National Park news — 2/29/16

  • Tom Dell
  • March 1, 2016
  • Yosemite hotels change names March 1

    Beginning March 1, the names of some iconic Yosemite National Park lodging properties will change as part of a silly feud between National Park Service and the outgoing concessionaire.  The Ahwahnee Hotel will become the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Curry Village will become Half Dome Village, and Wawona Lodge will become Big Trees Lodge.  The new web address for reservations is

    National parks set all-time visitation record

    A record 307.7 million people visited U.S. national parks in 2015, the National Park Service announced last week.  This year, as the park system celebrates its 100th birthday, you can expect another all-time record.  That means, of course, you can expect big crowds at the most popular parks, especially in summer.  The national parks are well worth visiting, but you’ll enjoy them more if you can visit in spring or fall.

    Here are the top 10 busiest parks, with their 2015 visitation numbers:

    1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 10,712,674
    2. Grand Canyon National Park – 5,520,736
    3. Rocky Mountain National Park – 4,155,916
    4. Yosemite National Park – 4,150,217
    5. Yellowstone National Park – 4,097,710
    6. Zion National Park – 3,648,846
    7. Olympic National Park – 3,263,761
    8. Grand Teton National Park – 3,149,921
    9. Acadia National Park – 2,811,184
    10. Glacier National Park – 2,366,056  (pictured above)

    Carlsbad Caverns elevators are down

    The elevators connecting Carlsbad Caverns National Park’s  visitor  center with the Big Room have their ups and downs.  Right now, however, they’re just down.  It’s been for several weeks, but no date has been posted for resumption of service.  To visit the caverns, you can still hike down from the natural entrance, but you’ll have to retrace your steps and climb 750 feet to leave.  If you’re planning a visit, be sure to check the park’s web site:

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