National Public Lands Day

We celebrate National Public Lands Day today organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation.

Established in 1994 and celebrated the fourth Saturday in September, this day is traditionally the largest volunteer day celebrating the connection between the environment and people.

To participate this year, visit a national park for free, share an outdoor activity online, donate to a national park or organization, or just get outdoors wherever you can!

Enjoy the benefits of being outdoors!

130th!

Happy 130th anniversary to Sequoia National Park! On this day, President Harrison signed legislation creating America’s second national park. It was the first national park created to protect the giant sequoia trees from logging. 

We visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park a few weeks ago and loved spending some quality time in both national parks. Enjoy a few photos from Sequoia National Park.

If you plan on visiting this national park soon, make sure to check it out online due to the neighboring wildfire and COVID-19. I highly recommend visiting this national park, but make sure to follow the guidelines and closures.

John Muir reflected that giant sequoia groves are “not like places, they are like haunts.”

Happy 130th, Sequoia National Park!

104!

Check out who’s turning 104 years old! The National Park Service!

President Woodrow Wilson created the national park service (NPS) back on August 25, 1916.

The act stated that the NPS “is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Pick a park to visit and celebrate this important birthday of these amazing treasures!

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A Map!

Check out a new map here I made of national park service units that I have visited over the years. When you hover it, you will see the name of the site and years visited. You can also click on the dot to link to the specific national park service’s website for more information on that particular park.

I can’t wait to add more dots to the map! 🙂 You can find this map on the main page of this blog under a tab at any time. Enjoy exploring!

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

A couple of weeks ago, we ventured out of town for a few days and visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Given this trip was plan B for our summer vacation, it turned out really great!

Sequoia and Kings Canyon sit south of Yosemite National Park in California in the southern Sierra Nevadas. Sequoia is America’s second national park created in 1890.

In Sequoia National Park, the kids opted to check out General Sherman as our first adventure in the park. General Sherman stands as the earth’s largest tree in volume of total wood. It is 275 feet tall with a circumference of 103 feet. Its trunk weighs an estimated 1,385 tons! It’s also estimated to be 2,200 years old! Every year, General Sherman grows enough new wood to produce a 60 foot tall tree of usual size.

Over in Kings Canyon National Park, we checked out General Grant.

While these parks have the amazing giant trees, these two parks also showcase other diverse parts of nature. Enjoy a few photos of other parts of these parks:

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We really enjoyed our time here! We did miss going to the visitor centers and listening to ranger talks, but the kids still learned new things and completed their junior ranger books that we printed out at home before our trip. 

While most people drive on through these two parks in one day, you can easily spend multiple days here and enjoy the variety of landscapes and trails here. I’d highly recommend checking out these two parks if you’re in the area!

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir

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!

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 Movies

While we wait until we can go and visit a national park, check out a few movies here to enjoy some scenes from a variety of national parks.

  • Star Wars, A New Hope (1977) – Death Valley National in California – filmed some scenes on Tatooine here as well as some other scenes in the movie
  • Dances with Wolves (1990) – Badlands National Park in South Dakota- has a variety of scenes there including a pretty, mixed grass prairie landscape scene
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – Redwoods National and State Parks in California – filmed some scenes here
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) – Zion National Park in Utah – Robert Redford and Paul Newman filmed some scenes here
  • Star Trek V, The Final Frontier (1989) – Yosemite National Park  in California – Captain Kirk decides to climb El Capitan in this film
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming – featured the tower as the aliens landing site
  • The Shining (1980) – Glacier National Monument in Montana – filmed the Going-to-the-Sun Road and a few other scenes here and the Overlook Hotel lounge set in the film was modeled after the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park
  • Into the Wild (2007) – Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska – Sean Penn’s movie based on Jon Krakauer’s book set here
  • Rocky IV (1985) – Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming – filmed the Tetons as a stand in for scenes with his training in Siberia
  • Planet of the Apes (1968) – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona and Utah – filmed the landing site for the astronaut crew there
  • Forrest Gump (1994) – National Mall in Washington DC – Forrest Gump described this scene as the happiest time of his life takes place here and Forrest also journeyed through Glacier National Park in his adventures
  • North by Northwest (1959) – Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota – Alfred Hitchcock movie with Cary Grant filmed some scenes here, but the final scene was filmed on a set which looked just like the memorial
  • E.T. (1982) – Redwoods National and State Parks in California – filmed some scenes here in the forest
  • Free Solo (2018) – Yosemite National Park in California – filmed the nonfiction movie here about a rock climber’s attempt to climb El Capitan

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Enjoy some movies while pretending to be in a national park!

 

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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