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.
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.
During our vacation in Yellowstone National Park this summer, we discovered the Museum of the National Park Ranger.
Built in 1908, the museum once served as the Norris Solider Station. It’s currently on the National Register of Historic Places. This spacious, multi-room log structure housed a detachment of U.S. Cavalry. The soldier station changed into a ranger station and underwent several room alterations before it finally became the Ranger Museum in the 1990s.
This cool museum takes you through the history and timeline of national park rangers in America. You can learn about their iconic uniforms, duties, hardships, lifestyle, and other cool facts here. They have some really great exhibits here! And you can even watch some short videos in a small auditorium in the museum (great opportunity to rest your tired legs and learn a few fun facts).
In addition, retired national park service rangers staff this museum giving visitors a great opportunity to ask questions about their past work and the national park. Ask away as they love to chat!
If you’re in Yellowstone, take time to stop into this cool museum and check out the history here!
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