National Park Trust Blog

Discover America’s Lakes and Seashores with Buddy Bison!

As June quickly approaches, you may find yourself daydreaming about swimming in lakes or taking long walks on the beach. Did you know that some of the country’s most beautiful lakes and seashores are protected as national parks?

This week with our mascot Buddy Bison, learn about the difference between freshwater and saltwater parks and discover an endangered sea turtle that calls Padre Island National Seashore (TX) home.

Summer is a great time to explore different kinds of national parks such as national lakes and seashores. Parks including Crater Lake National Park (OR) and Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NV, AZ) have freshwater ecosystems. Other parks like Fire Island National Seashore (NY) and Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL, MS) have saltwater ecosystems.

The type of water found in a park (and its density) determine what animals can survive there. Learn how salt can affect water density by doing a simple experiment with an egg and a glass of water.  Click below for all of the details.

Padre Island National Seashore in Texas is not only the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world, but it is also a nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. The Kemp’s ridley is critically endangered and nests at Padre Island more than any other location in the United States.

Learn about the features that distinguish this sea turtle from other sea turtle species, then make a lifesize model using materials from home.

Celebrate Memorial Day With Buddy Bison

The Memorial Day holiday marks the beginning of warmer weather, outdoor adventures, and the approach of summer days. More importantly it is a day of remembrance and occurs during National Military Appreciation Month. This is a time when we reflect on the things that we value about our country and pay tribute to those who protect it every day.

Celebrate Memorial Day with our mascot Buddy Bison by writing a patriotic poem and learning about how Civil War soldiers communicated while on the battlefield.

Memorial Day is a time of remembrance for those who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Many national park sites were established to preserve these stories and the sacrifices made by service members throughout our nation’s history.

Create a shape poem about the United States and reflect on what makes you proud of our country.  Is it the diversity of your community or the beauty of our national parks? Grab a pencil, let the creativity begin, and share your poem with a loved one.

Without modern technology, Civil War soldiers had to find creative ways to communicate in secret. Learn about signal flags with Buddy Bison and discover how soldiers who fought in the Battle of Antietam (which took place in Maryland) used flags, codes, and ciphers to send and encrypt messages. Then create your own flag, establish a secret code, and send coded messages to your friends and family.

 

Thank You For Making Parks To Kids Day A Wonderful Success!

THANK YOU to all of the kids, families, and partners who celebrated #ParksToKids Day this past weekend! The 10th anniversary of Kids to Parks Day might not have been what we originally imagined, but because of YOU, the day was a huge success!

10 Ways to Celebrate Parks to Kids Day

May 16th is Kids to Parks Day and this year we’re bringing the parks to you by celebrating it as Parks to Kids Day! In honor of our 10th anniversary, we are providing 10 ways to explore the outdoors without leaving your neighborhood.

1. DOWNLOAD AND EXPLORE THE PARKPASSPORT APP

New updates for Parks to Kids Day! Discover more than 500 virtual experiences and earn custom badges to add to your digital park passport.
   

2. BUILD A MINI-PARK WITH BUDDY BISON

Celebrate Parks to Kids Day by building a mini-park! Use your imagination and materials from home to construct a park in your living room, backyard, or even a family parking spot – just have fun and be creative!

3. BUDDY BISON’S BLINDING LIGHTS DANCE CHALLENGE

Go outside, get active, and get your “park-on” for Parks to Kids Day by joining our mascot Buddy Bison for the Blinding Lights Dance Challenge.  Learn the steps, record your dance, and show off your dance moves by sharing on social media (TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter). Tag us in your post (@NationalParkTrust) and use #ParksToKids and #BuddyBison.

READY FOR MORE? CHECK OUT THESE ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES

Backyard Scavenger Hunt

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.

Design a Nature Collage

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.

Flower Activities to Celebrate Teachers and Moms

As the month of May begins, flowers are in bloom, bees are buzzing, and teachers and parents across the nation are hard at work making the most of the remaining days of the school year. This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day. The work we do through our school programs would not be possible without the collaboration of amazingly dedicated educators and the support of moms everywhere. That dedication continues as teachers and parents are creatively turning their own homes into classrooms.

For this special week, our mascot Buddy Bison is excited to help your children express their appreciation by creating a unique “thank you” card featuring a national park flower. Next, discover a special flower from Mount Rainer National Park, the White Avalanche lily. Learn about the parts of this pacific northwest flower, perform a flower dissection, then take a virtual tour of the park to experience the brilliant wildflower meadows without leaving your home.

Help your kids celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week and thank their teachers with the help of Buddy Bison. Create a national park wildflower “thank you” card, scan or take a picture of their work, and then email it to their teacher.  Your kids can even show their appreciation during an upcoming online class.

Download the template and decorate the Trillium flower, found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (located in NC & TN) using construction paper, stickers, magazine cut-outs, foil, crayons, and other supplies from home.

BONUS: We have also included a template for a Mother’s Day card!

     

Parks such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Mount Rainer National Park (WA) boast some of the world’s most beautiful wildflowers. But there’s more to these blooms than meets the eye.

With the help of Buddy Bison, learn about the parts of the White Avalanche lily. Then using real flowers from your backyard or neighborhood, perform a dissection at home to see the parts of a flower firsthand. Download the instructions below.

Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state is distinguished by its high peak, glaciers, and wildflower meadows. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states, bringing life to five major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows surround the icy volcano while ancient forest covers Mount Rainier’s lower slopes.

Enjoy this virtual tour of this breathtaking park! Click on the image to get started.

 

10 Incredible Waterfalls Found in National Parks

Waterfalls are often the most popular attractions in national parks and perhaps are some of the best examples of the forces of nature. Whether you come across water descending a series of rock steps or a large and powerful waterfall, their variety and uniqueness will blow you away. 

Enjoy this list of 10 awesome waterfalls at national park sites across the country. Maybe a new bucket list for after quarantine?

Yosemite National Park, CA

Yosemite National Park, CA

Out of all the national park sites across the country, Yosemite National Park is the park best known for its countless waterfalls. Yosemite Falls is the most famous and most photographed of Yosemite's waterfalls. It is a three-tiered, 2,425ft waterfall which makes it the highest waterfall in North America. In fact, water drops 1,430ft at the Upper Falls, placing Yosemite Falls among the top 20 highest waterfalls in the world. But like all good things, hiking to Upper Falls is no easy feat. It requires taking a 7.2-mile round trip, with a 2,700ft elevation gain.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, NJ

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, NJ

The Great Falls of the Passaic River is the second largest waterfall, by volume, east of the Mississippi River and next to Niagara Falls. It is centered in an industrial historic district, considered to be "The Cradle of American Industry." The falls played a significant role in the early industrial development of New Jersey starting in the earliest days of the nation.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN and NC

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN and NC

With high levels of rainfall and elevation gradient throughout Great Smoky Mountains National Park, waterfalls and cascades form everywhere. There are more than 100 prominent waterfalls and cascades within the park boundaries. One of the most notable is Grotto Falls, a beautiful 25-foot cascade where you can duck behind the waterfall. Do some research before your trip to scout out the hidden gem waterfalls away from the crowds!
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

When thinking of the Grand Canyon, most people think first of the canyon itself. However, one of the more magical parts of this park is the water that flows through it: river, creeks, springs, and waterfalls. Some of the most notable are Deer Creek Falls and Havasu Falls - powerful waterfalls that create an enchanting atmosphere you will never forget.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH

Brandywine Falls is the most famous waterfall at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and a must see during any visit to this park. The falls also change beautifully with the seasons, and can be visited time and time again for a completely different experience. This 65-foot high waterfall fed by Brandywine Creek has a thin layer of shale that gives it a bridal-veil appearance.
Haleakalā National Park, HI

Haleakalā National Park, HI

The Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park is a fantastic place to see some waterfalls. The most popular - Waimoku Falls - is a majestic 400ft waterfall suited at the head of Ohe'o Gulch. This area has also been inhabited by native people for hundreds of years and allows visitors to learn about native culture.
Devils Postpile National Monument, CA

Devils Postpile National Monument, CA

The San Joaquin River runs through Devils Postpile National Park, fueling the 101-foot Rainbow Falls. This attractive single drop waterfall leaps over volcanic cliffs and flashes frequent rainbows. The falls is only a 2.5 mile hike away from the ranger station, and is a must see on any visit.
Great Falls Park, VA

Great Falls Park, VA

This incredible 800 acre park located just off the Potomac River is a locals favorite. The river flows between Virginia and Maryland for many miles, at one point forming Great Falls. A mixture of high speed, force, and steep, jagged rocks is what makes Great Falls a must see. Located in a relatively urban area, this is a fantastic park for those who want to see waterfalls but cannot access some of the more remote parks.
Yellowstone National Park, ID, MT, WY

Yellowstone National Park, ID, MT, WY

Yellowstone National Park's most famous waterfall is the impressive 308-foot drop Lower Yellowstone River Falls. If you are looking for something a little more discrete, with a bit of a hefty distance, the park also includes many lesser known falls that are waiting to take your breath away. But not to worry, you can still get about a dozen spectacular waterfall views straight from the road. The roaring waters of Yellowstone provide great destinations no matter the time of year.
Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK

Waterfalls at Katmai are not just a sightseeing destination, they’re a fishing area for grizzly bears. July is peak season to visit Brooks Falls and watch the bears compete over the best fishing spots. At Katmai, you can get a fix of an incredible waterfall and wildlife in one visit. Up to 25 bears have been recorded at Brooks Falls trying to fish leaping salmon from the 6-foot falls.

Photos: NPS

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL PARK TRUST’S KIDS TO PARKS DAY GOES DIGITAL ON SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020 AS ‘PARKS TO KIDS DAY’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 4, 2020

Media Contact: Olwen Pongrace, 202.253.3190 or olwen@parktrust.org

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL PARK TRUST’S KIDS TO PARKS DAY GOES DIGITAL ON SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020 AS ‘PARKS TO KIDS DAY’

Virtual Celebration Provides Fun Resources and Activities that Help Families Celebrate the Day While Practicing Social Distancing

Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2020) – With many parks and landmarks across the country closed due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, National Park Trust has officially declared the 10th anniversary of Kids to Parks Day as ‘Parks To Kids Day’ to be held on Saturday, May 16th, 2020. The celebration brings a much-needed infusion of the outdoors to kids and families as they isolate close to home.

Understanding that nothing can replace an actual park experience, National Park Trust has developed a variety of family activities and distance learning opportunities available at www.kidstoparks.org. These activities can be completed at home, in a backyard or neighborhood, and help families celebrate the day safely. In addition to the online resources, National Park Trust has updated its free mobile ParkPassport App with new virtual park experiences and fun digital badges available through the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“Last year, Kids to Parks Day featured over 1500 park events in all 50 states with well over a million participants,” said Grace Lee, National Park Trust Executive Director. “While there is no replacement for enjoying a day with friends and family at a park, we wanted to help families create park experiences at home by providing fun, engaging and educational activities that families can do together to celebrate the day. The HOW may be different this year, but the WHY is more important than ever before. We hope families will join us for this national day of outdoor play and park appreciation.”

National Park Trust encourages families to share their ‘Parks to Kids Day’ experiences on social media using #ParksToKids.

Mayors from more than  265 cities and towns – including Montgomery (AL), Wichita (KS), Newark (NJ), Olympia (WA), College Park (MD), Edgewater (CO), Alexandria(VA), Henderson (NV), Newark (NJ), Santa Fe (NM), and Cedar Rapids(IA) have signed proclamations of support and plan a digital approach to celebrate ‘Parks to Kids Day’.

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. The Park Trust is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of preserving national parks through land protection and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, National Park Trust has benefitted 48 national park sites across 28 states, one U.S. Territory, and Washington, D.C. Annually, the Park Trust provides an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools. Find out more at www.parktrust.org.

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Discover Fossils and Prehistoric Parks with Buddy Bison

Join our woolly mascot Buddy Bison as he takes you back in time to when dinosaurs, mammoths, and other primitive animals roamed the land. Discover what it’s like to uncover fossils by recreating a frozen fossil dig site. Then, “think like a paleontologist” by learning about three prehistoric animals that have been identified in national parks and imagine what they looked like.

Many, many years ago, giant creatures lived on the land we now call home. Their preserved remains, which in some places can still be visibly seen embedded in rocks, have been found in numerous national parks across the country. These preserved remains are called fossils.

Scientists, including paleontologists, are always digging up new fossils and discovering creatures that used to live within our parks. Join Buddy Bison and become a scientist for a day! Recreate a frozen fossil dig and make your own discoveries from home! Click the link below to Download the instructions.

Now that you have some experience finding or excavating fossils, you’re ready to take a closer look and imagine what some of these prehistoric creatures looked like when they walked the earth. In this activity, examine the fossils on the worksheet and then “think like a paleontologist”. Use your imagination to draw your own scientific illustrations. Click on the link below to download.

10 NATIONAL PARKS WITH EPIC STARGAZING

National parks are often found in some of the most remote areas of the United States and protect from light pollution that preserves the quality of the night sky.

The 10 parks below are each dedicated to preserving high-quality night sky darkness. Certified by the International Dark-Sky Association as International Dark Sky Parks, these national parks deliver incredible opportunities to spot meteors, see stars and ponder constellations.

Death Valley National Park, CA

Death Valley National Park, CA

Death Valley National Park is the largest Dark Sky designated area with a span of 13,700 square kilometers. Death Valley National Park is known as the hottest national park, so cool nighttime temperatures make stargazing sound even more appealing! The salt flats of serve as wonderful viewing locations for the park’s night skies.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, NM

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, NM

Chaco has long been considered by many night sky enthusiasts to be one of the best places in America to stargaze. Today, amidst this ancient landscape, visitors can experience the same dark sky that the Chacoans observed a thousand years ago. The protection of dark night skies is a priority at Chaco not only for the enjoyment of star-gazing visitors but for the natural environment as well. Nocturnal wildlife relies on darkness for survival, and the natural rhythms of humans and plants depend on an unaltered night sky. By designating over 99% of the park as a "natural darkness zone", in which no permanent outdoor lighting exists, Chaco is ensuring the preservation of these nocturnal ecosystems.
Big Bend National Park, TX

Big Bend National Park, TX

Big Bend is known as one of the most outstanding places in North America for stargazing. It has the least light pollution of any other National Park unit in the lower 48 states. Realistically one can see approximately 2000 stars on a clear night here compared to perhaps a few hundred in a medium-sized city. Recently, Big Bend National Park has begun the process of eliminating all forms of light pollution to help visitors experience night sky free from modern intrusion.
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, NM

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, NM

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is a 1,077-acre historic site in central New Mexico. Although the Park is within the outer light dome of the Albuquerque metropolitan area, its Silver-tier skies are an increasing draw for visitors who hear of interpretive programs about how the current night sky differs from what the natives saw before the Spanish conquest. On September 30, 2016, the new Superintendent of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, Tom Betts, proudly announced their new designation as a Dark Sky Park.
Obed Wild and Scenic River, TN

Obed Wild and Scenic River, TN

Obed Wild and Scenic River is the second park east of Colorado to earn the status of an International Dark Sky Park. The park preserves natural nighttime darkness over one of the last free-flowing wild river systems in the eastern United States. Obed's exceptional dark-sky conditions and a strong commitment to preserving the park's night sky resource makes this one of the best places to stargaze!
Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

Imagine sitting at the campground after a long day of hiking and gazing up at the sky. The sky that you would be looking at is about as dark as it was 800 years ago for the ancestral Puebloans who called this land home. This is one of the reasons that Natural Bridges National Monument became the first International Dark Sky Park certified by the International Dark-Sky Association. Want to visit? Natural Bridges trails are open day and night and stargazing and exploring the night sky is allowed virtually anywhere in the park.
Canyonlands National Park, UT

Canyonlands National Park, UT

The national parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau have long been popular destinations for travelers. In addition to their stunning landscapes and rich cultural history, these areas share another resource: some of the darkest skies remaining in the contiguous 48 United States. The utter darkness of a moonless night in Canyonlands surprises many visitors. At Canyonlands National Park, the naked eye is sufficient to witness a wealth of stars. Under the right conditions, common binoculars may even reveal the rings of Saturn.
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

In June 2019, Grand Canyon National Park became an official International Dark Sky Park. By day you can stand anywhere along the South Rim and peer down nearly 2,000m into its layer-cake bands of red rock, taking you back two billion years into Earth’s deepest history. When the Sun goes down, the combination of a high elevation and dry desert air means clear, cloudless night skies perfect for viewing the Milky Way. Today, Grand Canyon is one of the most complex, highly-visited, pristine night-sky sanctuaries on the planet.
Great Basin National Park, NV

Great Basin National Park, NV

On a clear, moonless night in Great Basin National Park, thousands of stars, numerous planets, star clusters, meteors, man-made satellites, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye. The area boasts some of the darkest night skies in the western United States. Low humidity and minimal light pollution, combined with high elevation, create a unique window to the universe.
Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Boasting some of the darkest nights in southern California, Joshua Tree National Park offers many visitors the chance to admire the Milky Way for the first time in their lives. For residents of the greater Los Angeles area – some 18 million people – Joshua Tree is the nearest convenient place to go stargazing under a relatively dark sky. While the western half of the Park is significantly impacted by light from Palm Springs and, to a lesser extent, the cities of the nearby Morongo Basin, visitors who make the trek to the Park’s eastern wilderness area are rewarded with some of the darkest night skies left in the region.

Photos: NPS

Buddy Bison’s Veggie Garden and Junior Ranger Badges You Can Earn From Home

Participate in some environmental fun at home by getting a little dirty and doing some exploring with our woolly mascot Buddy Bison.

Make the most of kitchen scraps by creating your own vegetable garden with Buddy Bison! Decorate with natural materials and learn about different seeds that will flourish on your windowsill or on your counter.

Post a picture and share it with us on Instagram by tagging @nationalparktrust or using the hashtag #BuddyBison.

To celebrate National Park Week, we are thrilled to share 10 Junior Ranger badges you can earn from home. It doesn’t matter what age you are, just “explore, learn, and protect” your national parks online and become an official Junior Ranger and earn your badges!

From Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas to Point Reyes National Seashore in California, you can learn about history, night skies, or even dinosaurs!

New Bedford  Whaling National Historical Park, MA

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, MA

Learn about New Bedford’s past! Junior Rangers of all ages can plan a whaling adventure and learn what it takes to land a whale! Unlike traditional Junior Ranger books that are only available at a park, this e-book can be accessed from anywhere on your personal smartphone or tablet. Once you have completed your journey, fill in your name on the certificate, print it out, and mail it back to the park to get your Junior Ranger badge.
Fort Matanzas National Monument, FL

Fort Matanzas National Monument, FL

Explore the history and nature of Fort Matanzas by getting a Junior Ranger badge! Download the activity book and complete five of the blue or red activities. Once you are done, head over to their website and finish your badge journey by completing the remaining tasks of the 'website exploration' requirement. Send the completed book and other required material to the address listed on the website to receive your badge.
President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace, AR

President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace, AR

By downloading a copy of the Junior Ranger booklet, you will learn about the story of young Bill Clinton and how he was influenced by his family and community. Complete the activities and send it back to the address on the website to earn a badge.
Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, CA

Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, CA

Earn a badge for César E. Chávez National Monument by completing activities in our junior ranger book! Print out the booklet (on legal-size paper) at home and mail the completed book back to the park. A ranger will review and mail back your very own César E. Chávez National Monument badge!
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

Petrified Forest National Park welcomes kids to learn more about the ancient environment of the Late Triassic — when the petrified trees were alive and giant reptiles roamed the land. Download the Petrified National Forest Junior Ranger activity book from their website to learn about fossils, human history, wilderness, and more! Once completed, mail the booklet back to the address on the website to earn a badge.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, AK

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, AK

Become a Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Junior Ranger by completing the online version of the Junior Ranger Booklet. Just click on the workbook and print out the pages. Complete the activities, answer the questions, and mail it the address listed on their website. A park ranger will review your answers and send you a badge and certificate in return.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, AK

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, AK

Explore, learn, and protect! Earn a badge by downloading and completing the Junior Ranger activity book on the website. This book features activities for all ages and skills. Learn about the gold rush while earning gold nuggets for each activity. The older you are, the more nuggets you need to earn to get your badge. Once finished, email the completed version to the contact listed on the website to receive your badge.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, KS

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, KS

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is always looking for special Junior Rangers. Head over to their website to earn a Junior Ranger badge. You must complete five activities found in the downloadable booklet and mail them back to the preserve. Rangers will check your work and send you an official Tallgrass Prairie Junior Ranger badge!
Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

At Montezuma Castle National Monument, you can become a Junior Ranger by completing the Junior Ranger Activity Guide found on the website and completing the activities. This incredible guide can help you learn more about the prehistoric people who lived in the area over 800 years ago! Once completed, mail the booklet back to the address on the website to receive your badge.
Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

Become a Point Reyes Virtual Junior Ranger by downloading, printing, completing, and mailing in their Junior Ranger booklet to receive your badge. You will be able to explore the history of the Coast Miwok people and study the park's marine life. You can also become an Underwater Explorer Junior Ranger by downloading and completing the Underwater Explorer Junior Ranger activity booklet.

10 National Park Service Mega Transportation Projects

“Mega” transportation projects are initiatives at the National Park Service that require a large amount of funding beyond the capacity of the Federal Lands Transportation Program’s (FLTP) annual allocation. Megaprojects include nationally significant transportation infrastructures that have become functionally obsolete or have exceeded their design life and require large investments to bring them back to good condition.

A megaproject’s cost can range from $25 million to replace a bridge up to nearly $1 billion to modernize a road system for safety and current standards. The benefits of improving the NPS aging transportation infrastructure are far-reaching and opportunities to improve and modernize large park transportation facilities require partnering with many stakeholders and government entities.

Still not sure what we mean? Check out this list of 10 recent park transportation megaprojects.

Denali National Park, AK

Denali National Park, AK

The 92-mile long Denali Park Road in Denali National Park takes you through scenic vistas and prime wildlife viewing areas. It is also the only road in the 6-million-acre park. The first 15 miles of the road is paved and in dire need of reconstruction. Thousands of people travel through this impressive drive each year and have caused the road to quickly begin to deteriorate. This 2016 project helped provide safe year-round vehicle access by addressing the failing roadway, enhancing distance vista viewing opportunities, decreasing congestion, and eliminating traffic and pedestrian conflicts.

Blue Ridge Parkway, NC & VA

Blue Ridge Parkway, NC & VA

The construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began in 1934 and road conditions have deteriorated significantly. Built with the purpose of providing opportunities to enjoy the scenic beauty of the southern Appalachian Mountains, the nearly 50 million visitors each year have been deteriorating the pavement conditions of the road. Because of limited funding, only 15 miles of the 469 miles undergo pavement on average each year. The result is that some sections of the parkway go without repaving for more than 30 years. This project has been an ongoing priority for the park service since 2016.

Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Deterioration of roadways and bridges along multiple routes on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park, as well as increasing intensity of White River storm flows, are threatening the public’s continued access to this unique area. Rehabilitation work is needed to ensure ongoing use of the roads, which is vital to park operations, the local economy, and to visitor use and enjoyment. This project includes the rehabilitation of the 15.4 miles of the Sunrise Road, a breathtaking scenic road of Mount Rainier that takes you to an elevation of 6,400 feet.

Natchez Trace Parkway, AL, MS, & TN

Natchez Trace Parkway, AL, MS, & TN

The scenic 444-mile route between Natchez, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee traces the early pathways of the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Indian tribes. In the early 2000s, a Multi-Use Trail Feasibility Study was prepared by the Federal Highway Administration to examine the feasibility of constructing multi-use trails parallel to the Natchez Trace Parkway motor road. The study recommended that three sections
along the Parkway should have a parallel trail because of traffic volumes, accident data, and national recreational trends. Many sections of multi-use trail have been constructed but there are a few parts yet to be completed.

George Washington Memorial Parkway, VA, D.C., & MD

George Washington Memorial Parkway, VA, D.C., & MD

The Arlington Memorial Bridge is one of the only five bridges connecting Virginia and the District of Columbia across the Potomac River. Constructed in 1932, the bridge has finally reached the end of its design life. Repairs have been performed gradually throughout the years but its quick degradation requires extensive rehabilitation to include full replacement of its center span. As of April 2020, construction and bridge closures are ongoing as the project continues to move forward.

Isle Royale National Park, MI

Isle Royale National Park, MI

Water-based transportation is the primary mode of transportation to and from Isle Royale National Park and it is important in order to maintain its wilderness environment. Currently, the Ranger III transports visitors, employees, and everything needed to operate the park and support the park visitors. This vessel has been in continuous service for nearly 62 years and is now in need of replacement. As of April 2020, the Ranger III continues to be in operation and the first outbound trip of the year is scheduled for 6/30/20 from Houghton, MI.

Manassas National Battlefield, VA

Manassas National Battlefield, VA

Presently, the non-park-related local commuting vehicle traffic along US 29 and SR 234 in Virginia, which bisects the Manassas National Battlefield, has had negative impacts on the park for decades. The proposed alternative to relieve this issue includes the construction of the MANA Bypass. This project will reroute US 29 around the Manassas National Battlefield by constructing a nine-mile, four-lane bypass. Visitor experience and safety would be enhanced by this construction and without the heavy commuter and commercial truck traffic that run through the park, a more appropriate experience of the battlefield landscape that more closely resembles its historic appearance will be created.

Foothills Parkway, TN

Foothills Parkway, TN

The Foothills Parkway is one of the seven congressionally mandated scenic parkways in the country. The entire 72-mile parkway corridor is administered by Great Smoky Mountains National Park and it is the only remaining parkway yet to be fully completed. Only three of eight segments are open to the public, totaling 22.5 miles. The National Park Service, Tennessee Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration have been seeking funding to pave and open an additional 16.1 miles known as Sections E and F. A portion of this project was completed in 2018 and the infamous “missing link” is no longer missing.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, NJ & PA

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, NJ & PA

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is among the most visited parks in the National Park System with an estimated visitation of 5.1 million visitors a year. With the high traffic the park welcomes, the safety and maintenance of the roads must be continuously addressed. Currently, the three main arterials within DEWA make up a significant portion of the park’s road system. Those include the Old mine Road, River Road, and US Route 209. All collectively referred to as the Arterial Loop Road. These three roads are historical and cultural landmarks of the region and they are all aging and deteriorating rapidly. This project would improve visitor safety by significantly reducing the total number of accidents, injuries, and deaths, and would minimize driver distractions due to rough road conditions.

Colonial National Historical Park, VA

Colonial National Historical Park, VA

The views along the Colonial Parkway continue to inspire, but the surface of the Parkway, built between 1931 and 1957, is rated “poor” for 87% of its 23 miles. The 50-year design life expired a generation ago for much of the Parkway. Built between 1931 and 1957, construction stopped and started due to numerous problems. Construction projects have continued to the present, with minor construction and repair projects documented in each decade following the 1950s. Today, the exposed aggregate concrete surface still reminds drivers of the dirt roads of a by-gone era. But the road, initially designed for leisure driving, is under constant assault. The Parkway has become an important local commuter route; the busiest sections carry 1.9 to 2.2 million vehicles per year. Major rehabilitation and reconstruction are essential to preserving this scenic and historic drive. There are currently major issues of surface drainage, drop inlets, and culverts that require repair, replacement, or enlargement at many locations throughout the parkway. Considerable preservation work is needed in an effort to save as much of the historic fabric as practical.

Photos: National Park Service

Kids To Parks Day Is Now Parks To Kids Day

COVID-19 has impacted everyone and has limited our ability to interact with our beloved national, local and state parks. With this in mind, National Park Trust has decided to take the 10th anniversary of Kids to Parks Day digital and instead celebrate May 16, 2020, as Parks to Kids Day–bringing a much-needed infusion of the outdoors to kids and families as they isolate at home and practice social distancing.

We know that this is not ideal, but we also know that together we can still support our communities during this challenging time. We encourage kids and families to continue your celebration and join us by bringing the parks home on May 16th.

Leading up to Parks to Kids Day, National Park Trust will be pulsing out numerous at-home activities and distance learning opportunities to help bring the outdoors and parks closer to home.

Visit kidstoparks.org for all the information.

Stay healthy and safe!


Grace Lee, Executive Director

10 Junior Ranger Badges You Can Earn From Home

Celebrate National Park Week and become a Junior Ranger!

The Junior Ranger Program is a great way to explore national parks. You can learn about history, night skies, or even dinosaurs! You’ll also learn why national parks were created and how you can be a part of the team that keeps our national parks healthy.

Enjoy this list of 10 Junior Ranger badges you can earn from home. It doesn’t matter what age you are – just “explore, learn, and protect” your national parks online and become an official Junior Ranger and receive your badges!

New Bedford  Whaling National Historical Park, MA

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, MA

Learn about New Bedford’s past! Junior Rangers of all ages can plan a whaling adventure and learn what it takes to land a whale! Unlike traditional Junior Ranger books that are only available at a park, this e-book can be accessed from anywhere on your personal smartphone or tablet. Once you have completed your journey, fill in your name on the certificate, print it out, and mail it back to the park to get your Junior Ranger badge.
Fort Matanzas National Monument, FL

Fort Matanzas National Monument, FL

Explore the history and nature of Fort Matanzas by getting a Junior Ranger badge! Download the activity book and complete five of the blue or red activities. Once you are done, head over to their website and finish your badge journey by completing the remaining tasks of the 'website exploration' requirement. Send the completed book and other required material to the address listed on the website to receive your badge.
President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace, AR

President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace, AR

By downloading a copy of the Junior Ranger booklet, you will learn about the story of young Bill Clinton and how he was influenced by his family and community. Complete the activities and send it back to the address on the website to earn a badge.
Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, CA

Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, CA

Earn a badge for César E. Chávez National Monument by completing activities in our junior ranger book! Print out the booklet (on legal-size paper) at home and mail the completed book back to the park. A ranger will review and mail back your very own César E. Chávez National Monument badge!
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

Petrified Forest National Park welcomes kids to learn more about the ancient environment of the Late Triassic — when the petrified trees were alive and giant reptiles roamed the land. Download the Petrified National Forest Junior Ranger activity book from their website to learn about fossils, human history, wilderness, and more! Once completed, mail the booklet back to the address on the website to earn a badge.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, AK

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, AK

Become a Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Junior Ranger by completing the online version of the Junior Ranger Booklet. Just click on the workbook and print out the pages. Complete the activities, answer the questions, and mail it the address listed on their website. A park ranger will review your answers and send you a badge and certificate in return.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, AK

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, AK

Explore, learn, and protect! Earn a badge by downloading and completing the Junior Ranger activity book on the website. This book features activities for all ages and skills. Learn about the gold rush while earning gold nuggets for each activity. The older you are, the more nuggets you need to earn to get your badge. Once finished, email the completed version to the contact listed on the website to receive your badge.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, KS

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, KS

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is always looking for special Junior Rangers. Head over to their website to earn a Junior Ranger badge. You must complete five activities found in the downloadable booklet and mail them back to the preserve. Rangers will check your work and send you an official Tallgrass Prairie Junior Ranger badge!
Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

At Montezuma Castle National Monument, you can become a Junior Ranger by completing the Junior Ranger Activity Guide found on the website and completing the activities. This incredible guide can help you learn more about the prehistoric people who lived in the area over 800 years ago! Once completed, mail the booklet back to the address on the website to receive your badge.
Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

Become a Point Reyes Virtual Junior Ranger by downloading, printing, completing, and mailing in their Junior Ranger booklet to receive your badge. You will be able to explore the history of the Coast Miwok people and study the park's marine life. You can also become an Underwater Explorer Junior Ranger by downloading and completing the Underwater Explorer Junior Ranger activity booklet.

 

 

Buddy Bison’s Food Web Activity and Animals of National Parks Crossword

National Park Trust is excited to share two activities that encourage kids to think about ecological diversity, habitats, and food webs. Our parks are home to countless ecosystems, each with its own cool and unique environment.

Print out the activities below to learn more about animals that inhabit our parks.

Ready to sharpen your science vocabulary? Middle schoolers can learn how animals share energy within their ecosystems through food webs and food chains.

Join our mascot Buddy Bison as you plot out food webs for Joshua Tree National Park and then for your neighborhood! Think about the unique role each animal plays in the ecosystem and their importance to the food web. Download the activity using the button below.

This Buddy Bison crossword puzzle activity, designed for kids of all ages, showcases the variety of animals that inhabit national parks around the country!

Use the clues and word bank to figure out which animals match the puzzle rows and columns. Then think about what the animals have in common (we’ve included a hint in the activity sheet).

Download the crossword and have fun!

 

10 Powerful Environmental Films to Watch This Week

Each year, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF) showcases environmentally-themed films with the mission to celebrate the earth and inspire understanding and stewardship of the environment through the power of film.

Please enjoy this list of 10 powerful environmental films from the DCEFF to watch while at home practicing social distancing.

Fight for Areng Valley

Fight for Areng Valley

“As monks, we were taught to protect the forests, not destroy it. Since they have come to destroy the Areng river and forests, there will be no forest left for the spirits to live.”

These are the opening lines of Fight for Areng Valley, a short film about how a group of young monks and the Chong people of a remote valley Cambodia came together to fight for the forests and livelihood of the Areng river and forests.

Directed by: Kalyanne Mam, 2015

Tupi: A Story of indigenous Courage and Resolve

Tupi: A Story of indigenous Courage and Resolve

Tupi is an indigenous activist whose goal is to empower other Tupinamba women by presenting a clear message: with strength, Tupinamba Women can look after their territory, be a voice, and learn to protect and care for the earth. This inspiring film teaches women to stand up against violence and urges the audience to become aware about the problems of being a woman and being indigenous.

Directed by: Pablo Albarenga, 2020

Project Wild Thing

Project Wild Thing

Project Wild Thing is a campaign led by filmmaker David Bond to expose the painful truth about modern family life and kids spending too much time indoors. His goal is simple: reconnect kids with nature in our digital age.

Directed by: David Bond, 2014

Pumped Dry: the Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater

Pumped Dry: the Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater

This film examines the effects of rapidly depleting groundwater reserves around the world by focusing on the United States, Peru, India, and Morocco. Due to much of the planet reliying on groundwater, people are beginning to rapidly deplete aquifiers and dry out wells. By using startling statistics, interviews, and details of challenges and potential solutions, this film aims to educate and advice people to confront the problem and prevent aquifiers from declining further.

Photo by Pulitzer Center

Directed by: Steve Elfers, 2015

Pride

Pride

The cultural relationship between residents of Gujarat, India and the last remaining population of Asiatic Lions in the world is explored in this film. With fewer than 50 lions in the wild at the turn of the 21st century, rural communities worked with the government to create a haven for this top predator and are successfully securing its place in the ecosystem.

Directed by: Roshan Patel, 2013

What Lies Upstream

What Lies Upstream

In this unsettling film, filmmaker Cullen Hoback travels to West Virginia to study the safety of drinking water. He seeks to find the truth about what is really happening with drinking water in America and discovers a shocking truth about the failure of regulation from both state and federal agencies.

Directed by: Cullen Hoback, 2017

Boy-zshan Bi-den (Buffalo Return)

Boy-zshan Bi-den (Buffalo Return)

Bison were nearly exterminated across North America. Thanks to the Shoshone tribe, the National Wildlife Federation and the coordinated efforts of a host of other individuals and organizations, bison have finally been brought back the Wind River Indian Reservation and a landscape that they once defined. This short film show their return after a 130 year absence and the significance it has for the Shoshone and the rest of America.

Directed by: Colin Ruggiero, 2017

Nature is Speaking

Nature is Speaking

Featuring Julia Roberts in a celebrity-voiced campaign, Nature is Speaking is a series of short films that uses impeccable cinemotography and influence to draw attention to the need to protect and conserve nature. These films by Conservation International are aimed to raise awareness and move to action. In this unique experience, mother nature speaks to people in a moving and urging way, and expresses the importance of loving, advocating, and saving it because in the end – “people need nature. Nature doesn’t need people.”

Directed by: Conservation International, 2015

Potomac: The River Runs Through Us

Potomac: The River Runs Through Us

The message of this film is simple: people are connected to rivers. This film encourages the public to come together and learn about why the protection of the Potomac River is essential in the wellbeing of people and of future generations. The future security and quality of the water that is used by everyday Americans is dependant on the peoples ability to reduce the threats that face the Potomac: urban development, population growth, runoff from farms, and much more.

Directed by: Peggy Fleming, 2013

Dark Waters

Dark Waters

In this film, Mark Ruffalo plays a corporate environmental defense attourney who defends ‘Big Chem’ companies and finds himself conflicted after finding out the truth about the toxic, dangerous and deadly effects these chemicals – produced by powerful corporations – are having to the local communities. Inspired by a true story, this film demands the attention of everyday Americans and aims to educate and motivate people to advocate against the production of toxic chemicals produced by large companies.

Directed by: Todd Haynes, 2019

National Park Trust Assists National Park Service in Securing Properties for St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2020

Contact: Phil Selleck, phil@parktrust.org, 301-279-7275 x14

Washington, D.C., April 15, 2020 –National Park Trust today announced the addition of 145 acres to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The Park Trust received the three parcels of land from the State of Wisconsin, the original owners of the property. The complex project involved a land exchange in which the Park Trust worked with the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands to identify and then purchase valuable timberland; then that land was traded for the state parcels in the north-central part of Wisconsin. The Park Trust transferred the three parcels to the National Park Service within days of taking ownership; they are now a part of the scenic riverway.

Among the rivers first designated under the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, the St. Croix and Namekagon form the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The Riverway protects over 230 miles of clean, free-flowing water and serves as critical habitat for over 100 species of fish, more than 55 mammals including wolves, and over 40 species of mussels, 5 of them endangered. The rivers, in northwest Wisconsin and east central Minnesota, flow through some of the most scenic and least developed country in the Upper Midwest.

“This land adds to the important natural corridor of the Riverway and strengthens protection of its ecological and scenic values. It would not have been possible without the collaboration and commitment of our partners at the National Park Trust and the State of Wisconsin. We are very thankful for their efforts,” said Julie Galonska, superintendent of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

The State of Wisconsin will also benefit from the productive timberland it acquired by the exchange on the Riverway. Revenue from the timber sales will be used to support K-12 school libraries around the state as well as the University of Wisconsin.

Donors to the Park Trust’s Treasure Forever Fund made this land acquisition possible. The newly established fund provides park and conservation partners with financing to act quickly in response to rare and time-sensitive conservation opportunities. After the Park Trust buys the property, the funds are “revolved” or returned to the fund after the land is purchased from the Park Trust by the National Park Service. “We are so grateful for the philanthropic contributions from our board and donors that made the Treasure Forever Fund possible. They are the ‘gifts that keep on giving’ as we use them to acquire more critical lands for the parks including this important project to expand the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway,” said Grace Lee, executive director of National Park Trust.

This free-flowing riverway, though logged many years ago, remains a high-quality aquatic habitat; mussel species that lived there 400 years ago are still living there today. The rivers are also known for outdoor recreation, including excellent opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, along with powerboating. Multi-day water trips are possible with campsites located along the river’s edge. Visitors hike, picnic, and enjoy the natural beauty at a variety of scenic viewpoints, including the Wisconsin Dells of the St. Croix. Learn more at www.nps.gov/sacn.

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST
National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. It is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of protecting national parks through land acquisition and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, the Park Trust has preserved over 30,000 acres in 31 states, one U.S. Territory and Washington, DC. In 2019, National Park Trust engaged over 1 million people in their annual Kids to Parks Day, giving nearly 20,000 under-served kids trips to parks through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs. Find out more at www.parktrust.org.

 

 

 

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NATIONAL PARK TRUST TO HONOR SENATOR MAZIE HIRONO (HI) WITH 20th BRUCE F. VENTO PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

MEDIA STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Erin Mezgar, erin@parktrust.org, 301-279-7275 x15

NATIONAL PARK TRUST TO HONOR SENATOR MAZIE HIRONO (HI) WITH 20th BRUCE F. VENTO PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

Washington, D.C. (April 13, 2020) – National Park Trust is pleased to announce that Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI) will receive the 20th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the senator will be honored on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at a virtual event.

She will be recognized for her exceptional work to protect our parks, public lands and natural resources while serving on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, and Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining. Hirono also serves on the Committee on the Judiciary, Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

In the 116th Congress, Senator Hirono introduced the Coral Sustainability Through Innovation Act of 2019, and the Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act. She has also co-sponsored numerous public lands and natural resources bills in the 116th Congress, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, the ANTIQUITIES Act, the Restore Our Parks Act, the Extinction Prevention Act of 2019 and the Great American Outdoors Act. During her tenure as a Senator, she has introduced a number of bills that protect our parks and natural resources.

Senator Hirono introduced and passed two National Park-related resolutions, including a resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park in Hawaii, and designating August 1, 2016 as “Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala National Parks Day.” During her service as ranking member of the National Parks Subcommittee on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she joined Chair Steve Daines (MT) to introduce and pass a resolution celebrating National Park Week in 2017. Hirono has been an original cosponsor of similar resolutions each year since.

She is passionate about connecting children to the outdoors and public lands, and promoting service opportunities. Since 2015, she has co-sponsored the Senate resolution designating National Kids to Parks Day held annually on the third Saturday of May. Hirono also co-sponsored the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act, for which she was awarded an Outdoors Alliance for Kids Award in 2018. Additionally, she has continued to support programs like AmeriCorps that promote public service through environmental stewardship.

“People all over the world recognize Hawaii for our beautiful parks and natural resources. I have prioritized protecting these public spaces now and for future generations to explore and enjoy, and I join the National Park Trust in highlighting how our environment, communities, and children benefit from conserving parks and public lands,” Senator Hirono said.

“We are excited to recognize Senator Mazie Hirono for her service to support bi-partisan legislation and programs that preserve our public lands and waters as well as her work to create the next generation of park stewards,” stated National Park Trust Board Chair Bill Brownell. “Her leadership has led to significant steps in ensuring our public lands are treasured forever.”

National Park Trust established the Vento Award in 2001 to honor the memory and legacy of Bruce F. Vento, a twelve-term Congressman from Minnesota, dedicated environmentalist, and a champion of legislation for America’s parks. The award honors a public servant for his or her commitment to the environment, and their service, skill, and innovation in support of our public lands and waters. Past recipients include Sen. Richard Burr (NC), Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM), Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN), Rep. Betty McCollum (MN), Sen. Rob Portman (OH), Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), Rep. Mike Simpson (ID), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), Sen. Susan Collins (ME), Sen. Mark Udall (CO), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), Sen. Harry Reid (NV), Rep. George Miller (CA), Sen. John McCain (AZ), Sen. Bob Graham (FL), Rep. John Lewis (GA), Rep. Connie Morella (MD), Rep. John Seiberling (OH), and Lt. Gov. Lowell Thomas, Jr (AK).

 

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. The Park Trust is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of preserving national parks through land protection and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, National Park Trust has benefitted 47 national park sites across 31 states, one U.S. Territory, and Washington, D.C. Annually, the Park Trust provides an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools. Find out more at www.parktrust.org.

 

All proceeds from the Vento Award event benefit the Park Trust’s mission and programs.

 

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Buddy Bison Coloring Sheet

Perfect for kids and adults alike! Use crayons, markers, or even a computer – just put your creative skills to the test and give Buddy an outfit to remember.

Share your picture of Buddy by posting on your social media and tagging us using @NationalParkTrust. We will pick some of our favorites to highlight in future social posts.

Photo: Thank you Greg Friedman for the awesome example!

Buddy Bison’s Backyard Bingo and National Park Service Coloring Sheets

Are you running out of easy, creative ideas to entertain the family? At the National Park Trust, Buddy Bison, our wooly mascot is here to help provide some fun by bringing parks to kids. This week check out Buddy Bison’s Backyard Bingo (say that three times fast!) that has 24 unique ways for you and your family to stay connected with the outdoors. We’ve also included National Park Service coloring sheets for rainy days and an impressive set of national marine sanctuary virtual dives from around the globe.

We have a new take on the classic game Bingo. Click the link below for all of the instructions and to download Buddy Bison’s Backyard Bingo. Complete as many of the listed activities as you can over a seven-day period and then cross out the corresponding squares on your Bingo card.

Every “bingo” earns a prize! Don’t worry parents, we’ve got you covered with prize suggestions.



Dreaming of future family park adventures? We are bringing parks to you with coloring sheets from the National Park Service. Download, print, and color scenes from Tallgrass Prairie, Padre Island, Statue of Liberty, and three more parks. You can use crayons, markers, and colored pencils, or you can get creative with other craft supplies you have at home.

Share your finished pages with us using the hashtag #BuddyBison!

10 Parks With Incredible Rare Plants

National parks are home to some of the most interesting and rarest plants on the planet and in some cases, these uncommon plants do not exist anywhere outside of their namesake park.

For this week’s “10s on Tuesday”, visit 10 parks that are home to some of these incredible plant species.

Haleakalā National Park, HI - Haleakala silversword

Haleakalā National Park, HI - Haleakala silversword

With its sword-like leaves, the Haleakala silversword pokes out of the dry, rocky slopes at this Hawaiian park. Having almost reached near extinction in the 1920s due to vandalism and cattle and goat grazing, populations of the plant have since recovered.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX - Guadalupe Mountains violet

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX - Guadalupe Mountains violet

The Guadalupe Mountains violet is known to only exist in Texas’s Guadalupe Mountains National Park, where it grows at high elevations in weathered crevices of limestone cliffs. This tiny perennial was first spotted in 1990 when it became a confirmed newly discovered species.

Saguaro National Park, AZ - Saguaro cactus

Saguaro National Park, AZ - Saguaro cactus

The saguaro cactus only grows in the Sonoran Desert of the U.S. and Mexico. In Saguaro National Park, a saguaro grows between 1 and 1.5 inches in the first eight years of its life and doesn’t begin to produce flowers until around 35 years of age. The average life span of a saguaro is 150–175 years, but some plants may live for more than 200 years.

Yellowstone National Park, WY - Yellowstone sand verbena

Yellowstone National Park, WY - Yellowstone sand verbena

Yellowstone sand verbena occurs only along the shore of Yellowstone Lake inside Yellowstone National Park with the entire occupied habitat being 1.48 acres. One speculation by botanists is that the warmth provided by the geothermal activity in the area enabled this genus to gradually adapt to conditions in Yellowstone; tolerating long, cold winters and using the brief summer to bloom and reproduce.

Big Cypress National Preserve, FL - Ghost orchid

Big Cypress National Preserve, FL - Ghost orchid

The ghost orchid is protected in many public land areas in South Florida, including Big Cypress National Preserve. This orchid has become a symbol of the South Florida landscape. Like many orchids, the ghost orchid has specific habitat requirements. Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction from human development and over-collecting, populations of this flower have been severely reduced.

Capulin Volcano National Monument, NM - Capulin goldenrod

Capulin Volcano National Monument, NM - Capulin goldenrod

Capulin Volcano National Monument is located within a vegetative transitional zone between the Rocky Mountains and shortgrass prairie, supporting a relatively high diversity of habitats for wildlife and plants not found elsewhere in the surrounding grasslands. Capulin goldenrod is a rare plant found at the monument and was first described and collected in 1936. This flower can be found at the base Capulin Mountain where the plant usually sprouts from in-between basalt boulders.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, NM - Organ pipe cactus

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, NM - Organ pipe cactus

The namesake species of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the organ pipe cactus is the second-largest columnar cactus in the United States. These cacti can grow up to 23 feet tall and live beyond 150 years. The Organ pipe reaches maturity at about 35 years; then it begins to produce beautiful white flowers tipped with shades of purple or pink.

Yosemite National Park, CA - Yosemite woolly sunflower

Yosemite National Park, CA - Yosemite woolly sunflower

The Yosemite woolly sunflower is an annual herb that belongs to the daisy family. Endemic to California, it is known only from the Sierra Nevada in and around Yosemite National Park.

Photo by iNaturalist

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO -  Mountain wood lily

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - Mountain wood lily

The mountain wood lily is an annual attraction that draws wildflower enthusiasts to Rocky Mountain National Park. These uncommon wildflowers sport orangish-red petals that drop 3 to 4 inches and form a goblet-like bloom. You can begin to look for this meadow flower at the end of June along the lower part of the Cub Lake Trail.

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ - Sentry milk-vetch

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ - Sentry milk-vetch

Standing guard over the rim of the Grand Canyon, the tiny, federally endangered “sentry” milk-vetch is a perennial herb that grows on large platforms of limestone within the pinyon-juniper forests. As of today, there are only around 725 known to exist in the wild.

Photos: National Park Trust

Buddy Bison’s Choose Your Own National Park Adventure

Think of this as a “choose your own” national park adventure experience. First, pick your park virtual tour. Second, print and color Buddy Bison based on the park you choose. Third, build your own park home for Buddy or write a comic strip based on his outdoor explorations.

Pick one of the national park virtual tours below to begin your journey. Will it be to the base of Devils Tower, to the fiery glow of Hawai’i Volcanoes, the billowing steam of Yellowstone’s geysers, or the turquoise waters of the Virgin Islands? Click on the images below to start your virtual park experience.

 

Now imagine that you and Buddy Bison are going to take a trip to the national park that you virtually explored. What should Buddy be wearing or have with him to be prepared? Does he need any special items to discover the park? Does he need a jacket, boots, or swimsuit? Maybe he needs binoculars or a bottle of water.

Click on the link below to download a Buddy Bison coloring sheet and get him ready for your trip using crayons, coloring pencils, markers, or other craft supplies.

Now that you have visited a park and gotten Buddy ready for his trip, let’s create a Buddy Bison diorama (a miniature model) made to look like the park you just learned about and explored. Click on the link below to download.

For older kids, if making a diorama isn’t their thing, try creating a comic strip about Buddy’s park adventure. Think about what happens at the beginning, middle, and end of the story. What does he say? Are there other characters in the story? Click on the link below to download.

Most of all, have fun! We would love to see what you created. Like us on social and share your artwork!

10 National Forests to Add to Your Bucket List

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.

 

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, NV and CA

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, NV and CA

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest's spectacular 6.3 million acres makes it the largest national forest in the lower 48 states. Located in Nevada and a small portion of eastern California, the forest offers year-round recreation of all types and manages 18 designated wilderness areas.
Idaho Panhandle National Forests, ID, MT and WA

Idaho Panhandle National Forests, ID, MT and WA

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IPNF) are a set of three jointly administered national forests located mostly in the state of Idaho with small areas extending into eastern Washington and western Montana. Vast lakes and miles of rivers support a world-class fishery. Rich in wildlife, the forest is home to large game such as elk and deer, as well as species such as grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou.
Superior National Forest, MN

Superior National Forest, MN

Established in 1909, Superior National Forest is known for its boreal forest ecosystem, numerous clean lakes, and a colorful cultural history. The majority of the forest is multiple-use, including both logging and recreational activities such as camping, boating, and fishing. Slightly over a quarter of the forest (one million-acre) is set aside as a wilderness reserve known as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area where canoers can travel along interconnected fresh waters.
Tongass National Forest, AK

Tongass National Forest, AK

Tongass National Forest is the nation’s largest national forest at 16.7 million acres and covers most of Southeast Alaska, surrounding the famous Inside Passage and offers unique chances to view eagles, bears, spawning salmon, and the breath-taking vistas of “wild” Alaska.
Gila National Forest, NM

Gila National Forest, NM

The Gila National Forest manages 3.3 million acres of forested hills, majestic mountains, and range land - making it the sixth largest National Forest in the continental United States. It is probably best known for its wilderness areas, in particular the Gila Wilderness - the first Congressionally designated wilderness in the United States.
Salmon-Challis National Forest, ID

Salmon-Challis National Forest, ID

The Salmon-Challis National Forest covers over 4.3 million acres in east-central Idaho. Included within the boundaries of the forest is 1.3 million acres of the Frank Church-- River of No Return Wilderness Area, the largest contiguous wilderness area in the Continental United States. Borah Peak, the tallest mountain in Idaho, is also found here.
Monongahela National Forest, WV

Monongahela National Forest, WV

Monongahela National Forest provides visitors with scenic vistas, country roads, flowing streams and abundant plant and animal life. It was established in 1920 and encompasses one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the United States. Recreation opportunities include day hikes, rock climbing, camping, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
Ocala National Forest, FL

Ocala National Forest, FL

The Ocala National Forest, located north of Orlando, is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and protects the world's largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest. The forest has more than 600 lakes, rivers and springs, including three first-magnitude springs where visitors can swim, snorkel and dive in crystalline waters year round.
Tonto National Forest, AZ

Tonto National Forest, AZ

The Tonto National Forest, outside of Phoenix, AZ, embraces almost 3 million acres of spectacularly beautiful country, ranging from Saguaro cactus-studded desert to pine-forested mountains. This variety in vegetation and range in altitude offers recreational opportunities throughout the year, whether it's lake beaches or cool pine forest. As the fifth largest forest in the United States, Tonto is one of the most-visited “urban” forests in the U.S. (approximately 5.8 million visitors annually).
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, MT

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, MT

Named by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 but officially merged in 1996, this 3.3 million-acre forest hosts numerous ghost towns which serve as reminders of the region’s mining history. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and the Nez Perce National Historical Trail both pass through sections of the forest. In total, there are over 1,500 miles of hiking trails, 50 campgrounds, dozens of lake and river boating access points and even 250 miles of groomed snowmobile trails.

Photos all courtesy of the USDA Forest Service

5 Fun Ways to Bring Parks To Kids

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

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

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

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

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.

Examine Nature

Examine Nature

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!

10 Women Who Have Contributed to the History of National Parks

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.

Minerva Hoyt

Minerva Hoyt

Minerva Hoyt found solace in the desert landscapes of southern California after the separate deaths of her infant son and husband. Seeing how landscapers were ripping up plants and trees in this delicate ecosystem to sell for people's gardens in the city, she became determined to protect her cherished land as a national park.

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

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Douglas staunchly defended southern Florida's tropical wetlands against efforts to drain and reclaim it for development. In 1947, Douglas wrote the iconic book The Everglades: River of Grass, the same year Everglades National Park was established. Douglas fought for the protection and restoration of the Everglades almost to the end of her long life, having lived to 108. In her honor, the park contains a wilderness area named for her legacy.

Susan Thew

Susan Thew

When Ohio-born Susan Thew moved to California and first saw the towering trees of Sequoia National Park, she was immediately mesmerized. She soon became a strong advocate for the park's expansion.

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.
Rosalie Edge

Rosalie Edge

Rosalie Edge first entered activism during the women's suffragist movement, but when the 19th Amendment passed, she needed a new cause to support. She found it first in the protection of bird species and then with land conservation.

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

Virginia Donaghe McClurg

When Virginia McClurg first saw the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde on a newspaper assignment in 1882, she was fascinated. She made it her personal mission to both promote the ancestral puebloan ruins and advocate for their protection. She founded the Colorado Cliff Dwellings Association (CCDA), helped build roads to the ruins, and personally led tours of Mesa Verde.

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.
Maxine Johnston

Maxine Johnston

Johnston was instrumental in the creation of Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. While working as a librarian at nearby Lamar University, she joined Big Thicket Association, helped create a Big Thicket museum, edited and distributed newsletters, and took people on tours of the area.

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.
Roxanne Quimby

Roxanne Quimby

Quimby, the co-founder of the personal care product company Burt's Bees, used her success to purchase and donate 87,000 acres to the National Park Service for the creation of a new park in Maine. After seeing that a majority of Mainers supported the creation of a park, the Obama administration designated the donated lands as Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
Clare Marie Hodges

Clare Marie Hodges

Clare Marie Hodges was the National Park Service’s first female park ranger. During World War I, Hodges heard about the difficulty that Yosemit National Park was having finding men to work as rangers due to the demands of the war. In the spring of 1918, she applied to Yosemite's park superintendent, Washington B. Lewis, who responded, "I beat you to it, young lady. It's been on my mind for some time to put a woman on one of these patrols." One of Hodges main duties consisted of taking the gate receipts from Tuolumne Meadows to park headquarters, an overnight ride on horseback.
Fran P. Mainella

Fran P. Mainella

Fran P. Mainella served as the first female director of the National Park Service. Early in her tenure, she enhanced and reinforced the partnership culture of the NPS with the development of director's order 75A mandating civic engagement and public involvement.

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

Sue Kunitomi Embrey

Sue Kunitomi Embrey, along with her family and 10,000 other Japanese-Americans, were imprisoned at the Manzanar internment camp in California during World War II. After returning to the site on a pilgrimage in 1969, she began a public campaign for its protection.

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.

National Park Trust COVID-19 Message

Dear Friends:

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 newsletter each week 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.


 

 

Grace Lee
Executive Director

10 Parks To See Amazing Rainbows

“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.

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Joshua Tree's immense open space, amazing rocks, and its signature tree are a few of the reasons why desert lovers hold a deep affection for the park. Located in the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree offers a unique landscape of sand dunes, valleys, and rugged mountains, making the perfect backdrop for a rainbow photo shoot.
Badlands National Park, SD

Badlands National Park, SD

Visitors from around the world come to Badlands, not just for rainbows, but to see the rugged beauty on the ground. This landscape of buttes, pinnacles and spires contains one of the world's richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the saber-toothed cat once called the 244,000 acres of the Badlands home.
Big Bend National Park, TX

Big Bend National Park, TX

An impressive array of landscapes mark this mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Scenic overlooks allow visitors to view valleys, rivers, and temple-like canyons. The 30-mile Roswell scenic drive provides great opportunities for rainbow-gazing in this majestic park.
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Unique combinations of geologic colors and rock formations decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size and is actually the largest canyon on earth. Rainbows following showers are fairly common occurrences in the Grand Canyon region, and when this happens, the view becomes awe-inspiring.
Mojave National Preserve, CA

Mojave National Preserve, CA

The Mojave National Preserve is a 1.6-million-acre park that boasts impressive mountains, canyons, volcanoes, and sand dunes. This picturesque stretch of land allows visitors to see for miles, making spotting rainbows both easy and a treat for the eyes.
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

This park covers 230 square miles with semi-desert shrub-steppe, petrified trees, steep hills, and colorful badlands. The area's scenic Painted Desert, known for its red rock and lavender, provides stark contrast for rainbows that fall upon its landscape.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, CA

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, CA

Home of the largest trees on earth, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park offers some of the most impressive and humbling scenery. This landmass contains canyons, lakes, waterfalls, and scattered sequoia groves. These parks are recreational gems that will challenge your sense of wonder.
Yellowstone National Park, WY

Yellowstone National Park, WY

Yellowstone National Park is best known as home to a large concentration of wildlife, including buffalo, moose, elk, and bears. It is the oldest and one of the largest national parks in the United States and gifts unique experiences such as breathtaking views and geysers shooting water 100 feet into the air, the perfect rainbow backdrop.
White Sands National Park, NM

White Sands National Park, NM

The glistening white dunes of White Sands National Park are one of the most iconic and unique natural features that the continental U.S. has to offer. Every year, more than 600,000 visitors stop to admire the shifting and sparkling white dunes and take part in a broad range of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and even sledding.
Denali National Park, AK

Denali National Park, AK

Home to the highest peak in North America, this famous Alaskan wilderness is as picturesque as they come. The park is home to a unique landscape that includes many glacial valleys, boreal forest, and arctic tundra. Covering six million acres of pure wilderness, it offers the best opportunity to view not only amazing wildlife but also once-in-a-lifetime rainbows.

Photos: NPS

The Ten Most Visited National Park Sites of 2019

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.

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA

This iconic structure connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County, CA spans almost two miles across the San Francisco Bay. Whether you want to make a quick stop at a vista point or enjoy picturesque trails, this is the world's largest national park unit in an urban area and attracted 15 million visitors in 2019.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway, NC & VA

2. Blue Ridge Parkway, NC & VA

The parkway, which is America's longest linear park, runs for 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 2019, a record 14.9 million visitors enjoyed the park. While on the parkway, be sure to stop and climb to the top of North Carolina's Mount Mitchell, the highest point of the Appalachian Mountain chain.
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC & TN

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC & TN

The Great Smoky Mountains is a mustsee stop for outdoor lovers. The park has an abundance of wildflowers and wildlife, and offers stunning waterfalls. The beauty of its ancient mountains and the remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture are why this park had over 12 million visitors in 2019 alone.
4. Gateway National Recreation Area, NY & NJ

4. Gateway National Recreation Area, NY & NJ

Located in the largest metropolitan area in the United States, Gateway National Recreation Area was established in New York City and New Jersey to bring national parks closer to people in cities. With an open invitation to hike, bike, fish, camp, or swim in the summer, millions of people visit Gateway every year to enjoy the tranquility of nature and outdoor recreation. In 2019, the park welcomed 9.4 million visitors.
5. Lincoln Memorial, DC

5. Lincoln Memorial, DC

The inspiring Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is one of America's most revered national monuments. Overlooking the National Mall, the memorial celebrates the 16th president who led the United States through the Civil War, kept the country united, and abolished slavery. In 2019, 7.8 million people visited the memorial.
6. George Washington Memorial Parkway, VA

6. George Washington Memorial Parkway, VA

Built during the early 1930s for scenic driving, this New Deal-era work project became one of the first high-speed roadways for automobiles in the United States. Its adjacent trails offer great opportunities for runners and cyclist looking to get out of the city. 7.5 million people visited the parkway in 2019.
7. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV

7. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV

Located on the Colorado River approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Lake Mead is in high demand during the warmer months. This popular destination is fantastic for boating, swimming and weekend camping. It is no surprise that nearly 7.5 million people visited in 2019.
8. Natchez Trace Parkway, TN, AL & MS

8. Natchez Trace Parkway, TN, AL & MS

This National Scenic Parkway has an abundance of natural scenery and historic sites to visit. It stretches out for a long 444 miles from the foothills of Nashville, TN to the salt marshes of Natchez, MS. Last year, the parkway welcomed 6.3 million visitors to experience the sites.
9. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

9. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Perhaps one of the most iconic landmarks in America, there are many ways that you can experience the natural beauty of this popular place. Whether it is a walk along the rim, touring the viewpoints by bike, or hiking below the rim, the Grand Canyon is a must-see. In 2019, the park welcomed 5.9 million visitors from all over the world.
10. Gulf Islands National Seashore, FL & AL

10. Gulf Islands National Seashore, FL & AL

This remarkable seashore offers clear emerald water, sparkling soft sand, historic forts, and natural habitats for wildlife. Located on the barrier islands of northern Florida and Alabama, the park allows visitors to enjoy beautiful beaches and take part in activities such as biking, hiking, fishing, and swimming. In 2019, 5.6 million people visited the seashore.

Photos: NPS

Congratulations National Kids to Parks Day School Contest Winners!

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 ktpcontest@parktrust.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

State

City

School

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

10 Parks That Tell Women’s Stories

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.

Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Washington, D.C.

Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Washington, D.C.

This new national monument, designated in 2016, tells the story of the fight for women’s suffrage in America. Home to the National Woman's Party, many historic photos, artifacts, and stories can be found at this site.
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, CA

Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, CA

This site tells the stories of American civilians, including many women, who took up jobs in factories and shipyards to produce munitions and war supplies during WWII. This time and place in history helped integrate women into the American workforce.
Lowell National Historical Park, MA

Lowell National Historical Park, MA

The water-powered textile mills of Lowell helped launch our nation into a new industrial era and provided employment for many women as factory workers. Early women's rights activists in Lowell led strikes for fair wages and better work conditions, and fought for women's right to vote, greatly contributing to the feminism movement in America.
Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, NY

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, NY

Harriet Tubman is an American hero who 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.
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, VA

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, VA

Maggie Walker, a newspaper editor and the first female bank president, devoted her life to advancements for Jim Crow-era African Americans and women. Particularly, she fought for equal educational and economic opportunities for these populations.
First Ladies National Historic Site, OH

First Ladies National Historic Site, OH

This site explores how the role of first lady has evolved, and how the women who have held this position have shaped American society. From detailed biographies to quirky fun facts, this site has everything you need to know about the women who have helped guide this nation.
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, NY

Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, NY

This site honors perhaps the most influential first lady. As a distinguished advocate for human rights, Eleanor transformed the role and brought women’s social reform to the national agenda for the first time. In the relaxed atmosphere of Val-Kill's 181 acres and stone cottage, Eleanor and Franklin gathered advisors, reformers, foreign dignitaries, and even movie stars to address pressing issues of the times. Photo Credit: GPA Photo Archive
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, Washington, DC

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.
Women’s Rights National Historical Park, NY

Women’s Rights National Historical Park, NY

This park tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls in 1848. This was the first convention to further women’s rights in society and founded the basis of a fight for equality that continues today.
Clara Barton National Historic Site, MD

Clara Barton National Historic Site, MD

A hospital nurse during the Civil War, Clara Barton went on to found the American Red Cross. This historic site explores her life and the role she played in pioneering the fields of first aid and emergency preparedness.

Photos: NPS

10 Park Sites with Incredible Archeology

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.

 

Poverty Point National Monument, LA

Poverty Point National Monument, LA

This earthwork ceremonial site is possibly the largest in North America. Now a nearly forgotten culture, Poverty Point at its peak 3,000 years ago was part of an enormous trading network that stretched for hundreds of miles across the continent. It was - and is - also an engineering marvel, the product of five million hours of labor.
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

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

Mesa Verde National Park, CO

Mesa Verde National Park, CO

Like Aztec Ruins, Mesa Verde is a Unesco World Heritage Site that was first inhabited by Paleo Indians 11,000 years ago. The park features over 500 archeological sites, including the famous Cliff Palace which dates to the 12th century.
Aztec Ruins National Monument, NM

Aztec Ruins National Monument, NM

Although not made by the Aztecs, this 900-year-old Pueblo Indian site is truly impressive. Preserved stone structures showcase great houses and smaller pueblos, offering a glimpse into life in the desert.
Canyonlands National Park, UT

Canyonlands National Park, UT

The dry terrains of Canyonlands may seem inhospitable today, but this was not always the case. Over the last 14,000 years, the area was inhabited at different times by Paleoindian, Archaic, Preformative, Formative and Protohistoric groups, some of which left their mark with intriguing rock art. Photo Credit: Ken Lund
Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

Possibly one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America, the Sinagua people made this their home between 1100-1425 AD. Tucked away in a towering limestone cliff, this huge structure proves its inhabitants were daring builders and skilled engineers.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ

For 4,000 years, natural water sources and fertile soil at this locale made it a favorable location for ancestral Pueblo and Hopi groups. The first settlers built pithouse villages and cliff dwellings that were meticulously created to take advantage of the sunlight and natural protection.
Valles Caldera National Preserve, NM

Valles Caldera National Preserve, NM

A rich record of human history can be found in this ancient caldera. From obsidian spear points to home structures, the wealth of material discovered shows how many historic groups favored this area for food and shelter. Photo Credit: docbadger1
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, NJ & PA

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, NJ & PA

This park contains important Native American archaeological sites dating back to 10,000 years. In these sites, archeologists have discovered special artifacts such as spear points and even a colonial stove plate. They also found building structures that evidence Dutch colonial settlement, making it an intriguing site.
Yellowstone National Park, WY

Yellowstone National Park, WY

As if this national park wasn’t impressive enough, it also contains a record of human activity represented by 1,250 sites. Archaeological findings include spear points, arrowheads, campfires and pottery which collectively span 8,000 years.

Photo Credit: NPS

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