Tag Archives: Denali National Park

Zinke’s Plan to Jack Up National Park Entrance Fees is a Shell Game

November 19, 2017  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.

By Michael Lanza

Beginning next year, the cost to enter 17 flagship national parks—including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier, Arches, Olympic, Acadia, and Denali—could more than double under a proposal from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The goal is to tackle an enormous maintenance backlog in parks that has built up for years.

But as structured, this plan won’t accomplish that goal, and burdens people who can least afford it. When it comes to confronting a problem that has become the shame of the Interior Department, this plan represents nothing more than throwing a rug over a crisis and calling it good. Continue reading →

April 20, 2017 Tundra in autumn, Denali National Park, Alaska.

Photographing All 59 National Parks: 5 Top Tips From QT Luong

In Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

The number of people who can say they’ve visited all 59 of America’s national parks comprise a fairly small club. Only one person has made large-format photographs in all of them. In the 400 vividly sharp images in his beautiful and inspiring, coffee-table book Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks, photographer QT Luong distills the results of more than 20 years and 300 trips hiking, paddling, diving, skiing, snowshoeing, and climbing in every park, every type of environment, every season, and at all times of day and night.

Now, in an interview with The Big Outside, Luong talks about this project and offers his top five tips for shooting outdoors, for photographers from amateurs to pros. Continue reading →

March 12, 2017 The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah.

10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments

By Michael Lanza

The first time I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, more than 25 years ago, I applied months in advance for a permit to start at the park’s most popular trailhead, Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley—and got it. I had no idea at the time how lucky I was. I’ve since been shot down trying to get permits for popular hikes in parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Glacier. But I’ve also learned many tricks for landing coveted backcountry permits in flagship parks—which receive far more requests for permit reservations than they can accommodate. Continue reading →

April 4, 2016 Mount Rainier National Park.

Will the National Parks Bring Their Backcountry Permit System Into the Digital Era?

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Last month, a storm caused a power outage at Mount Rainier National Park during a two-week period when rangers received about 2,000 requests from backpackers and climbers for backcountry permit reservations for 2016. (One of those requests, coincidentally, was mine.) The outage sparked a “critical failure” of the park’s reservation system, forcing management to abandon it and announce they would issue permits only first-come, first-served for all of 2016—not convenient for anyone traveling a distance to explore Rainier’s backcountry or thru-hike the Wonderland Trail.

Rainier’s crisis throws a spotlight on a larger dilemma facing the National Park Service: In an age when we can swipe and click to purchase almost any product or service, many national parks have plodded into the Digital Era with an archaically 20th-century system for reserving and issuing permits to camp in the backcountry—a system involving snail mail and fax machines. (If you’re not old enough to remember the 1980s and 1990s, Google “fax” on your smartphone.) At some parks, you must actually still show up in person, stand in line, and hope for the best.

Finally, though, it appears the national parks are making a bold leap into the 21st century, a change that should make exploring the backcountry of most parks—or at least getting permission to do so—much easier. Continue reading →

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