When I see or even think about a national park, it is like no other feeling I’ve ever had. A national park is like a special cabinet that contains memories that are filled with truly special natural treasures.  ~  Jason Roy Maki, winner National Park Foundation writing award


Stories.  Many life stories are formed by National Park experiences.  Vivid memories of my youth include spending my high school graduation hour deep in the Kings Canyon National Park Wilderness.  How can I forget when we camped at Yosemite, and my brother experienced a bear cub falling from a tree limb onto his tent!  While attending Oregon State University, I received the greatest letter: notice that I’d been hired as a Mount Rainier National Park Ranger.  As part of the park’s Search & Rescue team, we spent many a whiteout snowstorm looking for lost hikers and climbers. As a parent, exploring Denali National Park with my daughter….Denali!  And being deeply happy to have my two married daughters return home to the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, a land where rural communities and the natural world seek common ground.

With 312,000,0000 visitors in 2015, it would seem that all the National Park memories would have been snatched up.  Yet, Old Faithful still erupts faithfully, Crater Lake still shimmers with some of the purest Earth water, and my epicenter of inspiration, Grand Canyon, still can take every person’s breath away.  What is one of your favorite National Parks?

National Park natural wonders have aged well.  The giant sequoia forests are even larger and taller; wolves have returned to Yellowstone, thousands of acres of land were purchased and permanently preserved by the National Park Service to connect ocean views in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The National Park Service has waived entry fees today and I believe into this weekend.  And for anyone headed to New England…you might be the first to check out America’s newest Great Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine.  ~