Transportation Tuesday

National Park Week continues with Transportation Tuesday!

National parks share the stories of transportation throughout the United States.  From the railroads promoting the visitation of national parks out West to the many scenic roads and parkways that exist today.

Today, the national parks work to reduce congestion with park buses to transport visitors around. People can bicycle many national parks as well.

Take a moment and think about transportation from the past, present, and future options within these national parks.

Enjoy your next bus or bicycle ride within the park next time!

Cheers to National Park Week!

Earth Day

To continue our National Park Week, today is Earth Day!

To celebrate this day, you can do a number of activities.  You can volunteer at a national park; learn about nature and science within a national park; visit a national park; learn about the history of the land; recycle; avoid plastic straws and utensils; and donate to the national parks.

Our national parks contain some amazing natural sights to check out! Take a moment today and enjoy them!

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Happy Earth Day!

 

Veteran/Military Appreciation Day

As part of the National Park Week, today is Veteran/Military Appreciation Day. 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!

National Junior Ranger Day

Happy National Park Week!  National Park Week is celebrated every April for a week.  National Park Week is a time to explore amazing places, discover stories of history and culture, volunteer, and find your park!

Each day this week has a theme and today is National Junior Ranger Day!  The junior ranger program allows people of all ages to “explore, learn, and protect” your national parks by doing some activities to earn their badge. Each park offers different activities or programs.

(And yes, they really mean all ages as I did the program at a national park as an adutl and even before having kids as I thought it was so cool!)

I highly recommend checking this program out the next time you visit a cool place within our national park system!

If you can’t make to a national park, you can become a webranger online! Click here for the web site!

Cheers to the start of National Park Week!

National Park Week

National Park Week starts tomorrow, April 20th, and goes through the 28th this year! And to start this awesome week, all national parks have free admission tomorrow!

Each day this blog will highlight different aspects of the parks to celebrate this fun week!

Go and enjoy our amazing national parks!

Bison

 

When you think about our national parks, what do you think about? Many people will say the wildlife.  Our national parks contain some amazing animals – on land, in the water, or even in our skies!  One of these amazing animals really awed me the first time seeing them – bison!

When you think about the American West, you can’t help but think about the American bison.

I will never forget driving into Yellowstone National Park and seeing my first herd of bison there.  They are such large, beautiful creatures.  American male bison weigh around 2,000 pounds!  Also, did you know that these huge mammals can run up to 35 mph?

It’s also pretty cool to think that these bison have lived in Yellowstone continuously since prehistoric times.  Millions used to roam North America along all parts of it.

So, are they called bison or buffalo?  Americans often refer to these creatures as buffalo.  Technically, they are bison. Bison fall into the same scientific family group as the Asian water buffalo and the African cape buffalo.  Back when European explorers came to America and saw the bison and thought that they looked similar to the Old World buffalo, so started calling them buffalo.  Yet, technically they are bison here in America.  Buffalo in Africa and Asia do not have a large hump by their shoulders that the bison have here.

The American bison have endured many challenges over the years. In particular, hunting and poaching dwindled their numbers down to about two dozen left.  Over many years, national park employees worked hard to bring the bison numbers back up in Yellowstone and avoid extinction.  These great animals still face challenges today, but the goals still exist to protect and best manage these mammals.

In 2016, bison were declared our national mammal because they are a symbol of wild America, an important part of our heritage, and a key player in an ecosystem that’s much larger than a national park.

During your next trip to Yellowstone National Park, remember that bison are wild animals. According to the NPS, bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal there. Stay at least 25 yards away from bison (if not more) as these great creatures can be unpredictable and run fast!

I can’t wait to see this great creature again out in the wild and roaming through the valleys of Yellowstone National Park!

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day (IWD)! Today is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day also calls for action for advancing gender parity.  IWD has been around for more than 100 years after first gathering in 1911.

To celebrate this day, I wanted highlight a couple women who have impacted our National Parks Service.  It would take too long to highlight all women, so here is a bit about two.

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.  As World War I began, men were sent to serve and Yosemite National Park needed park rangers. Clare reached out and applied to become a ranger in 1918.  She 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 served 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, I honor all the women who have played a role in our national park system, continue to do so today, and those coming in the future.  These lands exist for everyone and need us all.

“There is a love of wild nature in everybody.”  ~ John Muir