Great American Outdoors Act

Yay!!! Great news!

Yesterday, the President signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. This measure guarantees maximum annual funding for a federal program to acquire and preserve land for public use.

This will drastically improve access to trails and public lands to conserve the places we all love to hike and address the long overdue maintenance needs that have resulted in trail closures at our National Parks, Forests, Refuges, and other public lands.

Two examples of many high priority deferred maintenance projects include:
– The Grand Loop and entrance roads at Yellowstone National Park are inadequate for current visitor needs. More than half of the park’s $586 million maintenance backlog is needed for long-overdue road repairs.
– The aging buildings at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Georgia have $12 million in maintenance needs, including repair work at the Ebenezer Baptist Church where the late civil rights leader preached and where his funeral was held.

Two examples of many high priority conservation needs include:
– 470 acres of scenic, culturally significant lands at Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, including two parcels sacred to the Huna Tlingit people and one island parcel surrounded by marine wilderness with potential for camping, fishing, wildlife watching and other recreational pursuits.
– 153 acres at Big South Fork National Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee that represent the most threatened tracts of land within the park. These lands provide refuge for a variety of threatened and endangered species and are especially vulnerable to development if not acquired through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

This new law will definitely help our public lands here!

Enjoy a moment of some pretty great news!
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Happy 111th to Zion!

Happy 111th anniversary to Zion National Park!

Utah’s first national park showcases some pretty unique things here. You can follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. You can gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. You can experience the wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. 

Zion’s elevations range from 3,666 to 8,726 feet creating this diverse topography and habitats and species here. This park also has geological features over 250 million years old.

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Zion is a pretty national park to check out sometime! If you head out there now, make sure to check out the website for shuttle information and any changes due to the pandemic.

Happy anniversary, Zion!

National Mall Anniversary

Happy 230th anniversary to the National Mall.  The National Mall is centrally located in Washington, DC.

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The National Mall is America’s most visited national park and nicknamed “America’s front yard”.

The Mall area preserves the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, D.C. War Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, the National Mall, East and West Potomac Parks, Constitution Gardens, 60 statues, and numerous other historic sites, memorials, and parklands.

I remember seeing the National Mall for the first time. I had traveled to DC for an internship after graduating college. In my free time, I walked over to check out a few sights and knew this area would be an ideal place to see some iconic memorials.

I grew up seeing the skyscrapers in Chicago. I’ve seen really, really tall buildings. I’ve seen open areas and parks. Yet, this place wowed me. The beauty, the history, the size, the importance of it all truly awed me.

I can’t wait to back to this part of our national park system. It brings together our country in unique ways. It also provides a peaceful place to encourage change in our country.

According to the National Park Service, “The open spaces and parklands envisioned by Pierre L’Enfant’s plan, which was commissioned by President George Washington, created an ideal stage for national expressions of remembrance, observance, celebration, and expression of First Amendment rights.”

If you’re in the DC area, definitely make some time and check out the National Mall area.

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Happy 230th!

Happy 109th to Devils Postpile!

Happy 109th anniversary to Devils Postpile National Monument established back 1911! This national monument is located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and cover about 800 acres.

The Postpile serves as the main attraction here and is pretty cool to see in person! Current studies suggest that the Postpile was formed less than 100,000 years ago when a cooling lava flow cracked into multi-sided columns. This formation is a rare sight and towers about 60 feet high!

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You can also check the 101 foot high Rainbow Falls here along with many mountain trails.

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While it’s lesser known than the nearby Yosemite National Park, this national monument is definitely worth a visit!

Make sure to check for information online about it before visiting due to the current pandemic.

Happy anniversary to Devils Postpile National Monument!

Memorial Day

Today, we remember and honor all the brave men and women who gave their life for our country.

This federal holiday was originally known as Decoration Day, an occasion to decorate the graves of the war dead.

Take a moment and honor those who died while serving our country. Happy Memorial Day! 🇺🇸

National Park Week Thanks

As National Park Week wrapped up yesterday, I thought a lot about our national parks this past week. I thought about all the memories of our visits there.

I also thought about the junior ranger programs, the park rangers and volunteers, the history, the military service, the transportation options, the wildlife, the earth, the past, the nonprofit organizations, the mental health benefits, and the furry visitors to the park.

I smiled a lot during these thoughts. The national parks bring us great joy in addition to many other benefits. We could also a bit more joy in these times.

National Park Week provided us with a daily reminder of all the goodness within this great and unique system. While this year we all focused on it virtually, it is still a important week.

Thank you for coming along with me on this year’s National Park Week.

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Friendship Friday

Everybody needs a friend! Even the national parks need friends. As part of the National Park Week, today marks Friendship Friday.

The national parks need our time by volunteering and our donations to help continue these great treasures. You can help by supporting one of more than 200 philanthropic organizations that partner with national parks nationwide.  In addition, many national parks have nonprofit associations linked to them. In addition, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of our national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.

Take a moment to check out one of these friend organizations of the national parks today! Click here for a directory of these organizations.

Happy National Park Week!

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! We can’t wait to get out there again and see you in person to say thanks!

 

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 about these 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 adult 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!

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

In addition, you can become a junior ranger by learning about the importance of sounds outside. Click here for the packet. Once you complete it, you can get a digital high five. See the last page for the direction.

Cheers to the start of National Park Week!