Many Glacier Road at the “T” junction with the road to the hotel. To access trailheads beyond the hotel, visitors should follow posted signs from the junction and stay clear of the posted construction zone.

On both the east and west sides of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR), avalanche concerns have prevented plowing operations from advancing since Wednesday. Park officials are recommending that hikers and bikers use caution if they plan to travel on the GTSR this weekend.

Sometime between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning this week, two large glide avalanches released at Haystack and Heaven’s Gate, according to a park avalanche report. Both of these were large magnitude events with the debris running several thousand feet down into the valley bottoms. The avalanche at Haystack is blocking the GTSR where road crews had previously plowed the road and debris is plugging the stone archway that spans Haystack Creek. The report also notes that three separate glide avalanches occurred last weekend.

West side plowing crews discovered the 30-foot deep avalanche debris at Haystack on their way up to plow the road on Thursday morning. Due to continued avalanche danger, the crew returned to complete road work at lower elevations without plowing further up the road.

On the west side of the park, visitors can drive the Camas Road and the first 11.5 miles of the Going to the Sun Road (GTSR) from the park entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge. Beyond the The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. Lodge, people on foot or on bicycles can continue up the traffic-free road for another twelve miles to the Loop where the hiker/biker sign is currently located. For the next several days, due to avalanche danger, officials are advising recreationists not to travel above the Loop.

On the east side of the park, vehicles may drive the first 5.5 miles of the GTSR from St. Mary entrance to Rising Sun. Beyond that gate, hikers and bicyclists may continue on the road as far as Siyeh Bend. For at least the next few days, travel beyond Siyeh Bend is not advised due to avalanche danger. Two Medicine Road is closed to vehicles at Running Eagle Falls, with no restrictions for hikers and bikers beyond that point.

In addition to avalanche concerns, hikers and bikers are reminded that bears have emerged from their dens and that pre-cautions are advised, including carrying bear spray and making noise along roads and trails where visibility is restricted. Recreationists should be prepared for variable, spring conditions including mud, snow and patches of ice both on roads and trails.

Since road conditions and openings change frequently this time of year please visit the park’s website or check the park’s social media sites or call 406-888-7800 for the latest information. On weekends, visitors can stop at the Apgar Visitor Center from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the latest information.

National Park Week continues with free entrance to all National Parks, including Glacier National Park, through April 24 in honor of the National Park Service Centennial.