“Visitors to Yosemite National Park will no longer be allowed to leave their cars on the roadside while stopping at the Tuolumne River to explore nearby meadows and admire surrounding mountain peaks, under a plan released Thursday. …
“A similar plan was released in February addressing the Merced River, the other major waterway that runs through Yosemite National Park.”
“The California Coastal National Monument runs the length of the state and is filled with offshore islands, reefs and rocks — until now. President Obama on Tuesday will add 1,665 onshore acres near Mendocino to the parkland said to be the most viewed but least recognized of U.S. national monuments.”
“El Capitan isn’t going anywhere and neither is Bridalveil Fall, but a lot of the man-made structures on the floor of Yosemite Valley will be shifted around under the final version of the National Park Service preservation plan for the Merced River.”
“Park officials have for the past couple of decades wrestled with what to do about visitor levels as they attempt to protect the vital Merced River, which received a ‘wild and scenic’ designation from Congress in 1987.”
“When Retired Major General Anthony Jackson took over the parks system about a year ago, the department faced multiple investigations into its mishandling of state funds – and a closure list of 70 parks.
“In recent years, California’s Agassiz’s desert tortoise population has been decimated by shootings, residential and commercial development, vehicle traffic, respiratory disease and predation by ravens, dogs and coyotes.
“Now, dwindling populations of the reptiles with scruffy carapaces and skin as tough as rhino hide are facing an even greater threat: longer droughts spurred by climate change in their Sonoran Desert kingdom of arroyos and burrows, according to a new U.S.
“Most Californians know their state parks as a place to camp, walk on the beach or stare with jaws gaping into a canopy of giant redwoods. Fewer know the state parks system also guards one of the largest troves of historical artifacts in the nation. Soon, Californians will be able to walk through that remarkable assembly of artifacts for the first time.
“National parks from the Sierra Nevada to the Great Smoky Mountains are increasingly being fertilized by unwanted nutrients drifting through the air from agricultural operations, putting some of the country’s most treasured natural landscapes at risk of ecological damage, a new study has found.”
“With a federal government shutdown, padlocks are expected to begin going up Tuesday at the gates of hundreds of national parks across the United States from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay to the Washington Monument.
“State investigators have found unreported cases of an illicit program that let state parks employees trade leave time for cash and, despite extreme media and government scrutiny, ’still has not done enough to prevent such practices from occurring,’ according to an audit released Tuesday.
“The 43-page report sampled operations at five park districts within the $574 million Department of Parks and Recreation and found a budgeting system so disorganized that district administrators make an educated guess at how much money they’ll receive when the fiscal y