Tag Archives: National Park Service

Happy 100 Years, National Park Service

This week, we’re officially commemorating the centennial of the National Park Service. While we’ve been celebrating all year (you can read more about how we’ve been marking 100 years of stewardship here and here), the official century mark is Thursday, August 25. And you guys, that’s a BIG birthday.

Cheers to 100 years.

Cheers to 100 years.

And here’s the thing about birthdays: in my family, we always celebrate them. When it’s your birthday, everyone in attendance at your dinner, party, etc., takes a turn and tells the birthday boy or girl what they love about him or her.

So, in honor of the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, here’s a few things I love about our national parks.

1. The national parks are truly America’s best idea. If you’ve ever been to a national park, especially Glacier National Park, you realize what an incredible place it is. There’s nowhere on earth that’s quite like Glacier and there’s a real reverence, peace and sense of awe that accompanies every visit.

A red travels along the Going-to-the-Sun Road as part of the FDR commemorative trip in Glacier National Park. Photo: Glacier NPS Flickr/Jacob W. Frank

A red travels along the Going-to-the-Sun Road as part of the FDR commemorative trip in Glacier National Park. Photo: Glacier NPS Flickr/Jacob W. Frank

2. They are more than just a pretty face. Sure, pretty much all of our national parks are beautiful. But they’re so much more than that. In Glacier National Park, evidence of human use dates back 10,000 years and today, this park has a diverse past that’s home to American Indian history, mining, hunting, fur trapping and settlers. Meanwhile, in Yellowstone National Park researchers have found that there were places in the park that were used around 11,000 years ago and that Salish (who called the Bitterroot Valley home) spent time in and around the park 3,000 years ago.

Blackfeet tipis. Photo: Glacier NPS Flickr/Jacob W. Frank

Blackfeet tipis. Photo: Glacier NPS Flickr/Jacob W. Frank

3. National parks were created for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. If you ask me, creating national parks was one of the most selfless things the government has ever done. Sure, national parks can get crowded and maybe people don’t always observe rules, safety regulations, etc. but the point is that they are there enjoying our most precious places. PS: if you are visiting one of the national parks in the West, read this blog and follow the rules

The Roosevelt Arch welcomes visitors to Yellowstone National Park. Photo: YNP Flickr

The Roosevelt Arch welcomes visitors to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana. Photo: Yellowstone NPS Flickr

4. I love how they make me feel. There are some places (you could easily switch out the word places for people or experiences) that have the ability to make you feel at peace. For as long as I can remember, Glacier National Park has been that place for me. And I can’t really put into words why, all I know is how I feel when I spent time in the Crown of the Continent.

One of my favorite places: Two Medicine.

One of my favorite places: Two Medicine.

5. National parks are always within reach. There are certain people and places that I know without a doubt that I can call or visit when I need them. If you ask me (let’s just pretend you did), our national parks and national historic sites have been cultivated to be within reach of all people, no matter where you’re from, how much money you make, your abilities or what you believe. The National Park Service is more than just national parks; it’s many of our country’s national monument and other historical properties (including historic trails, heritage corridors and battlefields). Plus, the National Park Service offers several fee-free dates that give everyone the opportunity to visit a national park site near them.

Many trails in the park are accessible for visitors of various abilities, including Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake. Photo: Glacier NPS Flickr/Jacob W. Frank

Many trails in the park are accessible for visitors of various abilities, including Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake. Photo: Glacier NPS Flickr/Jacob W. Frank

If you want to join me in celebrating the National Park Service Centennial, leave a comment and let me know what YOU love about our national parks.

A few things to note:
-Montana’s Glacier National Park is hosting an InstaMeet on Thursday, August 25. The public is welcome to attend; meet in the Apgar Village parking area at 6 p.m.
-Many units of the National Park Service are hosting InstaMeets. Check out the full schedule here and plan to attend one near you.
-Entry into all national parks is free August 25 – 28, 2016.
-See more centennial events taking place in Glacier National Park here.
-Be sure to share your national park love by using #FindYourPark on twitter and instagram.
-Check out more happenings and celebrations for the National Park Service Centennial here.

xo,
TT

16 Free Days for America’s National Parks in 2016

You guys, 2016 is going to be a big year for the National Park Service! During the year, they’ll be celebrating 100 years of stewardship within the national park system.

Sunset at Glacier National Park. Photo: NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Sunset at Glacier National Park. Photo: NPS / Jacob W. Frank

In honor of the 2016 centennial, the National Park Service is going to offer 16 fee free days (this is seven more free days than 2015) which means we can better take advantage of playing in our favorite national parks. My advice? Mark your calendars now for these fee free days and plan to go see at least one of the 400+ national parks in the United States. One favor: be sure to include a visit to my favorite, Glacier National Park.

Here’s a look at the 2016 free entry days into our national parks…

January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
There’s a common misconception that Western Montana’s Glacier National Park closes during the winter months but that, my friends, is not true. Glacier National Park is open year-round and January offers a quiet, serene look into winter in Montana that not many get to see.
Sidenote: for ideas on visiting Glacier National Park in winter, check out this three-day winter itinerary.

Winter camping in Apgar.

Winter camping in Apgar.

April 16 – 24: National Park Week
The truth of the matter is this: there are exactly 409 national parks that you can visit during National Park Week for free. So no excuses, people…let’s all get outside and #FindYourPark.

A stormy look into Glacier National Park's Two Medicine Valley.

A stormy look into Glacier National Park’s Two Medicine Valley in spring.

August 25 – 28: National Park Service Birthday Celebrations
The National Park Service officially turns 100 on August 25 and many parks will be having celebrations that day. On August 25, Yellowstone National Park (the country’s first national park) is planning a large celebration, while Glacier National Park will be hosting an instagram meetup.

Night falls in Glacier National Park's Many Glacier.

Night falls in Glacier National Park’s Many Glacier.

September 24: National Public Lands Day
Want to know a secret? Fall is literally one of the most amazing times to visit the national parks, especially Montana’s two national parks: Glacier and Yellowstone.
Sidenote: you can read more about fall in the Crown of the Continent here.

Fall at Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park's North Fork.

Fall at Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park’s North Fork.

November 11: Veteran’s Day
I can’t think of a better place to spend Veteran’s Day than outside and enjoying nature. The parks have been called “America’s Best Idea” and in my mind, our veterans deserve to be honored with a fee free day to some of our most special places.
Sidenote: there is a free annual pass available for U.S. military member and their dependents.

A peek at November 2015 from the Lake McDonald webcam.

A peek at November 2015 from the Lake McDonald webcam.

Here’s to many national park adventures in 2016!

xo,
TT