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National Parks

It’s time to blow out the candles. Big Bend National Park — home to 800,000 acres of sweeping Chihuahuan desert landscapes, imposing mountains, wiry cacti and an international boundary in the Rio Grande — is turning 75.

Congress is considering legislation to encourage "outdoor therapy" for veterans with injuries or post-traumatic stress. Volunteer groups are already running similar programs in national parks.


Instagramming Crowds Pack National Parks

May 28, 2019

The dark blue, predawn sky was just beginning to brighten over Mesa Arch — a once-hidden gem in Utah's Canyonlands National Park — as Jonathan Zhang frantically set up his camera and tripod.

The Los Angeles tourist wanted to get the perfect shot of the sun rising over deep, tan canyons and red rock spires, framed by the glowing, orange arch. But he had to squeeze through throngs of other photographers and smartphone-wielding tourists to do so, nearly 50 people total.

In April 2016, Mikah Meyer set out on a journey to visit every single national park, monument, seashore and more — 419 sites in all — in one continuous trip.

That world-record journey is coming to a successful close on Monday, after taking Meyer to every single U.S. state and territory, from the Arctic Circle of Alaska to American Samoa.

As the government shutdown stretches deeper into the new year, national parks across the country are seeing the impact.

While parks have stayed open during the shutdown, with some emergency workers and rangers still working, much of the parks’ staff are not, meaning there is no one to clean bathrooms, empty the trash, enforce rules or collect entrance fees. At Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, campgrounds were closed Wednesday after some of the vault toilets, which do not flush, reached capacity.

President Trump has ordered the Department of the Interior to review all designations of national monuments greater than 100,000 acres created since 1996.

Justin Mier |

Americans love their national parks. According to the National Park Service, the 410 sites, including 59 parks, drew a record-breaking 307.2 million number of visitors last year. But that love affair may be more than some of the parks can bear.

President Obama is designating a new national monument around the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

The Stonewall National Monument in New York City will be the first addition to the National Park System specifically highlighting the history of the LGBT community.

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Yellowstone National Park, a wilderness recreation area stretching for nearly 3,500 square miles atop a volcanic hot spot in Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho, may be in trouble.

Each year, Yellowstone attracts millions of visitors and provides a home to countless animal species, including the once-threatened grizzly bear and bison. But finding the right balance between tourism and preservation can be tricky.