December 13, 2017

Yellowstone National Park Tent Camping and Bears

Camping at Yellowstone National Park this year will look a little bit different then usual. After last year’s bear mauling at the Soda Butte campground which killed Kevin Kammer, 48, of Grand Rapids Michigan as well as a bear attack on two others, grizzly bear experts have suggested that banning tent camping would be the best possible way to help prevent any further attacks. The Gallatin National Forest managers have decided to take this advice and they have placed a ban on soft-sided, pop-up and tent camping as well as camping with out a shelter at Soda Butte, Colter and Chief Joseph campgrounds near Yellowstone National Park. In order to stay at these three campgrounds one will have to have a hard-sided vehicle, a box camper with hard sides, or a raised upper section since these are able to safely keep bears away. Managers are still looking into other options as well as trying to decide what to do at other campgrounds around the area.

Yellowstone National Park Tent Camping and Bears

The actual bear that attacked Kevin Kammer and the other two camps as well as her cubs were caught a few days after the incident via a trap. The mama bear was actually euthanized due to her predatory behavior. Where as her cubs were first sent out to ZooMontana in Billings which is a 70 acre wildlife park. Recently the cubs were moved to Buffalo, NY where they await the construction of their permanent home at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.

When camping or hiking in nature habitats anything can happen and it is important to always be aware of one’s surroundings and to take all the possible necessary precautions. So even though the threat of that particular grizzly is gone around Yellowstone National Park, many other grizzlies are still out there that could pose a similar threat. It is important to try to keep humans and bears as separated as possible and this is why the managers at these campsites are only allowing hard-sided shelters. Other experts and rangers state that it is also a good idea to keep bear spray, which is a pressurized can of hot pepper oil, handy when camping.

Further Resources:

Washington Post Article

USA Today on bear attacks.

ZooMontana

Hogle Zoo

Glacier National Park – Overview, History, & Attractions

Glacier National Park, located in the state of Montana, covers more than one million acres of amazing wilderness. It has become a favorite destination of countless Americans, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors each year. It offers a combination of soaring snow capped mountains surrounded by lakes, forests, meadows, and an array of wildlife.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park was given protected status in 1910. The American and Canadian governments designated the Glacier National Park and Waterton National Park the Waterton-Glacier peace park in 1932. In 1976 both regions were given special Biosphere reserve status, and 1985 were deemed a world Heritage Site.

Glacier contains one of the nation’s most scenic roads. The Going to the Sun Road was completed in 1932 and is still considered to be an amazing feat of engineering. It is possible to travel the route today and soak up the majestic beauty of the surroundings.

The road covers a distance of fifty miles and is well worth the effort of exploring. If you are heading eastwards, you will skirt along the shore of Lake McDonald, past the Garden Wall bluff, then over Logan Pass at a height of more than 6,400 feet. Finally the road drops down to Saint Mary’s Lake where you can rest and enjoy the stunning vistas. The Going to the Sun road typically opens at the start of June and then closes around the middle of October, depending upon weather conditions.

There are a wide range of activities on offer at Glacier. You could choose to go hiking, boating, camping, wildlife spotting and horseback riding. To get up to date information on tours and recreational pursuits, pencil in a visit to one of the visitor centers that are located in the park. It is important to have the latest information relating to regional closures and dangers.

It is possible to go boating on many of Glacier’s tranquil lakes. Those of us that are more adventurous can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or rafting on Flathead River. Organised tours are available from Two Medicine Lake, Rising Sun Lake, and Lake MacDonald, though there frequency varies depending upon the time of the year. Horseback riding is on offer from Many Glacier Lake, Lake MacDonald lodge, and the Apgar visitor center.

Many visitors plan a trip to Glacier during the winter months. At this time of the year you can enjoy cross country skiing and other alpine pursuits. If you are to visit between October and March, make sure you are fully prepared for the cold temperature, ice, and snow. Skiers need to register themselves at each trailhead for safety reasons, and make sure they are up to date with weather forecasts and avalanche warnings.

For a seven day vehicle permit between the start of May until the end of November, you will need to pay a fee of $25. During the winter season, the charge drops to a modest $15. If entering on foot or by bicycle, the fee for summer and winter is $12 and $10 respectively. The price for snowmobile entry should be enquired prior to making arrangements.

For more information visit http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/lemke/gnp_vft/home.html

Olympic National Park – Overview, History, & Attractions

If you love to explore the great outdoors, Olympic National Park would make the perfect place to visit. Located in Washington State, it abounds with a diverse range of environments and ecosystems. There are areas of temperate rain forest and old growth woodland, sixty miles of the wildest pacific coastline, as well as glacier capped rugged mountains.

Olympic National Park

The original Olympic Forest Reserve was created in 1897 under the guidance of President Grover Cleveland. The region was renamed the Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt. It was not until 1938 that the reserve was given the name Olympic National Park, designating nearly 900,000 acres of pristine wilderness. An extra seventy five miles of coastal land was included in the park by President Harry Truman in 1953, bringing the total area up to today’s 922,651 acres. It is now the fourth most popular park in the country, with around 3.3 million visitors on an annual basis.

It is renowned for being one of the greenest national parks, this is no surprise considering its location on the pacific coast. The thick forest and cold temperature only add to the mystique of the environment. It is the perfect location for nature photographers, as there are countless waterfalls and lakes of crystal clear waters. No matter what time of the year you plan on making a visit, it is essential to bring along a waterproof jacket.

Some regions of the park receive more than twelve feet of rain per year. It is this climatic feature this has added to the diversity of plant species. You can come across trees soaring more than two hundred feet above the ground, and the forest floor is dotted with ferns the like of which would have also been found in the Jurassic age.

Though it’s located only two hours from Seattle, the park is still classified as having ninety five per cent wilderness. It is the home to around seventy mammal species, three hundred bird species, and more than a thousand different types of plants. It is the only location on the planet where fifteen animal species and eight plant species can be seen.

As the area has a protected status, no fishing is allowed, but you can still keep an eye out for the twenty nine varieties of fish including both steelhead and pacific salmon that migrate along the three thousand miles of waterways.

The number of activities available in the park is as diverse as the flora and fauna that abounds. There are more than six hundred miles of trails waiting to be explored. Before you head off into the wilderness, it would be useful to call in at one of the many visitor centers were you can be given information on the current status of the various hikes and walks, not all are meant for casual visitors.

You can also take part in horseback riding, guided tours, and if you visit in the winter time, there is cross country skiing available. Its no surprise that Olympic National Park has developed such a famous name.

For more information visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_National_Park

Redwood National Park – Overview, History, & Attractions

There are a few areas of outstanding natural beauty in the country that are famous far and wide, Redwood National Park is one such location. There is very little that compares to the amazement that is felt when standing in the middle of a redwood forest. These trees are amongst the oldest and largest living entities to be found anywhere on the planet. Redwood National Park leaves visitors completely in awe of their surroundings. It is an area of the most majestic surroundings, quiet solitude, and abundant wildlife.

Redwood National Park

At one time, old growth Redwood forest covered more than two million acres of the California coastline. It was not until the logging industry set up base in the region in 1850 that many of the largest trees were cut down. The gold rush of the late nineteenth century only fuelled the desecration of this pristine environment. In 1918, organizations were formed to help protect and preserve the Californian environment.

Redwood National Park came into being in 1968, though by this time as many as ninety per cent of the original trees had been logged. In 1994, the designated area was increased to help conserve and manage the remaining ecosystems.

It is enjoyable to visit Redwood National Park at any time. The summer offers a mild and pleasant temperature, while the winters are not too cold. Most visitors choose to take a tour of the park between April and September when the rainfall is less. There is also a surge in visitors during the fall, when the foliage changes color. Spring is the time to plan a trip if you want to catch a glimpse of various migrating bird species.

There are a number of attractions within the park that should be included in your itinerary. A great place to start would be at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. This mile long trail offers the chance to view hollowed out but still living redwoods in complete serenity and tranquillity. A trip to Redwood is not complete without having your picture taken at the Big Tree. This three hundred feet tall, twenty one feet diameter tree, is believed to be more than one thousand five hundred years old.

To get a true feel for the park, you can take your time to explore the two hundred miles of trails. Apart from the redwoods, you can visit prairies and beautiful beaches. The Coastal Trail is a favorite with visitors as it offers the chance to walk along amazing shores, past peaceful lagoons, and spot some of the parks diverse wildlife.

Due to its location on the Pacific Coast, Redwood National Park offers an activity that is not available at any other parks in the country. If you organize a visit between November and April you can catch a glimpse of migrating whales. From Crescent Beach, High Bluff Overlook, and Wilson Creek, the sight of whales spouting is often seen.

Unlike many of our national parks, there is no entrance fee for visiting Redwood. If you plan on spending a night camping in the park, it can be useful to book a reservation so as not to be disappointed.

For more information visit http://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm

Rocky Mountain National Park – Overview, History, & Attractions

Rocky Mountain National Park, is situated in northern Colorado. It can be reached in approximately two hours from the state capital, Denver. The park is infamous as having the highest paved roads found in any of the country’s national parks. Though smaller than many of the nation’s parks, the 265,760 acres of wilderness open to visitors contain a huge variety of ecosystems and landscapes.

rocky mountain national park

With mountain peaks that soar 14,000 feet above sea level, visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park is not for the faint of heart. The four hundred plus miles of land encompasses rich scenery that is amongst the most inspiring anywhere in the country. The lakes, forests, and wildlife are a joy to behold no matter when you choose to visit.

Though the park was first established on 26th January, 1915, it was not given a special wilderness designation until 1980. The biosphere status was approved during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

To get a taste for the sights and sounds on offer in this stunning national park, the best introduction would be to take a trip along the Trail Ridge Road. This was constructed at the start of the 1930s and is still one of the most incredible drives to be found on the mainland US. Before heading out on this road, it is worth ensuring that your vehicle is in full working order, there are eight miles that are spent driving above 11,000 feet; this places a strain on even the most powerful vehicles. The Trail Ridge Road covers a distance of forty eight miles, from Estes Park in the east to Grand Lake in the west. If you have medical conditions, make sure you travel fully prepared, altitude sickness can be expected.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast or nature photographer, you will love the chance to catch a glimpse of the large mammals that abound in the park. There are bighorn sheep and elk, as well as a diverse range of other wildlife, such as moose and coyotes.

With more than three hundred and sixty miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park will never tire, no matter how many times you visit. There is also the option of horseback riding, fishing, and mountain climbing. If you visit during the cold winter months, you can try your hand at cross country skiing as well as snowshoeing.

The park gates are open twelve months of the year and twenty four hours a day. You can choose which time of year best suits your requirements. If you are planning on making a trip during the school holidays, it can be useful booking your lodgings as far in advance as possible.

If camping, you can organise your reservation five months ahead of your planned arrival date. It is important to note that of the six campgrounds located within the park, none have water, electric or sewerage hook-ups. They attract people who are interested in a true wilderness experience.

Though there is no luxury accommodation to be found within the parks boundaries, there are plenty of resorts, motels, lodges, and hotels located in communities around the area.

Learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_National_Park

Shenandoah National Park – Overview, History, & Attractions

Located only seventy five miles from the nation’s capital, Shenandoah National Park, in the State of Virginia, is a quiet and tranquil location. Here you can find ancient forest, majestic mountains, and the most amazing panoramas. No matter what time of the year you visit, the sights and sounds of the parks beautiful environment will lift your spirits. During the spring, the ground is ablaze with an assortment of wildflowers, whilst in the fall, the colors of the foliage take the breath away.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah is different from many of the nations’ national parks in so much that it was inhabited by settlers for more than a century. To give the area a protected status, officials of Virginia acquired more than one thousand tracts of donated and privately owned land. It was the first and only time that such a huge area of once private land has been converted into a federally protected national park. Shenandoah was designated a national park in 1926, and then further areas were added during 1935, 1976, and 1978.

Originally, much of the land consisted of logging forest and farms. Fortunately, today, it is hard for the untrained eye to identify which areas where used for agriculture and lumber as the natural ecosystems have once again taken over. There are now more than five hundred miles of rugged trails, including the internationally renowned Appalachian Trail. The park contains more than fifty mammal species, two hundred transient and resident bird species, thirty different types of fish, and as of 2009, fifty one amphibians and reptiles.

One of the best ways to get a feel for the incredible nature that abounds in Shenandoah, is to take a trip along the Skyline Drive. This roadway traverses one hundred miles across the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers incredible vistas. At any point on the Skyline, you can step outside of your vehicle and soak up the beautiful environment, replete with sights and smells that enliven the soul.

If you have a dog, you will be pleased to discover that Shenandoah is one of only a few parks in the country where pets are allowed. Your dog can also explore the various trails and hikes by your side.

Apart from the Skyline Drive there are other walks that are worthy of mentioning. Traces Trail is a gentle two mile pathway that leads visitors through a timeless oak forest. It is still possible to catch a glimpse of old artefacts and construction from the first settlers’ time.

If you are planning a spring visit to the park, consider walking the Hightop Summit Trail. This gentle three mile walk would allow you to spot and photograph some of the parks most colorful wildflowers. For a full 360 degree view of the surrounding area, plan a trip to the top of Bear Fence Mountain.

The entrance fee for Shenandoah varies depending on the time of year. If you plan on parking outside the gates and walking in, you will be charged $8 between March and November for a seven day pass, and $5 if visiting from December to February.

For more information visit http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

Yellowstone National Park – Overview, History, Attractions

Yellowstone National Park, located in the state of Wyoming, has been popular with visitors for more than a century. In fact it was our nation’s first designated national park, established back in 1872. The park gets its name from Yellowstone River, or to be more precise, the yellow coloring in the cliffs and bluffs that surround the river. Today the park is more famous for its geothermal activity in the form of hot springs and geysers.

Though native tribes had long inhabited the region prior to settlers arriving, it was not until the famous geologist FV Hayden visited the park that it become known to the American public. It was President Ulysses S Grant who signed a bill that designated the area as being of ecological and environmental significance.

A trip to Yellowstone is unlike a visit to other national parks in the country. There are countless lakes, rivers, and mountains that are an indictment of the areas ongoing geothermic activity. The geysers and hot springs that are dotted around the park have an incredible array of colors. Red, green, and yellow pools of water give the region an otherworldly feel.

Due to its ongoing geological activity, Yellowstone is prone to natural cataclysms that constantly shape the park. Wildfires are common, but help to contribute to the diversity of plant and animal life. It is often described as having one of the planet’s most diverse ecosystems, and is home to birds, reptiles, and fish. When planning a trip, try to organize a tour to catch a glimpse of some of the nation’s largest roaming bison herds.

It is the perfect destination for families and thrill seekers. There is the option of taking it easy and soaking up the amazing environment, or getting the blood pumping by hiking along one of the many trails. The only difficulty you will have is fitting in as many activities as you can during your visit. A trip to Yellowstone will stick in your mind for years afterwards.

When organizing your trip, it is important not to get overly ambitious. Yellowstone covers a massive area, including seven water basins. Try to narrow down your plans to a select few areas. It is a park that is best explored on foot, by doing so you will get a true sense of the scale of the sights that are on offer.

The park can be visited at any time of the year. Most people plan a trip for the summer months, but if you want to avoid the crowds, the spring and fall can also be ideal times to visit. It is also possible to spend time here in the winter, though from October onwards you may want to book lodging that provides warmth and comfort as the nights can get chilly, snow is not unheard of.

The entrance fee for the park varies depending on whether you come by vehicle or on foot. Expect to pay $12 for a seven day walk in pass, and $25 for a non commercial vehicle.

For more information visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm

Yosemite National Park – Overview, History, & Attractions

Yosemite National Park is well known for its spectacular valleys, but there is much more to the area than this. It features incredible waterfalls, beautiful meadows, and stands of ancient sequoia trees. Encompassing more than one thousand miles of pristine wilderness, it offers visitors a chance to get a feel for how nature can be when man does not impose modern development. The wildflowers, grazing mammals, tranquil likes, and rocky granite outcrops can lift the soul to places full of happiness and delight.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite was originally deemed a State Park at the end of the nineteenth century. It was not until the formation of the National Park Service in 1916, that Yosemite’s status was upgraded. It has been popular with visitors from all walks of life ever since it was brought to the attention of the American Public, in fact it was a popular haunt of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Today the park covers more than 760,000 acres of land, in three different counties. It is one of the biggest blocks to be found within the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. It is often said that Yosemite National Park introduced conservation concepts to the wider society, and created a type of mindset that is still in force today.

The park holds the claim of having the country’s highest waterfall. Yosemite Falls measures in at an impressive 2,425 feet. There are a number of trails you can follow that would allow you the chance to view the falls in all their majesty. Before heading off, find out which path suits your fitness ability, the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is only for the physically fit.

Another attraction worth adding to your itinerary is Mariposa Grove, here you can walk amongst more than two hundred sequoias, the oldest of which are believed to be have been growing for more than 1,500 years. You should also make the effort to visit Half Dome, this granite outcrop has been split in two by glacial erosion. It soars to a height of more than 4,700 feet and is an impressive sight even for the most experienced travellers.

Yosemite is the perfect destination for adventure sport enthusiasts. The rock climbing opportunities stand apart from other locations in the country.

The park is open twelve months of the year, though in the winter season, you will need to come prepared for extreme cold and possible snowy conditions. Most visitors choose to plan their trips between June and August. At this time it pays to book any campground reservations far in advance. To avoid the crowds, organize your visit for the spring or autumn.

If you are planning to enter the park a number of times in a year, you can get hold of an annual pass for $40. Otherwise you will need to pay a $10 fee for a single trip entering on foot, or $20 for a vehicle. Yosemite definitely deserves the acclaim and reputation that are now synonymous with its name. If you want to get a feel for the true essence of our nation’s environmental heritage, it would be the perfect location.

For more information visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm

A Quick Look At Zion National Park

When you want to take a vacation to an area that provides stunning scenery and landscapes and will give you a chance to become immersed in the activities and wonder of nature, planning a vacation to Zion National Park will be the perfect destination. Both the Anasazi and Paiute tribes lived in the canyon and it become the first National Park in Utah in 1919. Just a few miles from Springdale, Utah, this fabulous park will give you the outdoor activities and adventure that will make your vacation memorable.

Zion National Park

Getting to the Park, you will pass through the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel. The tunnel is famous for it’s 6 large windows, carved into the sandstone that give you a spectacular view of the canyon and landscape. The park is made up of 124,406 acres (503.5 km2) of mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, rivers, slot canyons and natural arches. One of the world’s longest arches can be found when you hike to Kolob Arch.

If you don’t want to drive to the Park, there are free shuttles running from April through October that will take you to the entrance the trail that leads to the mouth of the Zion Narrows. You’ll find many hiking trails that highlight the massive sandstone canyons. The highest point in the park is Horse Ranch Mountain at 8,726 feet, or you can enjoy a hike to Coal Pits Wash, the lowest point in the canyon at 3,666 feet.

The park is home to one of the most diverse groupings of plants in Utah with over 900 species of indigenous plans. It is also home to many rare and endangered species of animal life. You may see Peregrine Falcons, Mexican Spotted Owls, California Condor, Desert Tortoises, the Zion Snail and more. The big horn sheep, meandering through the canyon and on the hillsides are amazing wonders of balance and beauty.

If you are interested in seeing the park, but want to take a break from hiking, you can take a guided horseback riding tour that will lead you through the narrow canyon walls that run for over 15 miles through the park. From the base of the canyon you can look up and see over 150 million years of sedimentation carved into the reddish sandstone.

You can enjoy taking the 12-hour backpacking hike through the narrows from the Temple of Sinawave. Or, choose any of the other 7 popular trails that are well maintained and designed to bring you close to the natural beauty and wonder of the region. Hiking trails can be a short 1/2 hour trip to Weeping rock up to the 8 hour trek to the Kolub arch.

Many people enjoy the rock climbing opportunities in the Park and if this is something you enjoy doing, or want to learn, coming to the rock climbing center of the United States will be a great adventure. The rock climbing adventures are rated and there are many short walls that include Touchstone, Moonlight Buttress, Prodigal Son and more.

Zion National Park also offers great choices for accommodations. You can stay in one of the historic cabins, the Zion Lodge, or camp in one of the 3 campgrounds. Guided walking tours, hikes and evening programs are provided throughout the spring and summer months. You will find a great restaurant and cafe located in the park or, if you’d rather enjoy a picnic in the base of the canyon, you will find picnic tables available as well as amenities to make your vacation even more fun.

For more information visit http://travel.utah.gov/destinations/zionnp.html