Issues

The National Park Service and our 419 national parks and other areas across the country are constantly facing issues of concern to all Americans.

Many of the concerns are rooted in money. While the parks are funded mostly by federal dollars, there is growing dependence on partnerships and private funds such as donations and gifts to keep the parks in the best condition possible.

In this section of the Web site, we present dozens of news and analysis articles about the most pressing concerns, problems, and on-going issues facing the national park system today.

These articles have been regularly prepared by our reporters since 2007. We discuss funding plans, budget concerns, admissions fees and other revenue streams, accessibility for the disabled, attendance and visitation patterns, overuse of some parks, promotion and under-use of other units, the relationships of parks and their nearby gateway cities, and global warming impact on cold climate parks.

Further, we focus on park maintenance, care and cleaning of natural park sites, safety and security, crime, quality staffing problems, volunteerism, the most threatened parks and why they are in danger, and water issues within the parks of the west.

We give detailed attention to wildfires, wildlife management, plant and non-native species management, aerial tours and their impact on the parks, regulation of hunting in and around parks, park promotion, and the process of creating new parks.

Keep in mind that these matters change and our stories were as current as possible upon publication. We hope you will take some time to look into these important matters that impact Our National Parks. We feel attention to the issues is essential to the future of these special places.

National Parks Issues Spring 2015

Our issues and problems stories for the spring 2015 project:

Biscayne works to increase visitors

Colorado River rated endangered

Parks present dangers for unprepared

Venom Program fights Everglades exotics

National Parks Issues Fall 2014

Our issues and problems stories for the fall 2014 project:

Coastal redwoods restoration challenging

Disease threatens elk population

Diversity in NPS is work in progress

Everglades restoration comes along slowly

Glaciers at risk in namesake national park

Preservation at Castillo de San Marcos

Parks work to improve food services

Predator control at issue in Alaska

Running and training in national parks

Tanoak trees at risk in Redwood park

Volunteers are heart of volcanoes park

National Parks Issues Spring 2014

Our issues and problems stories for the spring 2014 project:

Denali works to increase wolves sightings

Endangered wildlife threatened in Hawaii

Lionfish continue to plague bay marine life

Oil drilling threatens Everglades region

Park volcanoes pose no imminent threat

Spotted owl population declines

Yellowstone manages bison

National Parks Issues Fall 2013

Our issues and problems stories for the fall 2013 project:

Everglades fights invasive species

Grand Canyon and alcohol consumption

Invasive insect threatens Smokies

Impact of federal government shutdown

Melaleuca a problem in the Everglades

Mining threatens national parks

Tick and Lyme disease threatens visitors

Vehicles diminish Smokies air quality

Wildbirds feel human impact in parks

National Parks Issues Spring 2013

Our issues and problems stories for the spring 2013 project:

Effort to clean air at Grand Canyon continue

Eradication of Brazilian pepper tree difficult

Film puts Lincoln historic sites in spotlight

Hurricane Sandy recovery slow for parks

Nightskies at their best in national parks

NPS moves toward healthy, sustainable food

NPS works to improve visitor diversity

Park rangers serve as NPS ‘backbone’

Park running events contribute to wellness

Red tide takes toll on Florida manatees

Remoteness creates smuggling opportunities

Park visitors have impact on ecosystems

Urban sprawl has growing impact on parks

White nose syndrome threatens parks

National Parks Issues Fall 2011

Our issues and problems stories for the fall 2011 project:

Air pollution diminishing quality of park visits

Bats offer much to life in parks

Bleaching endangers coral reefs in national parks

Child safety is high priority at parks

Climate change impacting parks in Alaska

Colorful invasive plants harmful to parks

Deaths at Grand Canyon point to risks

Disabled accessibility in national parks

Existing parks seek to expand to protect environs

National parks crime is minor, officials say

Ozone reaching dangerous levels in parks

Preserving Native American burial mounds

Protecting coral reefs from damage

Safe viewing near wildlife is park priority

Search and rescue teams train to be ready

Volcanos are dramatic, but dangerous

Parks work to minimize impact of visitors

Sustaining healthy forests in parks

Water pollution in national parks

Web cams take growing role for national parks

Wildfires pose threat to many national parks

National Parks Issues Spring 2011

Our issues and problems stories for the spring 2011 project:

Adapting for climate change in national parks

Dogs in the national parks

Marijuana growers bring risk to national parks

Increasing gas prices bring concern to officials

Parks respond to 2010 oil spill

Yellowstone transport system helps visitors

Parks offer range of extreme sports activities

Impact of development on parks

Youth programs educate about history, nature

Preserving scenic vistas of parks

Balancing visitation and preservation

Bear attacks in parks decline, but risks remain

Yosemite reservation scalping causes problems

Wildfires in national parks

Yellowstone caldera and its risks

 

National Parks Issues Spring 2010

Our issues and problems stories for the spring 2010 project:

Minorities and the national parks

National parks in Hollywood movies

The role of urban national parks today

Visitation and attendance in 2009

Commercial branding and the national parks

Keeping national parks clean

Foreign language use and foreign visitors

Consequences of overuse of national parks

Cell phones and their limitations in parks

Planning for natural disasters

National Parks Issues Fall 2009

Our issues and problems stories of the fall 2009 project:

Becoming a park ranger

Busy parks seeking solutions

Commercialization of national parks

Endangered park marine environments

Federal law allows guns in national parks

Fishing policies in national parks

Natural change in the national parks

Park visitor safety management

Parks, crowds, and traffic

Protecting Yellowstone’s wildlife

Search and rescue operations

‘Staycations’ and recession in parks

Underused parks often remote locations

 

National Parks Issues Spring 2008

Our issues and problems stories of the spring 2008 project :

Border security at southwestern parks

Cutthroat trout threatened at Yellowstone

Declining Everglades wildbird populations

Development at Valley Forge

Endangered Florida panthers

Garbage and trash removal in the parks

Gateway cities for national parks

Gun use in national parks

Invasive plants and animals in the parks

Noise and sound control in national parks

Promotion of national parks

Quagga mussel infestations in park lakes

Seashore and coastal preservation

Wind storms and flooding

Yellowstone wildfires in 1988— 20 years later

 

National Parks Issues Spring 2007

Our issues and problems stories of the spring 2007 project :

Access to parks for the disabled

Admissions fees and funding

Bison and animal management in parks

Attendance and attracting visitors to parks

Balancing maintenance, visitor services

Building and maintaining roads

Centennial Initiative 2007

Drawing visitors to remote western parks

Visitors and wildlife-feeding problems

Funding for maintenance and management

Global warming and cold-climate parks

Hiring employees for the parks

Hunting and poaching in the parks

Impact of aerial tours of the parks

Park resources management: A manager’s view

Park visitor safety and crime

Rarely visited national parks

Re-introduction of native species in parks

Safety in the parks

Terrorism and security in the parks

Top Ten endangered and threatened parks

Volunteerism in the parks system

Water and its importance to the national parks

Wildfires and other natural disasters in the parks