Tag: public lands

Travel: National parks celebrate centennial by offering free admission April 16-24

Special events planned throughout the year

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Rocky Mountain National Park pano. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

The National Park Service is celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year, and visitors can join the party by taking advantage of free admission to all national parks from April 16 to April 24.

“We have an amazing variety of special events taking place during the centennial,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a press release. “Some commemorate our first hundred years, but many others look to the future, to the next 100 years, and will help connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. It is through them that America’s lands and stories will be preserved and passed on to future generations,” Jarvis said. Continue reading “Travel: National parks celebrate centennial by offering free admission April 16-24”

Forest Service eyes camping ban along Montezuma Road

The U.S. Forest Service wants to ban camping along the Snake River between Keystone and Montezuma.
The U.S. Forest Service wants to ban camping along the Snake River between Keystone and Montezuma.

Long-term camping, littering and wildfire danger cited as reasons for proposal

Staff Report

A popular free camping zone between Keystone and Montezuma could be shut down by the U.S. Forest Service. According to the agency, the informal campsites have become a nuisance, with long-term campers damaging natural resources and littering the area with human waste and trash.

As a result, the Forest Service wants to ban overnight camping  year-round in the areas within 0.25 miles of Montezuma Road. The closure cover an area about four miles long and a half mile wide. The area would remain open to day-use activities. Continue reading “Forest Service eyes camping ban along Montezuma Road”

Public lands: U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to Tongass National Forest roadless area protection

Tongass National Forest map
The Tongass National Forest’s roadless areas will continue to be protected from logging and other development.

Alaska’s bid for more logging in roadless areas hits a brick wall

Staff Report

Fifteen years of wrangling over a national public lands roadless rule ended with a whimper last week, as the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the State of Alaska to open parts of the Tongass National Forest to logging.

Alaska went to the Supreme Court to try and overturn lower court rulings that had found that the Bush administration improperly exempted the Tongass from the landmark conservation measure.

A coalition including the Organized Village of Kake (a federally recognized Alaska Native tribe), tourism businesses, and conservationists joined the federal government in urging the Supreme Court to leave the lower court rulings intact.

The roadless sections of the Tongass National Forest are important for wildlife and to local residents for hunting, fishing, recreation, and tourism, the driving forces of the local economy.

“The Supreme Court’s decision means that America’s biggest national forest, the Tongass, will continue to benefit from a common-sense rule that applies nationwide,” said Earthjustice attorney Tom Waldo.

Public lands: Utah congressmen try to strip federal land agencies of their law enforcement authority

Proposed measure is the latest attack on public lands by anti-environmental extremists in Congress

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Western public lands are under assault by right-wing extremists. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

After failing repeatedly in their far-fetched attempts to claim state authority over federally managed public lands, extremist anti-environment lawmakers from the West are trying a new front in their continued attacks on the federal government.

A new measure introduced in the U.S. House would take away law enforcement authorities from agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Instead, local sheriffs would be tasked with policing those lands. Continue reading “Public lands: Utah congressmen try to strip federal land agencies of their law enforcement authority”

Forest Service rejects development bid near Grand Canyon

The U.S. Forest Service has rejected a proposal that would have enabled a sprawling real estate development near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The U.S. Forest Service has rejected a proposal that would have enabled a sprawling real estate development near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Conservation groups, Native Americans united in bid to oppose real estate speculation near national park

Staff Report

The U.S. Forest Service has nixed a tentative plan to develop a new mega-resort near the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

As proposed in April 2015, the the plan would have resulted in major real estate sprawl around the village of Tusayan, with up to 2,100 residential units and 3 million square feet of retail space along with hotels, a spa and conference center.

The Forest Service had to decide whether to permit road and infrastructure improvements on publicly owned lands near the Grand Canyon that would have facilitated the development. Last week,  Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Heather Provencio rejected the plan. Continue reading “Forest Service rejects development bid near Grand Canyon”

Travel: Death Valley sees wildflower ‘ super bloom’

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Desert gold wildflowers blooming along Badwater Road in Death Valley. Photo courtesy NPS.

El Niño rains bring desert to life

Staff Report

Seeds that have been dormant for years in Death Valley’s harsh desert environment have burst into bloom this year, bringing the best wildflower bloom in a decade, according to the National Park Service.

A series of unusual storms in October dropped locally heavy rainfall in several areas of the park. The most rain fell in places without official rain gauges, but the National Weather Service estimated that over 3 inches of rain fell in just 5 hours in one area of the park. This autumn soaking was followed by enough winter rain to cause the widespread wildflower bloom. Continue reading “Travel: Death Valley sees wildflower ‘ super bloom’”

Forest Service eyes permits for Vail Pass bike haulers

Agency considers expansion of downhill bike activity

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More downhill biking eyed at Vail Pass, Colorado.

Staff Report

In the age of instant gratification, it’s probably not surprising that coasting downhill on a mountain bike has become a popular pastime in Summit County. As a result, the U.S. Forest Service is preparing to authorize several ten-year special use permits to different individuals and organizations to serve up to a total of 20,000 downhill cyclists during the summer season.

Up to now, the shuttle service has been authorized under temporary permits serving up to 16,000 people, served by as many as 12 different local businesses, all hauling tourists to the top of Vail Pass so they can zoom back down on the bike path. Continue reading “Forest Service eyes permits for Vail Pass bike haulers”