Beyond The Scenic Drive: New Ways To Explore National Parks

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This program was originally broadcast on April 26, 2016.

Ready, set, summer. New ways to get lost inside America’s National Parks with the writers of Outside Magazine.

Tourists photograph the sunset at the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine. The 1,528-foot mountain is the highest point on the shoreline of the east coast. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)
Tourists photograph the sunset at the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine. The 1,528-foot mountain is the highest point on the shoreline of the east coast. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Summer is here.  You know you want to get out—maybe way out into the mountains and surf and splendor of the National Parks.  The National Parks Service turns 100 this year.  We’ve let a lot of maintenance go in these beauties.  And sometimes overwhelmed them.  But they are still astounding.  This hour in an archive edition of On Point, the pros from Outside Magazine tell us where to go, what to see, feel, smell, hear to get the most out of the National Parks now. --Tom Ashbrook


Grayson Schaffer, senior editor and staff writer at Outside Magazine. (@GraysonSchaffer)

Kate Siber, correspondent for Outside Magazine. Contributor for National Parks Magazine. (@katesiber)

Axie Navas, senior editor at Outside Magazine. (@axie2020)

From Tom's Reading List

National Geographic: National Parks need a big shake-up — "The stakes are high, because the American West loses a football-field-size amount of land to development every 2.5 minutes, she noted. At the same time, scientists warn that the world is teetering on the edge of a great extinction of plants and animals. The issues are front and center in Yellowstone, where bears and wolves have returned in such high numbers that they have begun spilling out of the park boundaries, angering some local landowners. (Read about the issues confronting Yellowstone.)"

Outside Magazine: Ride Huge Peaks in Rocky Mountain — There are few places more beautiful for cycling than Rocky Mountain National Park, with its high peaks and pristine forests. Several paved routes cut through the 415-square-mile swath of northern Colorado wilderness. The most famous—and most crowded—is Trail Ridge Road, but few riders realize there’s an even more spectacular route, Old Fall River Road, running parallel to it.

Outside Magazine: Their Glory Is Available On-Demand —  Thousands of people watch—but few are actually there. Instead, most witness the action via live-streaming webcam, one of several in Denali run by the National Park Service, which has launched cams throughout the park system in partnership with organizations such as media nonprofit Explore. The Brooks Falls cameras at Katmai National Park, which have transmitted images of bears hunting salmon since 2012, have attracted as many as 19,000 simultaneous viewers from as far away as Australia and Pakistan.

Kate Siber's Top 5 National Parks

  1. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park - The largest U.S. national park covers 13.2 million acres in Alaska.
  2. Grand Canyon National Park  - located in Grand Canyon, Arizona. I try to do a backpacking trip on the north rim of the Grand Canyon – you are pretty much guaranteed an adventure on the north rim. You might find mountain lions. I did a river trip and got thrown into the river twice. I wasn’t a particularly experienced rafter. It’s a way to understand the power of the Grand Canyon.
  3. Big Bend National Park - Mountains soaring out of the desert in Far West Texas. For me, growing up on the East Coast, Big Bend gave me an entirely different view of the desert. You realize that the desert is many landscapes with all sorts of ecosystems. There's amazing gravelly canyons. A huge canyon that looks Grand Canyon-esque: Santa Elana Canyon. I remember hiking to wilderness hot springs under the full moon – it was so still that you could hear your heart beat.
  4. Yellowstone National Park - The world's first national park is spread over three states: Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
  5. Canyonlands National Park - canyons and buttes carved by the Colorado river, located in Utah.

This program aired on July 4, 2016.


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