Military Monday

As part of the National Park Week, today is Military Monday. Today, we recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of the U.S. military and also discover connections and opportunities within the parks.

The National Park Service preserves and shares the stories of the American military over the last three centuries. The relationship between the national parks and our military goes way back.  The U.S. Cavalry served as the first park rangers at our first national park, Yellowstone National Park. Hundreds of soldiers were stationed at Fort Yellowstone.

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During World War II, many parks served as training and care locations for military personnel. Today, dozens of national parks commemorate military battles and achievements.

As you plan your next trip, discover the people who have protected our freedom here in America and learn about the places that shaped our military history and culture.

To honor today, take a minute and appreciate the the service and sacrifice of our military here.

Cheers to National Park Week!

VIP Day

As part of the National Park Week, today is Volunteer in the Parks (VIP) Day. Today, we say thank you to the more than 300,000 volunteers within our national parks. Without their hard work and dedication, these parks would not be the same.

For anyone looking to volunteer in the national park system, click here to see more information.

Thank you to our parks VIPs!

Day Trip!

Last week, we journeyed to Yosemite National Park for the day. The kids had last week off and we needed a day out in nature! And nature did not disappoint!

We took the kids on four hikes and the lucked out on the last one with no crowds. We started the hike to Mirror Lake around 4pm and owned the trail. It can be hard to get away from people in Yosemite, but staying later paid off!

We had a really great day and loved spending a long day in a national park!

For a recent blog post about Yosemite National Park, click here.

Cherry Blossoms

What do you think about when you hear the words “Cherry Blossoms”? Many Americans picture the amazing trees set in the National Mall area of Washington DC and their beautiful blooms in the Spring.

These beautiful tress are in full bloom here in Northern California and I wanted to share a bit about how these trees ended up in a swampy Washington DC many years ago.

In 1901, Helen “Nellie” Herron Taft traveled to Manila, Philippines where she found a beautiful and inviting landscape along the river park area. In 1909, the First Lady saw potential to make our National Mall area more beautiful and started work on it.

In 1912, First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Iwa Chinda, the wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two cherry trees on the northern edge of the Tidal Basin in a simple ceremony and it ended up creating a lasting impact. In fact, the cherry trees as “landscape diplomacy” have symbolized positive Japanese-American relations repeatedly since that first planting.

You can thank a former First Lady the next time you visit Washington DC and see these beautiful trees. Also, this Cherry girl likes their name. 😉

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Today celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the globe. I wanted highlight here a couple of the many women who have impacted our national park service. 

Clare Marie Hodges served as the first female park ranger in the national park service.  She worked as a teacher at the Yosemite Valley School and grew up visiting Yosemite National Park.  As World War I began, men were sent to serve and Yosemite needed park rangers. Clare applied to become a ranger in 1918 and wrote, “Probably, you’ll laugh at me. But, I want to be a ranger.” Park Superintendent Washington B. Lewis wrote back, “I beat you to it, young lady. It’s been on my mind for some time to put a woman on one of these patrols.”

Fran Mainella worked as the first female director of the national park service. President George W. Bush nominated her to this role in 2001 and the Senate confirmed. She worked in this job until 2006. Her first job in parks and recreation was as a playground counselor in Connecticut back in 1965.  She built her career around the parks and led the Florida State Parks before becoming the director of the national park service. From the start of her directorship, she stated “Our nation’s parks tell the story of America and the history of this country. National parks represent the soul of America and a gift to the world. They are places of great history, beautiful landscapes, protected ecosystems and endangered species.”

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, thank you to all the women who have played a role in our national park system, continue to do so today, and those coming in the future. 

“I believe that life should be lived so vividly and so intensely that thoughts of another life, or of a longer life, are not necessary.” ― Marjory Stoneman Douglas

149 Years!

Happy 149th birthday to America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park!

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Check out some of my previous posts about Yellowstone by clicking here and here.  There are more blog posts about Yellowstone on here that you can find by just searching my blog by Yellowstone if you’re looking for more!

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Cheers to 149 years to this first and amazing national park!

Grand Canyon

Happy 102 years to the Grand Canyon National Park!

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President Teddy Roosevelt urged Americans to protect this great canyon, “What you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see.”

For more information on this amazing park, check out a previous blog by clicking here.

If you visit Las Vegas or Arizona, take the time and check out this grand national park! Definitely worth the time and journey!

Cheers to 102 years!