Park Science Magazine | Winter 2021

Black and white line drawing of a smiling woman with shoulder-length hair, wearing a knit cap with sunglasses perched on it

From the Editor

Correcting Course

Our winter 2021 issue has stories about rescuing a beloved church, making and renewing ties, and being surprised.

In Brief

A group of large trees with burn scars stand in front of leafy green vegetation.

News | Climate Change
Finding Places Buffered from Climate Change in a Bid to Protect Them

Existing tools to identify and protect areas where the climate is changing more slowly may help preserve resources into an uncertain future.
By Cathleen Balantic
Image credit: NPS

Sagebrush field in front of snow-capped mountains

News | Sagebrush
Saving Our Sagebrush Sea

A recent study underscores the importance of protecting sagebrush lands in national parks to prevent a national treasure from disappearing.
By Tom Rodhouse
Image credit: NPS

Man standing in a salt marsh looking at a small tree next to him.

News | Coastlines
Marching Mangroves: Finding the Most Northern One Is Just the Beginning

The appearance of tropical trees in a historical park foreshadows climate change’s profound impacts on our natural and cultural heritage.
By William C. Vervaeke, Fiona E. Southwell, and E. Claire Schmidt
Image credit: NPS / Fiona E. Southwell

Yellow bird in tree with blue sky

News | Birds
New Research Tests a Common Assumption about Protecting Birds

A recent study sheds light on the value of protected areas like national parks for conserving wild birds, with some surprising results.
By Jessica Weinberg McClosky
Image credit: © Mark Dettling

Picture This

The stories behind extraordinary images and videos from the practice of park science

Woman holding GPS collar above her head while standing on a mountain top
A Wilderness Treasure Hunt

Two rangers retrieve a GPS collar from a caribou in the backcountry, helping biologists learn about the animal’s movements.

The head of a salamander in water showing gill patterning while fluorescing green
Salamanders That Fluoresce!

We documented biofluorescence in tiger salamanders in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a first for the park.


Two women standing in front of bat mist netting at Brown Mountain Gatehouse

Research | Historic Preservation
Preserving Historic Buildings That Bats Call Home

Acadia National Park is going to restore its historic Rockefeller gatehouses. Here’s how we’ll protect the imperiled bats that live there.
By Bik Wheeler, Morgan Ingalls, Lara Wilbur, and Molly Donlan
Image credit: NPS / C. Heilakka

Orange colored mountains in a desert with blue sky

Research | Water Balance
How Dry Will Parks Get? Water Deficit Tells Us

Dryness has an outsized impact on nature in parks, but temperature and precipitation are poor indicators.
By David P. Thoma, John E. Gross, Michael T. Tercek, and Janelle N. Christensen
Image credit: NPS / David Thoma

An open hand suspended over brown water, showing four freshwater mussels

Research | Reintroductions
Partnership Is Helping Us Restore Mussel Diversity in Cub Creek

Freshwater mussels help keep our rivers and streams clean and healthy, but they’re vanishing. Our park is working to reverse their decline.
By Jesse Bolli
Image credit: NPS / Fiona E. Southwell

A desert bighorn ewe stands next to a lamb in front of brown rocks in a dry mountain scene.

Opinion | Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn and Big Rail Can Be Friends

The Brightline West high-speed railway could be bad news for desert bighorn sheep in Mojave National Preserve. We know how to fix that.
By Christina Aiello, Kass Bissmeyer, Lara Rozzell, Paige Prentice, Jeff Villepique, Debra Hughson, Mike J. Gauthier, Clinton W. Epps, and Nathan L. Galloway
Image credit: NPS


White church on an open area with brown dirt stands 80 feet from a cliff's edge. Behind it is green field.

Historic Preservation
How We Rescued the Ascension of Our Lord Church in Karluk, Alaska, from Falling off a Cliff

A successful move under challenging circumstances brings hope for preserving an important part of history for a remote Alaskan community.
By Shina duVall
Image © Dustin Reft

Woman keeling on the beach, measuring the shell of a large turtle

Sea Turtles
Why Sea Turtles Returned to Buck Island

Beneath the turquoise waves of a Caribbean “gem,” we are witnessing the comeback of some of the world’s oldest animals.
By Alexandra G. Gulick and Kristen A. Ewen
Image © Matthew Warham

Gathering Sweetgrass and Renewing the Past: How Science at Acadia Is Making a Course Correction

Wabanaki ecologists and archeologists conducting research in Acadia National Park are reframing narratives and reclaiming culture. Park science is all the better for it.
By Catherine Schmitt

woman kneeling next to an old stone wall. Behind is a forest.

Triaging Invasive Plants: Strategic Planning Drives Success

A winning strategy to combat invasive plants becomes a potent tool for restoring special places in several eastern parks.
By Stephanie Perles
Image credit: NPS / Ada Fox

woman in a field of wildflowers under a power line

Managing a Right-of-Way Helped This Park Restore Its Grasslands

An unexpected and often forgotten place becomes a vital part of one park’s bid to restore a critically imperiled landscape.
By Kelly Ewing
Image credit: NPS / Allison Hay

About This Issue

Last updated: July 2, 2024