Archive for the ‘National parks’ Category

Winter – Moab, Utah’s Secret Season for Uncrowded Adventure

January 23, 2022
Moab Adventure Center offers many different experiences for enjoying winter getaways in this vast expanse of geologic history unique in the world.

MOAB, UT– Even in the winter, the rocks can feel warm to the touch as they absorb the sunshine that kisses the world-renowned, red rock playground of Moab, Utah. Here, precipitation of rain or snow visits fewer than 60 days a year. Come December, locals and visitors alike button up their overcoats against daytime temperatures that dip into the 40s.
 
While campsites are closed for the winter season, in and around Moab comfortable lodging remains open as do a variety of dining options. And everyone’s friend and go-to resource, Moab Adventure Center (https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/), continues to welcome queries about what’s to see and do in the short off-season between now and early March. Come spring the region once again prepares itself to meet the demands of a world hungry for wholesome, outdoor recreation.
 
But for those who can’t wait until spring, Moab Adventure Center has these recommendations for enjoying winter getaways in this vast expanse of geologic history unique in the world: 
 
Two, three, and four-hour Hummer Safari tours are available beginning in February. Rates range from $98 to $215 per person depending on the off-road excursion. All safaris are conducted in comfortable 4×4 off-road vehicles. Your driver adds meaning to the spectacular canyon vistas and stops along the way.
 
Arches National Park tours are conducted year-round by land or air. Land tours are four hours long and air tours range from 30 minutes to one hour. On the land tours guests have an opportunity for short hikes to phenomenal vistas of famous arches.
 
Air tours give a birds-eye view of Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park; a new flight allows visitors to capture spectacular vistas of Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.
 
Local experts recommend first visiting the Moab Giants Dinosaur Park & Tracks (interactive) Museum. A Dinosaur Discovery Tour reveals Moab as the original Jurassic park. The surrounding expanse comprised of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park invites the curious to ponder where those ancient creatures might have ambled and foraged. Note that the Dinosaur Park will reopen for the season on Feb. 18.
 
Hiking Arches National Park is a year-round, four-hour morning tour for hikers exploring this ancient plateau concealing more than 2,000 natural arches, representing the highest concentration of such wonders on the planet.
 
Throughout the year guests can rent four-door Jeep Wranglers so they can do their own exploring of the region. The jeeps hold up to five people and can be rented for 10.5 hours.
 
Moab Adventure Center has been exploring the rivers and canyons surrounding Moab since 1961 as Western River Expeditions, pioneers in the river rafting industry. Western River created the Moab Adventure Center to give this “Adventure Capital of the West” its full due with a focus on day tours and adventures in unparalleled red rock beauty, and to become a convenient one-stop adventure center in world famous Moab.
 
Through the late winter season, Moab Adventure Center recommends tapping into http://udottraffic.utah.gov to see real-time road conditions across Utah.
 
Moab Adventure Center (https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/) is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. Moab Adventure Center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure-related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.

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Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite Offers Families ‘Best in Snow’ Holiday Fun

November 18, 2021
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is continuing its tradition as one of the most festive resorts in the Yosemite National Park region with the return of its popular holiday activities.

FISH CAMP, Calif.— Tenaya Lodge is continuing its tradition as one of the most festive resorts in the Yosemite region with the return of its popular holiday activities. Seasonal offerings begin with Thanksgiving and continue through New Year’s Day, providing guests with a myriad of old and new resort traditions that consistently make the resort a top destination for holiday travel and celebrations.

The most enchanting time of the year at Tenaya Lodge begins when the festive décor goes up, transforming the lodge into a dazzling holiday haven where guests are greeted in the lobby upon arrival by the 35-foot, sustainable grand holiday tree, adorned with ornaments and fully-illuminated with sparkling lights. 

After decking the halls with décor, Tenaya turns its attention to holiday programming designed with the entire family in mind, ranging from the popular ‘Gingerbread House Decorating’ workshops where children and families can build their ultimate dream house using an array of sweets to listening to Mrs. Claus as she reads the traditional holiday story, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  Also offered are a number of family craft experiences, including ornament decorating and stocking decorating

The holiday season also brings the return of beloved winter activities. Guests can enjoy gliding over the ice while surrounded by the Sierra National Forest at the resort’s outdoor covered ice-skating rink that opens Nov. 23. When the area is blanketed with snow, families can indulge in snow play on the resort’s kid-friendly sled hill or guided snow shoe hikes to explore the surrounding area.

When it comes to holiday dining, guests can forget the cooking and cleaning and instead enjoy family time together with Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite serving up Thanksgiving favorites on Nov. 25. Holiday diners can enjoy the Thanksgiving Buffet in the Grand Ballroom from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., featuring a range of carved entrees, soups, salads, sides and all the Thanksgiving favorites. For a more intimate setting, a special plated menu will be available in Jackalope’s Bar & Grill from 4-9 p.m., offering portions for smaller appetites. On Christmas Day,guests can enjoy the Happy Holiday Buffet in the Grand Ballroom from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and a more intimate, plated Holiday Dinner in Jackalope’s Bar & Grill from 4-9 p.m. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all holiday activities at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite will be limited to in-house guests only.

Black Friday Sale 

Black Friday is another holiday tradition at Tenaya Lodge. Visitors can save big on a Yosemite getaway in 2022 during the resort’s biggest sale of the year from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Travelers can save 30 percent off a resort stay with booking dates through June 9, 2022. To claim the deal, readers must sign-up at www.tenayalodge.com. All website subscribers will be sent an exclusive link with instructions on how to book on November 26.

Setting the standard for High Sierra hospitality and adventure, Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is an award-winning, all-season resort adjacent to Yosemite National Park’s south gate. Lodge, cottage and cabin accommodations satisfy a wide variety of preferences and are set on 75 acres primed for outdoor recreation that invite visitors to explore and connect with nature. From the nourishing Ascent Spa to custom-curated Yosemite tours, guided hikes and seasonal activities, a deep appreciation for the iconic location is infused into every aspect of the resort experience that also includes world-class views, multiple pools and abundant dining options ranging from casual to candlelit. 

The winter is a great time to visit Yosemite National Park. It’s very quiet and peaceful with fewer crowds. The park is open through the south gate and you can hike. When there is a lot of snow, then snow shoes or crampons are recommended. Tenaya does a guided snow shoe hike around the property that is popular.

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, 1122 Highway 41 Fish Camp, CA 93623, 888-514-2167, TenayaLodge.com

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Yosemite Photos Can Win a Stay at Tenaya Lodge

August 8, 2019

Yosemite National Park, Calif.

Views of purple mountain majesty from The John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

You can win a stay in one of Tenaya Lodge’s new two-bedroom Explorer Cabins. Tenaya, located right at the doorstep to Yosemite National Park, California, is running a fun photo contest on Instagram and Twitter — all you need to do to enter is share a photo of a Yosemite adventure using #mytenaya and tag Tenaya Lodge.

The grand prize winner will receive a three night stay in the all-new Explorer Cabins at Tenaya Lodge in addition to:

  • Full-Day Yosemite Tour for four
  • Two 90-minute Spa Treatments
  • Two on-site resort activities for four
  • $300 dining credit
  • One tandem jump at Skydive Yosemite

Plus, weekly prize winners receive Tenaya Lodge swag.

For more information, follow this link: https://bit.ly/2YUgdJL.

Tenaya Lodge, 1122 Highway 41, Fish Camp, CA 93623, 800-722-8584, tenayalodge.com.

To see more about Tenaya Lodge, see:

Tenaya Lodge Provides Luxury Lodging Resort Experience at Gateway to Yosemite National Park 

Yosemite National Park: Best Valley Hikes for First Timers 

Yosemite National Park: Surprising Diversity, Dramatic Scenes Hiking Chilnualna Falls Trail, Wawona

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New Helping Hands Program Offers Opportunity to Live, Work in Yellowstone National Park

June 18, 2019

Yosemite National Park, Calif.

Imagine living and working in Yellowstone National Park © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

by Veronica Stoddart

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – “I don’t know too many people who get to spend five weeks in Yellowstone,” gushes Bernd Linzbach of his experience with the park’s Helping Hands program. “It was a great opportunity to explore the park,” says the retiree from Prescott Valley, Ariz.

He’s referring to the year-old Helping Hands program run by the Xanterra Travel Collection, which manages the Yellowstone National Park Lodges. It offers part-time, short-term jobs to people who want to immerse themselves more deeply in the nation’s first national park by living and working there while offering a “helping hand.”

“It’s a chance to spend real time in Yellowstone and explore the park when you’re not working,” observes Linzbach, who first experienced the program with his wife Debra in the fall of 2018. They enjoyed it so much that they repeated it in the spring of 2019. The Lizbachs worked in the housekeeping department at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel and the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and the Old Faithful Inn, tidying up, re-stocking, and getting the rooms ready for the housekeepers to turn them over for incoming guests.

Helping Hands requires participants to work 20 hours per week, between four and eight hours per day. They live in the park in dorm accommodations, which Linzbach says are basic with no TVs and slow WiFi. Some rooms have private baths; others are shared. Meals are cafeteria style, which at the Lake Hotel means having the same cooks as the guests have, who turn out food “of a very high standard,” he says.

Highlights for the Linzbachs were viewing wildlife and meeting people, including other participants in the program. “It’s not like a vacation where you have to try to see everything in a few days,” says Linzbach. “(When you live there), if you don’t see an animal one day, you’ll see it another. We were able to see grizzlies, bison, elk, deer, coyotes, moose, and even a wolf. It’s very special and fantastic to see all those animals.”

What advice does Linzbach have for others? “I would highly recommend this program for anybody interested in nature,” he says. “It was so inspiring,” he adds, that he and Debra are already preparing to apply for the fall season.

How to Participate

Submit your application now for the fall season. Arrival is on Sept. 5 and 12, 2019, and departure is on Oct. 15, 2019.

You could be assigned to the lodging or food and beverage department. Jobs include housekeeper, dishwasher, busser, or host. Training will be provided for each one. Housekeepers do light cleaning and prepare guest rooms for the full-time housekeeping staff; kitchen crew workers do prep, set up, service, and clean up; and hosts provide guest services in the restaurants.

You will be assigned to work in one of the following locations: Old FaithfulCanyon Village, Mammoth, Grant Village, and Lake Yellowstone.

Program perks include employee discounts in and around Yellowstone.

For more travel experiences available from the Xanterra Travel Collection and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.

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Record Visits to National Parks Generates $34.9 Billion, 318,000 Jobs for US Economy in 2016

April 19, 2017

CA-Yosemite-Tena_041517_505e2(c) Karen Rubin-MistTrail

Hiking up the Mist Trail alongside Vernal Falls in Yosemite Park during National Parks Week 2017. In 2016, America’s 417 National Park Service sites drew 331 million visitors and contributed $34.9 billion to the US economy © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, during National Park Week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that 2016’s record visitation of 331 million visitors at America’s 417 National Park Service sites contributed $34.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016 – a $2.9 billion increase from 2015. Zinke made his announcement while visiting the historic Presidio of San Francisco at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Zinke marked National Park Week by also visiting Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and Channel Islands national parks.

According to the annual peer-reviewed economics report, 2016 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, the strong economic output is attributed to record visitation and visitor spending in “gateway” communities near national park entrances. The report also found visitor spending supported 318,000 jobs in 2016, with the vast majority of them defined as local jobs, including those in the hospitality, retail, transportation, and recreation industries.

“National Parks are America’s treasure which provide magnificent outdoor recreation opportunities and serve as economic engines for local communities. In my own hometown of Whitefish, Montana, I saw how the popularity of Glacier National Park led to growth of the local outdoor rec and eco-tourism industry. And while traveling to Sequoia and Kings Canyon last week it was exciting to see tourism towns dotting the road to the park,” Zinke said. “This report is a testament to the tangible economic benefits our parks bring to communities across the nation. Visitation numbers continue to rise because people want to experience these majestic public lands.”

Zinke continued, “With continued record visitation it’s time to start thinking about accessibility and infrastructure. Last week, it was great to see the team at Yosemite opening up areas with new wheelchair accessible trails. In the coming years, we will look at ways to make innovative investments in our parks to enhance visitor experiences and improve our aging infrastructure. To ensure visitors continue to have great experiences, we will remain focused on increasing access and addressing the maintenance backlog to ensure we are on the right track for generations to come.”

More than 270,000 of the jobs supported by visitor spending in 2016 exist in the communities that lie within 60 miles of a park. These range from big parks like Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, which attracted 11.3 million people and supported more than 14,600 jobs, to smaller parks like Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire that attracted more than 42,000 visitors and supported 34 jobs.

CA-SF-MuirWoods_041317_755e2(c) Karen Rubin

A view of San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge from the ruins of battlements of historic Presidio of San Francisco at Golden Gate National Recration Area.. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited there to announce that 2016’s record visitation of 331 million visitors at America’s 417 National Park Service sites and a $2.9 billion gain in the contribution to the US economy from 2015. © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“National parks like Yellowstone, Zion, and Gettysburg connect us with nature and help tell America’s story,” said Michael T. Reynolds, acting director of the National Park Service. “They are also a vital part of our nation’s economy, drawing hundreds of millions of visitors every year who fill the hotels and restaurants, hire the outfitters and rely on other local businesses that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry.”

Visitor spending in 2016 supported 318,000 jobs, provided $12.0 billion in labor income, $19.9 billion in value added, and $34.9 billion in economic output to the U.S. economy. The lodging sector provided the highest direct contributions with $5.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 56,000 jobs. The restaurants and bars sector provided the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 71,000 jobs.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

The report was prepared by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. It includes information by park and by state on visitor spending, the number of jobs supported by visitor spending and other statistics.

Report authors also produced an interactive tool to present data in full color circle and bar graphs. Users can explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

National Park visitation grew by 7.7 percent from 2015 to 2016, the centennial year of the National Park Service celebrated with the Find Your Park campaign and promoted visits with such programs as admitting families with fourth graders for free.

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New Smartphone App Provides Audio Guides to America’s National Parks

March 6, 2015

A new GPS-powered mobile app from Just Ahead turns smartphones into hands-free audio tour guides of America's national parks.

A new GPS-powered mobile app from Just Ahead turns smartphones into hands-free audio tour guides of America’s national parks.

A new GPS-powered mobile app from Just Ahead turns smartphones into hands-free audio tour guides of America’s national parks.

Just Ahead’s app and audio guides work even where cell phones, Internet, and Wi-Fi won’t, to stream interesting stories spliced with geography, history, and even driving directions while cruising through a national park.

One example is Just Ahead’s Death Valley National Park audio guide, which recently garnered the Best Travel App award from the North American Travel Journalists Association. This award is due, in part, to the levels of professional travel writing and narration that present the myriad stories of each national park. Content writer and editor Bob Howells has twice won the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Lowell Thomas Gold Award for adventure travel writing.

“Our aim is to give travelers and their families an entertaining and educational travel experience,” underscored Just Ahead founder Gregory Morse. “We think the Just Ahead app and audio guides encourage exploring and getting off the beaten track. You’re engaged at the same time you’re learning.”

Just Ahead utilizes GPS technology to know exactly where drivers are on the road, and delivers stories and maps relevant to their location. Just Ahead also helps drivers avoid getting lost by providing helpful suggested directions. Just Ahead tells drivers why they should turn or not, what they should do after a turn, and recommends the best direction to take if there are multiple route options.

As of mid-winter 2015, Just Ahead apps are available for the following parks: Yosemite, Zion and Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley. An additional 12 national park guides are in production, including Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Petrified Forrest, Canyon De Chelly, Monument Valley, and Mesa Verde – with many more to come.

Just Ahead started with US national parks because they are treasured natural assets that are visited each year by 292 million people from around the world (2014 set a record for national park visitation). But the company intends to go beyond the parks. In the future, Just Ahead will offer guides for other major road trip destinations, including California Highway 1, Route 66, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Hawaiian Islands, and many others.

The Just Ahead app is a free download, and each destination guide is available as an in-app purchase. Guides range from $7.99 – $9.99 and include a free trial and free guide updates.

For more information, visit: http://www.justahead.com.

 

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10 Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day in Your National Parks

May 23, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Join @GoParks this #MemorialDay in honoring the legacy of
fallen American veterans in #NationalParks

The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, invites Americans to join in remembering our brave veterans in national parks across the country. On Memorial Day weekend, many sites throughout the National Park System will hold events in memoriam of the greatest sacrifice made by those protecting our nation, while other sites stand as permanent tributes to fallen soldiers year-round.

“Memorial Day is about taking a collective moment to pause and pay tribute to the valor of our fallen American veterans,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “National parks guard and honor the legacy of our brave military men and women in places such as battlefields, historical parks, and national monuments.”

From the American Revolutionary War to the events of September 11, 2001, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation work to protect the memory of those lost in service to their country. This Memorial Day, everyone can observe this day of reflection in a national park, paying respect to the ultimate devotion and sacrifice made by fellow Americans.

Celebrate and honor the memory of U.S. military members by:

  1. Learning what it was like to be a soldier in the American Revolutionary War at Independence National Historical Park (Pennsylvania) with activities and presentations throughout the day.
  2. Remembering the lives lost in the first battle of the U.S.-Mexican War at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park (Texas), one of our American Latino Heritage Fund sites.
  3. Paying tribute to America’s fallen troops — from the War of 1812 to today — at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Chalmette National Cemetery (Louisiana).
  4. Reflecting on the sacrifices of this nation’s military personnel at Shiloh National Military Park (Tennessee) by listening to living historians as they interpret wars from colonial times to today.
  5. Visiting the numerous sites at National Mall & Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C.) and taking time to remember the contributions and service of American veterans both at home and abroad.
  6. Recognizing the valiant dedication of the first African American military pilots in World War II at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site (Alabama), one of our African American Experience Fund sites.
  7. Joining Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Maryland) as they pay tribute to the graves of fallen War of 1812, Civil War, World War I and II, and Korean War veterans.
  8. Honoring of the lives of ordinary passengers and crew members, who joined together for an extraordinary act of selflessness at Flight 93 National Memorial (Pennsylvania).
  9. Exploring the Lincoln Memorial (online) through an interactive website that showcases the memorial and park ranger reflections on its history.
  10. Watching PBS’s live National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 25, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET, and enjoying the musical tributes by groups such as the U.S. Army Chorus, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, and the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.

To find even more events in national parks near you, visit the National Park Service’s event calendar.

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.  Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org

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National Park Week, April 19-27 Offers Special Events Nationwide

April 16, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. All 401 national parks across the country are celebrating National Park Week, April 19-27, 2014 © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. All 401 national parks across the country are celebrating National Park Week, April 19-27, 2014 © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

From April 19 – 27, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation will host National Park Week, featuring special events in parks nationwide. This year’s theme, “National Park Week: Go Wild!” invites visitors to celebrate all that America’s 401 national parks have to offer. With free admission to all parks on April 19 and 20, and exciting activities and programs scheduled throughout the week, National Park Week is the perfect time to discover the diverse wildlife, iconic landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history found in America’s national parks.

There are countless ways to enjoy National Park Week. Here are nine suggestions for what is happening April 19 – 27 in national parks.  A complete list of National Park Week events taking place across the country is available at www.nationalparkweek.org.

Go wild for bears. This year the National Park Foundation has teamed with Disney on the new Disneynature film, “Bears,” premiering just in time for Earth Day and National Park Week on Friday, April 18. For every ticket sold during “Bears” opening week, April 18-24, Disneynature will make a contribution to the National Park Foundation to protect wildlife and wild places across America’s National Park System.

Go wild for Junior Ranger Day.  On April 26, young visitors can celebrate National Junior Ranger Day by taking part in special family-friendly activities.

Go wild for a walk in a park. More than 100 free, ranger-led walks are offered during National Park Week. Hike to a cloud forest, take a sunset stroll, wander through John F. Kennedy’s neighborhood, and more.

Go wild for Earth Day. Tour John Muir’s house in California and take part in a combined John Muir Birthday/Earth Day Celebration with music, food, and family-friendly events.

Go wild for Hawaiian culture. Experience first-hand the traditions of Hawaiian sailing and Hawaiian crafts! Join a sailing expert guide for a ride on a double-hulled canoe and learn interesting tidbits about Hawaiian sailing techniques, history, and culture. Immerse yourself in Hawaiian crafts such as lauhala weaving, coconut leaf weaving, and lei making.

Go wild for Patriot’s Day. Commemorate the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War with parades, reenactments, and special ceremonies in Massachusetts.

Go wild for waterfalls. Take the Whiskeytown Waterfall Challenge at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in beautiful northern California and hike to Brandy Creek, Boulder Creek, Crystal Creek and Whiskeytown Falls!

Go wild for national park road trips. Enjoy a self-guided tour to historic places, most of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Each trip takes you to a variety of places significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.

Go wild for wildflowers. Spring has sprung and it is the perfect time to see nature in all of its colorful glory in parks across the country. Parks including the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and Cumberland Gap and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky will have wildflower walks and talks.

Using the resources on the National Park Week website, visitors can plan adventures, share national park photos, videos, and tips, and learn about all the ways to help support national parks.

National Park Week also offers many opportunities for the public to explore local parks, trails, and architectural gems sustained by National Park Service programs such as the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program and the National Register of Historic Places.

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Reopening of Yosemite National Park Means Tourists Can Travel Whole ‘Fossils to Falls’ Trail

October 17, 2013

CA-Yosemite

Tourists can once again complete the entire Fossils to Falls Trail, now that Yosemite National Park in Oakhurst, California, is open once again, following a resolution to the government shutdown shuttered all the national parks for nearly three weeks, according to tourism officials.

The shutdown has hurt a lot of businesses dependent on the millions of people who travel to Yosemite every year. However, it’s given other attractions in the area a chance to shine.

“We promote what we call the ‘Fossils to Falls Trail,’” said Jarrod Lyman, Director of PR for the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau.

“It’s an itinerary of attractions along the most popular entry in to Yosemite, the southern gateway, leading up to the park itself. During the shutdown, these attractions went from being part of a journey leading to Yosemite to being alternatives to the park while guests waited for it to open. Now that Yosemite is open, the trail is complete again,” he said.

The Fossils to Falls Trail includes attractions such as the Fossil Discovery Center in Chowchilla, the Madera Wine Trail, Bass Lake, the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway and many art galleries, museums and more, ending with the attractions inside Yosemite.

“Guests appreciated having some other great things to see while Yosemite was closed, but the park is the main attraction. People are ecstatic they can complete the Fossils to Falls Trail now,” said Lyman.

Officials also say that the reopening of Yosemite came at a perfect time.

“The leaves are changing and it’s absolutely beautiful. Fall is an amazing time in the park, as the changing seasons makes the park light up with color,” said Lyman.

“With fewer people in the park, there have been a lot more animal sightings. So slow down and bring a camera.”

To learn more about the Fossils to Falls Trail, visit www.YosemiteThisYear.com/what-to-do.

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Statue of Liberty Reopens; NYS Funds Daily Cost During Federal Shutdown

October 13, 2013

The Statue of Liberty has reopened to the public under an agreement where New York State is paying the daily cost while the federal government shutdown continues © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Statue of Liberty has reopened to the public under an agreement where New York State is paying the daily cost while the federal government shutdown continues © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Statue of Liberty reopened today, Sunday, Oct. 13, under an agreement reached by New York State with the federal government on Friday, October 11. Under the agreement, New York State will fully fund National Park Service personnel at the daily cost of $61,600 to keep Liberty Island National Park open to visitors as the federal government shutdown continues.

“While the federal government shutdown remains at a standstill, we in New York will not let this international symbol of freedom and democracy remain closed,” Governor Andrew Cuomo stated during a reopening ceremony. “The Statue of Liberty attracts thousands of visits every day, generating economic activity and supporting jobs that we cannot afford to lose. So today, we are back in business and Lady Liberty is ready to welcome New Yorkers and visitors.”

As a result of the federal government shutdown, the U.S. Department of the Interior closed all national parks across the country last week and furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees. In response to the economic impacts that park closures have on local communities, the Department is considering agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to reopen national parks in their states. These payments will not be reimbursed unless Congress passes a law to provide refunds to individual states.

Under Governor Cuomo’s agreement with Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the State will pay for the first four days of reopening the park, with funding coming from the State’s tourism budget. To keep the park open, the State must give the Department two days’ notice for every additional two days. The park will be fully open and functioning as usual. The State will pay the federal government $61,600 for each day that the park is open.

Liberty Island National Park has a major impact on the New York State economy. According to a 2012 annual report by the National Park Service, 3.7 million people visited Liberty Island in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs. Every visitor spends an average of about $35 for the ferry, food and souvenirs at Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Additional expenditures outside the park are estimated to be as high as $100 with each visit. The park generates more than $15 million in revenue from concessioner and franchise fees for the federal government, as well as $3.2 million in license fees to New York City parks plus sales taxes.

As a result of the shutdown – which has denied access to more than 10,000 visitors to the park daily – more than 400 direct jobs have been lost at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, including with the National Park Service and Evelyn Hill, Inc. Statue Cruises which provides ferry rides to the island has seen its daily ridership drop 50-70 percent, and the company now has 180 jobs at risk. In addition, the federal government itself is losing $50,000 per day in concessioner fees.

This shutdown also follows an 8-month closure of Liberty Island due to Superstorm Sandy. Ellis Island remains closed to the public.

For more travel features, visit:

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