National Geographic Traveler
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from July/August 2005
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Destination Scorecard: National Parks

2. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
WISCONSIN (Score: 78)

Light tourism traffic and long Lake Superior winters help keep the Apostles healthy. "In good shape ecologically. Not over visited."  "No man-made lights visible. Bayfield is a most delightful gateway community, providing authentic Great Lakes atmosphere."
Cape Breton Highlands National Park


Cape Breton Island retains its charm despite changing demographics. "Spectacular coastline, villages seem authentic, and the area is fairly unspoiled."  "Tourism is built on the Celtic and French heritage of the island." 
"The park's Audubon-certified golf course is a model for collaborative action between conservation and recreation."

Gros Morne National Park

The geological, scenic landscape of Gros Morne receives praise, despite grazing problems with nonnative moose. "I've never felt more welcome anywhere in North America."  "A model of the collaborative actions of local communities and park management." 
3. Great Basin National Park
NEVADA (Score: 77)

Wheeler Peak rises from the remote east Nevada desert here, a region uncrowded, unspoiled, and able to mitigate such threats as grazing and advancing development. "Tourism is sustainable."  "Camping at 10,000 feet is fantastic; the bristlecone pine forests are worth the hike.

Kootenay/Yoho National Parks

On  B.C.'s side of the Rockies, "development and transportation corridor problems are not as intense" as in neighboring Banff (55). The mountains dominate Yoho, the forests Kootenay. As for gateways, "Invermere or Golden support a pleasant stay in the area."

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
ALASKA (Score: 77)

"One of the magnificent mountain wilderness parks in the world!"   "The Kennicott mine and town are an amazing national historic treasure and deserve preservation." Other panelists agree, but raise new issues: Bus tours from cruise boats overlook native Ahtna peoples, and "recreational ATV riding is permitted on 13 trails; it's a mud-boggin' mess."

4. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
HAWAII (Score: 75)

The Big Island boasts the survey's highest-scoring subtropical park.  "Given its location on an island where tourism reigns supreme, the park's unspoiled quality is remarkable." Invasive species and coastal development threats are the only concerns. "Gateway area is fine."

5. Chaco Culture National Historical Park
NEW MEXICO (Score: 72)

The long, unpaved access road pleased panelists by keeping this archaeologically rich site untrampled. "Its remote location means Chaco Canyon remains a relatively genuine experience. It is still possible to envision the Anasazi life and find quiet moments of solitude." Caveat: "Nearby town is incredibly littered."

Crater Lake National Park
OREGON (Score: 72)

 "A hidden gem. Surrounding region appropriately developed." In summer, crowds do swamp the lodge site on the old volcano's rim, but otherwise, "Oregonians have pride in the stern stand to  protect and preserve the lodge and prevent development on the rim."

Point Reyes National Seashore
CALIFORNIA (Score: 72)

"An hour's drive from San Francisco takes you back in time
to farming, fishing, and lighthouse life." This
accessible park draws praise despite weekend crowds: "high biodiversity," "splendid exhibits," "beautiful natural vistas," and tasteful, restrained gateway towns "except recent development east of Tomales Bay."

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