Posted on August 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wind, water and ice are shown once again to be key geological drivers
FRISCO — Scientists have not only solved the mystery of the moving rocks at Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa — they documented the movement on video and even took measurements by attaching GPS units to some “non-native” rocks as part of a research project in the Southern California desert.
Some of the rocks weigh up to 100 pounds and leave behind distinct tracks as they scoot across the dry lake bed. Scientists have been studying the area for decades, but nobody has seen the process in action until now, according to a press release from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UC San Diego). Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Death Valley National Park, Geology, moving rocks, Racetrack Playa | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Will grizzlies once again roam the North Cascades? Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.
National Park Service launches 3-year study on possible restoration
FRISCO — In a big move for grizzlies and wild ecosystems, the National Park Service this week launched a three-year environmental study to evaluate to possibility of restoring the apex predators to the North Cascades.
“This is the first stage of a multi-step process to help inform decisions about grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades ecosystem,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The National Park Service and our partners in this effort haven’t made any decisions about the bear’s restoration at this time as federal law requires us to look at a range of options, including not restoring grizzlies to the area.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, grizzly bears, North Cascades National Parks, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A little taste of high country heaven
Trail Ridge Road view.
FRISCO — Dylan and I had a chance to visit Rocky Mountain National Park as part of the crowdfunded Climate Ranger project, meeting with a team of scientists who are monitoring conditions in the park’s alpine tundra as part of the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. The monitoring is part of a global program aimed at trying to track climate-induced changes with long-term data, because we won’t know what climate change is doing unless we study it closely. We’ll do more reporting on this topic in the next few days, but for now, a few pics from the Park. Click on the panos to see the full-size versions. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Morning photo, national parks, photography, public lands | Tagged: Colorado, elk, Environment, public lands, Rocky Mountain National Park | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Some park lands seen as potential safe harbors from global warming
The southeastern and south-central U.S. are particularly vulnerable to ecosystem shifts driven by global warming. Map courtesy National Park Service.
FRISCO — Scientists zooming in on the potential impacts of global warming found that up to 25 percent of the lands managed by the National Park Service in the U.S. are vulnerable to vegetation shifting up slope and northward. The findings, published in the journal Global Change Biology, show that habitat loss from the development of roads and other urbanization, agriculture and deforestation makes ecosystems more vulnerable to climate change.
“We already established that climate change and habitat loss affect national parks, but this scientific study links these negative effects and identifies just how much of the landscape is at risk,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “The good news is that the study also identified areas of biodiversity that are refuges and wellsprings for species.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, national parks, public lands | Tagged: climate change, global warming, national parks, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wolves draw tourists to Denali National Park.
Death of breeding wolves affects pack size and persistence
FRISCO — Following a steep drop in the Denali National Park wolf population, biologists have documented how the death of breeding wolves affects pack size and persistence. The number of wolves in the 6million acre park in Alaska dropped from 143 in the fall of 2007 to just 55 wolves in the spring of 2013, raising concerns about impacts to tourism.
Many visitors come to Denali with the expectation of seeing wolves, but a recent state decision to allow wolf hunting in area previously deemed a buffer zone has had a big impact on wolf numbers. According to the latest research, the death of a breeding wolf sometimes results in a wolfpack disbanding. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Democracy, national parks, wildlife | Tagged: Alaska, Denali National Park, Environment, wildlife, wolves | 5 Comments »
Posted on July 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A law taking effect Feb. 22 allows citizens to carry weapons in National Parks if they’re allowed by state law.
FRISCO — The National Park Service will continue its push to broaden its interpretation of American heritage by launching an initiative focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans in the context of the American struggle for civil rights. National Park Service director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced the initiative with this statement:
“The men and women who serve in the National Park Service joined our organization to be part of something special, and all of us, no matter what our role, help bring America’s stories to life for our visitors. One of my priorities as we look toward the Service’s centennial year in 2016 has been to ensure that the stories we tell represent the diversity of the American experience and share stories that are relevant to all Americans. To help meet that goal, we have developed a series of heritage initiatives to explore ways that we can increase recognition of underrepresented groups in the National Park System through our interpretation and education programs and expand their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Landmarks Program. There is a wealth of information about NPS Heritage Initiatives available here. Continue reading
Filed under: national parks, public lands | Tagged: LGBT, National Park Service, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Scientists track impacts to ecoystems as temperatures rise
How will global warming affect wildflowers in Great Sand Dunes National Park?
FRISCO — National Parks across the country are facing an era of change because of global warming, scientists concluded in a new study showing that many parks are already experiencing temperatures that are near the extreme high end of the scale, based on measurements going back to 1910.
The report by National Park Service scientists concludes “that climate change is happening in America’s national parks, and in some cases in rapid and concerning ways,” and that “measurable plant and animal responses to recent climate change have already been documented.”
“This report shows that climate change continues to be the most far-reaching and consequential challenge ever faced by our national parks,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a statement “Our national parks can serve as places where we can monitor and document ecosystem change without many of the stressors that are found on other public lands.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Environment, global warming, national parks, public lands | Leave a comment »