There is a lot of stuff going on in the National Park System this month. Here is a taste of some of the top National Park stories this month.
- Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably have heard about what many are calling The Great American Total Solar Eclipse happening on August 21. The solar eclipse will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina and will cross over dozens of National Park sites including popular National Parks like Grand Teton NP, Smoky Mountain NP, and Congaree NP. These parks are all expecting huge crowds to see the eclipse.
- Joshua Tree National Park has been recognized as the newest International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association. Other National Parks with this designation include Great Basin NP, Grand Canyon NP, Death Valley NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, and Big Bend NP. Glacier NP and Canada’s Waterton Lakes NP share this designation also as they border each other. Joshua Tree NP will be officially “sworn in” this month
- Road Construction in Arches NP starts this month and runs through November. As a result of the road closures, popular arches in the Windows Section will not be accessible. The Devils Garden Campground will be closed and traffic delays are anticipated.
- Many of the popular cliff trails in Acadia National Park have now been reopened. They had been closed during the peregrine falcon nesting season.
- Senior National Park Passes increase in price from $10 to $80 effective August 28th. The Senior Pass is a lifetime pass that is only purchased once and is available to seniors 62 years and older. If you are wanting to get a pass before the price increases, call before you visit as many National Park System locations are sold out. These can be ordered online on the National Park website at https://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior_pass_application.pdf.
- Tragedy struck in several National Parks recently. A hiker died of heat exhaustion in Grand Canyon NP on Aug 1st after getting lost, a mountaineer died July 22nd in a fall while rappelling from Forbidden Peak in North Cascades NP, and two hikers have been missing in Joshua Tree NP for the past week. On July 29 a near disaster struck in the Narrows in Zion NP as a flash flood nearly swept away several hikers. Luckily quick thinking and a human chain allowed everyone to escape safely. Unfortunately, overcrowding during the high season in the National Parks combined with extreme summer weather has created dangerous scenarios in the Parks. Everyone try to be careful and safe out there. rk