From CBS News:
A national monument in Arizona, home to rare species and sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up this week as part of construction for President Trump's border wall, Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CBS News. "Controlled blasting" inside Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument began this week without consultation from the Native American nation whose ancestral land it affects, according to the congressman whose district includes the reservation.
"There has been no consultation with the nation," said Congressman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, who is the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources and whose district contains the reservation and shares 400 miles of border with Mexico. "This administration is basically trampling on the tribe's history — and to put it poignantly, it's ancestry."
Unfortunately, the burial grounds are not technically part of the land that the US government had designated as property of the Tohono O'odham Nation. They are adjacent to the reservation; but under US law, that puts them onto public property.
The glaringly obvious issue here is the complete and utter disrespect for the religion and culture of non-white, non-Christian people — in this case, people with roots in this country that far pre-date any white or Christian roots here. In fact, shortly before construction began, archaeologists artifacts and bone fragments at the site that were 10,000 years point.
But then, at this point, I'm honestly not sure if there would be any backlash if the Trump administration blew up a white Evangelical cemetery, or if they'd all cheer him on in the name of White American Jesus. Read the rest
Approximately 170 people who recently visited Yosemite are suffering stomach pain, nausea and diaherria.
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About 170 people who've gone to Yosemite National Park this month are suffering from gastrointestinal illness, including visitors and employees.
Two of the cases are confirmed as norovirus, and the majority of the others are consistent with the virus, the park said in a statement Thursday. Most of the incidents occurred around the first week of January, and there has been a decline of new cases in the past several days, it said.
The park is investigating the circumstances surrounding the illness and is interviewing affected people. It has also enhanced sanitation protocols to prevent further spread of the disease.
Last month, the "Wizard Rock," an iconic 1-ton boulder, mysteriously vanished without a trace from Arizona's Prescott National Forest. It was the third boulder disappearance in the region over the last few months. Read the rest
National Park is a free typeface from The Design Outside Studio based on the "National Park Service signs that are carved using a router bit." Studio founder and University of Kansas design professor Jeremy Shellhorn was visiting Rocky Mountain National Park when inspiration hit. He writes:
I had a sketchbook with me and took some rubbings of the letterforms and asked my friend Miles Barger, the Visual Information Specialist for Rocky, if he had the typeface. He asked the sign shop. No one has it? Turns out it isn’t a typeface at all but a system of paths, points and curves that a router follows.
The router’s "bit" follows the path and gives the letters its stroke weight or thickness only when engraving a sign.
It doesn't really exist as a typeface unless a sign is made.
So my design colleague, Andrea Herstowski, students Chloe Hubler and Jenny O'Grady, NPS Ranger Miles Barger and myself decided to make this router typeface a thing.
Our National Parks belong to the people, so this typeface should too.
National Park Typeface (via Kottke)
Read the rest
Trump's government shutdown, now on day 17 and counting, has led to the closure of Joshua Tree National Park. Read the rest
I live in a small, grandfathered, community inside of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. The government shutdown is making parks scary for tourists and residents alike.
It is vacation time! People want to get out and enjoy nature! The weather is beautiful, the skies are super clear in the San Francisco Bay area, and the roads are completely jammed up with people unclear as to what is open and what is not. Encountering a mile long SNAFU of confused drivers will eat hours of your time.
Parking lots located at the end of narrow 2-way but 1-car wide 'roads' are locked with no warning. Giant SUVs illegally park in sensitive habitats, just off the roadway, or just choke narrow streets into unpassable nightmares. Confusion abounds. Cooperation disappears. Absolute proof American libertarianism is a farce.
I will spare you to stories of where people are leaving trash or the number of folks we've seen eliminating on the roadside. Those redwoods are majestic, must be interesting to crap on one.
NBC has more:
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Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors despite the staff furloughs, said John Garder, senior budget director of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association.
"We're afraid that we're going to start seeing significant damage to the natural resources in parks and potentially to historic and other cultural artifacts," Garder said. "We're concerned there'll be impacts to visitors' safety."
"It's really a nightmare scenario," Garder said.
Spokespeople with the Interior Department did not immediately return emails seeking comment on Monday.
No, they aren't after people who litter. The National Park Service's Investigative Services Branch (ISB) of 33 special agents handle the rapes, murders, assaults, robberies, poaching, drug smuggling, and other big crimes that occur on the 85 million acres of United States parks, historical sites, monuments, and other NPS turf. From Outside:
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ISB agents are a strange breed. They require a high tolerance for time alone in the backcountry—but because solving crimes typically comes down to getting information from people, they also need social skills. “I look for people who can talk to anybody,” Sullivan told me. Each of the half-dozen agents in the office was drawn to the job for different reasons. Kristy McGee, a petite blonde wearing cowboy boots, specialized in violent crime. “I had a very chaotic childhood. I was exposed to a lot of adult-natured things—drugs, abuse,” she told me. “I found a place where I can use that to relate to people.”
Steve Kim, who has salt-and-pepper hair and a degree in wildlife ecology, told me about how he had spent the summer of 1995 living the life of a dirtbag climber, when Yosemite put out a call asking climbers to help with a death investigation. While rappelling off the east ledges of El Capitan, looking for clues, Kim discovered that ISB work suited him—“It’s probably my obsessive-compulsive tendencies”—and never looked back.
Cullen Tucker, the office’s youngest agent at age 30, was born into the business; his dad is a former deputy chief ranger at Yosemite, and his mom was one of the park’s first female investigators.
If you want to visit a National Park, and don't mind crowds, Saturday is the day for you.
Via the NPS:
There are many ways to participate in National Public Lands Day.
You can visit a national park for free.
You can take part in a volunteer work project.If you volunteer on this day, you will receive a fee-free day coupon to be used on a future date.
You can share your favorite outdoor activity on social media channel with the hashtag #NPSVolunteer, #FindYourPark and #NPLD!
National Public Lands Day is organized annually by the National Environmental Education Foundation, in cooperation with Department of the Interior, Department of the Army, and Department of Agriculture. The National Park Service is one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteers. Other participating federal agencies include the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers.
Warning: Parking will be a disaster at many of our popular parks. Read the rest
Embattled Trump Secretary of the Interior chair Ryan Zinke (previously) unveiled a plan to raise the service charge for using our nation's parks to $70/day (it's currently $25/day), a move that would price access to national parks out of the budgets of 71% of working-class Americans.
Read the rest
I've just learned about the Art Rangers program. It's a cool non-profit, founded by Oscar Nilsson and Alex Tatem, that allows artists to donate fine art photo prints inspired by the National Parks. Folks can then buy the prints to help save our park, as all of the proceeds benefit the National Park Foundation. You can look at the art here and you can become an Art Ranger yourself here.
(The listserve) Read the rest
More Than Just Parks is a wonderful channel that showcases the incredible natural beauty of America's national parks. Their latest video celebrates Rocky Mountain National Park. Read the rest
The famed Yosemite Firefall (previously) is a rare phenomenon when the setting sun hits Horsetail Fall with its dying light. Rogelio Bernal Andreo just took it to next level, capturing the even more rare moonlight firefall. Read the rest
The latest stunning video from artistic collaborators in the dark sky movement is Kaibab Elegy by Harun Mehmedinovic, shot at the Grand Canyon. At about a minute in, there's a rare and hypnotic full cloud inversion worth the wait. Read the rest
A point of American pride, our national park system, is sadly underfunded and lost. The Seattle Times shares one piece of the story, corporate sponsorship.
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Captured at Katmai National Park in Alaska. Read the rest
Number 10 — a Yellowstone Park elk famous for fighting with other elk, grade-school volleyball nets, and R.V.s — has died. Estimated to have been between 15 and 18 years old, he apparently lost a battle with a vehicle. Read the rest