Posts Tagged ‘National Park Service’

NPS Curtails Trails and Rails Program

March 22, 2018

The Trails and Rails volunteer program of the National Park Service has been canceled on five Amtrak trains and will operate on a reduced schedule on three others.

The cutbacks followed an Amtrak decision to cease offering complimentary food and overnight lodging expense payments for the volunteers.

Trains losing the programs include City of New Orleans, New Orleans-Greenwood, Mississippi; Sunset Limited, New Orleans-Beaumont, Texas; California Zephyr, Denver-Grand Junction, Colorado; Texas Eagle, Fort Worth-San Antonio, Texas; Maple Leaf , Albany/Rensselaer-Utica, New York.

An abbreviated version of the program will be offered on the Empire Builder: Seattle-Wenatchee, Washington; Crescent, Atlanta-Birmingham, Alabama; and the Southwest Chief: La Junta, Colorado-Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Unaffected by the cutbacks are Trails and Rails programs aboard the following trains: New York-Washington; (Northeast Regional); New York-Albany/Rensselaer, New York (Adirondack, Empire Service); Saratoga Springs-Westport, New York (Adirondack); Chicago-St. Louis (Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle); Chicago-Niles, Michigan. (Wolverine Service and Blue Water); Seattle-Portland, Oregon (Coast Starlight); Santa Barbara-San Jose, California. (Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner); Washington-Cumberland, Maryland (Capitol Limited); Los Angeles-San Diego (Pacific Surfliner); Oklahoma City-Fort Worth, Texas. (Heartland Flyer).

Some programs operate daily between May and Labor Day, although most have specific days of operation and café car lecturers won’t be on every departure or every segment.

A listing of the dates that the programs are offered can be found at


CVNP Begins Construction of Visitor Center

January 10, 2018

A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week for what is being billed as the first full-service visitors center in the 44-year history of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Although eight people engaged in a ceremonial turning of a shovelful of dirt, the new visitor’s center actually will involve renovating what had been a privately-owned apartment building adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad tracks just south of the Boston Mills station.

The visitor’s center is projected to cost $5.9 million and open in spring 2019.

It will supplement and not necessarily replace the nearby Boston Store visitor’s center, which will remain open but be given a new focus.

Park officials do not consider smaller-scale facilities at the Hunt House and the Canal Exploration Center to be visitor centers.

Once opened, the Boston Mills Visitors Center will be described as the main stop for park visitors to learn about attractions and activities inside the 33,000-acre park.

The CVNP was created in late 1974 as the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area.

Now one of 59 national parks, CVNP drew more than 2.4 million visitors last year, ranking it 12th in attendance among the national parks.

Steamtown to be Honored on Stamp

December 20, 2017

A group supporting the National Park Service will issue a stamp that honors Steamtown National Historic Site.

The museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, will be prominently featured on a commemorative stamp issued next year as part of Eastern National’s annual Passport to Your National Parks Regional Stamp Set.

It is the first time in Steamtown’s 32 years of existence that it has been featured on the stamp, which Steamtown Superintendent Debbie Conway said will help bring more attention to the park.

“It brings more awareness,” Conway said. “There are a lot of people who definitely have their national park passport wherever they go.”

The stamp features a photo of a locomotive on a turntable that was made by Steamtown volunteer James Benetzky.

To purchase the stamp, visit

Steamtown Stops Charging Admission

November 17, 2017

Steamtown National Historic site has ceased charging admission.

The park in Scranton, Pennsylvania, has scrapped its fee of $7 a day for those 16 and older after a National Park Service study concluded that visitation would increase and costs would diminish by not collecting admissions.

The museum will continue to charge $5 for the short train rides that it offers and longer excursions to destinations outside the park will continue to have a fee.

Fees may also be charged for special exhibits and the annual Railfest. Park Superintendent Debbie Conway said the fees for Railfest have not yet been determined.

Steamtown Announces Fall Foliage Trips

September 19, 2017

Steamtown National Historic Site has announced its slate of eight fall foliage excursions that will operate next month. Ticket sales begin on Sept. 24. The schedule includes the following trips:

Moscow, Pennsylvania, excursions on Oct. 14 and 21 will depart Steamtown at 12:30 p.m. and return about 3 p.m. Light refreshments served on board will benefit the park’s Boston & Maine No. 3713 project.

An East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, trip to the borough’s fall foliage festival on Oct. 7 will depart Steamtown at 9:30 a.m. and return about 4:30 p.m.

A Tobyhanna Station, Pennsylvania,  excursion on Oct. 7 will depart Steamtown at 11 a.m. and return about 3 p.m.

A Carbondale, Pennsylvania,  special excursion with Baldwin 0-6-0 No. 26 on Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 9) will travel through the Lackawanna Valley. Train leaves Steamtown at 10 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m.

A Delaware Water Gap Station trip on Oct. 15 departs Steamtown at 9 a.m. and returns about 5 p.m.

A Cresco, Pennsylvania,  trip on Oct. 22 will feature an excursion through the Pocono Mountains. The train departs Steamtown at 11:30 a.m. and returns about 4 p.m.

A Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania,  Halloween-themed trip on Sunday, Oct. 29, leaves Steamtown at 11 a.m. and returns about 3 p.m.

The 30-minute Scranton Limited excursions will operate inside park boundaries on Fridays and Saturdays through Nov 11.

Amtrak Promoting Kids Travel to National Parks

June 15, 2017

Amtrak is working with the U.S. Department of the Interior to try to boost attendance at national parks and cultural attractions by extending its 75 percent discount to fourth-graders, with the purchase of one regular adult fare.

The discounted fare will be available through Aug. 31 for travel through Sept. 3.

The fares are being offered as part of the government’s Every Kid in a Park program. Families are invited to visit the Every Kid in a Park website to obtain a pass for free entry for them and their families to more than 2,000 federally-managed lands and waters nationwide.

In a news release, Amtrak said it offers service to or near more than 260 national park lands, monuments and historic sites

These include the national parks of Glacier, Grand Canyon and Yosemite.  Amtrak and the National Park Service also work together as part of the Trails and Rails program.

The reduced fares for children require making reservations a minimum of three days before travel. Seats are limited and the offer is valid on all Amtrak trains except Acela Express and Auto Train. Terms and conditions apply.

Teen Steamtown Volunteer Wins NPS Award

May 4, 2017

A teen volunteer at Steamtown National Historical Site has won the George and Helen Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service from the National Park Service.

Aiden Schafer was honored for his work, which included 800 hours of service during the past two years.

Steamtown officials described Schafer as a “go-to guy” for many at the park even though he is still in high school.

Acting Northeast Regional Director Joshua Laird said that last year 63,900 volunteers contributed 1,470,300 hours of service in the region and that without them, many projects would not be completed.

“When a volunteer-in-parks  agree to share their talents, skills and interests with the National Park Service, they are paying the organization one of the highest compliments possible by offering a most valued possession — their time,” Laird said in a news release.

Free Steamtown Admission on April 22-23

April 20, 2017

The National Park Service is offering free admission to Steamtown National Historic Site on April 22 and 23 to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the national park system.

The Park Service said free admission also will be offered on Sept. 30 for National Public Lands Day and Nov. 11-12 for the Veteran’s Day weekend.

Steamtown plans to have Baldwin Locomotive Works 0-6-0 No. 26 fired up for the April event and offer short train rides around the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western rail yard for $5. Locomotive No. 26 returned to regular service in 2016.

Steamtown to Have 10 Free Days in 2017

December 8, 2016

Steamtown National Historical Site will offer free admission on 10 days in 2017.

Park serviceThe dates are Jan. 16; Feb. 20; April 15, 16, 22 and 23; Aug. 25; Sept. 30; and Nov. 11 and 12. The park said that the free admission days coincide with federal holidays and the National Park Week in April.

The free admission does not include train rides or excursions, but does allow admission to the visitor center and museum facilities. Admission is normally $7 per person.

Steamtown said it typically hosts 90,000 people a year.

Steamtown to Have Free Day Nov. 11

November 2, 2016

Steamtown National Historic Site will offer free admission to all on Nov. 11 in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Park serviceThe fee-free weekend will include complimentary admission to the grounds, museum complex exhibits, and scheduled walking tours.

However train rides and other amenity fees will continue to be collected.

Active duty service members will be able to receive a free annual park pass that provides access to all federal lands, including national parks and wildlife refuges.

The Scranton Limited will offer 30-minute train rides inside the park boundaries on Saturdays through Nov. 19 and the Nay Aug Limited will offer trips every Sunday through Nov. 27.