Thanks to the National Park Service, a handful of our parks will be receiving some well-deserved TLC this year, and that’s not including the $12.5 billion dollars of backlogged repair projects queued up in Washington.
Lack of Money Never Kept Down the NPS…
One of the first projects NPS will tackle in 2017 is the restoration of the Colorado River refuge trails. These trails wind along the flood plain of the river, offering great access to one of the country’s finest waterways. But the meeting of trail and water, while lovely to hike, also causes paths to erode quickly. The heavy rains in the area last year forced more than half of the trails to be closed down. The National Park Service has recently sent staff to help restore the damaged trails. (What makes this project unique is that no monetary aid will be sent. Instead only the manpower of the NPS will help to complete this work.
New Experiences Come to the East Coast
Some park improvement projects are taking off in the form of new events and activities. Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is adding events specifically tailored toward active seniors. In Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park has added a night sky-viewing event with a focus on Native American culture. If you’d like to see the constellations as they appeared to the native peoples of Kentucky, plan a voyage to the park after dark.
Big Impacts at Crater Lake
Hikers destined for Crater Lake National Park will be happy to hear that several new trails are in the works. The park had about 750,000 visitors last year, but only a third of them took the time to hike trails. This prompted staff to start asking questions.
In response to feedback, a full-rim trail is being considered as well as a number of dog-friendly paths. The park plans to utilize each of the proposed trails year round with activities like biking, snowshoeing, skiing, and horseback riding.
Of course, all of these proposals are still in consideration. If you have some ideas of your own, you can submit them via this online forum.
Before You Visit
If it’s been a while since you last visited a National Park you may need to plan a return trip so you can check out everything that’s been updated. Keep in mind that there are a number of special free days. And if you’re new to the National Parks, REI has partnered with the National Park Service to bring you Find Your Park. Its a website that shows your nearest hiking trails and nature-focused events.
Looking For Guided National Park Trips?
Our good friends who operate Adventures In Good Company offer adventure travel for women who want an active outdoor vacation. Check out their 2017 National Park Trips…