Outdoor News October 27, 2017 - Explore! Outdoor News October 27, 2017 - Explore!

Outdoor News October 27, 2017

Park Service Proposes Higher Fees

According to an October 24 press release, the National Park Service (NPS) is considering increases to fees at highly visited national parks during peak visitor seasons. Proposed peak season entrance fees and revised fees for road-based commercial tours would generate revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks. This includes roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services.

National Park Service Photo“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting. We need to have the vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids’ grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today. Shoring up our parks’ aging infrastructure will do that.”

Under the proposal, peak-season entrance fees would be established at 17 national parks. The peak season for each park would be defined as its busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation.

The proposed new fee structure would be implemented at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

A public comment period on the peak-season entrance fee proposal will be open from October 24, 2017 to November 23, 2017, on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.

If implemented, estimates suggest that the peak-season price structure could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year. That is a 34 percent increase over the $200 million collected in Fiscal Year 2016. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 80% of an entrance fee remains in the park where it is collected. The other 20% is spent on projects in other national parks.

During the peak season at each park, the entrance fee would be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. A park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.

The cost of the annual America the Beautiful- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which provides entrance to all federal lands, including parks for a one-year period, would remain $80. Entrance fees are not charged to visitors under 16 years of age or holders of Senior, Military, Access, Volunteer, or Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) passes. The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 park sites charge an entrance fee, and the current proposal only raises fees at 17 fee-charging parks

The National Park Service is also proposing entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators. The proposal would increase entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours, including application and management fees. All CUA fees stay within the collecting park and would fund rehabilitation projects for buildings, facilities, parking lots, roads, and wayside exhibits that would enhance the visitor experience. The fees will also cover the administrative costs of receiving, reviewing, and processing CUA applications and required reports.

In addition, the proposal would include a peak-season commercial entry fee structure for the 17 national parks referenced above. All proposed fee adjustments for commercial operators would go into effect following an 18-month implementation window.

Information and a forum for public comments regarding commercial permit requirements and fees is available October 24, 2017 to November 23, 2017 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commercialtourrequirements. Written comments can be sent to National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.

Explore the Blog for Halloween

EXPLORE! has two major sections,  the eMagazine and The Blog.  The eMagazine offers stories of our adventures, background information on how to explore, product reviews and even descriptions of a couple of events.  The blog, on the other hand, contains generally shorter informational posts about almost anything related to being outdoors.  

Canby Cross- Lava Beds National MonumentWe have greatly reduced our production of blog posts, but many of them have continuing interest.  For example,  as we approach halloween,  you may want to go to The Blog by clicking on the top menu bar, and then search for ‘halloween’.  You will find four articles we wrote in preparation for halloween last year Halloween Adventures and Halloween Explorations both offer some places you might want to explore with some kind of relationship to halloween, like goblins, pumpkins, the devil, skeletons or hauntings.  The other two articles, Ghosts Haunt the Lava Beds and Ghost Towns celebrate getting outdoors in the search for ghosts.

If you got this newsletter via email,  it’s because you signed up here: explore.globalcreations.com/discover-club-signup/ and also got access to several free ebooks (or maybe someone forwarded it to you).  We have another mailing list that will send you new blog posts as they are published. You can sign up through your account, if you are already getting this newsletter by email,  or sign up independently by going to The Blog and waiting for the pop-over sign-up form to appear.  

Note that if you go to the website on a mobile device,  you will see a version designed for those devices and the menu will be in a dropdown.  If it looks the same on your computer,  you are in Mobile Mode.  You can return to normal mode by clicking the “Exit Mobile Mode” link at the very bottom right of the page.

Public Lands Funding in New Zealand

On Wednesday, The New Zealand Recreation Association expressed support for an increase in conservation spending, as outlined in the coalition government agreement. NZRA Chief Executive Andrew Leslie says the recreation industry, active New Zealanders and tourists deserve a better funded Department of Conservation.

Hiking in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand“The Department of Conservation manages one third on New Zealand’s land mass and by its own legislation is required to promote and encourage recreation. More than half of all New Zealanders visit Public Conservation Land at least annually,” Mr Leslie said.

“In recent years, the amount of land under DoC management has increased due to Tenure Review, the population of New Zealand has grown and there has been an explosion in international visitor numbers. Despite these factors, the funding for the management of recreational opportunities has remained static or declined”.

NZRA wishes to see increased DoC funding applied to recreational infrastructure that is used by both locals and tourists.

“Walking and cycling are New Zealand’s most popular forms of recreation. Expenditure on recreational infrastructure such as walking trails and cycleways is not just a coping mechanism for the tourism boom. It also enhances the lives of New Zealanders by way of the numerous social, economic and health benefits of outdoor recreation,” concluded Mr Leslie.


Maryland Black Bear Advisory

Black Bear by Hans VethOn Monday, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminded residents that black bears are beginning a period of increased feeding activity in preparation for winter hibernation. During this time, bears may become more attracted to human-provided food sources and lose their natural fear of people, which can lead to potentially dangerous encounters.

Black bears in Maryland are concentrated in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties. “Keeping bird feeders, pet food and trash in a place where bears can’t get to them is the best way to avoid problems,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. Marylanders should also delay filling songbird feeders until the winter months to avoid attracting bears.

Since bears may travel many miles in search of food, motorists traveling in Maryland’s western counties are reminded to watch for them crossing roads, especially during October and November. Bears will begin entering dens in mid-November; most will be inside dens by mid-December.


Getting Arizona Outdoors

On Wednesday, Arizona State Parks and Trails announced that it is teaming up with Outdoor Adventure Quest for the second Arizona app-based outdoor challenge. The three-day quest is returning to Arizona this December 8-10, 2017 with a variety of tasks in parks, and on trails, lakes and mountains throughout the state for a chance for questers to earn points and win prizes.

Arizona Geology by George TsapakisThe goal of this outdoor-based event is to get millennials outside to experience places they’ve never been and try outdoor recreation activities they’ve never done. There is no start line or finish line because this adventure was meant to be easily accessible across the state. All Quest teams will also get FREE day passes to all the AZ State Park.  The  passes can be picked up at OAQ partners across the state.

“There are so many great things to see and do in Arizona State Parks,” said Sue Black, Executive Director of Arizona State Parks and Trails. “Through this partnership with Outdoor Adventure Quest, we can help more millennials discover all the ways to have an adventure and that there’s never been a better time to get out and explore.”

Outdoor Adventure Quest Founder Lindsey Beres said, “We are excited to be working with AZ State Parks and tourism boards across the state to show Zonies what this beautiful state has to offer. So many people get stuck in the same circuit and locations of activities. This event motivates and rewards teams for getting out of their area and seeing the hidden gems across the state. It’s also the perfect time to try a new outdoor activity like rock climbing, mountain biking, acro yoga or even cool survival hacks and leave no trace tasks. And when Questers get thirsty we have a DRINKABLES category that includes breweries, wineries and distilleries across the state that Questers can visit to stock up on adult beverages for their campsite. There’s something for everyone to build-their-own adventure at their interest and ability level!”

Previous Quester Crystal says, “I’ve lived in Arizona 15 years and consider myself a weekend hiker and adventure lover. When I did the Quest this past April I saw more of the state in three days then I have since I moved here! I also discovered a ton of cool things I want to do with family and friends outside of the Quest dates. I’ll definitely be seeing more of Arizona now.”

Outdoor Adventure Quest is a three-day multisport, build-your-own adventure challenge. A digital event powered by an app that spans one state, three days, twelve outdoor sport disciplines and over 500 challenge tasks with varying points assigned to each. Participants can monitor just how impressive or lackluster they are with a live in-app scoreboard that shows the scores of teams all over the state. Teams compete to win four different ways and for oodles of cool gear from sponsors. Visit outdooradventurequest.com for more details.

WHAT: Outdoor Adventure Quest
WHERE: Arizona (statewide)
WHEN: December 8-10, 2017
COST: $45 until Nov 15th/$60 Nov 15th-Dec 1st/$75 Dec 1st-8th


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Video of the Week

You have probably seen unusual photos like the one that illustrates our Arizona article above, but what do you know about the source of these pictures?  This week’s video features the best of Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons where these photos are taken.  Enjoy!


This newsletter is compiled by Jerry Haugen and brought to you by
Global Creations EXPLORE!  The eMagazine for Adventure and Exploration

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