OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

Feb 22nd
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The entire Bonita Canyon Campground at Chiricahua National Monument near Willcox, Ariz. has reopened following repairs due to mid-July damage from flash flooding and an easing of concerns over additional significant flash flooding during the monsoon.

The National Weather Service defines Sept. 30 as the official end to the monsoon; however, current conditions in the monument, including low soil moisture levels and low probability for precipitation, have allowed managers to reopen the campground.

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The National Park Service said it intends to keep and maintain Glacier National Park's historic red bus fleet, preserving it for future generations to enjoy.

A spokesperson said the park service was modifying the terms of a prospectus for the concessions operations at Glacier National Park to reinforce the park's intention to retain the operation of the entire fleet of red buses while providing safe, informative and memorable experiences for visitors.
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Taking a safe boating course does pay, especially for those who bring their boater education card or certificate to Lake Mead National Recreation Area during Memorial Day weekend.

The National Park Service is waiving lake use fees Saturday, May 28 through Monday, May 30, 2011 on Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, a savings of $16 per vessel, for boaters who show proof of completing an approved boating course.
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The National Park Service, The Conservation Fund and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) celebrated the addition of 4,265 acres to Petrified Forest National Park on Jan. 1, 2014.

Purchased by The Conservation Fund in January 2013 with a substantial contribution from NPCA, the lands are full of Late Triassic resources, including rare dinosaur fossils. The National Park Service utilized the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) - America's premier conservation program - to acquire the property.
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The Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service have combined forces to bring a special dinosaur exhibit from the Museum of Northern Arizona to the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona.

Included is the free-standing skeleton of Nothronynchus graffami, a sickle-clawed and feathered dinosaur that was discovered near Big Water, Utah, about 16 miles from the dam and near the shores of Lake Powell. Only three of these have been found in North America. Most of this species have been discovered in Asia.
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Ajo Mountain Drive at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona has reopened after being closed since Sept, 10, 2012 due to heavy monsoon flooding.

While the 21-mile scenic drive is open again, visitors are cautioned to watch for continuing maintenance work, including large trucks. As always, trailers, buses and RVs over 25 feet are not permitted.
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Capitol Reef National Park in Utah reopened the Hickman Bridge Trail on Nov. 27, 2013, but rangers are asking hikers to use caution when hiking through the area.

A significant rockfall occurred at the Hickman Bridge Trailhead off Utah Highway 24 on March 23, 2012. Several hundred tons of material fell, blocking the only trail access to Hickman Bridge. The trailhead was officially closed upon discovery of the rockfall.
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See sparkling decorations from many countries showcasing ethnic traditions at both the Education Center and Heritage Centers at Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska, from Nov. 29 through Dec. 31, 2013.

The Winter Festival of Prairie Cultures features the winter traditions of people who lived on the Great Plains during the homesteading era. Decorated trees and tabletop displays feature ornaments and hand-made crafts that reflect the spirit of hope, humor, traditions, and generosity which characterized settlers of the West. Cultures represented include Czech, French, German, Hispanic, Irish, Jewish, Polish, Scottish, Swedish, and Welsh.
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National parks and monuments throughout the West reopened Friday morning, Oct. 18, 2913, as federal appropriations legislation signed by President Obama got the federal government working again. Park rangers were busy Thursday night and into Friday getting parks ready to once again welcome visitors.

The gates to the world's first national park, Yellowstone, were opened after a 16-day closure. Visitors were being encouraged to return to the region to take advantage of the crisp weather and enjoy the last few weeks of the fall season.
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Two more Western states have reached agreements with the Department of the Interior to open National Park Service sites that provide important jobs and tourist revenue to their local economies.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado opened to the public on Saturday, Oct. 12, while Mount Rushmore in South Dakota will open Monday morning, Oct. 14, 2013, just in time for Columbus day.
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Facing an economic disaster for several of its rural communities, the State of Utah has struck a deal with the Department of the Interior to re-open the state's five national parks, Cedar Breaks and Natural Bridges national monuments, and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, with some sites starting to open on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013.

Utah agreed to pay the National Park Service up to $1.67 million-$166,572 per day-to re-open the eight national sites in Utah for up to 10 days. If the federal government shutdown ends before then, the state will receive a refund of unused monies.
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With Congress and President Obama failing to reach agreement on a new funding bill, on Oct. 1, 2013 the National Park Service began shutting down all parks and monuments, including those throughout the West.

The shutdown means that all national parks will be closed and secured, visitor centers and other facilities will be closed, education programs and special events will be canceled, and permits for special events will be rescinded.
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"The Waterfront," a major new exhibit at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park's Visitor Center, officially opens Thursday, April 19, 2012 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m.

Reflecting San Francisco's rich and culturally diverse maritime heritage, the free exhibit invites park visitors to walk though time, and see, hear and touch San Francisco's historic working waterfront.
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Editor's Note: On Oct. 1, 2013, the National Park Service began shutting all of its parks and monuments due to a lack of appropriations. When Congress and the President reach an agreement on the federal budget, parks will again reopen, including Chiricahua National Monument. The following story was prepared before the government shutdown.

The entire Bonita Canyon Campground in Chiricahua National Monument (NM) in Arizona is now fully open, according to monument Superintendent Robert Love.

Portions of the campground have been closed since early July 2013 due to the potential of significant flash flooding during the monsoon.
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Rainbow Bridge National Monument in Utah is closed indefinitely due to a trail washout after heavy rains fell in the area over the last several days, park rangers said on Sept. 13, 2013.

The damage includes a complete loss of approximately 150 feet of trail between the dock and the first shade structure, with a 21-foot drop-off into Bridge Creek. Debris has collected at the mouth of the creek and will need to be removed from the dock area.
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Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been awarded the contract to operate concessions in northern Montana's Glacier National Park beginning in early January 2014, the National Park Service announced Aug. 13, 2013.

The 16-year contract covers the operations of five lodges with approximately 500 rooms and cabins; four restaurants with more than 500 seats, five retail outlets; tours of the park in 33 historic White Motor Company Red Buses, and ancillary services including a hikers shuttle, laundry and showers.
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Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska will offer visitors the chance to explore how major constitutional and political forces came together during the Civil War 150 years ago to impact the nation unto this day.

Entitled  the exhibit opens Aug. 4, 2013 at the monument's Education Center and will be on display until Sept. 27, 2013. There is no fee to enter the monument and no charge to view the exhibit. The exhibit had been scheduled to open July 28, but logistical issues have delayed that original opening date, park officials announced on July 26.
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Summer is well underway and adventure is heating up at Utah's five national parks, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches, known as The Mighty 5.

Each of the five national parks in Utah, some of the most unique national parks in the West, offer a unique summer and fall visitor experience, but they can also be enjoyed together. With record visitation and a season full of events, the time is right to visit Utah.

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President Barack Obama has signed legislation changing Pinnacles National Monument into a national park, not only giving the Central Coast its first national park, but California the honor of having the most number of national parks of any state.

"The Central Coast has long been recognized for our beautiful shoreline, where mountains meet the sea," said Rep. Sam Farr (D-20th). "Visitors have traveled the world to see our coast but now they are going to come to also see our cliffs."
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California State Parks is notifying hundreds of campers headed for the Big Sur area that although a portion of California's coastal Highway 1 is closed, all state park campgrounds remain open with all reservations honored.

Those campgrounds include Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Andrew Molera State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and Point Sur Lightstation State Historic Park.
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