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America's National Parks Podcast

160 episodes - English - Latest episode: 6 days ago - ★★★★★ - 567 ratings

Explore our national parks — their history, their people, and their stories.

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The Day it Rained Rocks

April 14, 2021 07:03 - 12 minutes - 11.3 MB

It was, literally, earth-shaking; so much so that a seismometer thousands of miles away picked up the vibrations. It contained enough force to push debris a mile under water, heaving it uphill onto the opposite shore, and generate a tsunami high enough to rival Seattle’s Space Needle. But this was no earthquake. Today on America's National Parks, they Icy Bay Landslide, a 60-second deluge of boulders, earth, and trees in a remote slice of Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Prese...

Protecting Alaska for Generations to Come

April 08, 2021 07:13 - 14 minutes - 13.7 MB

One of the most significant land conservation measures in our nation’s history was an act that protected over 100 million acres of land, doubled the size of the country’s national refuge system, and tripled wilderness areas. It created or expanded nine national parks and preserves, six national monuments, sixteen national wildlife refuges, twenty-five wild and scenic rivers, and two national forests, including our nation’s largest: the Tongass in Southeast Alaska. This legislation also creat...

Yellowstone Boosts Cell Service, Glacier East Opens, Condors Return to Redwood | National Park News

March 29, 2021 03:18 - 7 minutes - 7.02 MB

A collared Yellowstone wolf has been the governor of Montana, Yellowstone is seeking to improve communication services, Glacier National Park has re-opened the East entrance after over a year of closure, a man is sentenced for stealing over $3000 from Grand Canyon, Wind Cave tours resume, and more. All on this episode of National Park News. Public comment on the Yellowstone communications plan can be submitted here:

Community Science in National Parks

March 22, 2021 06:12 - 17 minutes - 16.1 MB

  Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are spending their free time counting birds, measuring water quality, or monitoring pollinators. They may also be counting asteroids, collecting bugs, measuring air quality, reporting wildlife sightings, or tracking monarch migration. The amazing thing is that these people are not career scientists. They live in the city and in the country, go backpacking or have picnics in the park. They vary in age and it doesn’t matter what their job is....

The Battle of Bunker Hill

March 16, 2021 14:27 - 13 minutes - 11.9 MB

On June 17, 1775, New England soldiers faced the British army for the first time in a pitched battle. Bloody fighting took place throughout a hilly landscape of fenced pastures that were situated across the Charles River from Boston. Though the British were victorious, the psychological toll inflicted by American soldiers from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire was staggering. Of the 2,400 British Soldiers and Marines engaged, 1,000 were wounded or killed. Today on America's Nati...

Restoring the Everglades

March 08, 2021 07:01 - 16 minutes - 15.2 MB

One and a half million acres of shallow-water marine habitats, freshwater marshes and prairies, saltwater wetland forests, and pine and hardwood forests provide refuge for threatened and endangered animals in the Gulf of Mexico. The green sea turtle, American crocodile, West Indian manatee, Everglade snail kite, and piping plover all depend on critical habitat within Everglades National Park. 1.3 million acres of the park is designated wilderness, making it the largest subtropical wilderness...

100.Years of Hot Springs, New Filming Rules | National Park News

February 28, 2021 07:16 - 8 minutes - 7.59 MB

Visitor statistics have been released for 2020, and visitation to parks was down about 1/3, thanks to park closures. There's a new National Park Service app, new rules for anyone taking video in parks, and Hot Springs National Park is about to celebrate a huge milestone. 

Scandal and Special People of Effigy Mounds

February 21, 2021 04:45 - 16 minutes - 15.5 MB

More than a thousand years ago in the Upper Midwest, indigenous people were moving mountains—literally. The Mound Builders changed the landscape by piling earth into tall shapes that could only be truly appreciated from up above. In our time, one Ho-Chunk woman lived a special life in this area, and one National Park Service superintendent went to prison for stealing the bones of her ancestors. 

100 Years at Mount Rainier

February 15, 2021 08:30 - 17 minutes - 15.6 MB

This week on America's National Parks, a great mountain of the west, and conservation lessons learned over the course of a century. 

Digging Up Dinosaurs

February 06, 2021 06:38 - 15 minutes - 13.8 MB

Much of the western United States was once blanketed in hundreds of feet of sand. The unforgiving sun beat down on the landscape for 20 to 30 million years during the early Jurassic period. Thin layers of rock allowed water to collect even in the dry desert, though sometimes it was hidden a few inches below the surface. Dinosaurs and other animals were able to survive the harsh conditions, and as the sand slowly turned to sandstone, traces of these animals were caught and preserved in the ro...

Mask Mandate, Commercial Filming Permits Struck Down | National Park News

January 31, 2021 01:47 - 14 minutes - 11.7 MB

It's time for this month's "news from the parks" episode. Today, we cover President Biden's new executive order requiring masks-wearing on federal lands, and a landmark ruling from a judge striking down the National Park Service's commercial film permit rules. 

Wolves of Isle Royale

January 27, 2021 06:43 - 19 minutes - 18.3 MB

With wolves decreasing at Isle Royale, the moose population could decimate the forest and vegetation communities. Neither species is native to the island, but a multi-agency wolf translocation strategy may save Isle Royale. 

Little American Island

January 17, 2021 06:56 - 16 minutes - 13.1 MB

Swirling between the borders of Canada and Minnesota is a vast maze of interconnected water highways – a wild space comprised of lush forests and isolated islands. Its history is fueled by the Native Americans who called it home, and the french fur traders known as Voyageurs. Peaceful islands dot the waters, but they also hold a secret. A golden secret. On this episode of America's National Parks - the story of Voyageur's National Park's Little American Island and the 1890's Gold Rush.

St. Croix Heroes and Mussels

January 10, 2021 09:12 - 18 minutes - 15.1 MB

In the heart of our nation lies a riverway that has been federally protected for more than 50 years and stewarded by Native Americans for thousands of years before that. ItThis river carried logs piled so high they caused jams two miles long. It witnessed the first steamboats, a Minnesota firestorm, and even a briefly booming pearl button factory. The onset of the fur trade, European settlement, and urban development began to threaten these once-pristine waters. The unique habitat for aquati...

The Steel Driving Man

January 06, 2021 03:33 - 12 minutes - 10.3 MB

If you take the time to stop in West Virginia's New River Gorge, our newest national park, and listen, you may hear intertwined within the sound of birdsong, flowing water, and the wind billowing through the trees the whistle of a train. Today on America's National Parks, the legend born from the Gorge that would echo through generations to come. A man named John Henry. 

Our 63rd Park | National Park News

December 28, 2020 07:39 - 9 minutes - 7.33 MB

New Lava eruptions in Hawaii have people doing dangerous things, a harrowing evacuation of the records of two national parks in danger of being lost to wildfire, and our 63rd National Park. 

Surviving Winter in the National Parks

December 20, 2020 08:51 - 15 minutes - 12.4 MB

This week on America’s National Parks, we journey to Gates of the Arctic, Yellowstone, and Glacier for three stories of survival from the wildlife that call them home: Arctic Ground Squirrels, Bison, and Clark’s Nutcrackers. Should the whitebark pine be listed as a threatened species? The USFWS will consider public comments received by Feb. 1, 2021. Comments may be submitted electronically at by searching under docket number FWS–R6–ES–2019–0054 and clicking on the “comme...

Medgar Evers

December 14, 2020 06:02 - 12 minutes - 9.78 MB

Shortly after midnight on June 12, 1963, civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated in the carport of the home that he shared with his wife Myrlie and their three young children in Jackson, Mississippi. His death, the first murder of a nationally significant leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, heightened public awareness of civil rights issues and became a catalyst for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today on America's National Parks, our newest National Park...


December 06, 2020 08:10 - 18 minutes - 14.7 MB

Mountains that tower over beaches, temperate rainforests, ice fields, tidewater glaciers, and marine depths welcome the visitors that make the trek to visit this off-the-beaten-path destination. These habitats provide homes for mountain goats, moose, shorebirds, salmon, and bears, but the easiest way to get around in this national park is not by foot. Nearly 1200 miles of shoreline curve around inlets and islands. One endangered animal has thrived in this environment, swimming here to feed f...

The Obelisk from Nowhere, Park Projects Funded, $270 Million Lawsuit | News from the Parks

November 30, 2020 07:48 - 9 minutes - 8.01 MB

Hiking has arguably become the most popular activity in 2020, but as more and more people take to the trails, rescues are on the rise in National Parks putting a strain on resources, In Utah, a mysterious monolith appeared sparking all kinds of theories, and just as people were rushing to be some of the first to snap a photo with it, it disappeared. The National Park Service finds itself in a 270 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit after a woman lost her life in one of the most shocking wa...


November 23, 2020 06:15 - 13 minutes - 9.2 MB

The “peace pipe,” as it’s often called by those who only know it as a symbol of the hundreds of peace treaties signed between the federal government and Native American tribes, is a valued tradition that dates back thousands of years. And today, on a 1-square-mile plot of land, that tradition continues in the modern world, ever changing yet firmly rooted in the past. Today on America’s National Parks, Minnesota’s Pipestone National Monument. 

Wild Horses

November 16, 2020 05:39 - 11 minutes - 7.58 MB

There are about 60,000 free-roaming horses in North America, and while we call them “wild,” they more accurately fit the definition of feral, which means they are free-roaming descendants of domesticated horses. Regardless, their majesty is impressive to behold anywhere you find them.  Domesticated horses were introduced into North America beginning with the Spanish conquest. Escaped horses then spread throughout the Great Plains. But it’s clear that centuries of domestication didn’t alter ...

Ring, Grandfather, Ring

November 09, 2020 08:41 - 23 minutes - 16.3 MB

 Too often we look at our symbols and see them as the enduring legacy of our past, when in reality, symbols have always been mirror for us to reflect our current moments in, in order to inform our life’s direction. In the united states, the American Flag gets a lot of play, as does the Statue of Liberty, and the bald eagle. But there’s one symbol that we all know, but doesn’t always immediately come to mind as a representation of the American experience. And that’s a shame, because it’s a be...

Changes to Free National Park Admission,World's Longest Fossilized Footprints | National Park News

October 31, 2020 16:09 - 12 minutes - 8.65 MB

The world's longest fossilized footprint tracks have been uncovered in the White Sands of New Mexico, the National Trail system has grown by more than 1300 miles, two YouTubers are fined $1000 for filming in parks without a permit, a hiker lost in Zion for 12 days has been found, but questions abound about her disappearance, and a big change in policy will allow America’s more than 20 million veterans access to National Parks for free. It’s time for this month’s National Park News.


October 26, 2020 07:03 - 18 minutes - 12.9 MB

When you ask Americans to list some of our country's most famous poets and short story tellers, you’ll rarely hear mention of one of the most well-known authors of all time. Perhaps it’s because most think he was British, or perhaps it’s because most of his macabre stories seem a genre all of their own. Today on America’s National Parks, Philadelphia’s Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, and his masterpiece, "The Raven," just in time for Halloween. 


October 19, 2020 07:14 - 10 minutes - 7.5 MB

National Park sites, even the natural ones, have seen many uses over the history of America, often due to the unique features that make them worth preserving in the first place. From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover.  Today on America’s National Parks, the historic RCA/Marconi wireless station...

Second Century Camping

October 12, 2020 07:47 - 20 minutes - 13.8 MB

On last week’s episode, we took a look at early road planning and design in the parks, and we’re continuing with the theme this week, by looking at the history of National Park Campgrounds.  You might not realize it, but so much of modern campground design, whether it be state and federal parks or privately ran facilities, was developed through the National Park Service throughout the 20th century. And now, the park service is taking a fresh look at campground design. Not to re-invent them,...

A Tale of Two Roads

October 04, 2020 06:33 - 12 minutes - 8.58 MB

As the National Park idea began to inspire Americans far and wide, a major problem arose: how to provide safe access to these often wild and dangerous places, especially as the automobile began to make cross-country travel easier and more affordable. Today on America’s National Parks, two roads that taught the National Park Service some of the major lessons that have been applied to park design over the past century: Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.

New NPS Units, Bears, Rescues, and Fires | National Park News

September 27, 2020 07:46 - 12 minutes - 8.47 MB

It's time month’s News from the Parks episode of the America’s National Parks Podcast, where we round up the latest happenings at America’s Greatest Treasures. On this episode, we have 2 new National Park Service units, bear attacks, fire & hurricanes, a terrible vandalism to a cave, news from National Parks in other countries, and so much more!

Leave No Trace (or...How to Poop in the Woods)

September 20, 2020 16:30 - 12 minutes - 8.84 MB

This week we learn about reducing impact on the environment when visiting National Parks and other public lands, along with a lesson on what to do when nature calls out on the trail from rangers at Yosemite National Park.

The Million Dollar Room

September 15, 2020 07:33 - 18 minutes - 12.5 MB

In Yellowstone National Park's Upper Geyser Basin sits an unassuming store, one that's lasted for nearly all the park's human history. It's famed owner wallpapered his office in the most unusual way—with hundreds of cancelled checks. This week, the Million Dollar Room in the Lower Hamilton's Store at Yellowstone National Park

Wolverines, an Overturned Tanker, and a $500,000 Fine | National Park News

August 29, 2020 16:05 - 10 minutes - 6.96 MB

A man gets jail and a $500,000 fine for sneaking into Canada’s National Parks during the coronavirus, a tanker truck overturns in Yellowstone, a veritable novel is graffitied onto a popular lighthouse, and Wolverines have been spotted in one National Park for the first time in over a century. It’s time for the latest in National Park News.

Parks During a Pandemic

August 25, 2020 05:57 - 51 minutes - 35.1 MB

It's now clear we’re dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic for the long haul, and instead of just staying inside, many Americans are wanting to figure out how to recreate responsibly. And what could be a better place to socially distance than a National Park, right? Well, it’s not so simple.    This week, we’re sharing with you an episode of a different podcast: "Everybody’s National Parks." Hosts Danielle and Bryan do an excellent job taking us on deep dives into parks through their trip ...

90 Years in the West

August 17, 2020 06:21 - 13 minutes - 18.4 MB

On the border of utah and colorado sits a place where the wild rugged land has been used for centuries to carve out a modern human existence, long before it was found to contain the world’s greatest collection of dinosaur bones. Here one woman lived for nearly a century, as the world modernized, she kept this place as a link to the past. 

News From the Parks: New NPS Funding, Strange Blue Squares at Zion, Cuyahoga Dams Removed

August 10, 2020 08:24 - 7 minutes - 5.38 MB

It's time for another "News from the Parks" edition of the podcast. This week, we'll learn about how the funds from the Great American Outdoors Act will be used, how the Cuyahoga River is flowing more free than ever, and some strange blue-square graffiti that has rangers puzzled and cleaning at Zion.

The Complexities of Climate Change

August 02, 2020 08:18 - 21 minutes - 29.5 MB

Today on America’s National Parks, we travel to California’s Sequoia and Kings Canyon, where decades of research show us how the world is changing, and help us to figure out what to expect next. 


July 26, 2020 06:14 - 22 minutes - 15.8 MB

Perhaps no city in the United States exceeds Chicago in the number, breadth, intensity, and national importance of labor upheavals. One of our most recent national park service sites celebrates and remembers the contributions to American society of an ingenious entrepreneur, but more importantly, the workers who made his dreams happen, and their battle for fair pay. Today on America's National Parks, The Pullman National Monument. 

Sand Creek

July 12, 2020 03:47 - 21 minutes - 14.7 MB

As far as atrocities against Native Americans by westerners, it’s hard to pick the worst. But there’s one that certainly ranks up there. Surely the horrific, predawn mass murder of at least 150 unarmed people, mostly women and children, who were flying the American flag fits the bill. Today on America’s National Parks, we revisit the dedication of Colorado’s Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. 

News from the Parks | Big Bend Closes, Yosemite Cancels Reservations

July 04, 2020 15:23 - 5 minutes - 4.81 MB

On this month's "News from the Parks" episode, we talk about new closures, even as most parks have reopened. Plus, a new, 6-year celebration of America's 250th birthday kicks off in the parks. 

Hey Bear!

June 27, 2020 08:38 - 14 minutes - 10.1 MB

On average, there are only one or two non-lethal bear "incidents" in a given year at Glacier National Park. And there have only been 10 bear-related fatalities in the history of the park (all of those have occurred since 1967). Only three of those fatalities involved hikers. Still, human-bear encounters can end in death and injury, no doubt, and the attacking bear is often euthanized. So, bear safety is incredibly important.  Today on America’s National Parks, we head to Glacier for a lesso...

The Green Table

June 21, 2020 07:51 - 14 minutes - 9.68 MB

About 1,400 years ago, long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region - where today Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet - chose what is now called Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they disappeared. Today...

The Great American Outdoors Act

June 14, 2020 04:09 - 13 minutes - 9.36 MB

On today's episode, we explore the pending legislation entitled the "Great American Outdoors Act" with Pew Charitable Trusts' Marcia Argust. The act promises to reduce the $12 billion maintenance backlog in the National Park Service. 

The Nine

June 07, 2020 08:20 - 24 minutes - 16.8 MB

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that segregation in the public schools of the nation was unconstitutional. One of the first big tests of that decision came in Little Rock, Arkansas. Nine Black children attempted to enroll in the all-white Central High School. They would become known as the "Little Rock Nine.” Several segregationist councils threatened to hold protests at Central High and physically block the black student...

News from the Parks | National Parks Adjust to a New Normal

June 01, 2020 08:12 - 11 minutes - 7.68 MB

As summer begins, the National Park Service is instituting phased reopenings at many parks across the country, allowing visitors various levels of access to amenities. Meanwhile, park officials, concessionaires, and, gateway communities are figuring out how to manage the influx of new travelers amidst a pandemic that is far from over.

The Life of a Canine Ranger

May 23, 2020 15:56 - 20 minutes - 14.3 MB

Every fall in one of the largest national parks in America, visitation slows to a near halt by the end of September. The ground is already covered with golden aspen leaves and the mountaintops are powdered with snow called “termination dust”. The skies lose up to 9 minutes of sunlight every day and the northern lights dance over the crisp landscape at night. While so much of the park and landscape slows into the winter, there is one group of individuals that eagerly await the snow: the sled ...

How a National Park Becomes a World Heritage Site

May 18, 2020 08:36 - 14 minutes - 10.3 MB

While exploring National Parks, Monuments and historic sites across the country, you may have noticed gigantic plaques in a few of the visitor centers, designating them as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Today on America's National Parks, we explore what makes these sites special, and what it takes for an exceptional place to become a World Heritage Site.

The Great Humanitarian

May 10, 2020 06:27 - 27 minutes - 18.6 MB

Herbert Hoover had been president for less than a year when the stock market crashed. At the next election, he was swept out out the white house and out of public life as a scapegoat that would forever be saddled with a legacy of a presidential disaster. It's time to set the record straight. Today on America's National Parks, the Herbert Hoover that maybe you didn't know, and his National Park legacy.

White Nose Syndrome

May 02, 2020 21:28 - 13 minutes - 9.2 MB

The National Park Service manages 84 million acres, in 419 parks, 1 in 4 of which have caves, and 1 in 3 of which have mines. Many of these caves and mines provide habitat for hibernating bats. Bats are an essential part of many American ecosystems, but they're under threat from a hidden illness called white-nose syndrome. Since 2006, this fungal disease has killed millions of bats in North America. In some caves and mines, 90-100% of bat populations have died. Parks in more than half of t...

National Park Week Throwback Thursday: Other Great National Park Podcasts

April 23, 2020 08:32 - 24 minutes - 17 MB

This week, we're doing something a little different. It's National Park Week, and we're teaming up with other National Park podcasters, authors, bloggers, and other content creators to celebrate.  The theme for Today, Thursday, April 23rd is "Throwback Thursday," so a few of us podcasts decided to band together for a "best-of" sort of episode. We're going to play you a clip each from, Gaze at the National Parks, Everybody's National Parks, Parklandia, and America's National Parks. These th...

Dust of the Earth

April 18, 2020 08:25 - 12 minutes - 8.68 MB

  Known as "John of the Mountains" and "Father of the National Parks," legendary naturalist John Muir was far ahead of his time, holding ideals that many are just coming around to. Muir undertook a daring adventure in 1867 that led him to the path of natural enlightenment. He decided that he wanted to explore the world. He left his life in Indiana and walked one thousand miles to Florida. Muir trekked south through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida with little more ...