Happy Feel Good Friday! Spring is here and summer is coming - what a great time to get outdoors and visit one of the many parks run by the National Park Service!
Many years ago, I was an NPS volunteer spending my weekends on Alcatraz telling visitors all about the history of the island and where the bathroom was. Spending time with passionate park rangers and volunteers, along with climbing to the top of the lighthouse, were highlights of my experience. The great news is, you don't have to volunteer with the NPS to enjoy a park! Although if you'd like to, follow this link.
All this excitement about parks and I haven't even watched the Ken Burns documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea". Here's why I love NPS.
As explained on their website, the mission is simple, "The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage." While Yellowstone National Park was the first park to be established in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant, it wasn't until 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson signed an Act to create the National Park Service.
And now? From the FAQ page, "The national park system comprises 407 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House." If that doesn't make you want to start planning your summer vacation, I don't know what will!
You can search for a park at this link by name, location, activity or topic and start planning. There are also great links to discover history, explore nature and resources for teachers and kids. In 2014 there were 292,800,02 visitors (to be exact). Will you visit a park in 2015?
To stay in the loop, like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @NatlParkService. You'll be the first to know about plans to celebrate the 100 year anniversary on August 25, 2016.