If Beltway Insiders' talk of the sequester has made your eyes glaze over so far, here's something that may make you open those eyes wide: This postponed and renamed Son of The Fiscal Cliff, which goes into effect March 1 if no action is taken to prevent it, may mean at least $7 million in cuts to California's National Parks, Monuments, Recreation Areas, and Historic Sites. That could mean no seasonal ranger hires, closed campgrounds, and limited visitor center hours.
It could also mean you have to drive a few extra hours to get to the other side of the Sierra Nevada until the snow melts: the cuts would mean no budget for Yosemite National Park to plow Route 120 over Tioga Pass.
Aficionados of starry night skies already know that remote spots in Southern California are excellent places to escape nighttime glare. On Wednesday, the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA) made that a little bit more official, by announcing it had designated Death Valley National Park a "Gold Tier" International Dark Sky Park.
Vandalism of the Barker Dam has forced the management of Joshua Tree National Park to close off access to the popular area until further notice. The dam, built in 1900 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has seen an explosion of graffiti since around October, says Jan Keswick, the Park's Branch Chief of Cultural Resources.
Maybe you're twenty miles off the pavement, hiking through a narrow desert canyon. Or maybe, two martinis into your aunt's cocktail party, you take a wrong turn through her succulent garden. Whether they find you in the wilderness or in the botanic garden, cactus spines can hurt -- and the little hairy kind called glochids can actually pose a risk to your health if you aren't careful. It's always best to prevent coming up against cactus spines, but if that fails here's how to repair the damage.
There are two basic kinds of cactus spines. There are the stout kind, possessed by most cacti, that are best treated the same way you'd treat a splinter, and there are the aforementioned glochids, which require a whole different method of extraction.
Unless the California desert gets a bit more rains in March, 2013's spring desert bloom may be a disappointing one.
According to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve earlier this week, so little rain has fallen so far this winter that the Reserve's usual carpet of annual wildflowers "hasn't even sprouted yet." Without significant March rain, the four-fifths of an inch the Reserve has received since October just won't be enough to spur the awe-inspiring fields of California poppies, along with goldfields and owls' clover, lupines and other stunning annuals, that attract thousands of visitors a day in season.
California has a new national park, but it's nothing new to those already well versed in the state's great outdoors. Legislation signed by President Barack Obama today changes the name of Pinnacles National Monument to Pinnacles National Park. That technically gives California the claim of having the most national parks, even though the monument-turned-park was always a unit of the National Park Service.
Bike rentals may become a thing of the past at Yosemite National Park, as the Park Service works toward finishing a management plan for the Merced River that will bring significant changes to the Yosemite Valley visitor experience.
A report released by the National Park Service indicates that the mountains that encase the San Fernando Valley meet requirements for including them in the national park system. But whether that happens or not is a decision to be made years away and by Congress. For the last few months, park service officials have been seeking the public's input on the findings from a preliminary study and are seeking the public's input through Monday.
The California desert offers millions of acres of amazing things to see and do. With so much to choose from, where does a person start? We've got eleven ideas here. Did we miss your favorite spot? Let us know.
A Christmas day incident has led to the closure of Jackson Lake for the first three months of 2013. Angeles National Forest officials said that several visitors fell through the ice -- luckily all made it out safely.
The closure forbids visitors from "going into or being upon" the lake through March 31, according to the order signed by Acting Forest Supervisor Rachel A. Birkey. Violating it can mean a fine of up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail.