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10 National Parks and the Ghosts and Monsters Who Supposedly Live There

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Bigfoot aside, the instances of otherworldly national parks visitors are almost too numerous to chronicle. 

1. GREAT SAND DUNES

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is surrounded by San Luis Valley, a place where 60 UFOs have been spotted since 2000. Unexplainable cattle mutilations have also supported speculation that there’s something highly unusual happening in the region—which may also contain portals to another universe.

2. MAMMOTH CAVE

At Mammoth Cave National Park, the ghost of Stephen Bishop, a slave and Mammoth Cave explorer who is buried nearby, is said to make occasional appearances. In the 19th century, Mammoth was also the site of a failed tuberculosis hospital; today, you can now reportedly hear the coughs of patients who perished while being treated. 

3. GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS

The Norton Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains is home to the legend of Spearfinger, a witch who'd disguise herself as an old woman, snatch children, and use her obsidian stone finger to cut out their livers, which she considered a delicacy. Another legend chronicles a man who was murdered while looking for his daughter, and now manifests as a light that leads hikers.

4. GRAND CANYON

The “Wailing Woman” haunts the Transept Trail at Grand Canyon National Park. According to legend, she committed suicide there in the 1920s after hearing that her husband and son had died while hiking. She floats around the trail in a white dress with blue flowers on stormy nights, slamming doors and haunting the Grand Canyon Lodge.

5. NEW JERSEY PINELANDS

At Batona Trail in the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, the Jersey Devil can be heard screaming at night—though it’s much better to hear him than to see him. The creature is said to have the head of a dog, bat wings, horns and forked tail.

6. YOSEMITE

The cries of another tragic figure haunt Grouse Lake in Yosemite National Park. Legend has it that a Native American boy who drowned in the lake calls out to hikers for help. America’s first park ranger, Galen Clark, heard the cries in 1857 and assumed they were from a lost dog. When he asked a band of Native American hunters about it that evening, they informed Clark of the story.

The Miwok Indians also believe that Yosemite’s waterfalls are haunted by an evil wind called Po-ho-no. The wind draws people to the edge and pushes them off. And the spooky legends surrounding Yosemite don’t stop there: The Ahwahnee Hotel is supposedly haunted, and the entire Tenaya Canyon was cursed by Chief Tenaya in 1851 when the U.S. Cavalry forced his tribe off their land.

7. GETTYSBURG

Battlefields, not surprisingly, often possess their own haunted histories. At Devil’s Den, a hill in Gettysburg National Military Park, a barefoot ghost known as the “Tennessean” or “The Hippie” will point toward the Plum Run stream and say, “What you’re looking for is over there,” before disappearing.

8. CRATER LAKE

The Klamath Indians consider Crater Lake—a caldera and the deepest body of water in the U.S.—a sacred place. A legend states that it holds a spirit named Llao who was thrown into the lake by another spirit called Skell and devoured by monsters. In 2002, a tourist in a rowboat reported seeing an enormous creature swimming underneath her vessel. What’s more, rangers regularly spot campfires on the lake’s Wizard Island, but find no evidence of people or a fire when they go to investigate. (It’s possible that Bigfoot or Sasquatch are to blame for those.)

9. YELLOWSTONE

Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park is also supposedly haunted. According to legend, a bride who was decapitated on her honeymoon now strolls around with her head tucked under her arm. Another woman in 1890s fashions has appeared floating at the foot of a bed in Room Number 2 at the Old Faithful Inn, and one worker reported seeing a fire extinguisher spin all by itself in the hallway.

10. HAWAII VOLCANOES

Pele—the volcano goddess, not the soccer player—inflicts severe punishment on anyone who steals from her during visits to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Every year, tourists walk off with souvenirs in the form of volcanic rocks, and more than a few of them seem to experience negative consequences afterward. In fact, thousands of pounds of mail addressed to “Queen Pele” are returned every year, begging her to lift the curse on them.

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All National Parks Are Offering Free Admission on April 21
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Looking for something to do this weekend that's both outdoorsy and free? To kick off National Park Week, you can visit any one of the National Park Service's more than 400 parks on April 21, 2018 for free.

While the majority of the NPS's parks are free year-round, they'll be waiving admission fees to the more than 100 parks that normally require an entrance fee. Which means that you can pay a visit to the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, or Yellowstone National Parks without reaching for your wallet. The timing couldn't be better, as many of the country's most popular parks will be increasing their entrance fees beginning in June.

The National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, maintains 417 designated NPS areas that span more than 84 million acres across every state, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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National Park Fees Are Increasing—Here's How Much You'll Have to Pay This Summer
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If your summer plans include a visit to one of our national parks, you may need to squeeze a few extra dollars into your vacation budget. As Money reports, America's most popular parks are raising their prices starting this June.

At parks that already charge entrance fees, visitors can expect to see those costs rise by about $3, $5, or $10. The price hike isn't all bad news for people who have been following this story closely. The National Park Service originally planned to increase vehicle entrance fees in 17 parks from $30 to $70 during peak seasons, but following intense criticism, the Department of the Interior (which oversees the park service) went with a less extreme change. The new prices—which apply to per-vehicle, per-person, per-motorcycle, and annual park passes—will go into effect by June 1 at the most popular national parks and by 2019 or 2020 at other sites.

As traffic through national parks has exploded in recent years, the infrastructure that keeps them running has taken a hit. The Interior Department claims it's shouldering $11.6 billion in overdue maintenance costs for the parks, and a boost in revenue can help them tackle more.

Canada's national parks, meanwhile, have gone the opposite direction with their admission system. Earlier in 2018, they announced that entrance fees would be waived for all visitors under 18, and the full price for adult visitors would remain less than $10 on average.

To see how the U.S.'s price hike might affect you, check out the increase in single-vehicle passes for the most popular national parks below.

Acadia National Park: $25 to $30

Arches National Park: $25 to $30

Bryce Canyon National Park: $30 to $35

Glacier National Park: $30 to $35

Grand Canyon National Park: $30 to $35

Grand Teton National Park: $30 to $35

Joshua Tree National Park: $25 to $30

Mount Rainier National Park: $25 to $30

Olympic National Park: $25 to $30

Rocky Mountain National Park: $30 to $35

Shenandoah National Park: $25 to $30

Yellowstone National Park: $30 to $35

Yosemite National Park: $30 to $35

Zion National Park: $30 to $35

[h/t Money]

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