DC's cherry blossoms coming early due to confusing weather
WASHINGTON — (AP) — The cherry trees in the nation’s capital are confused by Earth’s changing climate, with the iconic blossoms appearing earlier than expected because of the unusually warm winter. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and the National Park Service announced Wednesday that Washington’s 3,700 cherry blossom trees would reach peak bloom this year from March 22-25. “An early frost would definitely damage the blossoms,” Reinbold said. Cherry Blossom Festival President Diana Mayhew said this year’s bloom dates aren’t unprecedented, but they’re the second earliest she had witnessed in 23 years with the organization. Washington’s cherry blossoms date back 111 years to an original 1912 gift of 3,000 trees from the mayor of Tokyo.wftv.com
Park Service clears homeless encampment near White House
WASHINGTON — (AP) — National Park Service employees swept through a large homeless encampment three blocks from the White House on Wednesday, disposing of about 50 tents and warning that people who resisted would be subject to arrest. The clearing of McPherson Square is just the latest development in a long-running saga involving the D.C. government, the Park Service and homeless people, whose advocates claim the city hasn't done enough to help them find safe shelter. The National Park Service, which has jurisdiction over McPherson Square and large swaths of other green space across the city, had originally announced plans to clear the square in April. NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said that despite the accelerated timeline, park residents still had about two weeks' notice. “The District’s social service providers intensified their efforts to connect people with housing and other services,” he said.wftv.com
Hunter bear bait ban proposed for Alaska national preserves
JUNEAU, Alaska — (AP) — Bear hunters in Alaska would no longer be able to use bait, such as pastries, dog food or bacon grease, under a proposed rule by the National Park Service on Friday that would prohibit bear baiting in national preserves in the state. In September, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason found problems with a 2020 Trump administration-era rule that lifted restrictions previously in place on sport hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska, including bear baiting. But the judge did not set the rule aside, and noted the park service had indicated it was already in the process of reassessing the rule. Bears that become habituated to non-natural foods used as bait pose a safety hazard to the public,” he said by email. A similar ban on bear baiting, enacted in 2015 during the Obama administration, was rescinded by the 2020 rule, the park service said.wftv.com
Montana judge to decide on wolf hunting limits
A Montana judge said he would decide Tuesday whether to continue temporary limits on wolf hunting in the state or to restore quotas and hunting methods before a trial over whether the public was given an adequate opportunity to weigh in on changes in the way the state estimates the size of the wolf population.
Woman dies on hike in Utah; husband hospitalized for hypothermia
SPRINGDALE, Utah — A woman has died and a man was rescued after they were caught in cold weather while hiking Wednesday in Utah’s Zion National Park, officials say. The Zion National Park Search and Rescue Team went out to the area and located the man on Riverside Walk. NPS said that the Zion National Park’s response had more than 20 search and rescue team members. According to NPS, other visitors tried to give the woman CPR before rescue crews arrived. According to the AP, the man and woman have not been identified by NPS.wftv.com
Feds resume study of restoring grizzlies to North Cascades
SPOKANE, Wash. — (AP) — Environmental groups on Thursday hailed a decision by the Biden administration to resume studying whether grizzly bears should be restored to the remote North Cascades ecosystem in Washington state. Fish and Wildlife Service said they would jointly prepare an environmental impact statement on restoring the endangered bears to the North Cascades. The agencies began a study of restoring grizzly bears to the North Cascades through a trapping and relocation process in 2015. The North Cascades is one of the largest wild areas in the lower 48 states, encompassing more than 9,500 square miles centered on North Cascades National Park. Approximately three to seven grizzly bears would be released into the North Cascades each year over roughly five to 10 years.wftv.com
National Park Service offers lifetime pass to veterans and Gold Star Families
WASHINGTON — The National Park Service is offering Gold Star Families and U.S. military veterans the opportunity to get a free lifetime military pass. The free military lifetime pass is also available for Gold Star Families, which are next-of-kin to a member of the Armed Forces who lost their life in war, terrorist attack or military operation while serving with the Armed Forces. Gold Star Family members can download and print a voucher to present to park staff to get a pass. For current U.S. military members and their dependents, NPS offers a free annual military pass. The military pass program does not cover extra amenity fees, such as camping, tours or special recreation permits.wftv.com
Arizona levee breached, hiker missing after floods hit West
A levee was breached Monday in a small town near the Arizona-New Mexico state line, forcing the evacuations of 60 people after a weekend of flash floods across the American Southwest that also swept away one woman who is still missing in Utah’s Zion National Park.
Biologists' fears confirmed on the lower Colorado River
Confirming their worst fears for record-low lake levels, National Park Service fisheries biologists have discovered that a non-native predator fish has made its way through Glen Canyon Dam to the lower Colorado River, where it can prey on ancient native fish they have been working to reestablish.
"A very chaotic situation': Crews tackle growing wildfires
Destructive U.S. Southwest fires have burned dozens of homes in northern Arizona and put numerous small villages in New Mexico in the path of danger, as wind-fueled flames chewed up wide swaths of tinder dry forest and grassland and plumes of smoke filled the sky.
Native American confirmed as head of National Park Service
The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved the nomination of Charles “Chuck” Sams III as National Park Service director, which will make him the first Native American to lead the agency that oversees more than 131,000 square miles of parks and other landmarks.
Malcolm X’s boyhood home in Boston gets historic designation
FILE - In this March 29, 2016, file photo, signs call attention to the house where slain African-American leader Malcolm X spent part of his childhood in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. According to the National Park Service the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in February 2021. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes, File)BOSTON – Malcolm X’s boyhood home in Boston was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The former Malcolm Little was a teenager in the 1940s when he came to live with his sister, Ella Little Collins. Little Collins, a civil rights organizer in her own right, became her brother’s legal guardian after his father died and his mother was institutionalized.
Biden rolling out plan for $4 billion global vaccine effort
Workers from the National Park Service clear snow and ice at the White House, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Washington. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the WHO, but Biden moved quickly after his inauguration last month to rejoin and confirmed that the U.S. would contribute to COVAX. AdThe $4 billion in U.S. funding was approved by Congress in December and will be distributed through 2022. In addition to discussing vaccine distribution, Biden also plans to use the meeting to discuss G-7 countries' collective competitiveness and economic challenges posed by China, according to the White House. Biden is also scheduled to deliver a virtual address to the Munich Security Conference on Friday before traveling to Michigan to visit Pfizer's vaccine manufacturing facility.