Canyonlands National Park

Ancient ruins in Woodenshoe Canyon, in Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness.

Trump May Shrink Some Monuments. Here’s What We Could Lose

By Michael Lanza

As my friend David and I set out from the Peavine Canyon Trailhead on a 40-mile, mid-May backpacking trip through southeastern Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness—part of the Bears Ears National Monument now in the gunsights of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who’s proposing that President Donald Trump radically shrink this and other national monuments, something no president has ever done—a young cowboy rode up on a horse. He launched into a conversation that lasted just a few minutes, but spoke volumes about the broad chasm dividing the values and motives of people like Zinke, Trump, and others who want to diminish these lands from those of us who use and cherish them.

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Taylor Creek Trail, Zion National Park.

Photo Gallery: Exploring Utah’s 5 National Parks

By Michael Lanza

All of America’s 59 national parks possess special qualities and scenery, without a doubt. But southern Utah’s concentration of unique and awe-inspiring landscapes sets its five parks apart from the rest—and they’re each quite different from one another. Arches has more than 2,000 natural stone arches, as well as hundreds of soaring pinnacles, giant fins, and balanced rocks. Bryce Canyon holds the world’s greatest number of hoodoos, or bizarrely shaped pinnacles created by erosion.

Canyonlands is a vast wonderland of multi-colored cliffs, deep canyons, tall spires, and two major rivers. Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket Fold, a nearly 100-mile-long, jumbled ridge of solid rock, conceals sandstone domes, natural bridges, beautiful canyons, and bighorn sheep. And Zion, Utah’s first and one of America’s flagship national parks, defies easy description from the 2,000-foot cliffs of Zion Canyon to a backcountry filled with geologic anomalies.

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Sunset at Idaho's City of Rocks National Reserve.

10 Photos From 2016 Adventures That Will Inspire You to Get Outdoors

By Michael Lanza

What trips did you take in 2016 that reinvigorated you and fired your enthusiasm for the outdoors? Looking back through thousands of photos I took over the past year, I’ve selected some favorite images I captured on 10 memorable adventures in 2016—including several with my family. The list ranges from multi-day backpacking, river, and climbing trips in five states to outings as short as a half-day within an hour of my home. These trips occurred in seven national parks and an equal number of places managed as wilderness, from Washington’s North Cascades to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado, from California’s Mount Whitney to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Perhaps more than anything, these pictures illustrate the diversity and wealth of natural beauty that we have many reasons to celebrate in America.

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The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial

By Michael Lanza

When the National Park Service turns 100 on Aug. 25, it will mark not just the diamond anniversary of what writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called “the best idea we ever had”—it marks the evolution and growth of that idea from a handful of parks created in the early days to a system in many ways without parallel, that protects 52 million acres of mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, deserts, prairies, caves, islands, bays, fjords, badlands, natural arches, and seashores in 59 parks. Without that protection, these places that draw visitors from around the world would otherwise almost certainly have been exploited and destroyed.

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Ouzel Lake in Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Looking For A Great National Park Trip? Look Here

By Michael Lanza

When I think about U.S. national parks, I remember hiking with my family to Yosemite Valley’s waterfalls. Seeing Yellowstone’s geysers both in summer (a great park trip with kids young or older) and cross-country skiing in winter. Sea kayaking in Alaska’s majestic Glacier Bay. Exploring the canyons and gazing in awe at the sculptured rock of southern Utah’s Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. And numerous, incomparable backpacking trips in Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Yosemite, Mount Rainier, Sequoia, North Cascades, Rocky Mountain (lead photo at top of story), Great Sand Dunes, and, of course, Glacier.

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