national parks

The National Park Service turns 100 this summer, and I've been thinking about how all of us might celebrate this milestone.

Jarob Ortiz

A job of a lifetime began Monday for 33-year-old Jarob Ortiz, a coveted position he never imagined would be his. Ortiz has become the official photographer of the National Park Service, and during its centennial year.

"Each one of those interviews I spent about 7 days leading up to those things studying about 6 hours a night, just making sure I would be as good as I possibly could,” Ortiz says.

Driving through the gold-brown savanna of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, past its Dr. Seuss-like trees and water-carved rocks, it's easy to see why the national parks have been called America's Best Idea.

Spend a few hours with some of the park's employees, like Cultural Resources Branch Chief Jason Theuer, and you'll see that national parks are also another thing: expensive. There is a nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog of work that needs be done but isn't because of limited money.

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Ben Habanek

If you're hoping to take advantage of the extended winter season to visit the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore ice caves, you certainly won't be alone.

U.S. Forest Service

As the weather gets nicer, millions of Americans will take to hiking in national forests, trading in the company of man for the company of trees. But as more people take advantage of forests, the increased foot-traffic may actually pose a threat to these natural resources.