Archive for the ‘National parks’ Category

New Smartphone App Provides Audio Guides to America’s National Parks

March 6, 2015
A new GPS-powered mobile app from Just Ahead turns smartphones into hands-free audio tour guides of America's national parks.

A new GPS-powered mobile app from Just Ahead turns smartphones into hands-free audio tour guides of America’s national parks.

A new GPS-powered mobile app from Just Ahead turns smartphones into hands-free audio tour guides of America’s national parks.

Just Ahead’s app and audio guides work even where cell phones, Internet, and Wi-Fi won’t, to stream interesting stories spliced with geography, history, and even driving directions while cruising through a national park.

One example is Just Ahead’s Death Valley National Park audio guide, which recently garnered the Best Travel App award from the North American Travel Journalists Association. This award is due, in part, to the levels of professional travel writing and narration that present the myriad stories of each national park. Content writer and editor Bob Howells has twice won the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Lowell Thomas Gold Award for adventure travel writing.

“Our aim is to give travelers and their families an entertaining and educational travel experience,” underscored Just Ahead founder Gregory Morse. “We think the Just Ahead app and audio guides encourage exploring and getting off the beaten track. You’re engaged at the same time you’re learning.”

Just Ahead utilizes GPS technology to know exactly where drivers are on the road, and delivers stories and maps relevant to their location. Just Ahead also helps drivers avoid getting lost by providing helpful suggested directions. Just Ahead tells drivers why they should turn or not, what they should do after a turn, and recommends the best direction to take if there are multiple route options.

As of mid-winter 2015, Just Ahead apps are available for the following parks: Yosemite, Zion and Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley. An additional 12 national park guides are in production, including Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Petrified Forrest, Canyon De Chelly, Monument Valley, and Mesa Verde – with many more to come.

Just Ahead started with US national parks because they are treasured natural assets that are visited each year by 292 million people from around the world (2014 set a record for national park visitation). But the company intends to go beyond the parks. In the future, Just Ahead will offer guides for other major road trip destinations, including California Highway 1, Route 66, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Hawaiian Islands, and many others.

The Just Ahead app is a free download, and each destination guide is available as an in-app purchase. Guides range from $7.99 – $9.99 and include a free trial and free guide updates.

For more information, visit: http://www.justahead.com.

 

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10 Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day in Your National Parks

May 23, 2014
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Join @GoParks this #MemorialDay in honoring the legacy of
fallen American veterans in #NationalParks

The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, invites Americans to join in remembering our brave veterans in national parks across the country. On Memorial Day weekend, many sites throughout the National Park System will hold events in memoriam of the greatest sacrifice made by those protecting our nation, while other sites stand as permanent tributes to fallen soldiers year-round.

“Memorial Day is about taking a collective moment to pause and pay tribute to the valor of our fallen American veterans,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “National parks guard and honor the legacy of our brave military men and women in places such as battlefields, historical parks, and national monuments.”

From the American Revolutionary War to the events of September 11, 2001, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation work to protect the memory of those lost in service to their country. This Memorial Day, everyone can observe this day of reflection in a national park, paying respect to the ultimate devotion and sacrifice made by fellow Americans.

Celebrate and honor the memory of U.S. military members by:

  1. Learning what it was like to be a soldier in the American Revolutionary War at Independence National Historical Park (Pennsylvania) with activities and presentations throughout the day.
  2. Remembering the lives lost in the first battle of the U.S.-Mexican War at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park (Texas), one of our American Latino Heritage Fund sites.
  3. Paying tribute to America’s fallen troops — from the War of 1812 to today — at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Chalmette National Cemetery (Louisiana).
  4. Reflecting on the sacrifices of this nation’s military personnel at Shiloh National Military Park (Tennessee) by listening to living historians as they interpret wars from colonial times to today.
  5. Visiting the numerous sites at National Mall & Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C.) and taking time to remember the contributions and service of American veterans both at home and abroad.
  6. Recognizing the valiant dedication of the first African American military pilots in World War II at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site (Alabama), one of our African American Experience Fund sites.
  7. Joining Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Maryland) as they pay tribute to the graves of fallen War of 1812, Civil War, World War I and II, and Korean War veterans.
  8. Honoring of the lives of ordinary passengers and crew members, who joined together for an extraordinary act of selflessness at Flight 93 National Memorial (Pennsylvania).
  9. Exploring the Lincoln Memorial (online) through an interactive website that showcases the memorial and park ranger reflections on its history.
  10. Watching PBS’s live National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 25, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET, and enjoying the musical tributes by groups such as the U.S. Army Chorus, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, and the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.

To find even more events in national parks near you, visit the National Park Service’s event calendar.

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.  Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org

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National Park Week, April 19-27 Offers Special Events Nationwide

April 16, 2014
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. All 401 national parks across the country are celebrating National Park Week, April 19-27, 2014 © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. All 401 national parks across the country are celebrating National Park Week, April 19-27, 2014 © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

From April 19 – 27, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation will host National Park Week, featuring special events in parks nationwide. This year’s theme, “National Park Week: Go Wild!” invites visitors to celebrate all that America’s 401 national parks have to offer. With free admission to all parks on April 19 and 20, and exciting activities and programs scheduled throughout the week, National Park Week is the perfect time to discover the diverse wildlife, iconic landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history found in America’s national parks.

There are countless ways to enjoy National Park Week. Here are nine suggestions for what is happening April 19 – 27 in national parks.  A complete list of National Park Week events taking place across the country is available at www.nationalparkweek.org.

Go wild for bears. This year the National Park Foundation has teamed with Disney on the new Disneynature film, “Bears,” premiering just in time for Earth Day and National Park Week on Friday, April 18. For every ticket sold during “Bears” opening week, April 18-24, Disneynature will make a contribution to the National Park Foundation to protect wildlife and wild places across America’s National Park System.

Go wild for Junior Ranger Day.  On April 26, young visitors can celebrate National Junior Ranger Day by taking part in special family-friendly activities.

Go wild for a walk in a park. More than 100 free, ranger-led walks are offered during National Park Week. Hike to a cloud forest, take a sunset stroll, wander through John F. Kennedy’s neighborhood, and more.

Go wild for Earth Day. Tour John Muir’s house in California and take part in a combined John Muir Birthday/Earth Day Celebration with music, food, and family-friendly events.

Go wild for Hawaiian culture. Experience first-hand the traditions of Hawaiian sailing and Hawaiian crafts! Join a sailing expert guide for a ride on a double-hulled canoe and learn interesting tidbits about Hawaiian sailing techniques, history, and culture. Immerse yourself in Hawaiian crafts such as lauhala weaving, coconut leaf weaving, and lei making.

Go wild for Patriot’s Day. Commemorate the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War with parades, reenactments, and special ceremonies in Massachusetts.

Go wild for waterfalls. Take the Whiskeytown Waterfall Challenge at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in beautiful northern California and hike to Brandy Creek, Boulder Creek, Crystal Creek and Whiskeytown Falls!

Go wild for national park road trips. Enjoy a self-guided tour to historic places, most of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Each trip takes you to a variety of places significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.

Go wild for wildflowers. Spring has sprung and it is the perfect time to see nature in all of its colorful glory in parks across the country. Parks including the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and Cumberland Gap and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky will have wildflower walks and talks.

Using the resources on the National Park Week website, visitors can plan adventures, share national park photos, videos, and tips, and learn about all the ways to help support national parks.

National Park Week also offers many opportunities for the public to explore local parks, trails, and architectural gems sustained by National Park Service programs such as the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program and the National Register of Historic Places.

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Reopening of Yosemite National Park Means Tourists Can Travel Whole ‘Fossils to Falls’ Trail

October 17, 2013

CA-Yosemite

Tourists can once again complete the entire Fossils to Falls Trail, now that Yosemite National Park in Oakhurst, California, is open once again, following a resolution to the government shutdown shuttered all the national parks for nearly three weeks, according to tourism officials.

The shutdown has hurt a lot of businesses dependent on the millions of people who travel to Yosemite every year. However, it’s given other attractions in the area a chance to shine.

“We promote what we call the ‘Fossils to Falls Trail,’” said Jarrod Lyman, Director of PR for the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau.

“It’s an itinerary of attractions along the most popular entry in to Yosemite, the southern gateway, leading up to the park itself. During the shutdown, these attractions went from being part of a journey leading to Yosemite to being alternatives to the park while guests waited for it to open. Now that Yosemite is open, the trail is complete again,” he said.

The Fossils to Falls Trail includes attractions such as the Fossil Discovery Center in Chowchilla, the Madera Wine Trail, Bass Lake, the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway and many art galleries, museums and more, ending with the attractions inside Yosemite.

“Guests appreciated having some other great things to see while Yosemite was closed, but the park is the main attraction. People are ecstatic they can complete the Fossils to Falls Trail now,” said Lyman.

Officials also say that the reopening of Yosemite came at a perfect time.

“The leaves are changing and it’s absolutely beautiful. Fall is an amazing time in the park, as the changing seasons makes the park light up with color,” said Lyman.

“With fewer people in the park, there have been a lot more animal sightings. So slow down and bring a camera.”

To learn more about the Fossils to Falls Trail, visit www.YosemiteThisYear.com/what-to-do.

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Statue of Liberty Reopens; NYS Funds Daily Cost During Federal Shutdown

October 13, 2013
The Statue of Liberty has reopened to the public under an agreement where New York State is paying the daily cost while the federal government shutdown continues © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Statue of Liberty has reopened to the public under an agreement where New York State is paying the daily cost while the federal government shutdown continues © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Statue of Liberty reopened today, Sunday, Oct. 13, under an agreement reached by New York State with the federal government on Friday, October 11. Under the agreement, New York State will fully fund National Park Service personnel at the daily cost of $61,600 to keep Liberty Island National Park open to visitors as the federal government shutdown continues.

“While the federal government shutdown remains at a standstill, we in New York will not let this international symbol of freedom and democracy remain closed,” Governor Andrew Cuomo stated during a reopening ceremony. “The Statue of Liberty attracts thousands of visits every day, generating economic activity and supporting jobs that we cannot afford to lose. So today, we are back in business and Lady Liberty is ready to welcome New Yorkers and visitors.”

As a result of the federal government shutdown, the U.S. Department of the Interior closed all national parks across the country last week and furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees. In response to the economic impacts that park closures have on local communities, the Department is considering agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to reopen national parks in their states. These payments will not be reimbursed unless Congress passes a law to provide refunds to individual states.

Under Governor Cuomo’s agreement with Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the State will pay for the first four days of reopening the park, with funding coming from the State’s tourism budget. To keep the park open, the State must give the Department two days’ notice for every additional two days. The park will be fully open and functioning as usual. The State will pay the federal government $61,600 for each day that the park is open.

Liberty Island National Park has a major impact on the New York State economy. According to a 2012 annual report by the National Park Service, 3.7 million people visited Liberty Island in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs. Every visitor spends an average of about $35 for the ferry, food and souvenirs at Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Additional expenditures outside the park are estimated to be as high as $100 with each visit. The park generates more than $15 million in revenue from concessioner and franchise fees for the federal government, as well as $3.2 million in license fees to New York City parks plus sales taxes.

As a result of the shutdown – which has denied access to more than 10,000 visitors to the park daily – more than 400 direct jobs have been lost at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, including with the National Park Service and Evelyn Hill, Inc. Statue Cruises which provides ferry rides to the island has seen its daily ridership drop 50-70 percent, and the company now has 180 jobs at risk. In addition, the federal government itself is losing $50,000 per day in concessioner fees.

This shutdown also follows an 8-month closure of Liberty Island due to Superstorm Sandy. Ellis Island remains closed to the public.

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Vicksburg Commemorates 150th Anniversary of Civil War Campaign With Events April-July 4

March 7, 2013
See why a camel is part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration at Vicksburg National Military Park. Vicksburg, named by AAA Southern Traveler and AAA Midwest Traveler as one of the top 13 places to visit in 2013, kicks off Civil War Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) events in April and continues through July 4, the anniversary of the Siege of Vicksburg’s surrender © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

See why a camel is part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration at Vicksburg National Military Park. Vicksburg, named by AAA Southern Traveler and AAA Midwest Traveler as one of the top 13 places to visit in 2013, kicks off Civil War Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) events in April and continues through July 4, the anniversary of the Siege of Vicksburg’s surrender © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Vicksburg, named by AAA Southern Traveler and AAA Midwest Traveler as one of the top 13 places to visit in 2013, kicks off Civil War Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) events in April and continues through July 4, the anniversary of the Siege of Vicksburg’s surrender.

President Abraham Lincoln said “Vicksburg is the key”.   Confederate President Jefferson Davis said “Vicksburg is the nail head that holds the South’s two halves together”.   Both presidents were aware of the strategic importance of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River in 1863.  Vicksburg National Military Park, named by the National Park Service as a venue for a Civil War sesquicentennial signature events, commemorates this campaign and its significance as a critical turning point of the Civil War 150 years ago.

The Civil war transformed a nation.  Not only was slavery abolished, but citizenship was redefined and the federal union was strengthened.  “Vicksburg National Military Park provides visitors with the opportunity to understand, reflect upon and deepen their appreciation of our shared history and the relevance of this period to society today,” said Superintendent Michael Madell.  Quoting Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Madell continued, “The sesquicentennial of the Civil War is a time to commemorate those who fought and died during this pivotal era in American history. At the same time, it is an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to the ongoing march for freedom and equality for all people.”

Events begin in April with Tapestry: The Pilgrimage to Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Heritage Fair.  The Heritage Fair, Friday, April 5, through Sunday, April 7, will spotlight downtown attractions such as Confederate General John C. Pemberton’s Headquarters on Crawford Street, the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, and the Old Court House Museum.  Crafts people, musicians, and dancers will participate in the heritage fair telling the story of civilian life during the Civil War.  Part of the fair will involve a debate and discussion of Civil War topics by actors portraying significant persons involved in the war.

Memorial Day Weekend marks the signature event including: free, open air concerts by the U.S. Navy Band, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra with special guest and country music superstar Trace Adkins and Jackson Mass Community Choir; commemorations of the first assault on the city and the second assault of Vicksburg’s defenses; living history presentations that include cannon demonstrations, the Texas Camel Corps and interpretation of soldier everyday life during the Civil War; Shadows of the Past Living History Tours; a display of Special Boat Unit 22, part of the Navy’s modern river forces; a rededication of the Iowa Memorial; special programs on Civil War engineering and siege tactics and on African Americans and the Civil War exploring the roles of freeman, U.S. Colored Troops and enslaved peoples; and Soldiers through the Ages where a timeline of the military will be presented through static displays and programs.

On July 3, to commemorate the date the decision was made to surrender Vicksburg, the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign is working with the Vicksburg National Military Park to create a Grand Illumination.  Approximately 20,000 luminaria will be spread throughout the park to memorialize the 20,000 American lives, both Union and Confederate, which were casualties of the Battle for Vicksburg.  Over 500 volunteers will work to set up the lights at each state memorial to honor that state’s loss, a spectacular memorial never before endeavored.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/vick or www.visitvicksburg.com.

See also:

Staying in Vicksburg bnb is best way to experience Tapestry for Civil War 150th and slideshow

Civil War Sesquicentennial of Vicksburg Campaign marked with special events and slideshow

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Historic Lake Quinault Lodge offering Holiday Celebrations, Winter Specials

November 23, 2012

Historic Lake Quinault Lodge is offering holiday getaways with rates as low as $101.50 a night and celebrations for Christmas.

“The holidays are a time to enjoy the people you love, not to worry about details,” says general manager Hiedi Olson, “Lake Quinault Lodge’s expansive dining room, cozy guest rooms and warm lobby with a roaring fire can host any size party while still feeling like home. And just like home, we’ll be watching holiday movies but on our 14-foot projection screen.”

Frequently covered by a blanket of soft snow, Lake Quinault Lodge is the ideal winter retreat for Western Washington, whether for a holiday getaway, or for an escape from the day-to-day grind. For rates and reservations visit www.OlympicNationalParks.com and use the promo code LQFALL13 or call 888-896-3818. To stay up-to-date of all events and activities, like us on Facebook.

Upcoming events include:

Culinary & Wine Weekend

When: Friday Nov. 30 – Sunday Dec. 2
What: Culinary weekend featuring Maryhill Winery, 2009 Washington Winery of the Year. Includes cooking demonstrations, recipe cards, a four course dinner with wine pairings and two nights lodging
Price: Package starts at $499 per person. Promo code: CULINARY

Christmas Dinner:

When: Tuesday Dec. 25, 2-7p.m.
What: Christmas dinner served in the Roosevelt Dining Room including the traditional holiday dishes of ham and pecan sweet potatoes as well as local favorites such as bakes salmon and marrionberry cobbler.
Price: Three options priced between $26-$37 for adults, $12-$15 for children
Reservations required, call (360) 288-2900

New Year’s Eve Ball:

When: Monday, Dec.31, 2012
What: The evening includes dancing, party favors, light appetizers and a champagne toast at midnight. It is a blast from the past – we will be ringing in the New Year in good old 1920s fashion, so dress accordingly. Guest can enjoy a night stay on the package listed here or just come for the party.
Price: $30 for single admission, $50 per couple. Rooms start at $209 a night

Lake Quinault Lodge has long been a gathering place for Pacific Northwest vacationers. The lakeside lodge is located in the heart of one of only three temperate rainforests in the world and offers hiking, biking, fishing, boat rentals and tours of the lake and rainforest. Lake Quinault Lodge is also home to the Roosevelt Dining Hall, where Franklin D. Roosevelt dined during a trip that would later result in Olympic being named a national park.

Located on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park is 922,651 acres of preserved coastal, mountain and rainforest terrain. It is the fifth most visited national park in the United States, drawing 3.3 million visitors in 2010 and is located near Seattle, Wash., Vancouver British Columbia, and other Northwestern population centers. Declared a national park in 1938, the region is also a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Preserve and 95 percent is declared wilderness, a further protection above national park status.

ARAMARK Parks and Destinations, a division of ARAMARK, delivers authentic and memorable experiences at national and state parks, national forests, specialty hotels, museums and other tourist destinations throughout the United States. In partnership with its clients, ARAMARK Parks and Destinations seek to enhance the guest experience by offering industry-leading hospitality, environmental stewardship, recreational and interpretive programs. For more information on ARAMARK Parks and Destinations and its properties visit www.aramarkparksanddestinations.com. For up-to-the-minute news and information on this, and other ARAMARK Parks and Destinations locations follow on Twitter @ARAMARKParks.

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Fee-free Day at Parks, September 29th, National Public Lands Day

August 24, 2012

National Public Lands Day (NPLD),September 29, is a fee-free entrance day at many federal public lands including national parks. It’s a great opportunity to help a local or favorite public land near you and spend the rest of the day recreating or relaxing on the land. With free admission, feel free to bring a friend or make it a family outing, and enjoy the experience.

National Public Lands Day also partners with five federal land management agencies to provide a special thank-you to their volunteers. Each volunteer who participates in National Public Lands Day at Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or U.S. Forest Service public lands may receive a fee-free coupon.

Read more about the details on how fee-free days and fee-free coupons work on NPLD’s website: http://www.publiclandsday.org/highlights/fee-free-day-and-coupons

To locate an NPLD event near you, search by state or zip code here: http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites. More than 1,200 of the 2,000 sites are already listed online.

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National Park Service 96th Birthday Celebration Set for August 25 With Coast-to-Coast Festivities

August 8, 2012

On August 25, the National Park Service turns 96 years old and everyone is invited, especially children, to join in the festivities taking place coast-to-coast © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

On August 25, the National Park Service turns 96 years old and everyone is invited, especially children, to join in the festivities taking place coast-to-coast. If you want to share birthday wishes or stories, pictures, or video from your trip to a park, NPS friends at the National Park Foundation have created a birthday website www.NPSbirthday.org to get the celebration going!

“National parks belong to all Americans and we invite everyone to join us on this special day,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “There are hundreds of events planned. Take the kids on a snorkel adventure, bike ride, kayak tour, hike, or archeological dig. See a blacksmith demo, living history encampment, or Native American concert. Or join me and thousands of children at Rocky Mountain National Park’s big BioBlitz.”

The 6th annual BioBlitz, presented by the National Park Service and National Geographic, is a 24-hour event where teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and others explore the park and identify species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms. Kids can go on discovery expeditions, take fun, hands-on “classes” at the Biodiversity University, and enjoy music, live animals, and science demonstrations at the Biodiversity Festival.

“Like so many park lovers, the National Park Foundation is grateful to the National Park Service for the exceptional work they do every day to protect and preserve our country’s 397 national parks,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO. “This month we are excited to celebrate their 96th birthday and extend our thanks to them.”

You can choose the park you would like to visit by location or by event at www.nps.gov. If you can’t make it to a park for the big day, remember the mission of the National Park Service extends beyond park boundaries into communities across the country. NPS works with partners to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities that revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life. Go to www.nps.gov/communities/states.htm to see what the Park Service does in your community. For more information, visit www.nps.gov.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

About the National Park Foundation. You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites — all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow. Join us in supporting your national parks — this is your land. http://www.nationalparks.org.

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