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
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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 »
Posted on June 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Big sky, no drones. Photo by @cotravgirl.
Agency to develop comprehensive long-term policy for new class of aircraft
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — If you’re visiting Yosemite, the Grand Canyon or other iconic American national parks this summer, you may have to contend with the normal problems like crowded parking lots, but at least you won’t have to dodge low-flying unmanned aircraft.
The National Park Service has issued a blanket ban on drones, as they’re popularly called, directing individual parks to draft written statements explaining how the ban is consistent with existing regulations. The new directive came from National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: drones, drones banned in national parks, national parks, public lands, Unmanned aerial vehicle | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Badlands National Park — not a place for drones.
Yosemite, Zion national parks issue reminders on aircraft regulations
FRISCO — Citing impacts to wildlife and other concerns, the National Park Service has cracked down on the use drones in Yosemite and Zion national parks under existing rules that regulate aircraft in the parks.
According to a press release from Yosemite National Park, drone use has skyrocketed the past few years, as visitors use them to film rock climbers and to get other aerial footage. Along with concerns about impacts to nesting raptors, park service officials said drones can impact the natural soundscape, which the agency is required to protect. Continue reading
Filed under: national parks, public lands | Tagged: drones, national parks, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Early morning kayaking near Frisco, Colorado.
New handbook to help guide management and development of launch sites
FRISCO — Hoping to stay ahead of the growing and diversifying demand for boating opportunities, the National Park Service is partnering with the River Management Society to help develop guidelines for new launch sites and access points.
Under the collaboration, the park service announced publication of Prepare to Launch as a resource to help river managers, planners, boaters and water trail leaders plan for and build access to waterways.
“‘Prepare to Launch!’ will help water resource managers provide safe and sustainable launches that strengthen connections to the nation’s waterways,” said National Park Service river programs manager Joan Harn. “By collaborating with the River Management Society and our state, local and national partners, we can expand everyone’s capacity to access and enjoy America’s rivers and waterways.” Continue reading
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Posted on April 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Montana court says bison are not livestock
A Yellowstone bison. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A Montana district court judge this month rejected yet another attempt by ranchers to block the restoration of bison in the northern plains. The ranchers sought to have wild bison classified as livestock rather than wildlife, but Montana District Judge John McKeon ruled last week that wild bison are wildlife under state law — regardless of their confinement in quarantine.
A legal classification as livestock would have transferred jurisdiction over quarantined bison from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to the Montana Department of Livestock—a move that threatened to impede any future efforts to restore native bison as a wildlife species in appropriate portions of their historic habitat.
“This ruling rightly discredits what amounted to a stealth attack on future efforts to restore wild bison in Montana,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, who represented Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation in opposing Citizens for Balanced Use’s argument. “Wild bison are classified as wildlife under Montana law. Now it is time to restore wild bison as wildlife on the Montana landscape.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Bison, bison restoration, Montana, Yellowstone National Park | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Dinosaur National Monument is best known for its trove of fossils, but also harbors a great collection of ancient Native American rock art. Photo courtesy NPS.
Stargazing, an Easter Egg hunt and movie screenings all part of the festivities
FRISCO — Dinosaur National Monument, in northwestern Colorado, will celebrate National Park Week with a slew of special activities, including an Easter Egg hunt of the younger set (April 20), a birthday party of sorts for the monument’s famed stegosaurus statue, as well as a twilight tour and stargazing.
“National Park Week is a great time to get out and celebrate your parks. At Dinosaur National Monument, we are excited to welcome visitors from all over the world,” said acting superintendent Mark Foust.”We would especially like to welcome local residents who may not have come out to the monument recently. We are proud to be a part of the local communities and would love to see as many people as possible re-connect with the monument and take advantage of the free admission days to get out and enjoy the quarry area and the canyon country.” Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Coorado, Dinosaur National Monument, National Park Week, public lands, Travel | Leave a comment »