Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Eco-Inspiration: Love Letter to the USA National Parks

Olympic NP, July 2012.  Holds the distinction of
being my FAVORITE NP.
I know I'm late to the party, but I hope that everyone had an amazing holiday weekend and a great 4th of July.  If you are a puppy, or if you love a puppy, then I hope that Thursday wasn't too stressful for you!  I always think the 4th of July is really interesting, and I do try to take time and reflect on things that I really appreciate about the USA.  I know we aren't a perfect country, but we are a country of big bold ideas.  And one of the biggest and boldest of those ideas is the American National Park Service and the system of parks they manage.  I am absolutely in love with visiting national parks, and as of 2010, I made it my 10-year goal to see all of my country's national parks.  A lofty goal, perhaps.  A worthy journey, most certainly.

The National Park Service does a lot more than just manage the 59 recognized national parks in the system. They also look after national lake shores, battlefields, historic sites, heritage areas, sea shores, rivers and so much more (get a full list here)!  But, as that bring the count of parks to see way (way) up, my goal is just to see the 59 official parks.  As I am writing this, I can say I have been to 16 parks and driven through another two, though I don't plan to count those unless it comes down to the wire.  I have plans to visit Alaska, which boasts a high score of 8 national parks, once I finish my PhD.  So, between then and now, I guess I have to see the rest!

Great Smoky Mts. NP, April 2009
Great Smoky Mts. NP, April 2009
The rest of this post will just be pictures from each park I've visited.  The thing that inspires me about the US national parks, and why they make me truly proud to be an American, is their diversity and the respect they inspire.  There are so many different species, vistas, and ecosystems protected under the same governmental system!  What's more, every time I visit a national park, I hear three or more different languages being spoken.  Tourists from all over the nation and all over the world recognize the significance and importance of the US national parks.  These places can inspire us all.  They most certainly inspire me.  So, happy late Independence Day.  Take a listen to Woody Guthrie, and gander at my current progress toward my favorite long-term goal.

Carlsbad Caverns NP, July 2012

Grand Canyon NP, Oct 2010.  Impossible to get a picture to do the
GC justice...so you have to look at my face.

Joshua Tree NP, March 2010.  FYI, that's a J-tree.
Petrified Forest NP, Aug 2009
Yosemite NP, July 2010.  Also the most adorable picture of my parents EVER. 
Sequoia NP, June 2011
Sequoia NP, June 2011.  My boo, big tree.

Mammoth Cave NP, July 2012.  Pictured: Disappearing River
Zion NP, July 2012.  Hiking the Narrows.
Arches NP, July 2012.  Landscape Arch, can you see the part that most recently fell off?
Rocky Mt. NP, July 2012
Yellowstone NP, July 2012.  My girl Meridith, ridge walking.
Yellowstone, NP.  July 2012.

Glacier NP, July 2012.  Hidden Lake with Bear's Tail in the foreground.  

Redwoods NP, Aug 2012.  The Chelsea is for scale.
Mt. Ranier NP, Aug 2012

Mt. Ranier NP, Aug 2012.  The best wildflowers.


  1. Are you trying to make me cry via blog post? I miss you! That pic of your parents is the cutest ever. I want to make us a cool shared map so we can track our progress!

    1. Dude, it should naturally be pointed out that 12 of those 16 NPs have been visited with you. Should a map or a list or something be a tab on the blog?

      It's funny, but I had very few good pictures from Mammoth Cave or GSM, which are probably the two I've visited the most. I have a backup hard drive that will cost $400 to fix, but has ALL my high school and college pictures on it, so I refuse to throw it away. I bet I have more on there.