national parks | WOSU Radio

national parks

color photo of Frank Lee Ruggles
Don Mears / frankleeruggles.photoshelter.com

Two and a half years ago, two people with strong ties to Delaware, Ohio, met each other when they were being inducted into the Delaware City Schools’ Hall of Fame.

The National Park Service is expanding its presence at the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton. The site had been closed during the government shutdown but will reopen on Friday.

In an unprecedented move, the National Park Service has decided to dip into entrance fee funds to pay for expanded operations during a government shutdown that has furloughed many of its workers.

The decision comes after reports of degradation in the parks — trash thrown on the ground, human waste piling up, and visitors behaving irresponsibly by letting their dogs off leash or even driving off-road to do donuts in the desert.

Everett Road Covered Bridge at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Summit County.
National Park Service

The William Howard Taft National Historic Site was closed as usual on New Year's Day, but the doors weren't unlocked Wednesday morning. Callers heard the following message: "Due to the lack in federal appropriation, William Howard Taft National Historic Site is closed."

Environmental advocates say time is running out to save a federal fund that helps improve local parks, pools, and playgrounds. 

Ohio’s Republican Senator, Rob Portman, was in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park over the weekend to highlight some of the maintenance that could be addressed by a bill before the Senate.

Nick Evans / WOSU

Bret Ruby trudges up a slight rise at the Hopeton Earthworks, one of six sites that make up the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. Ruby serves as Hopewell’s archaeologist, and he wears the dark green uniform and flat brimmed hat of the National Park Service.

The Interior Department is abandoning a plan to more than double entrance fees to some of the country's most popular national parks, opting instead to apply a "modest" fee increase to 117 parks beginning this summer in an effort to raise funds for park maintenance.

The announcement Thursday comes after an outcry from the public and from lawmakers, who were concerned that certain large increases that were initially proposed would price people out of the nation's parks.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Nearly all of the seats on the U.S. National Park Service advisory board are vacant following a mass resignation Monday night, with ex-members citing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's unwillingness to meet with them.

The Future of America's National Monuments

Dec 7, 2017
US Bureau of Land Management

President Trump announced the decision to shrink the Bears Ears, a sacred tribal site in Utah, and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by more than 1.1 million acres and more than 800,000 acres, respectively. Today we examine the decision, its impact, and what that means for the future of national monuments in the United States in the Trump Era and beyond.

President Trump has dramatically scaled back two national land monuments in Utah. The administration and Republican leaders in Utah say taking the land out of the hands of the federal government will allow the state to decide what to do with it, including protecting some areas and possibly allowing development in others.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

On a visit to Utah on Monday, President Trump announced his proclamations dramatically shrinking the size of the state's two massive national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Taken together, Trump's orders mark the largest reversal of national monument protections in U.S. history.

The change has already been challenged in court by conservation groups.

The National Park Service has announced a proposal to more than double the peak-season entrance fees at the country's busiest national parks, including Shenandoah, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon.

The park service said Tuesday that it needs the revenue expected from the fees to address its nearly $12 billion backlog of deferred maintenance. But the announcement has been met with worries that higher prices will push the parks out of reach for many Americans.

In 2011, the National Park Service put in place a policy to encourage national parks to end the sale of bottled water. The aim was to cut back on plastic litter.

It was not actually an outright ban — but 23 out of 417 national parks, including Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, implemented restrictions on bottled water sales. The parks encourage visitors to use tap water and refillable bottles instead.

Now, The Trump administration has reversed this Obama-era policy.

There are thousands of parks, refuges and wilderness areas in the U.S. that are kept in something close to their natural state. But one form of pollution isn't respecting those boundaries: man-made noise.

New research based on recordings from 492 protected natural areas reveals that they're awash in noise pollution.

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