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7 months ago

12 of the Best National Park Beaches

12 of America’s Best National Park Beaches

Still recovering from the long, cold winter … or just need some sun and surf in your travel plans this year? NPCA staff pick a dozen of the best beach vacation spots at national parks around the country.

View the slideshow »
1 year ago

dino monument

 

FEATURED PARK: Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado and Utah

This aptly named park is the place to indulge your curiosity about the “terrible lizards” that roamed the Southwest 149 million years ago. The site preserves thousands of fossils in its rock walls as well as extraordinary scenery carved by the Green and Yampa Rivers.

View the Slideshow »        Learn More »

 

1 year ago

crater lake

 

FEATURED PARK: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

For a few fleeting months each year, the snows melt at Crater Lake, and this remote landscape becomes accessible to visitors for a magnificent summer season. The deepest body of fresh water in the United States, the lake rests inside a caldera formed by the massive volcanic eruption of Mount Mazama some 7,700 years ago, and is known for its remarkably clear, pure waters.

View the Slideshow »        Learn More »

 

1 year ago

underground railroad

 

FEATURED PARK: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, Maryland

A hundred years after her death, the Park Service has created a new national monument to honor Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, who helped bring dozens of enslaved Americans to freedom and fought for equal rights for all people. Not only is this park a testament to her remarkable legacy, its 25,000 acres also encompass beautiful natural areas for wildlife-watching, hiking, biking, and paddling.

View the Slideshow »        Learn More »

 

1 year ago

cape cod

 

FEATURED PARK: Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

This seashore is a classic summer vacation spot with six beautiful beaches for swimming, hiking trails through marshlands and forests, bicycle trails, charming lighthouses, and even some fascinating history involving transatlantic communication.

View the Slideshow »        Learn More »

 

1 year ago

alaska

 

 

Kobuk Valley National Park

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What do you wear forty miles north of the Arctic Circle?

Sunscreen.

During the summer in Kobuk Valley National Park, the thermometer can reach 100 degrees. Sand dunes rise ten stories into the air. A massive herd wanders down to a lazy river to drink.

Is this really Alaska? It looks more like the Kalahari.

Kobuk Valley National Park is home to the only active sand dunes within the Arctic Circle. The Great Kobuk, Little Kobuk, and Hunt River Sand Dunes have shrunk to 25 square miles. At one time, they covered twelve times as much area.

When the June thaw finally arrives, more than 300,000 caribou cross the Kobuk River on their annual migration. Archaeological evidence from digs at Onion Portage proves that hunters have stalked the caribou from this site for more than 9,000 years.

You can see Kobuk Valley National Park from a boat lolling along the Kobuk River, from a campsite on the dunes, or from aircraft flying overhead.

There are no roads or services in the park. This is a destination for experienced backcountry campers. Plan your stay and book transport into the park by plane, boat, or snowmachine from the visitor center in Kotzebue.

 

http://www.npca.org/exploring-our-parks/slideshows/kobuk-valley-national-park.html

 

 

 

 

 

2 years ago

parks

 

FEATURED PARK: Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Remote and rugged, Voyageurs National Park is a wild landscape of ancient rock, dense forest, and interconnected waterways that preserves the cross-country trade route canoed centuries ago by French fur traders. Nestled along the Canadian border, most of this 218,000-acre park is a peninsula accessible only by water—but still vulnerable to modern-day pollution problems.

Learn More »        Watch the Slideshow »

 

2 years ago

parks

 

Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area, Texas

This proposed recreation area spans four counties along the Gulf Coast of Texas and offers visitors a little bit of everything—from world-class bird-watching, to recreational fishing, to Civil War history. The area's undeveloped coastal lands can serve as a natural sponge absorbing storm water during extreme weather, as researchers discovered after Hurricane Ike in 2008, which ultimately means a safer environment for those living along the coast. Plus, the park would only incorporate land from voluntary participants, putting private property proponents at ease. These many advantages have led to strong bipartisan support for conserving these beautiful beaches, marshes, plantations, and historical sites.

Learn More »        Watch the Slideshow »

 

Rosie The Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park
3 years ago

rosie

The image of Rosie the Riveter has been reused and reinterpreted many times over the years. During World War II, Rosie’s confident expression and exuberant show of physical strength inspired young women to take jobs in factories producing goods to support the war effort.

After Pearl Harbor, many men left their jobs to join the forces overseas. At the same time, factories were signing huge military contracts. Rosie the Riveter, named after a 1942 song, helped to convince an estimated 18 million women across the country to work in defense and support-related industries.

Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park was dedicated in 2000 and honors the women and men who supported the war effort here in the United States. The park features a Rosie the Riveter Memorial, sculpted to resemble the shape of a liberty ship, and featuring photos and quotes from real-life "Rosies" around the country. In addition to telling the stories of the women who worked in war factories, the park also collects information about all the activities that comprised the war effort at home.

The park is located on the site of a shipyard, where the SS Red Oak Victory and many other ships were built during World War II. You can tour the SS Red Oak Victory, the last of the 747 ships launched at Richmond, California, during World War II. You can also follow an auto tour to other sites throughout Richmond that are related to the war effort. More information will be available to the public when the park officially opens its new visitor center on May 26, 2012.

Park Service employees also continue the mission of empowering young women through a special outreach program connecting middle school girls with park history, female role models, and a range of skill development opportunities, including workshops in male-dominated trades. Learn more about this innovative program, "Rosie's Girls," on NPCA's blog, the Park Advocate.

http://www.npca.org/parks/rosie-the-riveter-wwii-home-front-natl-hist-park.html

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
3 years ago

alaska

Can you imagine six million acres of forests, glaciers, mountains, rivers, and valleys, with just one winding road leading into the rugged wilderness? Denali National Park is best known for Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain—but its vast landscapes encompass a wonderland of peaks and valleys and offer a sanctuary for bears, foxes, lynx, moose, wolves, and some 167 bird species. Most of the park's 400,000 annual visitors arrive in the summer, but the long, dark winters offer snowy solitude, stark vistas, and plenty of activities for those who are experienced and comfortable dealing with extreme weather. Those who would rather enjoy the park from the warmth of their homes can view our slideshow and read our 2009 National Parks magazine article on search-and-rescue operations on Mount McKinley.

If You Go > >
Denali's snows generally settle in around September or October and blanket the landscape until April. Road access and daylight are both extremely limited, and temperatures routinely reach -40 degrees F. Still intrigued? You'll find opportunities for snowshoeing, camping, stargazing, and, with any luck, a glimpse of the aurora borealis.


View the Slideshow > >

Yellowstone National Park --
3 years ago

This week’s National Park Getaway

 

Yellowstone National Park, Wy. – Congress gave America’s Best Idea a kickstart in 1872, when it established Yellowstone National Park – this week’s National Park Getaway  (www.nps.gov/getaways).

 

Yellowstone is a place of wonder in all seasons. The park preserves the most extraordinary collection of mudpots, geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles on Earth, including one of the most famous geysers – Old Faithful.

 

Internationally known as a World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve, the park is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk.  Human history in the park has been traced back more than 11,000 years.

 

Catch a glimpse of Yellowstone in one of its quieter seasons with this week’s National Park Getaway.

 

                                www.nps.gov

 

  About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service  employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities  across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
3 years ago

monument

If you're looking for a different twist on a white Christmas, one that emphasizes sun instead of snow, try exploring this unique Southwestern park. The copious white sands of White Sands National Monument are part of the largest gypsum dune field in the world—275 square miles of shifting, glistening minerals piled together in a valley of the Chihuahuan Desert. Because gypsum dissolves easily in water, it is rare to find it in sand form. Normally the gypsum would be washed away by rivers into the sea, but because these dunes are trapped by the mountains that surround the region, any water that collects from rain and snow eventually drains away, leaving the pristine powder behind. The world's second-largest gypsum dune field is only eight square miles, making White Sands spectacular in its scope as well as its rarity.

If you go > >
The park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including nightly sunset strolls, educational programs, and crafts for kids. Be sure to check the park's website or a visitor center for a schedule of events. Also be aware that areas of the park are sometimes closed when missile tests are conducted at the adjacent White Sands Missile Range. Check for closures by calling the park at 575.679.2599.


View the Slideshow > >

3 years ago

Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania; Petersburg National Battlefield, Virginia; and Vicksburg National Military Park, Georgia

gettysburg

Gettysburg, Petersburg, Vicksburg—the names alone evoke the valor of soldiers who fought and died on these Civil War battlefields. As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, these national parks preserve defining moments in our nation's history. Gettysburg served as the "high water mark of the Confederacy"—the last meaningful offensive the South would conduct against northern forces, and the deadliest engagement of the war. Vicksburg marks the site of a 40-day siege that ultimately gave northern troops control of the Mississippi River—a major turning point in the war. Petersburg commemorates the longest siege in U.S. military history, a nine-month ordeal that led to the collapse of the Confederate government.

According to the Civil War Trust, Civil War battlefields are destroyed at the alarming rate of 30 acres per day; however, these three parks currently have legislation pending in Congress that would expand their boundaries to help preserve more of their history and protect these hallowed grounds from encroachment. You can take action today to help protect 10,000 acres of Vicksburg's historic battlefields. 

If you go > >
More than 70 national parks contain aspects of Civil War history, and the Park Service is hosting special events throughout the country as part of the four-year sesquicentennial commemorating the war. Before you plan your trip, visit their official website to learn about upcoming events and important dates in history at www.nps.gov/civilwar150/events.


View the slideshow > >

3 years ago

Big Thicket National Preserve, Texas
View Slideshow

With approximately 100,000 acres of dense vegetation and diverse wildlife in Southeast Texas, Big Thicket National Preserve is the perfect destination for the wild at heart. The preserve features an unusual mix of ecosystems spread across 15 park units in seven counties. Its diverse habitats, which range from sand hills to swamps, host a wide array of wildlife, including 60 mammals, 90 reptiles and amphibians, and more than 170 birds. Big Thicket's resources are particularly vulnerable to adjacent development because most of the preserve's units are small and isolated from one another. But one recently acquired section of the park helps extend and protect critical habitat: The new 6,600-acre Lower Cypress Tract of the Beaumont Unit is the only coastal wetlands environment in the preserve and serves as a crucial filtration system and breeding ground for many native animals, such as the American alligator, blue crab, and roseate spoonbill. It also provides a necessary buffer zone against flooding and erosion. NPCA is currently working with Lamar University to provide educational field trips to the new tract for students.

If you go > >
The preserve only has eight official hiking trails, varying from half a mile to 18 miles long, and some of these trails close for hunting season (October 1 to February 1). Paddling on rivers and creeks can be another exciting way to explore areas of the park that are too wild for footpaths.


View the slideshow > >

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
3 years ago

elk

If you want to feel like you're on top of the world, Rocky Mountain National Park is the place to go. At 7,500 feet above sea level, the park offers dramatic peaks and valleys, with 60 mountains over 12,000 feet high, and the tallest, Longs Peak, reaching a staggering 14,259 feet. With meadows, lakes, streams, waterfalls, forests, alpine tundra, and even glaciers, the park is home to astounding ecological diversity. Visitors can hike 359 miles of trails, camp in more than 200 backcountry campsites, and see a wide variety of plant and animal life.

If you go > >
Rocky Mountain is home to bats, bighorn sheep, marmots, moose, pikas, and some 280 documented bird species—but as autumn approaches, the area is best known for its 3,000-plus elk as they get ready to mate. Learn more about elk romance, or "rutting," in our slideshow.


View the slideshow > >

Parks to.................
3 years ago

Wow...............!   Beautiful, beautiful places indeed darling.  I go once or twice a year to Yosemite, it's just a fantastic place.  Many thanks for taking the time and sharing with me     

3 years ago

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina

Summer is the perfect time to visit Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which covers more than 70 miles of coastline and 30,000 acres of beaches, dunes, marshes, and woodlands in North Carolina's Outer Banks. The site's designation in 1953 as America's first national seashore helps to protect its delicate geography and rich diversity of plant and animal life (including more than 360 documented bird species) from habitat loss and encroachment. The seashore is best known for its three iconic lighthouses, constructed to aid sailors navigating the cape's perilous coastline. So many ships have perished here over the course of centuries, it's been dubbed the "Graveyard of the Atlantic." Visitors will also find a range of historical sites commemorating maritime traditions, Civil War and World War II battles, and the U.S. Lifesaving Service, a predecessor to the Coast Guard.

If you go > >
Prepare for changing weather patterns, including strong sun, high winds, and sudden thunderstorms. The area is also known for its mosquitoes, so don't forget the bug spray!


View the slideshow > >

Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska
3 years ago

Alaska

Summer is the perfect time to visit Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska. Explore the great outdoors along the park's many trails, where you can observe migrating salmon and experience a temperate rain forest under towering trees. History buffs will enjoy daily ranger-led tours of the Russian Bishop's House--one of the few surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America--offered every 30 minutes May through September. Renovated to its 1853 appearance, the Bishop's house dates back to when Sitka was the colonial capitol under Russian Imperial rule.

If you go > >
From the park you can venture to nearby Castle Hill, a National Historic Landmark and an Alaska state park, where Russia officially transferred the region to the United States in a flag ceremony on October 18, 1867.


View the slideshow > >

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
3 years ago

isle ferry

Accessible only by ferry, personal boat, or float-plane service, Isle Royale National Park--perched in the northwest corner of Lake Superior--is worth the extra effort to get there. Fewer than 20,000 people a year visit the park, but the island has a loyal following. The average visit to Isle Royale is four days, compared to a few hours at the Grand Canyon. Though closed in the winter months, summer at the park is warm and fall foliage provides a colorful backdrop for potential sightings of rutting moose. Not for the faint of heart, park visitors should prepare for rugged canoe portages and primitive-backcountry hiking and camping.

If you go > >
Free backcountry permits are required for the island's 36 campgrounds.


Read more about Isle Royale in National Parks > >

View the slideshow > >

Joshua Tree National Park, California
4 years ago

There's a lot to celebrate these days at Joshua Tree. Not only is the park observing its 75th anniversary this year; park supporters can also celebrate a recent action by the U.S. Supreme Court, which will protect the park from a proposed mega-garbage dump on its border. And that's quite a victory, considering Joshua Tree's nearly 800,000 acres preserve portions of both the Mojave and Colorado deserts of Southern California.

Hikers and climbers who venture out to this desert terrain will be rewarded with stunning views and abundant wildflower blooms, particularly in April and May, as well as the iconic Joshua trees in various life stages. The park is also an excellent spot for truly dark night-sky viewing, bird watching, and if you are lucky, bighorn sheep or desert tortoise spotting.

View the slideshow > >

Bonus Feature: Watch an inspiring, two-minute video about a couple's spiritual connection to rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, documented by National Parks' "Aperture" photographer David Stubbs.

4 years ago

Johnstown Flood National Memorial,
Pennsylvania
View Slideshow

As we await news on the effects of the latest natural disaster to strike Japan, Hawaii, and the U.S. West Coast, we draw attention to a national park site in Pennsylvania that commemorates one of the deadliest disasters in U.S. history. Johnstown Flood National Memorial marks the site where the South Fork Dam failed and Lake Conemaugh emptied into Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1889.

The official death toll stands at 2,209, but the actual number of people who died as a result of the disaster remains unknown. Others were killed in the flood's aftermath, when large amounts of debris trapped by the nearby Stone Bridge caught fire.

If there's any silver lining, it's that the American Red Cross was born as a result of this flood, exercising its first peacetime disaster recovery effort in Johnstown. Clara Barton also rose up in response to lead a team that prepared meals, provided shelter, and distributed medical supplies to survivors. March is recognized as both American Red Cross and Women's History Month. The American Red Cross continues to provide relief over 100 years later.

We express our deep condolences to

4 years ago

African Burial Ground National Monument,
New York

Park Lines 2011 slideshow banner

Seven blocks north of the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan lies a once-forgotten burial ground for Africans--both slave and free--dating back to the 17th century. Unearthed during the 1991 excavation of a federal building site, the nearly seven-acre site is the final resting place for an estimated 15,000 Africans who once lived, worked, and met their final days in the city that was once called New Amsterdam, when Wall Street was literally a wall, not a world financial center. The burial site was situated north of early settlements at the tip of the island because laws prohibited the burial of Africans within the city proper. To learn more about New York City's hidden treasure, watch NPCA's virtual tour online.

If You Go > >
During the month of February, the African Burial Ground National Monument will be conducting a series of events on the African-American experience.

View the slideshow > >


4 years ago

De Soto National Memorial, Florida
Park Lines 2011 slideshow banner

Situated on Florida's west coast, De Soto National Memorial is an historic site that commemorates Spaniard Hernando De Soto, one of the earliest European explorers of North America. He led his men on a four-year, 4,000-mile trek from Florida into what is now Arkansas. They were the first Europeans to see the Mississippi above its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico. Attractions at the park include Camp Uzita, where park staff reenact De Soto's landing at the southern edge of Tampa Bay, and the lives his men lived once they were settled. Programs run every day from mid-December through mid-April. Historical artifacts from the expedition are on display in the park's museum. 

In addition to its rich American history, the site also provides critical habitat for important species like bald eagles, egrets, and endangered wood storks, which might be glimpsed on a nature walk through an unspoiled mangrove swamp.

If You Go > >
Camp Uzita and the nature walk are the park's biggest attractions. Here, visitors can get a sense of what the Florida coast must have been like when the first explorers from the Old World arrived. Recreational fishing, swimming, beach combing, and kayak tours can also be enjoyed in the park.

View the slideshow > >

4 years ago

yosemite

It's a common misconception that come wintertime, everything shuts down in California's Yosemite National Park. But this is when Badger Pass Ski Area comes alive. Rich in history, Badger Pass was the first ski resort on the West Coast when the lodge opened in 1935. The site hosts modest downhill runs and a central hub for more than 100 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and additional areas for sledding and inner tubing. Park rangers lead snowshoe walks from mid-December through March, and an outdoor ice skating rink is open from mid-November to mid-March in Yosemite Valley's Curry Village.

The road to Mariposa Grove, the park's largest stand of giant sequoias, closes in December and opens in the spring, but is accessible by foot, skis, or snowshoes all winter long. The Glacier Point road also closes in late fall, but Badger Pass Road is plowed to the ski area for easy access. The Yosemite Valley Shuttle also runs year-round, but visitors should check the park's website for special schedules during the winter season. Though the mountain is shrouded in white, hikers can enjoy the Hetch Hetchy Valley which sits at a lower elevation than neighboring peaks, and as a result, boasts one of the longest hiking seasons in the park.

Any outdoor winter adventure should be planned with care, and activities in Yosemite are no exception. But seeing this beautiful park blanketed in snow and enjoying a crisp winter day among its many treasures is indeed a special opportunity.

View the slideshow > >

4 years ago

Chaco Culture National Historical Park: A Rich Cultural Legacy
Park Lines 2010 slideshow banner

In a remote canyon of northwestern New Mexico, a hidden gem laid undisturbed for six centuries. Indigenous peoples thrived here from 850 to 1250 AD, well before the first Europeans arrived, and celebrated a culture rich in art, architecture, agriculture, engineering, and astronomy.

Working with stone tools, the people of Chaco constructed multi-storied stone "great houses" with rooms that numbered in the hundreds. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from as far as 60 miles away, constructing 15 major complexes that remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.

Eventually, a 50-year drought forced the Chacoan people to migrate--but they didn't disappear. Their descendants are the modern American Indians of the Southwest, who consider Chaco an important stop along their tribes' sacred migration paths.

Chaco Canyon was designated a national monument in 1907 under the Antiquities Act after mounting concerns about unregulated archeological activity at the site. In 1980, Congress expanded the park boundaries and changed the park's designation to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The park was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1987 (one of only 20 sites in the U.S.), recognizing the uniqueness of the civilization at Chaco Canyon.

View the slideshow > >

4 years ago

Wild and Scenic Rivers—Coast to Coast
Park Lines 2010 slideshow banner

A visit to one of the many Wild and Scenic Rivers in our National Park System gives visitors a chance to step back in time and experience America's great waterways as our forbearers did: wild, primitive, and undeveloped. With 38 of these rivers and 2,800 miles of shoreline in the National Park System, opportunities to experience these wild and scenic waterways are available from coast to coast.

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, passed by Congress in October of 1968, has helped preserve our most spectacular rivers. The Ozark was designated the first National Scenic Riverway because of its free-flowing condition, primate shorelines, and accessibility from nearby roads.

Wild rivers--including a 200-mile portion of the Rio Grande that borders Big Bend National Park--earn their wild designation because they are generally inaccessible except by trail and represent vestiges of primitive America. Many of these rivers also boast abundant wildlife and impressive whitewater for rafting and kayaking.

Visit our Explore the Parks section to learn more > >

View the slideshow > >

4 years ago

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Park Lines 2010 slideshow banner

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15, by visiting one of the more than 20 national parks that interpret our nation's Hispanic heritage. Visit "Explore the Parks" for a complete list.

Among those parks is San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas which preserves four 18th-century Spanish missions and interprets Spanish colonization of the Americas during that time period.

On July 13, the House passed bipartisan legislation that could lead to an important expansion at the park. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Boundary Expansion Act of 2010 enables the Park Service to expand the boundary of the park and authorizes the study of culturally significant lands for potential inclusion in the park. The bill will enhance the ability of the Park Service to preserve and interpret the rich history of the missions. NPCA hopes the Senate will follow the House's lead and pass a companion bill.

View the slideshow > >

4 years ago

Hawaii’s Historical Parks
Park Lines 2010 slideshow banner

If you’re planning a visit to Hawaii, or if you’re fortunate enough to call the islands your home, you don’t want to miss out on Hawaii’s seven national parks. Three of them are located along the western coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i: Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, and Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. All three preserve Hawaiian culture and traditional lifestyles. They also offer recreational opportunities such as wildlife viewing, hiking, picnicking, fishing, and cultural demonstrations.

At Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, you can attend the annual Ho`oku`ikahi Hawaiian Cultural Festival to celebrate the unification of the Hawaiian Islands by Kamehameha the Great. This year’s free festival takes place August 14 and 15. It will feature cultural ceremonies, crafts and games, rides in double-hulled canoes, and hands-on demonstrations.

View the slideshow > >

4 years ago

FEATURED PARK
South Carolina's Revolutionary War Parks

Park Lines 2010 slideshow banner south carolina rev parks

On July 4, our nation celebrated its independence. Perhaps you visited national parks created to commemorate the Revolutionary War battles fought to achieve that independence. If you didn't make it to one of these parks over the holiday weekend, there are still plenty of reasons to visit year-round: from cannon-firing demonstrations, to ranger-led tours, to hiking trails, interpretive films, and Junior Ranger programs, these parks have much to offer to visitors of all ages and interests.

Three national parks in South Carolina that preserve the history of the American Revolution--Cowpens National Battlefield, Ninety Six National Historic Site, and Kings Mountain National Military Park--each offer visitors the opportunity to learn a different part of the story of our nation's fight for independence.

NPCA's Center for State of the Parks recently released new reports that assess the conditions of cultural and natural resources at these three parks, identify challenges park staff face in caring for resources, and highlight recent successes.

View the slideshow > >

5 years ago

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana
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"The dunes are to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona." - Carl Sandburg

Every year more than two million people visit Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at the southern tip of Lake Michigan to enjoy its renowned beaches, towering sand dunes, and beautiful bird-filled ponds and marshes. The park protects more than 15,000 acres of beautiful shoreline, woods, and wetlands, as well as historic routes where Native Americans traveled between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.

The strong winds across Lake Michigan create these dunes--including the 126-foot Mt. Baldy--by lifting grains of sand and transporting them inland until plants and hills slow the wind, drop the sand, and create the hilly dunes. As you walk you may hear the "singing sands" as the combination of quartz crystals, moisture, and the friction of your steps create a musical tone unique to only a few beaches worldwide.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was established by President John F. Kennedy as part of a compromise, creating both the park and a port to satisfy industrial needs. Today several steel mills and a power plant are adjacent to the park, so protecting the park's fragile resources is a challenge. NPCA is working on a strategic plan with the park and other partners to build support and carve a path that preserves Indiana Dunes for the future.

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Anonymous
6 years ago
Featured Park: Lowell National Historical Park, Massachusetts
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"I am sick at heart when I look into the social world and see woman so willingly made a dupe to the beastly selfishness of man."   --Sarah Bagley, Lowell Mill Girl

In the mid-1800s, the town of Lowell, Massachusetts, was a thriving center of the textile industry, with dozens of mills using the power of the Merrimack River and the latest modern machinery to turn Southern cotton into cloth. The textile companies recruited single, young women from rural areas with promises of room, board, and wages. The women--known as Mill Girls--worked long hours six days a week surrounded by noise, dust, and the ever-present danger of fire. Their eventual demands and protests for shorter hours and better working conditions put Lowell at the center of the early labor movement.

Lowell National Historical Park celebrates the lives and work of these women, as well as their impact on the larger labor and women's rights movements, and the impact of Lowell's mills on the industrial development of the United States. Visitors to the park can walk the historical trail through town and around the canals and mill buildings, view working looms in the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, and take a boat tour on the canals that run through the city.

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Read the Article in National Parks Magazine > >

Anonymous
6 years ago
The White House, President's Park, Washington, D.C.
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On January 20th, 2009, all eyes will be on Washington, D.C. as Barack Obama is sworn into office as the 44th president of the United States of America. After the swearing-in ceremony, the inaugural parade, and many inaugural balls, President Obama and his family will move into their new home, the White House. For more than 200 years the White House has been the private home of American presidents.

While the White House is a world-famous symbol of American democracy, not many know that it is also a national park. Known as President's Park, the site includes the White House, a visitor center, and Lafayette Park. President's Park also includes many gardens, such as the notable Rose Garden, site of many important presidential announcements and ceremonies.

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Anonymous
6 years ago
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Tennessee/>

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Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greeneville, Tennessee, commemorates the life and times of Andrew Johnson, a 19th-century politician who became president of the United States after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Johnson was buried in 1875 near his home atop Signal Hill, a site that has since expanded to become the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery. Still in use today, the cemetery honors the service of all Americans who fought and served their country from the Civil War to the Gulf War.

This Veterans Day, on Tuesday, November 11th, we invite you to visit Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, or one of the many other national parks, monuments, battlefields, and historic sites that honor our veterans. The Park Service has announced that all military members, active and retired, and their families will be admitted free-of-charge to all national parks on Veterans Day in appreciation for their service!

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Anonymous
6 years ago
Cabrillo National Monument, California />
National Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15th-October 15th, 2008

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In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we're featuring the beautiful and historic Cabrillo National Monument />near San Diego, California. The monument commemorates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's California voyage of discovery and exploration. In 1542 Cabrillo led an expedition to the western coast of North America. Seeking new wealth and trade routes for Spain, Cabrillo and his crew were the first Europeans to arrive on the shores of California.

To celebrate this legacy and highlight the cultural diversity of the area, the park organizes an annual Cabrillo Festival, one of the oldest cultural events in San Diego. The festival, held this year on September 27th and 28th, brings together people of diverse backgrounds: Mexican, Spanish, Portuguese, and American Indian, all of whom are connected today by Cabrillo's arrival more than 450 years ago.

If you can't make the festival, this 288-acre park offers many other activities throughout the year. You can explore the secret world of shoreline tidal pools, enjoy spectacular views of the San Diego Bay, spot migrating birds and gray whales, and explore historic buildings, including the 19th-century Old Point Loma Lighthouse and 20th-century coastal defenses.

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NPCA's Center for the State of the Parks included Cabrillo National Monument in their recent report on Southern California's Mediterranean Biome parks. The report found that while park staff have done much to protect and improve the park, insufficient funding hinders them--so much so that next year, they might not be able to afford hosting the historic Cabrillo Festival.

Learn more about the park and threats it faces >

Anonymous
6 years ago
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

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Evidence of Hawaii's volcanic past--and present--is visible throughout the islands that make up our 50th state. But nowhere is Hawaii's legacy of fire more apparent than at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the southern edge of the Big Island. In and near the park, lava flows from the Kilauea volcano enter the Pacific Ocean where the lava hardens to black volcanic rock that increases Hawaii's acreage with every passing year.

Elsewhere in the park, it's possible to view ancient petroglyphs, hike across the floor of a dormant crater, view steam vents, and take a stroll through a primeval rain forest to an ancient lava tube. Wildlife are fairly abundant here, including some endangered endemic species like the Hawaii honeycreeper and the Hawaiian goose or nene, as it's commonly called.

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If You Go > >The park is easily viewed by car. The Crater Rim Drive takes visitors around the dormant crater, with plenty of places to park and walk around, and the Chain of Craters Road takes visitors down the volcano to the ocean and the hike to the lava flows. To really get a feel for this dynamic and fascinating landscape, you'll definitely want to spend some time outside of the car, hiking along any number of trails sure to suit anyone from the casual day-tripper to the dedicated hiker.

Anonymous
7 years ago
Sequoia National Park, California

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Sequoia National Park in California's Sierra Nevada mountains is a land of superlatives: It was the second national park to be designated in the U.S., boasts the tallest mountain in the continental U.S., and is home to the largest tree on earth. Mount Whitney's granite peak rises 14,505 feet above sea level and can be reached from the Giant Forest by expert hikers taking the arduous High Sierra trail. "General Sherman," a sequoia tree in the Giant Forest, is the world's most voluminous living tree specimen, standing 275 feet high with a base circumference of over 100 feet. The park's lower elevations feature spectacular waterfalls and more than 200 known caves of beautiful stalactites and naturally polished marble. Most of the park is secluded wilderness and backcountry, and can be reached only by hiking or horseback riding.

If You Go > > You must secure your food and any other scented items from black bears, which have been known to break into cars in search of snacks. The Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group has a list of approved food storage containers on their website: www.sierrawildbear.gov

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This one is particularly near and dear to my heart. Used to visit every year just after the 4th of July as a kid . Absolute therapy .

Anonymous
Parks to Visit
7 years ago
| Blue Label
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

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Looking for an adventure this summer? You just might find it in the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. Located seventy miles west of Key West, Florida, the park is actually a cluster of small islands renowned for vibrant coral, lush seagrass, and migratory birds. Though not as numerous as they once were, loggerhead turtles and green sea turtles still call the park home at times, as do Sooty Terns, Magnificant Frigate Birds, and Brown Noddies--making it a birders' paradise.

History buffs will enjoy a visit to Fort Jefferson, an outstanding nineteenth-century fort built with 16 million bricks, which once served as "Guardian of the Gulf." Divers and snorkelers also come to explore the shipwrecks and coral reefs. The reefs and shoals are a natural "ship trap," which explains the nearly 300 known wrecks in the vicinity.

If You Go > > The park is so remote even your cell phone won't work! There are no stores on the island if you forget something, so plan ahead and bring all you need. When they say “dry,” they mean it—there is no natural fresh water on the island and water is not provided by the park. So come prepared in order to enjoy your remote island adventure.

Jim Stratton, senior director of NPCA's Alaska Field Office, visited Florida's Dry Tortugas last April.

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