National Park Sites Are Everywhere!

This was not the longest road trip I’ve ever taken – my parents took me on some doozies when I was a kid. But when you drive from Seattle to the Atlantic Ocean, as I did on my recent photo trip to shoot fall foliage on the East Coast, you can see a lot of cool stuff, and much of it is managed by the National Park Service.

To give you an idea of what my 8,800 mile trip was like, here’s the map I used as a guide to and from New England. I drove the northern route through North Dakota and New York on the way out, and the more southerly route through Pennsylvania and South Dakota on the way back. The brown icons are National Park Service units of some kind, the green are campgrounds, and the yellow are planned photo shoots. I used this as a reference – I didn’t stop at every icon, but I certainly stopped at a lot of them.

My Route to New England

Map showing the route I took to and from New England with points of interest along the way.

Of these, it’s the brown icons, the National Park Service sites, that I will be focusing on in the next few articles. They represent the amazing stories of the history of the United States and the unique and determined individuals who shaped that history.

Passport To Your National Parks®

Passport To Your National Parks®

As I mentioned in a previous article, “It’s All About the Stamp!“, I possess a little booklet called the “Passport To Your National Parks®” in which I love to collect stamps from National Park sites of all kinds. This little booklet costs less than $10 and makes visiting National Parks and other sites much more fun. It also encourages you to visit sites that would never occur to you to visit. We all know about Yellowstone and Yosemite, but what about the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site? Never heard of it? Exactly! So, I’d like to introduce you, very briefly, to a few of these little gems I ran across on my travels.

First let’s take a quick look at the complete list of National Park sites I visited on the trip. The passport divides the U.S. into nine regions. On my twenty-four day trip across the country I collected twenty new stamps from these places, by region:

North Atlantic Region

Mid-Atlantic Region

Midwest Region

Rocky Mountain Region

Whew! It’s a wonder I ever made it across the country and back with all those stops! And I should point out that I didn’t just run in and grab a stamp for the stamp’s sake. At every one of these locations, besides getting a stamp, I viewed the introductory video (generally 20-40 minutes long), checked out the exhibits, and on many occasions hiked around the property or signed up for a Ranger-led tour.

Besides being educational, the sites were a great place to stretch my legs and refill my water bottles along the way. What I did not do at these sites, for the most part, was photograph. With a couple of exceptions, I wasn’t planning to be at the site long enough to do the place justice.

So that’s enough for today. If you’re really curious you can click on any of the links above to go directly to the National Park website for each location. In the next couple of weeks I’ll give you a very brief overview of the ones I found the most interesting. Stay tuned!

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