Today, the National Park Service turns 100.  Of the currently 59 US National Parks, I think I’ve been to 15.  That’s not counting national monuments, national historic parks, national historic sites, national recreation areas, national memorials, national seashores, etc, etc, etc – just national parks.  Now that I’m actually counting them up, I’m realizing that I haven’t been to nearly enough parks!

The National Park system is an amazing legacy for the people of America.  They belong to all of us and they truly are “America’s Best Idea” (if you haven’t seen the Ken Burns film yet, go watch it now).  The mission of NPS is simple:

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, President Obama designated a new national monument, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

I celebrated by going through photos of the first times I visited various parks:

Shenandoah, Virginia, July 1996

Shenandoah, Virginia, July 1996

 

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee / North Carolina, November 2008

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee / North Carolina, November 2008

 

Rocky Mountain, Colorado, October 2009

Rocky Mountain, Colorado, October 2009

 

Badlands, South Dakota, October 2009

Badlands, South Dakota, October 2009

 

Glacier, Montana, May 2011

Glacier, Montana, May 2011

 

Yellowstone, Wyoming / Montana / Idaho, May 2011

Yellowstone, Wyoming / Montana / Idaho, May 2011

 

Grand Teton, Wyoming, May 2011

Grand Teton, Wyoming, May 2011

 

Grand Canyon, Arizona, October 2011

Grand Canyon, Arizona, October 2011

 

Sequoia, California, June 2015

Sequoia, California, June 2015

 

Kings Canyon, California, June 2015

Kings Canyon, California, June 2015

 

Yosemite, California, July 2015

Yosemite, California, July 2015

 

Lassen Volcanic, California, July 2015

Lassen Volcanic, California, July 2015

 

Mount Rainier, Washington, September 2015

Mount Rainier, Washington, September 2015

 

North Cascades, Washington, September 2015

 

Crater Lake, Oregon, October 2015

Crater Lake, Oregon, October 2015

 

Some of these parks I’ve been to again since these first trips (Great Smoky MountainsGrand Canyon).  Shenandoah, I’ve been to many times.  It’s definitely a goal of mine to get to all of our national parks in my lifetime.  I need to step it up.

Want to join me but don’t know where to start?  Find your park.

Written by Siren

1 Comment

Caz

Love the photo review of your park visits- great idea! I will have to do that some time. Sounds like you need a National Lakeshore soon. 🙂

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