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The latest news from around the National Park System.

Dueling Paths To Addressing The National Park Service's Maintenance Backlog

The National Park Service's nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog didn't materialize overnight, but rather has been growing for nearly two decades. It's been puzzled together by the need for the Park Service to care for all the buildings, roads, trails, and campgrounds within the system as well as address safety and health matters that can impact visitors and park employees. There currently are at least three proposals for tackling that backlog, each with its own unique nuances. Let's take a look at them.

Gates Of The Arctic National Park: Twelve Years Of Wilderness Exploration

Retired from college teaching, still healing from combat in Vietnam, Joe Wilkins found peace and solace in some of the most remote wilderness in the United States – Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. For a dozen years he volunteered for the National Park Service, accompanying rangers on patrols into remote corners of this 8,472,566-acre preserve in northern Alaska. He took many photos and kept careful notes of the places and people he encountered in his travels there, and in this photo-memoir he shares his experience of this remote and remarkable landscape.

More Than 600 Trees Cleared From Prince William Forest Park

Heavily forested Prince William Forest Park took it on the proverbial chin during last weekend's winter storm, with gusting winds downing hundreds of trees. Crews have cleared more than 600 fallen and hazardous trees in the days following that storm. Late this week employees continued to clear damaged trees and debris, restore downed power lines, and repair damaged historic buildings across the park.

Spring Break Expected To Bring Crowds To Zion National Park

With Spring Break starting for many colleges and universities this week, you're likely to encounter higher than normal crowds for the next week at Zion National Park in Utah. Park staff are anticipating conditions similar to last year’s Spring Break crowds, where parking can fill by 10 a.m., with shuttle bus lines at the visitor center as long as 45 minutes.

Gettysburg Battlefield Marathon Organizers Denied Permit

Is it appropriate to stage a marathon at a Civil War battlefield site, or is the hallowed setting the wrong place for runners and cheering? That question has surfaced this week as the organizers of the Gettysburg Battlefield Marathon say the National Park Service has denied their request for a permit to stage this year's race.

House Committee Approves Legislation Supporting Caneel Bay Resort

Legislation to allow a private equity firm to continue to run the Caneel Bay Resort at Virgin Islands National Park for 60 years was passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, but without language that would have required the company to ensure its activities were "consistent with all applicable laws and policies of the National Park Service.’’

Monitoring Yellowstone National Park's Hot Spots From Space

A lot of heat is released from Earth's surface at Yellowstone. The evidence of this heat flow includes thermal features like hot springs, geysers, mud pots, and fumaroles. Tracking the temperatures and sizes of thermal areas is critical for monitoring Yellowstone's hydrothermal activity, and also for understanding and preserving these spectacular features. But how do scientists accomplish this task, given that there are more than 10,000 individual thermal features spread out over a large and mostly inaccessible area within Yellowstone National Park?

50 Years Later, National Park Service Struggles With Many Of The Same Issues

The conundrum was as obvious in 1967 as it is today: "Of all the conservation and management problems facing the National Park System in 1967, balancing the claims of rapidly mounting public use and the requirements of preservation is probably the most pervasive and difficult."

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide