Thinking of new outdoor places to discover when life goes back to normal and social distancing isn’t a thing? Most likely, there is a national forest waiting to be explored not that far from you. In fact, there are 154 national forests in 41 states across the country, meaning seven in ten Americans live within a two-hour drive of these incredible public lands and resources.
For this week’s “10s on Tuesday”, here are 10 national forests to add to your outdoor mecca bucket list.
Photos all courtesy of the USDA Forest Service
Looking for easy ways to connect with nature from home? We have you covered! Turn your yard, neighborhood trail, or even your windowsill into an untapped educational park experience. Check out these five grab-and-go activities, brought to you by our wooly mascot Buddy Bison, that will help your kids stay engaged with the outdoors no matter where you call home.
Click on the download links below to view and print the activities:
Leaf or Bark Rubbing
When leaves fall from the tree, it is a great time to look at them closely and make a great piece of art. Place a leaf or bark under the activity paper inside the square. Then rub the leaf or bark using your pencil or a crayon.
Listening to Nature
Nature never sleeps and is really noisy, but sometimes you have to slow down and quiet yourself before it can be heard. Listen to what is happening around you. Can you hear the call of a nearby bird or the rustling of leaves?
Design a Nature Collage
A great activity to do while in your backyard or neighborhood is to collect and bring home any interesting or unique pieces of nature. At home, use your collected materials, construction paper, and glue to create a one of a kind nature collage.
Backyard Scavenger Hunt
There are so many interesting things you can find in nature. When walking or hiking, make sure you stay quiet, look around your surroundings, and see what you can discover.
Find something in nature that really interests you. It could be an insect, plant, worm, flower, or any other object that you think is neat. Look at it closely; use a magnifying glass if you have one. Draw what you see and try to label its parts!
Over the last century, women have greatly contributed to the protection of our public lands. From conservationists who fought for the creation of new parks to leaders within the National Park Service, these 10 champions of our national park system are remembered for their contributions and perseverance.
In 1930, Minerva created the International Deserts Conservation League and unsuccessfully pitched the idea of creating a national park to the then director of the National Park Service. Her persistance lead to lobbying President Franklin Roosevelt, who in 1936 designated Joshua Tree National Monument, now one of the most iconic national parks in the system. Photo: Minerva Hoyt Mural by NPS
Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Susan would often hike in the Sierras, document the landscape, take photos, and eventually wrote a book titled The Proposed Roosevelt-Sequoia National Park, which she hoped would convince Congress to expand the park. In 1926, they did, tripling the size of Sequoia. The National Park Service sent her a telegram thanking her for her efforts.
Edge waged a national campaign leading to the creation of Olympic National Park in 1938, protecting nearly one million acres of mountains and temperate rainforest. She repeated her actions for Kings Canyon National Park and lobbied Congress to purchase about 8,000 acres on the perimeter of Yosemite National Park that were slated for logging.
Virginia Donaghe McClurg
McClurg advocated for the creation of a state park around Mesa Verde, but instead, Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park in 1906. Even though McClurg eventually opposed the designation, the protection of the ruins owed her advocacy efforts a great deal of thanks.
In 1972, she took over as president of the association. She soon made several trips to Washington, D.C. to testify before Congress for the creation of a national park. Following the efforts of Johnston, Big Thicket Association, and other groups such as the Texas League of Women Voters, Big Thicket National Preserve was established in 1974.
Clare Marie Hodges
Fran P. Mainella
The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, established during Mainella's tenure, is an example of her vision of how to initiate successful partnerships with other agencies. The park was comprised of three Oregon state parks, and two Washington state parks, all in the vicinity around the mouth of the Columbia River.
Sue Kunitomi Embrey
Embrey became the co-chair of the committee that organized the annual pilgrimage and regularly gave speeches about her experience at the camp. After President George H.W. Bush signed the bill establishing Manzanar National Historic Site in 1992, Embrey continued to work with NPS to develop the interpretive site and continue to organize the yearly pilgrimage.
As we all know, the COVID-19 virus has impacted everyone in our country and many more globally. It has also impacted the thousands of children, teachers, and families whom we support across the country as well as our beloved national parks.
As the executive director of National Park Trust and the spouse of a cardiologist, I’ve been uplifted by so many stories that exemplify the extraordinary compassion, dedication, and generosity of neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues.
To our many partners and donors, thank you for your wonderful support for our mission and programs. During these challenging times, please know that we are taking careful steps to ensure that your gifts are being spent wisely, where the need is greatest.
As we experience social isolation, there has been a heightened awareness of how much we value our precious parks and public lands and waters. We miss them too!
Our staff has been reaching out to our nearly 300 partner schools in under-served communities and reassuring them that we will fund their students’ trips to parks after the current situation improves.
Finally, because we know that parents are looking for ways to educate and entertain their children at home, we are now sending special editions of our monthly newsletter that will be full of free downloadable resources to help bring our parks to your kids. Feel free to share this information with others and encourage them to join our newsletter list.
Please stay connected with us during this challenging time. We hope you and your family stay healthy and well.
“Someday we’ll find it. The Rainbow Connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.” – Kermit the Frog
Kermit said it best, rainbows are a great way to feel connected to each other. For this week’s “10s on Tuesday”, let your imagination wander as you discover these 10 stunning parks that provide the perfect setting for rainbow connections to happen.
Since its creation in 1916, the National Park Service has protected the ecological and historical integrity of our parks, allowing generations to enjoy the outdoors. In 2019, national park sites received over 327.5 million recreation visits – up 9 million visits (2.9%) from 2018. Here is a list of the 10 most visited sites of last year.
The 10th Kids to Parks Day is Saturday, May 16, 2020! National Park Trust invites kids and families across the country to participate in this nationwide grassroots movement to discover and explore America’s parks, public lands, and waters.
As part of this annual celebration, National Park Trust is pleased to announce the winners of our 2020 Kids to Parks Day National School Contest! The contest winners will receive grants up to $1,000 to fund their park trips which encourage outdoor education, recreation, and stewardship. We received numerous exciting and inspirational contest entries, and are pleased to announce that this year, 109 grants will be awarded to 90 Title I schools to support over 5,400 students in grades pre-K through 12! The selected schools represent 37 states plus Washington, D.C.
Thank you to our generous sponsors: The First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation, the National Park Service, the Wyss Foundation and Hydro Flask. For more information about the contest, contact Emily Edgar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-279-7275.
Congratulations to all the winners! Now it’s time to get out and go!
2020 Kids to Parks Day National School Contest Winners
|Alabama||Auburn||Wrights Mill Road Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Tuscaloosa||Westlawn Middle School – 7th Grade|
|Alaska||Wasilla||Finger Lake Elementary School – 4th Grade|
|Arizona||Benson||Benson High School – 12th Grade|
|California||Coalinga||Coalinga High School – 11th-12th Grades|
|King City||Del Rey Elementary School – 4th Grade|
|Los Angeles||Ninth Street Elementary School – 4th Grade|
|Modesto||Prescott Jr High School – 8th Grade (3rd Period)|
|Modesto||Prescott Jr High School – 8th Grade (4th Period)|
|Oakland||Roosevelt Middle School – 6th-8th Grades|
|Piru||Piru Elementary School – 4th Grade|
|Salinas||La Joya Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|San Diego||Gompers Preparatory Academy – 10th-12th Grades|
|Shafter||Shafter Youth Center – K-8th Grades|
|Colorado||Aurora||Altura Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Leadville||West Park Elementary School – 2nd Grade|
|Saguache||Mountain Valley School – 9th-12th Grades|
|Salinda||Longfellow Elementary School – 3rd Grade|
|Thornton||McElwain Elementary School – 2nd-3rd Grade|
|Thornton||STEM Launch K-8 School – Kindergarten|
|Thornton||Thornton Elementary School – Kindergarten|
|Delaware||Newark||Leasure Elementary School – 4th-5th Grade|
|District of Columbia||Washington, D.C.||Dorothy Height Elementary School – 1st Grade|
|Florida||Boynton Beach||SouthTech Academy – 9th-12th Grades|
|Daytona Beach||Holly Hill Middle School – 6th-8th Grades|
|Enterprise||Enterprise Elementary School – 2nd-5th Grades|
|Georgia||Covington||Middle Ridge Elementary School – 4th-5th Grades|
|Douglasville||Arbor Station Elementary School – 2nd Grade|
|Douglasville||South Douglas Elementary School – 4th Grade|
|Hawaii||Captain Cook||Honaunau Elementary School – 3rd Grade|
|Honoka’a||Honoka’a High School – 10th-12th Grades|
|Idaho||Aberdeen||Aberdeen Middle School – 6th Grade|
|Caldwell||Notus Elementary School – 6th Grade|
|Council||Council Jr./Sr. High School – 8th Grade|
|Council||Council Jr./Sr. High School – 10th Grade|
|Pocatello||Jefferson Elementary School – 4th Grade (Flynn)|
|Pocatello||Jefferson Elementary School – 4th Grade (Morgan)|
|Pocatello||Jefferson Elementary School – 4th Grade (Ray)|
|Pocatello||Jefferson Elementary School – 5th Grade (Leavitt)|
|Pocatello||Jefferson Elementary School – 5th Grade (Phelps)|
|Pocatello||Jefferson Elementary School – 5th Grade (Richardson)|
|Pocatello||Tendoy Elementary School – 5th Grade (Perry)|
|Pocatello||Tendoy Elementary School – 5th Grade (Son)|
|Illinois||Donovan||Donovan Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Monmouth||United West Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Rock Falls||East Coloma Nelson Middle School – 8th Grade|
|Indiana||Laurel||Laurel Elementary School – 5th-6th Grades|
|Spencer||McCormick’s Creek Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Washington||Helen Griffith Elementary School – 3rd Grade|
|Iowa||Bellevue||Bellevue Elementary School & Maquoketa Elementary School – 7th Grade|
|Kansas||Overland Park||Comanche Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Wichita||Jardine STEM and Career Connections Academy – 4th, 5th & 8th Grades|
|Kentucky||Columbia||Adair County Elementary School – 4th Grade|
|Lexington||Tates Creek Elementary School – 1st Grade|
|Louisiana||Scott||Scott Middle School 4-H Club – 6th-8th Grades|
|Maryland||Baltimore||Catonsville Education Center at RICA – 6th-12th Grades (Schreib, Schaefer, Foster, & Wasserback)|
|Baltimore||Catonsville Education Center at RICA – 8th-12th Grade (Friedlander)|
|Elkton||Cecil Manor Elementary School – PreK-Kindergarten|
|Elkton||Cecil Manor Elementary School – 1st Grade|
|Elkton||Cecil Manor Elementary School – 2nd-3rd Grades|
|Hagerstown||Salem Avenue Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Massachusetts||Chicopee||Dupont Middle School – 7th-8th Grades|
|Revere||Whelan Elementary School – 2nd-5th Grades|
|Michigan||Alpena||Hinks Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Burr Oak||Burr Oak High School – 10h Grade|
|Calumet||Horizons Alternative High School – 10th Grade|
|Calumet||Horizons Alternative High School – 11th Grade|
|Calumet||Horizons Alternative High School – 12th Grade|
|Grand Rapids||Southeast Kelloggsville Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Sparta||Appleview Elementary School – 3rd Grade|
|Missouri||St. Louis||Marian Middle School – 5th Grade|
|Montana||Lincoln||Lincoln Elementary School – 3rd-6th Grade|
|Nevada||Las Vegas||Knudson Middle School – 7th Grade (3rd Period)|
|Las Vegas||Knudson Middle School – 7th Grade (4th Period)|
|Las Vegas||Knudson Middle School – 7th Grade (5th Period)|
|Pahrump||Pahrump Valley High School – 9th-12th Grades|
|New Jersey||Newark||Abington Avenue School – 3rd Grade|
|Somerset||Pine Grove Manor School – 2nd Grade|
|New Mexico||Anthony||Alta Vista Early College High School – 11th Grade|
|Los Lunas||Valencia Elementary School – 1st Grade|
|New York||Brentwood||Brentwood High School – 12th Grade (Grella)|
|Brentwood||Brentwood High School – 12th Grade (Jackson)|
|Central Islip||Mulvey Elementary School – 3rd Grade|
|Huntington Station||Stimson Middle School – 7th Grade|
|Wellsville||Wellsville YMCA (After School Program) – 6th-8th Grades|
|North Carolina||Raleigh||Sanderson High School – 9th-12th Grades|
|North Dakota||Valley City||Jefferson Elementary School – Kindergarten-1st Grades|
|Ohio||Akron||National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM Middle School – 6th Grade|
|Akron||National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM Middle School – 7th Grade|
|Cleveland||Malachi Center After School Program – Kindergarten-8th Grades|
|Mount Gilead||Mount Gilead Middle School – 7th Grade|
|Oregon||Milwaukie||Sabin Schellenberg Professional Technical Center – 11th-12th Grades|
|Pennsylvania||Conneaut Lake||Conneaut Lake Middle School – 7th Grade|
|Easton||March Elementary School – 4th Grade|
|Rhode Island||East Providence||Whiteknact Elementary School – 3rd Grade|
|East Providence||Whiteknact Elementary School – 4th Grade|
|South Carolina||Bamberg||Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School – 9th-12th Grades|
|South Dakota||Custer||Custer Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Tennessee||Smithville||Smithville Elementary School – Kindergarten|
|Utah||Roy||North Park Elementary School – 3rd Grade|
|Virginia||Alexandria||Bucknell Elementary School – 4th Grade (Ganjei)|
|Alexandria||Bucknell Elementary School – 4th Grade (Kerr)|
|Altavista||Altavista Middle School – 6th Grade|
|Atkins||Atkins Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Highland Springs||Highland Springs High School – 9th-12th Grades|
|Richmond||Barack Obama Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Sugar Grove||Sugar Grove Elementary School – 5th Grade|
|Washington||Moses Lake||Frontier Middle School – 8th Grade|
|Tonasket||Tonasket Elementary School – 4th Grade|
From the first women’s rights activists in the U.S. to the most memorable first ladies, these national park sites tell the stories of women who have greatly impacted our history.
Like time capsules, archaeological sites and artifacts are buried and untouched for many years, giving us clues as to how ancient cultures lived. Experience the past, present, and future all at once by visiting one of these national park sites with amazing archaeological features.
If you thought the Grand Canyon was solely a geological wonder, think again. Artifacts found in the park have been attributed to the many cultures, including Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Ancestral Puebloan, Cohonina, Paiute, Hopi, and Navajo groups.Photo: NPS
Photo Credit: NPS
African Americans have made vast contributions to our national culture and heritage. These 10 national monuments and historic park sites tell some of their remarkable stories.
A chilling discovery of a burial ground in lower Manhattan uncovered over 15,000 African Americans buried at this site. The monument memorializes slavery’s role in shaping early New York City. Located in what was once known as the “promised land” of Kansas, the Nicodemus National Historic Site is the last African American settlement from the Reconstruction period located west of the Mississippi River. This site recounts how many formerly enslaved African Americans migrated westward seeking a better life. To commemorate the great abolitionist and woman best known as the “Moses of her people”, this national monument recognizes Harriet Tubman’s bravery and contributions in leading almost 70 enslaved people to their freedom. The memorial and the surrounding lands tell the story of Tubman’s heroic life. This monument is the birthplace and childhood home of the famed scientist, educator, and inventor. Established in 1943, it is the first unit of the National Park Service dedicated to an African American. As a young child known as the “Plant Doctor”, Carver often tended his secret garden while observing the day-to-day operations of a 19th-century farm. Nature greatly influenced him in his quest for education which led to him develop hundreds of food products. Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History”, passed away in this “office-home” on April 3, 1950, at the age of 74. The nation recognized his achievements when his home was declared a National Historic Site by Congress in 2003. In 2006, the Carter G. Woodson Home became the 389th unit of the National Park System. Woodson’s best-known contribution occurs every February. He initiated the celebration of the first “Negro History Week” in 1926, focusing on black history. Over the years, support grew, and in 1976, the celebration was extended to an entire month, now called “Black History Month.” Plan a trip to Topeka, KS and learn about the leading fight that led to the desegregation of our educational institutions. The case decided here was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement that helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all. Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, commemorates the contributions of African-American airmen in World War II. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. Their achievements, together with the men and women who supported them, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. Most of this historical park property consists of 4 acres within Louis Armstrong Park leased by the National Park Service. There is a visitor center at 916 North Peters Street and a concert venue, several blocks away in the French Quarter. The park shares the cultural history of the people and places which shaped the development and progression of jazz in New Orleans. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is located in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, near the French Quarter and was created in 1994 to celebrate the origins and evolution of jazz. The Booker T. Washington National Monument near Hardy, Virginia, preserves portions of the 207-acre tobacco farm on which the educator and leader was born into slavery on April 5, 1856. The site relates the story of Washington’s life and achievements, and explains the intricacies of 1850s slavery and farming through the use of buildings, gardens, crafts, and animals. At this site, The Pullman District of Chicago witnessed the first major labor agreement between a U.S. company and an African American union. It is also significant for being the first planned industrial community in the United States and for its origins in the Pullman Company, a railroad car manufacturer. It was also the scene of the violent 1894 Pullman strike. President Barack Obama designated Pullman as a National Monument on February 19, 2015. It became the first unit of the National Park Service in Chicago.
A chilling discovery of a burial ground in lower Manhattan uncovered over 15,000 African Americans buried at this site. The monument memorializes slavery’s role in shaping early New York City.
Located in what was once known as the “promised land” of Kansas, the Nicodemus National Historic Site is the last African American settlement from the Reconstruction period located west of the Mississippi River. This site recounts how many formerly enslaved African Americans migrated westward seeking a better life.
To commemorate the great abolitionist and woman best known as the “Moses of her people”, this national monument recognizes Harriet Tubman’s bravery and contributions in leading almost 70 enslaved people to their freedom. The memorial and the surrounding lands tell the story of Tubman’s heroic life.
This monument is the birthplace and childhood home of the famed scientist, educator, and inventor. Established in 1943, it is the first unit of the National Park Service dedicated to an African American.
As a young child known as the “Plant Doctor”, Carver often tended his secret garden while observing the day-to-day operations of a 19th-century farm. Nature greatly influenced him in his quest for education which led to him develop hundreds of food products.
Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History”, passed away in this “office-home” on April 3, 1950, at the age of 74. The nation recognized his achievements when his home was declared a National Historic Site by Congress in 2003. In 2006, the Carter G. Woodson Home became the 389th unit of the National Park System.
Woodson’s best-known contribution occurs every February. He initiated the celebration of the first “Negro History Week” in 1926, focusing on black history. Over the years, support grew, and in 1976, the celebration was extended to an entire month, now called “Black History Month.”
Plan a trip to Topeka, KS and learn about the leading fight that led to the desegregation of our educational institutions. The case decided here was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement that helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all.
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, commemorates the contributions of African-American airmen in World War II. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. Their achievements, together with the men and women who supported them, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military.
Most of this historical park property consists of 4 acres within Louis Armstrong Park leased by the National Park Service. There is a visitor center at 916 North Peters Street and a concert venue, several blocks away in the French Quarter. The park shares the cultural history of the people and places which shaped the development and progression of jazz in New Orleans.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is located in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, near the French Quarter and was created in 1994 to celebrate the origins and evolution of jazz.
The Booker T. Washington National Monument near Hardy, Virginia, preserves portions of the 207-acre tobacco farm on which the educator and leader was born into slavery on April 5, 1856. The site relates the story of Washington’s life and achievements, and explains the intricacies of 1850s slavery and farming through the use of buildings, gardens, crafts, and animals.
At this site, The Pullman District of Chicago witnessed the first major labor agreement between a U.S. company and an African American union. It is also significant for being the first planned industrial community in the United States and for its origins in the Pullman Company, a railroad car manufacturer. It was also the scene of the violent 1894 Pullman strike.
President Barack Obama designated Pullman as a National Monument on February 19, 2015. It became the first unit of the National Park Service in Chicago.
Images: National Park Service
In recent years, the National Park Service has made increasing efforts to tell the stories of all Americans – celebrating the diversity that makes our nation so special. Here are 10 park sites that tell those important stories.
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, GA
This park gives you a glimpse into the life of MLK, and visitors have the option to visit his birth home and the church were he was known for inspiring his listeners. The Civil Rights movement spanned the entire country, but it is something special to see one place which was so crucial to its foundation.
Stonewall National Monument, NY
This national monument preserves the location of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, a protest which provided great momentum for the LGBTQ civil rights movement. Today, the park tells the story of LGBTQ activists and their ongoing struggle for equality.
Manzanar National Historic Site, CA
Our nation’s involvement in WWII is looked upon with great pride and gratitude, but Manzanar tells a darker side to that story. It memorializes the 110,000 men, women, and children who were held in Japanese Internment Camps throughout the duration of the war.
Bandelier National Monument, NM
Human history at Bandelier extends over 10,000 years ago, and permanent settlements of the Ancestral Pueblo people began to develop by 1150 CE. Today, this monument preserves the culture of the Pueblo people and provides educational opportunities to learn about their farming techniques and home construction.
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, AL
The confrontation which occurred between civil rights protesters and police in Birmingham made news around the world. Public outrage over these events helped spur political action to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, NY
Harriet Tubman is well known for helping dozens of slaves escape and find freedom. Her incredible story is told at this New York park, where you can visit her residence as well as the cemetery at which she is buried.
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, HI
This national park site spans 175 miles of corridor and trail networks throughout Hawaii which have cultural and historical significance. If you have an interest in learning more about native Hawaiian culture, this is the perfect park to visit.
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, Washington, DC
Mary McLeod Bethune spent her whole life fighting for racial and gender equality, including founding the National Council of Negro Women in 1935. This historic site preserves the first headquarters of the NCNW and tells the story of this inspiring woman.
African Burial Ground National Monument, NY
This Manhattan site is the oldest and largest known burial ground in the United States for both free and enslaved Africans. It honors the lives of those who are buried there, and serves as a reminder of the role slavery played in the construction of New York City.
César E. Chávez National Monument, CA
César Chávez is widely known as one of the most influential Latino figures in US history. This national monument tells the story of how he formed the nation’s first permanent agricultural union and raised international attention to the issues faced by US farm workers.
Images: National Park Service
Synchronized fireflies? Sailing stones? These unique phenomena are things you can only experience in a national park.
Imagine the fireflies you’ve probably seen in your backyard many times. Now imagine hundreds of them, all blinking at the same time. That’s exactly what happens at Great Smoky Mountains! Next time you visit this park, make sure to check out their synchronous fireflies. Credit: @prissyem
Yellowstone National Park, WY, MT, and ID
Yosemite National Park, CA –
Wind Cave National Park, SD
Pearl Harbor National Memorial, HI
Isle Royale National Park, MI
Waco Mammoth National Monument, TX
Redwood National Park, CA
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
At the height of the Great Depression and in the final days of his presidency, President Herbert Hoover declared a white sand desert in New Mexico as a national monument. In December 2019, Congress passed legislation and a bill was signed that elevated the park’s designation; it became our 62nd national park.
Located in the Tularosa Basin of the Chihuahuan Desert, White Sands is the world’s largest desert of shimmering white gypsum sand. At 228 square miles, it is roughly the size of Zion National Park.
The differences between a national monument and a national park may be a little confusing. The president or Congress can establish a national monument to preserve a unique or outstanding feature of a site, for example, the white gypsum at White Sands. When Congress found that White Sands had “…a substantially more diverse set of nationally significant historical, archaeological, scientific, and natural resources than were known of at the time the monument was established, including a number of recent discoveries;” they realized it deserved to be given the special designation as a national park. And only Congress can create a national park.
National monuments can be managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, or the National Park Service. However, only the National Park Service has the authority to manage a national park.
The story of White Sands National Park began millions of years ago when a vast sea covered the southwestern United States. The rise and fall of the sea, along with snowmelt and rain, deposited the gypsum sand in its current location. Twelve thousand years ago, as the Ice Age ended, the area dried up and became the desert we see today.
Hunter and gatherers first arrived in the area about 10,000 years ago as they followed large prey such as mammoths. Since then, other cultures lived in the basin, building houses, farming, and making pottery. The Apache Indians arrived 700 years ago to hunt bison, followed in 1647 by Spanish salt miners, and in the 1880s by Anglo-American ranchers.
Today, visitors enjoy a variety of activities: sledding the sand dunes, photography, scenic drives, picnicking, hiking, and camping. Learn more and plan your trip by visiting the National Park Service’s White Sands National Park website.
Looking for a new profile picture? These national parks have some of the best selfie and photo ops out there – no filter needed.
Glacier National Park, MT
Badlands National Park, SD
Grand Teton National Park, WY
Yosemite National Park, CA
Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Yellowstone National Park, WY, MT, and ID
Arches National Park, UT
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Death Valley National Park, CA and NV
Redwood National Park, CA
Grab your skis, sleds, and ice skates! Not only are national parks amazingly beautiful in the winter, but they have plenty to offer for all of your favorite winter recreation activities.
Known as the shortest day and longest night of the year, the December solstice is celebrated around the world as the first day of winter. What better way to use these extra dark hours than to gaze out into the Milky Way?
Less than 100 years ago, it was possible to see the galaxy arch peppered with planets, meteors, and stars from any city street. Today, however, the ability to stargaze in urban spaces is severely hampered by the presence of artificial light from buildings, street lamps and other human activity.
National Parks offer some of the best opportunities to appreciate night skies because many of them are being actively protected from the effects of light pollution.
In some parks, it’s possible to see up to 15,000 stars throughout the night. By contrast, in urban environments, you may see fewer than 500 stars. Light pollution affects more than just astronomers. Nocturnal wildlife needs darkness for survival, and the circadian rhythms of humans and plants rely on an unaltered night sky.
Check out these Dark Sky Parks that National Park Trust has protected from light pollution for an unforgettable stargazing experience!
Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida
Joshua Tree National Park in California
Hovenweep National Monument in Utah
In February 2020, National Park Trust assisted the National Park Service in securing property for Lassen Volcanic National Park, California.
Using the Park Trust’s newly established Treasure Forever Fund, the National Park Service was finally able to purchase the land. As a result, a small but important .6 acre section of old-growth forest will now be accessible to the public and permanently protected in its natural state, preventing the land from being developed. This acquisition also helps to protect an additional segment of the historic Nobles Emigrant Trail, a western migration route pioneered by William H. Noble in the early 1850s.
Even with all of these natural wonders to explore, Lassen Volcanic National Park is still in need of more protection from climate change and private development. There are numerous privately-owned properties left in the park. National Park Trust continues to work with the National Park Service to protect and preserve these inholdings.
Located in the Southern Cascade Mountains of California, Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while hot water continues to shape the land. Lassen Volcanic offers opportunities to discover the wonders and mysteries of volcanoes and hydrothermal features for visitors willing to explore the undiscovered.
Established in 1916, the park protects an area that has been volcanically active for three million years. Today, hydrothermal features reveal this continuing activity. Mud pots, springs and boiling pools show how the park is bubbling away, proving a popular attraction among visitors.
The volcanic geology of Lassen provides important minerals for overlying soil. This supports an impressive diversity of plant species, with much of the vegetation being very similar to what existed before Euro-American settlement – more than 25,000 acres of the park is old-growth forest. In preserving a relatively pristine environment, the park’s vegetation provides various habitats for different species. Around 100 breeding birds call it their home, along with thousands of California Tortoise Shell butterflies. Other animals that benefit from the park’s protection include various bat species and the rare Sierra Nevada red fox.
With its varying terrain, the park boasts 150 miles of scenic hiking trails for exploring its ancient trees, crystal clear lakes, and wildflower-packed meadows. The views provided are unprecedented – shield, composite, cinder cone and plug dome volcanoes can all be spotted around the park. No matter where you are, Lassen Peak is always visible. Standing at 10,440 feet above sea level, it is the largest plug dome volcano on Earth… and also still active!
You did it! National Park Trust donors just helped to save the geothermal wonders of Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico, and the last privately held parcel in the park. This victory marks the end of an 11 year-long effort to protect the supervolcano’s awesome features.
Since 2008, our friends at the National Park Service have had their eye on the 40-acre parcel hoping it would be put up for sale. Their chance finally came this year, and Park Trust’s community of supporters were there to quickly provide funding for its purchase. The land boasts a collection of sulfuric acid fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs that visitors will finally be permitted to explore. Valles Caldera superintendent, Jorge Silva-Bañuelos, says “the property, with a little TLC, will be a stunning showcase of the park’s geologic history and will likely help us secure a designation as a park with significant geothermal resources.”
As the oldest supervolcano in America, Valles Caldera is truly a special place. It formed about 1.25 million years ago when a massive volcanic eruption created a 13-mile wide circular depression. From the discovery of ancient obsidian spear points, pottery and home structures, we know that humans began to live there about 11,000 years ago.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the caldera area was disturbed by ranching, timbering and mineral extraction; now the natural landscape is slowly reappearing. Because the 40-acre parcel was once used as a health spa, many of the springs on the property have some pretty interesting names such as Kidney and Stomach Trouble Spring, Lemonade Spring, Footbath Spring, and Sulphur Spring!
Soon, park visitors for generations to come will be able to explore volcanic science at this stunning site!
Our wildly wonderful national parks give us so much. From endless beauty and inspiration to awesome outdoor adventures – we all benefit from our parks in so many ways.
We hope this list inspires you to give back to your national parks during this season of giving!
1. Join Us
Want to learn more about what National Park Trust is doing to complete (yes, complete!) our national parks? Are you interested in helping young people discover and care for our parks?
Join our e-community and follow our social media posts:
The cold months are a perfect time to assist National Park Service staff as they complete maintenance projects that were deferred during the busy summer months.
Be sure to talk with a park ranger first. Then, gather a group of friends to help with trail maintenance, clean-ups, and other conservation projects!
3. Walk the Talk
More than 330 million people visited our national parks last year. It is up to us to inspire others to respect and care for our ecological and cultural resources by practicing leave-no-trace principles.
Lead by example when you share your park adventures by planning ahead, disposing of waste properly, respecting wildlife and other visitors, and leaving what you find behind for others to discover.
4. Share the Wonder of Parks With Kids
Every unit in our National Park System is a treasure worthy of protection. For almost 150 years, national parks have been defended by a passionate community of park champions.
It is up to all of us to continue this important work by taking young people from every community to parks now. Use our ParkPassport App to plan your trip.
5. Donate to National Park Trust on Giving Tuesday
When you make a gift to the Park Trust on December 3rd, it will be used right away to defend the habitats of endangered species, clean air and waterways, dark skies, natural sounds, and the stories that define this country.
Add a Giving Tuesday Reminder to Your Calendar:
This month, National Park Trust was proud to witness Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Alumni Tigran Nahabedian receive the 2019 Outdoors Alliance for Kids Acorn Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts to advocate for the protection of our public lands and waters, and connect other kids to these important places!
Have you ever heard a strange sound when walking through the woods? Or come across an abandoned cabin? These are typical experiences when exploring the outdoors but they are also the root of many great scary stories. Here are some chilling tales to put you in the Halloween mood:
Yosemite National Park – One of the nation’s most well-known parks is certainly not immune to paranormal reportings. In 1857, Galen Clark (the park’s first ranger) reported a strange wailing sound coming from Grouse Lake. Believing it was a puppy that was lost, he thought little of it. But when he asked a group of Native people at their camp, they told him that the sounds belong to a boy who drowned long ago and since that time howls at passers-by. To this day, tales of the Grouse Lake Ghost are still told within the park, with many fearing his harrowing cries.
Grand Canyon National Park – During the 1920s, it is said that a father and son fell to their death after losing their footing on the Transept Trail, near Grand Canyon Lodge. The child’s mother, upon hearing the news of her husband and son, became so overcome with sorrow that she decided to take her own life. Known as the ‘Wailing Woman’, hikers have claimed to have heard her spirit howl as it roams the path her loved ones last took.
Mammoth Cave National Park – The country’s biggest cave system has generated more than 150 paranormal reportings – not surprising given it makes up 400 miles of subterranean passages. Many reportings have come from park rangers who deliver tours, but one particular story is well known. It concerns the fate of Floyd Collins, a cave explorer who was pinned down by a boulder at the entrance to Sand Cave. Trapped and in pain, Collins waited for rescuers to arrive, but it was to no avail: four days later, a rockfall sealed him inside the cave and he starved to death. His fate has sparked claims that his spirit still lingers amongst the dark passages.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – If the misty mountains of this park weren’t eerie enough, wait until you hear this Cherokee legend. It concerns the haunting of an evil witch the Cherokee called Spearfinger who roams the Great Norton Creek Trail. Preying on children, the legend claims that she disguises herself as a grandmother to lure them away from their homes. Then, using her sharp knife-like finger, she cuts them up to feed on their body parts. While many believe this story to be a myth, Cherokee hunters claim to have spotted her on numerous occasions.
Great Sand Dunes National Park – Of course, no story about paranormal activity can be complete without discussing UFO sightings. In the sandy plains of southern Colorado, strange lights are commonly reported to appear across the night sky. Some claim that this phenomenon first began in the 1600s when local Native people first recorded seeing strange objects in the sky. To this day, there are still continuing reports of lights, ranging from patterned streaks to random dots, contributing to the unsolved mysteries of the area.
If these tales didn’t scare you enough, be sure to check out the following links:
Kids to Parks Day is May 16, 2020! National Park Trust (NPT) invites students across the country to participate in the 10th annual Kids to Parks Day, a nationwide grassroots movement to celebrate America’s parks and public lands.
In honor of this day, NPT is once again hosting the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest to help educators engage their students with their local parks. This national contest is open to all Title I schools in the United States (grades pre-K through 12). Classes can receive funding for a Kids to Parks Day event at a local park or public land/waterway in their community.
Students must research and write the proposal themselves. (Though we encourage teachers to provide support and feedback!) Teachers and staff will also have a short section to complete as well. Your entries should explain how your experience will promote education, health and wellness, and park stewardship. NPT will award park grants up to $1,000 to winning entries. We encourage schools to implement their Kids to Parks Day event during the month of May 2020 but exceptions can be made based on school schedules.
The Contest opens October 23rd, 2019 and all entries are due by February 14th, 2020.
To learn more, or to apply, visit https://www.parktrust.org/kids-to-parks-day/school-contest/
October is Arts in Parks month! Whether you are inspired by a park to create your own art, wish to visit an artist in residence at a park, or tour a historic site to learn about an artist, the National Park system has so much to offer! To learn more about the artistic happenings in our parks, available all year long, visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/arts/index.htm
Four of NPT’s Buddy Bison Youth Leadership team participated in the #ParkArt challenge this month, check out their creative works of art below:
If you’ve seen the pristine waters and lush terrain at Maine’s Bald Mountain Pond, you’d understand why National Park Trust (NPT) worked with The Trust for Public Land (TPL), National Park Foundation (NPF), Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), The Conservation Alliance, and Elliotsville Foundation on the acquisition of an adjacent 1,495-acre parcel of old-growth woodland to benefit the National Park Service’s Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT).
The remoteness and scenic views make the property an iconic destination for backcountry adventures that combine paddling and hiking on the AT into a single day’s outing. Preserving this land from development also protects the nearby Bald Mountain Pond which is one of the few bodies of water that holds landlocked arctic char in the lower 48 states. The federally-listed threatened Canada Lynx also roams nearby, along with moose, fisher and black bears. It is one of the largest 150-year-old forest blocks in central Maine.
On September 20, 2019, National Park Trust and our partners held a dedication ceremony in Monson, ME to unveil a new plaque that is now displayed in the Monson Maine Appalachian Trail Visitor Center to honor the contributions of two career National Park Service employees, John Kauffmann and Ben Thompson, to the NPS science program.
This land protection was made possible thanks to an extraordinary bequest from John Kauffmann to NPT and the National Park Foundation and wind mitigation funds received by TPL, a generous gift from The Conservation Alliance and grassroots work by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. TPL bought the land and in June 2019 officially transferred ownership to the National Park Service.
Whether you are single, married, raising a family, or planning for or enjoying retirement, your financial security and that of your loved ones will be affected by the plans you make today. Below are a few options to help you protect your national parks, and enhance your financial well-being and that of those you care about most…
1. Support the causes you care about with your will – This is the most common way people provide for their loved ones in the future, but it can also be a thoughtful way to make charitable gifts. By having your attorney revise your will or add a simple amendment, you can provide for a gift of what remains after you remember loved ones
2. Give through a revocable living trust – A living trust is a legal arrangement that allows a trustee to hold title to assets and manage them for beneficiaries. They have become a popular alternative to a last will and testament. A revocable living trust can both minimize the expense and delays of probate. Much like a charitable provision in a will, these gifts are tax-deductible and are designed to take effect only after first providing for your loved ones.
3. Gifts that provide you with a fixed or variable income – There are ways to give while enjoying an additional source of income for life or other period of time. Generous payments based on your age or a pre-determined payout can be a welcome supplement to your retirement income. When the payments end, funds that remain are given to your beneficiaries. You may also realize capital gains and other tax savings as well.
4. Making a gift while providing for your loved ones – If you wish to make a gift over time, for which assets will ultimately be returned to you or your loved ones, you may be interested in a charitable lead trust. Under the terms of this gift, assets are transferred to a trust that makes payments the beneficiaries for a number of years that you choose. At the end of that period, assets are transferred to those you name. This can be an effective way to control when an inheritance will be received while lowering or eliminating gift or estate taxes.
5. Making a gift of life insurance – Your need for life insurance may change over time. Insurance policies that you originally purchased for additional income or payment of taxes may instead be used for other purposes. You can name a beneficiary to receive all or a portion of the proceeds of a policy. Or you may wish to make a gift today of a policy you no longer need and perhaps benefit from immediate tax savings. In either case, future premiums can be tax-deductible.
6. Giving through retirement plans – Funds remaining in your retirement plans can be subject to taxes, so it can be wise to make gifts from these accounts while leaving other assets to loved ones. Whether you participate in a company plan or have an individual retirement plan, you may have more funds than you need. In that case, it may be convenient to make a charitable gift from retirement assets.
7. A lasting legacy – With any of these options, you can make meaningful gifts while you also provide a tribute to a loved one that will be treasured forever. There may be no better way to honor a loved one or their memory! These types of gifts can be particularly thoughtful on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, upon the birth of a child or grandchild, on a birthday, or a wedding anniversary.
Possible Tax Benefits
● Income tax – Individual taxpayers are generally allowed charitable deductions for gifts to qualified charitable recipients of up to 50 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI) for gifts of cash, and up to 30 percent of their AGI each year for gifts of securities and certain other property that have increased in value. You may also enjoy additional benefits as a result of state income tax savings.
● Capital gains tax savings – When you give property that increased in value since you have owned it, there can be additional tax benefits. Under federal income tax law, you may give property that has increased in value and been held for more than a year, and deduct the full fair market value of the property. You also do not incur capital gains tax at the time of the gift.
● Estate and gift taxes – Your assets may be subject to federal estate and gift taxes. As illustrated in many of the options above, certain gifts can provide income for you or others while also minimizing estate and gift taxes.
● Check with your advisors – Tax laws are subject to change; we recommend discussing your plans with your professional advisors.
National Park Trust’s Bison Legacy Society is a generous community of donors that believe our national parks should be treasured forever. They have left a lasting legacy to their national parks by including the Park Trust in their estate plans. To learn more, please contact Erin Mezgar, Chief Development Officer, at email@example.com or 301.279.7275.
The purpose of this article is to provide general gift planning information. It is not intended as accounting, legal, or other professional advice. For assistance in planning charitable gifts with tax and other financial implications, you should obtain the services of appropriate advisors. Consult your attorney for advice when your plans involve the revision of a will or other legal document. Tax deductions vary based on applicable federal discount rates, which change often.
UPDATE – this project was completed in October 2019.
Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area, measuring over 1,300 feet deep. Its size gives it the power of an ocean, which has shaped the geology and history of the land along its shores. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan, a unit of the National Park System, would not be what it is without the lake.
Ancient layers of sediment laid down by the Lake over the eons turned into brush-stroked sandstone cliffs – these stunning colors occur when groundwater and minerals ooze out of cracks and trickle down the rock face. On one section of the shore, the wave action eroded sand-sized particles, and the wind blew them up onto shore forming the Grand Sable Dunes that rise 300 feet above the lake.
Inland from the shore is the wind twisted forest – part of what is often called “The North Woods”. The combination of hardwoods, pines, and hemlocks are home to deer, bears, coyotes, fox and porcupines. You may see moose in the spruce and cedar wetlands of the park, particularly in the more than 11,000 acres set aside as official federal wilderness.
The history of the Lakeshore includes the stories of over 20 shipwrecks, many of which are still visible along the shore. With the shipwrecks came the U.S. Lifesaving Service in the 1870s and, in 1915, the U.S. Coast Guard. Lighthouses, Coast Guard stations, and a “harbor of refuge” house in the park serve as historic reminders of efforts to warn and protect sailors on the Great Lakes.
Look into the Munising Range Light or the Lightkeepers House Museum if you have an interest in unique navigation aids and the people who ran them – in 2018, National Park Trust acquired land adjacent to the Munsing Light, and removed a non-historical building from the property to restore the historic value of the land before donating it to the park.
This park offers something to everyone, including many outdoor activities. So, walk the dunes, hike over 100 miles on the lakeshore and park trails, camp, fish, kayak in the summer, and discover the ice caves in the winter.
Enjoy this north county park, which is protected permanently for you and future generations by the National Park Service!
Hey 4th graders, it’s time to get your free national park pass! You and your family get free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year thanks to the Every Kid Outdoors Program.
National Park Trust is excited to introduce you to our 2019-2020 youth leadership team! We have expanded our existing Ambassador program to include two new roles: Buddy Bison Student Representatives and Buddy Bison Ambassador Alumni. These youth leaders not only love to discover parks and share their experiences with other kids, but they are also dedicated stewards of our public lands.
By: Anna Medema | July 31, 2019
Happy Shark Week!
Sharks are one of the world’s most famous predators, but how much do we actually know about them? Several coastal national park sites help provide insight into the lives of these marine animals.
One of the best parks to learn about sharks is Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts. In particular, Cape Cod is known for its population of great white sharks, one of the sharks at the top of the food chain. As predators, they fill a very important role in marine ecosystems, and have direct impacts many species including seals and other fish. Seals make up the primary portion of their diet, and as the seal population of Cape Cod had increased in recent years, so has the great white shark population. Cape Cod has many tips for how to stay safe in and around the water, including always staying in groups and avoiding low-visibility water. For more information about shark safety at the park, click here.
However, not all sharks pose a threat to humans! In fact, only a small portion of the 470 species of sharks are aggressive or dangerous to us. Many more of them would rather keep to themselves, such as the nurse shark found at Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Nurse sharks are carnivorous, but their lives do not center around hunting. They enjoy spending time swimming, resting, and socializing in groups. Studying nurse sharks has helped shed light on the importance of sharks in tropical ecosystems, both in the oceanic food webs and in coral reef ecology. To learn more about nurse sharks in Dry Tortugas, click here.
Although sharks are often made out to be scary predators, they have more to fear from us than we do from them. Fishing nets and shark fin markets pose a threat to these animals, as does climate change and the resulting changing ocean ecosystems. This Shark Week, we encourage you to check out one of these coastal national park sites to learn more about sharks and the crucial role they place in our ecosystems! Photo links here and here.
List of coastal national park sites where sharks may be present:
- Acadia National Park
- Assateague Island National Seashore
- Canaveral National Seashore
- Cape Cod National Seashore
- Cape Hatteras National Seashore
- Cape Lookout National Seashore
- Channel Islands National Park
- Dry Tortugas National Park
- Fire Island National Seashore
- Gulf Islands National Seashore
- Olympic National Seashore
- Padre Island National Seashore
- Point Reyes National Seashore
Link to general NPS site about sharks: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oceans/sharks-and-rays.htm
America’s beloved national park sites are protected for all of us to enjoy because of people like you. We know you believe our treasured landscapes should be defended against destructive development.
The last privately owned acres inside Valles Caldera National Preserve is for sale. This is your chance to permanently protect this land and complete the park!
Valles Caldera is one of only five places in America featuring geothermal wonders, including sulfuric acid fumaroles, hot springs, natural gas seeps, and mudpots. And all of those features are on the last piece of private land located inside the park’s boundaries.
Situated in the caldera of a supervolcano, the Preserve protects:
- 40 miles of pristine trout streams
- 66,118 acres of conifer forests
- 17 endangered plant and animal species, and
- 25,000 acres of grassland grazed by New Mexico’s largest herd of elk.
Use of this enchanting landscape dates back to prehistoric times – Obsidian spear points dating to 11,000 years ago have been discovered in the area.
Your support will not only preserve the only geothermal features in the caldera, but also ensure that visitors will finally have a chance to explore them.
Protection of this parcel would also mean that the last unmanaged portion of the Sulfur Creek headwaters would be protected by the Park Service, ensuring oversight of water quality flowing downstream.
We need 100 park lovers to make a gift of $350, or any amount to complete VallesCaldera National Preserve – Will you be one of the 100?
With your gift, we can negotiate the transfer of this spectacular piece of Valles Calderato the National Park System right away.
The threat of a for-profit geothermal resort being built on the parcel is real, but I know with your help, we can save this place and ensure that park visitors can be can delighted and inspired by all that it has to offer.
Can we count on you to make a gift today?
Photo courtesy of Mathew Dillon.