In March, across the board cuts throughout the federal government known as sequestration hit every single national park unit in the system. Now, with Memorial Day weekend signaling summer vacation season, a congressional report looks at the damage.
At issues is what was expected: services cut risk tourism appeal thus affecting jobs and the local economy in surrounding communities. From the Grand Tetons to Great Smokey National Park, campgrounds are closed or will open later in the season. In the Grand Canyon, reduction in visitor center hours is estimated to affect a half million visitors. At Cape Cod National Seashore, some 49,000 people will not be able to do programs like guided walks.
A wildfire that broke out Tuesday near the popular tourist destination of Scotty's Castle in Death Valley National Park has been contained, and the damage is less extensive than had been feared, but the castle and its immediate evirons will stay closed until everything's back to normal. That's according to a Thursday update from the National Park Service.
A fire of unknown cause is burning near the historic Scotty's Castle in Death Valley National Park, and part of the park near the castle has been closed to visitors while crews try to get the fire under control, hopefully by the end of the week.
The fire, which was sparked around 4:00 P.M. Tuesday, is burning in an area of heavy brush in a canyon north of the Castle in the Grapevine Mountains.
With the 24,000-acre Springs Fire fully controlled, officials in the Santa Monica Mountains are beginning restoration, making sure habitat and recreational opportunities get back to normal. On Friday, volunteers will take to Rancho Sierra Vista, removing tracks made by fire trucks so hikers don't mistake them for official trails and trample on sensitive soils and habitat. Then on Saturday, they will remove jointed goatgrass, a highly invasive weed abut the burn area that could now easily take hold in the burn area.
Miles of pathways throughout the Santa Monica Mountains will reopen after full control of a wildfire that ripped through 24,000 acres earlier this month. The National Park Service said Circle X Ranch and parts of Rancho Sierra Vista will be open to hiking beginning Tuesday morning.
Trails west of Yerba Buena Road like Mishe Mokwa to the top of Sandstone Peak in Circle X were not touched by the Springs Fire, but were closed as a precaution shortly after it ignited May 2. They, including the Backbone Trail to the Point Mugu State Park boundary, will reopen without restrictions.
But that's not the case for all of them.
A mountain lion was killed by state officials last night after it attacked an off-duty ranger in Redwood National and State Parks. The ranger, accompanied by his dog, was fishing around sunset at Crescent Beach. At some point, he noticed the canine being chased by a mountain lion. It then began to approach.
This year's early and intense fire season made an unfortunate visit to the Santa Monica Mountains last week, charring 24,000 acres, mostly in parks. Although the Springs Fire is nearly contained, it will be longer until open spaces and trails begin to open.
Much of the public outreach to the National Park Service and California State Parks has been to ask how they can help the 14,000 acres of burned parkland. To that, the two agencies this week announced a list of "three things you can do to help nature recover."
No big announcement was made, but the paved road in the White Mountains to Schulman Grove, along with the unpaved section leading beyond to the turnoff for Patriarch Grove is now open. Those are the two main groves for taking in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, home to some of the most gnarled and photogenic trees you may ever see. If that's not impressive enough, it's also where the oldest known tree in the world can be found, along with many of its elderly brethren.
White Mountain Road closes seasonally for winter, but as the story has been throughout this spring, California mountain arteries that traditionally see a May or June opening had their gates unlocked early. John Louth, who manages the 29,000-acre pine forest calls it an "exceptionally early" opening.
With the two groves accessible and the visitor center at Schulman Grove opening May 18, here's what you need to know:
San Bernardino County public health officials want to talk to a man who had a bat land on his neck at the Kelso Depot visitor center in the Mojave Preserve on April 30. The bat has since tested positive for rabies, and health officials are trying to locate the man to make sure he gets appropriate medical attention.
This is urban hiking at its best: two days, 35 miles, 15 Los Angeles neighborhoods, some 80 public staircases, more than two dozen parks, and -- most importantly -- making new connections and friends. Yes, it's that time of the year to carve our some weekend time for The Big Parade.
Now in its fifth year, the event that has helped popularize L.A.'s network of public staircases leftover from an era when streetcars outnumbered plain ol' cars comes back for two days on May 18 and 19.