The Secret Lives of Parks
The Secret Lives of Parks
Unusual stories from some of America’s most beloved and inspirational places — our national parks.
The Show Must Go On
The only national park site dedicated to the performing arts has been quiet for over a year, but a new chorus of singers is stealing the show at this Virginia venue: a feisty, sex-crazed swarm of Brood X cicadas.
Below the Surface
An unusual predicament is pitting private oil rights against one of the world’s most treasured places. Could the National Park Service allow a private energy company to build oil wells in the Everglades?
Expecting the Unexpected
Photographers and artists helped make the case for America’s national parks. Today, a new generation of artists-in-residence keeps the vital connection alive in sometimes surprising ways.
The Undiscovered Cave
Explorers in a remote area of Grand Canyon National Park discovered a cave they believe human beings had never entered before. Inside this maze of limestone passageways, researchers found thousands of fossils that could change our understanding of one of the country’s quirkiest animals — bats!
Learning to Fly
Raptors such as peregrine falcons and California condors made the endangered species list decades ago, but thanks in part to monitoring and recovery programs in national parks, things have been looking up.
The Healing Ceremony
For the last four years, Bears Ears National Monument has been at the center of a critical fight over Indigenous land rights. This awe-inspiring, culturally rich site was part of the largest removal of federal public land protections in U.S. history. But now that the monument is restored, could it serve as a model for Tribal collaboration in our parks?
A Diamond in the Rough
The only ballpark in the National Park System also has deep ties to African American history. One of the last few remaining Negro League ballparks, Hinchliffe Stadium was nearly lost — but the storied playing field at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is getting a new lease on life.
Hiking with Spoons
Three years ago, an outdoor lover in the Pacific Northwest went on a painful and frustrating hike and is now using that experience as a way to make the park more welcoming, especially for the millions of people living with disabilities and chronic illnesses. How can parks offer a truly accessible experience to people with different interests, needs and ability levels?
An American Hero Turns 200
This month marks 200 years since Harriet Tubman’s birth, and we’re still learning new information about her life and family, and still marveling at how a woman with all the odds against her risked everything to liberate herself and countless others — and play a significant role in liberating her country. In this episode, we explore Tubman’s life and motivations, some of the public lands devoted to her, and a few ways to celebrate this very big birthday.
A Walk on the Wild Side
A Supreme Court justice once led a 185-mile trek to save the landscape he loved. Today, park lovers keep that spirit alive through a one-day marathon hike in Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park each spring.
Telling the Truth
The brutal murder of Emmett Till in 1955 galvanized the civil rights movement. Could a new national park site preserving his story help to bring us closer to understanding and justice?
Making Things Whole
In 1969, Southern California suffered one of the largest oil spills in history, prompting national outrage and environmental awareness. Today, part of the Pacific coast near Channel Islands National Park remains vulnerable to drilling and other threats. Soon, decades of work by the Chumash people could lead to the country’s first Tribally nominated national marine sanctuary.
The Giving Trees
Witness trees stood in significant places at key moments in American history, linking past and present and shaping our understanding of both. But what happens when witness trees fall? A unique partnership between the Rhode Island School of Design and the National Park Service lets their stories live on.
The Geography That Unites Us
At a park that once served as a segregating line in Washington, DC, a unique outdoor theater brought people together for nights of music and poetry under the stars. Structural problems forced the Carter Barron Amphitheater to close in 2017. Can a group of advocates restore and reopen it for a new generation?
The Little Jewel Box
Winter is often a time when we hunker down and sleep off the dark evenings — but it can also be an ideal season to experience the sparse beauty of our parks. These 5 stories showcase the diverse experiences travelers can have during the colder, quieter days of the year.
Behind the Scenes at Padre Island
Award-winning journalist Ben Goldfarb shares some of the unexpected adventures that shaped his new feature story in National Parks magazine — and how he built his career traveling to exciting places and writing about them.
A Collision of Breaths
Poetry and the parks are always there for us when we seek beauty, solace and meaning. Today, we celebrate that timeless connection ― and National Poetry Month ― with some of our favorite national park poems.
Hope Along the Cuyahoga
The Cuyahoga River was once severely polluted and notorious for catching fire, inspiring the first Earth Day. Now, 53 years later, the river is revitalized, and advocacy is continuing to help the region thrive.
Memorializing the Truth
The brutal kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till in 1955 changed the course of history and galvanized the modern Civil Rights Movement. Acclaimed journalist Christopher Benson has a unique perspective on this history and the importance of preserving it.
The Heart of America’s Story
National heritage areas are some of the country’s most beloved hidden gems. In this episode, we feature three of the people who know these distinctive destinations best and who worked for decades to create two of our seven newest sites.
Hinchliffe Stadium at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park very nearly met the wrecking ball before passionate advocates saved it and the rich history it preserves. Now restored to its original glory, this true field of dreams reopened this spring with the return of professional baseball—and we were there to take it all in.
Why We Serve
How do we gain from what we give? A committed group of veterans and an innovative friends group demonstrate the value of service at a beloved national park site in Washington, D.C.
A Reporter ‘On the Brink’ at Cape Hatteras
In Rodanthe, North Carolina, near Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the rising ocean is causing homes to collapse, creating devastating losses for homeowners and dangerous conditions for park-goers. Journalist Melanie D.G. Kaplan shares what she learned in her new story on the ongoing crisis.